Three weeks ago I got it all wrong when tackling a new stretch of the Avon that was carrying a touch of extra water. I went for barbel, but it was probably too cold to be ideal for that species. I gave up after a biteless couple of hours and headed upstream to tackle pike. They weren't having any of it either and the first blank of the year was secured.
A week later and the river was too high for comfort, so I headed off to the estate lake for one last attempt before my ticket expired. Three hours of staring at a motionless quiver tip on a cold and windswept lake, sealed my first ever blank at the venue. The snowdrops put on a good show though!
Fast forward a week and the river had dropped nicely by the Friday, but it was all about to go wrong. Saturday was a filthy day and the river received by far its biggest influx of water this season. The Warwick gauge saw a rise of around 5ft in about 24 hours, which scuppered my weekend plans.
I did get some fishing therapy though, courtesy of a visit to Fosters of Birmingham. A recent birthday saw me acquiring some vouchers and I headed over to cash them in. It's a beast of a shop covering two floors and has a huge amount of stock. I had a chair in mind, but I wanted to test it out before buying.
I plumped for a JRC stealth x-lite model which is amazingly light at just over 3kg. This was the key factor for making the switch. I've pimped it up by incorporating some attachments to it and I've bought a bag to transport it. However the job lot now weighs more than my old 5kg chair! In fairness I'm really pleased with the whole package and the bag opens up other transportation options for when I want to do any roving.
On to this week and the rain held off to allow the rivers to recover quite nicely. Just about six inches above normal on the Warwick gauge was the situation facing me come Sunday. I headed out late morning with a two pronged attack. I wanted to go all out for pike, but bottled it in the end. Half a pint of turmeric boosted maggots was the back up in case the pike were absent.
And missing they were. Dace on the straight lead provided some sport, but no sign of the bream I hoped might show up. I retired the lead rod to give the pike more attention, which basically meant upping the twitching rate of the bait. It eventually paid off when I banked a stubborn fighting low double of 10lb 8oz. Excuse the poor photo as I'd left my camera at home and had to use my phone.
It's a measure of just how poor and fragmented my pike campaign has been this season, that this was my only double so far. It was a good excuse to try out another recent acquisition from Ebay, in the shape of some aptly named Avon scales. Second hand of course, as these well regarded scales are long since out of production.
They are in decent enough nick though and much bigger and sturdier than I'd imagined. Initially the zeroing wheel was jamming, but a quick opening up of the key parts and a little tweak, soon had that resolved. Tests against my digital scales also gave some favourable results with weights matching to within 1oz across a range of weights up to 24lb.
I pressed on in search of more pike and even slopped my way through the mud to my banker swim to improve the odds. I also upped the ante by increasing to two rods. They just weren't having it on this occasion though. That's pike I guess.
I have no idea where next week will take me. I guess the weather will have the deciding vote...