9am until 6pm
The day started early, really early. 1.30am the alarm went off. I was heading south. Proper South, home counties, South. Pulling away at 2am, I was heading to the Thames at Hampton Court. This was not just a silly long fishing trip, I was heading South to celebrate a 40th Birthday. Shhh, it's a surprise!
270 miles done in 4 hours, I was nearly there. Unfortunately the M25 and other such beasts lay before me. The final 48 miles then took me 3 hours! Nightmare.
Arriving later than planned, I walked to the river. The swim I fished last time was occupied, so I walked to the end and found a nice looking swim where another river flows into the main river.
I set up one rod and then I realised I had left the specially prepared ground bait in the car!! In my haste to get to the river, I left it. I didnt want to leave my gear as it was quite a walk to the car, and I didn't want to have to walk back with all the gear. Decisions, decisions. This trip was going to be sans specially prepared ground bait!!
I set up the other rod and contemplated the feeder situation. Trying to travel light, I had no micro pellets or anything. I had 6mm and 12mm Robin Red Pellets. I wet some of the 6mm and decided to use them in a feeder with a 6mm on the hook. The 12mm I would ledger with a lead and I had a few pellets in pva mesh bags tied up to give a few free offerings around the hook. It would be ok.
I used the korum bait bands for the first time. The bait is banded and the hook goes through the little bulb of plastic on the side. They are easy to use and worked well.
Soon, I was getting bites on the 6mm pellet. Striking, I was not able to hit the bites. Roach I thought, not Bream. I shortened the hooklink and carried on. Finally I connected and I brought the fish to the net. It got off!! Again. Things were not looking good.
A few mins later, the same. But this time I netted the little blighter and the Chublet (Ellis says Dace?!) Was in the net.
I had not blanked and all was good.
Next the 12mm pellet rod started to tap, thinking it must be a bigger fish, I was straight on it. A lovely Roach made it to the net, but came off. I need to practice ledgering for silver's as I tend to let the weight sink near the net, and if it's shallow and bangs on the bottom then the fish gets off. I need to sort this!!
Disappointed with missing the nice Roach, I fished on, re casting regularly to get some bait in the swim.
The heavens opened, and the brolly went up. This was proper fishing in the rain Davey!!
All the action started coming to the 6mm pellet rod, so I switched both to this with shorter hook lengths. Soon I was catching some nice Roach ( 3 in total) the chublet and then a dace. I wished I had some different baits and more gear, but then remembered this was an improtu session!
Seeing half of a worm crawling ( can you crawl with no limbs? ) sliding across the ground, I picked it up and put it on the hook. Soon that rod was knocking away. And as I thought, a perch was my reward.
The river here is very different to the others I fish. There was lots of boat traffic and 2 row boats from a nearby school. One group of eight (the boys) came to say hello as they crashed into the bank under my rods. Their teacher looked a little sheepish as the boys explained it was only their second time rowing!
As I packed up to leave, I chatted with another angler who was settling down for the evening. He commented on the water level as I relayed the groundbsit story. As I walked back to the car, nearly every swim was occupied, very different from what greated me 9 hours before.
It was a good day on the river, 6 fish caught, a few lost and plenty of bites to keep me awake. The elusive Thames Barbel evaded me, but I will be back. Maybe next time the groundbait won't stay in the car all day and I may even smile!