Friday, 11 November 2016

A New Direction

Another half a dozen weeks has slipped by since I last checked in. Finally we seem to have given the slip to that absurdly warm and dry period. Autumn has arrived at last. So where have I been?

October kicked off with a pleasantly unpleasant session on the Avon. A pre-arranged affair between three of us, where we'd fish into dark. The company - great. The fishing and weather - pretty awful for a couple of us.

Rain blighted the session and made things uncomfortable. Mick did well to make a blog post out of it - much more patience and creativity than I could have given it! My outcome was a lone jack taken on my first cast. No sign of the hoped for zander. They are elusive, borderline mythical, on this stretch for sure!

A week later I switched to the Anker and although a lot drier, it didn't fish well. Like the Avon, it was running low and clear, as it has for most of the past four months. Another grinding effort that resulted in a pound plus perch and a jack.

A welcome two weekend lay off for a spot of cruising saved me from taking further punishment at the hands of our natural venues. I consciously divorced myself from the internet world while on holiday.  It was so refreshing to just shut the phone / tablet data down and to immerse myself in other things.

Feeling refreshed, I hoped I might return to hear that the heavens had opened. No such luck. More pain to come...

Back to the Avon to see if the zander would play ball, or maybe a barbel. Coarse deadbaits for the zeds, while an altogether scaled back maggot feeder approach would be tried for the babs.

In all honesty it wasn't really a barbel plan. More a case of a catch anything plan, but with the hope of fluking / fooling one on lighter gear.

I began in the zander banker area where I'd had one a few weeks earlier. Nothing doing on deadbait or maggot. A move to a more barbel friendly peg didn't yield anything either.

Readying myself for another move, I figured the roach deadbait would have to be replaced with something else. Reeling in, I gave a sharp tug to eject the bait and left it to flutter down through the water. Securing the hook for imminent transportation, I casually glanced down to see how my discarded bait was dropping - purely to see just how clear the water was.

In no time at all, my whole roach had managed to attach itself to a pike! All I could do was to watch it manoevre the free offering down its throat, by some vigorous head shaking. Look at what you could have won!

The interesting thing for me is that I wasn't guilty of just leaving the deadbait static. I'm a born twitcher! I swear by regularly twitching deadbaits to help induce a take. Yet it didn't work here. This fish wanted something higher in the water it seemed. Maybe I need to get back to the wobbling method I used a lot more in years gone by?

My next swim (a new one to me) threw up some bits to maggot, including some chunky gudgeon. A pike attacked the deadbait float on a retrieve.

Bad for the float, but good for confidence. I'd say it's a fair bet that the same fish ended up on the bank after intercepting a bait on the drop soon after.

On to the next week and what a change in weather. Some proper overnight frosts and cooler daytime temperatures had me breaking out the proper pike gear and donning full winter attire.

A chilly wind would dominate the session though and I covered a lot of ground across three stretches. On reaching the third of them I was biteless, but at least in a banker swim I felt. An angler downstream came straight over to me, delightfully informing me he'd had nothing at all. He'd also plundered my swim earlier! The one positive was that he told me about his best zander from the stretch, which had slipped into double figures.

Confidence drained, but also buoyed too. I pressed on and as with my previous three sessions I ended up with a single jack. Another disappointing and paltry return and when rain began to settle in, I took the hint and made good my escape. A sound move, as it was a miserly 4C when I reached the car and I'd really had enough. Cold doesn't bother me, but add in wind / rain and you can keep it!

In the title of this post I referred to a new direction. Last Christmas I acquired one of those little video cameras. A cheap but effective bit of kit that can be used for many purposes. A dash cam for the car, or maybe attached to a cycling helmet, or even for security purposes? Being waterproof, for me it was always destined to end up in the river!

I've taken it to a couple of sessions now and I'm busy wrestling with it's constraints and limitations. The first outing saw it sat 6ft down in the margins in the hope of capturing passing fish. I managed four takes covering 45 minutes of "action". All I got was a clump of leaves!

In fairness they were beautifully clear, so at least I know the focus while immersed is acceptable. I don't think Spielberg will be calling on my skills just yet though. I'll keep pursuing this little diversion though when conditions permit.

Finally, we've also had some much needed rain this week. The Avon has risen a few inches and hopefully taken on a bit of colour too. Just maybe, this weekend will see the river bang on for once...

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