River Great Ouse - Offord (24)
Arrival time: 11:00 (at swim)
Weather: Bright and not too cold but with a freshening breeze.
Tackle: 14ft Shimano match rod, Rapidex II 2400 centrepin, 6lb line, 4lb pre-tied Drennan hook length to 14 'red' hook.
Started with Drennan 6.4g loafer float and changed to loaded waggler on main river.
Baits: Maggot & bread flake.
Fish: Mixed bag of small chub, dace, perch & roach.
When fishing the Mill Stream the previous week I thought it would be interesting to float fish the bridge swim, so today I returned hoping for a mixed catch on maggot, with the chance of a better chub by trotting towards the bridge.
I had bought a Drennan 'loafer' float with a hollow plastic body that is suitable for more turbulent water. It required 6.4g shotting so I had also bought some olivettes in preference to stringing shot. I used a 6g plus a 0.3g, slightly under-shotting the float. The setup worked well in the stream which, at this point, is a mixture of faster runs and eddies.
First cast produced a very small chub and this set the pattern for what followed. Small chub and dace were always first to the maggot bait although I did take a couple of small perch. It soon became evident that I was unlikely to reach any better fish towards the end of the trot, where I suspected there would be some decent chub, since the bait was always quickly devoured by the smaller fish.
I tried bread flake but this was picked off the hook by the smaller fish.
After about an hour I decided to move over to the main river in the hope of finding better fish, particularly roach.
A small dace comes to the bank
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Fishing the main river
A small roach on the main river
I made my way to the Triangle, a piece of land between the main river and the lock cutting, setting down at the apex where the two flows merge. I had fished this spot a couple of times in winter and had taken a good chub by legering in the crease between the flows. I had hoped that I could perhaps trot down this crease.
In reality there was no discernible flow on the main river so trotting wasn't an option. I therefore started to fish a static bait over the edge of the reeds, noting that there was considerable weed growth beneath the surface, including a carpet of 'cabbages'.
I caught a few small roach and perch, the prevalence of small fish being much like in the mill stream, although roach were certainly the predominant species. However, my loafer float was really too heavy for static water roach fishing so I decided to retackle.
I selected a pre-loaded waggler that needed just a single sinker shot and used a Drennan pre-tied 3½lb hook length to a 16 hook. This setup proved to be far better for the roach, as expected, but I still continued to catch mostly small fish with an occasional better one; but even then they were only a few ounces.
As the breeze freshened it became more difficult to control the light waggler so I decided to pack up a bit earlier, convinced I was unlikely to catch any better fish.
It was an interesting diversion to try maggots on the float but in the end it reminded me why I don't use maggots that often these days.