With the 2010/11 fishing season fast running, out I braved the wind and rain on Saturday and the cold on Sunday in my ongoing attempt to coax at least one decent fish from the upper Leam ('decent' being a highly subjective word, with every angler having their own definition - in my case I think a qualifying fish on this stretch of the Leam would probably be a) 1lb roach; b) 1lb perch or c) 2lb chub).
With some serious rain threatened on Saturday afternoon, I decided to make the morning session quick and simple. A tiny drilled bullet nailed the bait, either bread flake or lob worm, to the deck. The 1.5oz quiver on my avon rod would be light enough to spot virtually every tap, and I'd aim to do three swims with no more than an hour in each (unless I was catching).
Sadly it was also the end of the day, as nothing I did thereafter seemed to go right. Nothing more from that swim, so on to the next - where I missed one massive rap on the rod tip, and then a modest chub managed to throw the hook just a few minutes later.
I was at the third swim when the proper rain arrived, and discretion proved the better part of valour. I fled.
Sunday was a completely different sort of day - clear bright light bounced off a dusting of snow and a wicked north wind swept down onto the Leam.
There had been quite some flow on the river on Saturday, so I turned up on Sunday armed with stick float and bread, ready to target the roach. Sadly the river had gone to sleep a little, but I did find a decent run to fish in my second choice of swim.
And I found minnows. Lots of minnows. In fact I doubt I've ever caught as consistently as I did in that two hour session. Dozens of the little blighters went for everything I sent their way. So why did I stay? Ah, well the river goddess was evidently having a laugh at my expense, sending me just enough non-minnows to keep me there in hope if not expectation. One tiny dace, one tiny chublet and 4oz one roach (hurrah, my target fish for the day). Surely if the small ones are here, I thought, then the big ones will be too. Well, perhaps they were. But once again, I sure as hell didn't find them :-)