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Darryn Stolworthy - River Season Review

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Darryn Stolworthy - River Season Review

I finally got near the Wensum in the second week of January, an after-work session with Justin. The river was still up a bit, and pushing through, but it was fishable. The first swim I dropped into was where the river widened a bit; I was fishing down the near side. I picked up a couple of fish here, both over 4lb. At least I was getting bites. I missed a couple, but after the second fish it went quiet. I moved downstream about 100yrds, where the river deepens a bit; with a couple of trees on the far bank, I thought there must be one in here somewhere, but after half an hour and a couple of recasts, nothing showed an interest, so I moved further down the river and dropped in just above a sharp bend. This was a fairly new stretch to me, although I had fished it in the past; despite looking good, I had never had a fish out of it. Well, after 10 minutes this changed, the rod pulled round and I was into a heavy fish, which pulled really hard in the flow. Once netted I could see it was my first 5 of the winter, a really long, empty fish just off 5.15. No more bites came from that swim or the next 2, but I did pick up another 5.1 right at the end of the stretch.

I was out again the following Friday after work. This was a real struggle; I’d pulled my groin at work, and walking was a real effort. I was fishing a stretch further upstream than the Monday, purely because I didn’t have to walk too far. The first swim I dropped into, the bait was barely in the water 2 minutes and around the tip went - I soon had another good chub in the net, at 5.4. I moved downstream and fished a couple more spots, but no more bites that night. January was starting to look pretty good, and I was starting to get a few good fish.

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The Saturday i had arranged to meet Justin and we were going to have a day trotting. I really am rubbish at this, and I can’t say I was looking forward to it; I really was in a lot of pain. We met at the gate, and I had to set the rod up. I eventually got it set up, after spending a while trying to thread 4lb line through a size 10 spade end (must get glasses). I hobbled to the first spot to start what I thought was going to be a blank day. I did catch a couple, both about 4lb, and I was well pleased. I called it a day after the second fish, I was about half a mile from the van, and I left Justin to it. I think he ended up with 7 fish; good skills, mate.

By the Monday I was back and pain free, so I fished after work. I had returned to the stretch I’d fished the Friday before. No action in the first 3 spots. I swung the cheese paste towards a bush on the far bank and put the rod in the rest, typically I had just reached in my bag for the flask when the rod wrenched round and sprung back. Well, at least there was something there. 10 minutes later I got a similar bite but this time I had the rod in my hand. This fish felt really good, it held in the flow for a while before I got it moving up the far margin, staying deep, nothing quick, I'd turned it just as it had gone above me, and it was looking good to make it to the net when the hook pulled out! Gutted! I sat there and had a coffee before recasting, still thinking about that lost fish. I was tempted to call it a day then but stayed put for half an hour; I did get another chance and it was another tidy fish of 5.8. Took my mind off the lost fish for a bit.

Two nights later I went right upstream to another stretch, this place usually involves a lot of walking for maybe a bite every dozen trips, but it’s been good to me in the past. Tonight was 'Bite Night' and another big chub of 5.14, over the moon with that, almost a year to the day that I had my last fish from up there despite fishing it a lot at the backend of last season, and quite a few times this season. That was it for the night. I fished half a dozen more swims but received no more action.

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After the success of the night before I was back up there again on the Thursday and Friday evenings, and all day Saturday, but apart from a roach of about 12oz on the paste the chub just weren’t interested.

The next week I had 4 evenings fishing the same stretch as the lost biggun, and I caught every night. I had 7 fish between 4.7 and 5.6 on the Monday, 5.5 and 4lb on the Tuesday, 5.9 on the Wednesday and on the Sunday a 5.10 and 5.1!

The next 3 weeks I didn’t get out much; I was working away most of it, and it was

either stupidly cold or the river was in the fields. I did a few pike trips in between on the lakes at Bawburgh, and had a few fish up to doubles.

I got back on the Wensum the last week in February; 3 fish between 4 and 4.8 on the last Saturday of the month. On the Sunday I went back up to the top stretch for a few hours and got my second bite of the season, a fish of about 2lb, they all count up there!

Time was just flying by; it was soon March, and the plan was to fish as many evenings as the weather allowed until the 14th. Well I didn’t get out until the 5th and just had the one fish of 4.6. I got out again on the 7th for a couple of hours, and had 2 fish, one small, but the other was a lovely, immaculate fish of 5.7. Two nights later I had a couple more of about 4lb apiece.

On the final Saturday Justin and myself had decided to give the upstream stretch one last go for the day. After about a 2 mile walk I settled into my first swim and received a bite straight away.... missed it by a mile! the next 3 casts I had 3 more bites and missed every one of them. I decided to change the hook to a different pattern on the 5th cast and I nailed it; not a monster, 4.8, but most welcome up there. I fished a further 16 swims that day and never had another bite.

The next evening, I was back downstream on an easier stretch and had 3, all 4lb plus up to 4.8. It rained again on the Monday night, so I didn’t get out. On the penultimate night of the season I didn’t get out until late but still got the rod bent, another 4lber.

All too soon it was the last day of the season. I’d managed to get away from work early afternoon and was down the river well before it got dark. It was carrying a bit of extra water, and a lot of the swims were underwater. The 3rd swim I fished is usually quite easy, but with the extra water I’d have to have my landing net fully extended to land anything hooked. After 20 minutes I’d had indication that fish were about and managed to get one hooked. It felt a good un too. As I was drawing quite a large chub over the net, the pole snapped clean in two. I was left with no choice; I had to haul it over the marginal weed and into what was left of my landing net. All went well, hook fell out in the net, but I still had this lovely fish of 5.13.

I took the pole back to the van and bodged it together so I could keep fishing, but never had another bite.

I’ve now got a month where I won’t be out; work and a holiday, and then it'll be tench time, and hopefully some warmer weather.

Until then, tight lines.

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