Saturday, 25 January 2014

Small But Welcome

The weather kept me out of action last week. I was hoping to rekindle things with the river again this week, but the heavens had other ideas. It was looking better until the very back end of the week, but things then went downhill Friday evening. A quick look at the EA river levels site on Saturday morning confirmed that it was back to a stillwater again for me.

With rain due in the afternoon I settled for a quick morning session at Ryton. It's a venue that I haven't fished since last winter and although I've had my share of good days in the warmer months, it has always been rock hard during my winter visits in the past.

This year we don't seem to be having a winter at all. It's been largely frost free and relatively mild, but all too much of the wet stuff for my liking since mid December. Time, or lack of it, was the key to today though, so it had to be Ryton for a spot of piking.

Three previous attempts to catch a pike at Ryton had all resulted in royal blanks, so I set off with one target in mind - to catch anything.

I took up position on the road bank on the old information desk peg, which is now part of the new purpose built bank that was added a year or so ago. It's the first time I've fished off that area since it was redeveloped.

A couple of deadbaits were plopped into place. I twitched them around the swim at various times to help cover as much water as possible. Expectations were low, but about 30 minutes into the session the left hand float bobbed and slid away. A fish was on!

The pike have been known to top 20lb in this pool, so with great expectation I struck into the fish. It was quickly obvious that this one wasn't going to trouble even 2lb though! I didn't really care though - I was just happy to catch my first pike from the venue.

And that was it. I didn't get any more bites over the next couple of hours. The resident male swan (which is a well known psycho) shows no sign of mellowing. A couple of young swans (possibly its offspring from last year) were taking the brunt of his rage. My swim saw some of that action.

I'm itching to get back on the river, but I'm already doubting things for next week. More heavy rain is due tomorrow and we won't need much more during next week to wipe out another weekend. Time is running short for the river season and January has now been totally washed out for me.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Two's Company, Eleven's a Crowd!

With the rivers still carrying plenty of water, I headed back for another crack at College Pool this week. I went for a complete change, ditching the straight lead gear and going for a float approach in much shallower water.

Most of the pool is very deep, but the end pegs are a lot shallower and offer a bit of variety, along with some cover in places. Having seen fish up in water the previous week I fancied trying one of the end pegs and took the easy option of the car park end - not that I had a choice as the far end (my preferred choice) had already gone.  

It was a slow start but bites eventually started to come. They were pretty difficult to hit though. In hindsight I'm sure a pole would have given me a better success rate, but mine hasn't seem the light of day for a few seasons now. I hate those moments when you hook a decent fish on light pole gear and you know which way it's going to end. This pool has its share of hard fighting carp that now run into double figures, along with the odd barbel, so I prefer to stick to a running line to give me a fighting chance.

Bonus fish didn't show though and like others around me I had to settle for a few roach and perch. For once it was easy to know how others were doing, as there were 11 of them to keep me company. That's about the same number of people I've seen all year down on the river! I think it was a case of decent weather and people desperate to get back on the bank again. It's not my cup of tea when it's like that.

It was a good excuse to test out a new centre pin reel that was bought for me for Christmas - the Matt Hayes version marketed by Dragon Carp. I'd previously gambled on their Marco Cortesi version a couple of years ago and I've been quite impressed by it for what it is. It's not a top notch big name pin, but it spins very freely and does the job pretty well for me. For £40 it was a decent buy.

The Matt Hayes version costs an extra £20 and doesn't spin anywhere near as freely (or have I got a duff one?), but with a line guard and adjustable drag it makes for better handling. The acid test will be when I get to try a spot of trotting with it to see if it will spin well enough. I'm sure it will be fine.

Once again I was kept company by the local wildlife - two robins this time from the off. One of them seemed to be looking down on me every time I looked over my shoulder.

A very friendly chaffinch also popped by and wanted a piece of the action, seemingly refusing to budge until I surrendered some of my red maggots in its direction.

Once again this week we are in the lap of the gods as to whether the rivers will be fishable come the weekend. My gut feeling is that I might be disappointed again...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

First of the Year

I didn't manage to get out fishing over the festive period. Amongst the poor weather there were a few windows of opportunuity, but each of them coincided with other obligations and so I had to write it off.

I wasn't sure if I'd get out this week, but I had a brief chance on Saturday afternoon so I grasped it and headed off to College Pool. The rain was still falling on my arrival and continued for a couple of hours more. I had some company from the off in the form of a robin who popped on to my rods while I was setting up. It had a good fill of maggots and bread throughout the session!

I fished the straight lead across 2 rods, but it was pretty dire and I managed just two small perch. Fish were topping though and in hindsight I'm sure I'd have done better with a light float rig fished up in the water.

It was good to get out though, even if it was a fairly brief session. Hopefully the rivers will have dropped considerably by next weekend and I can get back to running water.