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The secret bait

Having decided to try my new secret bait I felt I ought to do things properly, so I arrived at the water by about 5.00pm and left myself plenty of time to get settled and bait up with loose offerings. Once again the river has changed out of all recognition from last season. Club members have been down here already, cutting paths down to the water and making various swims safe - last season you had a choice of one and if someone was in it, you might as well have gone home. Or stayed to watch them fish.

This year we're blessed and I feel a barbel is going to come out this year for me...possibly on the secret bait.

But not this night. This night was for chub and luncheon meat (which, ever the coward, I switched to after I couldn't buy a bite on the SB). It was nice Old Oak stuff that smelled lovely. I almost ate it myself.

The chub enjoyed themselves and I caught five in about five hours, between one and a half and four pounds. Didn't photograph any of them though - nor the little pike that snatched the meat as I reeled in at about 9.00pm. He gave me a good fight though, before those fangs sliced through the line and the ledger pinged up into the tree behind me.

The river looked beautiful, just beautiful.

Never the same place twice

The river is different every time you go. For a start, every fish in there must be baked - done to a turn - and ready for the plate. I know we were, even after 20 minutes, and we'd arrived at 7.00pm, keeping to the shadows, scouring the water for holes in the weed, storing up the information for later. What must it have been like during the day?

We expected things to be sluggish but it was still awfully slow. I started fishing the fast water below the overflow (pictured here) but despite finding it hard to imagine another swim that looked more fishy, didn't get a bite. From then I moved every half hour, loose feeding with meat and cheese paste and then dropping the bait into a succession of likely spots. Didn't get a bite until darkness fell and I ended up in the same swim as a couple of nights ago. Same routine too. Baited up. Cast in. A minute later, a huge rod-in-the-water tug and after a tidy little fight, another large chub was on the bank. Could have been the brother of the one I caught a few nights ago. Lovely fish.

And that was that. I moved a couple of times, returned to the fast water, got one knock and promptly put my tackle up a tree. Packing up was miserable because of the insects. I do miss smoking....

Still the kettle was fun - and particularly fiery - and my luggage arrangements ( a return to the creel and the inflatable seat) much easier on the arms. The next trip however, will be somewhere else. I feel Surrey calling...


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