The walk had taken longer than expected, partly due to struggling over two stiles, stopping to look at a swim closer to the car, and stopping to put my waterproof jacket on when the rain started. Oh, and nearly getting lost and tangled up in a thorny thicket didn't help.
Where I was fishing the gravel was covered in a thick carpet of leaves. Maybe more than six inches deep it was like walking on a thick pile carpet. So many leaves were there that what looked like the edge of the river wasn't. Not only were there leaves sunk to the bottom in the visible margin, there was a false bank of waterlogged leaves. Netting and returning fish would be fun! Because of this I put the rod rests in well back from the water on firm ground, my landing net laid across the quaking mass of leaves, its handle propped up on a bankstick. That long handle might prove useful in keeping my feet dry.
This was the cue for the upstream rod to start banging. A typical chub bite. Or was it. When the fish neared the edge, I was paddling in the leaf soup, it took line. A small barbel maybe? No, it was a chub. A lovely conditioned fish too. I hoped it would make five, but it fell short by just under half a pound. Nice enough for a rubbish photo though. The Olympus compact I use really isn't up to much for flash shots.
Two hours later the same rod danced again. This time the fish fell off as I was trying to get the mesh on the landing net untangled. What it was I'm not sure, I rather suspect it to have been another chub. The action wasn't really hectic. With the walk being so long, and the sole of my right foot beginning to hurt when I walked I came up with a plan. Rather than sit it out where I was and have to tramp all the way back to the car in one go, braving the thorns in the dark, I'd move downstream and spend a few hours in the swim I'd stopped to inspect earlier. By eight o'clock, having survived the thorns with one minor tangling incident, I was there. Or rather a swim lower down. This swim had been occupied when I arrived. Some bait would have gone in already...
Away from the shelter of the high wooded bank I was getting the full force of the blustery wind. The rain had come back too. I put my rods on bite alarms so I could hear them above the wind noise, then erected my ancient umbrella. I've fished this area a few times in the past and struggled to be honest. As far as I can tell it's a bit featureless. I suppose I should spend some time investigating it as it does produce big barbel and chub. But I find it a little bleak and depressing.
I'd been ensconced in the swim for an hour and a half and was dozing pleasantly when the night lit up with flashing orange and a piercing scream. Bugger me. A fish! Only a small barbel of fourish pounds. Welcome nonetheless. Would there be more? I didn't wait around much longer to find out. An hour later I was putting on my waterproofs ready for the tramp back to the car. This was noted by the rain gods who stopped pouring water from the sky as soon as I got to the top of the bank. I could see just one car in the car park as I slogged up the final rise. Luckily it was mine. The last silly sod off the river as usual.
As I rounded the final bend before entering the flatlands on my journey home, just before the spot two roe deer had crossed the road one night, my headlights picked out the unmistakeable shape of a bare human bum. As I passed by I saw that it was attached to the pasty legs of a young lady (looking somewhat 'tired and emotional') who was pulling her pants up at the side of a wheelie bin. There was a tiny snail creeping up my garage door when I returned home. The things you see because of fishing...
A modest snail