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On Tough Times & Staying Positive

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On Tough Times & Staying Positive

After the last blog, my mind started to stray towards the chub fishing, but with the rivers being so low and clear, I was a little reluctant to give the Wensum a go. I had a couple of day sessions for pike over two weekends with not much luck, so, not catching much, I decided to give the chub a go for an evening.

I had a ball of cheese paste left over from the previous winter campaign, so off I trotted one evening after work to a local stretch to try and get a bite or two. On arrival I found the Wensum looking very out of sorts, with the levels being as low as I have ever seen them. I tried to remember where the deeper swims were, and hoped that the chub were in these areas. After not getting a bite in my first few swims, I then tried a couple of swims which don’t normal produce fish, but funny enough, I had a bite straight away, and landed my first chub of the winter; a modest fish in the 4lb bracket to open the winter campaign. Meanwhile, at work I was still lure fishing for perch and had a rather interesting session.

One evening after work I had about 15 mins before it got too dark for the perch; I stopped off at the van, got out the jig rod, and went to a spot not far from the van. I started by using the Ned rig and within a couple of casts I had a hit and hooked into something good.

It was a hard fight and after a few seconds up popped a good sized perch; it looked a big two pounder. I landed it safely, but when I came to unhook the fish I discovered that the hook had come out of the side of the fish's mouth and caught in the net, so for a couple of seconds I tried to get the hook out of the net but, just as I got the hook out of the net, the fish jumped about and, you guessed it, the hook went straight into my finger! So I was in a pickle as the hook was still out of the side of the fish's mouth and into my finger. So I knelt there, attached to a big perch and not knowing what to do next.

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After a few seconds of panicking I remembered I had my cutters in my pike bag so I quickly cut the line, cuddled the perch to my van, and quickly cut the hook so I could release the fish alive and well. As I was more worried about getting the fish back okay, I forgot to take a picture of the perch but I did of the finger after I pushed the hook point back through the skin, and then carried on fishing, just in case there was another big perch about, but to no avail, as the other perch had probably told the other fish about its alien abduction.

I did manage another two pound plus fish the next day, but with the weather going cold again the fish shut up and I struggled to catch much at all. Back to the after work sessions and the chub fishing.

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I had to make some more cheese paste so I spent one Sunday evening knocking up a new batch. This year I was going to make double the amount I normally do, as I normally run out, so with two blocks of shortcrust pastries and about half a kg of mature short dated Stilton, one white loaf with the crusts cut off and blended, and a stick of crayfish bioedge bait, I started to mix the smelly mixture together and after about an hour, which was mostly cleaning up, it was ready. I left one ball out so it could start to go off and put the rest of the balls in my bait freezer ready for the coming months.

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The next session I blanked as I had otters playing along the stretch I was fishing, so I packed up and went home. It happened the same on the next trip, so I planned to try somewhere else the next evening and the otters were there too, so me and Darryn walked well down stream of them and had another go and straight away Darryn was into a chub, and then another, and after a swim change I had one then another one too. So after a frustrating start it all came good.

My next session was with a good friend on his boat on the broads after pike. I met up with him at lunch time so that we could catch the last few hours of daylight and fish just into dark. We managed to try a couple of spots first then motored back to a spot we had found on the way through for last light. Just after the baits went out we had a visit from Mr Otter which didn’t help matters, and after another hour or so it started to rain, so we packed up with our tails between our legs and headed back, which was fun in the pitch black and the heavy rain, but at least we had a laugh.

Next up was an evening session on the river, which started off very slow, as the fish didn’t seem to be where they were in previous years, but whether that was due to the low river conditions or the otter activity I wasn’t sure. After a couple of swim changes I had my first bite and it resulted in a chub of around three and a half pounds, which was very welcome. On the next cast in the same area I had another bite and landed a much bigger fish; on the scales it went 5lb 1oz. Things were looking up finally after a very slow start to the chubbing this winter.

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After that session we had some much needed rain for a couple of days which even with some of it being snow and sleet,the rivers really did need it and I was hoping the fishing would improve. After the rain had gone in I left it for a few days to settle down and hopefully get rid of the last of the weed that had been holding on.

A day session at the weekend with good friend Darryn saw us make our way to the river after chub again and we were welcomed by a high and coloured river which we were excited about in the hope of improved sport over the next few weeks and to the end of the season. The day started with us walking to a tough stretch, but we could only make it along a little bit of it, as we only had field boots on, so we made the decision to try another stretch we hadn’t fished for a few years. On arrival we walked to the top of the stretch and started fishing. Darryn was in to a fish quickly which gave us hope of a few fish for the rest of the day. After leap frogging our way down the river Darryn had another chub and this one was a bit bigger at around 4lb, as it was as I was passing him, so I took a quick picture of this prize then he returned it then we both moved to the next swim.

After another couple of swims I came across a good looking area with over hanging bushes and trees, but with the water being high, it was difficult to get close enough to fish it properly. I thought I would give it a go and see, and after a couple of motionless minutes I had a thumping bite which was followed by a hard fight and luckily the fish popped up in front of me and glided through a space in the bank side vegetation straight into the net. This fish looked a good size, and at just over 5lb, I was very pleased with it. We called it a day after that as Darryn had caught another fish from further down the stretch. We planned to go the next evening as we were hoping the river would be fining down and would be spot on for some more action, but how wrong we were. Yes the river was fining down and the colour was dropping out, but the river was full of rubbish flowing through. I did manage a small chub of around a pound but we gave up after dragging in loads of weed.

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The next day I had a day off work as I was planning to go on the river again, so I decided to try another stretch and hope the weed had cleared. I got to the river a little late, at around 8am, but with the sun rising and the mist coming off the water it looked stunning. I sat myself in a hot swim, decided to give it an hour and see what happened before moving along the stretch. After a hour things were back to being very slow and getting no indication.

The final throw of the dice in that swim, I pulled off a big piece of bread flake and put it over to the far side in a slack just off the flow to see if they sitting there. As the flow was still pushing through quickly I held the rod up high for a few minutes and as I was getting ready to reel in I felt a tap on the tip then another, so there was something over there!

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Then bang, the rod hopped over and I was connected to a hard fighting chub which felt great in the flow. After a good fight it was in the net. It looked a big 4lb so I thought I’d weigh it just to see and the digi scales settled on 5lb.1oz again. It was a great start to the day but as I moved into different swims things went back to being slow and I had no more action for the rest of the day, which was very frustrating, but being outside on a cold crisp day was still better than being at work.

With the Christmas break coming up I can safely say I will be getting out on the bank at some point; I’m not sure yet what I’m fishing for but I’m sure I’ll be trying to catch up with some of them Wensum chub and hopefully a few pike and perch. So till the next blog, I hope you all have a great Christmas and a happy new year and I hope your sacks are full of fishing gear and you break your PBs in 2018. Enjoy your fishing, tight lines.

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