Saturday, 4 December 2021

The River Leam - Lubritoriums and Lumpenintelligentsia

A rather cold morning with a bitter wind but with a new stretch of river to try and an unknown quarry it was needs must as I was on the Christmas Tree run later on and a Santa and helpers tractors flyby, meant if I didn't get my backside out of the warm bed then ones fishing window would come and go.

A rather bleak start but the sun was due to rise in s clear sky and I knew the fishing would likely to be tough but with roving on the cards it's surprising how quickly the conditions are forgotten about. 

Now there is much more to fishing than casting a baited hook in to a swim. One of the most important aspects of fishing fish is watercraft, whereby the angler uses skill gained over a period of time to weigh up a venue. It is certainly not a question of turning up at a venue, picking a swim and bagging up.

Watercraft is all about nature, such as discovering how a small stream or river changes quickly from deep, slow running water to faster shallows. This knowledge will help you to locate your quarry, and find the spots where the the fish lie and feed. Try to remember all those things that happened when you fished as a youngster, because the more information you can store in your mind, the more your understanding of watercraft will develop. 

For instance, you may recall that when a river or stream was fining down water running off after a flood this was one of the best times to catch fish. The extra colour in the water caused by the rainfall seemed to act as cover for the fish and they became more confident about feeding. And the little things you learned as a boy should help you in your adult years, and it is this process that turns you from an average angler into a good one.

There are no short cuts, but by watching for certain signs you should pick up fundamental things quickly. You should not get the impression that watercraft is a complicated subject because it isn't, it's commonsense. 

To help you to identify more clearly the way the angler needs to spot the places to fish, let us take a stroll along an imaginary stream. There are bound to be similar streams or small rivers in your locality, and they are certainly great places to learn about watercraft. The first feature you are likely to come across is an overhanging bush on the far bank.

There is also deepish water in this swim, and it looks like the ideal spot for chub, who gain confidence in the cover provided by the bush. The approach here would be to feed a little upstream of the bush and run a float down underneath it. A little further downstream of this bush is a dead branch lying in the stream, creating inviting-looking slack water. 

In this slack the water is almost stationary compared to the main flow, which is pushing through after a couple of days of rainfall. The beauty of this swim is that fish chub and roach will be holed up on the edge of the slack water, moving out occasionally into the main flow to pick up morsels of food before swimming back behind the fallen branch. 

The next spot is an apron where the deeper water runs into the shallows. This is a great summer holding spot for chub because they like to lie in the extra flow where there is more oxygen in the water. However, they do not enjoy the rough water too much and so stay in this middle area. Moving up to the shallows you will be able to see fish darting around over the gravel bottom and between the streamer weed. 

These will be mainly dace, although roach will be mixed in with them. Again they thrive on the high oxygen levels created by the broken water. If it is bites you're seeking, then this is the place to trot your float, but the fish will tend to be on the small side. 

Well Mick best laid plans and all that because an hour in in a few swims not even a nibble a pluck or any indication of fish whatsoever.

The water temperature had dropped to 5.5 degrees overnight and as soon as the sun rose strongly the best bite time had gone but there is plenty of tasty looking swims here so I was sure it was just a matter of dropping on the fish.

Chub love cover and the sanctuary of snaggy swims so after prebaiting one tasty looking swim I dropped a piece of breadflake on the spot and watched it drop through the water column. The river is very low at the minute and its not ideal when you can see the bread a metre down but once out of sight those deep holes can offer bites in tough conditions. 

But small rivers the fish will show themselves rather quickly if they are around and up for a feed and a chub was in residence here as within a couple of minutes the tip pulled around and a chub was on. It was snag bound almost immediately but the bend of the rod showed it wasn't a big fish.

It gave a decent fight given its size but was soon in the net and a Leam 2 lber was mine.  These fish haven't really seen bait for a number of years so a little lean but looking in its ample gob it had been feeding on the bread I'd primed the swim with.

But that was it, a few more swims, again biteless.... hands were feeling the cold by this time so I decided to head back to the car to warm them up and head over to another stretch of the Leam a few miles away that has a nice pool where usually there are chub in residence.

Not this time though, half an hour without an indication I tried a couple more swims downstream and again they were fruitless. Fellow syndicate member George was fishing much further downstream from me and he was struggling too with only a couple of tiddlers falling to the bread. Maggots and worms were ignored. So another hard session but given the conditions not entirely unexpected. 


  1. This weather hasn’t helped things at all . The daily fluctuations in temp and snow melt have really scuppered it . I’ve had 2 sessions in 2 days . 4 hours per session chub fishing my local Blythe .. 3 bites .. two fish .. 3.10 and 4.8 .. and around 15 different swims fished . Very enjoyable all the same .

    1. That's it, always nice to be rewarded with a fish but just nice to be out sometimes !!


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