Saturday, 10 December 2011

Chilly, But Nice

I wasn't sure about going out this weekend, but the reality of my impending redundancy is sinking in and I decided that fishing therapy was needed. Pike was the name of the game and I headed for my club stretch on the Avon at Alveston, having raided my freezer for a supply of deadbaits I've been harbouring for some time.

It was -1C on arrival, but it was still and calm and with my multiple layers of clothing, I was actually quite comfortable. With nearly half a gallon of warm drinks at my disposal and half a mile of river to myself, I was quite content.

I fished for about 3-4 hours and only hooked up with one fish on a wobbled sprat, but I was more than happy with it. At 15lb 13oz, it was a personal best Pike for me, but I have to confess to being a tad lucky to get it in. The fish was attached via just one set of trebles and two parts of that ended up being almost straightened during the battle. Luckily they held out though and it gave me the simplest of unhooking tasks.

I did have a close call with another fish on a different peg that followed the bait up as I retrieved it through the water close in. It was a decent fish too - probably another double - and I was sure it would take the bait soon enough on another run through. It didn't though!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sticking to a Plan

It was another glorious weekend of weather. I fished on the Saturday and the overnight temperature had remained high for the time of year. It was 10C when I left home just around 7am and rose up to 15C when I packed in early afternoon.

I stuck to a plan I'd hatched when packing up the week before. As I mentioned in my last post, I knew I'd had too many things on the go and the end result was pretty poor. This week I was returning to the same swim and would fish it with one rod only.

The river was a shade down on last week and a good deal clearer. Fish were showing though and with the favourable weather, I was confident. The moon was still visible on arrival and the river was as tranquil as ever.

I set up the wand rod and decided to plunder a back eddy to the inside right of my swim. It had produced most of the action the previous week and more importantly, it was fairly weed free. I decided to play the numbers game of fishing with small baits. I knew I would attract the Dace, but I was hoping that bigger fish would eventually move in over the bed of bait I'd introduced early doors. It consisted of a bread crumb & crushed hemp/halibut mix, with a handful of casters.

I soon had some company to deal with, in the shape of an inquisitive bull. He was no trouble though.

Others soon followed and one of the cows was quite an imposing looking beast - albeit still pretty docile!

The Dace were there from the off and I started to catch them regularly. A change to double caster slowed things down a little, before the rod tip arched round and held solid. This was no Dace! I could see in the clear water that it was a decent Chub and I carefully played it out on the lightish gear. It popped straight into the net with minimum fuss as it happened and I knew it had a squeak of being a pb, as it was a broad fish. I slipped it on to the scales and it went 4lb 5oz - a new pb for me by 3 ozs and a 4th pb of the year.

Nothing else beyond Dace showed up and I decided to have the last hour or so on a different swim that was nestled between a couple of overhanging willows. It was a little slower, but again it produced Dace after a bit of feed had gone in. One further Chub put in an appearance, but it was a much smaller sample around the pound mark.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Back to Basics

Well, the heavens finally opened up quite a bit towards the back end of last week. As ever, I found myself tuning into the river levels site to view the extent of the damage and I half expected to be facing a river that would be lapping over the platforms come Sunday. How wrong I was. The extra water had seemingly vanished into thin air - or more likely absorbed by the bone dry ground.

At 3C on arrival it was a tad chillier than I'd experienced recently, but it was a beautiful morning and the first task was to capture a few shots of the mist rolling across a tranquil looking Avon.




The rest of the day wasn't worth writing about! I had brought everything bar the kitchen sink with me and I proceeded to use most of it. I had promised myself a Chub session after last week, but I totally deviated from the plan and went for trying a new swim with my experimental head on.

Two Avon rods, a wand, a pike rod and a stick float set up later (not all at the same time I hasten to add!) and all I could catch was Dace. I'm actually becoming quite a Dace attractor these days and I had plenty of action from the little critters on maggots, caster and bread. Not a Chub in sight. Considering how many Dace were about, the Pike were once again conspicuous by their absence.

The only passer by I saw all day was mooching on by as I was packing up and he remarked on the amount of gear I'd got set up. I told him that it was a case of plenty of gear and no idea!

Next time I will scale things back and some of the rods are staying at home. I also think I need to step back to one rod only at a time and concentrate on getting everything right. I know I'm spending too much time fishing two rods at a time very averagely, whereas one rod fished half decently might actually see improved results.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Autumnal Avon

Another couple of weeks have rolled by and things are gradually turning more Autumnal. Having said that, the temperature reading from my car was 15C at 6pm tonight, which is still well above the seasonal average.

At least we had a bit of welcome rain last week and although it wasn't the deluge I'd been hoping for, I did see a bit of upwards movement on the Warwick based Environment Agency gauge I use as my reference point. At its peak around Thursday morning there was around 5-6 inches of extra water which was better than nothing.

I headed down to the Avon at Alveston on Saturday, by which time the extra water had all but passed through. The river looked in good nick and I decided to take the easy access option of the road section. It was a gorgeous morning with a touch of mist.

Having suffered some poor sessions on the river this year, I didn't expect a lot. Bites were plentiful as it happened, but it was mostly from Dace. There were certainly no clonkers amongst them - maybe 3oz at best - but I was just happy to find plenty of willing fish. The bread rig failed to produce the Chub I was hoping for and in the end I enjoyed trotting maggots through the swim on the centre pin set up. I'm still relatively new to the pin, so I'm enjoying practising becoming less clumsy!

The best fish of the session was Perch that was probably a shade under a pound.

I briefly flashed some lures through the swim towards the end of the session - just in case a bonus Pike was lurking beneath my feet at the edge of the weed. Nothing doing though.

I feel there's a Chub session on the cards next time out, as I've largely neglected them so far this season.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Strange Afternoon at the Reservoir

Family duties meant that the morning was somewhat fragmented, but with glorious weather forecast again, I decided that a Saturday afternoon out was well worth worth it.

I'd actually pinched a few hours of work on the Friday afternoon for a spot of Piking, but I failed miserably across the Alveston and Wasperton sections of the Avon. The only tug on a wobbled deadbait came from a Perch with eyes bigger than it's mouth!

In the end I sat it out with a Lamprey section and for a short while I confess to nodding off, bathed in the warm afternoon sunshine. I haven't been down Waspo for a while and I've honestly forgotten how pleasant it can be. I really must get down there again soon.

I very nearly returned the next day, but in the end I opted for one last crack at the Snitterfield Roach and Crucians. 20 minutes in and it was very quiet until I finally hooked a fish on my light set up - single maggot on a 20 hook (although I think it's more like a 18) to 2lb bottom, with 4lb line on my centre pin that had been freshly spooled up the night before.

The fish was no Roach or Crucian though and it roared off into the distance. I vaguely got some control of the fish at times, but even a bit of wandering to adjacent pegs didn't really help. I was largely powerless and after a 10-15 minute struggle, I was snagged up and the fish was gone.

That gave me a bit of confidence though and so I turfed in some groundbait, laden with pellet, caster and hemp just beyond the marginal plants. A short while later I saw some movement and a bright coloured fish was stirring up the baited area, before it eventually got spooked. That gave me the nudge to rig up a sleeper rod with a small lead. I baited it with bread flake and dropped it over the groundbait.

The float swim performed poorly and I struggled to get bites. Out of the blue, the sleeper rod woke up in spectacular fashion and in a split second it was wrenched out of the rod rest. I grabbed it as the tip hit the water and fortunately I had put the clutch on a loose setting, which helped to cushion the initial run.

This time I was on a beefier set up (6lb main line, 4lb bottom to a 12 hook) and it was just a case of taking it steady in the seemingly snag free swim. During the fight I could see it was the bright coloured fish that had been in the swim earlier. I eventually banked the fish, but I struggled with my net, which is now going to need a minor repair! It really wasn't designed for fish of this size - 12lb exactly.

Apart from that, I struggled to make anything else happen. I hooked a Bream towards the end of the session on the light float rig. It looked around 3lb, but the hook pulled clear and I suspect it was foul hooked, as it fought like a demon (for a Bream) and the only time I had it under control it was coming towards me side on.

So, I failed in my Roach and Crucian quest, but it was an interesting, if slightly strange session.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Return to the Wye

I seem to have slipped into the habit of infrequent blogging. A lack of fish remains the driving force behind it and I really haven't been able to summon up the enthusiasm to describe more dross filled fishing experiences.

Since the last blog I've had a couple of cracks at College Pool to see if I could sneak out one of the bigger Carp or Bream. The first session descended into farce and nearly ended up very costly.

I'd had two set ups on the go - one with maggot and the other with pellet/bread/corn. The maggot rod yielded nothing but Perch after Perch until I eventually connected with something solid that tore off across the pool towards Wellesbourne at high speed. I couldn't stop it on the rig I was using and to cut the story short, the fish won the battle and snagged me up.

Later on in the session I had just recast the other rod baited with corn, when I turned back to the maggot rod to check it out. Just as I'd picked up the rod, I saw the corn rod fly off the rod rest and was on it's way down the bank and heading towards the waiting abyss. I had to perform a save that Gordon Banks would have been proud of, diving off my box and just managing to grasp the very end of the rod butt at the second attempt. If I'd been a second later, the rod was water bound.

The fish was on and although the clutch was set, it either failed to engage properly or the spool must have got caught up on the bankside. The end result was that the fish smashed me up before I could get my hands on the reel to engage the anti reverse. I called it a day and went home with another spanking from this pool.

I returned a week later around midday to find crazily hot October conditions. I removed the maggot approach, as the small Perch were a pain in the arse the previous week. I alternated bread, pellet, corn and boilie across two rods. Apart from bumping off a suspected Bream, nothing else was doing. When everyone else had gone home, I went on a walkabout to see if I could pluck a Carp off the surface. I was a little more successful with that approach and I had a couple of Mirror Carp out - one around 6lb and the other going 7lb 8oz.

The next week saw me off to the River Wye for a highly anticipated trip with Brian and Charlie. I'd booked up 2 different stretches - one on the upper river and the other down in the middle reaches.

Day 1 saw us above Hay-On-Wye and the plan was to seek out a Grayling, along with Dace and Chub. There was extra water on the river but it was pefectly fishable and the scenery was stunning.

Bites from the Dace came fairly quickly and I had a succesion of them around the 4oz size. The best I managed was a 5oz fish, which gave me a few extra points for the blogger's challenge.

The surprise of the day came in the form of a Bream, which seemed to take a liking for the fast, shallow water. At 6lb 1oz it gave me an extra bonus point too!

I also had a small Brown Trout of about 12oz, although Charlie had a much better sample that was nearer to 2lb.

With no Grayling to be had, we moved up to the faster water towards the end of the session and donned the waders for a bit of trotting.

That didn't work either and I then ended up sitting out the end of the session in the fastest section of all, which was equallly unproductive, but still pleasant on the eye.

Day 2 saw us above Hereford and in the middle of Barbel territory. With no Barbel on my challenge scorecard, I really needed to change that statistic. Otherwise, I'd have to tough it out back on the Avon, or venture further afield to territory I'm not familiar with.

The first swims we settled on did not produce and Charlie ventured up to the next field quite quickly. I stuck it out for a while longer, while Brian opted to sleep on it! Eventually we both made the move up to the next field and settled on an area I was more confident with.

Plenty of Dace were available to a maggot approach, so I hit on the idea of trying to catch a few in the hope of catching a clonker. All the time I was piling in my groundbait/pellet/hemp mix through the feeder, so I was getting a good bed of bait down for a Barbel attack later on. As it turned out, the Dace were of a fairly small stamp with nothing over 3oz. I then reverted back to the pellet approach and sat it out.

It turned into a tough old session and Brian eventually broke the pellet deadlock late in the day with a complete change of approach. He ignored the line he'd been feeding (just on the edge of a crease) for a gung ho chuck towards mid river, with a feeder full of groundbait and a PVA bag of pellets attached to the business end of the rig, With all the baggage on the line, the rod seemed to be creaking as he punched it out.

I have to admit to dismissing the approach, as my only venture into that area of the river earlier in the session resulted in me snagging the bottom and having to replace the hooklength. Bugger me, the next I knew he was into a fish! It wasn't exactly going mad though and we suspected Chub, which turned out to be right. It weighed in at 2lb 11oz.

That changed my way of thinking and I opted for a mid river chuck it and chance it approach. I had to keep one eye behind me though, as the cows (and bull!) were moving in and my rod bag that I'd left on the top of the bank needed rescuing.

Cows and bulls don't really bother me. Apart from having them eat my groundbait in the past, they've never caused me much harm. However, on this occasion I was a little edgy, as one of them was perched a little precariously directly behind me on a steep sloping bank and about 8 foot above my head. With a bull fairly close by I was half expecting the beast to go about his business and send an unsuspecting cow crashing down upon me. With some creative use of the landing net, I persuaded them to move to pastures new.

With an hour to go, I finally hooked into a fish and although I was hoping it was monster Chub, it became apparent that it was a Barbel. The fight was pretty uneventful and I netted a fish of 6lb 12oz. It took a long time to recover - far longer than any I'd caught previously. I honestly feared the worst for it at one point, but with a lot of patience it eventually kicked off into the current.

Charlie took the honours though with his only Barbel, which weighed in at 8lb 8oz.

In case anyone is wondering why a keepnet is shown in the background - it was only used to hold the fish briefly prior to weighing and photographing.

The trip didn't yield everything we'd hoped to catch and I'm beginning to learn that simply turning up to the Wye is no guarantee to catching lots of big fish. I'm learning more with every visit though. I'm also taking some comfort from some of the other reports I've read from the weekend, which suggest we weren't the only ones struggling. Extra water and debris pushing through the river seems to have caused others a few problems too.

As ever, it was a great experience and I'm sure I'll be heading back again next year. It's a magical place to explore whether you catch fish or not. The wildlife alone is a joy and the final memory is of us packing the gear into the van, while listening to an owl hooting away in the tree directly above us. It's a far cry from listening to sparrows squabbling over seed in my back garden!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Little ado and nothing happening either!

Time for another update - largely to let others know I am still struggling!

I had an unsuccesful afternoon session a couple of weeks ago with Brian on a stillwater near Wolvey. I don't know the name of it (and failed to ask either!) - but it's none of the mainstream venues I've visited over the years.

It wasn't a pleasant day weather wise, or noise wise. A small pool immediately behind us was being used by a group of dog handlers and about a dozen of their noisy mutts of the Newfoundland variety - those huge great things they use for rescuing people. It was a training day.

To be honest I don't think this bunch were up to much, but judging by their continual yapping, they were having a great time. I was talking about the owners there and not the dogs! The dogs were just barking their heads off the whole time.

We stuck it out and neither of us had anything to show beyond small fish. The only thing of interest was a goldfish!

I went away for a few days down the south coast with my better half. Although pleasant enough, there was a tinge of Jim Bowen's old Bullseye catchphrase niggling at me - "Look at what you could have won!"

For a couple of days we stayed near Christchurch and were pretty much equidistant from the Dorset Stour and the Hampshire Avon. Continually passing hallowed ground (river) like this and not being able to fish it, is just painful. I'll share a few pics of my trip though.

We saw a few of these cute looking creatures:

They are pretty good at making fish, mince and small chicks disappear quickly though!

This is the largest water lily I've ever seen by a country mile. Lurking in the water behind it is something you wouldn't want to hook up with though!

The final image is very appealing though. It's taken from a road bridge in the centre of Christchurch, looking down to where a tidal section of the Hampshire Avon runs into the harbour.

The punt is available for hire - which I didn't actually realise until I'd researched it. I recall having seen it on an old Go Fishing episode many years ago. Seems like a pleasant way to spend a day!

On my return I had a session with Brian and Charlie on the Avon at Alveston. We all struggled and the river was still suffering with weed and lack of flow. With Brian suffering more than most (he'd left his sandwiches in the fridge!), we opted to switch to Snitterfield Reservoir (via a sandwich stop!) for the afternoon/evening to see if we could find some points scoring fish for the challenge.

We failed though! Annoyingly I did hook up with a Crucian that looked well over a pound, but it slipped the hook just as it hit the surface. I had a pleasant few hours though catching silver fish.

My other session was on a South Warwickshire stillwater, which saw me catching plenty of Perch to no great size on a variety of baits. I even managed one on bread and several on meat, while trying to prize out a decent Roach or Crucian. Of the four fish I caught that weren't Perch, the best I managed was a Crucian bang on 1lb, which equals my best for the year.

I'd like to think the back part of the month will see an upturn in fortunes, but there doesn't appear to be much rain on the horizon in the forecasts I've looked at so far. I'm going to need a bumper October at this rate.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

End Of Month Catch Up

I've been a bit economical with my posts in recent times, but I have been out a few times during the back end of August. The lack of posts is largely down to a lack of things to crow about.

In all honesty I've hit a rare patch of despondency. Normally at this time of the year I can't get enough of my fishing, but this year I've become a bit subdued. The reason is largely down to a lack of the wet stuff falling from the skies. I'm a river man first and foremost and it's been painful to see the rivers in such poor looking states.

In terms of the blogger's challenge, I have some plans in place for some of the typical river species in a few week's time. I'm pinning my hopes of getting a vaguely respectable looking score on another Wye visit - Barbel, Chub, Grayling and Dace will be the target, with the possibility of a decent Eel maybe.

With that in mind, I've left the Avon alone recently on the basis that if the Wye is playing ball, I can hopefully nail all of my river targets in one weekend. I've therefore been looking at stillwaters to try and pick off some of the summer targets I've fallen short of.

I had another visit to Jubilee pools in search of Rudd, Roach or Carp. I found some of each, but nowhere near the required size. The only Carp I banked looked more like an old strain of Carp and was around 5lb. Poor photo - sorry.

I tried fishing floaters, but the only fish I tempted on that method was a Rudd of about half a pound.

The other sessions since then were all on Snitterfield Reservoir, with Crucians and Roach in mind. The first two attempts were very similar affairs and the fishing was fantastic. I didn't use a keepnet, but I'm confident that I had 20-25lb of fish on each visit, made up mainly of Bream. No Crucians though.

On both visits i was left frustrated by some of the larger Carp. At one stage I had 2 decent looking fish feeding right under my rod tip together, but I just couldn't fool them into taking my bait.

A third visit saw me hooking up with Brian after almost a 2 month absence and things were slightly slower this time. I still had a bag of fish that was in low to mid double figures, but once again the Crucians were absent for me.

All in all, not the most succesful couple of weeks towards challenge points, but certainly at Snitterfield the fishing was very pleasant. It's as good as I've ever seen it and anyone wanting a pleasant day fishing for quality silvers need look no further.

It was so tranquil that Brian once again entered the land of nod! :

Monday, 15 August 2011

Somerset 2011

Last week saw me down in Somerset for a family holiday. I managed to squeeze in 4 shortish sessions around family duties, although none of them were particularly succesful. I did manage to winkle out a couple of my target species (subject to scrutiny!), but neither of them are much to write home about - but I will anyway.

The first session saw me on the River Brue. This stretch is a standing dish for me on the Sunday of any Somerset break, as it's always quiet and you can practically fish from out of your car. At £2 a day it's a steal and on this occasion the farmer failed to show so it was a freebie.

The fishing was unusually tricky and the Silver Bream I was hoping to find didn't show up. Another species I was hoping to catch at some point during the break did show up though - Eels. I had a couple of them, with the best one weighed in at 14oz.

The second session was on the River Axe on a wide, deep, man made section just above a now defunct sluice gate.

I had plenty of fish over the first couple of hours, but nothing above half a pound. Lots of different species though, with 7 in total, so it made for a bit of variety. The last couple of hours were very slow though. I saw a Pike top in the middle of my swim and quickly engaged the telescopic rod I keep in the bag for these opportune moments. I ran some lures through but the Pike wasn't having any of it.

The next session was on the River Tone. I diverted away from my intended stgretch due to a brisk wind that would have made presentation that bit more difficult on an exposed section. I consulted the map and drove to an idyllic and more sheltered piece of the river in a village further upstream. I could also park on my peg again, which was a bonus. My scout was on hand to check it out for me - Murphy the springer spaniel. He's now 13 years old, but going on 13 months old at times and it didn't take long for him to hurl himself into the swim.

The fishing was pretty poor though and I will blame it on the river this time. It was very clear and weedy, making life altogether difficult - memories of recent struggles on the upper Avon were fresh in my mind! I did winkle out some small fish, but I was taken in by a big Pike that I saw leaping clear of the surface on 3 separate occasions. The telescopic lure kit was soon in action, but I couldn't tempt it. I did briefly connect with a nice Perch though, but it slipped off the hook shortly after the take.

The last session was on the King's Sedgemoor Drain. Yet again, I managed to find another spot to fish from the car. This was a fish a chuck session, but only for small fish.

I did catch what I thought was a very small Silver Bream quite early on, so I was quite happy to go for volumes to see if others were around - and I do believe I got one. At 4oz I know it's still very small, but it's a few more points to my challenge tally if it's the genuine article. It seems to stack up in terms of the eye size and scale counts, but I'll leave it to Dr Hatt to give a final verdict.

Not the most productive holiday fishing I've ever had, but it's always nice to fish on the Somerset levels. There's miles and miles of natural waters with excellent bank access and hardly another angler in sight for the most part. As it's the place where I first caught a fish some 30 odd years ago, it always brings back fond memories.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

July Update

I've had a couple of short sessions in the past week. The first one took me to Jubilee Pools, where I decided on the Horseshoe Pool.

I decided to hedge my bets, using two straight lead set ups - one for a maggot/corn approach and the other with pellet. The Perch took a liking to the maggots and they began to do my head in. I did manage a skimmer amongst them though, as well as a more mature Bream of about 4lb. No photo of it though, as it performed a backflip out of my net, shedding the hook in the process!

As I moved into the last hour of the session I started to see ever increasing volumes of bubbles appearing over the area I'd baited up at the start of the session. It felt like something better was around the corner and I was constantly getting line bites. When the bobbin shot up and stayed firmly in place on the pellet rig, I thought my moment had come. The resistance wasn't quite as hard as I'd hoped for though.

After a brief "battle" I landed a Roach which was bang on 1lb. It had taken a hair rigged 12mm pellet on a size 12 to 8lb bottom - a classic Roach set up!

My other session was on College Pool, which was more by accident than design. I had planned to target Coombe Pool, but when push came to shove, I aborted that idea.

Initially I gave College Pool similar treatment to the approach used at Jubilee. The Perch were an even bigger menace though and almost without exception, whenever a maggot was used on the hook, a Perch was there to snaffle it. The shoals of Perch were vast and whenever I threw in a few maggots, hoardes of fish appeared out of nowhere, competing in a frenzy to get there share of the food.

As a result, I quickly banished the maggots in favour of bread flake, while the other rod had a pellet set up. Apart from foulhooking a Bream of about 4lb, nothing really happened on the straight lead set ups. I'd spotted the odd Carp at the end of the pool, so a quick conversion of the pellet rod, saw me trying to fool a Carp with floating bread. I'm not a lover of Carp fishing and it's something I rarely bother to attempt. Stalking fish with floating bread is something I can make an exception for though - I just love the thrill of watching the take.

The first cast wasn't quite as accurate as I'd hoped for, but a little drift with the wind helped the bait into the right area. Up popped a pair of lips, the bait disappeared and then all hell broke loose. As anyone who's fished the pool knows, the Carp in there aren't massive but they do seem to pack one hell of a punch. Fortunately, I gave it sufficient stick after the initial take to clear it from the snags and then it was just a case of being patient. I eventually won the day and banked my best Carp so far from this pool of 10lb 15oz.
The Carp have really done well for themselves since being stocked in there a few years go at around 3lbs. I managed a further one on similar tactics towards the end of the session. I didn't weigh or photo that one, but it was in the 6-7lb stamp.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Back on the bank...briefly

I haven't had much to report recently. A fortnight ago I suffered a poor session on the Avon with Brian and last week I accompanied my better half to Silverstone for the Grand Prix. Needless to say I was itching to get fishing again and I sniffed a chance to end the working week at Friday lunchtime for once.

I only had a few hours to play with and after tossing a few thoughts around in my head, I opted for a very lightly fished, slightly mysterious stillwater. The idea was simply to remember what catching fish felt like again and to have a relaxed afternoon, making the most of the glorious weather. I'd seen the weather forecast and it seemed that any further weekend adventures would be somewhat wetter and windier.

The fish obliged in numbers - as they always do on this pool once they realise some bait is going in. Nothing big showed up, but I had a mix of Rudd, Crucians and lots of Perch (of which quite a few were on corn!). The best of the bunch were:

The Perch and the Crucian were bang on 1lb, while the Rudd tipped the scales a smidgeon further to 1lb 1oz - a personal best.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

Since my last post I've managed 6 sessions. Being honest, I've turned up for 6 sessions and the fish have largely had a ball at my expense. At a time of the year when I was expecting a bit of a bonanza, it's been the total opposite.

The first session on an untapped stillwater threw up plenty of fish though, but to no great size. It was a pleasant session though and the Crucians decided to show up. The half a dozen I caught were of a similar stamp, but I only weighed the first one, which went exactly 1lb. Aside from that I had plenty of Perch to a shade over 1lb, along with some Rudd and Roach. This was about as good as it got all week!

The second session on a Hinckley stillwater threw up a fair number of small fish, but nothing over 6oz. It's a water that probably needs a bolder approach than I gave it, but as a first session it's given me a better idea of what to expect next time.

The third effort saw me back on the Avon at Alveston for a short session. I had a real shocker this time on a peg I am confident with. The problem is that I hadn't tackled it in the summer before and the bottom weed was worse than I'd imagined. Memories of early season sessions from last season on other pegs, sprung to mind. The whole stretch seems to suffer badly with weed and I need to do some more groundwork. I had a few Perch up to 12oz when I changed to a trotting approach, but it wasn't a wasted day, as I spent a fair bit of time bank clearing to open up some pegs on the faster water upstream.

Part four saw me back on the same stretch of river the following day in the faster water. I had a pleasant couple of hours trotting a stick float and catching mainly Dace, with a few Roach, Perch and Chublets thrown in. When the bites dried up I switched to the lead and found weed again! I concocted a rig to get the bait above the weed and winkled some more bits out. Eventually it became hard work, so for the last hour I nipped back to peg 5 where I'd had a Carp the previous week. I'd dropped a bit of feed in earlier in the day and was hoping something big might show up. I was wrong of course, but I had a fun hour catching more Dace, Perch, Roach and Chublets on the float.

Next up was the one I'd been waiting for - the River Wye. It turned out to be a total disaster for me as I blanked. I did briefly make contact with a fish, but the hook pulled. I have no idea what went wrong on the day and it wasn't down to a lack of effort, planning or mobility. I can't really blame the conditions either - the river was rising, but not exactly at an alarming rate. Having achieved the magic ton on this river (different stretch) last year with similar tactics, I left very puzzled.

Still, it was a lovely place to be and blanking is a lot less painful in such inspiring surroundings. I was with Brian for this trip and he wasn't having much luck either.

The final move of the day just before the heavens opened, proved to be the crucial one, as it resulted in Brian connecting with a fish.

After a fair old scrap, he won the day and banked himself a personal best Barbel of 7lb 3oz. Well done that man!

Then it was back to the camp site to spend what was left of the evening trying to cook food and have a beer under a couple of fishing umbrellas, while it totally pissed it down with rain. The joys of angling!

The less said about the next day the better. Double blank for both us on the River Lugg. Again, I was left scratching my head, as the river looked good and I was totally confident with the swims I tried.

I now have a few days to contemplate my failings before tackling the Avon again.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Glorious 16th

I've been a bit quiet with my fishing recently, but I've been busy behind the scenes making plans and giving my tackle a much needed tidy up. However, June 16th saw me kick off a hectic 10 day spell which sees me spending more days on the bank than off it.

I only had a short morning session to play with and it also had to be worked around a 7-45am drop off at Coventry station. Still, 3-4 hours of fishing time was worth the effort and I knew the Alveston Club section (which I've rejoined again), would be fairly quiet.

The pegs in the area I usally head for were occupied, but I had the choice of pegs 1-7, so I settled on peg 5 which is feature packed peg I've managed to overlook in the past. There's a fair depth close in, with plenty of lily pads and an overhanging bush. There's no flow on the inside, but it moves at a steady pace down the middle and there's the bonus of a far bank tree along with more lily pads.

I caught a few small fish quickly on the inside using a home made stickfloat and centre pin set up. Bites dried up quickly though and I needed a rethink. I fed in some groundbait on 2 lines and set up a straight lead rig. After a barren half hour mid river on the lead, I noticed that the inside line I'd baited up beyond the pads, was bubbling away like a witches cauldron. I switched the lead to the inside line, but nothing seemed interested.

I decided to change the presentation and within a minute I'd hooked something that felt quite decent and bolted off into mid river. I was cursing at this point, as the straight lead rod I had just discarded had a slightly beefier set up. Instead I was now left to play a hard fighting fish on a lightish hooklength in a snaggy swim with a size 17 hook. The fish was a strong favourite to win this battle.

With a dose of luck, a bit of skill (?!) and a lot of patience, I won the battle and netted one of the resident Carp - a Common of 6lb 6oz. A rather ordinary fish in Carp terms, but only my second ever from a river, so I was more than happy with it.

I had a few Perch up to about 12oz to round off a short but pleasant morning.