Lower Itchen Fishery
0830 - 1630.
Cool and overcast after a soggy start, rain returning just as we packed up, temps didn't get above 4ºC all day. River quite pacey with a slight tinge of colour.
37 Grayling; 14 over 1lb with half of these over 1½lb. Best two; 2lb 5oz & 1lb 13oz. 1 Brownie and 2 Salmon Parr.
IAC fish-in in memory of Paul Goulbourn.
A poignant day on the Itchen. Paul and I were introduced to this fishery back in the late 90's - via an IAC fish-in and we made a point of fishing it every season since - always scheduling a trip in mid to late Feb - so today was full of recollections of trips past and a fitting venue for some of his old IAC mates to gather in his memory.
The talk on the list this week has all been about otters and blow me if the first thing we saw when we arrived at Gaters Mill at first light was an otter. And not just a fleeting glimpse - we watched as it scampered up the bank, crossed over the track and plunge into the river to head upstream under the M27.
After this early excitement the first challenge was to get the cars up the track - we'd been warned that it was in a poor state but everyone made it up safely even if a few cars had to be pushed out for the return journey.
The angling was everything I'd hoped it would be (save for the lack of chub). The river was quite 'full' but thankfully the lack of rain in the previous days had meant it had had a chance to fine down. The weather was exactly as per forecast - early rain giving way to a dry, cool, overcast day. I started in a spot where I expected there to be chub but the extra water meant that the slack that is usually there - wasn't. However it wasn't long before my trotted corn was snaffled by my first fish of the day a 1lb 9oz grayling - a super start.
It quite quickly transpired that the fish appeared to be shoaled up in a few specific spots - and I ended up catching all my grayling from just 3 swims - rest and return being my mantra for the day.
Sometimes at fish-ins you can go all day without actually meeting up with anyone - especially on a large venue such as LIF. Dave had a arranged for everyone to down rods and meet up for lunch - with the offer of freshly cooked sausages, toasted sandwiches and cupcakes! It made for a nice sociable interlude - even if Ed did miss the photocall in his urgency to return to the river!
Thank you's to:
- everyone who came especially those that travelled some distance to make it
- Dave Smith for organising the day and acting as treasurer -£120 (+ Gift Aid) was raised by the event which will be given to Duchess of Kent Hospice where Paul spent his final days.
- Chris (Rusty) for offering to give me a lift and being great company.
Some the IAC Reprobates! (That's Brian on his knees - praying for a 2lber?)
My biggest of the day.