Thursday, 2 July 2009

What a difference a day, and a bit of water pushing through, makes!

After having had such fun trotting the Blythe and wondering what that big fish that I lost was, a chub probably, but perhaps that monstrous perch that I'd imagined, I had to get back to where I'd been forced to leave off, and as soon as possible. Luckily I had the next day not only free but with wifey actively encouraging my day long absence!
Can't pass up such a chance, can you?

The Blythe in High Summer

So, I arrived back, but to a different stream entirely. The water was now thick and the level was up the banks - looking good I thought, very good indeed. However, the expected bites failed to come. I trotted and trotted all morning long for the sum result of one lost fish that I estimate to have been around the pound mark, and one blank saving chublet on the bank. Hmmm...

Not quite what I'd expected!

Not a blank then!

Eventually I tired of the constant casting and retrieving, a ritual that not only wears an angler out physically, but also brings him down mentally too if the fish are not co-operating. I opted for an afternoon of idle lolling in a comfy chair, so I rigged up two rods for legering huge chunks of meat for big chub, put a load of groundbait items out in the favourite chub pool, and sat back. I'd forgotten to pack two rod rests - but, by dint of my luck, the swim had a forked stick in it, just the right shape and size and apposite for an old wooden rod and so it was employed as fit for purpose.

Then, I heard an ominous sound from away across the church spire on the hill top.


Oh crap!!

I had waterproofs and an umbrella about my person this time, but the Blythe at Coleshill is far too exposed a place for anyone to be in throughout a proper thunderstorm - a broad watermeadow without much in the way of trees to attract the bolts - most people who are killed by lightning are killed in such places as this! It does have a row of tall pylons running through its length but my way of thinking says that the storm and the pylons are blood relatives and so the storm would zap me rather zap than one of them! I readied myself for a quick exit should the storm come my way.

It was terribly humid in the damp meadow, a tropical heat; sweat trickled down my sides and soaked my shirt. The skylarks stopped singing and settled down to wait things out, the clouds had taken on livid hues and hung dead still as they mushroomed miles into the frozen air, so I could not tell if they were moving or in which way they were headed if they were. I sat watching the storm cloud, taking the increasing frequency of thunderclaps to mean diminishing distance between me and it, but after an hour, it seemed to die of its own accord. Spending itself and deflating, thankfully.

Suddenly, the swim awakened. Fish were there, you could tell - the tardy crayfish bites had dried up and though nothing moved, you could tell that something would, and very soon. Then, after ten electric minutes had passed, the cane rod jumped into life as a fish moved away with the meat, I struck but met with nothing. Twenty minutes later the carbon rod whacked over really hard and I was into a good fish at long last. The fish ploughed around powerfully and then tried to dive under the near bank. Chub, no doubt about it. It tired eventually and came to the net. It looked enormous after months of catching comparatively little fish, and I really thought it would go over the five, but despite having the head of a big chub, it was a little lean after spawning and only made four pounds six ounces. Nevertheless, it was a cracking fish for first proper chub of the season, and I was well pleased to make her acquaintance. I even indulged myself in a trophy shot, I was made so happy...

First chub of the season

After that the swim fell quiet again and so another move was in order, this time to a very shallow glide that looked interesting, with a barbel in residence perhaps? I put meat out left, and a bed of corn out right. The only bite that came, came soon and to the corn, but unfortunately it was missed, and after that there was nothing more doing.

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