I used to hate fishing in the wind. Really hate it with a passion. Hate it so much that more than once I stepped out of the back door, realised how windy it was, then turned round and went back inside, put all my tackle away and cancelled the trip.
It was partly to do with childhood memories of Latchmoor Pond in Gerrards Cross. Those days when it was calm as a millpond and the float just sat so beautifully by the reeds or next to the lilies, when you could sneak round the back and fish the 'log' swim - where the was a huge log floating in the water. But it was also partly due to days spent on the larger expanse of Black Park lake, where it seemed that the wind always blew and floats were harder to control, especially with a seven foot rod.
These days I'm less of a sensitive flower (and I also understand that a windy day is also often a good day) and so what does it matter if the float doesn't look quite so photogenic and if you have to work a little harder to control it properly?
The walk over the cabbage field was squawly so it was hard to tell exactly which way the wind was blowing. I'd hoped to get some shelter from the wood but as it turned out, the wind ignored that and seemed to careen round it and straight upstream, thus making it - officially - my least favourite kind of wind. My first choice swim was unfishable so I switched to the cattle drink, baiting up with liquidised bread and a couple of handfuls of red maggots. I fished the pin again with 4lb line straight through to a size 16 hook and started getting bites immediately. Just little dabs at first but they soon grew in confidence and I began to catch small roach. The theory was that the bread would attract small fish which would in turn attract perch and chub and sure enough, third cast through I caught this little beauty of about 10oz.
I followed this up with half a dozen roach and at last light, another, smaller perch. I didn't see another soul and as it began to get too dark to see the float properly, I packed up. The wind never dropped (as it sometimes does at dusk) but I'm not sure it did my prospects any harm. This stretch of the river is fishing much better in Autumn than it did all Summer and I'm determined to keep up the visits. There's got to be a decent chub in here somewhere.
Rob Beattie is the author of several popular fishing books. He's also a regular contributor to Waterlog magazine.