Unfortunately this didn't prove to be the case but after a lot of searching things came good in the end.
On Wednesday night I pondered going fishing on Thursday but the weather wasn't looking good with strong northerly's and north easterly's planned so had decided to go on Friday instead. My body clock had other ideas though and I awoke on Thursday at 4.30am! Shame to waste such an early start so off I went.
The fishing was hard and after 7 hours without a fish or even a follow things were looking pretty grim. I still had a few hours of daylight left so went off to a different stretch ever hopeful of a change in fortune. The river was still quite high and pushing strongly through but I came across a slack behind a fallen tree and sent my lure along the bank. About half way back next to a big clump of submerged grass a good pike shot out and smashed the lure, sending a spray of water everywhere as I struck, but the hooks didn't connect! How the hell did I miss that one I thought to myself! I wandered off gutted at missing the fish but encouraged by some action at last.
On I went, fishing every suitable spot with just one follow off a scraper double to show for it. Time was getting on and I was nearing the end of the stretch when a fish smashed the lure off the surface as I went to lift it out. I struck into it and the fish thrashed around on top for a while before I could get down to her with the net. In she went first time and I could see it was a good fish. I secured the net and left her to recover while I got myself sorted... with the weigh sling wetted, scales zeroed and camera set up for a self-take I lifted her out. After such a short fight and a rest in the net she was full of beans and gave me a bit of a beating up on the mat and as I leant over her, cradled in my arms, the loose stinger hook whipped past and caught my chin which started bleeding badly. No matter, it's only blood! After unhooking her she calmed down and went on the scales which went round to 24.14lb. As luck would have it one of the bailiffs came along at the perfect time and took a few photo's...
That was it for the day but plans were in place for me to come back again the following day.
Friday started pretty much the same as Thursday. The first stretch produced nothing at all so it was back to the same stretch as the day before. As I got to the slack where I'd missed the fish I was hopeful that she might still be there, even though the river had dropped about 18", and sure enough the lure got smashed on the first cast in exactly the same spot. This time she didn't want to risk it getting away and inhaled the whole lure. On setting the hooks she went berserk and powered all around the shallow swim, kicking up clouds of mud as she went. As she went in the net she looked a lot bigger than I'd thought she was when I missed her and on the scales she went 26.04lb.. exactly the same weight as the fish from another stretch a few days earlier.
This week's not been easy with the river not quite being on form but with 4 fish caught, 2 at 26.04lb, a 24.14lb and one about 11lb it has been a great weeks fishing.