Sunday, December 02, 2012

A run a chuck - thanks to the cursed weed

For the second day in a row, I marvel at the torrent surging through the sluice into the swollen channel. The drain's even higher, sloshing over the deserted banks. But something's changed from yesterday. There are goosanders and a couple of cormorants working an area of the opposite bank, where there are clumps of weed on the surface. The goosanders are moving, but the weed isn't - slack water an easy chuck from the bank.

I fancy this slightly more than the stretch I was planning to head for the couple of hours into dark. The fields are still frozen solid, while a line of flotsam shows how high the drain rose a few hours earlier. High tide was at 08:10am, with low water at 5:45pm.

So by mid-afternoon, with the gates open 12 miles away at the King's Lynn end, the channel's going to be running off hard. Not ideal conditions. But there's two hours of daylight left and something's got to have attracted fish eating birds to the spot.

It turns out to be a run a chuck all afternoon - as in runs from the clumps of weed moving in the slight backward flow, where the main current hits water pouring in from another drain. I switch to big  leads and sea floats but can't keep enough line off the water to fish where I want - the visible crease where slacker water meets the full force of the flow.

The Chipper Bailiff looks in. The stretch I was planning to head for is in perfect nick, he says. There are 45 minutes of daylight left. Insufficient time to pack up, walk back to the car, head down there and get the baits in, so I opt to stay put - if I could only beat the cursed weed, I should be in with a shout. 

I realise something else, as I look down at the drain after the CB disappears elsewhere on his rounds. The level's fallen by getting on for two feet in as many hours. There are already fears that fish are being swept through the sluice at St Germans into the tidal Ouse.

As the sun dips beneath the sluice, the drain blushes pink before darkness falls.


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