16/12/2023 - Still here, but it's been a bit of a struggle!

Can't remember a stranger few months - did more sea fishing than anything else during September and October and then work, the weather and illness have conspired against me ever since. 

Did manage a couple of after work sessions in early November on the River Trent, firstly to a free, urban section of the river after my interest had been piqued by a picture of a very large perch taken on a float-fished deadbait of all things. Had a couple of hours with the feeder rod, fishing down the side with lobworm on the hook and chopped dendras and dead maggot in the feeder and whilst I caught a few perch, they weren't of the size I was after. As the light disappeared I took off the mono hooklink and clipped on a trace baited with a small, headless roach deadbait hoping that the deep water close in would harbour a zed. However, half an hour without a twitch on the quiver tip saw me heading home, although I will certainly be making a return visit at some point. 

Second session was closer to home and was solely with zander in mind, a species that is fast becoming my nemesis. Thought I'd cracked it a few seasons ago with a run of fish to just under double figures, but have struggled ever since. Needless to say this session wasn't any different as, despite seemingly perfect conditions, I went home fishless yet again without even the eels bothering me. And then came the rain. What a totally shite period of weather we've had (and are still having)! Never mind giving these storms nice names. I know what I'd like to call them and it's not printable. Eventually the promise of a few, rain-free days resulted in just a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately with the ground so saturated the main rivers seemed to be taking age to fall to a resonable level. 

However, higher up in the catchments it was thankfully a different story. Therefore booked a morning off work and headed west on the A50 into Staffordshire with my float rod and a pint of maggots hoping to catch my first grayling of the winter. Parts of the fields next to the river were still ankle deep in water, the ground sucking at my feet with every step, so by the time I got to the top of the section I was puffing like a steam train due to the lingering effects of a "hundred day cough". However, the river itself looked absolutely bang on and after I had regained my breath sufficiently to coax an out of season, but energetic, brown trout out of a small nearside slack on my first cast I thought that I was onto a winner. 

Unfortunately it turned out to be completely the opposite and a bit of a grueller instead. Whilst I stayed mobile and tried as many of my usually reliable spots as possible, I left many empty handed. Where I did manage to tempt a bite it was just from the odd, solitary fish. Didn't help that it stayed gloomy all morning to the extent that I was struggling to keep track of the stick float down the runs and had to change over to one with a larger, domed top instead (although I later realised that I was wearing an old pair of glasses that were at least one prescription out!). By lunchtime I'd just had that one brownie and a dozen grayling to show for my efforts. Called it a day when I failed to buy a bite in my "banker" swim where I'd had not only grayling, but perch chub and dace in the past. Just seemed to have dropped on a day when they weren't having it. Still, at least I hadn't blanked and it had been good to be out and not staring at a screen.

It had also been good to get re-acquainted with the river, which had again done a bit of re-modelling since my last visit resulting in the loss of some swims but the formation of others that will get a proper look at next time. Squelched back to the car, disturbing a buzzard looking for easy pickings in the form of drowned worms. Remind me to ask Santa for some nice clear, cold and settled weather in the New Year!