So at the last moment I decided to get down to the Cherwell south of Banbury - about 15 minutes drive. I'd fished the river quite a bit up until last year when the Reggies and the cormorants finally put me off. A shame really as it's a very picturesque river for much of its course.
I got there about 3:30 and fished until dusk. Starting off at the bottom of this stretch I settled in a nice looking spot where a fallen willow - one of many - made an eddy which had the advantage of being shaded from the sun for most of the day.
The stream came quite fast between the willow and the far bank but I chose to fish just off it where the depth was about 3 feet. I fed a few handfulls of 6mm pellets and set up a small, 1", cage feeder on my 11' quivertip. I really could have done with a shorter rod due to the confined space but don't have one!
After a bout 40 minutes all I'd had was a few tentative twitches. Little chublets nosing the feeder maybe or the dreaded Reggies!
(These camera/rod rest adapters ARE very useful!)
I tried a few other likely swims, pushing the rod through the odd bit of clear vegetation but nothing doing.
By now it was getting on for 6ish and I'd got nowt. Still, a kingfisher had flashed up and down the river a few times and a buzzard was riding the warm air above the field opposite. The only excitement on my side of the river was a duck which drifted around a bend, saw me, flew up into the air with screeches to wake the dead before landing back in the water about 15 yards below me.
I decided to walk up to the top of this stretch where someone I know who had fished here regularly had taken barbel to over 10lbs over the last 2 years. BUT even he was finding it tough now.
Halibut pellet on the hook, a size 12, and a smattering of mixed pellets scattered in likely spots saw me settling with a confident feeling. How stupid was that! Eventually I had a steady but small pull. Out came the thief, REGGIE!
Only one thing for it.
Another angler I spoke to before I packed up told me that he had seen a couple of blokes last summer with about 300 crays which they'd taken in 2 days from the river a bit upstream from here.
So a great few hours of wandering the bank, spotting some wildlife and doing a bit of reggiecide. But no fish. Still as we all know it's not about catching all the time, is it?