At long last we finally got to try out the delights that Mythe Farm offers. Although there was a sharp overnight frost, it was a stunning morning with not a cloud in sight. The first job was to sign the guest book and to try to glean a bit of info from our host. However, he wasn't a fisherman and so all he could do was to point us in the direction of the river. To be honest, that was good enough for us.
There's always something special about tackling a new river for the first time. On this occasion it was even better as we had 2 rivers to explore, peaceful surroundings and no-one in sight! Does it get any better we thought?
We meandered our way through to a large meadow and eyed up a few pegs along the way. Some of them clearly required a bit of jungle warfare so we carried on until we spotted something a little easier to access to kick the day off. We settled on a kind of S bend in the river, myself taking the upstream bend and Brian taking the dowstream one.
To cut to the chase, it produced nothing. Early optimism had now dwindled into the reality that this might be a tougher nut to crack than we had thought. I set about hatching the next plan. A good walk downstream was in order, to locate the point where the rivers meet - King Dick's Hole.
What a glorious looking hole it was too. There were a few likely spots and one area looked to have nice bit of extra depth to it. I was sold on it so I wandered back to get my gear and Brian.
Spot the Brian!
I continued with a feeder/lead approach, but as things were again slow, I took the chance to get set up a shallow float rig with a centre pin. I reeled in the feeder rig to discover something attached to the end of the rig. Was it a twig, or was it a leaf I thought? Then it appeared to flap around and it was definitely a fish. More importantly for the challenge, something different - something very different. It was a Bullhead and the first one I've ever caught.
Sorry about the crap photo, but they aren't the easiest thing to photograph. Another point for the challenge though.
Brian had now sized up his swim and deemed it fit for the predator treatment. It didn't take too long for him to get amongst the action either. He shouted across that he was getting a slow take on the deadbait and sure enough he connected with the fish. I moved into action grabbing the scales and camera and set about scrambling over to his peg. Sadly, I had to abort the mission as the Pike won the battle after a brief scrap.
Brian was gutted and from what he saw of the fish, he felt it was a definite double. It left a bitter taste in the mouth and many expletives were uttered over the next few minutes. I think Brian even contemplated chucking himself in the river.
I had no luck whatsoever in my swim and while Brian had missed a few bites, we failed to bank anything. I had taken a brief wander upstream to test out a fishy looking swim, but it also failed to produce. I arrived back in my peg to discover a group of kids had invaded the far bank and were intent of fishing.
There was no question of them asking if they could fish directly opposite us - they simply decided they were going to fish and to hell with whoever was already there! It was time to call it a day in these swims. To be honest the kids probably did me a favour as they helped to force me to try other swims.
I made my way back upstream and found a couple of decent looking runs. I settled on a peg near to an overhanging tree and with a nicely sheltered run down the near bank. It wasn't looking good after a biteless half hour, but I kept feeding it and hoped for the best.
Eventually a bite came but it was very finicky and I missed it. I quickly cast out to the same spot and within a minute another similar bite occurred. This time I did connect and I was into something that was giving a spirited fight in the fast water. It was a Chub and one that needed a check on the scales. It went 2lb 8oz, so although far from a specimen, it nudged up the current challenge mark for that species by half a pound.
The action didn't exactly take off though, but that one fish at least helped to make me a lot more positive. I continued to feed the liquidized bread and eventually got some further reward when I hooked into another fish that felt fairly decent. It briefly looked like a Chub, but then I started to doubt it. Was it a big Grayling I thought? Dream on! It's going to be a Chub isn't it?
It then hit the surface and a big grin appeared on my face. It was a Trout - the first one I'd ever caught in this country. I had caught them before as a kid many years ago in Ireland during a spot of poaching. I didn't realise we were poaching by the way - my dad just got his rivers mixed up - well he's sticking to that story anyway!
Anyway, back to the present and a fine looking Trout of 1lb 11oz was in the net. Another species and a further bonus point for the weight too.
The day ended shortly after 5 and by then it was starting to get a bit cold and we were glad to get back to the relative warmth of the car.
We'll definitely be back for another go - almost certainly next season now though. In hindsight we probably weren't mobile enough on the day, but it's all part of the learning curve.