Friday, January 21, 2011


We have had several inches of rain, the river coloured up very quickly, indicating that much of what fell ran off; the springs could do with days of steady rain to get a good recharge, rather than heavy intense showers. The Brown Trout are a little more active and starting to regain some of the weight lost during spawning. Several were picked up by Grayling anglers this week and they looked to be in good condition. The Grayling however proved to be fairly elusive; four down from the wide-open spaces of Grafham had slow sport although they finished with fifteen fish on a bitterly cold day. Few fly are hatching and all fish caught have been taken sub surface, several Grayling of between pound and a half and two pounds have been decidedly chubby, not spawn but full bellies and in tip top condition.

We had a go at Duffing up Ducks. During the Christmas period a lot of food was going and as well as the usual Mallard and gadwall there were numbers of Wigeon and Teal. Conditions were perfect but very few Ducks came into the pond we fired twenty to thirty shots, we heard thirty odd on a pond a mile down stream and a handful of shots three miles upstream on the main river. Where they have all gone is anyone’s guess. The record-breaking temperatures of past months may have pushed some to warmer coastal climes, or there may not be the numbers flighting the river that there used to be, if any ducks are reading this, there is a chuffin great pile of Barley in the shallows of our pond waiting to be eaten, help yourself.

The interminable struggle with Crack Willow continues, with several more put to the sword. I also had a day killing Ivy (no relation) the waxy leaved parasite that strangles so many of the trees around here. A couple of senior Oaks that I did five years ago are now almost full to the crown, it may not kill a tree but it provides a bigger surface area in windy conditions, if any tree around here blows over in a wind, more often than not it is covered in ivy. Its advance is relentless and some parts of the wood are worse than others. In an alliance formed with Crack Willow, the world would be conquered and we would be governed by plant life…… and not for the first time.

As an entertaining interlude for the week, we played host to John Wilson, he of the television fishing programmes and much published fishing books. I grew up with Wilson’s articles in the angling press on trotting for Roach on Norfolk’s rivers, my son and his fishing mate have seen most of his fishing programmes, my mate saw him grumbling at the NEC when he’d had his best rod and reel pinched from the stand, his TV persona conveys a character who just enjoys his fishing. He spent all day trotting for Roach and Grayling, caught a few trout on the way, stayed for a cup of tea, and returned my sixteen year old son to the bashful days of primary school.
A few fishing pundits who turn up here no longer enjoy their fishing; it’s become a means to an end with an underlying jaded air. Wilson appears to be still in love with all things rod and reel. Him and his mate turned up at dawn and left at dusk, having caught Roach and Grayling to a pound and a half.

He knows his fishing and seems to genuinely enjoy it…top trotter and a decent bloke.

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