Wednesday June 16th, 04:30 - 21:45. LAA Stratford Upon Avon town water. 13>21>17C. Bright and sunny with light NE.
Catches on the opening day of the season rarely live up to expectations. But that’s only because expectations have had chance to breed and multiply unchecked by angling realism for three solid months. Running water memories quickly distill and by the time the 16th finally arrives your head is swimming with all manner of outlandish aims for that first morning.
On the other hand the opening day can never truly disappoint either, for we anglers have been away from the river for so long the pleasure of returning is enough in itself to entertain.
My stride towards the theatre stretch contained purpose and elation. I bid good morning with a broad smile as I passed the four other guys fishing. The sun was yet to rise and I put two zander rods out by the chain ferry. I savoured the mist on the water and eventually the suns rays cutting through it. Stratford was silent.
I had three enquiries before the day really got going but succeeded in missing all three – rustiness.
I couldn’t miss the fourth bite which was from an 8lb 14oz Pike.
As things brightened I tried for perch down the edge on red maggot. I caught just over 2lbs of them before these bites dried up too.
I moved, then moved again but the river was slow, clear and the day was bright. I couldn’t find the fish. Stratford was now humming and the river bank and grassed area looked Blackpool-esque with school parties, tourists from various nations and the heat coming up off the concrete banks. The fishing was reminiscent of the type you see on holidays abroad when the tourists stop for a while to watch the fishermen. “Gee Grace look here, this guys fishing! You after snapper buddy? I fish back home [let me tell you about it…]”.
I moved to a shady spot, drank a cold beer and fell asleep.
I awoke reinvigorated and set out for bleak on the whip. I had eight fish for eight ounces so that’s worth a fishing challenge point for me.
One of the bleak was head and shoulders above the others in size. I weighed it in a carrier bag and the scales said three ounces! At times like these I wish I had a pair of super sensitive scales. Mine read in ounce increments up to fifty pounds and although the carrier bag didn’t register when weighed on it’s own, just one ounce here is a third of the fishes weight. Given the bleak record is just four ounces it was a proper mini-specimen.
Evening advanced and I moved down to the weirs to finish the day as I started – after zander.
I had two in quick succession. The best was this fish of 5lbs 6ozs.
After this flyer I thought I could be on for a zed point too but the bites just fell away completely.
I moved again, upstream, but no more pulls resulted.
I walked back to the car sated but weary after seventeen hours on the bank.