Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A worm on one end.......

The last few days of the coarse fisherman's season usually sees a flurry of activity. I am less earnest these days, but certainly pick up speed at both ends of the season. The rivers read like a who's who of piscatorial jewels - Hampshire Avon, Berkshire Kennet, Dorset Stour and Wiltshire Ebble. Just as the start of the season in June, seasons end is a social affair - a time of celebration and a time to fish with friends, eat cake, drink tea and not take the fishing too seriously.

Kennet Grayling
 I am longing for the trout season to begin in April as the weather has been so appalling over the last twelve months. So bad that I have hardly wet a line. The trout season in springtime brings with it hope for the months ahead. The sound of the cuckoo as a backdrop is one of the years highlights. Just a minute, I am getting a bit ahead of myself here, we have the last few days of the traditional fisherman's calendar to deal with.

Kennet Grayling
The weather was positively balmy on the Kennet last week with temperatures into double figures. The river looked perfect for roach as I set up the trotting gear at a stretch I had not fished for twenty three years. In fact I have a particular fondness for this beat as it gave me my first 2lb roach and was where I served my apprenticeship with the centrepin - no roach today, a few grayling, dace and over wintered greedy brown trout followed by a lovely evening in the Dundas Arms with a pint or two of Ramsbury Gold

Berkshire Kennet
The day was made even more special by the visit of an inquisitive stoat, don't see nearly as many as I used to, and the odd Red Kite overhead which are commonplace here. A real treat for a visiting Dorset angler like me, but taken for granted by the locals I guess. I haven't seen a weasel for a long time. Like the stoat they were once both common sights when spending a day by the river.

Wiltshire Yew

The Wiltshire Ebble was next with temperatures dipping and thankfully the float dipping too. A few grayling from the main river and the tiny side stream that took a liking to my left over Kennet curried maggots. After the wettest Wessex year on record I have never seen the river so high which bodes well for the start of the trout season for the Ebble will be where I cast my first fly of 2013. 
Ebble Grayling
The temperatures dipped beyond belief after my Ebble excursion and two trips to the Dorset Stour and Hampshire Avon were deemed to be lunacy by my nearest and dearest. Snow flurries and a morning temperature way below zero even had me questioning my sanity. The wind chill made me wince and give thanks to extra layers and an extra flask of tea. It was even too painful to light the Kelly Kettle which is rare in itself. The main river Avon was far too exposed for my liking, so I sought refuge on the tree lined carriers where I could at least get out of the wind chill. 
Flotsam and Jetsam

Even the maggots were feeling the cold, but amazingly I did manage a small bag of dace and chub which was far more than I expected on a day like this - the sight of a hunting barn owl capped a splendid day and three more were seen through the flecks of snow on my way home, drifting in front of the car windscreen like lost souls in the night. I did not move from the wood burner for a good few hours on getting home and drained the dregs from my flasks before heading wearily to bed.   

No comments: