As the hour of 5pm was indicated on my watch I decided to conclude what was an unproductive commercial day and take to the river to reflect and plan on what needs to be done to get some momentum behind the gin brand I look after.
The the tackle bag already packed it was just a matter of calling into Chapman’s in Twickenham to buy a pint of mixed maggots and make my way to Lower Sunbury and fish a favourite back water of the Thames were the well oxygenated water generated by the weir allow the fisher to catch good barbel that seem to rest towards the end of the day and into the night. The river was still, little flow and coloured, however the surface was covered by the first leaves of autumn and other debris.
It was noticeable that small fry and other small silverfish were being disturbed. Every now and again they would surface leaping out of the water in a frantic bid to get away from something, was that something a large pike or a hungry shoal of perch.
As the sun started its gradual decent lengthening the shadows it still had warmth to it, enough for me to want to bask in its rays. I had opted to float fish using a small stick float, my Diawa Vertice rod paired to an ABU 1044 closed face reel and suspend beneath it a couple of red maggots on a size 14 hook, after a while I downsized to a size 16 with a single white maggot and this seem to entice take after take of small bleak and grudgeon. After an hour or so of repeated catches of small silver fish I switched my set up to target perch feeding close to the bottom. After several casts nothing seemed to be interested, clearly there was evidence of predatory fish but nothing seem to be interested in my offerings.
It wasn’t long before I was joined by another fellow fisherman, he first surveyed the water and I could see he had a chosen spot to fish, yes and that was were I had taken up residence. He was a seasoned fisherman and had fished this stretch of water a while ago. Clearly he understood this piece of river and knew exactly were his quarry would be located. He certainly had some state of the art tackle and from observation was a tidy and organised individual. His rigs were neatly pegged out in a foam line box, his rod rest was made of high quality stainless steel or turned alloy with substantial rod cups, his bait was meticulously put together and upon asking what was he using, he replied ‘”luncheon meat dressed in curry powder” furthermore to add “they just love it”, barbel that is.
I watched him set up, then make his first cast with the accuracy of one of King Henry’s longbow archers, straight as a die and in the middle of the river towards the oxygenated water. At this stage and after much observation I took the opportunity to introduced myself, “I’m Graham he replied”, we then spent a few minutes discussing the opportunities this water gave and the sort of catches he had made in the past. One he described was of a mighty 22lb carp that he spent over an hour and a half playing the fish in one direction before it then took off towards The Creek for him to play until he could get if close to the back to net. These were notable accomplishment and certainly greater than anything I had achieved out of this 120 yard stretch of water. He reported having caught carp, tench, perch and barbel from the spot where he had taken up residence, if only I could lay claim to such catches but alas the largest fish was a perch which we caught last week and the mainstay of our catches are small silver fish. I asked my new acquaintance to inform me of his success for it was clear he was going to catch something much larger than my 4ins silver fish that I had been plucking from the water in the late afternoon sun.
Well I hope the curry powder paste did its job and I hope he had a tight line or two. Maybe he’ll let me know via a post on the blog.