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Arrival time: 10.15 am
Weather: Cold but bright with a freshening to strong wind.
Tackle: 11'6" John Wilson Avon with 1.5oz quiver, small Arlesey weight, Shimano 5000 RE reel, 6lb line direct to 6 eyed hook.
Baits: Luncheon meat & cheese paste.
Fish: One chub
I was in St Ives the previous day and I checked out the Chubb Stream to see if it had fined down after recent heavy rain. It looked pretty good, with some extra water and colour, but nothing to worry about. So I returned with a fairly positive feeling. I stopped at the first fishable swim, basically to cut down on walking too far in one go, my ailing left hip limiting me. I noticed the new flow deflectors just upstream from the swim, installed recently by the EA to promote the formation of a deeper pool and cleaner gravel.
This first swim was where I managed to break the tip of my new split cane rod on my previous outing, when I had hooked a good fish that required hand-lining when it weeded itself. So on this occasion I hoped to be given another chance. I started with luncheon meat but a cast to midstream didn't produce anything. Trying a slacker area on the far bank also yielded nothing. As a final try I cast along the nearside bank and after a short while was rewarded with a pull on the quiver tip.
Hooking the fish near the bank gave it the advantage of gaining easy access to the reeds and weeds and the struggle to keep it out wasn't helped by my reel stiffening up when I tried to retrieve line. Fortunately it wasn't a very big chub and I managed to net it while it was partially entangled in weed.
It was an early success and made me optimistic of further opportunities at other spots. The chub had a mark on both flanks, indicative of perhaps being predated from above, but it was otherwise in good health. I returned it quickly and decided to move on.
EA working on flow deflectors (From St Ives AS Facebook page)
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The finished flow deflectors
Playing the only chub of the day
The only chub
The final target (well-trodden) swim
The next spot was what I call the pipe swim, where a large elevated gas pipe crosses the stream. On a very early visit to the stream I lost a fish in this swim, catching one on the next visit. However, since that early success I've never scored again, although I always give the spot a try. My first cast was a disaster, swinging right into the bank and snagging, resulting in a break off and the need to retackle. It transpired that the line was jammed on the reel spool, possibly associated with the rewinding issue I had at the first spot. I pulled off line to clear the problem and cast again, this time successfully. But there was nothing doing.
Moving downstream a short way I was similarly unsuccessful in another spot where I had caught before. I then moved on quite quickly to the swim by the bypass, a largish pool with a faster flow nearer the far bank. This had been a very reliable spot that had produced chub on a number of occasions, but not today. So I decided to move on to a swim that had been the most productive for me over a number of visits.
With the nettles having reduced significantly since my last visit I was able to cast to the 'hot' spot under a tree. I was still on luncheon meat. In the past a bite has come very quickly and I started to worry when nothing showed any interest. A few more casts and a change to cheese paste didn't improve matters and I reluctantly accepted that this favourite spot wasn't going to oblige on this occasion. A bad omen for any further swims I might try.
Moving on to the last targetted swim, I was again to find a complete absence of any interest. I did note however that the bank showed clear signs of being fished, this being very different to when I first fished the stream back in 2020 when it had a more 'virgin' appearance. In fact, on one of the early visits a dog walker remarked how rare it was to see anybody fishing. Perhaps it is now a bit too popular with a resulting wariness from the fish.
At this point I decided to make my way back to the first meadow and have a bit of a rest, fishing one spot for about half an hour, before setting off home. On the way I did try dropping a bait under a raft in a very difficult swim, but once more with no luck.
Arriving at my 'resting' swim, I lost my tackle on the second cast after snagging in some reeds. I decided, therefore, to call it a day there and then and make my way back to the car. And I really struggled, having not had my planned rest my hip was complaining bitterly while I trudged along like a decrepit old man! I arrived at the car exhausted.
I'll probably be giving the Chubb Stream a miss for a while.