Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Spring Into Action

With out a doubt spring has well and truly arrived here in Suffolk. The birds are singing in the trees, the weather is getting warmer and the buds are starting to appear on the trees. This is without doubt one of my favorite times to be out on the bank chubbing and looking back through my records the end of the season can be one of the most rewarding with regards to fish on the bank. I think this may have something to do with slightly warmer water and air temperatures and its like the fish can sense this change in the weather, this in turn usually turns the chub onto a feeding frenzy after the cold winter. This gluttonous feeding especially if combined with a falling river level after a flood can produce tremendous sport and many's a day when a steady procession of chub have visited the landing net.

We have been out on the bank a few times in the last couple of weeks but although the fish have been feeding well its only a large number smaller chub between 2-3lb we have caught with the exception of the 5lb 1oz I caught in the last blog entry and a fish of 4lb 8oz falling to dad's rod. While the smaller chub are happy to feed the larger fish of 6lb are certainly proving hard to track down and with time running out until the end of the season it will be no easy task to catch a big one. One thing that most of the local chub anglers agree on though is that somebody must catch a real biggie before the end. From which part of the Waveney it will come from is unknown as the bigger chub in river seem very nomadic in their nature but occasionally one or two of the larger fish do become resident fish in certain stretches of river as certain time of year.

4lb 8oz for Dad
The first day session started well enough with bites a plenty and by midday we had caught a brace of smaller fish each, but mid afternoon the heavens opened and the rain came down by the bucketful. Thank goodness for our two piece suits and we were safe and dry on them to sit it out in any weather without the need and inconvenience of carrying a large and bulky brolly around. In situations like that you just have to ride the storm out and let it pass.

The second session was more of a guiding/tuition day for me and Dad as we were joined by a couple guests who came along with us for our chubbing trip, René Baptiste and his son Jordan, in order to see if we could improve their pb's and we certainly succeeded as the Waveney produced the goods. First René had a super chub of 5lb 5oz, then one of 4lb. Jordan also chipped in with a fish of 2lb 15oz. Today wasn't about me and dad catching and under our tuition both angler's caught new personal best fish. The smiles say it all really. I get my greatest pleasure helping other people to catch and its certainly something I'd like to do a little bit more of in the future. Earlier in the day I'd managed to catch a small chub of 3lb 1oz from a swim I hadn't fished before but had walked by many times in the past. It just goes to show that you should never discount a swim based purely on the way it looks. You could be missing out on some good fishing.

René Baptiste -  A Waveney of chub 5lb 5oz and a new PB
René and Jordan were great people to fish with with René having some experience of chubbing on the river Stort in Essex where is used to live nearby but this was some years ago. He certainly knew how to play the fish when he hooked one and looked like he'd never been away from the bank. Jordan on the other hand had only caught small chub in the past up to a pound but I was pretty confident that he would catch a fish bigger than that if he did get one. It took us a while but he did indeed catch one of 2lb 15oz. Not the biggest chub in the world but he was very pleased with it. During the day we discussed baits, rigs, and tackle, and as we moved to different swims, we also taught them watercraft. We explained the reasons why we fished each swim and also how and why we prepared swims by pre-baiting. I think that the day was a real eye opener for both of them and they learned a lot. It was so nice to share our experience with like minded people who were eager to learn. I'm sure we have lit a fire for chub fishing in them and come next season they will be out on the bank a lot more if possible.

The Last Hurrah!
Due to family commitments, today (the 11th of March) was mine and dad's last day out on the bank before the end of the season. The weather turned out to be lovely and the sun even came out
making the day one of the best of the year to be out on the bank. Apart from a cold northerly wind the day could almost be described as balmy. One minute you needed a coat on when fishing in the wind and the next minute you had to take it off because you were sweating!
The day started off in a pretty uneventful fashion - our first couple of swims produced not so much as a nick for me but dad had a few bites but missed them both. The morning was drawing on and despite my best efforts I couldn't get a bite, despite altering hook size, and bait, amount of shot etc. We moved downstream to some other swims in between a footbridge which passed over the river and a wooded area. This was one of those sections that we had tried many times in the past but apart from a few knocks had never caught many fish from except in the summer. Both of us cast over to far bank cover in the shape of trees overhanging the water. Before I had even had a chance to mold my cheese paste round my size six hook and cast out, I heard the whirl of dad's clutch as a chub battled for freedom in the entanglement of branches. I rushed up to bank to do the honors with the net and could see that it was a good fish from the bend in his rod. The fish was tiring but it still had some fight left in it before managed to get it safely in the net. As I went to unhook the fish for dad I could see the hook in the corner of the chubs mouth and low and behold the hook just about fell out as I touched it. I always said the old man has a pair of large round golden things in his trousers and this only went further to prove my point! After a few photographs the fish was weighed and dad was more than pleased when the dial went round to 4lb 13oz. So close to the his goal of a 5lb chub this season but no cigar.

4lb 13oz for Dad
After that fish dad deposited a few more bits of paste in the swim and then we walked further downstream. I was at this point still trying for my first bite of the day and was literally pulling my hair out wondering what I had to do to get a fish. I fished hard for the rest of the day, trying as many different spots as possible in the vain hope to just get that merest touch on the tip but it was ending up looking like I was going to blank and my confidence was waning fast. One swim which I hadn't fished since last season though looked a dead cert - a small hawthorn bush, complete with flood raft immediately after a bend. I knew from fishing this stretch for the whole of last season that the under the bush was slightly deeper than the surrounding water. Also because of the floods it might have scoured the bottom out even more making it a better swim. As I had pre baited this swim earlier in the day with half a dozen lumps of our highly effective cheese paste, I knew that if there was a chub in residence it wouldn't belong before a bite was forthcoming. In this respect I was right on the money and a couple of minutes later I was into my first fish of the day. The chub put up a great fight in the flow and initially I thought it was a big fish as it kept very low in the water. Dad came up the bank to see what all the commotion was about but by the time he had got there I had got the fish safely in the net. Quickly I got the fish out onto the bank and it was a little bigger than I thought it was and when weighed the scales went round to smack on 4lb. Not the biggest chub in the world but at least I hadn't blanked on my last day out on the bank this season and that was alright by me.

At 4lb I hadn't blanked!

We both fished hard for the rest of the day. Again I couldn't get another bite for love nor money but dad on the other hand was getting bites a plenty, the only trouble was he just couldn't connect with any of them. Well that's fishing for you eh? We next moved to a swim where dad has had some good fish from in past, especially in the summer but one that he hasn't fished much in the winter. He cast out and it couldn't have been more than a few minutes when his rod was literally dragged in. If he hadn't been near his rod and managed to grab the butt I firmly believe that was the last we would have seen of it. There was no need for dad to strike as it was clear the fish had hooked itself. Trouble was though that the fish shot upstream instead of downstream in to a tangled mass of rubbish and timber from overhanging trees on the far bank. Dad rushed downstream but the fish was well into the jungle by now and we both thought he would have to pull for a break but through gentle and steady pressure he managed to coax the fish out, taking his time and not rushing things. It worked and the fish from extracted from it lair. This fish was tired now and soon a big white cavernous mouth and pair of lips broke the surface ready to be netted by yours truly. I could tell when I went to lift the fish out it had some weight to to it and it wasn't until it was on the bank that the true scale of it was realized. Although not a long fish it was incredibly deep and thick set in almost mint condition. I was thinking it might even be a good five but once we weighed it the scales registered a weight of exactly 5lb. Dad was over the moon - he had been after a 5lb fish all winter and now he had done it on the last day we had on the bank.

Last fish of the season for Dad - a Waveney 5lber

As you can see from the shots above it was a beautiful fish and one that any anglers would love to catch.
Well that's it for this season and although this blog is primarily aimed at winter chub I will be doing a few articles in the summer based on planning for your winter campaign and a few surprise features so please watch this space. If you enjoy this blog then please feel free to comment, and don't forget to follow the blog.

Tight lines and all the best for next season. Peter Hayes.

1 comment:

  1. hi Peter Hayes, Nice Post and great information