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The Long and Winding Road

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I had been looking forward to fishing on Saturday for quite some time. Consequently, I’d been keeping a keen eye on the weather reports. From about Wednesday onwards they promised slowly rising temperatures and no frosty nights, which was perfect for our plans to fish a small commercial not far from home. The tough, nomadic approach is not for me first time out this year, a nice comfy little pond, mmmm…

Saturday morning, 7.00am, I parted the curtains to look out of the bedroom window, Christ! Thick frost all over the car; the garden pond was frozen over; my confidence rapidly vanishing like Graham Marsden when someone asks whose round it is. (Actually I don’t know if those rumours about Graham are true but it seems a good simile!)

Micky was at the commercial by the time I got there.
“Frozen solid, Andy!” he said. We had a look; 3mm ice all over the pond. I told Micky about watching some match anglers smash through 4” of solid ice with a chain and a 20lb steel weight on ‘Tight Lines’ the other week.
“Have you got any chain?” I had to reply that I hadn’t. “A 20lb weight?” I shook my head. He looked at me with contempt.

Somebody had said that there was a lake not far away where people had been catching recently, and that it was fed by a stream which might help it in not freezing. Half an hour later we are at the side of another frozen lake, *******s! It’s 9.45 and we decide, rather rashly, to go to Blickling Hall Lake as it’s nearer the coast and might not be frozen over. We drive through Norwich and out on the Aylsham road; about three quarters of an hour later we are in the car park watching an old fella and his grandson packing up.
“We’ve been here since 8.00am, and there’s still an inch o’ ice on it!” he said. We investigate the lake. It’s solid: end to end: side to side, ******!

It’s 10.45 and we discuss either packing up or trying the free stretch of the River Wensum at Swanton Morley. I hadn’t expected to be travelling this far today, I might have to get the car serviced somewhere!

Three quarters of an hour later we made it to the riverside. It was up a couple of feet, pushing through and coloured. I’ve hardly ever fished the Wensum, which I know is a crime, but I am a river angler so I set about what I do best which is scratching about for bites to save a blank. I set up a float rod with 4lb line, size 18 barbless hook to 1¾lb line; 5BB stick float. The swim I chose had an eddy in front of me; there was a variable crease about ten feet out, and the current was backing up. Every now and then the current pushed through the whole swim, it was all very unstable. I started by loose feeding sparingly and trotting the inside of the crease. At the end of the swim the float started coming back towards me about six feet from the bank as if the tide had turned! I had been in situations like this before, usually in matches long ago, and there is a technique known as ‘Dobbling down t’edge’ which is particularly suitable. After about half an hour of exploring the swim, trickling maggots occasionally, I had allowed the float to settle about two feet from the bank in four feet of water; the line angling back from the 13’ rod towards me. The float dipped under and I struck into a decent fish that immediately took me out into the current. After a minute I managed to bring the fish in to the edge where it tried to bury itself in the grass margin. Micky had come over to help and after three attempts to knock it off with the landing net I landed a nice chub of 3lb 11oz, which was very satisfying. We packed up at 4.00pm with no further action.

It was a strange day out, very frustrating but salvaged a small result.

And it was free(apart from the three tanks of petrol!)
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  1. Sean Meeghan's Avatar
    Think yourself lucky you can fish the rivers - most of them are frozen up here. I've bought one of those big drilly thingies to go ice fishing
  2. Skoda's Avatar
    Another couple if inches of snow today! Nightime temperatures never above freezing all this week. It's becoming a bit tedious.

    Roll on spring