7am until 1.30pm
"Its bloody cold up North!" That's what I was telling myself as I planned for today's trip. I know what I will do, I thought, I will check the weather.
I am off work Wed, Thurs and Fri so my plan is to fish Wed, have a home day Thurs, fish Friday and fish one of the days at weekend. So the forecast says........
Rain Wed, Fri, Sat and Sunday
Perfect Thurs! - Typical.
I was however committed so I went to the Swale to brave the elements. I really wanted a Swale Barbel (as impossible as that sounds) before it got even colder, so I had to go back to where Ellis caught the Chap as that is my only confirmed spot, so it seemed like the logical place to start!
I set off early and was walking to the swim by 7am. I really just wanted to have a look, see if I could spot anything. Then I would be off towards another spot to sit it out for a bit, before trying a roving approach later in the day to avoid the blank. Do I sound optimistic??
I thought I would have a quick cast in a swim before I waded to the Barbel. Nothing happened in this swim, except I got snagged. First cast into open water and I was snagged. First snag. I pulled free and the hooklink broke. Not the best start.
I waded carefully over to the Island. The water was lower than before, my lunch remained dry! The river had taken a slightly different path and was lower but covering an area where Ellis and I previously stood. I looked around but saw no Barbel. I didn't fancy fishing here so moved on. It was going to be a Barbel free day me thinks!!
I ended up in an area I hadn't fished before, but I had info about it. I cast out and waited. Nothing in here either. The swim was quite snaggy and I had been warned about it. I wasn't going to fish in the snaggy bit, but I wanted to see the flow. I took off the weight and free lined my luncheon meat. I cast right in front of the bushes. A large Chub came out of the snag and swam straight at the slowly sinking bait. It got level with it, turned and retreated. No idea what it didn't like, vegetarian maybe? Spooked by the line? Anyway, it went straight back under the tree. I now knew what was in the snag. Fish! I just knew I wasn't able to catch them.
I baited a different area and cast into a deep hole. Nothing happened here either and as the wind was blowing a gale and the rain was sideways, I figured a walk would warm me up.
I set off down stream to look for other swims. I wanted snags and bushes on my side as casting to the far bank was proving difficult. I got to a likely spot and cast in. A small knock , which I missed but I knew fish were here. Next cast and it all came good. My first fish of the day. A 3lb 8oz Chub.
By now, the cows were eating breakfast, I decided I would head back to the previous swims to see if anything had moved onto the bait. On route, I waded across a sand bank to cast into a deep corner. Standing in the water, I looked down and noticed fishing line. It stood out so obviously against the gravel. No wonder the Chub turned it's nose up at the bait! I picked it all up and put in my pocket to chuck away at home. Another snag dealt with.
|It is there, I promise.|
|Clue. Look for the bit of branch|
I cast in front of the tree and let the flow take the bait to a natural stop. It was in the water a few minutes and my rod pulled round. I was into the fish, but it snagged me. I gave it some side but the hooklink snapped. I tried again, the same happened but this time the hook hold gave way. The fish were so close to the snag, they were taking the bait whilst in the shelter of the roots. I got caught several more times on the sunken branches, even when I cast away from the area, my line naturally drifted to the snag. Eventually I felt the fish would always win this battle and I moved on.
I was now back in the first swim and the rain was getting heavier. I would try in here and then head home. I sat for 20 mins and the rod didn't even twitch. I was twitchy though, I felt beaten. It was no good, I would have to go back to the snag for one more chance.
I double backed and was soon crouched by the willow. I cast well away from the tree and waited. A few minutes passed and the rod twitched, immediately I put the rod under the water and steered the fish into open water. It was out, in a matter of seconds the fish was in the net. My second Chub at 4lb 6oz.
I checked around the mouth for any other tackle, there was none. I put the fish back and it slowly swam straight back down towards the snag. As the rain persisted, I thought I would head back to my snag too.
As I started the blog commenting on the weather, I think it's fair I end on that note too. The cap has gone and it's beanie weather now, the gloves and thermal were used for the first time too.
All together now....
"There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing".