Once upon a time............. in fact only just last week, two angling mad twats had the urge to fish.
Barbel were supposed to be their target species but after the unfortunate turn in good old British weather the day before, the pre arranged trip to the River Severn was abandoned and changed to two days chubbing on the Gt Ouse!!
It was a shame as the previous week a customer and friend (cockney Al) had been in to the shop after a couple of successful days on the Severn by banking several fish to a creditable 9lbs or so (well done mate).
The mild/wet weather then decided to go minus degrees, North Easterly winds swept in and to complete the job snow showers had put pay to possibly any barbel activity. So, last minute.com had me and Steve changing the tackle bags and rods over to suite silver/bronze instead of gold.
After pulling into the car park and dressing ourselves up like we were going to the Antarctic, we steadily made our way with a twenty or so minute walk to the far end of the section. In hindsight this was probably a mistake as by the time we had reached our destination we were both sweating like pigs but once we had sat down and started to angle the sweat started to freeze and in turn we became very cold very quickly. (note to self.......when walking long distances with kit on your back, go naked and get dressed upon arrival at swim).
There was a hard frost on the ground and cat ice that covered most margins so care had to be taken when parking ones arse into ones chosen swims.
As usual the plan was to give swims 45 minutes or so before moving on, depending what was happening? Worms,maggots,steak and cheesepaste were all in the bait bag and each and every one of them were set for a drowning at some point during the day!
Now to say that the 25mph North Easterly winds were playing havoc was an understatement not only with my rod tip but my eyes were also streaming making it near impossible to see the tip waving and bouncing around in the blustering cold gusts, so soon we were moving on to calmer areas of the river. It was plain to see that conditions and temperatures were not on our side and if were going to get at a bite then it would only come if the baited hook was placed right on the ends of their noses.
So to cut a long but cold,blowy story short, it wasn't until some six hours or so later when we doubled up for a chinwag on a sweeping bend with loads of fast, bubbling turbulent water that we experienced our first action of the day.
By now the snow had started to fall and I had just had a sharp pull on a couple of worms that led to nothing but just as I was concentrating on maybe another bite, all I heard was......".What the f####ing hell have I got on here?" I asked if it was a netting job and he replied "I don't think so" and started to laugh!!
On looking to my right all I could see was a wet,black sock swinging around in the wind and snow, did I laugh and take the piss? of course I did !!
It was in the 7-9 range and for sure was Steve's best to date so he was made up by all accounts, a quick video mas made before resting it in the net and casting out again on the hope that the other might just still be in the area.
To be honest it was more than I had caught all day so it was quite a welcoming sight.
No other bites were forthcoming so after a last flasked brew we called it a day and agreed that day 2 would be on another stretch.
After agreeing on a different venue we were soon meeting up in the car park which to be honest looked like a doggers paradise with flunky's and tissues galore so after making a mental note to myself I regained composure and said to Steve "have you been here before mate".
He just looked at me and replied "get your kit on your back, the sun is shining"
This part of the Ouse is a slower and deeper section with the odd tree/bush, the wind was a little lighter but instead of being in our faces it was blowing upstream. After a wander we were soon sitting in our starting positions and both choosing worms as bait whilst spraying maggot over the top. It looked not only chubby but perchy too. It was not a stretch that I was too familiar with but Steve had angled here a few times and assured me there were fish to be had.
The sunshine soon disappeared and changed to darker clouds that started to deposit a light flutter of snow once again (roll on winter I say)!! After an hour or so and not even a tap we decided to up sticks and stroll on to pastures new. Three swims each were tried in total and then the decision was made to move to a different section some ten minutes drive away.
Soon we were walking the path that leads to yet another piece of the river and one that we were slightly more familiar with, known to have done chub to high sevens although not that easy. Earlier in the year I had managed to take a nice net full of perch from here so at least we stood a chance of either species. It wasn't until we moved to our second pitch that Steve managed a proper bite that took the liking to a worm hookbait. On hooking the fish I shouted "is it pulling back or could it be a shoe" "Na its pulling back alright" was his reply as the rod lunged over and the fish held deep in its watery home. By now I had wound in and was marching through the mud to grab the net and scoop the bugger up. Soon it was ours, I say ours as it was a team effort after a hard couple of days and it felt so much like we had earned it.
5lb 6oz was the weight recorded and although he was complaining that his hands were cold I just told the poof to stop moaning and just smile and you can see by the picture that he just about managed it.
We had another chuck and gave it half hour or so but nothing else was willing and I had drawn an end of season blank, still I was pleased that Gaylord had saved our blushes with one sock and a five pound chub.
So that was the end to the season, not the best I hear you say but I enjoyed trying and could easily have stayed at home or gone to work but that wouldn't have been half as much fun eh? A three month river rest will now be had and I'll turn my attentions to a bit of canal Perch or Roach fishing or maybe a lake Tench if this weather ever warms up!!