Hello-my name is Dan James.
I am extremely fortunate to live in the countryside. One of my favourite places to fish is the River Windrush and it is a tributary to the River Thames.
I started fishing at the age of 8, but I stopped for about 10 years. Life became busy. Then I realised, fishing was paramount to our mental wellbeing.
My Father fished the Windrush as a child himself and he has seen many changes over the years. When he fished, the River was abundant with a variety of fish. Large Chub, large Roach and Dace to name a few. Sadly, over the years the river became very polluted due to raw sewage being dumped into by the water company. Thanks mainly to the campaign by a group called W.A.S.P (Windrush Against Sewage Pollution.), naming and shaming the water company, slowly the River is regenerating.
My first session on the Windrush 2020, I went with my Cousin. It was a beautiful and calm sunny day in the Autumn. Whilst we were there, the local Bailiff showed me the best places to fish. He also said, over the last two to three years, we have been producing close to the British record of large Dace. Whilst I was there, I caught my first ever Gudgeon. I was very lucky as it was my first cast of the day. The excitement I experienced when the quiver tip arched round and subsequently caught the fish, has never left me. The next few times after casting with no success for about 45 minutes, I decided to move upstream to a fishing hole called “Perches Pool”. In the hope to catch a large Perch but to no avail. However, I caught my first Grayling. More by luck than judgement I must admit, as it was on the wind back! I shouted to my Cousin, “Fish on!” After catching, he explained to me, a Grayling has a colourful Dorsal fin and the one I caught, was particularly nice.
Later, we moved upstream in search of finding and hopefully catching the elusive Chub. This Swim has been known to catch large Chub in the past. It is called “The Horseshoe” because of its shape. I recalled my Father telling he had caught a 4lb Chub on triple maggots years ago. Once I saw “The Horseshoe”, and saw the overhanging trees and deep bends, I knew I was in for a real treat! After my first couple of casts and seeing the quiver tip fly round I was throwing maggots in to get the fish feeding and I have missed a few bites by this stage, I thought I am sure I will catch a fish in a minute.! So, I changed tactics, and used my Fathers method triple maggots. I re casted out to the same spot where I was producing bites and I chucked a few more maggots in. I will never forget the excitement and the huge grin on my face. Then the quiver tip shot round that quick the rod bent double. I said, “wow! This is a really big fish! The fish went deep in the water and I could of only think of one thing. This is a Chub and believe it or not, they fight so hard like a Carp do on the lake. It pulled straight towards the snags. I said, “Please no don’t come off. After about 10 to 15 minutes scrapping, it was still holding deep in the snags. Somehow, I got it out and for one moment I thought I had lost it. But it was still there, and I could see the fish coming to the surface finally! I thought what a beautiful colour and presentation the Chub was. It was quite remarkable. It was larger than I originally thought and weighing in at 1.5lb. I was over the moon, when you catch a Chub like that, it really does make your day and you will never, ever forget that special moment.
For those of you that have never fished the Windrush, just being there is so tranquil and calm. It is so relaxing. There are many stretches along the water that is peaceful and quiet. Allowing you to trot the float down the long stretches and many deep fishing holes at 10ft deep, which produce large fish where they can hold up in.
As I finished the day, and was heading back home, I stopped and looked back at the river one more. I said to my Cousin, “Life is certainly precious and enjoy each day as it comes, especially now the Pandemic is overtaking our lives, breathe deeply and be thankful for our world and it’s wildlife”.
For more information for a beginner, feel free to check out my YouTube Channel: -https://youtu.be/BhWDP2YnUus