Canterbury Tales Part Three

Thu 27 November 14


Mother Nature is a cow!

Well as you might have all notices, the last couples of months has thrown most types of the winter weather delights at us, severe storms, leading to floods, snow then the thaw leading to more floods and whilst all of this was going on, it was bloody freezing as well, this has made the fishing for most of us a bit varied to say the least. From a few days before Christmas until into the New Year it has done nothing but rain constantly. Not a day has gone past were we haven’t had a least one down pour, meaning the river levels were constantly high, the water was belting through and chocolate brown in colour, which meant one thing, it was time to hunt the barbel.
The debris being flushed through in these extreme conditions meant all I could do was fish sometimes as little as 3 feet from the bank with a backlead was the only way to present a bait, as dead weed, watercress, branches etc made there seasonal journey downstream entangling on anything it could whilst taking this necessary journey. I concentrated on a couple of likely looking spots were I could either place my rig behind a natural obstructions or by dropping a backlead immediately behind a piece of riverbank that jutted out by a few inches, anything that would allow me to present my rig without any risk of getting weeded up!

I ventured out and fished a few times over the holiday period, even catching a Christmas day barbel, which I decorated for the picture (yes I know sad!). I then decided to plan my next barbel trip on New Years day as I knew this was going to be the last chance for a session for a while. Fortunately the gods of all things barbel decided to introduce me to my old friend again the Humpy Back, which turned out to be my first fish of the New Year and she weighed 13lb 5oz. As I’ve stated in a previous article, she’s a very nomadic creature and seems to follow me about but it’s always good to see her again!!

After the weather settled down a lot, clear cooler days and cold nights followed the mayhem of December. The river fined down and the levels dropped back to normal levels again, so it was time for me to consider the option of hunting some of the rivers predation. The pike fishing on the river has been good to me this winter and I upped my PB to 20lb 8oz in January. I had a few other fish to double figures from various spots along the stretch with most of the fish falling to sardines. Then in the second half of January the snow came!! I did a bit of pike fishing in the snow, although I didn’t catch anything big, I had a few pike whilst the white stuff was on the ground!

In early February the thaw came with a very brief spell of milder weather thrown in for good measure, the river accordingly swelled with the snowmelt but is now back low and clear, with the weather returning to cold with daytime maximums of 5c on a good day and night time frosts are the norm at the moment so along with the odd pike session I’ve been out with the maggot feeder after chub or anything else that wants to take a maggot. It’s been nice to catch a few reasonable dace and although I’ve had no monster chub I did have one worthy of a mention at 5lb 3oz, and I don’t think I’ve ever caught one with such a broad back of fat feeling belly. To be totally honest it looked the wrong size for its tail!

Anyway with just a month of river season left when and where I fish and what I fish for is dependant on the weather, changeable and unpredictable as it is. I’m hoping to have a few hours trotting the stick to wind things down but the strong north and east winds have put that plan to bed so far but hopefully a window of opportunity will arrive before mid march.

Tight Lines

Iain McDonald



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