The Monmouth & District Angling Society AGM was held on the Monday night, I planned to go fishing on the Tuesday. As I was already in Monmouth and that the meeting would not finish before 10.30pm I made the decision a week before to spend the night in the van so I was ready at first light to go chubbing. I did not realise the temperatures were going to plummet to -3 that night! Chub fishing in cold weather does not deter me, sleeping in the back of a cold van does!
However, id made the decision to stay over night and that was my plan. I arrived in Monmouth a couple of hours before the meeting so I would have the opportunity to prebait half a dozen swims ready for the following day. During the day I identified 6 swims that looked ideal chub sanctuaries and fed in 3 handfuls of mashed bread into each one.
The AGM was a success, featuring a slide show, a talk by invited guests and I became Chairman of the club. Now the hard work starts, to increase members especially junior members and also the restocking of our rivers and lakes to improve the fishing.
I made sure I filled up on the buffet, a good spread laid on again, and I ate until I could eat no more, as I was about the spend the night in the back of a van in Arctic conditions. My alarm went off at 5.45am and in the torch headlight I could see frost on the inside of the van roof, it must of been cold last night, i was glad of my 5 season sleeping bag. I got dressed in the dim light of the torch as the sun was not up yet, then next job put the kettle on for a steaming cuppa.
The hot tea felt good as I rigged the rod up with a light link leger secured with a water knot leading to a size 6 hook which would hold a large lump of flake. The sun was on the rise as i made my way to the frozen riverbank.
As I reached my first swim on the River Monnow I fed in another 2 handfuls of mashed bread then walked along the bank and topped up the swims I fed the previous evening. Back in my original swim I baited with a large piece of breadflake then cast to an overhanging willow on the far bank. Immediately I received taps on the light quiver tip, small fish probably, I waited for a more positive pull. No pull materialised so I reeled in and rebaited again with bread flake. The second cast resulted in the same response although the tip did pull round so I struck into my first fish, a plucky little chub around 10oz. I caught another 2 chub between 8oz and 1lb, not the specimens I was fishing for. I fished another 5 swims that morning with no luck. This little river does seem to be a shadow of its former self, when a fish between 2-3lb was average, nowadays we struggle bites.
Unfortunately the laptop im using does not let me upload photos onto my blog so I will share them on twitter and facebook, including the incredible frosty dawn on that morning.
Ive also decided to write an e-book due out in 2014. In 2004 I took a year off solely to fish for big fish and I had 8 PBs during that time and many first captures. It was a great experience and one Id like to share. Its not just about the big fish I caught, it will be also be about the characters, their stories and tales of fishing I heard during that time. Its called Fishing the Dream, please look out for it in the new year.