I can't deny the River Leam has got me intrigued at the moment. It's one of those places I always thought not really worth bothering with, but earlier visits in the year have got me thinking otherwise. The sections below and up into Leamington Spa have up until now been the focus of my attention, but the sections leading out have so far been ignored.
A text from my old mate Andy Lewis prompted me to arrange a hook up with him to go and have a short prospecting afternoon session on these new upper town sections. Ironically I have been round the parks surrounding these stretches of river many times and I cross the bridges that run through them all the time when passing through Leamington Spa, but hand on heart I have never seen a single soul fishing on the Leam. So I was bit shocked when we arrived at a mint looking river to see that it was very obviously heavily fished.
We worked our way along the Mill Gardens section covering every square inch of water with all kinds of lures fished in every way we could think of, but all we had to show for our efforts was a single small jack which I nailed very early on, casting a savage gear 4play fungus roach swim bait on a five gram jig and working it very erratically along the bottom.
After thrashing the living shit out of Mill Gardens we crossed the road to check out Welches Meadow which leads out of the town. This bit of the Leam is a stunning bit of water to look at but worryingly seemed almost lifeless. Again the both of us worked really hard covering every angle, casting at every possible haunt, spot and feature. We'd been through at least half the stretch before I hooked into my second and last fish of the day, a nice perch which took a fancy to a large red head fox spiky shad I'd been working steadily along the margins.
That was it for my action. After fishing our way all the way along the meadow and back again we crossed back over the road to see if the quickly approaching darkness might spur a little action, just as the conditions became that bit more favourable for the predators. Andy wheedled out a similar sized perch to the one I'd had earlier on a white Eco gear bug ant, but that was it for the session.
Thinking about it now, two things bother me about these upper sections of the Leam. Firstly they are obviously fished quite a bit and from the look of the spots that are fished it's not anglers sitting for long periods of time, as there is little evidence of worn patches on the grass, signs of fishing boxes or bank stick holes. It's not hard to assume that lure anglers are going in and out of the swims, and that probably means the fish have seen their fair share of action and could have got a bit clued up already. Secondly, there was hardly any fish movement at all; both me and my companion for this session are very tuned into looking for topping fish and the like, and we saw only two signs of fish all afternoon. Given we fished right till dark, I would've thought we would have seen a decent bit of movement at the end of the day. The lack of fish activity has me thinking that maybe the larger part of the prey fish population might be holed up somewhere and with them could be most of the predators.
I reckon if I go back to these upper sections that I will really have to try and pin down the prey fish before casting something. I think it might actually be worth doing, as I keep hearing rumours of some big pike round these top sections. Even though I think they might be a bit pressured, I really like the idea of the challenge of searching out something decent from these town waters over the winter to come.