Thursday, 2 July 2009

Deluge on the Blythe

The rivers are calling !

I've been back to the trickles a few times in the last weeks and have had a great time, I must say. I really have missed them so much over the last few months.
I went first to Bretford on the upper Warwickshire Avon, a stretch of river that I fished much last season and with good results.

The Avon in High Summer

However, I hadn't banked upon being able to fish just a handful of pocket sized holes in a dense mass of weed, the whole river being choked solid with lilies and water crowfoot. I eventually managed to find a nice little run of smooth water to do some short trots through and found bites galore, all from perch and tiny chublets with the best fish being a six ounce perch. There was also some dead slow clear water under the shade of some trees so I settled in to anchor a float and watch the world go by. Eventually I got a bite on my lobworm and connected with a good fish that promptly escaped, and that was that...

A Young Stripey

The best thing about the day was the pleasure I derived from using the built cane Avon rod that I found In a junk shop last season and reserved through the close season for my very first day back on the Avon, the very river for which is was built in the first place. It was great, and quite light and very well balanced for trotting, in fact it got out of the way and I forgot it was there, and that's what a good rod should do. It didn't get a true test of its mettle though..

Pin and Cane

John came up for a view at the gallery and as per tradition we went fishing next day to a spot of my choosing. Bretford was out of the question, lakes didn't appeal, the cut seemed dead, and so I chose the Blythe at Coleshill hoping that it wouldn't be so choked with weed that we couldn't enjoy ourselves. As we crossed the footbridge over the shallow stream on entry to the fishery my heart sank, the stream being choked with streaming weed, however as we walked downstream the weed cleared as the water deepened and miraculously no more weed was seen from thereon in. Great!

It's a great spot for long trotting and that was what I intended. John has a penchant for spinning so he went off doing his thing leaving me alone with my wooden rod and pretty stick float ambling along the current and downstream to distant invisibility. Worm was the bait and it seemed worm was the bait they liked most, for bites were not wanting. Unfortunately, as with the Avon on the previous trip, the culprits were small perch and chublets. It was great fun though!

It was a bite every cast and some big spots of rain only improved matters, fish after fish came until I was forced to flee under a small bush to shelter from a sudden downpour of warm water falling from the mass of dark cloud that had been moving steadily since we arrived and that had finally begun to deliver what it had promised.

John carried on regardless, toughing it out in the open, but I stayed put under the bush trying to avoid a drenching. When it did stop I made a move to a deeper pool, my favourite of the winter months in fact, where I saw a marked improvement in the size of the fish. Once again it was bite after bite but this time all from perch of ever increasing size, from six ounces up to a pound and a quarter. I imagined, that if things carried on like this, then I would soon connect with a monster of a perch, a fish to give my cane rod a proper run for its money...

Then an even heavier deluge saw me running for my little bush, before the imagined stripey beast got its chance at my worm.

From then on the rain was more or less constant, only lightening just enough to make fishing possible from time to time. When I did get back to my pool the first bite, a sharp double jag, connected with a proper big fish that was on for a few minutes before the hook pulled. The rod was fine, it didn't snap in two, it was sound, no problems at all.

John trudged back to my pool, soaked to the skin, his clothing stuck fast to his long skinny frame. He was not a happy man having caught just the one perch on a mepps and having the onset of hypothermia for his troubles. He packed up and marched off to the car without waiting for me. That's the sure sign of a man who is needing to survive, to have warmth, and dryness, now! I've been there before!

That's why I seek bushes in the rain...

Actually, I am going to buy myself the right kit for summer river fishing, and that would be a light but completely waterproof trench coat or duster that passes right over the wellies and down to the ankles, that folds small enough to stow in the bottom of my bag and serves as a cushion for my bony arse in stalky kind of swims, plus a broad brimmed waterproof hat. It's surprising just how exposed one can be in seemingly warm conditions if water gets through and begins its pernicious spiral of misery.

And if you are wondering why there are no pictures on the Blythe part of this entry, well my camera has now become a precious object after returning from the menders in fine fettle once more and if I'd landed that 'monster perch' to which I had become briefly attached then it would have had to have come to the bush with me.

I now protect it religiously, especially from water, of which this day was mostly composed.

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