Tuesday, 27 July 2010

River Cherwell Monday 26th July

Had a few hours in the evening on the same stretch as last week. I was tackled up by 5ish and started at the bottom of the meadow intending to roam up to the weir end. This approach was dictated by the fact that I'd just had a new stalking belt from eBay on Saturday! Is it just me or do we all load far too much gear in our rucksacks/bags when we set out? I managed to get a few floats, some hooks, disgorger, foreceps, baiting needle, little knife and some hair stops easily in the pockets of my new toy with lots of room to spare. (OK, I did take a bait bucket with a sliced loaf and a tin of luncheon meat as well.)
See how easily the belt camouflages into the slabs!

My set up was an 11' Fox Duo-Lite 1.5lbs barbel rod - double figure fish have been reported - with 10lbs mono and 6lbs hook link to a size 10. Due to the crayfish problems I decided against a rolling ledger and instead went for a 4 AAA crystal avon set at about 6 " off bottom. I began with a nice big piece of flake but in the first few swims all I had were tiny bobs of the float as the small chub etc nipped at the bread. I switched to a hair rigged lump of meat about 1" square. Again just a few tentative dips which may have been those bloody crays sensing the stinky meat and wafting up to nip it. By the way, don't undo your tin of meat before you set out and put it in the bait bucket. All you get when you arrive at the river is a greasy stinky slime on the inside of the bucket as it sweated on the way!

About halfway up the stretch there are a few nice long glides where the Cherwell picks up a bit of pace. I had some fun trotting bread/meat down these. An upstream wind helped my presentation but no luck. Was this going to be a repeat of last week's efforts? I crept up by a willow where there was a good undercut to its' roots and an eddy swinging past some reeds. I poked the rod tip about 2' out and dropped the bait where the eddy would take it right up against the exposed roots before pushing it upstream.

It had only been in a minute and the float had just brushed against the roots when it bobbed once and then sunk slowly away. A strike brought the fish out from the safety of the roots and then it woke up. At about 2.5lbs the chub couldn't put up much of a fight on the gear I was using so I scooped it into the net after a short struggle during which it managed to surprise me by diving under my bank a couple of times.  It was the only fish of the session but nonetheless I was very pleased with my first roving of this season.

I finished up at the top just below the weir. Managed to hook a huge log and lost the hook so called it a day.  The only other bit of fun was I came across a red (sorry, native!) American type of teepee tent. Lots of empty beer bottles and some basic fishing gear was outside with a pair of boots attached to a body inside.  While walking back along the canal towpath - the Oxford cut runs along side much of the Cherwell around here - I came across 2 more (big) blokes, one lying down and the other bending over him. I asked if he was OK but they couldn't speak English - surprise, surprise - but with a bit of German I found out that the one taking a rest was blind drunk. Phoned the EA but no interest!!! Apparently I should have "challenged" them to show me their licenses. 3 hulking great Easter Europeans? No chance.

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