With the rivers still carrying plenty of water, I headed back for another crack at College Pool this week. I went for a complete change, ditching the straight lead gear and going for a float approach in much shallower water.
Most of the pool is very deep, but the end pegs are a lot shallower and offer a bit of variety, along with some cover in places. Having seen fish up in water the previous week I fancied trying one of the end pegs and took the easy option of the car park end - not that I had a choice as the far end (my preferred choice) had already gone.
It was a slow start but bites eventually started to come. They were pretty difficult to hit though. In hindsight I'm sure a pole would have given me a better success rate, but mine hasn't seem the light of day for a few seasons now. I hate those moments when you hook a decent fish on light pole gear and you know which way it's going to end. This pool has its share of hard fighting carp that now run into double figures, along with the odd barbel, so I prefer to stick to a running line to give me a fighting chance.
Bonus fish didn't show though and like others around me I had to settle for a few roach and perch. For once it was easy to know how others were doing, as there were 11 of them to keep me company. That's about the same number of people I've seen all year down on the river! I think it was a case of decent weather and people desperate to get back on the bank again. It's not my cup of tea when it's like that.
It was a good excuse to test out a new centre pin reel that was bought for me for Christmas - the Matt Hayes version marketed by Dragon Carp. I'd previously gambled on their Marco Cortesi version a couple of years ago and I've been quite impressed by it for what it is. It's not a top notch big name pin, but it spins very freely and does the job pretty well for me. For £40 it was a decent buy.
The Matt Hayes version costs an extra £20 and doesn't spin anywhere near as freely (or have I got a duff one?), but with a line guard and adjustable drag it makes for better handling. The acid test will be when I get to try a spot of trotting with it to see if it will spin well enough. I'm sure it will be fine.
Once again I was kept company by the local wildlife - two robins this time from the off. One of them seemed to be looking down on me every time I looked over my shoulder.
A very friendly chaffinch also popped by and wanted a piece of the action, seemingly refusing to budge until I surrendered some of my red maggots in its direction.
Once again this week we are in the lap of the gods as to whether the rivers will be fishable come the weekend. My gut feeling is that I might be disappointed again...