Sunday, 31 August 2014

More Shorts

Another couple of short sessions this weekend taking in the Leam and Avon.

First up was the Leam and I tried out a new pool that looked promising. The main flow was down the far side with a deeper and slacker area in front of it, going down to around 8ft.

Plenty of bites from the off with roach, perch and gudgeon all showing. Then a surprise with a couple of ruffe that increased my species tally on this stretch of river to a healthy nine.

When the swim died I headed off downstream to try an apparently hot peg that I'd last fished during the opening week. It was totally overgrown and clearly unfished for some time with waist high nettles.

A couple of minutes of gardening sorted out the problems.

The peg didn't prove too hot though - just a perch of about 10oz to show for it.

Oh and another one of these!

The Avon trip yielded plenty of fish on the stick line early in the session - mostly dace. I was hoping for the big perch to show up but my worms were only snaffled by small samples.

It was a late afternoon / evening session and when the light dropped I couldn't resist having a crafty hour of predator fishing. I've been told that zander have been caught last season on the stretch so I used that as my excuse to try for something bigger. A roach deadbait (left over from last season) was deployed.

A couple of bites resulted in hooks pulling out - I did strike very early though. I know it pays not to be too late with the strike but I was a little too keen in hindsight.

Third time lucky saw a fish stay on and it gave a good account of itself, treating me to a spot a tailwaking. It weighed in at bang on 9lb.

It's a bit early for me to move into full predator mode yet, but I'm itching to get into action - probably early in October. With so many prey fish around on this stretch, the prospects are looking good again. I have plenty of options this year though, so I will be more varied with my approach. I might even hatch a little challenge for myself!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Just a quick evening dabble on the Leam this week. I didn't do any preparation apart from buying some maggots on the off chance that I might squeeze in a session.

I headed for the deeper end again but purposely wandered out into the fields to try some different swims. First job was to make some running repairs to my Bolo rod which I'd managed to snap the tip off between Somerset and my current peg. I don't know how it happened but it served me right for not securing the ring protector.

Six inches of rod removed and I was up and running. It was slow going and only a couple of gudgeon saved me from a blank in swim one.

In no mood to flog a dead horse I moved downstream and tried a couple of other pegs that were equally lifeless. Fish were moving over on the peg with a very deep hole so I dropped in few balls of bait and left it 20 minutes before returning.

I caught from the off - mostly the normal stamp of perch around 6oz. I then encountered a really odd bite - a lift bite but in real slow motion. I hoped for a bream but the culprit wasn't overly welcome!

It's my first and hopefully last from the Leam but I dare say that's wishful thinking.

I finally broke my bream duck but only with a very small sample. I'd like to get a proper slab from this venue - could be tricky I think but I'll keep trying.

A pleasant few hours with the river to myself again.

A few posts ago I mentioned that I'd drop in some reviews of tackle I'd purchased recently for roving. This time it's the landing net handle which is the Hardy Marksman Compact version.

It's a lot dearer than any net handle I'd ever bought before but I quite liked the idea of an ultra compact handle (packs down to 30 inches) that still had enough length (extends to 8ft) to cope with most swims I encounter. It's done the job well enough so far - perfectly strong enough for my 26 inch net. I'm not a tackle tart by any means but it is finished off quite well too. A nice touch is the metal end cap - much better than the plastic ones that I've broken on pretty much every handle I've ever owned. I picked up mine for £45.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Cider Country

I had a few days down in Somerset last week with family. I managed 3 short trips to a couple of my favourite natural (well almost) venues.

The Somerset levels contain many artificially created drains but they are havens for fish and wildlife and are lightly fished for the amount of water on offer.

I fished at the wrong part of the day on each trip, but each venue was stuffed with silver fish (roach, rudd, perch, hybrids, silver bream) and I was happy to see the float dipping regularly.

River Huntspill - Withy Grove

My buddy for each trip

One of many rudd
King's Sedgemoor Drain - Parchey
On my travels I crossed the Rivers Parrett and Tone - the culprits for much of the devastating flooding in the region last winter. Dredging is underway.

I passed through one of the badly hit villages - Moorland. It was like a ghost town, with portaloos dotted along the streets, builder's vans at lots of properties and sandbags still piled up in various places. The struggle to get back to normal clearly goes on for those hardest hit.

Hide and seek!

An obligatory eel
Excuse the quality, but spot the kingfisher!
Back to the Avon or Leam next time...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Another Quickie

A combination of stormy weather and waking up feeling very lethargic meant that I'd written off all hope of an evening session after work on Friday. As the day wore on I perked up and the weather prospects did likewise. 

I headed off to the Leam and was up and running by 5-45pm. I tackled the deep section again and armed with the bolo rod I wanted to find out the full extent of the depth. 16.5ft was the result - probably the deepest river swim I've ever tackled around these parts.

It looks perfect for bream and having taken a couple of nice hybrids from a marginal swim previously, I was hoping to prove the existence of a slab. 

Bites were slow to come by, but half a dozen perch in the 4-6oz class kept me interested. A 4oz dace was routinely being reeled in when it darted into the lily pads and straight into the jaws of a small pike! I somehow managed to extract the pair from the snag and only when in the net did the pike drop its prey. They really do deserve the accolade of dumbest fish swimming!

Hunter and Hunted!
The dace suffered a small puncture wound but swam off OK. Having previously mentioned a lack of pike action, things are more promising. I just hope some proper lumps are lurking somewhere in the depths when I break out the pike gear...

I lost a fish towards the end of the session and discovered a tell tale blob of snot above the hook. Bream, roach or hybrid I wonder? Always another day...

By close of play there were plenty of fish topping and I think a waggler approach spraying in maggots might have given better results. I'm still feeling my way around the river though, enjoying the challenge and change of scenery. The beauty of it is the peace and tranquility, which makes any barren periods all the more bearable.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Small Stream Adventures

Last week's session on a deep part of the River Leam proved to be a struggle in the hot, bright conditions. Some small fish including a hybrid of around a pound were taken early doors, but as the session wore on, bites became very scarce.

This week we moved on to a different section for a short evening session, tackling some water with a shade more movement and a little less depth. The first swim I tackled was still a good 8ft deep just off the rod tip though.

With a nice glide down to an overhanging tree it promised lots and screamed of chub. Sadly it delivered nowt but a lone gudgeon that slipped off the hook on the way in.

Undeterred I headed off about 400 yards downstream to a peg I'd eyed up during a closed season recce. It had filled out a bit since I last visited and there seemed a lot less water to aim for, but the overhanging willow was an obvious feature.

A couple of roach in the 4-6oz class and a couple of perch, the larger of which was nudging the pound mark, helped me get off the mark for a day. A couple of small fish were lost on the way in and then the bites quickly dried up. A pike appeared out of the margins and chased after its prey and that came as a welcome boost. I haven't seen any real pike action on the Leam yet, so it's nice to know they do exist and I'll have a stab at them later in the year once I've worked out my favoured spots.

I legged it back to where I started and then went further on up to the extreme upstream end peg. Another lovely little peg with a steady glide, if perhaps a bit light on features. I had bites from the off, but all it yielded were half a dozen of the plumpest minnows I've seen in a long while.

A quick hop downstream to the next peg (which looked very similar) saw me into a something a bit more spirited on the first run through. On light tackle it led me a merry dance into various snaggy areas and I fancied it might be a chub. It was a welcome fish nudging towards the 2lb mark.

Nothing else showed up, but it was a worthwhile exercise to get to know another section of the river. It looks like a good chub venue for later in the year, with plenty of overhanging features and narrow glides. There's still plenty of new swims to try out yet, so we'll see where I end up next time.

I bought some extra gear in the closed season to help make me a little more mobile. So far I'm happy with the set up and I'll drop in a few reviews over the coming posts. First up I'll give a thumbs up for the Korum folding net:

I actually have 2 of them - the 22 & 26 inch versions. The 22 inch was a gift earlier in the year and although it's a nice little net, therein lies the problem - it's uncomfortably small. Don't get me wrong, it will hold any size of chub I'm ever likely to encounter around these parts and it's had bream over 6lb in it. The concern is that I do tend to attract pike with my general river tactics and they might prove a tight fit if I hok one by accident. Barbel would be an issue too (not that I ever catch them!).

Enter the 26 inch version which is both wider and considerably deeper. Again, it's not a net I'd choose to use for pike, but it would take a fair double figure fish. I did see the 30 inch version in the shop and it's a right beast of a net. In all honesty it didn't look terribly practical though because when folded down it didn't really save any space - a bog standard triangular folding net seems more logical if size is the main priority.

The bit I like with the 26 inch version is that it's just the right size when folded down to fit snugly into the top of my quiver - much better for transporting than a normal fixed round net and more compact on the bank than my triangular specimen sized net. It also dries out really quickly and comes with a handy stink bag. Available for around £16, I think it's a decent little buy.