Guest Blog – Winter Fishing on the River

Saturday came with a bump after a manic working week. Agreed to meet Ricky at the car park near the station for 10. the journey up seemed quicker than usual, maybe where I haven’t been on a train for a bit everything feels quicker? Who knows? I arrived with blurry eyes but eager to see Ricky after such a long time (used to see him every other day when I worked in Crayford) 2 Americano’s in hand I stepped out of the station and towards the agreed car park. Looking down I suddenly realised my walking pattern means coffee all down my legs… “Great !” I thought, “is this going to be a sign of the day to come?”

Ricky arrived shortly after and to his amusement coffee wise we set off down into the town centre following the river out towards the Thames. This was our first spot a brackish bit of water which could be hiding some nice perch & pike. After flicking a jig head about for a while and Ricky ledgering with maggots it became clear that the fish weren’t there or at least wasn’t interested in what we were offering…

With Ricky being the local man in the know we headed back into town and through into a local parkland area that was recently cleaned up and cut back. It was busy with people milling about and enjoying the clear Saturday weather and we was told there’s nothing in here river wise. Undeterred we both changed up to light ledgering with 3/4 maggots on small 8 specimen hooks just wanting to grab a bite of something… please something! Ricky was in first pulling a beautiful chub out from under an overhanging bush, shortly followed by me with a smaller but still beautiful specimen. “Quids in!” We thought might have found a spot for a few hours but then after a greedy roach the swim died, no movement not even a sign, this winter fishing malarkey is a nightmare sometimes! We continued upstream hitting a few other spots but with no luck. 

We had walked past a nice deep curve in the river on the way up and spotted some bream cruising about on the far bank and decided to go back to see what was happening. Luckily they were still there glistening in the winter sunlight. With this boost in our confidence we cast out, setting a trap on both sides of the curve, stepping back from the bank and watched these fish swim past both our baits! Confused and a little windswept we re-cast just in front of their noses, maybe this time they will find our baits ? Still nothing …. maybe they just wasn’t turned on by the maggots? A classic winter bait but clearly the fish of Dartford had different ideas. Our hearts sinking a little at the sight of these fish cruising past us we began to think about calling it a day, maybe it just wasn’t our day but as I was reeling in I had a sudden pull ! Gently striking into it a large shape plopped to the surface! It was a beautiful river bream and a lot bigger than what we thought when we saw them !! Ricky was there in a flash with the net we were not going to let this one escape!  Bringing it onto the bank we were both over the moon! This was a fish to be proud of on such a tough day! A few photos later and this beautiful but moody bream was released back to its lair ready for another day.

With this cold but beautiful high we decided to call it a day, packing up and realising I was covered in mud and smelling like a fishmonger I sat on this Thameslink home feeling content but very aware that people could smell me.

Until next time, 

Ben 

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