Thursday 14 March 2024

Setting the Tone

Date fished 14/3/2024
8am until 2pm

A week in Dorset to visit my mum followed by a weekend in London meant I was 'free' for the last day of the river season. I had planned to fish down here last year, but never managed it. I acquired a day ticket from Taunton Angling Association and decided on a section of the river Tone. 

I drove 45 mins to the spot and parked in the cinema car park, no signs so I assumed gratis. The rain had been with me on most of the journey but it was starting to ease. I tackled up (the correct rod) in the first likely swim and cast my cheesepaste in at 8am. At 8.09 my rod shuddered and hooped around, it's been so long since I caught anything. I missed it. I cast back in and waited. 
The culprit did not return. 

Never having fished this river or stretch before, I toyed with walking it all first or fishing as I went. Of course, I ended up fishing it as I walked. Every swim looked too good to ignore. 

Constant taps in the next swim, but nothing materialised. Eventually I was at the downstream limit. A likely looking overhanging tree formed a perfect chubby raft. I dropped the bait in and sat back. Seconds passed and the rod hooped over. My first River Tone fish in the net. It had been a while, so I weighed it. 2lb 8oz. I was a happy South West Angler from the North East!!

I turned around and headed back upstream. I found a swim I didn't try the first time. It was a tight squeeze, but some quality casting and I was fishing. Again it took seconds for the chub to be on the bait. I missed four bites, until I eventually connected. Another spirited, Somerset chub. 2lb 9oz. 

The next swim had two very strange things happen. Firstly, as I entered it, I saw something that I thought I saw earlier. I was looking into this swim from about 20 metres away and I thought I saw a terrapin/ tortoise. I realised it was just an odd shaped leaf. Or was it? 

Shy for the pic, but was walking about quite happily.

I kept an eye on it whilst fishing, as they are faster than a hare, so I didn't want it sneaking up on me. My rod didn't move the whole time. As I started to wind in, there was resistance. A fish was on, but had not given any indication. Last time this happened on the Swale it was a pike. I assumed it ate the cheese paste and just sat there. 

I was wondering what it was, as I got it to the bank it was another chub. However, I was now faffing with the net and chub. Something had to give, and the chub wiggled free of the barbless hook. 

I was soon back at the first swim. I tried again and missed two bites. The second was because I did the usual trick of counting down from ten to determine when I would re cast. But this time, on one the rod hooped over. I was so surprised, I missed the bite! 

I kept trying but the rain started again. I didn't want to be soaking wet as I have to pack all the gear and head to London tomorrow morning. Two, Tone Twos and a terrapin/tortoise was enough for me! 

Saturday 9 March 2024

They come in threes

Date fished  9/3/2024

7am until 1pm

A final Tees flourish before another closed season. I do quite "like" the closed season. Time for nature to recover, replenish and rewild. I definitely think it should be regional though. Even on our little island there is substantial regional variation, so the closed should reflect that. 

Anyway, Ellis and I fished a club stretch for the final time this river season, actually I have only fished three times with Ellis since June 2023! 

Not showing the blank label

I met Ellis and we unloaded the cars. Ellis suddenly looked pale, he had forgotten something. Fortunately he found the lost item and we carried on. Nothing major, just his reels!! Not sure how he would of fished with none. 

We walked to the river, I got my ledger rod out of the bag. Suddenly I looked pale, I had forgotten something. Nothing major, just the ledger rod. I had brought a 13 ft waggler rod and ledger gear!! Not perturbed, I tackled up anyway and cast in. 

We are great at this fishing malarkey!!

No fish here, but a big fish jumped mid river, it was enough to give us five more minutes. When that was over we headed upstream. 

The John Wilson ledger rod was first to get action. As we chatted, literally mid sentence, Ellis's rod hooped over. He played the cheesepaste munching culprit to the net. A lovely chub. Not Ellis, the fish, Ellis is a slim! 

We decided to put a number on it, I guessed 3lb 2oz. It went 3lb 4oz. 

We fished on but with no more luck, we moved on. The cold wind was now joined with freezing rain, not enough to stop us. Gloves now on, we carried on. 

We found another swim.  I was downstream when Ellis caught his chub, so I went upstream this time. A few knocks on the John Wilson ledger rod. Ellis waited patiently and it happened. His rod hooped over and he was in again. This time I guessed 3lb 9oz and it was 3lb 7oz. Two cracking chub.

Ellis wanted his hatrick, so again we gave it a few more minutes, but nothing came back. Well, not to my cheesepaste. Ellis had a few more knocks. We put our location to "what three words", only the 256m accuracy though, brilliant!?!

A windy swim followed with no interest. One last swim, more out of comfort than anything else. We could sit next to eachother and have a natter. I wasn't feeling chubby, again I mean the fish not Ellis!! So, we packed up and headed home. 

My dad would always say bad luck or the like came in threes. We nearly had no reel for Ellis, I had the wrong rod. So had we had avoided the third curse? As we said our goodbyes, Ellis walked to his car door.

"Are you not taking your chair Ellis?" I asked, as I saw it still leaning against his wheel arch. 

2-1 to you Ellis!!