I managed three sessions over the past week, but like the England cricket team, it wasn't very productive.
The Anker was given another shot and I carried out my promise to ball it in this time. The result wasn't the specimen frenzy I'd hoped to induce. I completely bombed out and the only respectable fish banked was a perch of around a pound and a half.
The pike, or more likely a single pike, taunted me. Fish were snatched and hooklengths severed. Scoff though they might for now, the odds will change somewhat when the first frosts appear. Soft mono is replaced with wire, hooks get a whole lot bigger and rods are much beefier. I'll be back!
Some good information was gleaned from a venue regular and the tales of bream, carp and tench had me salivating. I guess I just need to put the time in and be patient. I like what I've seen, so I will be giving it every chance for sure.
The Avon was a little more responsive to more sympathetic tactics, yielding lots of small fish. Like the Anker session it was completely at the wrong time of day. I was expecting a tough one, but was surprised to see fish feeding throughout the heat of the day. There's such a good head of fish present right now and it looks promising for the predator season in a few months time.
I took some time out to clean up pegs across the whole section. Being on the committee it's something I like to do, but it amazes me how reluctant other anglers are to keep things ticking over (but they are quick to moan!).
For years now I've always carried a small sickle in my kit and most pegs I fish are treated to a quick trim to help keep them in shape. Just a minute is all it usually takes. Sickles (or similar tools) can usually be picked up for peanuts at car boot sales. Well worth the tiny investment to help give a little back.
There was one notable success on the day as I helped steer my companion for the day towards his first ever pike - in fact the first he'd ever seen in the flesh. It wasn't a bad one either at 8lb 12oz. I'm not sure he's completely converted yet though. I think he enjoyed the fight on a light telescopic rod, but the sharp pointy things in the Pike's mouth were less appealing!
The final venue this week was the more intimate Leam. Being honest I wasn't relishing this one and I thought a grueller was on the cards.
With Brian joining me for this one we dillied and dallied over which section to fish. Checking out all three options in turn, we eventually returned to where we started! The section in question is pretty new to both of us - we'd only tried it once previously.
I had a bite first chuck on the lead. Not expecting quick action, I missed it of course, but a small perch quickly followed. Things went quiet and I set up a stick float, as I couldn't resist getting the pin out and running a bait down the swim.
First full run and the float buried. The rod arched over and something solid was on. I took it carefully, but never saw the fish as I suffered a hook pull. Gutted, but it actually made me more positive.
I pressed on and half an hour later banked a pristine and slightly portly chub. At 2lb 11oz it's no monster, but it was a venue best for me and in immaculate condition.
Another venue best surfaced next cast in the shape of a 2lb 2oz perch that put up a right old scrap on light gear.
A tiny dace and another small perch followed before the swim completely died. I remained biteless for the last couple of hours, as did Brian. He'd had a couple of pound chub and some bits beforehand.
It was actually a pleasant short session in the afternoon sun, albeit tempered a little by the incompetent effort of England's cricketers. Hopefully they'll put up a better show next week, as I'm making my maiden test visit to Edgbaston during the third test. Sucker for punishment?