Friday, 10 February 2012

River perching, or chubbing?

Tuesday the 7th of February

I had a list of jobs to do and the weather was particularly cold with a slight breeze that cut to the bone but I was going stir crazy and needed to get out of the house, a swift Derwent perch session was in order. I arrived at the car park to find that I was the first human visitor since Saturday with the only prints visible in the snow belonged to a fox and what I guessed was probably a hare. I made my way upstream by a couple of hundred yards to a swim that I've fished a few times over the last couple of years but which hasn't actually produced many perch for me, in fact I can only remember one. My mate Steve had a cracker at 3lb 5 which I photographed so I know it has got, or did have, potential and it certainly looks the part with a huge collection of collapsed branches making a perfect home for all sorts of fishy residents and holding back the current to provide me with a nice slack in which to drop my bait. In went just two small droppers of red maggot followed by one of worm, it was already 2.30pm and with the weather so inclement I wanted to err on the side of caution. Out went a three swan shot link with the customary snake attached and I plonked myself down on the chair which had to be positioned on a ledge that was just big enough to accept it and small enough to give me visions of a pending disaster especially as it was coated in an opaque layer of ice. Last year I was lucky enough to win a Korum chair, the one with a mesh construction which reduces weight and allows it to drain and dry quickly, up until now it had sat at home but I decided that it was due an airing and took it along. Construction, weight and deign looked very good but I soon discovered one problem peculiar to the weather conditions as the icy blast went straight through the perforations and chilled my arris to the bone, I think I will revert to my ye olde Fox version for extreme winter use!

It was a full belt and braces job clothing wise, the fingerless gloves went on within minutes and then I retrieved my snood from the rucksack and gave my neck some draught proofing, twenty minutes later the snood was converted into its balaclava mode with wooly hat pulled over too. I couldn't understand why my legs felt a bit nippy as thats one area that I usually manage to keep warm due to several layers but on answering a call of nature I actually discovered that I'd managed to come out without my trousers on! Don't worry I hadn't completely lost the plot and the essentials were covered by thermals and salopettes but the mid layer fleece bottoms were obviously still lying on the bedroom floor, damn. I just turned to head back to the swim in time to catch a passing Collie with leg half raised in the direction of my rucksack, a sharp yell persuaded it othererwise thankfully, I was starting to see the distinct potential of another one of "those" days at that point.

Just after 4.30 and I was drifting away into the world of big chub, the stretch does throw up the odd fish over 6lb's which would make me a very happy bunny and I was just thinking that I really should put some time in for them in the current cold conditions, I was so far gone that I found myself bent into a fish on auto pilot with only a brief recollection of the tip dropping back. The fight was pretty slow and lethargic and didn't feel at all perchy so it was no surprise to see a chub flashing its sides at me a couple of feet under the surface, in fact it looked a very good chub and on netting it I stood peering into the net with all sorts of thoughts going through my mind, it did look big, a pb maybe? The scales told a very different story at 4lb 13, I took it out of the sling, looked at it, re-zero'd the sling and weighed it again, still 4lb 13, it was an inncredibly chunky fish and that combined with my daydream had obviously played tricks on the mind. No complaints though it was a lovely fish on a hard day.

I stuck it out until dark was upon me with no other indications, the air carried the sound from the rush hour traffic in a way that only happens in very cold weather and reminded me of the real world as I picked my way carefully across the icy mounds littering the footpath and threatening to put me on my back. As I drove up the track a fox crossed in front of me, rather you than me mate I thought, I was off to get the fire lit.


  1. "I actually discovered that I'd managed to come out without my trousers on" - classic

  2. Keep reading, I guarantee it will get worse than that at some stage!