Friday 24 March 2023

The end of all that for now

Time running out...  The penultimate weekend’s plans had to change but that’s life…  Saturday afternoon would do nicely, perhaps my last chance to try for an unknown Chub?  The afternoon was grey and gloomy with a cool breeze from the north.  Today I found myself at the far end of the stretch, startling a Rabbit in the process and found myself a spot as close to the old mill as I could get without feeling like I was in someone’s garden.  I began with smelly groundbait in an open end feeder and bread flake on a 12, swinging the lot a little way downstream towards the trailing fronds of a weeping willow.  It was an idyllic looking spot but nobody had told the fish, still it was a nice place to sit and the squirrel in the willow kept me amused.  I gave it an hour and a bit then went for a wander.

Peering from a spot a little way downstream I could see I was fishing in shallower water than I’d thought and I immediately lost confidence.  Further downstream it looked better but almost certainly out of bounds.  I collected my gear then slowly made my way upstream, emerging from scrub I spooked three Deer who cantered off then stopped at a safe distance to give me the glare.  I walked past a shallow run narrowed by reed stalks then settled on a deeper area, swinging my feeder along the near bank and close to an overhanging branch.  For this cast I’d switched to a redworm tipped with a fake red maggot and bloody hell, would you believe it I actually had a bite!  The tip twitched, plucked and then pulled round, it was unmissable but I managed it anyway…  Still this gave me hope and I fished on with renewed concentration broken only by an Egret swooping low, A Wren landing within touching distance and pretty much anything else that caught my eye.  Worm didn’t produce any more bites nor did flake but this at least kept going missing. As the light faded a couple of fish topped, probably Roach so maybe I should come back with maggots?  If I get the time…

A week later I was back with maggots…  It was a daft afternoon to be fishing because the wind was ridiculous, so ridiculous I’d cancelled a trip to Norfolk because it definitely wasn’t boat fishing weather.  The day was mild and bright, in fact it would have been a glorious March day if not for the frequent gusts of gale force wind.  The creaking tree beside me had me looking skywards with trepidation from time to time.  I managed to set up so the quiver tip wasn’t too badly affected by the blow and yes maggots did bring me frequent bites, more plucks and rattles but fish for sure but I couldn’t hit any of them.  I fished for a couple of hours but the wind wouldn’t allow me to feel settled.  Another blank on my local river brought my season here to and end but despite catching the best part of bugger all I’ve enjoyed myself, especially on these rarely trodden banks.  I need to do a bit more recon next summer if I’m going to winkle something out of here in future.


I had planned to spend a bit of time in Norfolk before the season ended but life and weather intervened and I ended up just getting out on the fourteenth.  A long day was spent being bounced around by the waves but the place is gorgeous and perseverance saw a couple of fish in the boat.  These Pike certainly didn’t look like they’d spawned yet, March is always a funny old time to fish up here, usually it’s a bloody struggle but you never know.  I know the traditionalists say I should pack in the Piking now but I had a good excuse for one last go.

Half five is a stupid time to get out of your bed especially on your birthday but fuck it, I was awake and was going fishing.  One last go for the Pike this season, I’m done now, time to do something else for a few months…  I slowly breakfasted, filled the flask and got the bits and pieces ready then it was wacky races on the A14 for a while, heading in the direction of a very private stillwater.  Off the A road I’m soon in the countryside, a Buzzard flapped lazily from its perch on a fence post, they really are big creatures up close.

By 0700 I was comfortably fishing with three static deadbaits, mackerel and herring spread about the swim, the rods were out in no time.  The morning was grey and gloomy with light rain on a southerly wind.  The weather always seems to be damp when I fish here, I don’t think I’ve been able to leave the brolly at home this season and it took me a while to get it just right.  The first take came on legered herring after half an hour, a small fish headshaking sending tremors along the line but it dropped off.  I don’t like losing any regardless of size.  A Barn owl swooped close by and Skylarks were singing up high, a Wren used my rod for a perch and Swans looked like they were pairing up,  Spring is almost here.

Another hour passed before another Pike made an appearance, a fish of around six pounds on Herring then I had a long wait, sat under the brolly sipping tea and phone chat with a mate out west.  Just before 1000 something picked up a mackerel and I had another fish of similar size to the first.  I gave it a while longer here but when the rain eased I took the opportunity to move along a couple of swims.  With the gear shifted I flicked a mackerel out close to a tree on my right and this was on the move within seconds.  The bend stayed in the rod a little longer and the fish had a good go but was soon in the net, the biggest of the day but not quite double figures.  I’d just got settled when a herring to the left was picked up and I had to be on it quickly to keep it away from another overhang but no problems and the fourth but smallest Pike of the day was soon in the net. 

Then it went quiet again and I let the last couple of hours of my Pike season drift by without further action.  I tried the lure rod for a while between the showers but didn’t get so much as a pluck.  By 1330 I’d had enough and slowly packed up, before I left I chucked in all my left over bait, give the Pike a free feed.  So that’s that, a memorable Pike season came to an end and this very happy angler will soon be looking to catch something from saltwater once again.