Thursday, 24 June 2010

More of the same

Thursday 24th June. River Avon - Alveston. Sean & Charlie. 9-30am to 3pm.

I was a little worse for wear at the start of the day, having spent a few hours on the pop the previous afternoon / evening. Still, it was all in a good cause and a hangover is far less annoying when fishing is on the cards.

I moved a peg further downstream for this session, with Charlie occupying the next peg below me. Both of us boshed in about 10 balls of groundbait before tackling up. I decided to just go with a straight lead rig, figuring that there was enough bait out there already. Charlie did likewise, but he also set up a pole to catch a few bits close in.

An hour or so in and Charlie had bagged some bits on the pole, but couldn't get a bite on the feeder. I had no fish, but I was getting plenty of bites on the lead that I couldn't connect with. Eventually I got lucky and bagged me a Bream of 3lb 11oz. Charlie got in on the action later when he had one of exactly 3lb.

My peg didn't take off and my next two fish were a Gudgeon and Bleak. Then the tip slammed round with a bit more purpose and I was into another slab - or so I thought. It was the usual slow uneventful fight, but when the fish surfaced I saw it was a decent Chub. I've never known such a lethargic Chub and it weighed in at 3lb 8oz. I had a further Bream of about 1lb and a small Dace.

It's not proving easy on this stretch (could be down to the angler though!), but there are some rewards to be had with a bit of patience.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Back on the Avon

River Avon, Alveston. Saturday 19th (with Brian) & Monday 21st (with Charlie)

I've now had a couple of sessions on the Avon at the same location - Alveston. It's a totally new stretch to us and we had no insider information on the hot pegs - that's if there are any such pegs! We just fancied a change from the Warwick book and for just £3 extra we joined this stretch instead. Being just a single stretch about half a mile long, it doesn't have the variety of water that Warwick boasts, but first impressions are that it's a lot more peaceful and it's totally boat free.

Saturday - Bloody hard work

We arrived just before 7am and expected to find a few locals around, but the place was empty. After a walk up the bank to the tempting looking pegs in the mid teens, we were disappointed to find a few of them unfishable. Bank clearing seemed to peter out in the main part around peg 7.

We walked back to the entrance and settled on pegs 1 and 2. Both were perfect looking stick float pegs, so that's what we both opted for, along with the obligatory feeder.

Looking downstream from peg 2

We both caught early on, but not in any great numbers and certainly not in terms of size either. The best I could muster was a bonus Perch of 13oz. I switched from stick to feeder, to stick, to feeder and so on....

I never had what I'd describe as a proper bite on the feeder and bites soon dried up on the stick line. I was devoid of ideas by lunchtime, which begs the question - "Why the hell did I stick it out on the same peg for a further 4 biteless hours?!"Although I was liking the general mood and ambiance, a few more fish would have been nice.

The only highlights of the day - and I say that in the loosest sense of the word - were that we both scored a couple of points each for the challenge. A Bleak for me, a bonus point for the Perch, while Brian opned his Dace and Gudgeon accounts.

I did have a bit of fun trying to outwit a Pike in the last hour. The 2lb or so of fish in my next were all huddled together at the top of my net, clinging on to life by virtue of the thickness of my keepnet. The Pike was sizing them up from all angles and kept bashing into the net. I decided it was time to tick Pike off my challenge list!

The lure approach failed miserably, so it was out with a wobbled smelt and within a minute the Pike was attached, but the hooks didn't set properly and he freed himself. It didn't deter him and he spent the rest of the session staring out my net from various angles. He wouldn't take another wobbled Smelt though!

I took the chance during the barren few hours to wander up to the unfishable pegs I'd liked the look of. Half an hour of scything away and 3 of them became fishable again,ready for another day.

We left a bit jaded and dejected after a long day.

Monday - Things are looking up

This session was set to be much shorter at 4-5 hours. I was determined to fish the deeper water on one of the pegs I had cut out. Charlie settled on the upstream peg next door.

My peg was a bit hampered with casting by the trees above, but I'd figured that it was going to be deep close in and I'd probably ball in on a close line. I set up a stick float on my long rod, but when I plumbed the depth, I discovered that the deep water was uncomfortably beyond the stick line. Bollocks! I caught a few Dace, Bleak and Roach but the set up was all wrong and I had to retackle with a waggler to get better presentation and to make for better casting.

I caught the odd fish on the waggler, before setting up the feeder rod. I balled out 8 big balls of groundbait loaded with caster and hemp and left it to settle for half an hour, while I struggled on with bits on the waggler line. Having had little success I decided to concentrate fully on the feeder for the last half of the session.

Almost instantly I started to get bites, but I couldn't hit them. Eventually I did connect and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a Bream of about 1.5lbs.

I was kind of hoping that it would signal the start of a Bream bagging couple of hours, but it didn't take off. I had the odd fish here and there though, including Perch and Chub, to take the species count up to 6.

Charlie had another species to add to that - an Eel of about 1.5lb to 2lb. Sadly he returned that before I could get a photo. He had other bits from the 2 pegs he tried, but bites became harder to find as the session wore on.

In the last hour I finally found a better fish though, in the shape of a Bream of 4lb 2oz.

A large Carp was spotted leaping clear of the water and crashing amongst the lily pads in the background of the above picture (directly opposite peg 15). Looking at the notes in the club book for peg 15 it says "Swim feeder directly opposite to lily for Bream and Carp". I can't argue with that!

Not exactly a bagging day, but more knowledge gained and the first proper fish has now come out. Optimism is back on the increase - for now at least!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Business As Usual

Saturday 12th June - The Crater.

With Brian unavailable I decided to fish locally again - the old golf course is a few minutes walk for me. Once again I was totally unprepared, but I've come to realise that a tin of sweetcorn is all that's needed for a bit of sport on these ponds. I did have a bit of groundbait to spare though, so that went in the bag too.

The plan was to see if Parkers contained any better Crucians than the ones I had caught on my last visit. Time was again short as I had things planned from 12pm and and I didn't leave the house until 8-45am.

I approached Parkers and found that a big tent had been set up immediately behind the swim I fancied. I walked around the pond but the only viable alternative was the peg on the main walking route. I set up and had a 15 minute dabble, but nothing was interested.

Then the tent's inhabitants started to emerge. First a young child who kept spilling over into the wet grass every few yards. An adult followed and the noise level started to increase, as the pair interacted with each other. More were sure to follow.

Faced with that prospect, I could sit there and carry on regardless, hoping for bites to start and for noise levels to drop. Or, I could bugger off 150 yards behind me to a Rudd filled paradise. OK it's far from paradise, but there's plenty of quality fish and I had the pond to myself. I buggered off!

I had a bite first chuck, but the fish dropped off on the way in. It then went quiet on my next cast, so I opted to chuck in 5 balls of groundbait laced with corn. Again, I was hoping one of Carp might put in an appearance. I gave it time to settle and fished the waggler on a totally different line, much further out.

Bites came quickly on that further line and I gradually shortened up throughout the session (over the groundbait) and the bites were fairly consistent. Every time they stopped I just tried a different line and seemed to connect with fish instantly. It's almost like they got spooked and backed off a bit onto a different line. Then they moved back to the original line.

The tent gang - 2 kids and 3 adults (one female) - joined me part way through. Bloody great! I leave them to their own pond and they still came across to bug me. The couple amongst them were having a bit of a barney on the way across to the pond and it continued as they were selecting swims.

I'm becoming a magnet for relationship disputes this year - twice now I've witnessed the fairer sex dishing out abuse to their partners on the bank. I'll happily take my abuse at home, but not on the river bank please! They were an odd bunch - it's perhaps best left at that! Suffice to say I don't imagine they'll be troubling MENSA in the near future.

Although they weren't interfering with my fishing, I was mindful of the time and I decided to leave them to their own devices. I'd caught the usual half a stone or so of Rudd and Hybrids. There were no big fish - the best probably about 8oz and almost all were in the 4-6 oz range.

As I packed up, one of the kids pounced on my swim immediately. I hadn't even finished packing up, but to be fair he was very polite and asked if he could jump in there. I asked him what bait he using. "Sweetcorn" was the reply. I gave him the thumbs up, told him where I'd baited up and left him to it.

As I walked past one of the adults, he enquired "Is this Weston Lawns?". It's an easy mistake to make I guess!

My river ticket came through the post today and I'll be heading down at the weekend. A warning to anyone heading for the river - Sunday is a non-starter in certain areas (unless your very early or a sucker for punishment) as the club card displays Sunday 20th as "Raft Race". It's the annual charity raft race from Wasperton to Stratford. I think the upper end of the Wasperton stretch (Oak Tree) on the Leamington book avoids it, but my new waters are bang in the firing line a few miles downstream.

Good luck to anyone wetting a line on Wednesday.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

A Welcome Change

Saturday 5th June 2010 - Hawkesbury Golf Course. "Parkers" Pool.

This was another brief session and started a bit later than planned due to me waking up with a thick head. It wasn't beer related for once - I think I'd thoroughly dehydrated myself a day earlier with all the walking and climbing through undergrowth I'd done. A couple of tablets, a good guzzle of water and another hour in bed did the trick and I was revitalised for a 3 hour morning stint.

With time against me, I had to go with whatever bait I had to hand and that meant bread, corn, worms and pellets were on today's menu. I headed for Parkers, as I wanted to have a pop at the bigger Roach, Rudd or Perch, with the outside chance of hooking one of the larger Carp.

Fishable swims are now at a premium on this water and I settled on a relatively clear area well away from the normal dog walking route.

I was expecting a slow start on the corn, but my float buried so quickly I didn't even have time to put the rod properly on the rest! I'd plumbed the depth, set up a few inches over depth and shotted the float down perfectly. So, having cast out and then looked down towards my rod rest, I was shaking my head as to where my float had gone when I looked back towards the water. The penny then dropped and I struck into a Rudd of the usual stamp for this complex.

The action was fairly brisk for a good hour or so before it slowed down a little. All fish up to this point were Rudd or Roach in the 4-6oz class, with the occasional one looking a shade nearer to 8oz.

Then I connected with something a lot more spirited and I started to get excited, thinking that I'd cracked it with one of the better specimens. Although slightly disappointed to be proven wrong, it was still a pleasant surprise to catch my first Crucian from the site - a fish of about a pound.

The sport slowed for a while and bites became harder to hit as the fish had probably backed off a bit and became a bit more wary. With limited room to work with, there wasn't a lot I could do apart from put more feed in and be patient. The fish kept coming at regular intervals though and once again one of them was a Crucian similar to the one I caught earlier.

I've called it a Crucian, but is it? It's a lot darker than the other fish. I'm no expert when it comes to the Crucian v Brown Goldfish debate, so if anyone has any views, feel free to comment!

I didn't take the keepnet on this visit, but I estimate I had about 7lb of fish, which made for a pleasant morning's work.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Fish Spotting

I took some time out today to check out a couple of new venues for the season ahead. I thought I'd post a few pictures I took on my travels.

Stillwater Pics

River Pics

Roll on the 16th!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

More Rudd

Wednesday 2nd June - Hawkesbury Golf Course

I had a 4 hour slot (door to door) to cram a session into and so I decided to stay very local. I didn't even pay the tackle shop a visit, so the bait was simple - bread, corn or some left over pellets.

I opted for the pool appropriately named by other bloggers as the Crater. I had the place to myself on arrival which I thought was odd on a sunny day in the school holidays.

It didn't last for long though and I was soon joined by a family of three. To be fair they got on with things without too much fuss, although I was getting a bit edgy when one them seemed to be eyeing up a spot very close to me. He decided against it and moved to the far end of the pool.

I always get intrigued why people have to consider fishing so close to you when there's plenty of comfortable pegs elsewhere. It's not as if there's a flyer on the pool - it's so small almost every swim is accessible from any other swim!

I remember a fishing trip to Ireland many years ago and day one saw us trekking down hills and over boggy fields to get to our intended spot. It wasn't anywhere special with recent hot form - just a nice peaceful spot not too far from where we were staying. We set up 3 in a row and got on with the job.

Shortly after setting up, a mini bus full of Geordies rolled up and started looking for available pegs. Room was getting tight and one of them asked if he could fish between Nick and my brother. Nick told him something along the lines of "There's hundreds of miles of free fishing in Ireland and I haven't come over here to have you sitting on my lap". The bloke got the message!

The action on the Crater was slow to start with, but I eventually started connecting with Rudd. I'll put the slow start down to the lack of maggots to kickstart things. Once they started, the action was consistent throughout and I caught Rudd, Roach, Hybrids and Perch - all on corn or bread. The total weight in about 3 hours of fishing was 5lb 15oz. The best fish was a 14oz Rudd (not part of the challenge, sadly for me).

As I packed up, one of the other lads showed his predatory side and was determined to muscle in on my swim before his brother (who had eyed it up earlier) had a chance!

I did have a chat to another lad during the session who had popped over from the other pool - the old Parkers pool from years ago. I had looked at that pool on my past and it was heavily weeded with few fishable areas of any size. However, he assured me it's the best pool on the site and has big Perch (3-4lb), some big Roach and Rudd in the 2lb class and some Carp up to 10lb that had been caught this week.

It doesn't take a lot to realise I'm not a Carp fisherman. It's not that I hate Carp, it's just that I prefer to fish for other species. Or is that just a thinly veiled way of saying I'm crap at catching Carp?! I do like to go for Carp if the opportunity is there though and generally that means chucking a floater at a fish I've spotted cruising around. It either takes it or it doesn't - I don't usually have any back up plans.

On Thursday I took the chance to have a look at a different stillwater venue I stumbled across by accident on the net. It totally intrigues me and I can find no information on the fish it contains. All I know is that it's a season ticket only venue, but it's a similar price to a club book. I love fishing new venues completely blind and not knowing what to expect. Maybe it's going to be crap, but for the cost of a night out, I might just unearth a gem. Nothing ventured nothing gained, but I wanted to learn a bit more before parting with any cash - accessibility and peacefulness being key to any decision.

As it was a fairly hot and still day, I was hoping that a brief visit would give me an idea of what to expect. One of the pools on site was gin clear and although there was some fry in the margins, I couldn't see any signs of a proper fish. On to the next pool and this one was coloured and looked more inviting. I fought through some trees and into a clearer area leading to a high bank.

There basking in the sun were 3 carp, all within easy range of a floating bait and just loafing around. All of them were doubles and the largest fish looked to be knocking 20lb. It's definitely got me thinking long and hard now and more so because I suspect the venue is very lightly fished. Maybe there is a Carp angler in me yet? I did see plenty of small Rudd too, so I know what I'll end up catching!