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River running

The hottest day of the year so far - a fact not usually conducive to good fishing - and me, just happy to get out of the city. So I made cheese paste with real cheese and real bread and set off for the river. I was planning on fishing an unfamiliar stretch, newly acquired by my club.

Even at 7.00pm it was still scorching. I slogged along the uneven bank through nettles looking for a spot to try. The river was low, the banks steep but the little weir looked promising - at least for those anglers who'd brought a float rod. I only had a quiver tip, so I got back in the car and drove on to the field from where I usually fish.

Again, not a soul. Just me and the cows (and later a beautiful hot air balloon that passed right over my head). And fish. Hopefully.

I think the heat killed it. The river was stone dead all evening . There were a few splashes and some small fish were taking flies off the surface, but the bottom was thick and weedy and the cheesepaste was too sticky. I fear everything was either being covered by weed, or pulling off when I tightened up.

Still, I persevered, moving every half an hour until it was time to pack up. But rather than do that in the last swim, I walked back towards the stile to a dank looking pool just below the bridge. This is the overflow when the river's in spate and forms the narrower arm of two channels that create an island. When the water's low, nothing comes under the bridge and the shallower water downstream dries up. This leaves a small pool. And if anything's in there when the water levels drop, it stays there.

So, first cast came this little fellow. A chub, almost black on his back. A great bite, never any danger of missing it. And the evening was suddenly completely worthwhile. Actually, the balloon had already seen to that.
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