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The air is heavy with thunder and the promise of rain, and the river is full of ghosts tonight.

That's what it felt like this entry was going to be about. The first hour or two were hopeless. I was distracted, fishing automatically, unable to get comfortable, put off by other anglers, couldn't park by the bridge, bitch, bitch, bitch.

I was fishing with a small feeder (which turned out to make an enormous splash) a short trail and using red and white maggots in various combinations. I didn't get a touch for two hours despite moving swims and trying different spots. Then, instead of sitting there helplessly like I usually do, I started to think.

Nearly every time the end tackle came back it was snarled with weed, so obviously what was happening was that as the heavy feeder sank quickly through the weed it took the hookbait (short trail, remember) with it. Thus, the chance of the bait being obscured by weed were pretty high. So, I switched the feeder for a small Arlsley bomb and lengthened the trail to about 14 inches. Then, to be on the safe side, I popped on three casters.

I re-cast and it started to rain in earnest. I don't know if the sudden banging of the rod was me putting my poncho on or a bite, but suddenly I felt better. More confident. I re-baited with maggots and missed a good bite. I hit the next one which went through a series of transformations from bottom-to-something-enormous-to-chub-to-eel-to-chub-to-eel-to-jack-pike-and back to eel again before finally emerging eel.

Next cast produced a similar dogged thump of a bite followed by a good scrap which resulted in this chub. I reckon about two pounds - and a great way to the end the day. I was very wet by the time I got back to the car but relieved that an evening which had begun so listlessly had ended on such a good note. I shall try to take this lesson forward this season and if something isn't working I'll change it.

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