December 2016

It’s been difficult to get out on the bank this month which is not unusual at this time of year.

I have however managed three short sessions on the river which have been very enjoyable.

The Blackwater was again the choice as is often the case in the winter and when time is short.

Taking the float rod and pin out on the first two occasions was great and it always produces the goods with simple maggot tactics and occasional bread flake.

Winter Roach are always welcome
Winter Roach are always welcome

As the Christmas celebrations passed I found myself with some spare time and spent them on the river trying out my new fishing rod, a Drennan 1.25 Specialist Avon Quiver, with a couple of Chub obliging.

I was impressed with the rod which is a shorter 11 foot model especially chosen for the smaller rivers I fish and with Chub the target species.

The new rod handled a bread flake caught Chub impressively
The new rod handled a bread flake caught Chub impressively
The magical Blackwater in late December
The magical Blackwater in late December

My last fish of the year reflected my first back in January, a Chub, when the light was fading.

4 Hours To Spare?

Dedicating time to our ‘hobby’ is easy when you are young and single, but more difficult when you are juggling family commitments with a busy work schedule. If you fall into the young and single category, good for you, enjoy it while you can!

I however fall in to the latter category and must grab opportunity when it presents itself. So, before the wife books anything else in I have 4 hours to spare.

I have decided, with limited time, to take the trotting rod over to my local River Blackwater.

This river never ceases to amaze me. Its natural beauty alone is enough to gladden your heart and soul. If I’m not fishing it, as time does not always allow, walking the dog along its banks is always a good way of keeping tabs on the changes seen as we move through the seasons. It is this time of year, when the abundant weed is dying back, that I find myself being drawn to the chance of presenting a float and angling out a fish or two.

The Blackwater here is not too far from its source
The river is rich in wildlife and my target was to be Roach and Chub. The small stretch that I settled in was no more than 4 metres wide but long enough to run a float down and show something for it. Air temperatures were dropping, although be it to the average for this time of year. The recent rain was needed, but was only enough to add a little colour to what had been a very low clear river.

My bait was simple; sticking to the trusted white maggot, I also added hemp to feed. Bread was also carried as a backup if needed.

A simple bait approach
While setting up the tackle, I loose fed maggots, maybe 10 to 15 every 30-40 seconds slowly building up the swim with the view of gaining the fishes confidence and working up their appetite. This process of feeding continued for a further 15 minutes. Normally I like to feed for a little longer, but time was against me, and anyway, I was keen to find out what was beneath the surface.

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My first trot was halfway down the stretch before the float dipped and I connected with a half decent Roach. This was to continue with good Perch and Roach coming to almost every trot. The feed was continued after every cast, albeit with half the quantity previously mentioned.

Perch

And Roach turned up
The Chub did not show up this time, but I was not disheartened, as I knew given more time or another opportunity the river would not disappoint.

Although time on the river this time was short, it was long enough for the fish to feed and the mind and body to unwind, this is after all why we go fishing, isn’t it? So, it was with a smile that I finally decided to pack up and head for home, as the next family function was only an hour away!