Friday, 24 January 2014

When it all Comes Right

Well, it's been a busy week as it has seen much less rain and with it the rivers started to drop and get somewhere near fishable conditions. With the river close season fast approaching I decided I'd make the most of it and get out as much as possible.

On Tuesday I arrived at first light and found the river still pushing through but the colour wasn't too bad so hopes were high of a fish or two. I fished down the first stretch with little to show apart from a follow off a decent double but fishing back up towards the car my lure got hammered in a swim I've never had a take from before. She was heavy in the strong flow but went in the net without too much trouble. I rested her in the net while I got my scales, camera etc ready thinking she looked about 18lb or so, so was surprised, and very happy to see the scales go to 20.01lb... Sweet!

I fished the rest of the section but with nothing doing I headed off to a different stretch. I fished down but again only had two follows from the same double. Time was now getting on a bit so I changed my lure and made my way back upriver. I had a jack from the same swim the fish had followed earlier but as I got back to the start of the swims I had a good fish hit the lure off the surface as I was about to lift it out. After trying to keep her out of the snags afforded by the high levels she went in the net first time. She was a very thickset fish and on the scales she went 20.10lb..

With the light now fading fast I walked down to the end of the stretch to give it one last go. After a few casts I was glad I did as another fish hit the lure right next to a sunken tree. With a controlled slide I got down to the water level and netted her; a nice long fish but not as bulky as some and on the scales she went 18.06lb.

I went home a happy boy and looking forward to the next day.

On arrival the water seemed to be in better condition than the day before and after fishing half a dozen swims the lure got walloped as a fish shot out from the margin. She was very lively, charging around the swim making strong runs before she went in the net. On the scales she went to 15.06lb and gave me a soaking as I let her go. On I fished but apart from a jack about 6lb that was it. I went back to my second choice stretch as the day before but struggled to find a fish. Perhaps fishing this relatively short stretch twice in two days had put too much pressure on them but I eventually landed one about 12lb.

I arrived on Thursday morning feeling a bit worn out.. knackered really! Early starts, late finishes and lots of walking was wearing me down, but this was the last chance before more rain moved in to ruin the river yet again.

I fished down the river without a sign on a fish before I got to the swim I'd lost a good fish from last week. I pitched the lure short under an overhanging tree and a nice double followed it to the edge before turning away. Next cast the same thing happened so I decided to let her rest for a few minutes and fish the rest of the swim. I made a short cast, knowing that the fish wouldn't be in the fast water in the middle and as the lure came into view in the marginal slack a fish came out of nowhere and chomped down on it. It all happened so fast all I could do was instinctively react and suddenly there was a good fish thrashing about on the surface. My thoughts went back to how I'd lost that fish last week but this time all went to plan and she went in first attempt. With a big grin I got the stuff ready before struggling to lift her out.. a nice problem to have. I got her out and scrambled up the muddy bank. She was a real beauty and on the scales she went 24.03lb..

That was it for that stretch so I'd made my mind up to go to a stretch that I rarely go to. I've fished there several times but was yet to catch anything other than jacks. I knew it held good fish as I'd seen one lying on the bottom last year. I started off in the first few swims and after a few minutes my softbait got smashed off the surface as it neared the edge. After a scrappy fight I perched myself on a clump of grass where I could reach the water with the net, where she went straight in. Another cracker and on the scales she went 21.14lb..

I couldn't believe I'd had my second brace of 20's in a few days and couldn't stop grinning. I sat down for 5 minutes letting it all sink in before moving 20 yards downstream and sending the lure back out. As it came into view another pike shot up and whacked it but it came off after a few seconds. I'd guess it was a mid double.

I carried on fishing every swim for a mile or so with just one more jack about 6lb. Time was now getting on so I made my way back intending to fish the first swims again. I stopped off in the swim where I'd caught the jack and promptly missed another jack. I got back to the first swim where I'd caught earlier and a good fish followed the lure in twice on consecutive casts but wouldn't take it. I sent the lure back out in a different direction and as it came in close a decent fish hit it but after a few seconds of it thrashing on the surface she came off. I moved along a bit and made another cast when a fish hit it. This one stayed on and was about 9 or 10lb.

I went back to the first swim and after changing my lure made a few casts. This time another good fish hit as I was bringing the lure into the edge. It looked a good double but I'm not sure if tiredness was taking it's toll because the scales settled on 24lb exactly!

What a day.. I've managed to catch three 20's in a day once before and this time it didn't really sink in either. After spending countless hours and walking countless miles searching out these big fish it all seems a bit surreal when it all comes together but one thing's for sure, these are the days, indeed weeks, that stay etched in your mind forever... I love fishing!

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