Archive for March 16th, 2013

“Well bugger the weather, I’m going fishing no matter what” was my answer to this latest spell of heavy snow.  Sevenoaks ended up with about 8 inches (and that’s a real 8 inches not just a ‘man’s’ 8 inches, so there girls) which made the roads pretty treacherous.  This meant that my planned trip to the upper Thames on Tuesday with my good pal John Kemp had to be cancelled but we hoped to still get out to maybe the Medway. However after snow falling all day Monday and throughout that night, the roads were a nightmare Tuesday morning and we had to surrender to the conditions.

Still come Hell or high water I was going Wednesday.  Geoff hoped that if things improved, he would also come out to play.  Luckily things did improve and we headed to the small Thames tributary that we have been targeting of late.  As usual the river was quite coloured.  This seems to be the norm in winter.  The water was quite low too and we had found it seemed to fish better with a bit of water on.

It looked like there were already a few fishing.  Not surprising really as it was the penultimate day of the season.  We decided to walk from the very top section down, trying the odd swim if we fancied it.  The upper section was fairly shallow and narrow.  The whole river is pretty diminutive and very overgrown.  It certainly suits a short rod approach.  A long rod would be a pain in the proverbials here.

Its a fairly urban river too, despite running through several fields.  The urban jungle sprawls fairly close by but not close enough to see into any bedroom windows er I mean living rooms!  Mind you once you’re tucked away behind the trees you seem a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  There’s just the odd dog walker or horsey types to contend with.

The fishing was slow to say the least.  After a few exploratory trots through a swim I soon managed a few bites.  The end result was several dace and a small roach.  I tried a few of the productive spots discovered on previous visits but they only produced the odd fish.  Eventually a few slightly better sized roach came my way.  Nothing particularly big, perhaps 12-14oz.  Still they were beautifully proportioned roach nonetheless.   Bars of silver, with those oh so delicate mouths and red fins.  The roach perhaps is the perfect fish.  Wondrous to behold and the stuff of boyhood dreams (well, amongst other things!).

I moved upstream as the afternoon wore on.  I was having the sort of day where everything went wrong.  I ended up with at least two knots in the main line, which would get stuck in the top eye every trot through.  Of course when the knot got stuck in the top eye the pin would continue to spin resulting in a nice birds nest.  Then there’s the impossible hook length knot.  This forms out of nowhere and is caused by the most imperceptible of flicks.  It creates a lovely and unpickable   knot in the hook length.  Pass the packet please!  Then there was the constant snags on the bottom to contend with, resulting in numerous lost hooklengths.  Oh and the bankside jungle snagged me at every opportunity.  If I sound like I’ve got grumpy old man syndrome or a touch of whingeitis, well yes I have.  Thank God there was no one around to hear my curses.  Ah well, except for that chap that was just about to move into the swim just above me.  He didn’t see me ensconced in amongst the trees.  When I burst into a frenzied maelstrom of obscene profanities he beat a hasty retreat that’s for sure, scuttling back from whence he came.  He may well of thought it was aimed at him.  No, it was to Mother Nature for all of the things she sent my way just to cause me grief.

Anyways, I continued upstream loosing bits and pieces as I went.  As the light faded I managed to tempt a few final suicidal roach and gudgeon.  Big ones too.  The gudgeon that is.  So I ended the day with a nice dozen lovely roach.  Nothing big but wonderful to catch river roach and on the stick and pin.  Geoff had some lovely fish too however he could only muster 11, so came a poor second.  Well something had to make my day, after all of the disasters I’d had.

We have both enjoyed our time here.  We’ve caught some really superb fish.  Not monsters but tremendous sport.  I’m certain we’ll be back next winter.  Until then dear roach; adiós muchachos .

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