Going With The Flow – Steve Cowley

Well the new river season is now in full swing and I have had some great sessions on the bank recently. My latest trip out on the bank, I was joined on the bank by mate. Craig, where we paid a visit to the mighty River Yare which is part of the Norfolk Broads system.

I had fished the venue last season a couple of times, and with a week away from work, this seemed an ideal time to return. Being a tidal river, it pays to keep up to date with the different times when the high/low tides are and today we were starting on an ‘ebb tide and planned to finish just after high tide around 6.30/7pm. Getting to the bank around 9.30am where, after a brief walk along the pegs, I decided to sit on 102 with a plan in mind to fish on area all session which was three parts the way across.  With the pace of the river fluctuating with the tides turning, a slightly more beefed up set is required to fish the peg correctly, which in this case is the rod high in the air with a slight bow in the line. This way the bites you mostly look for are ‘drop back bites, which is where the feeder itself has been dislodged on the bottom. The actual weight of the feeder is also very important, so the feeder just holds on the bottom and not bouncing in the flow.

The rod I used was a Cadence 13ft #3 feeder with a 3oz tip, this is powerful rod, yet still has a soft playing action which is perfect for the skimmers and bream that I was hoping would feed. I matched this with the Cadence CS10 4000 reel, spooled up with 5lb mainline and an 8lb shock leader. The reason I have used a shock leader, is sometimes on high tides the power of the river dictates the weight of the feeder used which could be 3oz or even heavier. By just using 5lb line on its own, you could possibly suffer crack offs on the cast, by using the heavier shockleader these are prevented. Hooklength was also slightly heavier, being 0.14 diameter as personally there is no need to go fine I don’t think, as if using heavy set ups then match the hooklength to suit, which I matched with a size 14 SW hook. Starting weight of feeder was 44g, with some 5g clip on weights ready to add to the feeder as and when they may be
My chosen groundbait mix for the session was a combination of Pro Natural Dark and half a bottle of Sweet Liquid Molasses.  I mixed this together the night before, by emptying two bags of Pro Natural Dark into a bucket and adding the molasses straight into the mix before the water, this was then blitzed together with a drill whisk, before adding the water. Once the mix was slightly over wet, I left this alone until dampening again slightly on the bank before riddling the whole mix off to remove any lumps.

Bait for the day was as simple as it can get, worm and corn for the hook bait and chopped worm/caster mix with a few dead maggot for the feeder. Opening gambit for me was to be half a worm, which was promptly deposited across the river and the waiting game began. Sometimes here bites can come very fast, so being vigilant on the tip and striking at any movement is a must in my view as even the smallest movement can result in a fish. The quick response I had hoped for, actually took several casts and around 30mins later before fish number one, a 8oz skimmer, came to the net. This was the start of a few indications and a small run of fish, before a lot of missed ‘drop back’ bites and an eel prompted me to change to the corn.

This change brought an instant response from several 6oz roach and a couple of nice skimmers, before going quiet again. Swapping back to the worm hook bait, brought a response straight away again this time from a big roach over a pound, a fin perfect fish it was too. This seemed to be the pattern through the day, chopping and changing hook baits picking up one or two fish on each. As the afternoon drew on, the water began to rise and the feeder was no upped on weight to 54g by adding two 5g clip on weights, making it just hold bottom perfectly. I did try a 2oz feeder, but this was too heavy as I picked up two fish and no bite was even seen. As the top of the tide arrived, I picked up three bream and a couple of big skimmers, all of which fell to worm hook bait within a minute of the feeder settling on the bottom. Then just as fast as they had turned up, they disappeared as soon as the tide began to ‘ebb off. I did manage one more better sized fish, which proved to be my last dead on 7pm.

Taking the fish out at the end, I had managed a respectable net of skimmers, roach, perch and a few bream for around 30lb, Craig had faired even better and had a cracking mixed net easily close to 50lb if not more consisting of roach, perch, hybrids, skimmers also some big skimmers and perch, few nice bream as well.  What an amazing venue and great way to round my week off on the bank of a great venue with ya mate, life doesn’t get much better I don’t think….oooosssshhhhh!

Tight Lines

Steve Cowley

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