Angling Blog 6th February 2105

Fri 06 February 15


The big freeze continues to bite, so for many anglers, the only viable option for a day out is to fish the rivers, and that is where I’ve been again this week. I chose to target a stretch of the River Derwent just outside Derby which I’ve been told holds numerous chub which was my intended quarry for the day, but it didn’t go entirely to plan…

The Earl of Harrington’s Angling Club hold several miles of this extremely picturesque river, and I was at the top of the club boundary on a very cold, crisp day last week. I arrived early, threw in a few small balls of prepared breadcrumb and mash hoping to get the fish feeding, as I set about tackling up. As usual, my preferred rod is a very flexible tool from Sonik Sports which has unfortunately been discontinued, so I treat it very gently! These rods offer an Avon style tip which is easily interchangeable with a quivertip with a choice of three push in tips. I would certainly recommend a similar rod if you intend to fish running waters as it does give countless options depending on river conditions.

My attack this week would consist of one bait only; bread. One of the cheapest baits on the market, and still one of the most effective, I’d spent the previous evening liquidising a couple of loaves to give me a bucket full of crumb to pack my feeder, and by adding a bit of water, a perfect sloppy mash to hopefully get fish feeding! I chose to use a fairly big size 8 Vardis Tackle Classic Boilie hook as the wide gape holds a chunk of crust or flake very well and is easily strong enough to cope with a heavy lunge from a hooked chub as it plunges towards cover!

After resting the swim for half an hour, I cast towards a partially submerged tree which had created a deep eddy behind it; perfect chub territory! The feeder hit the river bed and promptly discharged it’s load of breadcrumb as the breadflake on the hook hung enticingly a couple of feet further downstream… what more could they want? Chub are easily spooked by repeated casting, so the second rod, similarly baited, was also gently lobbed out and left to settle. I usually change the bait every thirty minutes or so just to be sure I’ve still got something on the hook, but otherwise, it’s a waiting game…

A couple of biteless hours ensued; a move to another likely area also resulted in no action, so I had to reconsider my options. Despite the lack of fish, I had had the pleasure of the company of handsome old fox for almost ten minutes as it watched me from the opposite bank, which, as the sunlight threw up the russets and cream of its coat looked absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen such a handsome old fox (except obviously in the bathroom mirror!) and it really brightened a frustrating morning. Having wasted too much time already, I decided eventually to return the nearby River Dove, and try my luck there…

Like many anglers, I have a ‘banker’ swim and I set up in exactly the same spot as last week, hoping this time for a chub rather than the super grayling sport I had previously. Once more, the swim was quietly baited, and left to settle for a short period before a single bait was cast downstream and the tip left to tighten up. Every few minutes, a steady stream of walnut sized balls of crumb were lobbed upstream to break over the baited area and I sat back to wait for a hungry Chevin. The weather was gorgeous, a mug of tea was in hand, and I was thoroughly enjoying watching the numerous wrens, wagtails and occasional buzzard flitting around my swim; as I glanced back at the tip, I watched it nod once… then wrap around in a classic chub bite!

Lifting the rod, the fish instantly went for the cover of a midstream weedbed and everything went solid! Typical chub! A couple of seconds of steady pressure resulted in the fish kiting upstream towards yet another snag, so a little bit of effort drew the fish into mid water where I could feel it kicking purposefully. My hooklink was relatively light, so care was needed to draw the fish from downstream towards the waiting net, so a couple of minutes passed before the fish was finally in sight… another big grayling! Although not the chub I was hoping for, I have to admit I was pleased to tempt another decent grayling, this one at 1lb 12oz to add to my recent tally of quality fish. I was also surprised to remember that this particular fish had indeed taken a big lump of flake on a big hook, and after returning it safely, I was further surprised by yet more grayling and some more big trout… all on bread!

Although I didn’t achieve my aim this week, I still had a lovely day on the rivers, and at this time of year, when opportunities may be limited by ice, I have to adapt my angling accordingly. If you are champing at the bit, waiting for the big thaw, why not try something different and head for the river? I guarantee you will enjoy it!

Tight Lines

Clint Walker


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