Having struggled to find time to wet a line this week I was itching to get out on Friday and I had Derwent chub in mind though on the way I fancied dropping into a swim on the Soar that I had barbel fished in the summer which was riddled with chub including one or two that looked to be of a very good size for the river.
The Soar in this area is very narrow and shallow and a cautious approach was in order, I left the kit ten yards back from the water before sneaking up and dropping in three handfuls of liquidised bread twenty feet upstream of the holding area along a willow treeline before retreating to set the rod up. I half crawled into position in front of the tree and squeezed on a piece of flake before swinging the three swam shot rig out to the branches, the tight started to tighten up quickly in the flow and just kept on going, a fish had hit the bait instantly and I struck, which is where it all went wrong. Half into the strike the rod went with a bang, a clean break straight through the blank that left me holding a four foot length while the remaining section slid down the line towards the hooked fish briefly before there was a second crack and the line parted. There wasn't really a great deal I could do or think at that stage, mishaps happen so regularly to me that I think I half expect it nowadays and take them relatively calmly. Leaving hook and line in a fish I certainly wasn't happy about but there's consolation in the fact that chub rarely seem to have any problem whatsoever in shedding a hook so hopefully all was well on that front. I can only imagine that the rod had taken a knock at some stage and disaster was just waiting for a chance, another one on my long list of destroyed kit, the last broken rod was only a couple of months ago!
So that was me rodless, in fact even worse I couldn't actually think of a rod back at home that would do the job either, I've got heavier tip rods and lighter tip rods but nothing quite right, I rang around some local tackle shops to see if they had any of the Drennan models in that I had been considering recently but they hadn't so I did what I normally do in times of crisis and rang my old man up! After raiding his tackle for a carp feeder rod and being advised that it would be nice if I didn't break it I was back on the road, there wasn't much point in heading back to the disturbed swim so I went straight to the Derwent thinking myself lucky that I hadn't done that first else the trip to borrow a rod would have been much longer.
The plan was to start towards the upstream end of the stretch and work down and the first swim was one that I knew gave me a good chance of a bite having fished it several times last winter in extreme conditions, catching fish in temperatuires approaching minus ten degrees.
|One from last winter in temperatures way below zero|
Same routine again, in with some loose feed on the slack side of a lovely crease coming off a near bank tree before setting up the rod, with a choice of three quiver tips I had to go for the lightest which was still heavier than I would have preferred for use with a light swan shot rig. I flicked out a lump of bread flake just into the flow and let it swing back into the crease before tightening down, the tip behaved as I expected and was a bit too heavy with it proving to be difficult to put any tension in without moving the rig but it would have to do, constant small adjustments at the reel were needed to keep the tension correct. Within a couple of minutes the tip pulled smoothly and confidently round and I hooked into a fish, immediately jumping up from my chair and walking downstream to get an angle on it in case it headed for the upstream tree. The fight was steady though and it made no attempt to snag me so before long it was in the mesh and it wasn't a bad old chub at all, its always especially nice to catch one soon after a mishap I think, it certainly didn't look as big as the 4lb 13 fish from last week but the scales told a different story and made it 5lb 4oz's, very nice.
Next stop was a tricky one to fish, tree's lined the far bank and there wasn't much doubt that chub would be present but the flow belted through across most of the river at express speed and holding a bait in position would be tricky. The plan was to cast the rig into a gap in the treeline, feed out a bow of line and allow the rig to bounce downstream before settling under the branches. To reduce water pressure on the line I sat at the top of the high bank with the rod tip maybe fifteen feet above the water, likewise the weight was increased to six swan shot and the current catching bread hookbait was replaced by a lump of cheese paste. The first cast was dragged out of position almost instantly and within seconds was directly downstream of the rod tip in the main flow, no good at all, second time I got it right and watched the quiver bounce as the weight tripped the gravel before coming to a halt putting a considerable bend in the tip. There was only one form that a bite could take in that situation and the massive dropback came after five minutes or so prompting a big sweeping strike to pick up the bow before connecting with the fish. This one put up a dogged fight in the fast water but I was pretty sure that it wasn't a big fish and I was proved right as I netted a chub of maybe 3 1/2lbs at the third attempt, the net head fighting the flow more than I fought the fish.
Another half hour in that swim produced no more action and I made my way to another area that I'd not fished before but which looked the part, not long after starting I had a couple of knocks and a sharp dropback which I failed to connect with but although I gave it a while longer that was the only sign of life. A move downstream by another fifty yards or so put me in a swim that always looks the part but which I've yet to see a fish caught from, a record I failed to change. I set of on another walk down river with the intention of fishing the swim I had last weeks chub from, on the way I plopped a few samples of cheese paste into two likely looking areas with the intention of giving them a go on the way back to the van. Three quarters of an hour in the "perch" swim without the tip moving and I made my way back towards those spots but it was apparent that the warmer weather had enticed a good few anglers out and the first baited swim was now occupied. It is actually rare for me to see another angler on the stretch but all of a sudden they seemed to be arriving in droves, two more were roving the far bank and several others were now in the top field. I gave it another forty five minutes in the first spot I had baited without result and decided to call it a day.
After a lot of umming, arring and internet scouring I cut the choice of replacement rod down to a couple of Drennan series 7 models, either the Avon quiver, though I have no use for yet another avon topped rod, or the Puddle Chucker carp feeder models. Fortunately one of my local shops had some rods in stock and I was able to have a good look at them today, finally settling on the carp feeder in 11ft which comes with tips of 1.5, 2 and 3oz and has enough poke for my normal style of chubbing yet should also be perfectly adequate for my river perch fishing though I will take some white paint to those tips sometime soon and I have a 1oz tip on order. Its a shame they label it as a carp rod actually as it looks perfect for the job in hand, I'll report back when I've put it to the test, or broken it...