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Pleasure Fishing Pleasures

Richard Chave spends a much-needed day on the Upper Stour...

After the five-hour ordeal of wind, rain and snow on the Kennet & Avon Canal last weekend, it was nice to have a few hours pleasure fishing on the Upper Dorset Stour.

With the river season drawing to an end, I always try to get to the river for one last fling before all the river kit is packed up until June 16th. As I was working on the final Sunday of the season it was a pleasure session for me, which got me thinking about the term ‘pleasure’.

It’s very rare for me to get out on the bank now unless it’s on a Sunday for a match – and that’s normally a team match or a practice open for a team event. For me, the pleasure of fishing with and for my team mates is what makes me get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday and drive around an hour to compete. I definitly get pleasure when the team has some success, but it’s also the banter before and after a match that I enjoy. So should the fishing I normally do be called ‘pleasure fishing’?

Even when I went to the river, I didn’t go on my own, as my good friend and team mate Rob Randall came along as well (actually, he picked me up to be fair!). This is because, although it was just lovely to be at the riverside, just fishing on my own would not bring me as much pleasure.

Perhaps it’s the matchman in me but even when it’s not a match I like to compete. First fish, biggest fish, most fish; anything that would gain bragging rights! See, for me a day’s fishing with my friends is not about monitory gain. Ok, we could have put a £1 on the side for the top catch, but just catching a few more than the guy you're against is enough.

On the day I was lucky enough to catch a few more than Rob, and people on the south west circuit will know that this is no mean feat, as he is a very good angler!

On the day I fished a 13ft deep peg at Sturminster Newton. Following a balling-in of groundbait the fish were a little slow to come to the normal maggot or casters presented a little slower over the groundbait. So, to make things happen I began to throw in smaller balls stuffed with pinkies and swapped to double pinkie on the hook. Two big perch, a 1lb skimmer and quite a few good roach made for a very pleasurable day.

Importantly we sorted out a few tactics that would put a few more fish in our nets the next time we encounter similar conditions. So when I was ‘busy’ at work on the Sunday, Rob was coming second on the last open of the river season on the Bristol Avon at Barton Farm with a nice 7lb bag of roach – a good percentage of which was taken on pinkie and groundbait! I’ll take great 'pleasure' in that pint you owe me for the info Rob!


Richard Chave fishes for Garbolino Blackmore Vale and loves bagging up on his beloved canals and rivers in the southwest of England.

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