Brian Holland

When a river flows

As I sit here on my club lake with still bobbing’s watching donut rings appearing over my spots, I am ever confident of sneaking one out before moving on to the river Chelmer tomorrow for a pike and perch session.

Last weekend was a bit of a washout in more ways than one, an urgent job at work stopped the normal Friday night session and was left with a Saturday 18 hours for carp before heading off for the normal perch session. I have deliberately made Sunday’s river day so that I get some exercise, parking at Beeleigh lock and walking to Hoe Mill, As the carp fishing amounted to nothing, I packed up and drove to Maldon, parked, sorted out my gear. I travel light, a 6ft 0.5 to 6-gram iron claw rod, Spro urban 1000 reel loaded with 8lb braid, I tie a 2 to 3ft 4lb fluorocarbon lead and a 1-gram Texas rig. The starting lure is a 2″ fluke made by FFS lures, a ruck sack with a few odds and ends, a net and small mat. There had been a lot of rain in the past week so the Chelmer was high and had a fast flow but was still clear, I always start under the bridge at Beeleigh as the lock is closed and slowly retrieve the lure through the water raising it off the bottom and then lettings it sink until the line goes slack holding for a couple of seconds before flicking it again. unfortunately the lock was open so change of plan I dropped to the other side of the lock casting to a slack water, as I slowly retrieved and I felt a knock, I held the line and then it tighten up and I was into my first wasp, the same for the next three casts, brilliant four casts four wasps this was going to be a good day, although it did turn into a good day, it was bloody hard work. As I walked up trying the normal spots nothing was either there or taking due to the flow. It took me a while to work out that if the cast was more into the flow I could then jig the lure round to place it underneath overhanging trees and bushes where I found them sitting in anticipation of my lure drifting towards them, by the end of the session I had bagged 15.

On to Wednesday where I decided to have a half day off work and go to the Chelmer for another session, it had been raining so I was expecting it to be hard. I parked at church road with the intention of walking to Stoneham lock. as I got to bridge the flow was rapid and the water was mud brown, so off I trotted trying to find some slack to no avail. Using the same casting and retrieve technique of trying to place the lure under branches and snags I found nothing to accept the bait. Little Baddow lock was like a rampaging torrent and was lapping over the low-lying part of the lock, so I continued to Stoneham having a flick or two on the way. At Stoneham, the lock and below the lock were slack due to the weir dragging the river down around the lock, happy days, but except for one knock nothing, trying different lures of shapes and colours it was dire. So back I trudged to church road. Getting there I crossed over to the little blue bridge where a small inlet through a caravan park flows into the Chelmer again this was flowing fast with no slack area. So back to the car with a blank I headed. Before getting there, I thought I would try one last cast in the opposite bank between a couple of bushes, more like drop shotting than retrieving, and hey presto a little wasp hit the lure saving my blank. even only catching one in conditions than are not suited to fishing made the afternoon

So on to Sunday where I met a friend at hoe mill for perch and pike walking to Paperlock Mill, arriving at dawn I set up my Nash h-gun for pike, even though it being designed specifically for carp, I find the 6ft 2lb test curve ideal for lure on the Chelmer, with a Daiwa ninja 2500 reel loaded with 20lb braid and a 12″ 0.45 trace, I chose to use a fulling mill UV flashtail whistler lure with a 7 gram jig head.

With the weather being over cast we set off full of expectations, just out of the moorings I miss cast into the centre of the Chemer instead of close to the opposite bank on the retrieve a jack struck and took the lure perfectly and I reeled him in with little fight. From this point it turned into a hard session with only a wasp taken on a fluke, on the way back I crossed at Rushes lock to cast into the back weir pool. Due to overhanging trees side casting was the only way to get the lure into the weir, now I still do not know if it was tiredness of the continuing casting or that my hands were wet but the rod got released out of my hand on the cast. I know what you are thinking is that it shot into the weir, no it shot sideways like a dart straight into a tree snapping the tip, end of the h-gun. I carried on casting all the way back to Hoe Mill without a sniff.

Hopefully, next weekend the perch will be in full force.

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