Snow way will it stop me fishing part 2 (grayling article, entry 390)

The title of the article says it all, however, what awaited me as I arrived at my destination threw me totally. The river had been so affected by the harsh conditions that in many places it was bank-to-bank ice with a covering of snow on top. Temperatures of minus 18, minus 20, minus 12 and so on had been repeated that many times by the forecasters that I had been lulled into a false sense of security by the nice looking day that was promised. I didn’t expect the river to exactly be in top-notch condition but I was thrown somewhat by the blanket of frozen water that had taken hold. And where there was water flowing it was either beyond a wide margin of ice thus making fishing impossible or in a section where it was extremely fast and shallow. And fish-less. But I’m a great believer that every cloud has a silver lining and I saw a bittern while I was there. One of the benefits for us birders is that the extreme weather is throwing up all manner of unusual sightings.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen goosander, cormorant and snipe in the area where I live, a low flying goshawk and perhaps most surprising of all feeding birds on the pitch at Molineux during a game. On Boxing day while we played Wigan Athletic four meadow pipits and a grey wagtail took advantage of the only exposed grass for miles around and happily pecked away while the players did their bit. When the action moved into their space they merely flew the short distance to the other side of the pitch and continued. I admired their resolve as they were totally oblivious to the 20,000 plus crowd and fed on the well cared for turf that was providing a nourishing post-Christmas lunch.
 
 

To round off my Angling Journal for 2010 it was back to the Teme and back to chasing the ladies. Whilst I had taken my float gear on the previous attempt, this time round it was with a cage feeder and quiver tip set-up that I headed west. With the big freeze turning into the big thaw the river was up and running fast, and with snow melt providing the extra water it was also cold. I think most anglers would have given it a miss but I was raring to go and up for the challenge.

 

All through the session ice blocks and sheets of varying sizes passed me as I sat on the now quite muddy bank. The largest piece that I got a photograph of was 70 feet in length. It looked like a margin section that had broken away in one go and was now going with the flow. I knew it was going to be tough and when I caught a tiddler (below) I was actually excited to have avoided a blank. As the day wore on and the river rose I was forced to move upstream to a more suitable spot to avoid the constant problem with leaves that wrapped around the line, feeder and more crucially the hookbait. But with the hours of daylight slowly edging away it looked like my tiny fish was going to be the only catch of the day. Then as I looked at the rod I noticed that although the tip wasn’t showing much movement, the line had started to work its way against the current. I lifted into what I thought initially was a snag that had worked its way round the slack I was fishing in. Then the snag started to resist and I suddenly realised I was into a fish.

 

 

However after a few seconds I found myself lifting everything from the river minus the hook. A closer examination revealed that there had been a clean break. I had been thinking chub or pike, but on reflection I decided to go with the latter as it’s much easier to come to terms with losing a 6lb pike than a 6lb chub. But whatever, that’s fishing for you and rather than end the year with a full-on posing photograph it was a close-up of my palm that provided the excitement. Still, at least I wasn’t a blanker, and in the conditions I had been in that was an achievement in itself.

I hope you have had a good 2010 but above all I wish you a wonderful 2011. If you’ve been a regular visitor to my website or even if this is your first encounter I trust you will join me in the New Year and beyond as I share my angling journey through your computer screen. And if it inspires you in your own fishing then that’s mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned. Tight lines! (article published December 29 2010)

 

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