Friday, September 7, 2012

Plenty of Pears, but where are the Apples?


A quick scan of the fishing records past and present reveal that August fishing on this river was the most productive for many years. Last year and the year before that, most Brown Trout took on a dark torpor and remained soporific, sulking on the bottom refusing to budge. This past month many fish have been up on the fin and fewer anglers have found it necessary to resort to a nymph. This week the evenings have a fresher feel and most fish have been caught during the afternoon when there has been a trickle of all sorts of Olives coming off the water with the number of sedges flittimg about increasing as the afternoon progresses. Lying in the bath the other night with the window open, as is my wont, I was joined by two types of voyeuristic sedge and a Blue Winged Olive, that took five on the wall by the loo.

The river has dropped a little during the past few weeks and there is very little water flowing down the Millstream, all the water is flowing down the main river in an attempt to limit the impact of the blanket weed that has bloomed in the past fortnight,

smothering water celery and ranunculus in some places. The water is crystal clear and the Grayling and Roach are fat and in peak condition, both have been feeding hard sub surface, the Roach in particular taking advantage of the cover of ribbon weed to pick dainties from the bed of the river. On the Itchen the weed growth is prolific and spikes of ribbon weed have once again broken the surface, fish have been caught throughout the month and seem to show at similar times of the day to the Dever, every month it has been necessary to hit the weed hard in an attempt to get the river back within its banks but there are still some squashy places on the fishing bank and wellies remain

the footwear of first choice for the September angler. While cutting weed in the top pool of the stretch of the Itchen I saw half a dozen enormous Grayling, long and chunky, they looked well over three pound and are possibly the big fish I saw spawning above the bridge earlier in the year. On the Dever we have few fish over two pound but nothing like these monsters in the Itchen. The Brown Trout are showing few signs of their minds turning to all things carnal and the majority continue to feed happily at some point or other during the day.

We have a few ducks coming in to the pond, but not huge numbers. The Phragmites in and around the pond has experienced a bumper year for growth, and is almost impenetrable, there could be anything lurking amongst the leggy stems and the Bittern will certainly enjoy the cover should he return this winter. Some of the Phragmites will have to be cut back early to aid picking up following duck flighting. Most of the reed beds that were burnt off in March are in a similar state of luxuriance following the summer rain and provide thick cover for the Pheasants along the river valley that will provide a stiff challenge for the best Spaniel on shoot day.

Fruit’s a bit of a worry and the neighbourhood is almost void of apples, plenty of pears and plums, but the apple trees around here are almost bare. Even the two megalithic Bramleys that could have tempted Eve aeons ago, that regularly yield trailer loads of big shiny apples have only a few dozen fruit. The vine in my garden is in a similar state and we shall miss a garden full of inebriated birds at the end of October. Drunk on over-ripe grapes,Blackbird wars have often broken out mid afternoon once the clocks have gone back, this year abstinence will probably do them good.

I have received several kind invitations to fish this past week and have a day on the lower Itchen and the Kennet lined up for later this month. I did have another offer of a day on the Kennet but had to decline as the arrival of the past and present chairman of the "all party parliamentary group for angling" is imminent plus I had a holiday’s worth of grass cutting and strimming to catch up on. The past Chairman purports to be a keen Coarse angler so it will be interesting to see if he has head turned by our Roach and Perch.

One invitation I did take up was a visit to some lakes on the middle river for some fishing with friends and fellow keepers. I completely forgot to take any tackle but remembered the all important beer. A jolly day, in great surroundings, food and company were excellent, even the rice, which chef worried over for hours.

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