It didn't take me long to fall asleep last night. A combination of the working week with its early starts, uneventful evening fishing trips, and Friday evening chasing monster perch all took their toll.
I had a plan for Saturday at Stratford. I would spend the morning roach fishing on the pole by the theatre and then by way of a diversion would join Pete on the weirs for an afternoon, roach fishing .
I was on the scene by nine but wasn't the first on the bank, three other anglers were already fishing. I put out a red maggot under my pole and whilst the sun was low I caught some roach. Nothing much of note though.
I droppered in liquidised bread and some maggots to avoid catching the swans attention.
By ten the sun was well up and with it my sport slowed almost to a stop in the clear water. The gents fishing upstream of me were faring considerably better fishing out mid river with a waggler into deeper water, presumably it was darker and safer for the fish out there.
As the tourist crowds continued to build I started to get 'the feeling'. It's a feeling which my mate Pete (who was now fishing down on the weirs) has trouble comprehending. It happens when I can see a fishing day going downhill and can't think of a way of turning it around...... without upping sticks and changing venue.
Pete had reported four other anglers down on the weir section, leaving little room, and so even though I fancied a move I couldn't muster enough enthusiasm for the remaining free spots. Push came to shove when the guy upstream had his roach taken by a pike and a watching crowd started to gather instantaneously. For the first time in a while Stratford was getting on my nerves.
I walked down to see Pete and have a catch up but by one o'clock I'd decamped and was fishing again at Stockton. The number of fish and size of roach I'd had here on my last visit was enough to pull me back.
I put out a cage feeder and red maggot and added some ground pellet to my bread groundbait mix. I tend not to use pellet in my bait for uneducated roach but I reasoned the fish in Stockton would have seen enough fishmeal to acquire the taste.
Bites were slow to start off with but I had a few roach in the first hour. I changed my hook a couple of times, trying to find a pattern thin enough of gauge and sharp of point to prick well when used in conjunction with the soft tip.
Amongst the roach I caught two chub (biggest ~2lbs), more than Pete was to have all day on the river.
Then out of the blue (lias) came a small rudd of 6ozs.
The wind had now dropped and I folded back the hood on my coat and could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I started furtively looking at the margins and wondering whether the carp would be moving into them yet. A sure sign things are warming.
To add to the unseasonal fishing feel a plump one pound seven ounce crucian carp followed the rudd.
|1lb 7oz Stockton Crucian.|
And then to finish off my February summer species trio I had a small mirror carp of 2lb.
Others have been catching well in our % of Record Weight Challenge this year. Here are the scores:
Now where to go tomorrow?