First rove of the season

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Bigoll
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First rove of the season

Post by Bigoll » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:03 pm

I was supposed to venture to the river bank last Wednesday, having taken the day off for my birthday, but a few too many Monty Python Holy Grail Ales (recommended!) on the Tuesday night put paid to any activities the following day. A long list of domestic administration meant Saturday was out too, but I did get down to the tackle shop for a pint of red maggot and stopped off at the river on the way home for a quick look at the conditions. Given how poor the 2013/14 season was, and the impact of the constant storms and flooding over the winter, I wasn't sure what to expect. Fortunately, the river looked in pretty good nick - there was more weed than normal, probably due to the low rainfall and sunny conditions of recent weeks, but it was flowing nicely and there were lots of minnows around, which is usually a sign of good water quality. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the movement of a pair of chub heading downstream, which bouyed the spirits. Later, I came face-to-face with a sleek black mink, which got the surprise of its life as it emerged from the water a foot away from my left boot.

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Once the garden had been tamed (again) on Sunday, I headed off to the river feeling upbeat but managing my expectations given the extremely tough going of last season. Pausing to peer into the dappled pools and bends along the way, I was delighted to spot a few large chub cruising around, though always in spots which would be impossible to cast to. Heading for my traditional swims of 'perch pit' and 'fence-post pool', it became evident that the council's policy of chopping trees down in the name of flood prevention had had an interesting effect on the bankside vegetation:

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To gain the correct perspective, the photo was taken while standing up, with the camera at eye level. Slashing my way through 8 foot nettles in the humid heat of the afternoon was not the most relaxing start to the session! It was also ultimately pointless as, on finally reaching the water, I found the previously open pools were largely covered by further explosions of foliage caused by the removal of tree cover.

Sweaty but undeterred, I extracted myself from the jungle and headed further downstream to a more open section. Fortunately, while overgrown, the access was much better. I approached slowly and quietly and was rewarded with a view of 5 large chub in the 5/6 pound range mooching about near the opposite bank. One of them was an enormous specimen, glinting like a bar of gold in the sunlight. Knowing how skittish and wise the big Roding chub are, I played a waiting game, gradually building up the swim to get them confident. Just before the time was right to have a bash at them, a collection of morons turned up 10 yards downstream and sent their dogs straight into the river, sending the chub bolting for cover!

I spent the next couple of minutes turning the air as blue as the sky before sitting back to tinker with my kit until the people had moved on. I was treated to several fly-bys of beautiful cobalt and orange kingfishers and marvelled at the neon waltz performed by dozens of damsel and dragonflies, as well as the flickering colour show of so many different species of butterfly - the annoyance was soon forgotten as I soaked in all nature had to offer. Half an hour later and the big chub had still vanished (no doubt into a deep undercut on the far bank) but I made my first cast anyway. What followed was a string of catches of chub and perch - none of them of any noteworthy size, unlike the smile they put on my face! This was great sport in a beautiful place and my first 'proper' session since last year. More importantly, it was a demonstration that the Roding is not finished as a venue (as had been the concern), with a whole new generation of fish coming through the ranks.

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I let the swim rest after landing 10 fish and moved further downstream for the final hour, where I was rewarded with a further 9 fish, ending the day with 9 chub, 5 perch and 4 plump minnows. My only regret of the day was failing to land perch No.6 which looked like it could have been a personal best: following a miscast I was retrieving the float along the margin and a small knot of branches. 'I bet there's a stripey under there' I thought to myself; sure enough, a belter of a fish lunged out and took the bait but he managed to get off just as I was dipping the net into the water. I'll get you next time, I said to his great humped back as he darted off round the bend; and on this form that next time can't some soon enough...

GazTheAngler

Re: First rove of the season

Post by GazTheAngler » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:42 pm

Nice write up mate.

I might have to have a try this year. where were you?

you can PM me if you dont want to say on open forum.

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Luga00
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Luga00 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:17 pm

very nice write-up and pictures. Well done Bigoll.

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Julian
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Julian » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:37 pm

Lovely looking river and a great write-up :Thumb:
There is no peace on earth like the peace of fishing in the early mornings

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Mark
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Mark » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:00 pm

Well done Bigoll.
Mark (Administrator)

The most precious places in the English landscape are those secretive corners,
where you find only elder trees, nettles and dreams. (BB - Denys Watkins-Pitchford).

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Tengisgol
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Tengisgol » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:21 pm

Wonderful to read about some great fish from/in my childhood river, thanks for that!
Where the willows meet the water...

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AshbyCut
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by AshbyCut » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:26 pm

Splendid report, Sir.
"Beside the water I discovered (or maybe rediscovered) the quiet. The sort of quiet that allows one to be woven into the tapestry of nature instead of merely standing next to it." Estaban.

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Ambidexman
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Ambidexman » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:56 pm

Lovely photos and write-up Bigoll, must dust my tackle off and get out there!

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Tench Dreamer
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Tench Dreamer » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:46 pm

Fantastic bigoll. Best news I've heard for a good while ...fish alive in the Roding .... Like Gaz...I'd love to know where. Couldn't make out from your pic :holmes: .... Any sign of poaching?

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Bigoll
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Re: First rove of the season

Post by Bigoll » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:52 am

Gentlemen, many thanks for your kind words; it's always a pleasure to share the experience of a beautiful day on the river. TD - I will send you a PM as I have for Gaz, to provide more detail on locations. Following a burst of poaching in the last two seasons I'm reluctant to share too much detail on here, for fear of any undesirables who might be lurking in cyberspace. Happily there was no sign of any such abhorrent activities this time out. There were a couple of paths trodden through bits of the bankside jungle, and evidence of previous fishing, but fortunately in spots where I've never known the fish to congregate.

Plans are afoot to make a second trip this coming weekend, this time with Aussie Dave in tow. Perhaps we will land one of those wise old chub at long last.......But don't hold your breath!

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