Monday, 26 September 2016

Supersub Scores

Let's kick off with the previous week's barren session. With time limited I was up early to be on the bank for first light. The plan was to catch chub or barbel, with perch as a back up should I need it. 

None were caught. Just a roach and a dace to worm, the latter of which was mangled by a pike, but lived to tell the tale. With pike also showing their presence on the next peg I got the impression that anything bite sized was justifiably nervous in the gin clear water. Good signs for the upcoming predator season I guess. A kiss of death for this session though. 

Fast forward a week and I had given up hope of getting out. With a ton of work to do at home I convinced myself that I'd be confined to base. I did manage to hijack a trip to the shops to grab a few deadbaits - just in case things fell into place.

I think my wife knew that I'd just sealed the deal. Not that she minds, or at least I don't think she does! She knows that all work and no fishing is generally a recipe for a grumpy hubby. Much better for all if I'm allowed my little weekly fix.

So, sometime gone 3pm I made the call and hastily put some gear together. A mile down the road and it was a case of about turn. No scales! Can't tempt fate by risking a session without them, particularly as I was on a zander hunt and literally anything would be a pb.

I headed for an area of the Avon that has thrown up a few zeds recently. With no preparation time I had to go with my light fun sized set up, which was geared up with my standard pike end tackle. No time to break out the new hooks I'd recently bought for zander on a recommendation. I'd actually forgotten to pack them in the rush to get out!

Out with a roach deadbait, following the often suggested theory that they prefer coarse baits. Call me sceptical but in the six years I've been predator fishing the Avon, I'd never seen a zander. Dozens of pike and even a chub and perch, but never a zander.

So it was no surprise when the first fish to show up was a jack. Nice to get my net wet, but not what I was after.

A move was made upstream but the shallower peg didn't fill me with confidence with the clear water. It wasn't long before I got twitchy and I was soon settling down into my third and last chance swim.

Searching around the swim (I don't like leaving baits static for too long) I eventually got a strange tap on the float that pricked my attention. It couldn't be could it? Then nothing. I began to write it off as debris hitting the line but after about a minute the float began to pull steadily away.

Expecting another jack, my whole outlook changed when a silvery body emerged from the depths. Praying the hooks would hold I quickly ushered it into the ample net. Get in!

OK, let's be clear - it's only a bog standard schoolie, but for me it's new territory. Just 2lb 15oz, but it counts for my challenge scorecard following my late substitution and is a pb. Just got to find one double the size before March now!

I lost a small jack at the death, but a few minutes earlier I had a spookily similar bite to the zander one. A tap, nothing, then a proper take. This was a more serious fish though, staying low and feeling heavy. Cue hook pull! Maybe I do need to break out those special hooks next time?

It's a pleasant diversion from pike and I know I'm going to be hooked now. There's every chance a low double figure fish could be in residence on the stretch, so I might be giving the zeds a bit more attention now. I hope it's not another six year wait....

The latest scores for my 7 species river challenge are :

Barbel (11lb 1oz) - 110.63%
Bream (8lb 2oz) - 101.36%
Carp (8lb 0oz) - 80%
Perch (1lb 6oz) - 45.83%
Chub (3lb 4oz) - 65%
Zander (2lb 15oz) - 48.96%
Pike - 0%
Total - 451.98 (Target 700)

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Pleasure and Pain

Three of us headed back to the Wye for one of our away weekends. Always highly anticipated affairs, tackled with abundant enthusiasm. Past failures, of which there are many, are always banished into distant memory.

The Wye is a cracking river. No doubt about that. Prolific and tough in equal measures though. Bag yourself a certain known peg on the stretch we fish and you're pretty much guaranteed barbel action. It's actually too easy and is generally reserved by the host for those seeking their first barbel thrill.

Everywhere else on the stretch is generally tough going, particularly if you don't get conditions in your favour. And once again they weren't! Low and gin clear. 

I made a right hash of day one. For the entire morning I'd built up a bed of bait mid-river, but nothing was happening. It was only when the sun poked out briefly and I stood up high on the bank, that I could see my error. The river was incredibly shallow right out to half way. I felt I needed to be half as far out again.

The switch proved to be an instant hit. Not for me though, but for Brian on the next peg who'd also decided to go for a longer chuck. A barbel of 5lb+ was later joined by one of 7lb 6oz. The latter almost resulting in the garrotting of some female canoeists who turned up at an inopportune moment. Fortunately they were polite and took the advice to change course, while the barbel was retrieved.

Destined to see my net a day later!
At the back end of the day I eventually bagged one myself. A fish of 7lb 11oz. Charlie, furthest upstream, managed a couple of juveniles.

The weather had been wet for much of the day and a final soaking just around packing up time, pretty much summed it up. In fairness we were happy that for once we'd all had barbel on day one. We retired to the pub.

Day two kicked off with a 5-30am rude awakening. Not an alarm call, but Charlie over-reaching and falling out of his bed head first into the side of my bed! Travelodge rooms are cosy if nothing else!

The weather was better and after much pondering and dithering (I accept much of the blame for that!), we plumped for the same area, with me and Charlie switching swims. An early Barbel for me proved to be false hope and no more were seen all day. It was actually one of the fish seen a day earlier - the 7lb 6oz fish caught by Brian (it had a distinctive well healed scar).

Blanks were reported along most of the length and even the banker peg had only thrown up one fish. Tough going.

I'll return of course. It's too nice a place to simply walk away from. A rest and a change is probably required though, as we've suffered many a beating down there now. I'm investigating options on the Trent for a future weekender. An autumn day trip to suss it out is on the cards.

Back locally, I planned a short evening Anker trip in a last desperate bid to break my river tench duck for the season. While de-barbelising my gear to an altogether lighter approach, I stumbled on an unlabelled rod tube. I thought it was a 3 piece float rod that I rarely use, but instead it was a brand new general purpose rod I'd forgotten all about.

It's nothing special, but I bought it a while back purely because it has a screw thread at the top for taking a swing tip. It's a method I'd never tried before and although a little old hat and unfashionable, I just fancied trying it. 

Looks broken?
Firstly, I can see why quiver tips are more popular, but in all honesty I found the swing tip to be OK. The sensitivity is where it scores highest. I broke my swinging duck with a big drop back bite. Not a tench, but one of the many old warrior slabs that inhabit the stretch. This one had just one eye and was about average stamp at 6lb 4oz.

I chopped and changed methods but couldn't entice anything else of note. Just a few roach and perch. A very frustrating session actually, as I'd baited up fairly heavily and had the fish fizzing over the feed.

With Autumn now upon us, things should hopefully start to pick up on the river. After last year's heavily curtailed season, I won't make the mistake of leaving it too long to break out the predator gear. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Summer Catch Up

It's good to be back in the land of blog again after a challenging period for me. My focus changed a few months ago when i strolled into my local hospital for what I hoped would be a routine referral. I left with my tail between my legs, with a concerned consultant insisting I needed swift surgery. A double whammy too, as I was off work at the time purely to do some fishing!

Taking his advice, the next day's fishing was cancelled in favour of a biopsy on my right wrist. Not part of my early season plans, but well worth it as it turned out. Three weeks later I returned to hospital to discover that the bit they removed from me was cancerous - a malignant melanoma. A nasty life changing little bugger if left to spread.

The good news was that it appeared to be isolated and hadn't spread to the parts of the body I really didn't want it to reach. More surgery was ordered on my wrist, just to be absolutely sure nothing was still lurking.

I'm pleased to say that the results of the second operation came back all clear. A massive relief. I have follow ups for a year and a lifetime on heightened alert, but that's no bad thing though. It's been a real wake up call and I'm so glad I acted when I did.

The cancer was contained in a mole that had begun to grow in size, the extent of which I could clearly see from old fishing photos going back to 2010.

If you're prone to moles (I have loads!) do yourself a favour and read about their warning signs on the NHS website.

Understandably my fishing was curtailed a little, but I've had my share of sessions. Results have been varied during a period which has seen the rivers running low and clear. Barbel and chub have been hard to come by for me. Rather than struggle on in pursuit of them, after a few miserable failed sessions I took the hint and decided to try for other target species. 

A session on the Anker saw me taking a thorough battering from the pike. I tried three different swims and had them queuing up each time to take fish on the way in or way out. At one point I had two sat right in front of me, waiting for me to supply their next free meal! I quit early.

Back on the Avon I searched out some new deep water to trial. I was hoping to find some bream, but mainly caught small perch. It all changed when the float buried and as I struck into it, line began to peel off the reel. Before I knew it the fish was snagged in far bank lilies. 

Using only a 3lb bottom I couldn't go mad, but I cranked up the pressure and managed to coax it out. It then kited back across the river and snagged again in near bank lilies! More careful pressure saw it eventually freed again and I could see it was a carp. I quickly got top side of it and banked myself only my fourth ever river carp. At bang on 8lb it was actually my best from a river and a decent looker too. Not quite my double figure target, but heading in the right direction - if a little lucky!

Next session I went back to see if I could find a bigger sample, but bombed out miserably. With a few minutes to spare after I'd packed up I took a walk upstream. Just a few pegs from where I was fishing I found myself staring at huge shoal of grazing bream. Maybe 300lbs of them split across 2 pegs. Just taunting me! The picture only captured part of the shoal.

I've also been down to Somerset to sample life on the levels. Plenty of fish around as ever, although two of the three sessions (on the King's Sedgemoor Drain) didn't yield much by way of quality. The most notable fish was an 8oz silver bream - a personal best as it happens.

Accompanied by a hound belonging to other family members, we struck up a good rapport. He would sit patiently as long as the rod was horizontal. Any movement of the rod and he would spring into action, offering to land (or more likely eat!) every fish. No fish were harmed, but I had to be on my guard.

The final session saw me battling a strong wind on the River Huntspill. I'd decided to go for quality and fished sweetcorn over a bed of groundbait. For once, things largely went to plan. I had four bream between 4lb 4oz and 5lb 1oz and lost three others to snags /  hook pulls. Several nice rudd and roach to around half a pound also showed in a bag of around 30lb.

The icing on the cake was a surprise hybrid. Not that hybrids are uncommon on this venue, but this was the biggest I'd ever caught at 4lb 2oz.

Back locally, a mixed dabble for tench and zander proved fruitless. Just a jack instead of a zed and something substantial that wasn't likely to be a tench. Best guess is a carp or barbel, but I'll never know, as it beat me up good and proper. All useful knowledge though for when I return more tooled up.

A switch to the Anker in search of tench didn't work either. Well, that's not fully true.  No tinca, but it did throw up a couple of slabs and the biggest was a target achieving pb of 8lb 2oz. Clumsily I managed to delete the photo though during a space saving cull!

The latest scores for my 7 species river challenge are :

Barbel (11lb 1oz) - 110.63%
Bream (8lb 2oz) - 101.36%
Carp (8lb 0oz) - 80%
Perch (1lb 6oz) - 45.83%
Chub (3lb 4oz) - 65%
Tench and Pike - 0%
Total - 403.02 (Target 700)

I've been trying my best to get a tench of any size on the board during these warmer months. It hasn't happened though and is probably unlikely now, as I start to shift my focus in the coming weeks. Without a tench, the challenge is largely dead in the water.

So, to keep things fresh I'm changing it. My game, my rules! I'm going to allow myself one substitute. Tench out, zander in and I'm sticking with the 6lb target. I've only ever caught a handful of very small zander in my life and none by design. Hopefully I can change that and get close to the target.

Now, a little mention to a product that caught my eye in a TV advert recently. It's a magazine based product called Readly. For a monthly subscription of £7.99 you have access to hundreds of online versions of various magazines, including lots of back issues.

The beauty is that there's no long term commitment and you can cancel any time. There's no limit on how much you can download either. You can even use up to 5 devices, so other family members can join in at no extra cost. There's even some sign up deals to get you on board cheaply for a couple of months.

It clearly doesn't cover everything you might want, but for coarse fishermen Angling Times, Angler's Mail and Improve Your Coarse Fishing are available. The normal cost of these alone is around £20 a month. There's other fishing titles available covering other branches of the sport.

The added bonus for me is that it allows me full access to titles I'd never consider buying. I like my cricket for example, but not enough to go buying magazines about it. That's all changed now that I can access them whenever I fancy it.

It also means my lunchtimes at work no longer centre around reading a newspaper full of its own political agendas. Instead it leads me to search out content that's more meaningful or will broaden my horizons. I was amazed at how little The Beano has changed since I was a kid!

That's enough for now. Next up I'll report on my recent Wye trip and a session that saw me dredging up a method consigned to the bin many years ago.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Luck Factor

I'm a big believer in luck when it comes to fishing. Skills learned through time on the bank, along with carefully executed plans and listening to those in the know, will clearly go a long way. But sometimes a slice of luck and even pure fate, can provide that little edge. Or it is just down to the more you fish, the luckier you get?!

For two weekday sessions I headed off to the Anker. In my limited experience of this waterway, I've found it to be a moody and frustrating customer. It holds some really good fish, but extracting them is rarely a cakewalk. All luck is welcome.

The river was fining down after a big rise in level the previous week. It was also chucking down, which is largely why I chose this river in the first place. I can park almost on my peg, which was a lot more appealing than a long trudge in the rain on the Avon.

The day was a complete frustration and fish were scarce. I'd banged the bait in early to see if I could draw in the target species - bream, tench or carp. Well into the day all I had to show for my efforts were a couple of perch - the best 1lb 6oz. I did lose a bigger perch though.

I was fishing two different rigs. One for a heavier attack with bookies or pellets, while the other was a float rig more geared for bream.

This is where my luck ran out. Twice I managed to hook decent carp on the float rig, but it turned out they were actually foul hooked. Frustratingly they didn't take the intended bait in the standard manner. I was left with a souvenir each time, although I never saw either fish.

Defeated, I called it a day and returned a day later for a short session to settle the score. With carp showing their hand the previous day and knowing that I'd put bait in, it was an obvious choice to pick the same swim.

A cunning plan, albeit scuppered instantly by the only other angler on the stretch having got there first! Pollacks I thought, or something close to that!

So, I headed a few pegs upstream and chanced my arm in a recently renovated peg. I'd have preferred the far end peg, but it was already swallowed up by the now rising water.  The peg I settled for had a clear area about 3-4 yards wide, with thick lily beds either side.

With just over 3 hours fishing time available to me, plan A was to bang in about 10 jaffa sized balls of groundbait. Half tight to the left lily bed and half to the right. Then sit and wait patiently for fish to find it. There was no plan B.

Nothing for well over an hour, but out of nowhere intense bubbles began to appear. Fancying something sizeable was now in residence, I retracted the maggot rig and replaced it with a prawn. Straight on the drop I had a take and the rod arched over. Clearly not a carp or tench, due to the pedestrian battle, but a decent slab instead.

When I photograph fish I always try to keep them in the same direction (head to the left). It's nothing superstitious. I just like to be able to recognise any recaptures of previous fish. I occasionally deviate from this if a fish has an ugly side to it. This was one of those scenarios and was done previously to the same fish last year.

A battered, old, half blind, not overly photogenic bream, but I'm not complaining. It was a pb last time I laid hands on it and at 2oz heavier this time, it raises the mark to 7lb 11oz for me. Not quite the 8lb river target I set myself, but pretty close and there's lots of time left. A shade lucky though, as if I'd been the only angler on the section, or if there had been less water on, I wouldn't have fished the peg.

In terms of river targets, I set them out in my last post. The intention is to track them throughout the season as a percentage of target challenge. If I exactly hit a target that's a 100% score. If I exceed a target, I can also bag the extra points (but capped at 125% maximum). With 7 species in the fray, the target score is 700. The current position is:

Barbel (11lb 1oz) - 110.63%
Bream (7lb 11oz) - 96.09%
Perch (1lb 6oz) - 45.83%
Chub (2lb 2oz) - 42.50%
Tench, Carp and Pike - 0%
Total - 295.05

A long way to go and some pb fish required if I'm to hit the 700 by March. To put it into context, I'd have scored just under 500 points based on last season's efforts.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Two Very Different Rivers

The river season opened a little earlier for me this year. No, I haven't moved into the land of fluff chucking, although it did cross my mind after my brief encounter with the Windrush in March.

Bruce Springsteen's River Tour hit my local arena a couple of weeks ago. Another top class effort from The Boss and I consider myself lucky to have been able to amble down along my local cut and roll in to such an amazing show. I pretty much had to be rolled out of the adjacent casino post show though. It was a long day!

I haven't fished much in the closed season - just half a dozen times. The estate lake was dire in the cooler early part of spring and I backed off. I briefly turned to the canal for a couple of sessions and actually enjoyed it. I managed to find an area that suits my need for peace and found plenty of fish. I didn't catch anything special, but I fancy a few more sessions next closed season.

In recent weeks, bank work for one of my clubs has been the focus. It's something I enjoy doing and with a bit of investment from the club, coupled with some helping hands, it's gone reasonably well this year. I'm looking forward to hearing results from the newly installed pegs.

The 16th actually seemed to roll around quite quickly in the end. With it being the back end of the week I decided to work the week out and start from the Friday evening. A plan that soon backfired when the heavens opened several times over the week.

The plan was to hit the Anker for bream or tench straight after work, fishing into dark. With the river level heading into the amber warning zone and rising, I put my feet up instead! Thoughts now turned to Saturday.

I couldn't start early, as I had to drop my wife off at the station. She had a date with some Hairy Bikers at the NEC's Good Food show. My remit was to go fishing and wait for the request to be picked up. I was hoping the food was good!

The Avon was looking pretty decent considering the recent weather. 1.37m and falling, with plenty of colour. Fishing a fairly new stretch to me, I settled for a peg that caught my eye on a pre season recce. Mind you, most pegs looked bloody good in all honesty! I look forward to trying more of those when conditions improve.

I bounced a lead around to check for snags and variations in depth. Nothing to note really so I balled in some bait along the crease line down to an overhanging tree and chilled out for 45 minutes to get set up properly.

The plan was a smelly bait on the downstream rod for chub or barbel. Upstream I would fish a maggot feeder just to test the water really. I had an indication quite quickly on meat, but missed the bite. Although, I think the culprit turned up later...

While rebaiting the meat, my maggot rod banged around and I felt solid resistance. It wasn't a mental fight and I started to think a pb chub was on the cards, but it was a fairly placid barbel. At 7lb 4oz it got my season off to an unexpected start, but I really wish they'd read the script and fall to the rod with the heavier gear!

The meat eventually produced a fish after a series of missed bites, but only an eel that had clearly been gorging on the stuff at my expense.

A switch to double boilie threw up a 2lb chub and next cast saw me into something quite substantial. This fish went tearing off on a series of runs, but fortunately never went anywhere near a snag. After a patient battle I slipped the net under it and rested it for a while.

I dropped a text to a fellow angler further upstream and said I thought I had a near double in the net. With my pb at 9lb 8oz I fancied it would be close, judging the fish on length alone. That all changed when I lifted the net and saw the fish had a reasonable belly on it. Much meatier than the lean one I'd caught earlier, this was clearly a double.

On to the scales and they went up to 12lb 6oz (with the net). Minus the net, the verdict was 11lb 1oz. Thanks to Martin Roberts for venturing several pegs downstream to take some photos. 

A new pb for me and one of a series of season targets ticked straight off. Targets (all from rivers) include a 3lb perch, 5lb chub, 8lb bream, 6lb tench, 10lb carp and a 20lb pike. The barbel target was 10lb. Let's see how many of those seven I can achieve...

Hopefully with a few days off work planned for this week, I'll nick another target pretty quickly. It's good to be back on flowing water. Nothing else comes close.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Cameron Country

With a massive volume of water hitting the rivers in the early part of the week, things looked in doubt for the final weekend of the season. Fortunately further rain held off and I decided to leave the weekend days alone, in favour of a Monday off work.

I was in two minds. Barbel and chub on the Avon, or a drive out to pastures new in search of my first grayling. Not an easy choice when it meant driving straight past the Avon, but I rarely fish venues that hold the lady of the stream. With a full day available I decided to head south into the Cotswolds for a crack at the Windrush.

A lovely intriguing little river with plenty of fishable swims. I settled on a horseshoe bend and worked my way around it with a couple of rods.

I swapped between float fished maggot and a hair rigged experimental meaty bait on a straight lead. Nothing in swim one but swim two brought an immaculate chub to the float.

2lb 10oz 
A thump on the tip of the meat rod saw all hell break loose. Clearly a trout had taken a liking to it and after a brief but manic fight I slipped the net under a nice brownie of 3lb 4oz. Not what I'd turned up for, but an interesting change nonetheless.

It then went downhill as the all too familiar nudges on the tip, signalled that the signals were moving in. After a couple I took the hint and moved up towards a weirpool.

I made a couple more moves and spent time trotting some long glides with stick and pin. Nothing doing though so I dropped back in on the original area again. One more brownie to the float fished maggot. In fact the same meat munching brownie from earlier!

Slipped back for a second time, it has a couple of weeks of peace before the fly season starts.

A pleasant, if not overly productive end to the campaign. I'll definitely visit again in future though and maybe the grayling will show next time.

Unless there's any late submissions it looks like I finished third in the river section of the blogger's challenge (almost second, but deposed by a fine Mick Newey twenty plus Avon carp on the last day - well done Mick). We won't mention the other disciplines in the challenge!

I had set myself some targets earlier in the season. Top three was the overall river target which was just achieved and I thought I had a fair chance to top the river scorecard for carp, pike, tench and bream.

I managed top for pike and tench, although not sure how the latter survived, as it was only 4lb and was caught in the opening week of the season.  I expected to need something nearer to 6lb+.

I managed third for bream, but actually had a pb of 7lb 9oz, so there's some consolation in that. Carp, as for many other competitors, just didn't happen! I didn't exactly target them, but I fished enough likely areas where I expected to fluke one eventually.

Hats off to the river (and surely soon to be overall) challenge winner, James Dennison. Some fine river captures in his impressive list, including dace to over 1lb and roach to 2lb 10oz. I'd be happy with fish half that size!

Thanks to the guys who put the challenge together. It's been fun and hopefully we can do it again sometime. It actually continues until May on stillwaters and canals, but I'm taking a break for a couple of weeks now. Overdue house maintenance looms and I'd rather sort it while the rivers are off limits and I'm ticketless!

I'll be back in April for the final month of the challenge though, when I get my estate lake ticket back again. The search for a mythical two pound roach from its shallow waters will then probably dominate my fishing and provide ample frustration until the rivers reopen.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Slice of Fortune

Timing and luck can play such an important part in our fishing, as can other external influences. This weekend was a perfect demonstration of it for me.

For quite a while I've settled into a home routine that has mostly ruled out Saturday morning fishing. The weekly shop has been taking precedence instead. A few weeks ago that all changed though when my wife booked us a day out at Cheltenham races and the shopping had to be rescheduled.

We took the plunge into online shopping as a one off measure and it was a success. So much so, that we've continued with it each week since. So, with Mr Ocado offloading our goods on Friday evening and the river in great nick, it opened up a Saturday morning window of opportunity.

With the weather having been cool, dry and settled I was really looking forward to some piking. The river level had also dropped down significantly and it looked bang on.

Tackling a new section I decided I'd be as active as possible to maximise my chances - 20 minutes per swim maximum, using 2 deadbait rods and twitching them regularly.

My first swim yielded nothing, but I had unwanted company when an otter showed up in the margin to my right. I just heard it initially, but then it popped up right in front of me and swam off to a far bank bush. Not the best start.

I moved few yards downstream, but couldn't settle and then went down another peg. Absolutely nothing, bar a cormorant that appeared out of nowhere and popped up mid river. No bites and too many unwanted furry and feathered predators, wasn't doing much for my confidence. An hour wasted.

I upped sticks and went several pegs upstream. Out with a smelt and then I began baiting up rod two. A quick glance up and the float was already gone. I thought I'd got the depth setting wrong but the rod tip was banging around, confirming a proper take.

A sharp strike and I was attached to something heavy. It stayed low in the water but didn't give me too much grief. When I raised it up to the surface in front of me, my jaw dropped when I saw how big its head was. One more run and I manoevred it into the net.

It was an immense deep bodied fish and when I lifted if from the water, I knew it was a pb shaker. The digital scales wouldn't settle fully, probably because I was shaking too much! I plumped for the lowest reading and then got a second opinion from my Avons. They agreed on 23lb 13oz and confirmed a new pb for me.

For reference the mat is 38 inches long and the net is the XL version of the Savage Gear folding rubber net.

I lost focus for a while after that, but eventually got back into the groove and managed to nick another one before close of play. A low double of 11lb 14oz. It was trailing several feet of line and the longest trace I've ever seen. The wire trace was split into two parts, joined in middle. Why it was so long and why it had an unnecessary join is anyone's guess.

Whatever hook or hooks were attached to the trace were well down its belly and I couldn't get to them. I cut the trace as low down as possible. Not perfect but at least it went back with less baggage than before.

So there you have it. A great morning for me and it was all down to a racing trip causing a change in shopping habits. Otherwise it would never have happened!

That's my piking done with for the season now. I'll be looking for chub and maybe barbel in the last couple of weeks of the season.