Caught by the River

The Last Day.

16th March 2008

The traditional coarse fishing season came to an end last Friday.
The final chance to fish favourite rivers sees anglers grabbing every opportunity to get on the bank in hope of catching the monster or to drink tea with their mates for the last time before June 16. Of course, it never really goes to plan. Last week the severere winds and heavy rain played havoc with conditions up and down the country. I ended the season with targets unfulfilled. Catching a chub from a river and a carp from Osterley Park will remain at the top of my list for next season.

Jakub & I went to Osterley last Sunday and had to deal with a day of extremes, going from an hour beneath an umbrella to burn inducing sunshine all through the day. The Carp wasn’t forthcoming but I was chuffed to catch a Tench in March (at 6 1/2lb) and to follow that with a 6 9ozs Bream.

Tuesday saw four of us go down to The Old Mill at Aldermaston, this being a favoured stretch of the River Kennet. We got there only to find it incredibly busy, incredibly high and deeply murky. Pretty depressing really as it made my chances of a chub next to none. Therefore, I targetted Perch and therefore I caught Minnows (and yes, I even failed to catch Perch on Minnows). Andrew decided to plot up beneath his brolly and fish the pond and was rewarded with a 10lb common carp and a 7lb Bream. Dave’s first Barbel will stay atop his list for next season and Jak’s swift and brutal change of fortune continued.
I still had hope for the chub as a trip to the Thames at Oxford with Justin and Neil was planned for Thursday but alas work got in the way and I reluctantly hung up my rods.

The question now is, how long will they stay hung up? ‘cos although the rivers – and lakes at owners discretion – are closed, it is no longer a regulation applying to all waters. When I fished as a kid there was no (coarse) fishing anywhere between March 15 & June 15. In my early twenties, when I lived in Devon, I would occasionally join my Brother on fishing trips across the water to East Cornwall, where, I believe, there has never been a season, allowing you to fish all year round if you wished (anyone know why that is by the way? Is it because the rivers are game rivers?).

When I picked up fishing again, loads had changed – three rods, carp everywhere, nobody on the rivers – and fishing out of
season was seemingly encouraged, so I did it. Now, I appreciate the tradition but I’m not sure I can uphold it. If I fish (a lake) in Cornwall on a holiday next month, does it count? Do I move to Cornwall?…..

A gentleman that does up hold the tradition, in fact believes very strongly in it, is Chris Yates. Here Chris shares his last day with us;

The weather was perfect for the last day, but the river was not. Rain over the previous few days had brought the Stour’s level up and coloured it too much. Though the level was falling yesterday and the water fining down, the conditions didn’t improve enough to save my blank. Mind you, I had three good chances, but missed two and just briefly felt the other. It was, however, a memorable day; a typical Golden Scale Club outing: eight anglers, eight nice pieces of cane, some favourite floats almost lost in the willows, a massed boiling of Kelly Kettles and plenty of cake. Also, 76-year old Peter Wheat landed 3 nice roach. The moon appeared at the day’s end, at the same moment that a barn owl glided across the water.
Now I won’t have to look longingly out of my window any more whenever the fishing conditions threaten my work, which is why I always appreciate the Close Season. I shall go bassing and trouting in May, but no more perch, tench barbel or carp till June 16th.
I hope you managed to have a last cast with Andrew somewhere lovely – or did the work prevent you?
Best fishes,