He is also a very keen angler, having come back to the sport in 1995 following a break of several years. In this regular column he will tell us about his progress as an angler – his thoughts about the sport, what he learns, the fishing trips he makes, the anguish, the humour, in fact everything he experiences as his angling career develops.
Pilgrim’s Progress – read it everyThursday!
A Tale Of Two Rivers
This week’s Pilgrim’s Progress is a continuation of last week inas much as I have continued in chub mode. Of course, a lot of thathas to do with the weather. It certainly dictates our fishing, andeven more so at this time of year. If it’s particularlyquintessentially British to take an interest in the weather, as faras the general public are concerned, then as fishermen, we must beclassed as obsessed !!!
Back to the Mease
In the first session I’m relating this week I was back on theMease. Again, I headed for the upper reaches of the river where itmeanders its way through Leicestershire. As it gets dark quite earlyat the moment I was grateful for the set up rod, because no soonerhad I baited up a couple of swims the sun had started to dip over thehorizon. While I waited for the swims to settle I moved downstream tomy Glory Hole I mentioned last week.
Dropping a few offerings of bread flake into the swim, I gentlylowered my baited hook into the water and allowed the very gentlecurrent to swing the lead under the overhanging branches. It’susually not more than a few seconds before I get a violent bend inthe rod and I’m into a nice chub. But on this occasion I sat therefor what seemed like ages before the rod tip began to twitch.
Striking at the appropriate time I connected with a decent chubthat did its very best to evade capture. But fishing with my usual 4lb line I was able to apply enough pressure to eventually slip thenet under a nice looking fish. Weighing in at 3 lb 4 oz, this wasmore like it. Certainly, the lower sections of the river, as it flowsthrough Staffordshire to join the Trent, produce the bigger fish, butI enjoy the serenity of the area I’m currently targeting.
yet very effective for chub
The whole area to myself
After the disturbance caused by landing the fish it was time tomove back upstream to my baited swims. One of the advantages offishing my current target stretch on the Mease is that I have thewhole area to myself. Although there’s not much that one can do aboutit, of course, it is frustrating to bait up a swim, then to findsomeone else fishing it while you return to it later in the session.
The rest of the time on the Mease saw a lot of bites, but only twofish made it to the landing net stage. Both put up a good fight (therecent spell of cold weather seems to have brought the fish on), thebiggest weighing in at 2-15-0. All three fish fell to bread, whichif I was in ‘desert island’ type scenario, (ie, if there was only onebait I could use for chub which would it be), then this would be theone I would go for every time.
The Upper Severn – eventually!
For my next trick, sorry, trip (I’m sounding like Paul Danielshere) I decided to have a bash at the Upper Severn chub. I’verecently ‘discovered’ a nice looking stretch on the English / Welshborder that hopefully will be productive over the next few months. AsI hadn’t been there before, I set off mid-morning to give myselfplenty of time to find the water. There’s nothing worse than drivingaround, racing against the clock, which so often happens when one istrying to track down a new venue.
On this occasion I found the general area without any problem, butcouldn’t locate the specific stretch. I did find it eventuallythough, but I ask the question, ‘Why do angling clubs produce some ofthe most difficult to follow maps and directions?’ Some clubs that Ibelong to actually have misleading information. I remember on onetrip to the River Lugg, taking literally an hour to work through thedirections even though I was in the immediate area.
This trip was almost as bad, but not quite. I did drive throughthe local village a number of times though. I later worked out, asthe road runs close to the area I fished, that the ratio of cars perhour passing through the village is about one. Which means I probablycaused panic with the local community, thinking congestion was aboutto take them over. Some poor Parish Councillor is probably beinginundated with telephone calls right now, demanding a by-pass. Don’tworry folks, it was just me. I know where I’m going next time.
Waterproof walking boots – not!
The stretch I had decided to fish was accessible by walking acrossa field of deep, wet grass. Realisation number one – my waterproofwalking boots aren’t as waterproof as I would like them to be. By thetime I made the river bank, my feet were soaking wet. I do notexaggerate if I say they couldn’t be more wet if I had walked throughthe river.
Putting my wet feet to the back of my mind, I started to bait upthree swims. I had already passed over the river at Bridgnorth andMontford, so I knew it was in good condition. In fact, I was reallyconfident, and felt that I would definitely catch a nice chub or two.However, things don’t always go to plan, and I failed to land a fish.Actually, I never even had so much as a twitch. That’s fishing! Theriver looked good, I had chosen three nice swims that I flittedbetween, I was confident with my tactics and so on. But the fish justweren’t having it. Simple as that, really.
Still, I enjoyed the session all the same. Only an angler couldunderstand how staring at a still rod tip for eight hours can beclassed as enjoyable. As we all know, it’s the anticipation, thatelement of the unknown, not knowing when (or if!) the rod will slam round, indicating a fish has taken the bait. But my enjoyment leveldid start to wane as it got dark. The fairly mild day gave way to afrosty night. And by now I didn’t have toes anymore, but ten iciclesattached to the end of my feet.
and time to defrost those toes
By the time I packed up and walked back across the wet grass, Ifelt like Scott of the Antarctic, trudging through the cold, harshenvironment I was in. Driving home, I hit the repeat button on the CDplayer as ‘Just a little misunderstanding’ by The Contours warmed myinside bits, while the heater on full blast did its best to warm myoutside bits, especially the stalactites that needed de-frostingurgently.
However, my tootsies stayed frozen, and it was only when I gothome and put them on the fire (well, not quite, but you get my drift)that I started to return to the land of the living. But a shortmemory have I, because no sooner have I showered and changed, I’mplanning my next trip. My wife thinks I am mad. Maybe she has apoint.
I’ll be back next Thursday with ‘Bans,Bailiffs, Rules and Regulations’. Join me as I take a look atsome of the restrictions that are placed on our fishing – somesensible, some indifferent, and some downright bizarre. Check outPilgrim’s Progress and make your own mind up which is which. See younext week.