Thankyou for taking the time view my mutterings.

"We sit on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and possess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams, which we now see glide so quietly by us"

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hungry like the horse

It was a funny old Christmas and New year, mainly because a tooth decided to give me a bit of grief and turned itself from an ache to an infection in to a fully blown abscess, great!!!
What with work and family commitments it was difficult to find the time to get out and drown a bait, even on the days that I had planned to, the weather was blowing a gale and hissing it down so I ditched the idea on two occasions and chose to stay at home in the warm and dry and annoy the Mrs, it did not help either that most of the rivers round my way were up to their throats with raging dirty water (even the canal was as bad) so I probably didn't miss out on too much?

Monday 7th January 2013

As planned, Carl (my eldest son) was at the roundabout for just after 7am, we threw his gear into the back of my truck and off we set for the thirty five minute or so journey to the stream/ditch. I was virginal to this small river and to be fair I didn't really know too much about it apart from it has a good head of small barbel/chub to around mid singles with the odd better fish a maybe.
After doing battle with the rush hour traffic we were soon pulling up at the top of the field on a main road with cars whizzing by at a rate that Lewis Hamilton would have been proud of!!
Quickly we unloaded and in his words "lob it over this fence boy", I obliged, looked at him and just giggled, after all I was in his hands as he had been here once before.

After a short walk down the headland dodging horse crap as we went we were soon standing on the edge of the stream observing. Surprisingly it was very low and gin clear, like tap water in fact. The day was cloudy and overcast so that was a plus point but with the clarity of the water it was clear to see where the fish weren't and that in turn narrowed down the swim choices to single figures spread across the two or so fields. After taking the advice of a work colleague to have a base camp  for the bulk of our tackle (thinking back now I think he stitched us up as he knew the score and knew what  the outcome would be) which in turn would then leave us to free roam up and down the stretch at ease.
We each sorted a rod, net and a mat out while a bait pouch finished the requirements for sneaking about. First plan of attack was to work the river to our left (downstream), the spare tackle was strategically placed in a nice tidy pile behind and up against a couple of small trees that were waters edge and off we trotted. Deeper holes or snags would offer us the best chance of a pull so that was what we went looking for. Meat was the starting bait, not big lumps but whittled down bits that would just cover a size 4 hook while a single SSG was pinched on to a tag of line that was secured to the mainline by a floatstop. Our first swims provided us with not a jot but the second produced a small chub of a couple of pound to Carl (or Doogle) as he is known in the trade, I had settled in a swim just around the bend from his position where the river swept from right to left with a bit of  depth and a bit more pace. I had just received a sharp jaggy bite when Doogle pitched up in my swim to see how I was getting on. There was enough room to my right so I suggested that he dropped his hookbait in for ten minutes under the trailing branches from a far bank tree. As we sat there having a smoke and a chinwag whilst perched on a comfortable log Carl received a bite just after lifting and lowering the bait, it was a scrapper alright and hung on for all it was worth but just as his fight was coming to an end the tip on my rod hooped over and soon we were both doing battle. A chevin of roughly three pounds was the culprit on mine but Doogles turned out to be a perfect and pristine little January barbel of about three and a half pounds. Both fish were left in the landing net just to our right rather than being returned straight away while we both had another lob just in case there were any others looking for a meaty breakfast!
After giving it probably another twenty minutes or so with no other pulls we made the decision to amble back to base for a brew and a sarnie but first we would take a couple of shots of Carl's little bar of immaculate gold.

What we experienced next can only be described as total carnage, as we neared our spare tackle we could see and sense that something wasn't quite right!
See, in this field were about twenty horses of all different shapes and sizes and the majority of them were now further down the field, but one (pic below)  looked like he was stood on guard not ten yards from our gear and it soon became apparent what had happened.
My small roving bag which is a fox 16ltr bucket bag was near empty and upside down in the margin of the river as was Carl's rucksack but his was a little further out, I had prepared us some beef (left over from my Sunday roast) and mustard rolls, well they were gone as were a complete packet of chocolate digestives, two packets of crisps and a couple of wispa bars, oh and not forgetting the two maggot feeders that were in the bag loose, they'd eaten the bloody lot!!
My flask had been kicked about all over the field and I swear if they could have got the lid off they'd have drunk that as well, our chairs were five yards away from were we had left them but luckily for me they hadn't totalled my camera although they had a go as they hadn't quite worked out how to get the buckle undone! We did laugh, although now we were starving and boyo hadn't even thought to put any grub in at all so now were buggered. I wiped the mud from the flask and poured us a brew while we sat back and tried to work what the hell had just happened?

After our tea break and clear up we set off to the right of base camp but this time we took all tackle with us (I wonder why?). I swapped over to the maggot feeder and short hooklink approach as I felt my best chance would be to target the chub and if a barbel come along then that would be a bonus.

Whilst walking up the stretch to find some likely looking areas the picture above was hard to resist, with the winds and flooding that we had been experiencing over the past few weeks it seemed to have really taken its toll on this tree and with it came the bank plus the rivers edge.
I picked a swim that had some pacy water to my right as it swept round a small bend before flattening off in front of me and dropping off slowly under some trailing twigs that were hanging just of the waters surface. First flick out and soon the tip pulled round and a chublet was swung to hand. A few more silver fish were taken from this spot but nothing of any size not that it mattered but one thing that impressed me was the quality of the fish they were all immaculate, perfectly scaled and coloured as the roach below shows. 

Carl had stayed on the meat tactics but apart from a couple of jags nothing else materialised in to full on bites. The time was now 1.30pm and I was hank marvin so we decided to get back to the truck and head off down the road and visit the garage and sample some of its pre packed,curled up sarnies but also I purchased a new shiny packet of chocolate digestives just as a little treat of course.
We then spoilt ourselves with our purchases and made the decision to have a little go just up the road on a free section in the nearby village not far from where the source starts.
Again I chose the maggot approach as did Carl as we both felt the prospect of chub would be the better option due to the conditions. I'd like to tell you that we bagged up and it was non stop action but it wasn't, I had a couple of real good pull rounds that left me striking in to thin air and his nibs saved the blank afternoon by mugging a small chub of about a pound. Four o'clock came round so we decided enough was enough and it was time to beat the rush hour traffic and get home home for a nice evening meal that wouldn't be snatched from our grasps by a four legged thieving bloody horse!

Cheers son, it was a giggle but next time do some spare pack up as back up and leave your pets at home.