Blackbirds are singing before daybreak, the days are lengthening, the light is more springlike and buds are showing on the trees. It's still bloody cold though! With no rain predicted and the sun shining I set off to try for the roach and dace again. On arriving there was a strong wind blowing straight downstream, coming from the north, with a touch of east for good measure. Like a fool I had left the umbrella behind. Not to worry. I was well wrapped up with Baffin boots, two fleeces, bunny suit and all. Topped off with balaclava and woolly hat.
This time the swim was not a muddy morass, it was hard as concrete. Frozen solid. The river was running clear and I was able to hold easily with a 30g feeder filled with the usual hemp, micro trout pellets and maggots. Two hours later the tip hadn't moved, no maggots had been sucked, and the wind was chilling my bones. However the water temperature was rising fast. At the start of the session it was reading 2.2C, by the time I moved upstream to get some shelter from the wind (and to try a deeper spot), it had risen to 2.6C. The water temp carried on rising, peaking at 2.9C. The air temperature didn't follow the same trend, and after three o'clock it started to drop.
A couple of half-hearted flurries of sleet blew in. The wind did ease off after I moved. The only activity was from the birdlife. A couple of robins seemed glad of the maggots I threw them, and a skittish pied wagtail flitted from side to side of the swim. By half four I reckoned there might be a chance of a chub towards dusk, and the roach might switch on too. The clear water was all I could think of that was putting the fish off, so lower light levels might make them more amenable.
I swapped the size sixteen for a ten and pinched some bread on the hook. I left the maggots out of the feeder. First put in and the tip moved. A tentative spring back. Nothing. By half four my feet, even in the toasty boots, were telling me to go home. With it still a way off dusk I packed up at five. I guess I should have made a later start so I'd have been more willing to stick at it until dark. I don't think next time will be tomorrow though.