The Half Term Campaign Chapter 1 – ‘Snow Bream’
This week is half term and for me, that only means one thing. Fishing! Although I’m at home all the time at the moment due to online schooling, I still have work to do so I haven’t been fishing much. This week I managed to hit the bank most days so have a few blogs lined up. This first blog will be about my first days fishing a small tidal river in Essex.
I spent the Saturday preparing my gear and bait. I was hoping to catch some of the chub that reside in the river and after talking to fellow blogger Andrew, I decided to make some cheese paste. I wanted to try something different and Andrew suggested adding anything which is bloody or that absolutely stinks so I blended up some lamb liver and mixed it in with the cheese before adding the spices and flour. It absolutely stunk and I had loads of blended liver left over so I mixed it with breadcrumb to use as a groundbait. I made a few batches and added different spices to each including garlic, cumin, chilli and turmeric.
I won’t go into detail on how to make the cheese paste but if you’d like to know more you can check out Andrews blog on it. https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt3/
With the gear prepared and packed into just a rucksack, I headed to bed.
Me and my mate Jack woke up early on Sunday and cycled to the river, getting there for about half past 7. We started the day by cycling the length of the river to the weir where it meets the saltwater part of the river. We had never ventured this far down river and wanted to give it a scout out to see if there were any deeper parts. We had a look and a lead around and ended up fishing for about an hour. I opted to use my cheese paste on a light ledger and Jack opted to do the same but with pellets. After an hour without any bites we packed up and decided to head to a stretch upstream where we had caught fish before.
The next spot was a stretch of river separate to the stretch we fished before due to another weir pool. The main feature of this stretch is a bridge / tunnel. Unfortunately, you can’t fish the upstream side of the bridge and trot under it because it’s on private land however you can access the downstream side, this is where we were fishing. Jack switched over to the float and opted to fish with sweetcorn in a small eddy just at the exit of the tunnel under the bridge. I fished underneath a small overhanging tree and decided to persevere with my cheese paste on a ledger. We waited a while but we were confident in this spot. Jack managed to hook a fish after about half an hour in this spot but unfortunately it came off. We hoped that it hadn’t spooked the shoal and luckily it hadn’t. After about another 20 minutes, Jack was in again and he was off the mark with a chub of about a pound. After that fish, we gave it another half hour but with no results decided to put a couple of handfuls of bait in and head off to another spot which was about a foot deeper than the rest of the river.
This next spot is quite a squeeze and can just about be fished by 2 people at once. There’s a pipe running across the river and I took the inside left slack and fished with my cheese paste and Jack fished the right hand side and trotted down the middle. It wasn’t long before Jack had caught another chub. Not long after, I got a bite however missed it because I was checking the weather forecast. I recast to check my paste hadn’t been stolen and waited eagerly. Jack’s float edged under the pipe towards my swim and he apologised for entering my water. It was a good trot, so I told him to leave it and not worry. Well within 5 seconds of me saying that his float shot under and he was connected to something bigger than the rest, it was a nice 2lb chub.
We thought that after all the commotion, we may have spooked the fish so put a few handfuls of corn in and decided to head back to the bridge. When we got to the bridge, we found someone else fishing there so decided to head back to the pipe swim. At this point, I was losing faith in my cheese paste and Jack was feeling sorry for me.
It was nearly the end of the day so Jack offered to lend me his float and rig and corn for the last half hour. I positioned my rig exactly where Jack caught the big chub and waited. After 10 or so minutes the float shot under and I lifted into the fish. To my surprise a bream popped his head up. We’d never caught a bream from this river before and only ever thought we’d seen one. I was finally off the mark in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt with this bream. We grabbed some photos and slipped him back before packing up and calling it a day.
We were buzzing for what the next day had in stall for us and rightly so, the fishing was even better. Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second part of this mini series so I hope to see you again tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek of what the day had in stall for us.