The Christmas shopping has now ended for another year. All that’s left now is to hunt and stalk our Christmas dinner. It’s tradition in my family to provide venison that has been stalked, killed and prepared for the table. This year has been a tough one for me. I was involved in car crash last December. Since then I’ve had lots of physiotherapy and assessments and I’m remaining positive, fighting to get back to full fitness.
Will I be up for the task, to keep the family tradition alive and bring home a plump tasty deer? We shall see…
Today was the coldest it’s been down south at 0c. There was a sharp crisp chill in the air. The gritters were out in numbers spreading salt turning the tarmac to a tinge of orange. Winter is really here. As my wife drives us home, I had this urge of visiting a stretch of river that particular screams chub. Whilst in the car, I calculated the time to get back home, have something to eat, get changed, and head to the waters edge. If my estimate was right I should arrive at approximately 15:00hrs leaving me a little time to maybe bank a chub.
I crouched down, and slowly tip toed to the bank trying not to step on the driest twig. To my left on the opposite bank was a very large overhanging willow tree. I tore off a piece of bread flake and pinched it onto the size 6 hook. A gentle underarm cast towards the tree. The three swan shots hit the water slowly sinking the bread flake. The quiver tip puts in a slight curve and settles. It’s 15:15hrs, I wasn’t far out with my estimations. It’s cold, very cold, I push my hat down as far it can go to cover my ears and neck, then raise my snood to cover 90% of my face. I looked like a ninja, but a ninja with a fishing rod, a loaf of cheap bread, a bucket to sit on, and covered from head to toe in dark green clothing.
I didn’t wait long. The quiver tip smacked around at a rate of knots and I’m into my first fish. This bugger was determined to lose me in the reeds, to be honest the swim was very snaggy, but if you want chub then snaggy swims it is. After two attempts to break free I eventually landed him. A fine conditioned river chub too.
I had enough time to look for another swim. I walked 100yrds or so to a narrow bend. Again I casted a large piece of bread flake and rested the rod. Whilst rubbing my hands together to form some form of heat, a pair of pheasants on the opposite bank were going up to roost. The hen bird took the highest position where the thorns were the thickest. Once she settled and snuggled in, she was not to be seen. The cock bird however chose the lower position. He took a while to settle, calling his hen “COCK COCK, COCK COCK!” but she wasn’t to move any nearer to him.
A quick tap on the quiver tip, shortly followed by a wrap around and I’m me into another fish. This one felt better and was not stopping for anyone. His escape route was to take me downstream and around the bend to another fallen tree and dart into cover. Keeping my rod low and applying pressure soon got him to change his mind. Now with a new direction in mind he heads upstream. I could just about see my line on the surface of the water, zig zagging as he desperately tried to find another piece of cover to dive into. The more line I put back onto my reel, the closer he was getting. Landing net ready, I managed to position it in the direction he was heading for, the nearest margin to my left. Holding my rod high over my right shoulder, his head appears at the surface of the water. I turn him towards me and he greats me with a huge tail splash. Seeing those huge rubbery lips and his large mouth wide open, I guide him into the net.
It will soon be dark, the pheasant is still there, COCK COCK! I video him as he tries to settle for the night. Maybe he was applauding me!
Two takes and two lovely muscular river chub banked. What else would one be doing on such a cold afternoon, who will torture themselves in cold conditions for a couple of fish? I do 👍
We do it for love 🎣
Here is a little clip of the roosting pheasants. The footage may appear grainy.