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Not bad at all!

Steve Walker


Considered having another crack at the Cowfield swim today, but was tempted away by thoughts of easier pickings on the Thames at Kelmscott. I wanted another crack at the chub with my special extra-stinky cheesepaste. I took a pack out of the freezer, microwaved it until gooey and then mixed in half a jar of anchovies for good measure. I’d had problems hitting bites last time, and hoped the oil from the anchovies would give a softer paste. This, as you will see, did not quite work out.


Arriving a little after 2pm, I picked a swim on the apex of a bend with some trees and a raft of debris opposite. I tackled up a quivertip rod with a tiny bomb and a size six hook. The idea was to trundle the bait underneath the raft of debris. I was also feeding a swim down the inside with hemp and casters.


I started getting bites on the cheesepaste almost immediately, but infuriatingly struck at nothing each time. The soft paste was evidently hardening in the cold water and shrouding the hook. Unfortunately the fish seemed to want a good sized chunk of paste, and I had no larger hooks with me. Leaving the hook as proud as was possible without losing the bait seemed not to help.


After an hour or so of frustration I set up a 13’ match rod, centrepin and crowquill avon and began trotting double caster down the inside line I had been feeding. My casting with the centrepin is still atrocious, but was somewhat better with the match rod than with the Avon. After about ten minutes the bait was taken at the end of the trot by a chub of around 3lb, which put up an excellent struggle on the light float tackle.


No more bites were forthcoming on the float, so I resumed legering paste and striking at unmissable bites. And missing them. I even tried hair rigging paste, all to no avail. At about half past four I did what I should have done hours earlier; I pinched a chunk of breadflake on the hook. First cast resulted in a 3lb chub. Second cast in another.


As the light faded, I decided I really wanted to catch a fish on my special paste. They obviously liked it, I just couldn’t hit the bites. Out went another blob, moulded to expose as much hook as possible. The lead rolled under the raft of debris and settled. A few minutes later the tip tapped once and then lunged over, and I found myself connected to something dogged and heavy. It was reluctant to come up in the water, but made no dramatic attempt to run for cover. For a moment I thought I’d found a dustbin lid of a bream. Only an attempt to weed me down the inside gave the game away, but after a short fight I had it. This chub I weighed; 4 ½ lbs and enough to call it a day.


So, four decent chub, one on the float, one on my special cheesepaste. Not too shabby for a cold Winter afternoon.



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