25/01/2019 - Best laid plans...
I'm usually meticulous in my session planning given my limited free time, but today I got things badly wrong. The plan was to have another day out in Staffordshire on a River Dove tributary. A quick check yesterday indicated that the river was dropping nicely down to the "perfect" level and, whilst there was a bit of rain forecast overnight, I didn't think it was enough to worry about. Set off before first light and arrived at about 0830 hrs, having had to negotiate a couple of hold ups on the A50. At first glance the river looked to be carrying a bit of colour, but was at a nice level, so I headed to the upstream limit and started fishing. Had a nice grayling early on, but then struggled for bites and it wasn't until I was in my third swim when I noticed that the river clarity and colour had significantly changed for the worst. A quick check of river levels on the phone confirmed that I was fishing on a rapidly rising river, presumably as a result of the overnight rain being more significant than I realised. Idiot! Rather than struggle on I headed back to the car to consider my options, kicking myself all the way for not double checking before leaving this morning.
The River Dove was closest, but a stiff downstream wind would have made things difficult at my preferred venue, so I ended up heading all the way back along the A50 to Derby and to the River Derwent again - where I probably should have been two hours earlier!
The weather was pretty grim when I arrived - grey, damp and miserable - which didn't improve my mood. I was also probably a bit under-gunned for the bigger river with my 11ft Drennan Ultralite and light stick float setup. However, got togged up again and headed for the long glide that I'd fished the previous weekend. Whilst the river was up slightly, the clarity was good, so I started fishing with renewed optimism. However, after about an hour stood in the drizzle and with just a couple of small grayling to to show for my efforts, I was ready to pack up. Instead, I decided to head upstream to find a bit of slower paced water where I could be a bit more confident that my bait was where it should be, i.e. on the bottom. Dropped in above the big tree again. However, where I had been able to wade well over halfway across the river on previous visits, the higher level meant I could only wade to the edge of the tree-line.
However, it also meant that there was a nice depth with an even pace close in - just what I was looking for.
Had a couple of small grayling straight away, but it wasn't until the last hour of daylight that they really seemed to switch on. At one stage I noticed fish boiling on the surface where I'd thrown in some loose feed. Thinking they were dace I watched a bit more closely and realised that they were actually grayling, coming off the bottom and intercepting the maggots before they sank. Sure enough, I had a flurry of fish, including several on the drop right in front of me. By the time the light had faded and the chill had finally got through my layers I'd had another ten grayling, so I was quite glad that I had persevered.
Headed back to the car feeling a bit better about my day, but I won't be making such a schoolboy error again!