Sunday, 31 March 2013

Water Water Everywhere!

I'll cut to the chase this week - Royal Blank!

College Pool was the venue and it was chilly and icy. As I mentioned in a previous post, the water level is higher than I've ever seen it and almost half of the pool is unfishable (unless of course you like to sit somewhere between knee and waist deep in water!). Ice clearing work was also needed on this visit.

The tree in the picture should not be in the water! The path is slowly being swallowed up also.


Here's an idyllic looking shot of the pool from March 2011. The peg on the far right is the end peg on that bank.

Here's the current position! The peg on the far right is just fishable from the top of bank, rather than its cut out position. The peg next to it is now partially under water, while all others on that bank are out of bounds

Here's the view from that far bank right hand end peg looking down towards the car park. You need to squelch your way to this peg with a decent pair of boots, as the water's also spilled out into the farmer's field on that far end too. 

It's going to take a very long time to get back to normal.

The fishing was dire and the only other angler (Paul the bailiff) suffered the same blank result. There will be better days ahead for sure - I just wish they'd hurry up and arrive. I'll have to go back to Pike fishing if it doesn't warm up soon!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Another White Out

No fishing this week thanks to an all too familiar problem. When will we finally get some Spring-like weather I wonder?  Probably not this month judging by the forecast and I think a huge dose of patience is going to be needed in the interim period.

Easter is nearly upon us and that usually gives me a chance to squeeze in an extra session or two. At this rate it will be a bonus if I don't have to break ice to fish! 

With little to write about this week, I took a look back through my blog to a year ago to see the difference in fortunes.

20th March 2012 - Already amongst the Tench at Ryton Pool :

23rd March 2013 !!! :

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Rising Waters

College Pool was the intended starting point for my closed season tour of Leamington AA's stillwaters, accompanied by Brian on this occasion. I was taken aback by the scene we found on our arrival.

Almost the entire left hand side of the pool was out of bounds due to flooding. The water has now spilled out well into the adjacent field. A peg near the car park might be fishable, albeit a long way back from the permanent peg. The right hand side of the pool is fishable though, but pretty much from the path only for its entire length and it's all very muddy and squelchy.

We'd been beaten to the pool by 3 other anglers in the same party who had spread themselves out across the length of the pool to get the best of the pegs (those with the most space between the water line and the hedge behind!). Rather than jumping in amongst them and suffering the inevitable mudfest, we chose to head off to Snitterfield Reservoir.

I thought it would be tough and so it proved. Bites were hard to come by and the rain that dogged us for a large part of the day did little to improve our state of mind. Mick the bailiff said that it had been hard going recently (or words to that effect!) and that he hadn't expected to find any idiots anglers on site today. We'd been the only takers all week apparently.

Light gear, careful feeding and floats dotted right down to a plip were the order of the day. I worked hard for a few Roach up to 6oz, some small Perch and a Skimmer of around a pound. It was more than I thought I'd get if I'm honest and things will surely improve as the conditions warm up - it's anyone's guess when that will happen! The week ahead doesn't look great either...

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Season Finale

Somewhat out of character for me, I wasn't really prepared for fishing this weekend. I'd been swayed by the promise of persistent rain from various weather reports and I hadn't got the inclination to tough out a soggy end to the wettest season in recent memory. I decided on Friday night to sleep on it and see what Saturday morning brought. I didn't even set my alarm.

I half expected the river to be heading up to levels beyond ideal, but a quick check of the EA site when I woke up gave a promising report - it was about 6 inches up and quite constant. It wasn't raining either and more importantly the updated BBC forecast was suggesting it would stay that way. It didn't take long to make the decision to wet a line, but having done no preparation I needed the simplest option. I knew my Pike gear was still ready to go, so all I had to do was dig out a few deadbaits from the freezer and be on my way.

The Avon looked in decent nick and despite arriving over a couple of hours later than normal, I still had the place to myself.

I moved between three pegs during the 4 hour session but only had success in one of them. I caught 3 fish in total, 2 of which have been on the bank in previous weeks.

All fish fell to Lamprey and the first one weighed 8lb 6oz. It was the same fish I caught 2 weeks earlier from the next peg upstream and it weighed in identically.

The second fish came later in the day after I'd returned to the swim. Although I didn't weigh it this time, it's a fish I caught a week earlier at 6lb 6oz from the same part of the same swim using the same bait. Maybe it doesn't like change!

I was within 20 minutes of my finish time now and didn't really expect any more action. I packed down the rod that caught the previous fish due to the trace being damaged and I had no spares tied up. While putting the rod in its case, I noticed the line move on the other rod. I initially thought it was slack line blowing in the wind, but it looked odd. I tightened the line gently and saw it move a little, so I struck and a fish was on. It stayed on for a second or so and I was left to reel in the Lamprey section.

I didn't think I'd get another shot in the time I had left, but I took a punt and plopped the bait back into the exact same spot for a last fling. Within 2 minutes the line was twitching again and I was into a fish - more than likely the same one having another go. I managed to keep attached to it this time, but only just. The hooks slipped out in the net and I was left with a different fish for once, which went 8lb 14oz.

A pleasant end to a season that I'm not going to look back on with too much fondness. It started out with the rivers being swollen on the opening weekend and we suffered that same fate on many more occasions in the following months. Hopefully next season we'll get to see better conditions on more occasions.

Attention now turns to the stillwaters for 3 months and I look forward to getting amongst the Tench. Things look decidedly cold though for the immediate future, so we might have to wait patiently for the Tench to really get on the feed.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Leaving it Late

I was back on the Avon again this week for a last crack at the Pike. I needed to be back in Coventry by 12-30pm, so it was going to be a half day session. I was on the bank and ready for action by 7-30am and it was a thoroughly pleasant morning. Gone was the bitterly cold wind that plagued us last week and it was replaced by much more spring-like conditions.

The river is now quite low. I'm not moaning though because after all the high water we've suffered in the past few months, I'd much rather face what we have now. It has retained quite a healthy colour though and looked very appealing.

I wandered down to peg 9 and fished the bay area with two rods. To the right of the swim I put out a float fished deadbait, while I took a more active approach with the other rod by wobbling a Sprat.

Half a dozen runs through with the Sprat and I saw a flash in the water close in to the bank. It only looked like a small fish, but with blank avoidance being the first mission, I decided to pursue it. A few runs through close to the bank and the fish was hooked. It was only a small jack, but I was off the mark and the session had barely started.

Nothing else showed up from that peg and it was a bit of a pain to fish to be honest. I snagged up a few times and it's clear that the floods have deposited some substantial debris in the peg.

I moved on to peg 4 and I was intending to try a similar approach, but first of all I needed to make alterations to the float rig. The wobbling rig therefore became a leger rig with a Lamprey section for bait. I didn't even manage to complete the changes to the float rig by the time the Lamprey was snaffled. A slightly better fish this time, but still only 6lb 6oz.

I like to rest the swim and keep on the move when I've caught a fish, so I quickly moved down a peg. I decided on a static approach - one rod on the leger and the other on the float.  Again it didn't take long to get a bite from the leger rig. Another small jack though which also liked Lamprey.


Time for another move downstream, but peg 2 didn't deliver. I returned to peg 3 and suffered a couple of annoying misses. The first felt like a small fish that I pulled out of shortly after the strike. The second fish was a good deal bigger and was on for a few seconds before it dived into a snag and shed the hook, leaving me attached to some rubbish! I was a bit gutted and I thought I'd blown my chance on that peg, so I hopped pegs again, but with the intention of returning to peg 3 for the last 20 minutes of the session.

Peg 4 proved to be a blank, so I made the final move of the day. With time running short, the Roach deadbait on my left hand rod was taken and I was into a decent fish. It led me a merry dance, but it eventually popped up in front of me and I slipped the net under it. As I plopped it down on the unhooking mat I saw that it had coughed up a Sprat. Now I'd only used one Sprat on that peg earlier in the session and it was taken by the better stamp fish that left me in a snag. I think it's safe to say I might have got my revenge!

It weighed in at 12lb 8oz. I'd have liked something in the upper double range from the Avon this season, but I'm not going to complain. My winter fishing on the river has been so curtailed by the poor conditions, which meant the Pike target was always going to be a tricky one.

That's the Pike fishing done with for me until Autumn. Hopefully the weather will remain kind for one more week and we can enjoy a good final weekend of the season.