Canterbury Tales Part Eight - Another winter has passed

Wed 30 March 16


Over the winter, maintenance work was carried out my beloved stretch of the Kentish Stour, with water levels kept low and trees removed in the name of flood defence.

The mild temperatures of December decided to vanished and January was far cooler. So I continued with mainly pike fishing on still waters with just the odd quick river trip for chub. Over January I had a good few nice pike on dead baits from the mid kent fisheries, arguably one of my favourite winter venues but it was time to target a different venue on the same ticket.

In late January my good friend Liam Fagg was doing a night carp fishing on this venue, liam’s time was very limited as he works long hours as a chef and his girlfriend Claire was heavily pregnant at the time. So this was a rare opportunity to get on the bank with him. I received a call on the Friday night to say he was set up and fishing, then I was awoken by a text Saturday morning to inform me he had caught a nice carp. I text him back to congratulate him then realised it was very dark outside,I checked my watch to find he’d text me at 5.36 am,,so I sent him another text to show my appreciation! I also suggested that I’d be down to poach his carp swim for pike,an idea he welcomed, so by early next afternoon I was casting sardines into the right hand side of his swim.

Over an hour and half past before I had any action but a good take resulted in a nice pike of 16lb 8oz, then 15 minutes later I was playing a beautifully marked long fish of 21 lb 4oz, boy this stuuning croc put up one hell of a fight,it just never gave up!!, As I was unhooking the pike the other rod went off and a fish of 8lb or so joined the party,definately a memorable afternoons fishing with a good mate. Oh and before I forget, congratulations to Liam and Claire on the birth of there baby boy Leo who was born on march 1st,and more congratulations to Liam who has just landed the common carp known as swirly at a weight of 44lb 10 oz!!

The following Wednesday I went back to the same venue legering sardines again,I only had the one take that afternoon,sadly I recaptured the pike I caught at 21 lb 4oz only 4 days earlier.
Then came February and I decided it was time for some river fishing before the season end,,my chosen area to fish did not look good,nearly all the tree cover had been removed for flood defence and the level was being kept very low for maintenance work on one of the bridges in town,so I ventured much further downstream, armed with cheesepast, bread, meat,a tiny 8ft quivertip rod and a reel loaded with 4 lb line.

I chose a swim with a creaseline going away from me and link legered a piece of cheesepaste along it,,after an hour or so I had a knock,then a minute or too later the tip pulled round ,game on !!. Quickly I realised that this was no chub I was playing and that I had hooked a good barbel,,after a lengthly tug of war the fish saw my side of the argument and graced my waiting net ,a fat fish of 15lb 15 oz was my prize ,a chub of around 4lb was also landed so a happy day was had.

For the last couple of weeks of February and into the middle of march the wind was a constant north easterly,the air pressure high ,the weather sunny and the river low and clear. I managed to land a few chub to nearly 5lb on the river but in truth I didn’t fish it a lot. I had opted for an afternoons pike fishing on the river on the last Sunday of the river season.

I had one rod in the margin for pike and one out in the flow for chub. The biting north east wind was blowing straight at me which was far from comfortable. To warm me up a bit, I had a double take which resulted in a 4lb chub and a 16lb 8oz pike gracing the net and what a was a nice way to finish the river season off for 2016.

The one low point of the session was a piece of branch that attached itself to my line while playing the pike. Whilst removing this rather large obsticle from my line, I managed to cut my thumb while removing it! Whilst I was handling the pike I was wondering why the fish was bleeding so bad? then luckily enough, I realised it was me bleeding and fortunately not the fish !!

As I write ,the clocks have just gone forward and it will soon be time for tench,stalking carp etc whilst nature around me wakes up, I’ve always loved spring but more about that next time!

Tight Lines