Artful Angler

Rob Kavanagh's fishing blog


The inside line on fishing

New Season

Wednesday 16th June 2010

River Frome

A tip-off about some decent chub to be caught had me exploring a stretch that I'd never fished before to kick off this year's river fishing. A brief stroll a week before identified plenty of chubby looking swims and I returned armed with the minimum of tackle, just rod, net, bait and all the bits and pieces I needed for a couple of hours in the pockets of my waistcoat. I'd been warned that maggots would only bring bites from small trout, so took a small bag of liquidised bread with a few slices of fresh white as hookbait. A small tub of worms and a Peperami gave me alternatives to try but hunger got the better of me and I munched the Peperami before the fish got a look in!

It was a scorching hot day and I was glad to be carrying only a small amount of kit.The river was low and clear but full of character and I was sure I'd manage a bite or two.

Setting up a light quivertip with a running paternoster rig I tried several swims on my way downstream but bites were hard to come by. I had plenty of little knocks and rattles in the furthest swim but failed to connect with any fish so decided to head back upstream to try a few more spots on my way to the car. Eventually I managed to hook a fish under a small weir which led me a merry dance in the small pool. I initially thought it was a chub, but the reckless dash of the fight felt distinctly trouty and so it was as I slipped the net under a beautifully marked plump brownie of about a pound. Pleased that I'd at least caught something on the first day I wandered back to the car to head to the Frampton stretch at Wheatenhurst. Before I did so I dropped in to a nice pool by the road bridge that had a small feeder stream flowing in from the opposite bank. Bites were instant, but from trout again, and after catching four lovely fish all around the pound mark I decided to call it a day.

River Frome, Wheatenhurst

It was good to be on familiar territory as I strolled upstream through the copse to the top of the fishable stretch. The river looked spot on and I was confident of a bite or two, fishing each likely looking swim for thirty minutes or so with either float or feeder before moving on. Because it was so bright and hot I wasn't too surprised that I got no bites until I entered the cool shade of the copse where a tentative knock on the tip resulted in a nice hybrid of 3lb 5oz, in fine form but for a few spawning related injuries. It fought surprisingly well and it was a few minutes before it was ready for the net. Reasoning that where there's one there's more I plugged away for a while longer but no more bites were forthcoming, the disturbance from the fight having spooked them I suspect.

Several more swims were tried on the way back through the copse to no avail before I settled into the first swim of the stretch intending to remain there until dark. The weed made float control difficult as the light faded so out went a nice fluffy lump of breadflake on a light feeder rig, just off the edge of an overhanging tree on the far bank. Bites came as soon as the tackle hit bottom and after missing several I shortened the hooklink in an attempt to connect. The ruse worked and I was soon in to a decent fish that felt like a wet sack as I tried to draw it upstream, occasionally kicking hard and turning side-on to the steady flow. The culprit was soon revealed to be a nice bream weighing 5lb 2oz, my largest bream from the Frome to date.

Although not exactly a bagging-up session it was enjoyable to be back on the river once more, and for the first day of the season at least I hadn't blanked!

Thursday 17th June 2010

River Frome, Wheatenhurst

Returning to the Frome for a few hours in the evening I decided to stick to one swim and put a bit of bait in to try and catch a few of those bream. Using a bait dropper I introduced a mixture of hemp, pellet and a few small chunks of Peperami in a run about two-thirds of the way across between the ribbon weed. I let this area settle while I set up the rods, deciding to fish one over the feed bed and another downstream of it.

I'd had a few knocks and rattles before a couple of middle-aged chaps turned up walking along with a Canadian canoe. "You don't mind if we launch here do you?" The fact that I was fishing there and would have to move myself and my kit was obvious, so I was somewhat lost for words. I politely explained to them that the stretch was private but this was just greeted with dismissive smirks, "I've got a license" said Pugwash. Knowing full well no such license exists I told them how far the club stretch extended but this information was ignored as the rotund pirate went to look for another place to launch. "What if we can't find anywhere?" his pal Hornblower asked, "We'll go in where he is anyway," replied Pugwash. My ire was up at this and despite them brandishing their paddles in a menacing fashion I stood my ground, again politely but firmly informing them that they most certainly would not. Obviously going down the trespassing path would have no effect on their intentions so I simply told them that I'd been baiting an area and the disturbance caused by their launch would spook the fish. "Nonsense" was their only reply and I could see this deteriorating into a petty "I was here first" situation and couldn't believe the rudeness of their attitude. There was nothing I could do to stop them, the canoe paddle being second only to the cricket bat, in my opinion, as the thinking man's bludgeon of choice, so was relieved when they successfully launched from the next swim upstream.

My attitude towards canoeists has always been of the "live and let live" variety having done plenty of it myself, but these two characters did nothing to promote angler/canoeist harmony, aggressively pursuing their perceived right to take to any piece of water they like, regardless. It's not as though there's a lack of canoe friendly water in the area, quite the opposite in fact.

Somewhat annoyed by this encounter I struggled to concentrate on the fishing, but my spirits were lifted when a good bite on bread on the downstream rod resulted in a nice bream of about 4lb. A chap and his wife walking the dogs stopped to chat as I played it to the net, their interest and congratulations went someway to restore my faith in humankind, but keen to show good practice the fish was returned unweighed or photographed. I was getting occasional bites on bread but they were much less forthcoming than the night before but I was quietly optimistic as odd patches of bubbles periodically surfaced over the main baited patch. A slow bending of the tip had me thinking weed had snagged the line but as I picked up the rod it became apparent that it was a fish. A bristling and beautifully coloured perch was the culprit, having munched up the hair-rigged chunk of Peperami.

It was to be the last fish of the session, the only other chance being a good fish that charged through the weed shedding the hook as it did so, a good chub I suspect. Shortly after this excitement a pair marauding Labradors charged at me sending bait and tackle-box flying and knocking me off my bucket as they launched themselves into the river in front of me. After a good swim about they galloped out before shaking themselves dry giving me a proper soaking in the process, before running off with my bread.

I suspected I was flogging a dead horse persevering in this swim and became convinced when Pugwash and Hornblower returned as darkness fell. I called out to let them know I was still there, but was ignored so that they could splash paddles about in mock surprise at my presence and give a prolonged demonstration of how to change direction whilst causing as much disturbance as possible, right in the middle of the swim....


Rob, 08/07/2010


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