Thursday, 22 July 2010

Bretford Obliges

Thursday 22nd July. River Avon, Bretford. 10am to 12-15pm.

This is a new stretch to me, having just joined a club that controls the fishing here. Although I had never even seen the stretch (other than from the road bridge), I sort of knew what to expect having read Jeff's (Idler's Quest) posts on his visits here in the past (when CDAA run it).

Time was short, so it was only going to be a very quick exploratory session to suss the venue out for future sessions. With just one meadow on offer I started at the far end and worked back to the bridge. It was choked with weed and I only found two comfortable swims.

The first one failed to produce and all I could catch was weed. I quickly moved on to the better looking swim further downstream. I could see a Chub of about 2lb grazing on the surface, which instantly gave me confidence.

I started out with a maggot approach and after a few minutes I caught my first fish of the day - A Perch of about 4oz. As I reeled it in I noticed a bow wave appear at right angles to the line of retrieve. I figured it was probably a Pike.

A few minutes later I was into a second fish and this one was very lucky. A Pike was definitely in the swim and I managed to haul it clear of the water just as a Pike launched at it. It was a Perch of about 6oz.

Out with the Pike gear and I thought it would be easy to catch the Pike if he was in this sort of mood. Sadly though, he didn't fancy the taste of anything plastic and I didn't get any interest from it.

Back to the maggot rig and it wasn't long before the tip slammed round and this time something more serious was on the other end. I got the fish under control quickly by hauling it into the weed under my near bank and sticking the net under it. I think it felt safe in the weed but didn't figure on a net being thrust under it from above! It was an immaculate looking Chub of 3lb 3oz.

I had some left over meat from a couple of days ago, so that came into play now. Another Chub soon obliged, albeit a smaller fish of 2lb 6oz. I didn't get any more takes after that. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me today. The session was hastily arranged and as I was expecting to do a bit of walking, I scaled things down a fair bit. The camera was a casualty in my haste to get out the door.

This looks more of a Winter venue to me and as it's only a shade over 15 minutes from my house, I can see me having a good crack at it later in the year when the weed has died back.

Alveston Struggle

Wednesday 21st July. River Avon, Alveston. 9-15am to 3pm - With Charlie.

This was another poor session for me. I really need to have a rethink about how to tackle this stretch, as that's two garbage sessions on the bounce here.

This time we tackled a different area (pegs 3 and 4), but I lost confidence very early in the session. I'm sure if I had scaled down the tackle and perhaps come up in the water, I'd have caught more fish, but I'm not giving in to Bleak bashing just yet!

My sum total for the day amounted to 4 Perch, a Roach and a couple of Chublets. Charlie did a little better, but stilll would have struggled to scrape 2lb. The most interesting part of the day was when Charlie spotted a decent Perch continually swimming around his keepnet. It evaded capture, but it was definitely a 2lb+ fish.

No photos - nothing worth getting a camera out for!

Barbelless (after extra time!)

Tuesday 20th July - River Avon, Wasperton. 10am to 4-30pm.

I decided on a short session targeting Barbel or Chub. I planned to give it until 2pm and tot take it from there, figuring that the weather or the quality of the fishing would determine if the session went into extra time.

The approach was simple - straight lead, 8lb mainline, 6lb hooklength to a size 8, with a flavoured meat as bait. Hemp and caster were loosefed over the area - well they were catapulted into the willow slightly upstream and I kind of hoped they would end up somewhere near the hookbait. I should really have got the bait dropper out.

An hour or so in and I got the first bite, which resulted in a Chub of about 1.25lbs.

I had nothing else over the next couple of hours, but I was getting the odd line bite. I thought it was small fish, so I switched the rig over just to satisfy my curiosity. Fishing caster, the next 20 minutes were fairly hectic and the tip never stopped moving:




It was alive with small fish, but having proved my theory, I went back to the meat set up. 2pm came and I decided to give it a bit longer. Within 10 minutes I had my second bite on the meat and fairly quickly found myself attached to a snagged fish! I changed the angle by moving downstream but it wouldn't budge and I figured I'd lost this battle as I couldn't feel a fish on the other end.

I gave it one last shot using the trusted method - slacken off the line, count to ten and then crank up the pressure again in one quick movement. Luckily it worked and the Chub came up out of the weed. It wasn't a huge fish, but a better sample at 2lb 8oz - the photo was a bit rushed and some of the weed is still attached to the fish!

This renewed all hope again and I gave it another hour and then a bit longer and a bit longer. Foolishly I felt confident of getting a Barbel or perhaps a better Chub, but it didn't happen. With Madeleine needing a lift from the train station I had to call it a day at 4-30.

Just before leaving I spoke to an angler who had set up near the Hawthorn bush. He was new to the area and said it was his first season fishing the Leamington waters. He said he's had 3 Barbel from the stretch this season, two of which were doubles - biggest 12lb 8oz. Very nice!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Better than last week

Monday 19th July - Ryton Pool. 9am to 2-30pm

I have been fishing since my last post - on the Avon at Alveston on Saturday with Brian. I will spare you a full blown report and will simply say it fished like a bag of nails.

I don't really know what was wrong. The river looked OK - a little more flow, but no real colour in it. I had just three Dace and a couple of Perch for my efforts, which were mainly aimed at the larger Bream or Chub. Brian had an equally miserable day, somewhat compounded by losing a decent fish close in that we didn't actually get to see. Judging by the jag jag nature of the fight, I think a Perch was the likely culprit.

Moving on to Ryton, with unsettled weather forecast for the rest of the week, I thought I'd start the week off there and try to put the frustration of previous Ryton visits to bed. I stuck with peg 16 again and gave it plenty of groundbait to start with. This time I stuck with a single line and gave it a generous helping of hemp.

The Perch arrived quickly and I caught two in the first few minutes before it went dead for a long period. Eventually another Perch came along, but there were no signs of the Tench in the clear areas.

By late morning I was very close to giving it up as a bad job and moving on to a peg near the car park, but I started to notice a few bubbles creeping closer to my baited area. I persevered and it paid off with a small male Tench of about 2lbs - crap photo I'm afraid!

The bubbles intensified and over the next 2-3 hours I managed to bank 4 more Tench - a very small one of maybe 12oz (no photo), another about 2lb and two others both of which went 3lb 8oz.

For good measure, a Roach even put in an appearance.

That's not the full story though because I lost a Tench of about 2lb when the hook slipped out at the net, while another decent fish tore off into the weed and shed the hook, leaving me playing a huge clump of weed!

All things considered a much better effort at Ryton and faith is gradually being restored. The Tench are definitely on the feed there right now.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Ryton Frustration

Tuesday 13th July - Ryton Pool. 9am to 1-30pm

With rain forecast for the afternoon I decided on a morning session at Ryton, followed by some long overdue decorating. The latter of which does not thrill me, but it does help to secure me a few points in the missus' good book. At least it better have done so!

I wandered round the back of the island to my favourite peg 16. I noted the weed growth on my way round and it was a good bit more vigorous than it was last year. However, my chosen peg was clear enough for the area I intended to fish.

I deviated from my normal approach for this swim by feeding groundbait on two different lines. I had seen a lot of Tench bubbles, but the fish were clearly well amongst the weeded areas. I was hedging my bets in the hope of persuading them out into the clear areas.

I caught 3 Perch and a Roach in the first hour, none of which were of any size - in fact the Perch were of a much smaller stamp than I'd previously seen at Ryton. Things then went a bit quiet, but I could see the bubbles continually fizzing around the swim and getting closer to the clear area I was fishing.

As is often the case, the wildlife started to muscle in on the action and in case I was in any doubt as to where one of my baited areas was, a helpful swan was on hand to mark the spot!

I continued to feed the other swim and in the end it paid off when I hooked into my first Ryton Tench of the season - a fish of 3lb 10oz.

Another one followed later on, but it was probably the smallest Tench I've had from Ryton, at maybe 12-14oz.

It was a frustrating session because the swim was definitely alive with fish - the bubbles just kept increasing as the session wore on. Bites were hard to come by though, but I'm not sure why. I've used similar tactics in the past and have had a few sessions where I've taken half a dozen decent Tench to over 5lb. I would have liked another hour or so as I felt confident of catching more, but the rain was setting in and I was pushing my luck if I didn't get any work done at home. With regret, I had to call it a day.

I'll give it a go again next week hopefully, to see if I can set the record straight.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Learning the Leam

Saturday 10th July - River Leam, Offchurch. 8-30am to 12-30pm

I had a change of plan and decided to spend a morning doing something I've managed to put off for almost 20 years! Although I've been a Leamington member on/off since the early 90s, I haven't fished the Leam all that much. Indeed, I've never fished it at Offchurch at all - until now.

Previous experiences of the Leam have not been too kind to me. With large sections of the club waters running through urban areas, I don't really have the inclination to fish them all that much. I generally figure that if I'm going to travel about 15 miles, then I might as well make it a few miles more and have some guaranteed peace.

Offchurch is a bit more appealing though, as it's well out of town. However, apart from having a look over the bridge in the past, I'd never got round to a serious walk along the stretch. First port of call was the end of the stretch and then I'd meander my way back to the pool below the bridge to finish with.

I was pleasantly surprised by the peg at the end of the stretch - a very fishy looking pool immediately below a narrow section:

I didn't have a great deal of action though, but a Roach and a Dace put in an appearance.

Although I'd have liked to stick around and try other methods, I was intent on moving around a bit as I wanted to make some mental notes about as many pegs as possible. Next time I think a pole might be the order of the day here.

I moved further upstream and spotted a couple of Chub around the 1lb mark in a reasonably accessible swim. They soon buggered off though and my "stealthy" approach definitely needs a bit of refining I thnk! Bull at a gate springs to mind. However, I did go on to catch loads of small Dace. The next peg was quite similar, but I did also manage to catch a small Chub.

I carried on upstream and found an area I really liked the look of. It was relatively deep run of maybe 6-7ft and looked perfect. It didn't produce a single bite though, which surprised me.

The bridge swim failed to deliver anything other than Minnows. Again, my clumsiness approaching the swim didn't do me any favours. When I finally stuffed my float up the willow while trying a clever cast, I called it a day.

Nothing of any real note to show for my efforts, but I now know what to expect from the stretch. I know it holds a few decent fish from various things I've read and I think I have a fair idea of the spots to head for now.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Cyprinus Leuciscus Cephalus

Brian had a session on the Avon at Alveston last Wednesday and reported taking a fish from off the top on bread. I'd been led to believe it was a Carp and I was quite admiring of his feat, bordering on a tinge of jealousy.

I tell no lies about my Carp fishing prowess, simply because it doesn't exist. I don't target the species unless they make it plainly clear they are depserate to be caught and are likely to fall for a fairly unsubtle approach. To that end, I have never caught a river Carp, but secretly I wouldn't mind opening my account.

I received a photo of Brian's fish (taken on a cameraphone) by email and it looks to me like it's doing a damn good impression of a Chub!

Either way, it's Brian's best Chub of the campaign, so I thought I'd share it on here.

A Session in Pictures

I wasn't going to bother to report on last Saturday's session on the River Blythe because it was dog awful. I've decided to make a token gesture though, so I'll just let the pictures do the talking:

"Brian ignores the tempting looking weir pool run off, figuring that a bait presented up a tree offers better prospects!"

"Any minute now..."

"Aliens - bigger than transit vans!"

"Must be German. He's grabbed the towel and staked out his sunbathing territory!"

"His use of the V sign suggested he was not happy to be dumped into a dirty bait box!"