A birthday to remember

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A birthday to remember

Post by Bigoll » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:53 pm

As is traditional, I took the day off to celebrate/commiserate becoming a year older and headed out to start my river fishing season, picking up a pint of red maggot on the way to the Roding. I'd not been down to the river since the last time I fished it back in the winter, even rejecting a planned recce so that today would be fresh for exploring. We've not had much rain at all in Essex for many weeks now so the middle reaches are at their lowest, most sluggish level and the water is largely gin clear.

I took the time to stop at every swim and gaze into the water for a good few minutes each time, hoping to spot the tell-tale shadow or flick of a tail fin across a shaft of sunlight. Aside from plenty of minnows (which were abundant in 2013 but barely seen last year, presumably because of the floods) there wasn't a lot going on on the fish front. But there were plenty of egrets and grey wagtails and veritable clouds of neon damsel and dragonflies swooping about the place, and I had the river to myself so I was happy enough.

I came to a swim which I've never associated with much activity and never caught from and decided to take a moment to enjoy the surroundings. Suddenly, when I least expected it, I saw something glide past in the corner of my eye. Switching focus, I was presented with the wonderful sight of an enormous chub cruising through the deep channel in the centre of the flow. As I followed its progress, a second appeared alongside and they set off to complete a couple of leisurely laps of the pool. Now, as regular readers of my posts will know, I often spot the giants of the Roding but have never managed to net one, so I didn't hold out much hope. But I'd be a fool not to continue trying, so I flicked out a few maggots to keep them interested while I turned, hands shaking, to prepare my tackle. After a delay caused by somehow forgetting how to join two loops together, I was ready. The big chub were still there, going about their business so I flicked out a generous 5 maggot hook on the waggler and let it drift towards where my adversaries had disappeared into a shady patch. A knock. A dip of the float. But I'm no fool - big chub will nibble without taking. I feathered my line, letting the float patrol around the immediate area. The chub appeared from the shade, crossed a bright patch and turned towards my bait. A knock. Another knock. A dip I knew to be more substantial than the last and I struck quickly - it was on! The fish dashed for the far bank but the line checked its progress and it turned towards me, showing itself to be the larger of the two. I kept telling myself not to snap up and not to snag the line - I've lost two of these giants in the past and really didn't want to lose this one. Fortunately it kept coming in my direction so I went to lower my new landing net to the water to scoop my prize. But disaster - thanks to the drought conditions the handle wasn't long enough to get the net sufficiently into the water! I looked around for a way to get closer to the water and saw a root system jutting out of the bank below me. Rod with chub attached in one hand, net in the other, I slid down the bank and landed on the roots, which immediately started to give way. Freezing my position halted my inevitable tumble into the water but left me in a scene reminiscent of the final minutes of The Italian Job. But I wasn't about to lose this fish and, with some careful balancing, managed to crawl back up to my starting point and keep the fish on the hook. To my right was a more solid tree stump jutting over a shingle bank so I got into position, extended the net into the water and swept the fish home! After 5 years of stalking the big Roding chub I'd finally managed to land one, and on my birthday too! I have no idea what it weighed but it was certainly a heavy bar of glittering bronze, perfectly formed and broadly built. I was shaking so much that many of the photos were just blurs but below are a couple of the better ones.





I certainly won't forget the fish I caught on my birthday, and with the first cast of the season to boot. After returning the chub I sat back on the bank, trembling with adrenaline and sparked up the cigar I've carried with me for 5 years, waiting for this moment. The rest of the session passed in a blur, with a few chublets and perch from another swim, but I mainly spent the time just watching the underwater world, knowing I wouldn't beat my opening catch. Next time I'll be back with the knowledge that the big chub can be caught and we'll start our dance all over again......

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Re: A birthday to remember

Post by AshbyCut » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:02 am

"A birthday to remember" indeed, Sir !!! Well done ... and many more of the same to come, I hope. :Hat:
"Beside the water I discovered (or maybe rediscovered) the quiet. The sort of quiet that allows one to be woven into the tapestry of nature instead of merely standing next to it." Estaban.



Re: A birthday to remember

Post by Rob » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:27 am

nice fish mate well done what bit of the roding was you fishing

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Re: A birthday to remember

Post by Keston » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:48 am

What a special birthday fish ... congratulations.


Re: A birthday to remember

Post by GazTheAngler » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:25 pm

What a Chub bigol, well done mate.

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Re: A birthday to remember

Post by Tengisgol » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:04 pm

Well done, still adore that little river!
Where the willows meet the water...


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Re: A birthday to remember

Post by Julian » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:15 pm

Happy birthday - one that you will remember - and I bet in future you will carry a set of scales :Thumb:
There is no peace on earth like the peace of fishing in the early mornings

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Re: A birthday to remember

Post by Tench Dreamer » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:08 am

So pleased for you .. I know how much you've been chasing these kings of the roding and now there's one in the net :Hat: ... Like you and others I love that little river and guess when I get a mo that's were I will be heading too .

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