Hob Hole drain
I was hankering after somewhere new to try after my Bain exploits and I recalled a place that Tony had told of a few months earlier- a place on the Hobhole drain that he said was thick with Perch and some big ones too. Now give me a stretch of natural river and I can read it, I was brought up on them. Drains are totally alien to me and miles and miles of arrow straight water doesn't really appeal. Having been a match angler in the area for the last twenty odd years Tony knows his stuff and I always listen when he tells me something. And so it was that Friday morning I found myself eagerly heading down to the spot dreaming of Perch so abundant I could walk across them!
I hope nobody is fishing there I thought as I got closer. It was with a sigh of relief that no cars were parked in the area as I pulled up. Someone was fishing though- a bloody great Cormorant body surfing in the flow just down from the pumping station. Not a problem I thought as it flew off reluctantly. I took it as a good sign that there must be some fish present. I set up two tip rods and fished all the likely looking spots with worm while feeding maggot over the top. Three hours passed without a single touch. Now although the spot looked the part my confidence began to wane. About half an hour later the workers in the yard opposite started a fire at the base of the big,tall chimney. You can just make it out in the photo. Anyway I was downwind and big bits of partially burnt catalogue pages started landing all over the water and the bank, one hitting me as it smoldered away. It was all to much and I packed up. Looking back at the photo maybe it was a bit too coloured for Perch so maybe I'll try again. The Cormorant was a pain but they know no better. The owner of that yard? He undoubtedly does. Shameful really.
Tuesday 12th February
Secret River and Wolds Grift
My favourite venue the Secret River. A fairly long drive and not a single bite. That's six visits without a touch this winter. The locals are blaming Cormorants but the river has been in a terrible state on every visit. It was really low this time (the sluices were fully open again) but very heavily coloured. Also the banks were strewn with debris from the higher water levels. All kinds of rubbish from beer cans to plastic bags. Remember - this is meant to be a beautiful chalk stream. As before I am sure man is doing as much damage to the fishing as the birds. Maybe next season will be kinder.
While I was in the area I stopped off at the bridge over the Wolds Grift. In the 1500's it was known as the Alford Eau before they made it a catchwater drain. Again not a single bite and it looked like someone had fly-tipped directly under the bridge. Ho hum. Don't let this put you off. I am fishing for big fish with worms and bread. Maybe if I were fishing maggot I would have caught. The Wolds Grift-
Wednesday 13th February
I didn't really want to go to the Bain again as I wanted to give you a bit of variety but with the disastrous week before I needed to catch some fish. I went to my normal stretch and walked right to the top and settled in the weir pool. I had cheese as bait and also bought a small loaf before setting off to try and find some decent roach. A bite less first hour didn't do a lot for my confidence. A few dog walkers said their cheery hello's and I responded with warmth. It's really important when fishing to be friendly although a lot of the time you just want to be left alone. The first time an angler is rude then we all get tarred with the same brush. Anyway I love dogs so having a friendly little spaniel trying to eat your cheese is all part of the fun up here.
After another twenty minutes I reeled in to try somewhere else. My second rod, however seemed to have something on the end-
Sodding Signal Crayfish. Bless it, it was giving me the international signal for surrender! Now I no they are a so-called 'invasive species' but I didn't have the heart to kill it. I went sea fishing with peeler crabs once and it was really quite upsetting. Soft bugger I know. Anyway isn't it just evolution? Bigger, better than our native ones. Like grey squirrels. Our red ones are cute and all but as a squirrel the grey is a lot better. I digress. I moved down to the tree and caught a Chub straight away. 3lb 10oz-
After that I moved again to a glide I hadn't tried before and caught another Chub after a few minutes around the same size as the previous one. It was turning out to be quite a good session and I continued on with renewed enthusiasm. I had a few really strange bites that I was sure were from Roach when I heard someone shouting behind me.
Now I should say now that if you do see me on the bank then you may need to shout to get my attention as I usually have my phone in my hood so I can listen to the radio. This was the case on this occasion and I fumbled with my hood and phone so I could hear whatever this person was trying to say. I turned around to see a tall, old, country type bloke on the top of the bank. "You do know this is private now, don't you?" he bellowed. "Really? How long has it been like that?" I asked calmly. "About two years.". "Oh". I turned back around to show I wasn't really bothered. "Who's got it now then?" I asked while continuing to fish. "Waltham Chubbers or something, they had it off me a couple of years ago". From this I took it that I was speaking to the land owner. "Oh well, I'll have to get hold of them," I replied. "I don't mind paying," I added and I meant it. "Well you can't pay me cause they have already paid", the farmer added. I didn't reply. "Er....try and get hold of them then and don't come back unless you have," he said as he wandered off.
Right where do I start with this? I was angry after he left but now I can be more pragmatic. He was old and I have alot of respect for my elders but saying "This is private now" to me will only end in tears. Private basically means we have parties here and your not invited to any of them. I'm simply not going to have it. A stretch further down is run by Boston AA. It's clearly signposted and I fully intend to join next season. Until then I wont fish it. If Waltham Chubbers do exist (which I doubt) then may I suggest they don't lease a stretch of river next to a public footpath thirty miles away. For a start where are the local kids meant to fish? Secondly if you rent a piece of river then it is up to you to police it and put signs up etc. Lastly if you want to catch someone poaching then pop down next Monday, I'll be in the glide below the tree.
Back to the fishing. I stopped long enough just to let the farmer know I was less than bothered by his rude interruption. After his outburst I didn't get a bite but the seed had been planted. Those bites were from Roach and I will be going back. After about half an hour I moved right down to below the road bridge. Having never had a bite here I was slightly surprised when one of my tips started twitching suspiciously. I few missed bites later and a small roach came to hand. I was disappointed with the size but sometimes it's enough to just achieve your aim. I'll leave you with a picture of the last swim I fished and while I'm not promising , I really hope I have something better to show you in the near future.
.............................Till next time