02/01/2022 - Blowing away the cobwebs

Had over a pint of maggots that had been in cryogenic stasis in the bait fridge since my last trip out a couple of weeks ago, so with the excesses of the holidays finally out of the way I was keen to wet a line again, particularly as the weather in Wales had prevented me from going on the usual Christmas whiting and doggy hunt. 

Current forecast was for it to be mild and dry, albeit quite windy, and my local River Derwent had been dropping nicely, so I threw the waders, a bag of bits and the long rod in the car and set off for a couple of hours trotting. Arrived at an empty car park and then slipped and skidded across the saturated field to the river. Found it to be carrying a bit of colour and, in truth, probably still about half a metre above ideal level. As a consequence it was tonking through the usual spots and boiling angrily in the slacks. However, I was confident that I could find some steadier water and hopefully with it some fish, so headed upstream to where I knew I would be sheltered by the trees from the brisk south-westerly wind. 

Couldn't even get in the river at the first swim as it was too deep for me to safely get in down the bank, so had to just run the float down the nearside margin as best I could. Hadn't had a sniff after half an hour, so moved downstream a couple of times but again the float stubbornly refused to disappear. Wondered if it was because I was being forced to fish close in and therefore likely to be over silt or sand, so had a think about where I could find some water that would be running over gravel instead and moved downstream again to a spot where I would normally be standing on a bar in mid-river. Looked bob on with the main current raging down the far bank, but with a nice walking pace on the near side and about four feet off the rod top. 

Took a few trots down to get the depth absolutely right, but as soon as the hookbait was in the zone the float disappeared and I was into a small grayling. The blank saved I applied myself a bit more seriously to getting a few more in the net, concentrating particularly on the spot in the swim where'd I got the bite.

Had three more grayling of a similar size over the next few trots through, but then started getting some fast, missed bites before eventually connecting with a small dace. Thankfully he had a few slightly larger brethren with him, all looking slightly washed-out in the weak sunshine. Added a few perch, roach and chub to the tally, one of the latter apparently a recent stockie from the EA's Calverton fish farm according to the tell-tale blue dot of dye between his petorals. By the time I had to pack up and head home for lunch I'd had a mixed bag of two dozen fish, which wasn't bad given that it had taken me two-thirds of the session to find the fish in the first place and I had only been fishing that last swim for the final hour.

I'd also added another piece to the jigsaw by finding a spot that appeared to hold fish when the river was higher than normal. However, what I really want to do now is to go all out for a big grayling but looking at the weather forecast for the next week or so I'm going to be waiting a bit!