The years passed and many Chub were caught. 2lb fish became a rarity and the average stamp was between 31/2 to 41/2lb I lost count of the upper 4lb fish but it seemed impossible to break the 5lb barrier never mind capture the elusive 6lb. Never the less I was enjoying fishing my local stretch and year after year it continued to produce some astounding fish……specimen Dace to 1lb, a 15lb Carp and some fantastic nets of winter Roach to over 1lb including one as long as my forearm ( I’d forgotten my scales but it was by far the biggest Roach I’ve ever had) Now at this point I am sure some folk will be asking themselves where all the pictures are of these stunning fish, well these were the days before mobile phones and I’ve never been one for photographing fish, the few photos I did take are still with my ex-wife, or by now probably in landfill !!!!
The year 2006 and a phone call out of the blue from my old fishing buddy Richard. He was coming down to visit and should he bring some tackle?…. Hell yes!… lets have a days fishing.
Now Richard is a quality angler and someone I have fished with from childhood so I was looking forward to having his company. Pike was to be the target for the day, he does like his Pike fishing. As my usual stretch of river is not noted for big Pike we fished downstream a little where the river is wider. A couple of early runs resulted in one fish on the bank, low double, then nothing for the rest of the day. During our endless chat I recounted the tale of the huge Roach I had caught some weeks earlier from the section further upstream, He fancied a go so with the light starting to fade we packed up, shot home for the castors left over from the previous weekends match, grabbed a couple of float rods and headed back.
Richard fished waggler on the drop but I fancied trying for one or two fishing very shallow, 12”, in 5ft of water and trickle feeding free offerings. This approach had worked well in the past.
I steadily fed castors at the rate of half a dozen every 30 seconds or so and waited….. and waited…. After about 20 minutes in the darkening light I saw the merest hint of a swirl on the surface, 5 minutes later another, then another this time a definite fish just under the surface. I reached round and picked up my rod, Shimano Specimen Match, Centerpin 4lb mainline through to a size 16, baited up with a nice dark castor and very gently flicked iy out to where I had seen the Roach swirl.
BANG!….The float shot away and the rod arched right over and within seconds I was attached to the reeds on the far bank (anyone know how fish do that?) “Well that was no Roach Richard” I said.
Resisting the temptation to recast I continued feeding and soon I was seeing the gentle swirls in my swim. Time for attempt two. Same procedure, slowly pick up the rod and ease it out over the water so as not to spook any fish, a gentle slow flick and BANG!!… In again and it bolted for the far bank but this time I clamped down hard with my thumb, the fish turned and was soon landed. 3lb 14oz of beautiful Chub. “I thought we were supposed to be fishing for Roach?” Richard quipped, “Sorry I forgot” I replied. “strangely I’ve never caught a Chub in this swim before”
“That’s a good one to finish on, Shall we call it a day?” I asked
“Let’s give it 10 mins” Replied Richard, so I rebaited and fed in preparation of one last cast.
By this time it was dark but the wall lights on the building opposite were reflecting off the still water. Same procedure ‘bait & wait’ ….. there’s a swirl, slowly pick up the rod, gentle flick, and yet again BANG !!! as expected this fish made for the far bank I clamped my thumb down hard on the old centerpin and it turned, I slowly played it to the middle of the river and was about to reach for the landing net and it turned and ran again, no way was I stopping this run but luckily for me it ploughed straight down the middle of the river, “This is a better one Rich!” I exclaimed but he knew and was already coming to join me. After a few more runs I felt the fish was finished and I slid it over the rim of the net. We both clambered up the bank and laid the net in the damp grass.
“Jeez that’s a gud un!” Richard muttered, I said nothing…. not a word.. I couldn’t. There lay in my net the most fin perfect Chub, all 6lb 1oz of it as it turned out.
Back at home I smiled at the thought of 18 years hard Chub fishing and I finally get my goal whilst fishing castor for Roach, and I’ve still never caught a 5lb Chub from the Chelmer and I honestly believe that my 6lb fish was not as big as the one I saw from the bridge
We shared a beer or two and we both agreed “It’s a funny old game this fishing!”
Footnote. .. If you are planning to do a fishing blog in 20 years or so from now,,, take plenty of 3D Holographic pictures.