Tuesday, June 21, 2011 Filed in: rivers
You'd think I'd know by now. That I wouldn't fall into the trap of believing that the same thing can happen twice in a row. I mean, who'd be daft enough to go back to the river three days later with the same tackle and bait, arriving at the same time and expecting the same outcome? I'd had a different swim in mind of course - can't go living off past glories in their entirety, because where's the fun in that? So off I wandered, heading downstream to the swim where Ray used to fish a lot, where we both caught rainbow trout that mad June 16th five or six years ago (hell, everyone caught a trout that first morning, the silly buggers were everywhere).
You'd think that all the swims would be the same but they're not. Can't get near this one because the bank's too high and overgrown and it's too bloody dangerous. I need a longer landing net handle, a stouter rod, 6lb line and some freelined luncheon meat or cheese paste, not all this trotting gear. Still, by the time I realise this, I've had a perfectly good walk and ended up back at the first swim I fancied, round the corner from I where I fished the other evening and the first port of call for lazy anglers who - like me - have parked by the gate. I always feel ambivalent about swims like this. On the one hand the fish here are accustomed to food, on the other, they may also be a bit knackered.
You'd think it wouldn't take long to tackle up but it does, mainly because my first float has a split in the eye at the bottom so having attached it to the line and tied the hook, the line pops out at the first opportunity. So I take it off (and put it back in the float tray so I can make the same mistake again in a month or two) and re-tackle with Thursday's float. It's deep here, a good 18 inches deeper than round the corner. Slow too. I see shoals of dark bream filling my keepnet (not that I've got one) but intsead, third cast I hook a big chub and then lose it.
You'd think I wouldn't be using the same size 16 hook that lost me all those fish on Thursday, but there it is. How do I know it's a chub? Because I can see one of its scales on the hook. Judging by the size of the scale, that was a big chub - the scale is almost bigger than the roach that I haven't caught yet - and losing it kills the swim. I move upstream, catch the tree on the far bank on the first cast, the reeds in front of me on the second and then the bottom on the third. The supid, fish-ejecting hook refuses to give way and each time is returned unharmed. Then I sit on a slug.
You'd think that after a fishless hour in the new swim I'd resist the temptation to move back to the scene of Thursday's triumphs but I'm too weak-willed and moments later I'm at the same buffet, catching nothing but a tiny perch, barely hooked on the outside of the mouth, who looks up at me with his angry little eye as if to say 'only just mate, only just'.
Yeah, you'd think...
About the author
Rob Beattie is the other of several popular fishing books. He's also a regular contributor to Waterlog magazine.