I watched the weather like the proverbial hawk for days before finally deciding when to venture out. I had also been lingering around the EA web page like a bit of a stalker as well. Then right on schedule the rain began to fall and the river which I had convinced myself was receding once again began to rise steadily like gas bill on the run up to winter.
There was really nothing I could do but to continue to follow my theory that the woodland pool that once contained monster perch hopefully still should. I knew the carp were always going to be a little forthcoming considering the current mild temperatures, but after last weeks’ bagging session I suspected that I knew where to avoid fishing.
I was right for once as well. When I arrived at the deserted pool and walked down the spongy tree lined bank I spotted several boisterous carp rolling in pretty much the exact same area where they were crashing around last visit. So giving them some space I set up in a deepish area well away from the party that has a nice bit of cover, which I felt might be attractive to a perch or two. There was another reason I fancied this area. Last week as I built a respectable match weight I kept seeing a kingfisher zipping up and down the pool. From where I was fishing if I ducked down I could see through the thicket to where the little blue streak was perched. Time and time again this little bird dived bombed into the water coming back with a perfect bite sized roach every time. Of all of the swims on this ignored pool this area had to be a likely area where to find a perch.
Now I am not sure whether it's because I have been feeding so much prawn as I’ve fished over the winter, or whether they have always liked them, but the perch in this pool do seem to be rather keyed into the little pink stinkers now. Last visit I was getting two different bites using them, by different I mean the rod wasn't nearly wrenched from my hands, and I suspected the cause of those bites may have been perch. Even with a backup supply of worms, I had prior to arriving made the decision to fish only prawn on both rods and it was good job I did, because after letting a light scattering of chopped prawn stew, I got an instant reaction by way of a well formed perch of a pound and a half.
The perch was still visible sulking on the bottom when I heard some odd noises begin. Honestly I thought it was a farmer in one of the surrounding fields making the deep rumbling racket with some kind of agricultural machinery. Then my phone rang and my ever caring other half JB asked me if I was under cover. That's when I heard the rumble again and this one was followed by the unmistakable crack of lightning. Needless to say the conversation was quickly ended, my rods were removed from my general vicinity and reluctantly I put up my umbrella and secured it as best I could. Moments after I had finished a mini hurricane began as a wall of hail approached. When it reached me the pressure of the falling hailstones and howling wind bent my brolly right round. Though I really didn't want to cling onto the metal pole I had zero choice as without me as stabilising weight it would have been ripped away very soon.
Thirty minutes of repeatedly saying my 'please don't strike me' mantra over and over again and the storm passed. Even with blue sky on the horizon I felt my session may have been well and truly gazumped by the hail. Even though I had spent the entire squall looking up at the sky for lightning bolts the fact that a large amount of ice had been dumped into the pool hadn't gone by me. Knowing this was my only chance out for a few days I had to stick it out for the last few hours even if I thought I had little chance. Half-heartedly I recast both rods back over the baited area and waited. I only just spotted the first float bury in the ripples caused by water still dripping from the trees before the line pulled taught and I was chuckling away as the carp responsible tore line from the clutch when the second rod jumped nearly clear from the rest.
This took the biscuit. I was sitting on a clear pool, in January, after a thunder/lighting storm, the water temp had to have cooled noticeably after all that ice was just dumped in it and I was sitting there with a rod in each hand and two clutches that both needed attention. With one rod trapped between my knees I turned the rampaging carp which had calmed a little. Lucky for me it ran straight along the back and in a moment of pure cheek I scooped it up first time it surfaced. That one down I turned my attention to the other bent rod to find that although this fish was smaller it was ultimately a different sort of fighter and dirty one at that. Last visit I caught two of these interlopers at the end of my session so I knew what it was. Then after a big pair rubbery set of lips appeared on the surface I slid my carp filled net under a chub to finish of a bizarre post storm brace.
Turned out that the weather did little to deter the fish from feeding and for the next two hours more small carp and chub circled over my bait. Even if there was any more perch around I think they stood little chance of getting onto the prawn buffet with both carp and chub firmly in residence. I knew this pool contained a few chub that arrived as part of a rescue mission years ago, but up until know I had never really caught many of them. It would seem that my switch from worms to prawns as hook baits might be the obvious explanation for this turn in species. Two more long thin chub were unable to resist my whole prawn hook baits as night fell.
What was noticeable about this chub was their condition; they might have been long and thin but they were perfectly formed in every way and judging by the amount of prawn mush the wretches were regurgitating, it was them that were clearing out most of my freebies. Although I have caught a couple of chub whilst fishing prawns on the river it’s never really been a bait I associated with this species. However after seeing how much these fish are into them, I know that if the rains do subside soon I certainly fancy giving them a try on the Avon before the end of the season.