Friday, 8 December 2017

A smashing river tees specimen

After two weekends on the bounce of blanking whilst chasing after pike on a gravel pit, I had a small window of opportunity mid week to get out after dark for a couple hours. Given the cold temps and water that was holding a little snow melt soon, chub were my only real possibility.

Arriving at my first swim, I soon realised that the river was pushing through a lot harder than I expected, and decided to wander upstream for a bit, targeting the slacks. Tactics were raw steak with mince in the feeder; I tend to start with the feeder, but there are times when the fish are only interested in the mince, and so I remove the feeder and use swan shot, offering them just steak and a few samples. The first swim saw me getting a couple of knocks, but nothing strikeable and despite twitching the bait back (something that regularly works), it wouldn't go. I moved through two more pegs, without any interest. An otter ran through the swim and splashed nearby, so I moved on. I don't get annoyed at such things anymore, just seeing it as part of the way things are.

Last swim of the night, I sat for 15 mins and was considering packing up. One more cuppa I thought, the rod twitched. 30 seconds later, it twitched again, suddenly flying round. Here we go I thought, as I struck into absolute thin air. Flicking the bait out, this time just the steak and nothing in the feeder, throwing a couple samples out. After a few minutes the rod slowly started pulling round, so slow that I expected leaves. I bent into it anyway, and was met with a very satisfying level of resistance, as something very solid tried its best not to come close. After a short while, It was soon netted and peering into the net, I realised I had another lump, which turned out to weigh 6lb 3oz.

I packed up a happy man.

Strangely I have mixed emotions about tees chubbing at the moment. After spending many years targeting them on the tees, I caught my first tees 5 last year, and this year has been excellent for specimen chub, with two 6's and a 5. My concern is the complete lack of other chub, the 3lb-4lb class that are the next generation. A couple years ago, I could guarantee going to the river, bagging a couple of fish, often one of them being 4, and go home happy. Now, i'm out on similar stretches and struggling to buy a bite, sometimes blanking, and occasionally getting something very special. I'm hearing similar things throughout the length of the tees, with thornaby match results showing a similar downturn. Something to think about and monitor......