River Great Ouse - Offord (28)
Arrival time: 10:30 (at swim)
Weather: Bright but cold. Little wind throughout the session.
Tackle: 11'6" John Wilson Avon with 1.5oz quiver, Shimano 5000 RE reel, 6lb line direct to an 8 hook. Flat bed 1oz leger.
Baits: Cheese paste, luncheon meat & maggots.
Fish: A couple of small chub, a roach and a gudgeon.
With no rain for a couple of days I decided to take a chance on the Mill Stream at Offord. The river had been up and fast the previous week but I was pleased to find the Mill Stream in good condition. There was a good flow and it was still coloured but general speaking it looked very promising. I made my way to a swim about half way along that had been reliable in the past.
The swim was a bit tricky to fish as past experience had shown that the best area was nearer the far bank, but this involved casting under tree branches. My second cast got me to the preferred spot and I didn't have to wait long for a pull on the quiver tip. At first I thought I had a big chub on but the heavy flow had aided the fish, which wasn't that big but fought like a tiger. A good start.
I didn't expect to take a second fish from the same spot but stayed there for a while, just in case. But it wasn't to be. I therefore moved upstream about 15 yards to where there was some slacker water near the far bank, partially submerged tree branches slowing the flow. There was no immediate take this time but after a chat with a woman walking her dog the tip went round and another chub was on. It again fought well but was smaller the the first one. Once again I couldn't tempt a second fish from the same spot.
The first swim
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The first chub
The second chub
The only roach
The head of the Mill Stream
I next moved to the head of the mill stream where I had caught chub before. Before starting to fish I chatted with a chap fishing the nearby weir pool. I hadn't had any success in the pool and watching him it soon became apparent why. I had fished fairly close in, in the faster water, whereas he was casting to a slacker pool on the far side just below the weir itself. He mentioned that he had caught a chub over 5lbs in that spot. He also gave me some prawns to try.
Back at the head of the stream I tried prawn but with no luck. I changed to cheese paste and also tried luncheon meat but other than a few taps from what were probably smaller fish nibbling the bait, nothing sizeable obliged. Frustrated by the taps I tried a bunch of maggots. At first I tried just in front of me in a slack pool below the outfall into the mill stream, hoping for perch. But all I got was a small gudgeon.
Casting further downstream with maggots produced, as expected, a lot of taps but on an 8 hook I couldn't connect. The fish were pulling off the maggots one by one. I did finally hit one, which proved to be a roach.
At this point I decided to retrace my steps downstream and try again in the spots I fished earlier. But this didn't produce anything. The chap from the weir pool, Barney, did however come along with a large bream in his landing net, just to show me what could be caught in the pool.
Having lucked out at the earlier spots I finished off at the swim by the road bridge. I gave it half an hour or so, trying cheese, luncheon meat and maggots, but it soon became clear that nothing was going to oblige.
So after a good start things really went off the boil. But I can't complain, avoiding a blank at this time of the year is success in itself.