Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Keeping on keeping on...

Worms catch perch and chub, also roach and barbel, and, perch, chub, roach and barbel are the prime stock fish of the Bretford stretch of the Avon. According to my club Coventry AA book. Now, I'd seen a huge perch and plenty of chub, indeed had caught a few of the larger residents of the latter species, so it seemed logical that big roach also, up to two pounds at the very least, were feasible
. As for barbel, well there may be a few, and I have heard that they have been caught here, but I've seen nothing of them yet. But I live in hope.

Whole lobworms are the winter bait par excellence, I believe. They sort out the chub from the chublets and the perch from the perchlets, apparently. Well, my fresh dug lobs, were par-excellent. Big, fat, lively creatures, fresh this very morning from my manure rich allotment soil. Warwickshire's finest, indeed.

When I arrived at the river, I could not believe my eyes. Other anglers!

In all my previous trips here, I'd seen just the one boy fishing for pike. I'd seen the traces of others here and there, in the slightly flattened grass above certain swims, and once, in the ugly form of a discarded empty tin of 'Frenzied Hemp'. Named so, presumably because those who use such stuff are way too frenzied when purchasing it to notice the startling price differential between uncooked hemp bought from the pet shops and a tin of this, much too frenzied to bother cooking their own, and after using it, just too frenzied to bother taking it away again.

I digress. I stopped and talked to the first guy, dressed for the deepest and darkest of winter weather, who looked like he knew exactly what he was up to. He was equipped with two rods, both set up for trotting. One with a pin and stick, the other with fixed-spool and cork bodied avon. I gleaned a little information from him, about the fish population, the state of the water, et al. And then moved on diagonally across the field, past two 'other' anglers swaddled in thick multiple layers of winter gear, fishing a swim on a corner where I'd had two chub in successive casts a while before.

I wanted to explore the very reedy upper reaches of the club stretch. To see if any perch lived there. Unfortunately, once past the easy meadow, with its open banks, there were no swims as such, just a few holes in the tall near bank reeds and some dicy looking access points near the overhanging trees. I eventually settled on a difficult upstream cast to a point below a raft of rubbish, and managed to get a lobworm into position.

The lobworm sat there for twenty minutes before I retrieved it. It came back clean untouched, and wriggling just as lively as it had been before immersion in the clear cold water. Nothing had so much as enquired. But, I stuck it out, and stuck it, until a bird scarer fired off unannounced not twenty yards behind me, my sudden fright almost pitching me off my tripod chair.

I moved on. To a place where the river narrowed to just a flow just a single rod length across as it drained a long slow reedy stretch. I sat there for ages twitching my worm, and had a bite, I think. But it may have been a surge of the current. I tried upstream and down, and across, and below my feet. The result was nothing much.

Tired of all this inactivity in what was becoming an increasingly oppressive North Easterly wind ( the worst of all fishing winds) I decided that enough was enough, that I needed shelter and the only way to enjoy the last remaining hours was to get out of the chilly wind and try for broke, somewhere else. So, I passed by the other frozen anglers, who had had a jack pike on meat intended for chub, and the guy I'd talked to who'd had a few small roach and a single small chub for his efforts. In fact it seemed an effort for him to expel words right now, which was in stark contrast to his early optimistic chatter about prospects for the day, which now seemed groundless.

I crossed the road and headed for the first swim down from the bridge. Here it was relatively cosy. I baited up with bread crumbs and cast my old favourite cocktail of pellet and bread flake bait into the pool, then sat back for a bite. Which came, at last, but I missed it. Then came another, which connected for a brief second, but then came off. Then it all went as dead as my poor frozen toes.

I tried in vain to light my Kelly kettle with my few matches and some dry kindling. I needed tea, and had the kit for it. But the kindling was too big and would not take. I'd had enough of the North -East wind, now that it had proved itself not even good enough for lighting a fire with, and left for home, thirsty, cold and defeated.

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