My year has not started well at all! I made that stupid mistake we all make from time to time and proclaimed that 'touch wood I had not been ill so far this winter'! As a result of this frivolous and poorly vetted comment I became ill on new years eve and have been ill ever since. Without being too graphic, I have suffered just about everything this virus has to offer all parts of the human body. Happily I am just about over it and the only the remaining symptom is that my voice resembles a rusty wrought iron gate swinging in a stiff breeze.
My problems of late have been compounded by my car getting written off just before the holidays and me now being reliant on the charity of others for transport. Though it all seemed to be coming good with a Sunday trip on the cards down the Avon. But! and that's a BIG but!!! only one thing stood in my way. The winter bloggers meet at a local watering hole. And that went a bit like this... a group of anglers turn up at real ale serving establishment, they chat mercilessly on one topic whilst downing pint jars full of ale like rampant Vikings and sometime after the others started to slip away so my did memory. After that point what I could remember was like a movie montage. Glasses, laughter and Keith applying make up to Jeff...
I awoke the next day with some kind of chili sauce caked into my beard and with my throat feeling like I'd eaten thumb tacks. A cup of tea later and the faint recollection that we had meant to have gone fishing crept into my head.
Whilst I attempted to salve my rising heart burn, Robert confirmed that we had in fact inducted Jeff into the mornings proposed session and that we were already an hour and a half late to collect him. Immediately we struck into action! Rob like a sedated slow loris and me like a stoned tortoise. We did eventually pick up Mr Hatt. Two and a half hours late, but that didn't matter as he was just about as confused on the previous nights arrangements as us.
It wasn't until we seemed to be travelling in the wrong direction that I asked Rob whom was piloting this precision mission where we were going, as he was driving a seeming long way of course. It turned out we had changed plans the night before and were going exploring today not back to an old haunt.
With a fuzzy head and my recent fishing drought, all I cared about was the presence of water and certainly not location. Soon enough we arrived at a river. Which was actually the fat arse end of mine and Jeff's beloved river Sowe. But for all us three knew about this bit it could have been anywhere.
The weir looked the part so I snatched the primo swim whilst Jeff was gawping at his plump mistress rolling by and whilst Rob scampered of through the thicket searching for pastures new. Only problem was how to get down a step bank without ether vomiting or falling in. I managed it and quickly applied my new simplified fishing mathematics to the venue.
January + River + Angler + Hook + pungent cheese paste = Chub
First cast of the new year and one fish! this can't be bad. So I tried again and cast my over sized cheese ball into the flow. This time it rolled back to my own bank unhindered. But half way through my third roll, tap tap strike ended with something big ripping me off. It had to be a barbel which I know for a fact exist just downstream in the Avon, as no chub in Europe was snapping the agricultural gear I had on.
I thought the capture of one fish and the loss of another may have ruined the swim so I cast around the tail of the pool thinking the fish may have backed off a bit and explored all eddies and riffles.
The classic one last cast under the most precarious bush on the whole swim brought me a second nice chub just before I upped sticks to wander off downstream in search of a new swim.
The rest of this section of the Sowe was virtually impossible to access, though we did discover a little gem of a run, where no less than five different fish rose to passing bread crusts. I got three takes at range by floating a hunk of crust downstream and missed every one like a numpty. My attempt at creeping closer only served to send them flying into cover. Now I have seen chub take crust of the top and know that If they come up to grab it they have it! But these fish were a lot more coy than any stupid chub I have ever seen and when I went right up close and took a peep, the culprits were gone and the swim was literally only inches deep. Leading me to conclude that they may have been not old rubber lips, but maybe just maybe that rarest of Warwickshire fish population. Wild trout!