- Jul 11, 2018
In the 1970/1980s I not only had my roach head on but a chub head too. I had a good friend that owned an old Mill house on the river Wensum, that I got to fish it as often as I could. The Mill at the time held some big fish of all species, roach over two pounds, chub over five, good perch, big dace, and a twenty pound pike or two. I honestly cannot remember the river ever being too low in those days, maybe abstraction was in its infancy?
Several previous trips to the Mill had produced some nice big roach, and the odd big chub to 5lb+ trotting bread-flake or tip fishing with worm or bread. But I really fancied a big chub that hung out at the end of the run, under a large overgrown bush. This bush, some decade later, was where the once record Wensum barbel was taken from, it became a syndicate would you believe. So I set about dropping a bit of bait in for several days prior to fishing. I knew the spot was fished by others, but back then I was self-employed and could fish at odd times. The swim had been scoured out by fish over the years, and during the closed season you could see, roach barbel chub and dace moving in and out feeding, disappearing into the deeper part and re-emerging again further down the swim. The barbel were modest, I think 7.8 lb was my best then, still a decent fish in the 80s though.
This day I'd decided to fish until late, starting by baiting with a little mashed bread. My normal chub out-fit was a 11.6 rod with six pound line and size 6 hook, a two swan shot ledger that I knew would just move around to stop under the bush. An old Fairy bottle top with an isotope fitted was the bobbin. As the darkness took over I remember it got very warm for a winter evening, it was windy too, but I could see a light in the Mill House for a little comfort. I'd taken two flasks of coffee and had just opened the first one when the little bobbin slowly reached the rod eye. To be honest it was so slow I was unsure it was a fish taking. But after a little scrap I good chub was settled into the keep net some 20 yards above me. Chub, are the only fish I keep if fishing for a bag of fish. I just think somehow they tell the others you're about, crazy maybe but? I'd have been more than happy with that one fish, honest, but when the bobbin went a second time a few hours later, and another big fish was staked out, I knew I'd have to stay until morning now for some decent pictures. ( In those days, you had to prove to everyone that you had caught, nowadays if people don't believe me I don't give a fig.) Just on dawn I had another fast take that I almost missed as I was so bloody tired not sleeping, sitting all night on a little stool. I knew this fish was special maybe my biggest to date, so on first light I awoke my Mill house friend and phoned Mr John Wilson, who kindly came down to take some pictures for me, before going to work and opening the shop a little late that day. Many may not know but John was a very capable semi professional photographer, and used a Medium format camera, so all his shots looked amazing. We weighted three big chub that early morning, all over 5lb and one special fish over 6lb.
In remembrance of my friend John Wilson MBE.