Caught by the River

The End is Nigh

10th March 2010

The Dorset Stour, Throop. 7am, Friday the 5th of March. Pic by Steve Phillips.

On what was likely to be our last days fishing of the season Steve and I visited the Dorset Stour and fished beat two of Throop. Arriving on the afternoon of the 2nd we listened on as men dressed as trees (a copse of anglers?) told tales of woe; ” A difficult season, a terrible winter, what rain!, nothing out for days”. If you are a regular angler, you will know the story. When you are this close to March the 14th, the end is nigh and the panic has set in. And, no matter how cool Steve and I are trying to be, we desperately want to catch a fish.

Neither of us has had a particularly good season. Steve enjoys time on the Kennet looking for barbel, but the conditions on that river this season have been awful. Dry in the summer and autumn months and way high in the winter. I think he can count four fish all season. I can’t moan too loudly as I guess my lack of a tench, (that’s any tench, my favourite species) has been made up for by a well earned carp from Waggoner’s Wells, my first ever grayling (from the Test) and the chub you can see below.

The signs were that we had arrived not long after the river had fined down, with the water carrying a bit of colour. It looked great to be honest and we couldn’t wait until the Friday to fish. So we didn’t. Though the next couple of hours were blank for us we did witness a fellow angler catch a 7.12 barbel which had the tree guys excitedly shouting across the river to each other and Steve and I wondering what the point of coming out dressed as trees actually was.

The next morning we awoke to a heavy frost after the overnight temperature dropped to minus three. We got to the river at 7am and man it was beautiful. Crisp and white and mist on the water. It looked like a picture from a vintage Angling magazine. Efgeeco and a flask of soup. Not a soul around, just the ghosts of gone anglers. I settled into the swim that saw success the day before and decided on lobs for chub. I got lucky pretty quickly with a fish around the 4lb mark followed by a pissed off eel with a mad face.

That was it for the most of the rest of the day. A day that had me leaving the riverbank for the shade of the van as the unexpected afternoon sunshine put paid to hopes of further fishes and threatened to turn my pale face red.

On my return to the river I discovered that Steve had caught a chub. His personal best at that. So it was with some eagerness that I chucked a worm back into the swim and a few minutes later I was positively blessed. To catch a chub weighing 5lb 15ozs anytime in your life is special but to catch it and up your pb (by 7ozs) on your last days fishing of a season is a bloody good feeling.

My thoughts are with all of you lucky enough to be getting out before Monday. I’d love to hear how you get on. If you want to share that with us please drop me a line at

all the best,


(my pb Chub weighing in at 5.15, which of course had me singing “inside, outside, where have you been…out of my brain on the train” for the rest of the day, which, for Steve was probably only marginally better than me crying over a missing ounce)