I spent a few hours on the Suffolk Stour last week in seemingly perfect conditions only to endure a difficult time of it.
I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I just fished badly. I was chopping and changing methods right up until dusk without ever settling on one, or in one place.
The pre-trip anticipation for what was to be a long-overdue session on my favourite river meant I wanted to try a few different methods for different species, in what amounted to just a few hours fishing time. In hindsight I should have just stuck to one method. Oh well.
I started on a favourite pool using a static, two rod approach – one rod baited with a smelt for pike and the other set up with a maggot feeder for roach and perch. With just one cheeky bullhead that, for the briefest of moments, had me thinking it was something more substantial after he actually made the bobbin dance and alarm bleep, I changed the maggot feeder over to a ledgered lob worm. Then I tried wobbling a smelt through the swim. By 2 o’clock and with the day already closing in, I decided to head over to a different stretch with just a rod and net and a bucket of big baits in search of a chub.
There was a fair bit of extra water running through the river – where it had come from I really don’t know – and I immediately regretted not bringing the maggots and a float rod as it looked sock-on for a bit of trotting. But despite the seemingly positive conditions and even in the most reliable of chub swims, I just couldn’t buy a bite. I tried lob worms, paste and boilie, all to no avail. Then I remembered I had an old can of Spam in the bag. I impaled a decent chunk and just as the light was dropping, finally managed to coax a subtle bite that I missed.
Next cast I just left the bait in position and after a fair old wait I finally had another finicky pull. Fish on. And, at last, a hard-earned Stour chub came to the net. An average sized fish, but a pleasing one.