Tuesday 5th January, 16:00 - 18:00. Upper Warks Avon. 0C on arrival 0C on departure. Snow!
We had a big dollop of snow in the midlands at lunchtime today. Everything turned white and most office workers in the surrounding area scurried for home before the road network fell into the chaos that only two inches of snow can bring. By about one o'clock it had stopped so I stuck it out at work for a bit. The BBC weather predicted another helping just after four. It came.
Despite most lakes being solid for three weeks now I had high hopes of catching a Chub from the river. My target for the session was a 9lbs 5oz bag of Chub in fact. I had an inckling from the outset that the weather might be a little tricky as the evening wore on but was dressed for the occasion and was relishing a bout of 'Extreme Chav'ing'. Lows of -4 are forecast tonight.
The river looked good. A deep winter green and about a foot up.
I could see it had been up higher. The photo below is of a small wooden bridge which spans a ditch that runs into the river on the left. Whilst the river was up it must have frozen over above the bridge. I reckon the big hole in the ice is where someone has gone to walk across the bridge, broken the ice and dropped the six inches below onto the wood. Imagine that. Whilst you were wondering where the bridge had gone as you dropped those six inches you would just have time to cack yourself!
I had intended on fishing upstream in my minds eye but after seeing the real life platform game on the bridge I gave it a miss.
I fished a 12ft Barbel rod with 2oz glass tip and centrepin reel with braid. My small feeder was stuffed with 50/50 red maggot and bread crumb and the whole lot had sat the night bathed in a good splash of Robin Red. 6lb line to a size 10 Korda curved hook loaded with three reds completed the setup.
I had to do a bit of mild hacking at the reeds in front of me in order to fish so I wasn't surprised that the first half hour was quiet. Was it Dick Walker who said Chub spook half an hour to the pound?
After about 45mins I started seeing some really slow plonks on the tip. So slow they could have been debris plinking off the hair-trigger that is braid.
One of these plinks looked slightly more meaningful than those preceding it and my strike reflex
connected with a Chub - 3lbs 1oz.
The swim took about twenty minutes to settle again but I had two more slow bites which I guffed-up.
I hit the next bite for a Chub of 3lbs 9ozs. A good scrap in the tight swim.
That made 6lbs 10ozs in total so I settled in to await the third fish which would round off my point scoring bag nicely.
The snow started at dusk. Without a light on I heard it before I saw it as it made a light hissing noise as it fell against nearby reeds.
It grew slowly to a crescendo of white which covered all that lay around me including my rod.
Spot the rod:
I gave it another half hour or so but no more bites materialised once the snow had set in.
It was great fun sitting out there in it though. Snow dampens the worlds acoustics so everything not only feels but sounds muffled. Also the snow reflects the light mud absorbs and so it's like someones messed with the night time brightness settings.
Now where did I put my rod bag?
I retired to the open fire of the pub when my fingers and toes were starting to get cold.
To be honest I'm glad to have not caught the Chub bag on the first attempt as it gives me another opportunity to go for them next week! Besides, it doesn't look like the crust on the lakes will vanish any time soon so Rudd fishing is still out for a while yet.