The River Cut performs despite pollution

February 18, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Driven by a 200 mph Jest Stream, storms continue to batter Britain and this week I fitted in a session on my local River Cut at the tail end of Storm Dudley and the beginning of Storm Eunice. Having witnessed dead fish and pollution of the Cut first hand last week, I was keen to find out if the fishing had been affected, arriving around noon to find the river coloured and rushing through, after heavy rain from Storm Dudley. The Cut runs from south to north, which meant that the Braybrooke Fishing Club west bank was protected from the wind by the high flood bank and trees, and once settled down in my swim, the surface was flat calm, despite the gale howling through the trees above.

Due to the cloudy river, I added some Haith’s Spicy Mix to my liquidised bread and ground hemp groundbait, putting two egg sized balls past the middle into the main flow. First trot of my 4 No 4 stick float saw the tip bob and sink, a lift of the rod bringing an opposite reaction from a roach some where in the mirk.

I had had my doubts about the river and did not put my keepnet in at the start, but the positive bite from that roach changed my mind that it was worth putting it in. Another small roach next trot confirmed that it was going to be a good session.

Next trot I eased the float close to the opposite bank bush, holding it back burying the float, as a decent fish took the 6 mm pellet of bread. Again I could not see the fish, but it stayed deep rushing off upstream and when the big white mouth appeared on the surface my hunch was confirmed. A chub.

It was a bite a chuck from the off, more small roach, then the float held down and the rod bent over into a fish that ran downstream with the current. I had to put on side strain, while backwinding the ABU501 to keep it away from the bush, steering it into the shallow water on the inside of the bend and getting a brief sight of a better chub. It was now just a case of letting the chub have its head each time it fought back, getting the landing net ready, once it’s mouth was out of the water.

The variety of fish in the Cut was evident, as a couple of red finned rudd followed the chub.

Big gudgeon and dace were vying for the bread.

Now better roach put in an appearance, as I trotted the float down to the bush. I demonstrated the holding back technique to another angler, who had come up to watch, my 14 foot Browning holding the float out into the hot spot as it buried each time.

With the roach on the scene, I stepped up the feed, following a small nugget down every cast. The float slid sideways in the first yard and the rod bent over again with a chub that took time to wake up, shaking it’s head violently before heading off down stream. Back winding and reeling, the size 16 barbless hook kept hold and it was number three in the net.

More roach.

This was turning into an epic session, a bite a trot, often by small roach and monster gudgeon. This one fought so hard that I thought it was a small chub. If only they grew much bigger.

The pace of the river picked up and the fish got smaller. I guessed what was coming. More pollution.

The river changed colour rapidly. I assumed that the white “emulsion” was coming through the outlet pipes again. The bites by the bush stopped.

I brought the float in close and laid on over depth in a relatively clear area and was surprised to get a bite from the quality roach above.

Soon there were no more gaps in the cloud. Four inch gudgeon were still feeding out of the flow, but the colour was completely from bank to bank.

I had been too busy to eat my lunch before, but now I poured a cup of tea and got out my sandwiches, finding that my wife had put a surprise in my bag. A retro Wagon Wheel biscuit, marshmallow, with jam inside on a crunchy biscuit, covered in sweet chocolate. We would do any chore for our mothers back in the Day, if we knew that there was going to be a Wagon Wheel at the end of it!

I sat and waited for the river to clear, taking the occasional tiny gudgeon as compensation over the following half hour. I could see fish topping in the main flow, the thick pollution causing them to gulp air from the surface.

The river began to clear and I tried back down the main flow to the bush. The bites were now dithering, this roach giving a lift bite, like that of a much smaller fish. I added three inches to the depth and went down to a 5 mm punch, bouncing the bread along the bottom. It worked. I was back in business.

The chub above took well below the bush, again a dithering bite, maybe from a small roach, that suddenly sank out of sight. Charging off downstream, this fish was almost at the bend before it turned back, getting a second wind and attempting to get among fallen branches trapped in the bush by the latest spate. It came out, the rod taking the strain, the chub exhausted almost swimming into the landing net.

The roach were all sizes, this fatty, more rudd than roach.

I had decided to pack up once I ran out of holes in my bread, but gave in and got out another piece. They were still feeding, a small chub giving me a wake up call as it dashed about.

It had rained followed by an icy wind blowing downstream and float control became difficult, but the rudd didn’t seem to mind and I put several more in my net.

The last of the day.

The sign of a successful afternoon, slowed to a halt by the pollution, but recovered to make up for lost gains. Judging by the number of punched holes, I had put over a hundred fish in my net in the four hour session, at least 50% being gudgeon, but topped out with five chub and quality roach.