Thursday, 28 July 2011

Summer Chubbing

Hi folks,
Sorry been a way for a while, our lives were turned upside down for a while  -  and it remains to be on  on it's side as we speak, see the link below.(

I digress, a little time has been freed up to get out on the bank again, and I'm looking forward to resuming the 'The School of Fish' for all you just getting started anglers out there.... or getting back to angling anglers!

The rivers are currently very low due to the very warm dry late spring early summer.  The continuing dry spell doesn't help.  The rivers around Oxfordshire are looking murky and empty, but there are fish to be had.
Yesterday I grabbed my Drennan Series 7 Quivertip Rod, and headed out onto the Cherwell in search of chub during the afternoon, and barbel as the light faded.  I spent two hours walking upstream of a stretch on the Banbury side of Oxford.  I slowly crept up to likely looking swims, on my knees on most occassions so as not to give my presence away against the skyline.  Treading and moving as gently as possible, all the while dodging the well spread cow pats which adourned the field.  Each time I'd tear a few lumps of bread crust from the loaf I was carrying, and flick them under any overhanging trees shadowing the water - then I'd sit and watch.  Sometimes a shadow would appear from the murk, investigate from a few inches away, the drop back down, other times the shadow may get bigger, until you could see the unmistakeable form of our white mouthed friend the chub.  On one or two occassions the bread was met with a vicious attack from below, throwing a spray of water into the air.  Like a great white shark hitting a seal.  Personally I think this was a bit of overkill from Mr Chub, and on most occassions the bread remained floating, allowed to continue it's very slow journey downstream in the almost currentless water of the Cherwell.
By the time it had reached 6pm and I'd covered all the swims I'd wanted to investigate, I decided to work my way back downstream to where I'd spotted fish.
The first swim, I decided to fish, flowed slowly under an overhanging canopy of leaf filled branches.  They didn't quite touch the surface, so I planned to squish a lump of bread onto a large size 6 Kamasan Specimen Hook.  I wanted the 'bread flake' to sink very slowly under it's own weight.  I left a small amount fluffy, to ensure it sank very slowly.  Plop, the freelined bread landed right under the canopy, I watched it sink slowly out of sight, then waited.  Rod in right hand, a loop of line in my left hand.  No weight was needed due to the lack of flow.  I was still able to remain in contact (feel the resistance) with my bait on the bottom.  If this had not been possible, I'd have needed to squeeze a couple of 'shot' onto the line.  If you can't feel tension in your line, you cannot register a bite.  This means you risk deep hooking a fish, and doing it some real damage, which is the last thing you want to do.  After a minute of so a tiny bump up the line registered at my finger tips.  A kingfisher whistled it's way do stream, lighting up the dark canopy with it's electric blue back.  Another plink on the line, the thin quiver tip section began to bend round..... 'Strike!', the rod bounced, as the chub lunged into the near bank under my feet.  They always seem to do this on tiny rivers, where snags are ever present.  It's very difficult to keep a fish out from under your feet.  After a few seconds in the oxygen depleted water the fish rolled on the surface.  I slipped the net underneath and lifted my prize onto the bank.  A lovely chub, if not a little on the slim side.  This is something quite characteristic of chub this time of year.

I continued to fish the other swims and settled into a deeper run way downstream near some more overhanging trees as dusk came in.  After 20 minutes the tip bounced then moved round...... I struck.... this was not what I expected.  A bream just in excess of 5lb. 
It was 10pm and time for me to head home. 

Even though the rivers are at their Summer lows don't neglect them.  Fishing into dark could well provide the biggest (heaviest!) rewards, when the fish move out from cover to feed.
Get out and make some footprints in the morning dew on a river near you!