What a cold morning it was on the river!
The trees are becoming barer, it’s hard to believe that summer has only passed, now theres that eerie feeling and haunting look that now surrounds me. Winter is definitely on its way. As I sit for a few minutes soaking up the tranquil atmosphere, a skein of geese fly over my head and land in the next field behind me. They will do this all day, spending 20 or so minutes feeding, then flying back and forth to their pond. My dogs ears prick up, alert and wide eyed, I follow his eye line and see a young heron sitting feet away from me tucked in the reeds. This heron was to cause me much grief later on….
The plan today was to fish two rods both on the float. One on bread punch and the other using some stinky cheese paste that I made yesterday and some good old spam just in case.
The chub rod was set up over depth, approximately 3” on bottom. This particular stretch is around 13ft deep and virtually still. I’ve seen chub here on a few occasions but have never targeting them until today.
Of course my 8inch homemade Swan quills were to dictate the bites from both rods.
I moulded a nice piece of cheese paste onto a size 4 Drennan specialist hook and casted just short of the overhanging tree. As the float cocks itself up sitting proud, I wait in anticipation…
The roach were on the feed from the word go. I didn’t use any groundbait today because of this. Just a few pinches of hemp to keep them close by and that kept them trickling in to hand. There were some nice sized roach today in pristine condition.
That beautiful but annoying heron was obviously hungry. I lost count how many times he’d take off and give it his best to steal my roach each time I was reeling one in. At one point he dived right towards a roach that I was about to land. His timing was awful and got caught in the landing net. He was brave, stupid and clearly desperate for food. Luckily he managed to untangle himself then flew over to my left and landed yards from me to sulk. He started to preen himself and ruffled his feathers back into place. On the next catch I gave him a small tasty roach to eat. One gulp and it was down the shoot. He then flew off and I saw him land several 100 feet away. I was glad when he buggered off yet happy he had eaten.
With no sniff at the cheese paste I changed the hook-bait to a rough cut cube of spam. Earlier I had aired the meat so it slightly hardened. I find spam can be too soft straight out the tin and easily fall off the hook. Burying the hook into a large cube I gently recast.
Another two hours and the tip of my float still remained dry. The temperature was beginning to drop. It had been 3hrs with no indication. Just as that bubble hovering over my head was saying “I’ve blanked today” the tip shoots under at a race of knots. I could see the float beneath the water and shoot off to my right. I lift the rod and was met with a solid thud. The drag starts to release line, the rod now putting in a great bend, the thudding not stopping and my rod soaking up each knock he gives me. Heart beat at 190BPM, I manage to turn it as it try’s to head right under willow tree, several turns bringing him away from all obstacles that he wanted to bury himself in, it starts to tire, slowly it comes towards me, landing net ready, it dives back under slapping its tail and headbangs towards the reeds. He beat me, but I held the tension and patiently waited for him to come out. He soon breaks free and comes out into the open. My advantage. This time I prevent him from going any deeper or further away. Rod held high his head appears out of the water and he gently slides into the net.
I had that great feeling of satisfaction holding a fine autumn chub. Perfectly scaled in a golden brown colour and very muscled. I cut another piece of spam and buried the hook. I recast and hope for another. 10 mins later the float disappears, I strike and I’m met with another solid thud. After a really good scrap and a wet foot due to falling into a small hole whilst desperately trying to keep him away from the reed bed, a second muscular chub eventually meets my landing net.
I called it day from here on. My cheese paste failed today, or maybe those chub didn’t fancy it, who knows, but this brace of chub really made my day.
Spam wins the day! 🎣