Had to happen. I grabbed a couple of hours after work on the Thames at Cricklade. I didn't feel up to facing the cows down today, so I left the Cowfield swim for a deep little corner further upstream, amongst the water meadows. I've had chub and the odd nice roach out of this swim before on floatfished flake. It's a narrow deep(ish) bend into an overhanging tree. I set up a little way upstream and trotted down, feeding pinches of mashed flake at my feet.
Nothing. Nicht eine wurst. Pas une saucisse. Not a sausage.
Not even a bite. I moved up later to try the cattle drink which can sometimes be good in winter. Best fished with the pole, though, because you want to fish a very short trot of about 8 feet at the top of the swim.. Anyway, nothing there either. The only sign of life was a sizeable swirl on the surface as I retrieved, which was either a spooked chub or more likely a crumpet having a go at my float.
Defeated. I packed up my gear and then tore up what bread I had left and chucked it in. I walked downstream, following the bread, noting where the current was taking it, which trees and weed rafts it got stuck in, and hoping for a miraculous free rising chub. Chub on floating bread in February would be a treat indeed, but it wasn't to be. By the time I turned from the river the sky was a deep blue and the sunset was fading. A blank, for sure, but well worth it all the same.
 Crumpet -> pikelet -> jack pike. Geddit? No? Suit yourself.