Listening to the weather forecast for today I was glad to be able to get work boxed off early enough yesterday to hit the river before nightfall. This isn't an option for most people now the nights are well and truly drawing in, so I wasn't surprised to have the river to myself, but I was surprised to find a branch pushed in the bank as a makeshift bankstick.
The river looked really good. Well up and coloured with not too much pace. The deposited leaves on the bank showed that it was falling. Unfortunately they suggested that the water would contain plenty more, blown in from the woods along the valley by the recent strong winds. I set up in a swim I hoped would see the bulk of the leaves avoiding my lines. After three quarters of an hour it was apparent that I had guessed wrong.
I moved upstream to a point where the main flow pushes across the river at quite an angle with much slower water between the crease and the bank. I'd taken the water temperature when I first set up. It was a couple of degrees down on last week, reading single figures for the first time this season. In a month or two I'd be overjoyed to see the thermometer reading 9.0, but the drop in temperature might just make the fishing hard. However, in the new swim I saw the river was warming slightly. This gave me hope, and a really savage chub rattle that actually bounced the rod in the rest cheered me even more. So long as I could dodge the leaves I'd be in with a chance.
The rod tips were taking longer to pull over with the line's load of leaves in this swim. I was watching the down stream tip take on a gentle curve when it pulled down decisively, and before I could grab the rod the baitrunner was spinning. It took a while to get the fish to the net with the extra water pushing through, even in the slacker area, but not too long. I thought I might have another double resting in the net, but the fish proved to be on the lean side.
I'm not sure why, but I moved the rods upstream about ten yards shortly after landing the fish. The first bait hadn't been out for five minutes when the rod slammed over, the baitrunner whizzed, I struck in to nothing and wound in a severely tangled rig. What had happened was a complete mystery.
The sky had been cloudless when I arrived, the stars coming out after dark. However, cloud cover had built up and the air temperature held fairly steady. The wind picked up though; a herald of what was predicted for today, causing a chill factor on my neck. By eleven I felt it was time to play Dodge the Cow Pats and head for the car.
Had I been able to hold a bait out for longer further out in the flow I'm sure that more babrbel could have been had. The conditions were pretty good apart from the debris coming downriver - not just leaves and twigs, but less savoury items too. The obligatory football was spotted heading for the sea while it was still light. Where do they all come from?