I wasn't really sure what to fish for this week or where to go - or if I'd even manage to get out at all. As it turned out the Avon had dropped down much better than I thought it would (to about 6 inches up on my normal stretch), while the Leam was struggling a little more to shift the excess water. I gave the nod to the Avon and headed off for an afternoon session.
With a dropping river that was nicely coloured, reasonable enough temperatures and overcast conditions, I opted to go for bream in a fairly sheltered and deep area. A simple feeder rig fished with a braid main line was the plan of attack, with a bunch of red maggots. Five balls of a fishmeal groundbait spiced up with some liquid molasses was used to kickstart the swim. A sleeper rod for pike was also dropped into the right hand margin
Initially the bites weren't as frequent as I'd hoped and so I scaled back the terminal tackle and lengthened the tail. It seemed to pay off as I started to connect with a few fish. Mostly dace to start with, but then a familiar slow thudding fight signaled that a bream was on the way in. It was actually a venue best for me at 5lb 1oz (ignore the scales in the picture - the net weighed 1lb). Excuse the poor photo - I discovered soon afterwards that the lens needed cleaning.
It was the only bream I had though and I missed far more bites than I managed to catch. No roach showed up at all, which was quite surprising. Just dace and more dace.
A new pike float I made recently was being put through its paces - or rather it was doing a good job of staying above water! I had moved it a couple of times, but it was a third move that did the trick and a fish was on very quickly. I find it's often like that with pike and you need to keep changing positions to make something happen. It's easier when you're actually having a dedicated pike session, but less so when you're also trying your luck with the feeder and hoping to build up a swim.
I made a right clumsy fight of it, managing to snag my landing net on an unseen snag beneath a landing stage. Luckily I freed it and then the fish nearly went under stage too. Eventually I got myself sorted out and netted the pike.
It was another very low double at 10lb 3oz - my third low double in as many sessions and all consecutive fish too. It's a strike rate I'd like to keep going! Many's the time when I've been cursed by jacks and can't get near a double.
Something was niggling me though and when I got home I took a look through past catches. Sure enough this was an old friend last caught on Christmas Eve and previously caught in September too. Now you might think that I caught it from the same swim again, but that's not the case. I caught it in an area that I don't often pike fish and is about 100 yards upstream and around a bend from where I last caught it. I feel like this fish is stalking me! The good news is that it continues to put weight on - 2oz heavier this time.
I dedicated the final hour of the day to pike fishing and moved up to the banker area, but it failed me on this occasion. I did very briefly connect with another fish, but it slipped the hooks quickly and I never saw it. Quite often when this happens you can fool them again soon afterwards, but not this time.
Another unsettled week of weather lies ahead, with temperatures dipping away towards the end of the week and frosts likely for next weekend.