Wednesday, 9 March 2016
I love the tail end of the season. As ever it creeps up on me and I end up trying to squeeze every last ounce out of it until the 14th March. In fact, I probably like it just as much as the start of the coarse fisherman's season, the glorious 16th June.
I have been unable to get near the river for weeks and weeks due to it being in flood and as ever it is around late Feb and early March when it actually becomes fishable again.
I arrive in glorious sunshine with a coldness that brings the smell of snow on the wind. Another outing for what is now becoming a favourite rod once more, my old Hardy General. Hollow and split cane it's a veritable wizards wand of a rod. The perfect rod for roach on this part of the Stour and more than suitable should a large chub or perch make themselves known.
The light changes every few minutes - these before and after shots (below) all taken within a few minutes.........
....and this is the culprit. A band of sleet, hail and snow which sees the temperature plummet and make everything just wet enough to be a pain. My maggots seize the opportunity to make their escape making the muddy bank look like a disco inferno - I like multi-coloured maggots. I always come close to not bringing a flask of tea, but I am most grateful for a cup of the anglers stewed brew today. Just enough to keep me going.
I am rewarded with a succession of glorious roach, all the size range and year classes along with a few dace and a solitary chub. The float dips at the very spot you expect it to and the gentle plod and thump tells me this is no ordinary roach. My antiquated scales and improvised weigh sling tell me it is nearer to two pounds than one, but who cares at the end of the day - it's a beauty. A clean young looking roach and one that gets the special green ink treatment in my fishing diary.
There is just life enough in my fingers to make one final cast as the sleet comes down again and a goodly perch makes an appearance - it is most welcome and gently returned to his cold and safe home amongst the hawthorne roots.
My journey home is memorable as my route to the river always is - this time the landscape is white with snow and I only just get back to the slightly warmer coastal temperatures of home to a fireside libation and a toast to season's end.