Date fished 11/7/2020
7am until 4pm
With a very different looking river due to the amount of rain we have had recently, Ellis and I headed back to the Swale at Morton / Scruton to target Chub and dare I say it? Barbel.
We decided on the trip on Thursday evening so Friday afternoon was spent reviewing conditions and looking at the rigs I made.
I made several new hook links with varying length hairs, I needed to group them such that I could use smaller or larger pieces of meat depending on the flow etc. Am sure there is an -ology in this somewhere? Baitlogy, Prepology or Rigology maybe?
I do enjoy the planning (fannying) before a fishing trip, it just adds to the excitement for me!
I had cut up 2 x 400g tins of chopped pork into manageable baits. It filled a 3 pint bait box, I think we had enough bait!
I had planned to use a simple link ledger again with double or treble size SSG weights, maybe a small bullet lead if conditions required.
We met and walked to the river. The swim Ellis had caught the Barbel from was still there but there was alot of extra water! Whole islands were now covered. We decided to wade through but further down, where we knew the water was slower. I went across first, the water getting to my middle and wetting the bottom of my bag. It was ok, it was only my lunch in the bottom compartment! Ellis came across and we were both safe.
We made our way to an area above where we fished last time. We could not get lower as the water was too high. I was using meat and Ellis had recently read good things about cheese as a bait. We had all the ingredients for the blogs title. I wouldn't go hungry then if my lunch was soggy!
Tackling up, I dropped my bait in the edge and waited. Within minutes a fish grabbed my bait and I struck. One nil to the fish. Next cast and I connected. A lovely chub putting up a great fight in the faster water. At 4lb 8oz and 8.01am it was the start we wanted.
Ellis then had a proper bite on the cheese (from a fish, not him personally!) which would have capped off a perfect start but sadly the fish won that battle too.
Changes of bait and position followed for the next couple of hours but unfortunately no more fish. The large shoal that were here two weeks ago must have taken advantage of relaxation to social distancing rules, they were off!!
Ellis then ventured across the stream and made it to the Island we fished from last time. It was all the encouragement I needed. We picked up the gear and waded across. The water was fast and we couldn't quite get the bait to roll down right. It was time for a drastic move. We moved away from the area completely. We waded back, but a different way. Again up to our waist and it needed some branch holding too. With even wetter lunch, we went off down stream to try our luck.
First cast in the new swim, I was straight in the tree. Second cast, also went in the tree but luckily landed in the water too. Sitting quite happily, Ellis suddenly noticed my bait. It was floating a few inches under the surface. Things were getting strange!
We moved further down stream and both had bites in our next swim choices. They didn't feel chubby though. Ellis thought trout. With no catches here we moved further down.
Putting some floating bread in the swim, we watched it go round the cycle while our combined Cordon bleu was ledgered on the bottom. Suddenly my rod shuddered and then the line was slack. I wound down the slack and the fish was still on. Then it jumped. A clear foot out the water and splashed back down. I thought it looked like a chub, big and bronze, a carp maybe. Ellis knew straight away,
"Trout" he said.
A large trout had taken my meat and was going mental in front of us. I brought it to the surface and we saw it. It was 5lb plus, as large as the Chub we caught. It's large head and deep body powering around the swim. I told Ellis to get my net as it was slightly larger. He was ready and went down to net the fish. I played it and had it on the surface a few times and we both saw how large it was. It put up a scrap, and took lime as it raced around the swim. Then it jumped again, clear of the water, shaking it's head. Sadly the barbless hook was shaken free and nearly hooked a much larger beastie, Ellis!!
It was such a shame as it would have been a fish of a lifetime, a massive Brown Trout. Spurred on, Ellis changed from cheese to meat!!
We waited but no further fish here, and no interest in the floating bread.
We then fished a few swims in leap frog. Finding a swim, sitting in it for 20 mins and if nothing moving on. We found that although the far bank looked so fishy on this stretch, that meat cast behind trees and structure on our bank worked too! A second chub taking my bait. Weighing in at 5lb 5oz it made me grin!
We tried some more swims. Looking for big bushes to tuck in behind. Casting to the middle and hoping the bait swung around, snag free, under the bush. It worked for Ellis, a fish grabbing the meat. The luck was not with Ellis today and the fish got off.
We tried some swims out of pity to the swim, if you know what I mean?
Some just didn't feel right. Our meat came back rounded, where little fish had eaten away the edges. Leaving this area we walked back towards the cars. Talking about saving the blank for Ellis, we tried near to where we waded earlier in the morning.
After telling you about the passers by/wee incident on the Tees last month, I went to a tree to have a wee. An almighty splash followed, I must have scared a huge fish. Then a cormorant flew out the water where it had been swimming at a million miles an hour. I am not sure who was more surprised, but I think I will not be weeing ever again!
With me having been snagged and straightening my hook to get back my gear, I didn't tackle back up. I sat with Ellis and prayed for one last bite. We talked to some departing anglers and of course I relayed the "one that got away" trout story. I think I will be telling that for a while.
It was time to call it a day, Ellis wound in but found he had been sat there in a snag. Trying to get the rig back his line broke.
"We'll, that's the quickest way to pack up" he exclaimed.
" You might aswell throw all your kit in the river" my reply.
Laughter followed, and on that happy note we walked away.