Project is perhaps overstating it a little though. It suggests there might be a grand plan, perhaps even a cunning one. Far from it! It's really just a diary and sharing it (while other bloggers do likewise) helps provide the motivation to keep it ticking over. Onwards to three hundred...
Since my last post I've acquired a late season ticket for a stretch of the Upper Avon. This is a stretch I first walked 25 years ago but had never joined. I have no idea why it took so long, given the number of clubs and syndicates I've been a member of during that time.
My first fishing trip to this eagerly anticipated venue was blighted by rain and a river carrying extra water. I'd covered all bases, which equates to me taking the everything, including kitchen sink. A long old trudge through a sodden field with patches of mud saw me eventually settle on a sheltered swim.
With little knowledge of the pegs, the main clincher was comfort and the ability to get an umbrella in place and pegged down. In doing that I largely sacrificed my barbel chances, but I still fancied it for anything else, particularly pike.
I alternated between maggot feeder and deadbaits and it was tough going. Just a couple of ruffe came to the maggots, but I did sneak out a couple of jacks to deadbaits.
A pretty wet and miserable start really and it was capped off when an angler a few pegs downstream reported having three barbel from a peg I'd passed up.
With unseasonably mild temperatures throughout the following week, I had no hesitation in going for the barbel next time. That's something I didn't think I'd say as we approach the shortest day of the year. I opted for a known hotspot and fed two areas with a groundbait laced with hemp and pellet. I left it for half an hour while pike taunted me.
In fact the pike completely got the better of me all session. I'd chucked a small pack of four smelts into my bucket as a back up. I tried them at various intervals and managed to connect with three pike, but all slipped the hook. One of those days...
The main attack was maggots to the left, pellet / meat to the right. First bite was a vicious take on the maggot rig that screamed chub. I was about to net the spirited rubber lipped culprit when it turned into a roach! A decent one too at 1lb 2oz and a pristine example to boot.
The pellet rod came into play soon after and I'm pleased to report that unlike my October Wye debacle, this time I was conscious enough to apprehend a crunching take. I was actually a little unsure how my TFG All Rounder rod would cope with a barbel, but it did the job quite nicely. After a solid but comfortable battle, it popped into the net first time.
It was a good fish but I didn't think it would be a pb or my first double. And so it proved. Ignore the scales in the picture as they include the net. The final verdict was 9lb 4oz.
Just a further perch to the maggot rig and that was it for the day. I took the chance to walk some of the pegs further downstream and there's many more enticing swims for other days. Early impressions are good and there's still lots more to explore.