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Joe Chappell Lure River

A Soggy Morning

I walked through the door at 4am with a belly full of alcohol and kebab. I stumbled up the stairs as quietly as I could as to not disturb my mum and dad who were fast asleep. I opened my bedroom door more cautiously than a prisoner might do while escaping the bars locking them inside. I got into bed and the warm hug of my duvet sent me to sleep almost instantly despite the loud, continuous ringing in my ears.  

Just two hours later my dad poked his head around my bedroom door to tell me it was time to get up. I was surprisingly untired and still feeling a little giggly from last nights intoxication. After getting dressed in three layers and a glass of fresh cold water it was time to leave. Destination: The River Chelmer. Target: Something Toothy.

My dad and I arrived at Hoe Mill lock and were greeted by my dad’s childhood friend Russle and a couple of his ex-work colleagues Brian and Andy. They were all using light perch set-ups however I opted to try for something hopefully larger, a pike. We planned to walk west, towards Paper Mill lock where we were going to stop for a bite to eat.

It was my first time fishing the Chelmer despite it being so close to me. The river looked stunning in the morning glow. It was surprisingly clear and there was a nice amount of water flowing through. The air was crisp and fogging up in front of my nose with every breath. I was thankful of the many layers of clothing I had on.

After no more than 20 casts, something tried to attack my lure. Unfortunately, it was just as I was lifting the lure out of the water and nothing came of it. The early indication of feeding fish was really promising and we all hoped that it was a sign of what was to come.

The five of us kept moving along, leapfrogging each other and trying different spots. There was a likely looking spot along some reeds and I made the perfect cast. I brought my lure parallel with the bank and something struck my lure. I struck in return and it was fish on! My prize was small jack pike which was in perfect condition. Its green scales glinted in the morning sun and it stared back at me with a toothy  grin. We took a quick snap before returning it back to it’s watery lair.

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We marched on but the ground was treacherous and slippery and clogged our boots with thick mud. We made cast after cast, the wet braid numbed my hands to the point where I had to ask my dad to change lure for me. I had to swap over from the lure I was using because I had straightened out the hook on a snag.     

The rain started but we soldiered on, perch, pike and bacon in our sights. Finally after a couple of hours Andy managed to catch a fish. It wasn’t the perch he was after but a toothy little pike.

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We had all under anticipated the walk between hoe mill and paper mill. With the stopping to fish, it was 4 hours before we made it. We were all wet and hungry. I set my gear down and realised that my lure box was missing. My bag was open so I wasn’t sure if it had fallen out or whether maybe I’d left it where I last changed lure. I just hoped we would find it on the way back.

We stopped off at the café at papermill, the food was really great and the cake was nice too. I’d recommend a stop there if you’re passing by and feeling a bit peckish.

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The choice of setup for my dad.

After filling our bellies we were back on the move. We did much less fishing on the way back. The ground was duplicitous, one minute we were ankle deep in mud and the next we were slipping like Bambi. Thankfully I found my lure box but unfortunately, none of us caught anything on the way back.

Despite the poor fishing, it was a fun day out. It was nice to catch up with Brain the Bridge Troll Holland and Russle, it was nice to meet Andy for the first time too. It was great to spend some time fishing with my dad and I finally got one back on him because last time we went fishing he caught the only pike of the day.

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The pike my dad caught on New Years Eve.

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