Date fished 28/1/2018
I will start with the result and then describe the day, 2-1 to Ellis.
Ellis and I went to Cundal on the Swale again, to see if we could avenge the New Year’s Day blank. The river had been high but was dropping down and was still heavily coloured. We had planned a different trip, but the conditions were not right so Mother Nature had us changing our plans and visiting Cundal.
I would be fishing for Pike and Chub (Barbel, secretly) and Ellis was going to have a couple of rods for Chub (Barbel, hopefully!) He was also going to be trying his new Burts on the Oxbow lake, that he had recently bought.
In preparation for the day, I had reviewed the deadbaits in the freezer, ensured the worms in the boot of my car were happy and then made cheese paste!
It was a first for me. I had never used or made cheese paste before, but read many a good article regarding its potency on cold coloured rivers for greedy chub. The paste looked good and really did tick all the boxes in the “stinky” division.
We arrived at 8am and parked in the first field again, the track was very wet and we did not want to get stuck. Immediately it was different to our last trip, there was 3 other cars! We counted about 10 of us fishing over the day, the most I have ever seen on any river trip!
We started on the Oxbow, Ellis chucking burts whilst I sat behind Lamprey on one rod and worm on the other. No fish in the Oxbow wanted to have their picture taken so we moved to the main river.
Fishing above the weir in a very likely looking area we both went after Chub and Barbel. Ellis was first off the mark with a great slip in his first swim. 1-0 to him. In terms of fishing, he had a couple cracking bites but was unable to connect to the fish, chub assumed.
We continued up the river, chatting to the anglers and trying likely looking swims. The current was strong, 5.5 ounces needed to hold bottom. Here Ellis extended his lead slipping again in a new swim. 2-0 to him.
We settled in a section that had no cover on our bank, but was thick with willows on the far bank. I was looking to present a cheese bait close to the overhanging trees, unfortunately I slipped, falling straight on my bum for 2-1, was this the come back?
As we fished here, a lot of debris came down the river, noticeably a dead sheep. What caught my eye was how close to the overhanging trees the sheep kept. I had thought the main flow would be in the centre of the river, but the sheep stayed in a near straight line directly under the trees. Is this watercraft I thought? Is this me learning where on a river the flow goes, and where the fish may be waiting for food? Or did I just bang my head?
Further up the river we met an angler who was wearing a life jacket and had a boat strap securing him to a peg in the ground. Discussing this with him, his friend had fallen in last season and been fortunate enough to be grabbed before he drifted too far or became too waterlogged. There have been several articles regarding this in Angler’s Mail recently and it certainly got us thinking about safety on these slippery banks at this time of year.
We walked most of the stretch and found some nice looking swims. Due to scaling down of the tackle, I had to make do with equipment I found or made. I found a whole packet of shot and then had to make my own rod rest, or should this be a bank stick?!
Finally settling in a couple towards the end of the day that appeared perfect. Sat on my hands, watching the river flow past, it was a great end to the day. I sat watching as my rod hooped over, the fish obviously liking my cheese paste. Unfortunately my hands did not move, my brain did not register and I watched the rod spring back to its position.
Approaching 1630 it was time to trudge back to the cars. Both delighted to be going back to work the next day! (not)
Another great day on the bank, and as I said, it was 2-1 to Ellis, now we need to decide if was I talking about bites or slips, or both?