Friday, 21 July 2017

Blackberries and fish

The nice thing about fishing a local river is that it is not time-limited. By that I mean I don't feel that I have to spend many hours there to justify the expense. Today, was a last minute decision to grab a couple of hours on the local river. On reflection it was probably not the best time to go as it was mid afternoon.

We had been worried that there might not be any fish in the river after getting a call from a fellow angler last Sunday, who lives at the other end of the river (it is less than 3 miles long), saying he had seen a milky cloud making its way downstream. He was concerned that it might have been something nasty. Sue and I immediately set off to have a look at our end. The river was full of sediment and we could not see through it. I guess the heavy rain had caused the river to colour up. Although we could not see any fish, there was no sign of dead fish so we assumed whatever it was had not been detrimental.

We set up in our secluded spot by the willow with the fallen limb. Sue was feeding the swim with the usual peppercorn sized pellets of bread rolled in her fingers to make them sink. A few fish appeared and started feeding. Last week's fear of another chemical spill was now put to rest. Meanwhile I was fiddling about tying the rig to the flick-tip of my whip. This short 3m flick-tip whip is the prefect weapon for this small river, fishing from a very tight spot. Last time we were here I was just freelining and using a buoyant bead on the line just to give a small amount of indication - it seemed to work. This time I decided to use a small, short pole float with half the cocking weight directly under the float and the rest strung out shirt-button style down to a loop where the hooklength was attached.

I am now thinking the size 16 hook was probably too big but it was too late now, I had only bought a couple of identical rigs with me. Anyway, I cast in a couple of times with what I thought to me to be a good guess at the depth, only to watch my bait glide down the river at what looked to be mid depth. Time to do it properly and plumb the depth. Well, what a surprise, it turned out to be getting on for 2½ ft deep! It only looks to be about a foot deep. Again, another new experience for me. I have only fished in here once before and the only other time I have fished in gin-clear water was at Canterbury the other week. both times I had been mainly freelining, so no need to plumb. It looks a lot shallower than it actually is.

Slippery little dace
I managed to catch a couple of small dace, not the largest haul of the year. Then the fishing just dried up. I am not sure if we over fed the swim or frightened the fish off by returning the fish back in the swim. It may well have been just the time of the day. Whatever it was, we did not see another fish, even after we had packed up and went blackberry picking on the way home... Not bad for a couple of hours by a river in the depths of South East London!

I am very new to this river fishing lark, but it is good fun. Sue calls it "real fishing" and I think she might be right.