Sunday, 9 December 2012

Small stream chub fishing

Well what a year it has been weather wise, when you think that it couldn't possibly rain any more it comes again with a vengeance and the ground is so saturated that even a small amount of the wet stuff finds its way into the rivers in an instant. I had finally sorted myself out with a new van on Saturday and was raring to get back at those river perch but there wasn't a cat in hells chance. The rivers looked awful and every time a glimmer of hope shone in my direction another cloud drifted across and blotted it out.

I was getting seriously fed up, without my fix of angling I get tetchy and restless, something had to be done. My stillwater options were limited to two venues that I wanted to fish, one has only just returned to lake status after being joined to the Trent, the other is chocolate brown from the massive influx of water, I fancied my chances on neither. Then a thought occured to me, why not have a go on the brook that runs through my village, I had fished it a couple of time previously and for such a tiny watercourse it held some nice fish, nothing of specimen proportions but nevertheless great fun and something very different.

The brook flows through a reservoir before meandering along the fields and beside a housing estate then back out into farm land as it heads towards the nearby town. There was always a population of small rainbow trout present when we were kids, no doubt from the reservoir though I've not seen any in recent years I should imagine they are still about. There are certainly some lovely little brownies though and I caught one of a pound and a quarter a couple of years back. The same day I located a shoal of perfectly conditioned roach in a tiny pool between fast runs and took fish to almost 8oz's though a mink kept popping his head up from amongst a pile of wood on the far bank and I feared for their well being. Fishable spots are few and far between, most of it's length is fast  and turbulent and so narrow as to be jumpable in places. A conventional rod would limit those fishable spots even more due to the bankside foliage and so I dug out an ancient Silstar match picker tip rod, at only 6ft in length I could poke it in to the smallest of gaps.

My first port of call was the pool that had given me those roach previously. The approach across the fields was waterlogged and as I neared the bank the amount of debris that had been shifted in the flood was incredible. Great piles of sand had been deposited in places, obviously scoured from the stream bed, and foot thick rafts of crop stubble lay in curved banks where the water and driven it. The water was still well up and quite coloured but I still rated it as good for a roach or two. The pool in question is I would guess twenty feet across at its widest point and is formed by a bend where the full force of the flow pounding into the far bank has eroded it over the years. This has created a fish holding spot on a stretch that is so shallow for several hundred yards both up and downstream that only the smallest of trout, maybe sticklebacks and the odd bullhead could survive. With the increased flow the majority of the swim resembled a washing machine but a back eddy on the inside of the bend right under my feet looked to have potential and I flicked a few bits of bread flake down the edge before setting up the rod with a simple link ledger rig. The piece of fishable water was at the very most eight feet long by a couple of feet wide and I gradually covered the entire area over the course of a dozen or so casts without an indication from anything other than a considerable amount of debris that was being circulated in the eddy. If the roach were there I would have expected a bite quickly and I couldn't imagine anywhere else in the swim that they could be sitting until I spotted a piece of slack water tight in to the far bank, totally unfishable from my bank but certainly big enough to hold fish. I decided that it was time to move on and I hoped that the roach were still there and didn't get wiped out by the mink between my visits, I will go back for another go soon so we shall see.

The next fishable spot that I remembered was another three or four hundred yards downstream but I followed the course of the brook anyway just in case the flood had created a new area, nothing was quite fishable as yet but a couple of bits had future potential. The swim I had in mind was a U bend which sooner or later will cut through to create an oxbow. The last time I had fished it I had sat at the upstream end of the curve but the flow was too powerful on this occasion, the point where the bend began to open up was perfect though and would let me fish upstream into a nice steady run. I mashed up a slice of bread and fed it into the fast water to allow the flow to send it into the potential fish holding areas below before settling down in my little nook, possibly a spot never before fished and it isn't often you can say that is it.

I flicked the two swan shot link the required few yards and took the slack out of the line allowing the tip to find it's own curve. If the opportunity presents itself I will always choose to fish an upstream ledger, it offers much less resistance to a biting fish and the bites are normally much easier to hit. Within thirty seconds of the rig settling the method proved itself as two small taps were followed by the tip springing straight and I almost rolled over backwards as I tried to pick up the line with the tiny rod, maybe I should take the eight footer next time. With a rod designed for scratching small fish out of canals the fight from anything even half decent was always going to be fun and the chub of not much more than a pound had it hooped over double as I attempted to keep it from burying itself amongst the nearside foliage.

I would normally return the fish some distance away to save spooking any others in the swim but finding somewhere suitable would have meant a long walk so I had no choice but to slip it straight back. Mind you that didn't seem to make too much difference as after throwing in some more free offerings upstream the next cast produced an identical bite instantly. This fish ran towards me so quickly that I had to wind down before I could bend in to it right under my feet where it gave me a right old run around before I scooped it up, a bit bigger this time at pushing two pounds I suppose. I thought the chances of another bite after that were pretty slim but that wasn't going to stop me trying. I was right in my thoughts though not for the reason I had in mind as just after I had plopped the rig out the far bank collapsed with a mighty crash destroying any hope of a bite, I didn't see that coming!

I decided to call it a day at that point quite happy at having had a couple of fish and knowing that the next promising area was probably a mile distant. I squelched my way back along the hedgerow accompanied by a flock of Redwings leapfrogging ahead of me making the most of the berries and turning my thoughts to what might lie ahgead weather wise. Cold to any extreme I can cope with, so long as the rivers keep flowing and I can get to them I am confident in catching fish, rain however I have seen quite enough of for one year thank you very much.


  1. Hard but rewarding, good result.

  2. Nice one Rob. Walked that watercourse in the summer all the way from your "village" down to the confluence with the Soar and was amazed by the number of fish, even through the middle of Loughborough. Have got some spots earmarked at the bottom end......

  3. It's good fun Dave it's good to remember it isn't all about monsters sometimes.

    Village... lol! Yeah you caught me out on that one Ian, old habits die hard, we were once the largest village in the country, how that works is anyone's guess! I've not been back to look for a few years but there was a group of barbel in there at one time, five of them from memory and more towards the bottom end ;)