Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The winter and Leam blues

Every year about this time I begin to get the same feeling regarding my fishing; I suppose you might call it winter fishing blues or, on the other hand, you could call it a plain old mood 'cos I can't go and do what I want to. This feeling normally happens when fishing options - where to fish and what to do - get narrowed down by the onset of winter. Like many of my fellow bloggers I find the only option I have to fulfil my fishing addiction is to turn to chub fishing on small streams. I don't mind a bit of chub fishing here or there, but faced with no other real options it becomes quite a bind, and the prospect of doing nothing else for another month or so makes me start looking at the price of golf clubs on ebay. The situation this year has been compounded by my eagerness to plan for next years fishing challenge before the new year sets in, to enable me to bag the seven to ten new PB's I reckon I will need to win. This has resulted in me formulating a list if target species, venues and times of year in which to target them! So already before Xmas is even here, I am dreaming of warm summer evenings watching ripples emanating from a piece of peacock quill or baking behind a set of buzzers waiting for a screaming run. But back in reality at the top of my list for the new challenge the words chub, Avon and January bring me back with a slap...

The weather had eased off a bit toward the end of the week and with the feeling back in my toes after my last outing, I agreed with Rob to go on a exploring session with him to a river I have ignored purposely for a long time.

I don't know what it is about the river Leam in my home county of Warwickshire but it just does not excite me at all. I have heard rumours of good fishing here and there, I have had the odd session on it every so often, but every time I walk away from it I never get that feeling that I want to rush back. To be honest I have always seen it as the poor relation of the Avon with it's almost static flow and smaller fish. I am sure that it could be great in its own ways but it just doesn't wet the appetite enough for me to dedicate enough of my time to find out. Which is a real pity as in places its a real stunner...

Carrying only a tiny bag filled with a selection of baits, one light quiver tip rod and a landing net, Rob and  hopped over each other through some of the most savage scrub the English countryside has to offer. After  a hour or so, whilst running a stick float through a nice glide, Rob drew first blood with a nice chub before missing a couple of bites. The upper section we were exploring was all new to me even though it has always been on my Leamington angling club book. I have fished the lower half of this stretch but normally only when the canal nearby has been frozen. 

Bites were hard to come by but finally after moving back down to the bottom of the stretch I located a shoal of fish prepared to engage my morsel of bread. After forty minutes of tiny bites I did manage to contact with a fish. The disbelief that I had just spent all that time trying to catch a nano dace that wouldn't even be big enough to use as a perch bait shifted me on. 

It was much the same in the next swim as my rod tip trembled constantly before out of no where a real bite appeared. Watching the line zig-zag all over the river, seeing a flash of silver; I swear I nearly pooped my pants as I dared to dream it was a big roach! But only too soon a pair of big white lips appeared at the end of the landing net.

A nice 3lb chub was enough to put a smile on my face but just imagine what my face would have been like if it was a 3lb roach.... 

As I write this something just occurred to me from deep within my addled memory! A few years ago on this stretch not far away from where I caught this chub, Rob and myself spotted an epic pike lying in the edge waiting for a tasty chub to swim by. Now that is something that might tempt me back to the Leam in the next month or so...


  1. Man that's a big chub. We get river chub in the summer here, but not like that. I bet it put a nice bend in the fishing rod.

    The Average Joe Fisherman

  2. As Chub go here in the UK it is a very average fish. 3lb fish are common, 5lb fish are a good size, 6lb fish are getting into that special place and anything above that is considered a monster.
    The current UK record is over 8lb.

    I am not sure if our chub is the same species you get in the US. But I would be interested to find out, so if you leave the Latin name as your chub as a comment I will find out.

    And yes it did put a rather serious bend in my light quiver tip rod...