Not that long before Christmas, I was out with my good friend Anthony on a blissful, if chilly, winter’s morning. As the sun rose, it pulled the mist off the river until the whole valley was swathed in the golden magic. I find my river beautiful always but I have to admit, at this moment it was like paradise. Just to be alive on such a morning both Anthony and I knew was such a privilege.

We were fishing an ancient mill pool which I knew held good stocks of chub but, with low, clear, cold water, I wasn’t quite sure about our approach. In the event, after pellets and meat failed dismally, we decided to liberally bait with maggots and try a float approach. Of course, that, too, was a tactic riddled with uncertainties. In all probability, the chub would be dour, unwilling to leave the bed of the river to chase such small food items. However, a maggot attack nearly always works with this species providing enough are fed in to arouse their interest.

While Anthony continued to fish a pellet hard on the bottom, I fed in around a pint of maggots over some twenty minutes or so. That was when we decided to put the first float through. It buried after just four yards and Anthony was playing a glistening, four pound fish. Once again, in that surreal light, the fish looked sublime. We hugged ourselves and we hugged each other. This was a true Christmas treat.

We had another pint and a half of maggots left and we fed them all through the next hour and a half of our day. During that time, seven more chub came to the net, all magnificent, one, mine, just a few ounces over that magical six pound mark.

We ran out of maggots and, in truth, puff, just before midday! We’d had our fill. We’d had enough chub action to last us the rest of the year. Anthony is a relative novice and I urged him, seriously, passionately, not to take this morning as the norm. He’s a clever guy and he realized, too, that this really had been Chub Heaven. We did what any sensible chub fisherman would do at this moment and retired to the pub for a coffee and a reflection.

We talked about the gear – thirteen foot float rod and centrepin – and the method and mulled over every moment of our journey together. That’s how I like it to be. These days of spectacular success are always going to be limited, however experienced you are, however great the waters that you fish. When you stumble on moments like this, enjoy every single second, ring out every single ounce of pleasure. To experience sessions like the one Anthony and I enjoyed is a massive privilege. It’s life at its most pressure, its most rewarding.

Never, ever take such gold-tinged days for granted but worship them, for they are as rare as gold-dust.