Glad We Weren't On A Pond Yesterday!

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Simon R

Regular member
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May 19, 2002
Yesterday was our latest club match - this time on our short stretch of the River Swale at Catterick.
It's a fast, shallow river, fairly rocky in places and averaging about three feet deep and twenty or so yards wide.
Dominant species are grayling, trout and chub plus odd barbel and, in the summer, shoals of small dace.

It's been very, very low most of the summer due to the lack of rainfall but in the last couple of weeks it's been in flood a couple of times and when we arrived yesterday had maybe a couple of inches of fresh water in and just a tinge of colour.

I've only been down to fish it a couple of times this season and judging by the undergrowth nobody else had followed in my footsteps since. The bankside is mainly willow and blackthorn plus dense Hibernian balsam. At least the latter is easy to force your way through although, annoyingly, it does tend to conceal the numerous rabbit holes and more than one of our members have had that sudden sinking feeling and found they've got one leg nine inches shorter than the other[:p]

After the draw I found myself on the second peg down from our upstream limit. It's a peg I've fished a few imes before and is a relatively slow glide - with most of the flow towards the far bank. Down the nearside bank the river barely flows under normal conditions, and if there's an extra foot in the river makes an excellent fish holding area.

I set up three rods
  • 15' Greys GTec for use with the centrepin to fish along the 'crease' seperating the main flow of the river with the slower flow closer in.
  • 13' Daiwa Conny with a spliced tip to fish a larger float along the far-bank - beyond where I could cast to with the centrepin
  • 12' Drennan IM 8 feeder rod - for use with a maggot feeder or a bomb and bread / meat

Fishing a small balsa float with the centrepin and maggot on the hook provoked an immeadiate response, however after missing a few bites I found the culprits to be minnows rather than the hoped for dace[:(]
The usual method to deter minnows is to fish single or double caster on the hook however the Yokshire large-mouthed minnow is perfectly capable of demolishing a caster or two.[:p]

A couple of hours of switching baits, methods and locations didn't produce anything more substantial so I decided to stretch my legs and see what else was being caught. Dave on the downstream end of the stretch had snared a small trout.
George had only a couple of minnows but was having major problems with debris in the water. The early fresh breeze had increased to something approaching gale force and a willow tree between George and myself was losing small branches at an alarming rate. They'd fly into the water and then be propelled downstream, the majority on a direct course for the spot where Georges line was entering the water - causing him to have to wind in and recast rather more often than he would have liked.


Kev also had just a couple of minnows - although he had lost a grayling at the net[:0]

Returning to my peg I chucked the maggot feeder, with a couple of redworms on the hook, way down my peg to the downstream end of the near bank slack. It had only been in the water a matter of a couple of minutes before, just as I was pouring a cup of coffee, a violent wrench of the rod tip indicated something had hooked itself.[:D]

As I suspected by the violence of the bite a small trout was the culprit but they count in our matches so it was popped into the keepnet. With no futher indications I switched back to the float and second run through I got a bite from something that pulled back a little - a small grayling joining the trout in my keepnet[:D]

That was it action wise though my two 'proper' fish and a handful of minnows registering exactly a pound on the scales.

That was enough for my third win of the season though - Dave's trout was tiny (3oz) and neither Kev nor George had added to their brace of minnows.

The Youtube video will give you an idea of the strength of the wind
Fortunately it was mainly off our backs and since we were well sheltered it didn't cause too many problems - although I doubt if the constant stream of willow branches into the river will have improved the fishing much[:p]

Next match is the Junior Shield in a fortnight, followed by the float-only Tontine Cup on September 26th.



Regular member
Sep 27, 2007
sounds like a good fun day out Simon...
nice report & pics...
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