I haven't done a huge amount of fishing since my last post, but I did sneak a few short sessions in while I was on a family break in Somerset. I took in most of the usual haunts on the Rivers Axe, Huntspill and Tone on 3 different club day tickets.
The Axe (at Bleadon) was miserly, but the Tone (at Ham) and the Huntspill (at Gold Corner) were full of fish. The landing net stayed pretty dry though, with just plenty of small silver fish on offer. I was accompanied by a new fishing partner, Luke (daft name for a dog if you ask me, but he's not my dog so what do I care!).
He was totally fascinated by the whole fishing experience and seemed to be happy just staring at the water, with the occasional excitable look when a fish was swung to hand. Unlike many dogs, this one seems to dislike water, which is a bit of a bonus when you want to do some fishing. His predecessor spent more time in the river than out of it!
|A dog rest!|
I then got away from the fishing for a couple of weekends courtesy of a Western Mediterranean break. Just before I left, a friend had informed me that the river was now fishing well and he had his eyes on big perch. He was claiming to have seen one of 4lb+ at the end of his keepnet. Optimistic thoughts perhaps, but he's had them to 3lb 5oz from the same stretch and there's certainly enough prey fish in the river for the perch to grow fat on.
Today saw my first session back on the river for 3 weeks and I was itching to have a bash at the perch, with the aim of breaking through the 3lb barrier some time this Autumn. The day before I'd dug up part of the garden to accommodate some broccoli that I'm going to over-winter. It was a good excuse to collect a few lobworms, instead of raiding the compost bin.
The weather was beautifully mild (19C when I called it a day), but the river was still as low and clear as ever. There was a big difference though. Fish that has previously kept their heads down during much of the daylight hours, were now topping everywhere. It was a fish fish a chuck on maggot tactics, with mostly dace showing, but with the odd roach and chub thrown in.
Peering just beyond the platform I started to see some darker profiles moving through the clear water. First a small pike of maybe 5-6lbs, followed by a decent perch. The pair of them kept sweeping through the swim (at the end of my rod), almost as if they were intent on teasing me. I tried a soft small rubber lure to start with, but that didn't succeed so I switched to a lobworm. After much trying I eventually got a take, but that resulted in half a worm coming back and no fish. I quickly dropped it back in and got an instant take - but only from an 8oz perch. I'd wasted too much time by now.
I didn't have a big supply of worms, so introducing chopped worm wasn't an option. In a bid to liven things up I put in a few balls of groundbait at the end of my rod. The idea was to draw in the small fish to a tight area and hope that the perch would be watching and waiting. I rested the swim for a while and went back to trotting for roach and dace on maggot, bread and corn for a while.
When I could see that the groundbait had drawn in the small fish, I switched to a legered lobworm on a light rig (my Shakey Wand was out of retirement!). First drop in over the bait and the tip pulled down hard and stayed put. I struck and could see that I'd got a nice perch on. I took it gently and it popped into the net. It was my best river perch at 2lb 8oz.
I persevered with the remainder of my worm supply, but didn't manage anything else of size. Just a few more perch up to 8oz and several greedy dace.
Hopefully I'll now settle into a more regular fishing (and blogging) routine for the rest of the season and things will improve from here onwards.