When people have a new car they often accumulate numerous worries to go with it. For example, they are concerned they might get it scratched outside the house, or dented on a car park, or even someone might steal it. Although I am a good steward of my possessions, so I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t care, none of those things bother me. I park sensibly, use a car lock and therefore do all that I can, so it’s no use worrying over that which I can’t do.
The only thing that concerned me was how I would get all the gear in for a fishing session. Although I had done my homework, I couldn’t exactly turn up at the garage with all my tackle and do various combinations of gear to test different cars, so the rubber was about to hit the road as I began to load the car outside the house. Actually it all went very well and the size reduction from a Rover 45 to a Rover 25 caused me no inconvenience at all. So off I went, down the M5 a very happy man, on my way to the lower Severn for a zander session.
Although there had been rain earlier in the week, you wouldn’t have known by looking at the river. It was still low and sluggish. Fishing the same stretch as I am at the moment, you make note of all manner of water side marks such as stumps or remains of old fishing stages that give you an idea of where the level is compared to previous visits. The peg I set up in was the same that I had previously occupied. It’s wide and so gives plenty of river to go at, the ground is level making setting up camp easy, and above all I have caught zander there, so the confidence level is already raised before even casting out.
It was another really warm day, again hard to believe that it was the middle of October. It meant that I was continuing in my shorts and short sleeves, which is a great way of fishing through the night, although the benefit of a sleeping bag to wrap around you is essential of course. But before the night even started to think about putting in an appearance, I had a couple of predators – a small pike and a zander. The latter was actually a personal best, although before I start to get too carried away, we are talking about ‘small’ here. But as a novice zedhead, you have to start somewhere and the only way is up, that’s for sure.
I also tried to catch some small fish for livebaits during the night, with the emphasis being on the word ‘tried’. I did have a couple of taps, but that was it. I therefore started the night with some dead gudgeon and roach, which proved to be a disaster. As soon as it was dusk, the whole river bed appeared to come alive with eels, and within minutes of casting out they had stripped the fish down to nothing. I thought that the eel problem was on the way out but the mild weather (I caught something on the radio about it being the mildest October ever) has prolonged their activity. The situation was so bad that at 9pm, I gave in, reeled in the rods and went to sleep.
I was up bright and early next day and as far as the livebait catching was concerned, I went from one extreme to the other. Whilst I couldn’t catch a cold the day before, the next day I had no problem with fish, just that they were too big for baits. The only fish small enough to use was a beautiful looking rudd, and looking at it, deep golden body with blood red fins, I just didn’t have the heart to use it, so back it went. I even had a few big carp on, landing just the one, a smaller fish that was below the double mark but great fun on roach gear,
No more predators followed the second day, and apart from the fish caught whilst after livebaits, it was very quiet. I did manage to do some birdwatching though, including the observation of a very active juvenile great crested grebe that stayed around all day on the river. The bird is featured on this week’s short video clip that you can access below. But the real highlight was as I drove away from the river at 8pm and caught a barn owl in the headlights as it sat on a fence post. I had a fantastic view for a moment or two before it then flew off silently and gracefully over the field. Brilliant!
*** This week’s video clip is titled 002. October 2007. The Lower Severn
(Originally published October 2007)