After my doomed session a couple of weeks ago, last week wasn't much better. Arriving early and eager to crack on, I had that horrible comedown when you realise an essential bit of kit is still in your garage!
My trusty tbermal boots were the casualty on this occasion. Camouflaged by their protective bag, I failed to spot them in the early morning murk. Memo to self - turn the garage light on next time!
I contemplated roughing it with my trainers, but I knew it was utter madness. Boggy ground and knackered old trainers don't cut it - and even more so when it's only 2C outside.
Back down the A46 to rescue my boots and over 1.5 hours after originally setting out I returned to a different, slightly nearer venue. I'd clocked up nearly 70 miles that morning and ended up barely 25 minutes from home! Just another relaxing Sunday.
The river was up a little after rain. Just about peaking, it looked bang on.
I lost something decent to a snag on my first chuck on the meat. Nothing else all session though, apart from a tentative bite on a roach deadbait that saw me striking into thin air. A second consecutive blank and December was continuing in gloomy fashion.
I caught up with one of the locals who'd been out since first light and he'd covered sone of the 30+ pegs below me. He'd not had a sniff. All a bit odd really, but they just weren't having it.
On to this week and I had the whole section to myself. Another early start and I managed to bring everything this week! The plan was to attack the zander while the light levels were still low and then figure it from there.
A standard setup with decapitated roach deadbaits on single hooks, fished under a float. It took a couple of missed bites before it was third time lucky. A bit of a Trigger from Only Fools and Horses moment though!
Action had been slow and I was busy getting a meat rod ready when I saw my right hand float move slightly. I'd just moved my arm around the rod and thought I might have brushed it slightly. It went again about 10 seconds later and my eyes were now drawn to it. I definitely hadn't touched the rod that time.
A quick routine glance to check my left hand float saw that it was heading off upstream at a rate of knots. Shit! A double hook up on the cards I thought. Then the penny dropped that the movement on the right hand float was caused by the vibrations feeding through from the other rod. Doh!
A quick scrap followed and I banked a respectable zander of exactly 5lb. Right species, but a pound shy of my season's target.
Another missed bite and a longer period of inactivity saw me making a move a couple of pegs upstream. More woe though as I connected with a solid fish on a lamprey section (a pike I think), but the hook pulled. At this point I'd only converted 1 of 5 bites. Poor going and my patience was being tested, but I ploughed on.
Faith was restored when I got it right on the next bite and another zed popped into my net. A better fish and as it happens, exactly the target weight I was after - 6lb on the nose and another pb. Excuse the poor photo. Need to adjust some settings for self takes.
I love the tails on zander. Quite amazing sized paddles and you can see where they get their fighting power from. I'd love to see what a good double scraps like. Dream on...
The final action came from a jack after I'd switched one rod to a sardine.
A kingfisher provided the entertainment for the final hour on the next peg downstream. Where's bluey?:
The pike and zander will probably take a back seat now while I search for that elusive 5lb chub over the next month or so. That could be a little more tricky I think, but if I can just get a pb I'll settle for that.
Wet and windy later in the week. Hopefully it won't scupper my traditional Christmas Eve session.
The updated scores for my season's river challenge are:
Barbel (11lb 1oz - Warks Avon) - 110.63% of target - pb
Bream (8lb 2oz - Anker) - 101.36% - pb
Pike (19lb 3oz - Warks Avon) - 95.94%
Zander (6lb 0oz - Warks Avon) - 100% -pb
Chub (4lb 3oz - Warks Avon) - 83.75%
Carp (8lb 0oz - Warks Avon) - 80% - river pb
Perch (1lb 6oz - Anker) - 45.83%
Total - 617.71 (Target 700)