Polluted river fishing test over in a flash, flood that is

June 18, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Two weeks ago I prayed for rain, it was too hot to fish, but now it won’t stop, as thunder storms dump weeks of rain in an hour. Earlier this week I cut short a fishing session to avoid a soaking with minutes to spare. The next day, the first of the new river season, saw my small local river churning through well over the banks, but by the following afternoon it was running clear. Storms were forecast again, but I took the 2 mile drive anyway, as I wanted to test fish the river, after a devastating pollution event that deoxygenated the water, killing thousands of fish during the drought a month ago.

Black clouds were already on the horizon on the way to the river and as I set up my 12 foot Hardy float rod it began to rain. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is my life motto and I tackled up as quickly as possible, knowing that the large willow that I was under would keep me dry for a while, although a flash of lightning and rumble of thunder meant that my safety was questionable.

Squeezing up a small ball of liquidised bread and dropping it in just upstream of a small overhanging bush minutes before, seemed enough preparation and first cast under the bush, the float trailed under, while the rod bent into a small chub.

Taking a 5 mm punched bread pellet, this chub fought all over the shallows before coming to the net. A bit more punch on the hook and the float was back under the bush, sinking on contact, with a better chub giving all it had, swimming away upstream to avoid the net.

A flash and a clap of thunder forced me to instinctively duck my head. It was too close for comfort. The intermittent rain suddenly became a downpour, but protected by the willow I continued to fish, putting another ball of feed below the bush into deeper water. I had bounced a dace and now hoped for a roach, deepening up the float and holding back to slow the bait along the bottom. The float dipped and sank, a sight of red fins and a tiny rudd came to hand.

Not quite a roach, in fact I have not caught a rudd here for a while, maybe it has washed down from one of the many lakes that line the stream? Next cast the float dithered again and a chunky gudgeon was doing a barbel impression.

The rain had stopped, but the pace of the river was beginning to quicken and I added depth again, holding back hard. A rapid bite and another small fish bumped, a rudd, or hopefully one of the dace that had made the Cut its home since the previous pollution three years ago. Two more smaller chub and a rudd followed before the rod bent round as a better fish dashed off downstream heading straight for a tangled bush jutting out into the water. The little Hardy rod was made for this and the long shape of a chub flashed as it turned, fighting hard against the current and hugging the opposite bank, that large white mouth of the chub showing on the surface as I drew it over the landing net.

In the time that it took to unhook the chub and rebait the hook, the river was transformed as a wave of muddy water forced a raft of sticks and dead leaves downstream, rattling over the shallows as it went.

It was all over, the flash flood the result of acres of tarmac drenched in the deluge, swamping the land drains, then combining underground into a column that swept past my swim. By the time that I had packed up, the river was level with the top of the bank.

It had been a fast and furious 15 minutes, I had missed and bumped a few fish. If I had arrived an hour earlier it would have been a different story. I can blame the fitters installing new double glazing at home for that.

Nothing wrong with these fish, although only two hundred yards down from where the clean natural river joins the source of the pollution, the town street drainage outfall, it is possible that they have dropped down into the main river. Oh well not to worry, the river will soon be back to normal levels and I will give it another try.