With Brian having a free day, I took the chance to use up some time owed to me from work for a Friday session. It was pretty obvious early in the week that the river would be out of sorts, so we opted for College Pool and were joined by Charlie.
The worst of the overnight weather had gone through by the time we arrived and was showing signs of clearing up. It was still pretty fresh though. Thankfully sense prevailed and we chose 3 pegs at the far end of the pool with the wind firmly behind us.
The pool was looking a bit healthier than it did towards the end of last year. The water level seemed to be dropping quite a bit over time and some of the impecably well kept pegs had been left perched quite a few feet above the water line. Today was different though and the level looked to be about a foot up from where it had been.
Those who know the pool will realise that an extra foot of water probably means having 15 foot of depth at the end of your rod, rather than 14 foot! I recall the first time I fished the pool many years ago. Setting up with bog standard waggler tactics I set about plumbing the depth and quickly gave up the ghost when my 13 foot rod was clearly a long way short of the mark! At that time I hadn't discovered a pole or the slider method, so fishing on the bottom was leger only in those days.
These days I have my secret weapon - a 15 foot rod with a 2 foot extension. It's a perfect tool for for this pool, albeit it's a bit of an unwieldy beast when the wind is gusting around like it was today. I had 15-16 foot of depth at the end of my rod and i fished it pretty much pole style with one of my medium sized home made avon floats, with all the weight at the bottom end. Slightly crude maybe, but in tricky conditions finesse sometimes has to go out of the window. Actually, finesse isn't a word you'd generally associate with my fishing, so these conditions were perfect!
This character isn't Brian
The session started slowly with all of us struggling for bites. Charlie and I had balled it early doors on a close in line with the hope of getting some bream action. Brian opted to fish a bit further out and balled in on a different line. After about half an hour I opened my account with a small roach and the action (if that's the right word) picked up from there. Bites started to pick up and I kept the feed trickling in and the fish seem to respond to it. I had a few more roach and perch over the next hour or so.
Meanwhile Brian was also having some success and proudly shouted over to claim a highly prized perch. For someone who doesn't care much for perch (doesn't like handling them), I've never heard such enthusiam for one of the little critters (of which there are thousands in this pool!). Anyway it was game on and a point on the challenge scorecard.
A call of nature was in order and on the way back I had a chat with Charlie, who was on a blank at this point. Charlie is actually a technically decent angler - brought up fishing in the Black Country on the Severn and Teme. He can tie tiny spade end hooks by hand in the blink of an eye, which is one of my ultimate measures of ability. I take the easy route using a hook tyer!
Anyway, while chewing the fat his rod tip gave a sharp tap. I immediately dismissed it as a line bite, being the optimist I am. Then a 2nd tug was followed by a more solid pull around and he was into something proper. It became obvious it wasn't one of the resident carp or barbel - you tend to know when you hook those! It was one of the bream they introduced last year and it wasn't long before it was in the net. A decent fish, it weighed in at 5lb 2oz.
The next couple of hours saw us all banking a few more fish of no great size, before things slowed down considerably after lunch for no apparent reason.
There was a moment of excitement when Brian came wandering over, clutching a rudd he'd taken on bread. "Gotta be half a pound" he claims. So, we put it on the scales and they read 7oz. No bonus point! Still, another new species for Brian.
Charlie had just wandered away from his peg momentarily, having seen no action for a long while. While talking to me he spots his rod tip doing a merry dance. "There's a fish on mine", he says, "but it's only a small one by the look of it". Casually, he wanders back in antipation of a tiny perch on the end and looking at the rather tap, tap nature of the bite, I subscribed to the theory.
He lifts the rod gently and it just arches over as he connects with another solid fish. It's another bream - not quite as big as the previous one, but more than welcome at around the 4lb mark.
All in all, a pleasant day's fishing and there was no hint of a blank in sight. Maybe things are looking up! I must admit that I'm itching to get on the river before the season closes, so it's fingers crossed that things settle down over the next few days.
I have decided to apply a bit of leniency with the challenge rules and Brian's 7oz rudd will be given bonus status, on the basis that it did warrant a check on the scales. As a result he now levels things up at 4 all.