Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Floody Hell!

The river level has been up and down like a yo-yo in a lift over the last week or so and in the couple of sessions I've had down the river in the last week conditions have been far from perfect. The country has yet again been subjected to monsoon like proportions of wind and rain, yet I'm still chasing those big chub that I know are lurking in the Waveney somewhere. It was 2010 when I last caught a six from the river Ivel in Bedfordshire, but I know the Waveney has a reputation for big chub, the trouble is that one could pop up almost anywhere along its length and at any time, but I'm not to be deterred. I know it has to happen to me one day and I'll keep on going until it happens.

I've been waiting for the river to get back to some kind acceptable level, and have been keeping a careful eye on the conditions which saw me checking the Environment Agency website religiously every day. A small window of opportunity presented itself to me mid week and I couldn't wait to get back out on the bank, especially as the water level would be very similar to my last trip when bites came thick and fast throughout the day. With the river hopefully river fining down a touch after the flood, an overcast day, and warm air temperatures, it was about as perfect a day for chubbing as it could be.

I treated myself to some late Christmas presents which arrived this week from Lone Angler in the form of some Sausage Sizzle flavour, Sausage Sizzle Overspray,  and 8lb Bass Pro Excel line. I also received a copy of Terry Lampard's wonderful dvd 'Lampard's Way With Chub' from Martin Bowler's web site.
I first used Sausage Sizzle and other the flavours when they were originally released in 1999 under the Action Baits banner, and then ordering direct from Trefor when he ran Double T in conjunction with Tony Miles.

As I unscrewed the top off the Sausage Sizzle I inhaled a deep lungful of this pungent attractor and a million memory's came flooding back from yesteryear of my younger days spent on the bank in my pursuit of chub. It was like being reunited with an old and trusted friend and my confidence was at an all time high to have such an effective flavour back in my armoury.
Sausage Sizzle is extremely effective for flavouring spam and bread. The spray make it very easy and convenient to flavor bread crust and flake. Flavoring crust is easy - all you need to do is cut up your crust into a size to suit your hook, then place in a plastic bag, spray with sausage sizzle, seal the bag then put it in the freezer until needed. All you do then take is to take it out of the freezer the night before going fishing so it has time to thaw. Simples!

This first session saw me again on my local stretch of river and one which I have fished extensively over this years winter chubbing campaign. Bait choice for both of the sessions was Spam flavoured with Sausage Sizzle and a big ball of cheese paste, my reel loaded with new 8lb Bass Pro Excel line. Incidentally I've stepped up to 8lb line because although the river I fish is not large, nor is the average size of the chub exceptional, I have in the last few years, lost some very good sized fish in some very snag infested swims. Even 6lb Fox Soft Steel has let me down on occasion so I need more strength to bully them and haul them away as quickly as possible. I do so hate to lose fish! Hopefully the situation will now be remedied.   

The river had about a foot more water in it than last time (more than I would have liked), and so I stepped up my quiver tip to 2oz to cope with the extra flow, although the level showed no sign of decreasing. The wind was also one of cut through you to the bone. Quite how I would have coped without my modern clothing is anyone's guess! I love fishing for chub when the river is like this as they are usually hard on the feed after even a relatively short period of flood water which suits me fine. High water conditions often keep other anglers at home as they can't cope with brown, dirty water but I've fished for chub in flood water since I was a kid so it holds no fears for me because I've learned to adapt and more importantly know where to fish. It simply comes down to watercraft and knowing your river. Me and Dad had learned from our last trip out on a flooded Waveney that the deeper swims certainly seemed to hold better numbers of fish that the shallower kind when the river is in flood.

Luckily no more rain had be forecast for today so I could take confidence in knowing that I would at least stay dry for the day. Arriving in my first swim I carefully placed some cheese paste far upstream so that it would reach the bottom in the right place on the river bed. The swim had changed somewhat since I'd last been there - a large branch than spanned over the river, half in and half out of the water, was gone, but the far bank tree still looked very inviting for a bite or two. This swim has been good to me since I started fishing it with all fish from it between four and a half pounds to over five. I've since christened it the 'dog swim' because somebody always walks there dog along the far bank while I'm fishing there. I know, its strange that we anglers name swims like we do but I suppose it sounds better and easier to remember 'the old gnarled stump' or 'the big bush' swim than it does than 'that bit of river with the tree on the right, a bit of weed to the left and some deep water in front'!

Like all best laid plans this one not exactly go according to plan as I failed to get a bite in my usual banker swim yet dad on the other hand was into a fish immediately, as his cheese paste hardly had time to touch the bottom before it was chomped down by a sprightly two pound chub, proving that his location was spot on. 

The rest of the day was spent roaming from swim to swim in search of our elusive quarry. Every little bit of slack water was searched in an attempt to get at least one bite. Dad found a cracker of a swim and proceeded to have a succession of bites all of which he somehow managed to miss. Quite why this happened again in the same swim is a mystery despite altering amount of shot, length of hook length, size of hook, and size of bait used, it was no good.You can be in no doubt that Dad won't be beaten by such things and will be back there as soon as possible to have another crack at them.

I has to wait until just before midday before I got my first bite and it a right clonker as they say. The bait was cast right down the edge under a canopy of died back rosebay willow herb, with minimal shot so that the flow took the cheese paste in the lair. It can't have been more than a few minutes before I had the bite. The chub although not a big one put up a hell of a fight in the strong flow and punched far above is weight. It did exactly as I though it would and immediately tried to get me into raft of rubbish at my feet. I was glad I had a stronger line on than normal as I had no option but to apply as much pressure as I dared  to keep it from the snags under my feet. I just had to keep the rod bent and haul the thing in! I had it in the net in double quick time and was more than pleased with the fish under such conditions. At only three pounds and nine ounces it wasn't going to break any records any time soon  but at least I hadn't blanked.

Not big but very welcome from a flooded river
Up close and personal. 3lb 9oz in the net.
That was it really apart from a half hearted pull late in the afternoon which resulted in nothing more than a strike into thin air. Ah well there will always be next time. Hope your all enjoying the blog and feel free to comment or make suggestions. Guest articles and pieces are also very welcome.


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