28/07/2022 - Cooling off

We were down in Cornwall for my lad's graduation on the hottest day of the year. Thankfully, although still in the mid-twenties, the temperatures didn't reach the heights experienced elsewhere. 

It was only when we got home after travelling back up the M5 whilst watching the thermometer climb into the high thirties that we experienced the difference. Since then the weather has regained some sort of normality. Still warm, but overcast and with some regular smatterings of rain - sadly insufficient to resurrect the parched, brown grass everywhere, but certainly far nicer conditions to be wandering along the river bank in a pair of waders again! However, with the Derwent still very low and clear I opted to try the River Soar instead. The left-over maggots from the my last session were duly retrieved from the fridge - not in best condition and could have benefitted from some riddling but, as it turned out, the fish didn't give a monkey's. 

Parked the van up on the bridge and walked upstream towards the weir where some flow and oxygen would be guaranteed. The club had been busy strimming out some armchair pegs for the seat box and trolley brigade on the wide navigable section, but these ran out well before I got to my planned destination and I had to push through shoulder-high nettles and balsam to get to my favourite swim on the island. Spooked the obligatory little egret working one of the shallow channels on the way - these appear to be so common now that it's almost a novelty not to see one. In fact their larger cousins, the great white egrets are starting to appear regularly in the area as well. Whilst the river was low, it had a peaty, brown quality about it and there were plenty of fish topping in the faster runs. 

First trot down with a handful of loose feed resulted in a roach and from then on it was a bite a chuck. Dace turned out to be the pre-dominant species, interrupted by a few chub and bleak. 

Whenever the float drifted into slightly slower water more roach, skimmers and an odd gonk were added to the tally. Not surprisingly given the amount of silver fish action a shoal of stripeys soon bullied their way in and I had several hand-sized specimens before they themselves were targetted by something a little bigger. 

Was just bringing one across the surface when a pike of about 6lb slashed at it and missed, almost ending up in the net himself. As he drifted back down to the bottom I realised that he had a similar-sized companion and for a period they were sat side-by-side, holding station with lazy movements of their pectorals. 

Their presence in the swim didn't slow down proceedings, but I made sure to carefully steer any hooked fish away from them until they got fed up waiting for dinner and ghosted away again. Once they'd disappeared I had a dabble off the rod tip on the edge of the lillies to see if there were any ruffe about, but just got plagued by tiddlers. Back on the trotting line it was dace and more dace until my daughter called me to say that tea was going to be on the table in half an hour. Had been fishing for about three hours, had seven species and well over a hundred fish. Packed up and starting hoofing back to the van. However, having not seen anybody else up until that point, I was stopped twice by folks wanting to chat about the fishing. 

First chap was from up near Chesterfield, which is a fair trek in itself, but the next one was from Maidenhead! Only stopped talking long enough to be polite, signposting them both to Scott at Soar Tackle in kegworth, but was still late back home having been further delayed by a 40 mph speed limit on the motorway.  Fortunately the meal timings had been a bit optimistic, so I was assigned bar duties and instructed to make everybody large gin instead of getting a rollicking. We're whizzing down to Wales for the father-in-law's birthday in a couple of days, so hopefully some fun in the salt to follow. Was pretty prolific last time in terms of numbers, but will be looking to try for some species variety in the short time we have down there.