As you may know I am not what you call a fair weather fisherman. I am what you would call an addict,An angler that will venture out in all conditions in order to scratch his ever tingling itch.So the river is rising and falling like a yo yo at the moment and the banks are treacherous quagmires of mud.this does not make for the most safe and comfortable fishing but the fish themselves don't just disappear and life goes on for our finned friends so why would I not continue to fish for them?.... Answer; I don't!
I have been quite busy on the banks lately fishing both still and running water.
On a rather over cast and muggy evening I met up with Neil for a spot of fishing on the river.The water was very coloured and it looked good for a fish or two. Neil kicked off the session by feeding half a pint of maggot and caster via a bait dropper.I fed a line upstream With a few feeder loads of bread mash and casters.For my hook-bait I had a small pinch of bread flake on a size 14 whilst Neil went slightly heavier with a maggot clip rig.After a while the Dace and Minnows were proving to be a bit of a nuisance, it looked like they were the only fish in our swim. However I did have a good whack on my quiver tip but I some how missed the bite. A change of plan was in order so we decided to top the swim up but change our hook baits over to 10mm Factor 7 boiley's from Splash baits making them dace proof. As the light faded The tip of Neils rod wrenched round as a fish bolted off in realisation of its mistake.Neil was quick to grab the rod and from the way the fish was fighting we both assumed he was into a small carp.We were proved terribly wrong when I slid the net under the biggest Chub I have seen in my life.
The moment was like when Neil landed a 28lb 12oz pike last October! We were both gob smacked and could hardly believe what lay there in front of us. At 6lb 4oz this could very well be a river record but frankly it doesn't matter,The Exe has very few specimen chub which makes this a truly remarkable capture.
With Luck on my side and a free evening I decided to give Zyg a call at Angler's paradise to enquire about the recent angling pressure on the specimen catfish lake.They had not been fished for in days and surly would be hungry.Luck was again with me when he told me that the lake was empty and I could come and have it to myself....Perfect. Well ,not so perfect as a heavy storm had been predicted to last the whole night.Thankfully Neil is just as stupid as me and we both decided to ignore the extreme weather warning and rocked on down to see Mr Gregorek.
We entered reception greeted by a smiling Zyg.Ahhh u come looking for pussy he joked, Joking aside I told him just how much I wanted to tangle with a big cat. They most definitely are my bogey species and I have put allot of time and money into a so far giant cat-less campaign.I have caught a few low doubles and a couple of giant Sturgeon along the way but the big cats have always eluded me. As the blanks stack up, each session mounts more pressure on me than the last.
We set up camp and got the rods out oblivious to the fact that the sky behind us was threatening to smash some bivvy's and flood us and the other angler off the complex.A simple approach was made using running rigs and popped up 21mm halibut pellet hook-baits.After topping each spot up with a really oily mix of whole and chopped monster crab boileys and pellets a hasty retreat to the bivvy was made as the clouds emptied lashing of heavy rain down upon our humble camp.It was a real lock down situation with both doors of the bivvy zipped up to stop the howling wind and rain making life very uncomfortable.The scene was in the making for what would be an epic battle set on a dramatic stage of a raging storm. Darkness brought anticipation along with heavier wind and rain,We were cooped up in the tent laughing at the whole ordeal when the unthinkable happened.The receiver alerted me to some interest on the rod I had placed off the island,I smashed my way out the bivvy splashing through the boggy terrain to investigate.the bobbin began to rise as the line slowly peeled off the reel.
I nervously wound into the bite and swept the rod back over my shoulder twice which set the hook into what was clearly a monster.My 3.25tc rod was fully bent into submission,This was a proper zoo creature of a fish which led me into a number of swims as I could not do anything at all about it.The cat was taking me for a walk and its a bloody good thing that there was no one else on the lake as I would have surly wiped everybody's lines out. 15 minutes into the fight the fish was showing no signs of mercy, my arms were aching and my clothes were ringing wet-not to forget Neil who was also flapping around on the bank looking like he had walked through a car wash.We had not yet seen what I was playing as every time I thought the fish was near it would make a mockery of my heavily set clutch and bolt off again and again and again.The fight was going on for a long time and I was beginning to think the hook-link might go when the fish started to slow up, Neil sunk the net as I walked backwards nearly falling down the bank into the carp lake.I heaved the fish up and Neil didn't let me down.
Finally,I had done it,a beast of a cat lay there snorting at us on the sodden turf. Yes I was soaked through to my under garments but I didn't care,The search was over.
Til next time