Short sessions fishing the Old Lea Loop

I’ve kind of been forced to become a bit of a short session expert. I run two very busy web design companies and time is precious. It’s not a coincidence that one of my offices is right on the River Lea in Ware. I’ve been doing a few very short sessions, either in my lunch hour or after work fishing Old River Lea at Tumbling Bay.

So I looked at my watch and it’s coming up for midday. Conditions outside are good and so I decide to grab a rod and nip over to the river. I get to the weir pool and can’t see any fish however, I do know that if I feed the swim with a few pellets then the fish will more than likely turn up. I have kind of wised up to the power of small pellets this year for chub and barbel. They’ve changed my fishing. This swim allows me to feed the swim and then stay well away from the waters edge and watch the fish turn up over a gravel patch. Within about a 5 minutes the trout turn up. They always turn up first and for me they’ve become a bit too prolific in this part of the river. They are so hyperactive and aggressive. Put something in the water and they’re straight on it! This makes it hard to get through them to the decent chub and perch that are present in this stretch.

old river lea

Above: The Old River Lea at Tumbling Bay

Within in 15 minutes the chub turn up, which are my target. There’s a few good ones too. I’m quite amazed as a tench, bream and a carp all visit the baited patch over the next few minutes. I’ve not seen carp in the weir pool for a few seasons so it’s really good to see them here. Definitely time to get a bait in the water!

I fish with drilled pellets on the hair and sit well back and carry on watching the swim whilst keeping an eye on the tip of the rod. The fish obviously moved out when I placed the hook bait but I’m confident that if I continue to trickle in the pellets the the fish will return. Unfortunately the carp did not, but the other fish did. The chub start to push the trout out the way and a bream starts to join in. I see the bream bolt, the rod tip bends round and I rush over to the rod. I know exactly what I’ve hooked.

bream old river lea

Above: First of a series of short sessions and the first fish, a bream From the loop.

The bream is returned and it’s time to get back to work. You learn a lot by actually watching fish and I’ve learnt a lot for my next session. A week later and I’m back. Last time I was here I spent the first half hour without a bait in the water. This time I was so confident that they would turn up that I placed the bait first – something I don’t usually do. Sure enough the trout are in the swim within minutes, followed by the cub and then our old friend the tench. I’d really like to catch the tench as I’ve never had a tench from a river. It’s definitely the same tench as last time. He always seems to turn up on his own, I’ve never seen or heard of any other tench in here. A decent chub shakes his head as the rod tip bends round. I hit the rod a land a really nice old chub – a right old character.

fishing old river lea

Above: A nice old chub from the river lea.

I put the fish back and feed in some more pellets hoping the fish would return before my lunch hour is up. Fortunately they return within 10 minutes. I have trout, chub and the tench on my spot. I really want that little tench. It’s strange but I’ve noticed that he keeping feeding in exactly the same spot at the far end of the gravel patch. I want to move my bait just a couple of foot to where I see him feeding but this would risked spooking the fish and my time was running out. I still decide to move it and I placed it exactly where I’d seen the tench feeding. I must have taken my eyes off the water because a short while later I see the rod tip shaking. I grab the rod and a fish starts charging around the swim. The fish rolls on the surface and to my delight I can see it’s the tench! After a short fight he’s in the net.

tench river lea

Above: A tench – like rocking horse poo in this part of the Lea.

Hour up and so back to work. The following week, you guessed it – back on the Old Lea Loop at lunchtime. I employ the same tactics but this time only manage a single chub but it’s a nice one not far off 5lb. After this session I decided to give the loop a rest for a while. I’ll back back as I love this style of fishing – where you can see the fish picking up the bait. I was enjoying my fishing on the Old River Lea.

chub old river lea tumbling bay

Above: Another nice chub from the River Lea at Tumbling Bay just shy of 5lb.

I’ve never seen any barbel in this part of the Lea and I walk this stretch a lot. Barbel is something I’ve never really targeted and I think they’re stunning looking fish. I caught a small one on the first day of the season in Hertford and now plan to fish for barbel the whole of August. Again, work will be busy and I have a 2 week family holiday so time will be limited so once again I’ll need to hope for short session success!

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