Sunday, 10 February 2013

A damp day on the Dove

After being preoccupied with Perch for so long I thought I'd have a break this weekend and head up to the river Dove to try my hand at catching a Grayling or two. Keith joined me as he'd never fished the Dove before and had been pestering me for weeks to take him there.

It was already chucking it down with rain as we loaded the car and I had a feeling we might be up against it a bit today. As we drove up the A50 the matrix boards were flashing messages of doom in the form of severe weather warnings, we must be mad I thought.

Upon our arrival the river didn't look too bad, carrying a little with a greeny tinge of colour to it, things were looking up! The rain still hadn't abated and I knew the water conditions would soon begin to deteriorate very quickly, I figured we had maybe 3-4 hours at most.

We quickly set about heading for some decent looking spots and got setup. I had brought my umbrella and was very much glad of it as the rain came down in sheets. On the downside this meant I wasn't very mobile so I decided to stay put and keep the feed going in one swim to see what ,if anything ,could be pulled in.

I started with a feeder and a bit of bread on the hook to see if there were any Chub about but after a totally biteless half hour I had lost confidence in that approach and decided to scale things down a bit and go for a maggots on the hook instead. Despite going lighter with the rig I was surprised it took over half an hour to get any indications but eventually I had a couple of little taps and a small Dace was soon swung to hand.

I cast back out not expecting much more and began to tuck into a sarnie for breakfast. A hefty tug on the rod soon had me striking into something a bit more substantial and a Chub of around 3-4lb was soon landed. This was followed within minutes by its twin brother. The session was starting to come alive!

Things slowed quite a bit after that flurry of action and it was a fair while before I had another bite. This fish felt like a good one and it hung out in the flow for what seemed like ages. I was only fishing a 2.10 bottom and a size 16 hook so I had to be a bit careful. The fish eventually surfaced under the rod tip and I could see it was a very nice Chub, certainly over 5lb. It made a last gasp lunge for some dead reeds under my feet and snagged me up. I could see it under the water so I went for it with the net, the fish panicked and bolted, snapping the hooklink like cotton. At that point the air went a little blue but after tying a new hook on I was soon composed and ready to go again.
A couple of missed bites over the next half hour told me there was still fish in the swim looking for the maggots. The river had really begun to colour up now and I knew I didn't have much longer. A gentle pull, barely discernible in the wind had me striking into what turned out to be my first and only Grayling of the day, small but very pretty nonetheless.
Whilst taking a phone call shortly afterwards I noticed the tip of the rod giving it that horrible jerky pull round that only means one thing, Crayfish! Sure enough my strike met with that familiar hook a twig type feeling and a large Cray came skittering across the surface, ughhh!
By now the river looked too coloured for much more action so I was taken by surprise when I had another bite which I duly missed. At least there was still some fish feeding. Around twenty minutes later I was just thinking of packing up when I had an unmissable pull and the rod took on a healthy curve. The fish pulled in a very similar fashion to the one I lost earlier and I was pleased to actually get the net under this one! At 5lb4oz it was a proper-un and really made the trip worthwhile.
After that I rang Keith to see how he was faring as the weather had got even worse. A strongish wind had got up and rain seemed heavier than ever. Keith hadn't even had a bite so we decided to give it best. As I got my gear together I had one last bite which resulted in a beautiful Trout with must've been getting on for 3lb.
All in all a very enjoyable trip I thought, a few bites and some nice fish in very tough conditions. My gear was absolutely coated in mud as was I but I drove home with that warm glow that you only get from a good day on the bank.



  1. Hi Leo
    Nice session, good chub to. I took a walk along the Wye today and the banks are full of mud and silt, not very pleasant.


  2. Very nice report!!