The tree swim
This week I made one last effort for Chub at the tree swim on the upper Adur. I have fished this swim three or four times this summer without success. On Wednesday I went there to survey and assess the area again. The depth, the weed beds and the one clear area are all as I thought. As you can see from the picture, this area looks like a good place to fish.
To be sure of catching on Saturday, I pre-baited the swim on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Every day driving to the river, walking across the fields and feeding the swim. I fed with hemp, sweetcorn and a few prawns, all baits with a proven track record. I put the feed in the one small area clear of weeds in front of the tree.
There are dozens of small fish breaking the surface and swimming around all the time. Float fishing with maggots will catch the tiddlers, but nothing over a few ounces. In July 2014 I caught three Chub in half an hour from this exact swim on a roving session. Then in autumn 2015 I saw Chub rolling and swimming while Pike fishing. For me this area should produce at least a few fish.
Come Saturday I carefully and quietly made my way to the swim and set up. I had planned to use a pop-up bait just to make it easy for the fish to find. But to cover all bases I started with a paternoster rig with a long hook length and touch ledgered for maximum bite detection.
For an hour nothing happened. When I say nothing, I mean nothing, no indications at all, not even a line bite. So I broke down the paternoster rig and tied a running ledger with popped up corn. Touch ledgering again I fished until dusk. Guess what…. nothing, no indications whatsoever, not even the slightest tug !
Would it be arrogant of me to say there were no fish. Even if I didn’t catch any Chub, surly I should have caught something. A Roach of 8 oz can handle a grain of corn, a small Chub, Bream, Tench, even a Carp would have been welcome. There used to be fish here and I have caught some of them, but now nothing.
I don’t mind blanking, but what really bothers me is that I don’t understand why. If there are fish there why can’t I catch them. If the fish have moved, then where have they moved to and why have they gone. To answer these questions will take time. Possibly years of observation and fishing up and down the river. Maybe I’m missing some fundamental piece of information, some basic fact that will make all the difference. Rest assured if I ever work it out, I will let you know.
Iv’e just had a brainwave…. low oxygen levels and I bet I know why. I will look into it over the next week and come back to you.
Just for a moment I thought I had it. The EA removed a weir half a mile upstream from the tree swim. The water up there now flows faster than it has in decades. I thought the fish may have moved upstream to enjoy the more oxygenated water, but no. Iv’e had a good look and I can’t see any fish there either, very strange.