Monday 28th December, 11:30 - 16:00. Warks Avon on The Pluff. 4C dropping to 0C by dusk.
Christmas timber weighs heavy but my step is sprightly when there's a river at the end of the track.
I arrived before Pete and so had the first hour or two to myself. I travelled Titanium-tackle light and made my way well upstream before starting to fish. I had tackle and bait for one approach only: trundled bread.
The countryside looked magnificent with a lingering fog around until the sun was properly up. It was hard underfoot and some sheltered spots stayed white with frost all day.
The river was up by a couple of foot and the water was pushing through. It had a green tinge with about 3-4 inches visibility.
I needed a single swan shot on the line to get a good balance of tackle and bait in the pull. Because of the extra water it was a case of guiding the bait downstream along creases and glides where the I thought the Chub might be holding up.
I fished a number of spots as I worked my way down river. The routine was; arrive, look at the water and try to determine where the Chub might be. Lower the bait in and try to work the bait into the chosen spot and then slow it down to a snails pace and hope for a pull.
Despite my best efforts I didn't have a tickle. Pete arrived and I walked downstream to meet up and eat my lunch.
After the pleasantries I fished upstream of him in a swim which I consider a banker for Chub with this much water on. It has a run of Willows on the far bank and you can use the flow to carry your bait almost under them - what would be an impossible cast if fishing a static bait.
First run through and I had a pull which I missed. Second run down and the same happened but I connected this time and landed a spirited Chub.
Good god the fish felt cold!
I had a dabble in the swim upstream but to no effect.
I settled in to the 'Willows' peg for the remainder of the afternoon and had two more Chub. All came from areas parlously close to the snags on the far side and one from under the downstream raft.
The last of the three fish had a pug nose.
I missed another half dozen bites in between captures.
As the sun dropped the temperature plummeted. I packed away and went down to catch up with Pete. He hadn't had a bite but swore if it wasn't so cold he would stay and inevitably catch a 6lb Chub, 11lb Barbel and the first ever Zander to come out this far up the Avon.
So with almost no time left in our competition the final scores are:
Pete was staying over at mine so time to go out on the beer with mates and dream up next years challenge?
My Salmon fishing is now in the bag. A week on the middle Dee at the end of March. Here's hoping for a mild end to winter in the hope it will push the runners up in time for our arrival.