IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell (right).

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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MY DAD never went fishing – unless his arm was heavily twisted by me, mostly to get myself a lift to the water in the years before I could drive.

But the wise man that he was Dad had two chunks of advice for me whenever I got a bit too big-headed because I had caught lots of fish, or when I sulked because I hadn’t caught enough.

First: You are only as good as the fish let you become.

Second: You can’t catch them if they aren’t there.

How true are both those sayings? And never more true than last week when, despite a heavy overnight frost and then blinding sun (yes, that’s what it was) I decided I just had to go fishing.

It had to be done: a trip to the local stream. Flooded, but not too much; coloured just enough so that frost wouldn’t have too done too much damage and wouldn’t also ensure that sun didn’t hit sport too much.

Wrong! I should have guessed when my first three fish were dace that things were not right. It’s nearly always roach here with the odd dace.

Those three took some catching and a number of swim moves didn’t work either. What didn’t help either was the vast amount of rubbish on the bottom, not washed away by the floods.

There was also a might array of rubbish on the bank too – something that regular readers will know really, and I do mean REALLY, gets my back up.

Hundreds of drink cans, water bottles, food wrappers and burnt out fires did not make a pleasant sight.

I have to add that there was very little ‘proper anglers’ rubbish. I spotted just one luncheon meat can, one sweetcorn tin and no empty hook packets or groundbait bags.

I think I’d be quids in with the bookies if I had bet on illegal fishing, probably by some overseas visitors, as the main reason behind all this bankside garbage.

Now that’s an armchair swim – fit for a very small angler indeed.

Mind you there was a nice armchair peg – complete with a chair for a midget (see picture above). I thought it might have been Bill Rushmer’s chair that he had left behind but then realised he isn’t keen on green. There was also a white table further down the bank…

Sorry, I digress, back to the fishing. I spotted two other anglers who were also struggling so it wasn’t me who had offended the fishing gods in anyway.

I did get a few more dace and a solitary roach, chopping and changing between single and double maggot and a mix of holding back and letting the stick float run through. Holding back nearly always gets a bite here.

Of course being a nice guy I’d let my travelling partner Mike drop into the first swim, that also happens to be one of my favourites.

He had roach, dace and perch early on and then the swim died. Unusually for us we were both home early afternoon with two puzzled wives wondering what was wrong with us.

They will be wondering even more if we have to go out in more cold, wet, sunny weather in the near future…




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