River Avon, Alveston. Saturday 19th (with Brian) & Monday 21st (with Charlie)
I've now had a couple of sessions on the Avon at the same location - Alveston. It's a totally new stretch to us and we had no insider information on the hot pegs - that's if there are any such pegs! We just fancied a change from the Warwick book and for just £3 extra we joined this stretch instead. Being just a single stretch about half a mile long, it doesn't have the variety of water that Warwick boasts, but first impressions are that it's a lot more peaceful and it's totally boat free.
Saturday - Bloody hard work
We arrived just before 7am and expected to find a few locals around, but the place was empty. After a walk up the bank to the tempting looking pegs in the mid teens, we were disappointed to find a few of them unfishable. Bank clearing seemed to peter out in the main part around peg 7.
We walked back to the entrance and settled on pegs 1 and 2. Both were perfect looking stick float pegs, so that's what we both opted for, along with the obligatory feeder.
Looking downstream from peg 2
We both caught early on, but not in any great numbers and certainly not in terms of size either. The best I could muster was a bonus Perch of 13oz. I switched from stick to feeder, to stick, to feeder and so on....
I never had what I'd describe as a proper bite on the feeder and bites soon dried up on the stick line. I was devoid of ideas by lunchtime, which begs the question - "Why the hell did I stick it out on the same peg for a further 4 biteless hours?!"Although I was liking the general mood and ambiance, a few more fish would have been nice.
The only highlights of the day - and I say that in the loosest sense of the word - were that we both scored a couple of points each for the challenge. A Bleak for me, a bonus point for the Perch, while Brian opned his Dace and Gudgeon accounts.
I did have a bit of fun trying to outwit a Pike in the last hour. The 2lb or so of fish in my next were all huddled together at the top of my net, clinging on to life by virtue of the thickness of my keepnet. The Pike was sizing them up from all angles and kept bashing into the net. I decided it was time to tick Pike off my challenge list!
The lure approach failed miserably, so it was out with a wobbled smelt and within a minute the Pike was attached, but the hooks didn't set properly and he freed himself. It didn't deter him and he spent the rest of the session staring out my net from various angles. He wouldn't take another wobbled Smelt though!
I took the chance during the barren few hours to wander up to the unfishable pegs I'd liked the look of. Half an hour of scything away and 3 of them became fishable again,ready for another day.
We left a bit jaded and dejected after a long day.
Monday - Things are looking up
This session was set to be much shorter at 4-5 hours. I was determined to fish the deeper water on one of the pegs I had cut out. Charlie settled on the upstream peg next door.
My peg was a bit hampered with casting by the trees above, but I'd figured that it was going to be deep close in and I'd probably ball in on a close line. I set up a stick float on my long rod, but when I plumbed the depth, I discovered that the deep water was uncomfortably beyond the stick line. Bollocks! I caught a few Dace, Bleak and Roach but the set up was all wrong and I had to retackle with a waggler to get better presentation and to make for better casting.
I caught the odd fish on the waggler, before setting up the feeder rod. I balled out 8 big balls of groundbait loaded with caster and hemp and left it to settle for half an hour, while I struggled on with bits on the waggler line. Having had little success I decided to concentrate fully on the feeder for the last half of the session.
Almost instantly I started to get bites, but I couldn't hit them. Eventually I did connect and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a Bream of about 1.5lbs.
I was kind of hoping that it would signal the start of a Bream bagging couple of hours, but it didn't take off. I had the odd fish here and there though, including Perch and Chub, to take the species count up to 6.
Charlie had another species to add to that - an Eel of about 1.5lb to 2lb. Sadly he returned that before I could get a photo. He had other bits from the 2 pegs he tried, but bites became harder to find as the session wore on.
In the last hour I finally found a better fish though, in the shape of a Bream of 4lb 2oz.
A large Carp was spotted leaping clear of the water and crashing amongst the lily pads in the background of the above picture (directly opposite peg 15). Looking at the notes in the club book for peg 15 it says "Swim feeder directly opposite to lily for Bream and Carp". I can't argue with that!
Not exactly a bagging day, but more knowledge gained and the first proper fish has now come out. Optimism is back on the increase - for now at least!