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Them bulls

Back to the river again last night. A different stretch this time, one that the club used to have access to but which was taken away for a few seasons. I'd looked over the bridge the week before and liked the look of the wide pool downstream from the bridge. I didn't however, like the look of the bulls.

This is strange, since I don't mind the bulls in the field next to the section I normally fish. I suppose they're 'my' bulls. Anyway, I bit the bullet, negotiated the gate and hugged the edge of the field as I walked down to the river. The big black one gave me an ugly look and then turned to reveal udders. D'oh!

The pool was as nice close up as it had looked from the bridge. I tackled up with a 15' float road, centre pin, 4lb line and a small Avon float. Baited with cheese paste and off we went. The rod was long enough for me to keep the line off the water and control the float nicely so I could work it around the slack on the far side and then bring it into the edge of the current. I started getting bites straight away but my useless cheese paste kept sliding off. (Note to self: add flour).

Switching to a small cube of luncheon meat produced a fish straight away - a small chub of about half a pound. I fished on for an hour but the bites became very tentative and hard to hit, so I moved downstream to a narrower run with lilies up one end. A few bites, but nothing to speak of. Then I moved to the bridge. This is where I caught my first ever chub on legered corn, but this evening only produced a small roach. Then no other bites.

In the end I packed up at 9.30pm and made for home. If I'd had casters I think I would have cleaned up. Certainly there are as many cabbages here as elsewhere on the river so I think trotting is the way to go until later in the year when some of the growth starts to die away. But a beautiful evening anyway, and already this season is going better than last.

River running

The hottest day of the year so far - a fact not usually conducive to good fishing - and me, just happy to get out of the city. So I made cheese paste with real cheese and real bread and set off for the river. I was planning on fishing an unfamiliar stretch, newly acquired by my club.

Even at 7.00pm it was still scorching. I slogged along the uneven bank through nettles looking for a spot to try. The river was low, the banks steep but the little weir looked promising - at least for those anglers who'd brought a float rod. I only had a quiver tip, so I got back in the car and drove on to the field from where I usually fish.

Again, not a soul. Just me and the cows (and later a beautiful hot air balloon that passed right over my head). And fish. Hopefully.

I think the heat killed it. The river was stone dead all evening . There were a few splashes and some small fish were taking flies off the surface, but the bottom was thick and weedy and the cheesepaste was too sticky. I fear everything was either being covered by weed, or pulling off when I tightened up.

Still, I persevered, moving every half an hour until it was time to pack up. But rather than do that in the last swim, I walked back towards the stile to a dank looking pool just below the bridge. This is the overflow when the river's in spate and forms the narrower arm of two channels that create an island. When the water's low, nothing comes under the bridge and the shallower water downstream dries up. This leaves a small pool. And if anything's in there when the water levels drop, it stays there.

So, first cast came this little fellow. A chub, almost black on his back. A great bite, never any danger of missing it. And the evening was suddenly completely worthwhile. Actually, the balloon had already seen to that.

First casts

Given that last season was pretty much a washout for me thanks to a major knee problem, I approach this morning with some trepidation. Now there's a good word for June the 16th. I needn't have worried.

The fact that our club no longer properly observes the close season meant that instead of the lake being like Picadilly Circus, packed with excited anglers keen to re-discover their piscatorial skills after an enforced absence, it was empty. Not a soul. I parked up and limped round to the smaller of the two lakes and settled into my favourite corner swim. Tackle was as simple as could be. An old 12 foot split cane rod, centrepin reel, 4lb line, a small float, a couple of shot and a size 12. Bait - small cubes of luncheon meat. As I tackled up, I could a carp crashing around under the tree in front of me.

First cast, and I caught a small perch. Then a bream, then a roach, and then the first of five tench. My total haul included a lovely 3/4lb perch, and a nice tench, just over 2lbs. All of them were in beautiful condition, none were badly hooked - even the perch! - and all swam off in good health.

What was pleasing though was that I fished like a fisherman again, even after six months away from the water. Tangles were negotiated, I managed to cast well enough with the pin and I didn't fall over.

It was a short session - I was back in the car and going home before 9.00am - but a rewarding one. As I drove back up the field, I looked in the rear mirror for a last look at the lake and saw a hawk pinned to the sky above the trees.

This, my friends, is the real world.

A new season

Hi and welcome to my diary for the fishing season, 2005-2006. Last year I managed six fishing trips and my biggest and best fish was a one pound eel. Things can't get any worse, surely...

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