Managed to get to Friday afternoon before I'd had enough of work for the day - a hard negotiated hour's access to a virtually deserted office (very weird) to do some essential scanning and printing, followed by collating and filing back at home. I hate admin at the best of times, but it had been building since March and needed to be done. However, my brain was numb by three o'clock, so I downed tools, stuck the float rod, chesties and bag of bits in the car and headed to Bridge Tackle in Long Eaton for a pint of maggots. A little while later, I was standing thigh deep in the Derwent, running a stick float down mid-river. It had been overcast all day, but the sun had decided to come out just as I was pulling my waders in the car park, so the cool water felt like bliss after a very hot walk upstream. Unfortunately, in contrast to my previous visit, the river was also very low and like tapwater, with the gravel bottom clearly visible across to the other bank. Was therefore surprised when the float disappeared first trot down, resulting in a nice dace.
Added a few roach, chub, perch and bleak before bites started to slow down, presumably as the fish started to get spooked. I had also bumped or lost a few fish on the way in, which couldn't have helped. A change from the size 16 barbless Kamasan that I was using to it's barbed equivalent seemed to solve that. The kingfisher on the far bank on the other hand didn't seem to have any trouble nailing his supper - there was plenty of fry in the margins for him to go at - and at one stage I had a noisy fly-by from two of them, mates or rivals I couldn't tell.
Gave myself ten more trots down without attracting another bite before I walked a bit further upstream to the weir to see if the fish were up in the oxygenated water. Was also keen to see how it looked in low flow conditions. However, with all the flow funnelling down the far bank and causing a big back eddy on the near bank, complete with the slowly rotating, bloated corpse of a dead frog, it wasn't really conducive for trotting.
A bit further downstream I forced my way through head high Himalyan balsam, buzzing with pollen-dusted bees, to find that the river had split around an exposed gravel bar with the main flow going to the right. By standing on the end of the bar and running the float down the slower water to the left of the crease formed when the river converged, I had a few more chub, dace and a bonus brownie.
Again the bites dried up after a bit, so I walked back downstream only to find that the next spot I had got my eye on, a nice run along the edge of the far bank trees made possible by the lower water levels, had subsequently been occupied by a barbel angler. Had a quick chat, filing away the information gleaned, before moving a little further downstream to try the pipe bridge. However, here my maggot hookbait was getting mullered every trot down by either tiny chub or bleak, something I soon got fed up with!
Finally, as the light began to fade I found myself on the gravels where I was able to wade well across mid-river and run my float down close to the far bank, picking up more chub and perch in the process.
Ended on the best perch of the day before heading back to the car, picking up the cans and food wrappers left by the youths that had been jumping off the footbridge when I had arrived. Nice one lads!
The weather forecast for The Haven today was for sunny intervals and light westerly winds, so decided to have an early morning session after some mini-species down at Milford Docks. However, when I set off at 0600 hrs it was only 8 degrees Centigrade and as I crested the hill overlooking the Cleddau valley I could see thick ribbons of mist marking out the course of the river below. Thankfully by the time I arrived, about half an hour before high tide, the sun was a bit more evident and it was feeling distinctly warmer. Initially set up on the “bull nose”, having first tidied up the crap left by previous anglers using the carrier bag they’d thoughtfully left along with the lager tins, crisp packets and bait packets (I fail to understand the mentality of people who do this). Dropped a scaled down flapper rig made up with two size 10 Sabpolo wormer hooks and baited with scraps of left-over ragworm down the side of the wall. Soon started getting jabs and rattles on the rod tip and it didn’t take long to find out what was responsible.
The brother-in-law was booked to go diving over at St Brides Bay today, so took that as an opportunity not only to meet up, but also to have a recce as it’s a venue I’ve been meaning to visit for a while.
However, it did give me an opportunity to try one of my modified X-130’s, on this occasion the chartreuse version with Cox & Rawle plugging singles instead of trebles. As usual I went with a sandeel fly “teaser” on a dropper three feet ahead of the lure. First cast confirmed there was about 18” of visibility and that the lure action was seemingly unaffected by the change of hooks (not that an X-130 has a lot of action anyway). Started plugging away in earnest as the tide started to turn, hopefully bringing the bass with it. However, whilst the visibility noticeably improved as the tide pushed back in and the mullet started passing me in numbers, the bass appeared to be absent. Took a break to chat to a couple of local chaps who had been lure fishing off the point. They were heading home fishless this morning, but said they had a few off the point on shads the day before.