I’ve been enjoying my chub fishing this year and that enjoyment has been aided and abetted by the fact that I’ve been catching some decent fish from the middle Severn. It’s been ten years or so since I did some serious chubbing on the Severn and that was on the upper reaches. I would travel into Wales and there was one particular stretch where I didn’t catch many but I never had one below 4lb. So to repeat that on my doorstep (well comparatively speaking) is something I would never have thought possible.
As I grew up older anglers would talk about the middle Severn chub, but due to the rise of the barbel, it was almost invariably in the past tense. So, is the section of river about to undergo a change and become a big chub venue? I guess there are a few specimen anglers who can already answer that, but as far as the general angling public is concerned, is Bridgnorth to Bewdley about to become the new Throop! Time will tell but in the meantime I’m just enjoying the present.
My first session is the one in the accompanying video and I spend time going through my rig and bait along with other general tips so there’s no point in repetition here. After two chub videos where I didn’t get a fish for the camera, it was nice to get one this time round though. It wasn’t a monster (photo 1), about 3.5lb, but at least I wasn’t a blanker. Although I target bigger fish I’m never disappointed when something smaller turns up
Anyway, a chub over 3lb is hardly a baby is it? I always enjoy the drive back home from the middle Severn as it takes me through barn owl country, and I drive slowly so I don’t miss any perched in roadside trees. I didn’t see any this time but I passed a dead mammal on the road so I reversed back to see what it was as I only caught a glimpse.
It was a brown rat and it reminded me of the time I was in Africa and we had been told about this particular snake that feigns death and when a small animal goes up to it, it gets them! So when we (I was there with a couple of others) were driving and saw a dead snake by the road I reversed so we could have a look. Then someone remembered the story of the snake and no-one would open the car door to have a look. I thought of that at the exact moment I opened mine to view the rat. Fortunately it was dead. Really dead!
My second session was an afternoon just into dark one. I met up with Lawrence Breakspear (photo 2) on the bank, although our contact was fairly minimal as he was based in one peg whereas I intended to roam the length spending just five minutes in each spot. And to that end I was travelling very light, even down to not taking a chair. I was not going to get comfortable and start to take root. I set up by Lawrence as we chatted and then headed downstream.
I had a fish (photo 3) within seconds of casting out even managing a shot of it coming to the net. Well sort of, it didn’t keep still! (photo 4). And almost immediately I heard a shout from upstream asking me if I would photograph a fish that had just been caught. It was 5lb 8oz and you can see it above (photo 5). I then resumed my downstream roving, and apart from text conversations, that was the last contact we had. The river itself was looking good (photo 6), although if I’m honest all rivers look good, even when they’re in the fields!
Not only was I roaming with minimal gear, my approach was also very simple as well. A half ounce bomb was sufficient for the river, with a size 6 hook and worm bait. I had no groundbait, no loose offerings, nothing. Just a single worm, and even that didn’t cost me a penny as I have a wormery at home. But simple is not inferior in any way and fishing up to an overhanging tree I had a take that resulted in a hook and hold job for a few seconds as the fish desperately tried to head for the security of the branches. But I won the tussle and what a cracker it was (photo 7).
And as you can see from the photo, I had taken my jacket off. It was a warm day and as well as the odd clump of snowdrops (photo 8) on the bank, I spotted several lesser celandines in early growth, with one plant actually in bloom. Combine that with the pipistrelle bat I saw at dusk it was pretty clear that spring was on the march. As someone who is both a keen angler and naturalist I really appreciate the fact that I can combine the two. Certainly with the latter it’s about being switched on. I’d say most anglers wouldn’t have even noticed the little yellow flower on the bank, never mind know what it was.
Although I’m not a train enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination, I do enjoy fishing the middle Severn when the Severn Valley Railway (photo 9) runs close enough to get a decent view. I guess the older we get the more nostalgic we become, but I sincerely believe that the day and age in which I grew up was far better in many ways than today. Yes, I appreciate the benefits of the 21st century of which there are many. But there’s also harshness about modern day life, and some people, that is not nice. It’s all very general of course but if you’re my age and above I’m sure you can appreciate what I’m saying.
And finally, I recently met up with Des Taylor at his home in Bewdley and then walked the short distance into town where we visited The Horn and Trumpet (photo 10). Not that we were there on a night out or anything like that, but to do some filming for the pub as it seeks to embrace anglers even more than it currently does. The result was I set up a YouTube channel for the business which you can check out at /bewdleyhorntrumpet. I must say I was pretty impressed with everything on offer and totally recommend it as a place for anglers to stay. And you never know, you may be fortunate enough to meet the Bewdley legend himself! (article published March 10 2012)