A most disappointing end to this season with the weather playing a major part in frustrating the efforts of Severn anglers to venture out. Heavy frosts, prolonged heavy rain in the Welsh Mountains together with several large falls of snow and subsequent snow melt meant the River was up and down as was the water temperature.
Never-the-less our intrepid bailiff Phil O’Callaghan made the effort every day to visit the river to report on levels and temperature, most useful when planning a session in changeable or inclement weather. Water temperatures ranged from 1.4°c to 11.3°c. Whilst the height of the River did not break any records it seemed to be constantly in flood.
Phil who seems able to find fish in all, but the most appalling conditions tells me he had a very poor end to the season. That said he ventured out to Atcham in one of the many snow storms as the photograph attests too, more surprising than the picture he did catch!
I planned to write a Winter Piking feature on the Severn for this edition and had arranged with Steve Holland to meet up where I could carry his tackle, make the tea and take photographs of the monsters he banked. Sadly, the weather was so unpredictable we could not find a suitable window. I will certainly do it this winter so if anyone is interested in joining us please PM me I am happy to arrange a day.
As the colder weather moved in towards the end of October and into November Members attention turned to winter Chub, the catch returns showed an increase in activity and modest returns, however, I am not sure they tell the whole story. Its very important we complete arrival slips and catch returns. It is in all members interest to get into the habit of completing them.
Whilst on the subject of Chub I am delighted that one of Lymm’s prolific River anglers Roger Carswell has contributed to this edition. Rogers Barbel captures run into three figures every year and am told he can be found on the Severn most days in the season whatever the weather.
Here is Rogers Winters Tale.
Winter presents anglers with many challenges, the river is often up and coloured and there is also the threat of snowmelt and salt, which is the kiss of death. Whilst the winter river may not be as inviting as it is in the warm summer months, there are still many opportunities for good sport. This last winter the River Severn was very unsettled, temperature and level wise, so persistence and picking the right time to fish, were very important. To illustrate that it’s still very much possible to catch fish under adverse conditions, I’d like to recount an early March day on the riverbank when many people’s first choice would definitely not have involved going fishing.
Arriving on the bank at around 2pm because the overnight temperature was belowfreezing, and I didn’t see much point in starting early. The river was about six inches above summer level and my thermometer revealed a water temperature of 2.6°C, which is pretty nippy, but as all River Rats know, the ever-reliable chub can still provide some decent sport in the coldest weather. Bread can be a devastating bait when the river’s like this, so I’d rough liquidised a loaf and had another thick-sliced loaf to provide me with hook bait. My rod carried a 4oz quiver-tip and the reel was loaded with 5lbs breaking strain line. The plan was to feed the swim with liquidised bread via a 2oz open ended feeder, but instead of always casting to the same spot, I would cast randomly to search for the chub, and so as not to put too much feed in one place. At the business end I fished punched bread mounted on a hair off a size 10 hook – I placed a shot an inch back from the hook so that the bread was popped up just off the bottom. To cut a long story short, the first fish was hooked after twenty minutes and bites came steadily until I packed up when nightfall arrived. A total of eight chub found their way into my landing net, which meant that one happy angler left the bank with a smile on his face!
PS I ‘d just like to explain my hook bait and hair-rig in a little more detail.On the end of the hair, I fixed a Preston Innovations quick-stop – this is a hollow, bayonet shaped piece of plastic which is pushed through the bread using a special needle, it then turns through 90° and acts as a stop. I mounted five or six 8mm diameter punched pieces of bread on the hair. The first piece of bread that I punch is from a slice of bread that has been micro-waved and rolled, the remaining pieces are punched from a slice of fresh bread. The quick stop is then pushed through the pieces of bread whilst they are still in the punch. The micro-waved piece of bread is tougher and helps to keep the other, softer pieces of bread in place as they swell up in the water.
Many thanks to Roger for his contribution.
As I write this we are a month into the closed Season so only a couple to go, looking forward to a new season here’s a couple of dates for your Diary. Sunday the 27th May is a Severn Work Party, attending a Work party is an ideal opportunity to meet likeminded anglers in addition to learning about our waters, details will be posted on the Forum nearer the date.
Saturday 1st September is the Annual Barbel day at Atcham, this is always the first fishing event into my diary each year. The Basis of the day is to introduce novice or first time Barbel anglers to this incredible species, also an opportunity for old friends and acquaintances to catch up and an ideal opportunity to introduce youngsters to the sport, not forgetting of course catching a few Barbel, last year Lawrence Breakspear from the Barbel Society entertained us with his methods for catching bigger Barbel. All are welcome, all you need is a Lymm membership card together with a EA licence, if you don’t have the appropriate tackle we will lend you some. Applications are via the forum.
I plan to report on the first couple of weeks of the new season, early in July, so will welcome contributions on your start to the new Season.
Thanks again to Phil and Roger.
Christie April 2018