I've neglected the blogging recently, so I'll start with a brief catch up from the past couple of weeks down on the Avon..
Two weeks ago I fished on the Sunday which turned out to be the same day as the rescheduled annual raft race. I hadn't registered that it had been postponed earlier in the year. I was now thrust into the midst of this annual spectacle that saw around 50 rafts making their way down river from Wasperton to Stratford Recreation Ground.
I picked a peg that had an upstream bush protruding out quite a way into the river. This gave me a nice inside slack area as well as creating a barrier from the rafts who had to steer out towards mid river. This left me quite a decent area I could plunder and be confident that no rafts would pass directly over my baited area.
As it happened the rafts didn't bother the fishing one jot. It was a fish a chuck for the whole session, with mainly Dace, Roach and Perch showing up. The fish were of a generally small stamp though with only a Perch of about a pound leaving me grabbing for my landing net.
Last week was very much a case of deja vu - another session with lots of fish being caught throughout the day but yet again nothing of any size.
This week I returned with Brian, who was fresh from his recent trip to LA and Las Vegas. The river looked bang on after the flush through from earlier in the week and despite it having returned to almost normal level, it retained a very healthy colour.
Confidence was high and once again the fish were responding straight from the off. It was mostly Roach and Dace, with the occasional Gudgeon and Bleak. Again they were all of a smallish stamp. In an attempt to put that right I tried a worm on my wand rod in the margins to see if one of the resident big Perch would take a fancy to it.
The worm rod produced some small fish before something a little better grabbed the bait. I thought it was a nice Chub when I saw it flash through the water, but it turned out to be a Pike that eventually got free. That set the tone for the day, with various other Pike encounters cropping up throughout.
I did eventually manage a nice Chub that took a liking to my floatfished double caster offering - a fish of 4lb 2oz.
Back to the Pike and over the past few weeks I've been gradually running down my old supply of deadbaits ahead of this year's campaign. I hadn't had a sniff of a fish in the past couple of weeks, albeit I 've only dabbled for a few minutes here and there during each session.
As a result I only slipped a couple of Roach into my bag this week but I could have done with a whole lot more as it turned out. I went for my tried and trusted wobbling approach and it didn't take long to get the first hook up, but I suffered a hook pull and half of my bait stash was gone. The other Roach came up trumps later on and I banked a small jack with it.
Now deadbaitless I returned to my normal fishing and I later had a couple of fish nobbled on the way in by Pike - one of which saw a Dace eventually being swung in with a severally mangled rear end, albeit it was still alive somehow. I changed over the Pike rod to a plug and thrashed it through the swim a few times. I managed to get another small jack for my efforts.
Brian also had 2 fish snaffled by Pike but he failed to bank either of them. I don't know what has caused the swing in Pike fortunes. After the previous 2 weeks where there was no hint of a Pike, they were clearly rampant now. Maybe I should start the winter Pike campaign early this year!
The Perch on the other hand were conspicuous by their absence and neither of us had one all day, which is quite rare at this time of year. That said I did get sight of a Perch and it was one of the bigger samples of around 3lb+ that roam the margins. It went for a Dace that I'd returned to the water and then stuck around all day and kept popping up in front of me from time to time. I tried to tempt it with a lobworm but it wasn't having it. I'll get a decent Perch from there one day!