The first session on an untapped stillwater threw up plenty of fish though, but to no great size. It was a pleasant session though and the Crucians decided to show up. The half a dozen I caught were of a similar stamp, but I only weighed the first one, which went exactly 1lb. Aside from that I had plenty of Perch to a shade over 1lb, along with some Rudd and Roach. This was about as good as it got all week!
The second session on a Hinckley stillwater threw up a fair number of small fish, but nothing over 6oz. It's a water that probably needs a bolder approach than I gave it, but as a first session it's given me a better idea of what to expect next time.
The third effort saw me back on the Avon at Alveston for a short session. I had a real shocker this time on a peg I am confident with. The problem is that I hadn't tackled it in the summer before and the bottom weed was worse than I'd imagined. Memories of early season sessions from last season on other pegs, sprung to mind. The whole stretch seems to suffer badly with weed and I need to do some more groundwork. I had a few Perch up to 12oz when I changed to a trotting approach, but it wasn't a wasted day, as I spent a fair bit of time bank clearing to open up some pegs on the faster water upstream.
Part four saw me back on the same stretch of river the following day in the faster water. I had a pleasant couple of hours trotting a stick float and catching mainly Dace, with a few Roach, Perch and Chublets thrown in. When the bites dried up I switched to the lead and found weed again! I concocted a rig to get the bait above the weed and winkled some more bits out. Eventually it became hard work, so for the last hour I nipped back to peg 5 where I'd had a Carp the previous week. I'd dropped a bit of feed in earlier in the day and was hoping something big might show up. I was wrong of course, but I had a fun hour catching more Dace, Perch, Roach and Chublets on the float.
Next up was the one I'd been waiting for - the River Wye. It turned out to be a total disaster for me as I blanked. I did briefly make contact with a fish, but the hook pulled. I have no idea what went wrong on the day and it wasn't down to a lack of effort, planning or mobility. I can't really blame the conditions either - the river was rising, but not exactly at an alarming rate. Having achieved the magic ton on this river (different stretch) last year with similar tactics, I left very puzzled.
Still, it was a lovely place to be and blanking is a lot less painful in such inspiring surroundings. I was with Brian for this trip and he wasn't having much luck either.
The final move of the day just before the heavens opened, proved to be the crucial one, as it resulted in Brian connecting with a fish.
After a fair old scrap, he won the day and banked himself a personal best Barbel of 7lb 3oz. Well done that man!
Then it was back to the camp site to spend what was left of the evening trying to cook food and have a beer under a couple of fishing umbrellas, while it totally pissed it down with rain. The joys of angling!
The less said about the next day the better. Double blank for both us on the River Lugg. Again, I was left scratching my head, as the river looked good and I was totally confident with the swims I tried.
I now have a few days to contemplate my failings before tackling the Avon again.