Jamie Cartwright certainly got off to a flying start this winter, landing this impressive 7lb 3oz fish on his first chub session of the season.
The former Drennan Cup Champion runs through his recent success on the River Great Ouse:
Last Winter, I really struggled to get to grips with the Great Ouse chub, after a couple of stretches I had been targeting had become quite tricky. The combination of a diminishing stock of big fish and an increasing number of anglers targeting them made for a tough start to my campaign. A month into the campaign and I was still to trouble the scoreboard, so I decided to call it a day and moved on to a new stretch.
The first trip to this new section of river produced my biggest chub for nearly three years when a 7lb 10oz fish fell to my boilie tactics. I followed that fish up with a couple of others on subsequent trips and really had my eyes opened to the potential of some of the less popular stretches of this river. My plan for this coming winter was to target some of these areas and see what turned up.
The campaign began with a trip without the rods. Both Dougie and myself had agreed on a stretch that we knew was fairly overgrown, so we decided to walk the river with reed cutters screwed into our 3m Super Specialist Twist-Lock landing net handles and a big bag of glugged up boilies. We cut about 8-10 swims so we had plenty of choices and could potentially fish 4 or 5 swims each during a short evening session. Each swim received a generous helping of boilies before heading off home.
The following week we were back and headed straight for the furthest swims from the car, dropping a few baits into each as we passed them. We both had our eyes on one swim but as Dougie had driven, we’d agreed he would get first choice. I wasn’t too disappointed as I really fancied the swim I was going into anyway, but given the choice, I’d have probably chosen the other one.
My 1.5 Series 7 Specialist Avon/Quiver rod was ready to go. It didn’t takeme long to wrap some paste around my balanced hook bait and threaded a PVA mesh bag onto my hook link before swinging the rig into position. The lead went down with a reassuring thump, so I let out a bit of slack line and settled back in my chair, eagerly waiting for a bite.
To be honest, I was fully expecting a whistle from Dougie to let me know he was into a fish at any moment but much to my surprise it was me that would be whistling, as after just 10 minutes my rod tip came to life. I struck into solid resistance and a clearly heavy fish took exception to having a hook in its ‘chops’. I gave Dougie a whistle and he came down in to the swim just as I slipped the net under a very big framed chub.
“Any good?” he asked. “Yes mate, it’s a decent one!” I beamed. “Decent? That means it’s probably 7lb!” was the reply. I thought that was probably a bit optimistic, but when I lifted the fish on to the mat I revised my estimations. We zeroed the sling to the scales and as Dougie lifted I watched as the scales went past 6lb, then 7lb, settling on 7lb 3oz. For the second time this year my first cast on a new stretch had produced a 7lb+ chub.
Lightning had struck twice and it certainly made for an exciting start to the winter campaign… but things were only just getting started!