Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Careful What You Wish For

Last time out I was hoping for something to change with our weather. A switch to something altogether colder or a dose of rain were my wishes. It was the latter that won out in the end, but it wasn't so much a dose of rain, but a complete deluge.

Yesterday things were actually OK with the river, but the stormy conditions saw me crying off and giving our bathroom a bit of a refresh. I checked the EA river levels site towards the end of the day and knew it was a forlorn hope.

Today I had a few hours to spare between a train station drop off and pick up and I just had to head off somewhere. I ended up on a lake and narrowly avoided a blank thanks to a single roach. I had deadbaits out for the pike but they failed to show in the cold and heavily coloured water.

It was far from ideal, but I was just happy to get out and wet a line. I packed in early and took in a few sights on my way back. I don't tend to see the Avon in flood all that much so I took the chance to see how my regular haunt was coping.

A case of the sign stating the bleeding obvious on this occasion!

The view from high above:

The tree directly above the life buoy (centre) represents where the near side bank normally is. All landing stages are well under water so it will be interesting to see how they cope. It's the first good test they've had since I refurbished them earlier in the year, so I'm crossing my fingers that they've held out.

The view at Wasperton:

And at Fulbrook:

I don't fancy my chances of getting on the river again this year now. We have a couple of quiet days as we head into the bank holidays, but more rain is on the horizon. I have some other plans on the cards also, so the fishing might have to wait.

I had a quick look in at College Pool on my travels and that has also taken a bit of water on again. It's not flooded though and it might well be my next port of call if I do get out again this year. I won't be bursting a gut to get out if the conditions stay like they are though.

Most importantly though, I hope everyone has a great Christmas. Here's hoping that a few fish related gifts find their way to us all...

Monday, 16 December 2013


I don't like moaning when the weather is unseasonably mild, but the recent conditions seem to be all very nothingy. The weather has been mild, the river is low and clear and it's neither here nor there. I find myself wishing for a deluge of rain to give the river some colour, or for it to go much, much colder.

The fishing this week was a bit muddled too. I took maggots, worms and bread to try to tempt out something other than pike, but I threw in a few deadbaits just in case and extracted two jacks before I'd even set up the quiver tip! They were moved 50 yards upstream to hopefully improve the silver fish odds.

Two more jacks followed pretty quickly and were also relocated, but that was it for the pike. The silver fish didn't play ball though. Just a few dace and a solitary roach and gudgeon to show for my endeavours. Worms went unnoticed by the perch. Chub didn't fancy the bread.

I was joined by Brian for the first time this season and he suffered similar results. He had mostly dace and a couple of pike, including the best of the day at bang on 9lb.

As I write this, I can see the river has received a bit of extra water already. The forecast also seems to suggest a fair amount of rain around Friday, so it will hopefully freshen things up by the time I next hit the river. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Predator City

I didn't manage to wet a line last week. I was hoping to sneak in a short session but there were too many other jobs to attend to at home and the fishing had to be shelved.

This week I was back on the river and quite surprised to see how quickly the temperatures had picked up - a mild 7C when I left home just before 7am. Earlier in the week the forecast on my phone was suggesting it might be as low as -2C for Friday night. I love the cold crisp winter days and I was really looking forward to it, but it was a totally different prospect come the day - not that I'm moaning though!

Tactics were the same as my previous effort. Groundbait was introduced into 3 swims and I started off in the one furthest upstream. I was geared up for pike fishing, but I also had a spare road and a loaf of bread so that I could switch to other species if I fancied a change.

The starting peg was a little restricted for space both on the bank and in the water, so it's a single rod job. I had the usual mix of deadbaits to hand - smelt, lamprey, roach and sardine. First cast brought a jack and another followed within half an hour. Things were looking promising.

Two fish is usually enough to signal a move for me, so I hopped across to my second peg which I drew a blank from on my previous visit. I didn't suffer the same fate this time though and my first encounter was something I'll probably never do again as long as I live.

Another jack had taken the bait and was routinely on its way into the net when all hell broke loose. As I went to net it, a larger pike with eyes bigger than belly lunged towards it and just swam into the back of the net. It all happened in a split second and I was left gobsmacked.

I put the bonus fish on the scales and it went 14lb 6oz.

The thrashing around in the net caused by the fish had left my trace in a right mess and I had to retackle. I put the other rod out while I was retackling but I wasn't expecting much to happen. I was totally wrong though and it took barely a minute for the float to dip away again. This time it was a big and all too familiar fish - the same twenty I had from a different peg a couple of weeks ago.

This time it weighed in over half a pound heavier at 21lb 15oz, so it's clearly doing well for itself. Despite being a pb, it's not a capture that fills me with joy though, as I'd rather not get a repeat in such a reasonably short space of time. I'll move my pike fishing on to other areas from now on.

Five pike in a session was a record for me and it was still only 10-30am. I started to wonder how many I could get, given that I still had my banker swim still to go. I thought 10 could be in with a chance. Things slowed down, but I managed a further jack before moving off to my final swim.

I only had one sardine with me - a big old bait that had been marinated with an enhancer before freezing. This was meant for a big fish in my own mind, but as I've often found with pike, the size of the bait is no guarantee. And it was the case again. I don't think the sardine even touched bottom before it was intercepted by one of the smallest fish of the day.

Two other fish took me up to 9 and I still had an hour to go. Bait was running out though and I was down to my last proper deadbait - a lamprey section and just a few old scraps that I was using on a single hook rig. Nothing was happening and with 15 minutes to go I tried one other peg for a last gasp attempt. It failed so I returned to pack up but gave it one last fling. I cast out to a part of the swim I hadn't tried yet with the lamprey and within seconds the float was away. One last jack graced my net to take me up to the magic 10, although I'm being slightly cheeky by counting the flukey bonus fish in that.

I can't be certain if the groundbait approach is anything to do with the improved results, but I'm liking the idea right now. There's a huge amount of silver fish in the area at this time of year so if I can help to pull some of them into small areas close to the margins where the pike will sit, then it's worth a go. Maybe the weather was the key though, or was it the bait enhancer, or just total luck? We'll never know, but for now I'm confident in my approach and that goes a long way.

One thing that did bring a few extra takes was twitching the bait from time to time. All fish were caught on floatfished deadbait, but quite often the static bait didn't appear to work. Just twitching the bait back a bit from time to time, helped to induce some of the takes with pretty quick results. It's something I'm learning more and more. Don't just sit on a static bait if nothing is happening - make something happen.

With a mild week forecast I think I'll put the pike gear away and go back to other species next time. I still have to catch a bream from the river this season and the big perch might get some attention again. Could be a bad week for worms!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Faith Repaid

A week is a long time in politics so they say, but it's also a long time when you're stuck at work itching to get down the river! This week saw me having to wait until Sunday to wet a line, as I had various things to sort out beforehand. I even had to give my Saturday night fill of ale a miss, as I wanted to get some jobs finished off. Sunday was going to be for fishing only.

All week I've been tossing bait ideas around in my mind, particularly with perch in mind. The fruit of my thoughts saw me marinating some prawns in the worm oil I've recently been using - the result being some very brightly coloured and heavily scented king prawns! I also topped up my deadbait stock from the tackle shop and included some tiny bream that I hoped the perch might take a liking to. A few Sardines were also acquired from Morrisons - they also got the worm oil treatment prior to freezing. Add to that a few roach and some smelt and I had a bit of variety.

The last part of the equation was a healthy bucket of groundbait / liquidised bread, loaded with the left over maggots from last week and with a healthy dollop of liquid mollasses. The plan was to use the groundbait to draw in the prey fish across a couple of swims.

The weather wasn't anywhere near as cold as it had been in recent mornings - it was 4C when I set off at 6-50am. The river was in excellent shape and was holding a nice colour. Fish were topping on my arrival, which is always a welcome sign. The groundbait went in as planned and I set about settling into my first peg.

It wasn't a quick start by any means and the first hour drew a blank. Well, when I say a blank, I did hook into one fish (a jack) which saw the hooks failing to stay in place. A move to my other baited peg didn't go to plan either - another lost jack and another hour gone. Back to the original peg and I finally put a jack on the bank, courtesy of a smelt deadbait.

I like to keep mobile when I'm pike fishing and with no-one else on the river, it's not really a problem to keep hopping between swims. My next move saw me fish a swim that I hadn't baited up, but I wasn't exactly bagging up so I gave it a shot. I often give it a miss as it's a bit tight for fishing two rods.

I had a take after about 5 minutes on my lone rod and it was a much better fish - a low double for sure. I battled with it for a while until that horrible moment when you see the bait rise up through the water and the fish slips away. With three fish lost and just one jack banked, the air was starting to turn blue!

I persisted in the same swim and reached for the big gun - well a big chunk of sardine. I increased my fish count with it, but only another jack of around 5lb.

Time to move again and a complete blank on my next stop off saw me heading into last chance saloon for a third and final crack at my original starting peg. For the first time all day I had a couple of decent bites where I struck and felt absolutely nothing. Maybe it was perch or something else messing with the bait, so with that in mind I scaled down my my other rig (a single hook rig) with a smaller bait, while continuing with a roach on the other one.

The next take on the roach was another typical bite, but the result was quite different. The fish stayed low and it felt very powerful. As luck would have it, I've just this week scaled up my pike tackle to a couple of new 10ft rods with a bit of backbone - a lot more beefy than the telescopic rods I've often used in the past for convenience.

The fish eventually surfaced and it looked big. The first attempt to land it saw it half in the net, before it powered off. The second attempt ended up the same and by now my heart was in my mouth because I knew I was staring at a personal best. Surely this one wouldn't give me the slip too? Attempt three didn't look like it was going to work either but somehow I got it into the net and I just sunk to my knees on the landing stage, staring down at the net.

If anyone had seen me at that moment they would probably have assumed I was about to end it all by chucking myself in the river, but far from it. I've never been so relieved to see a fish go into a net. I gave it a couple of minutes rest while I arranged my unhooking gear and camera. It was only when I lifted it clear of the water that I realised just how big it was. It had a fair old belly on it.

I reached for the back up scales because it seemed obvious that my 20lb digital set would be short of the mark. As suspected, they bottomed out, so it was over to the 30lb dial set. The final weight I settled for was 21lb 5oz - a personal best by well over 5lbs.

A shot on the mat (which in 38 inches long) shows off its portly belly.

I didn't bother with any more fishing after that. I was more than happy just to sit and drink another coffee, reflecting on the mission accomplished. I've persevered with river piking after giving it a proper go for the first time around 4 years ago. Prior to that I'd dabbled with lures in the summer months whenever I got pestered with pike, but it was only when a friend (Brian) decided to try piking with deadbaits, that I showed some real interest.

Our first attempt saw him catch a couple of fish of 7lb and 9lb, while I blanked. It opened my eyes though and it's one of the best decisions I made. Pike fishing has totally grabbed me since that first outing and it's fast become my favourite branch of the sport. An Avon twenty is the icing on the cake for me.

Next week might see me having an enforced lay off, but there's a half chance I'll get out for a short session on a more local water. If it happens, I'll be totally out of my comfort zone chasing zander for a change. It's a species I've shown no real interest in before and have rarely caught. That means more research required again this week, but I know there's plenty been written about zeds by local bloggers, so I'll use their wisdom to educate me.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Predator Time

I'll begin by clearing up what's happened in the previous couple of weeks. A couple of weeks ago I had to forego any fishing due to a weekend spent wrestling with my central heating system. My routine maintenance didn't quite go as smoothly as I'd hoped and it meant that my bait would have to fester in the fridge for another week.

Last week I decided to give the river a miss and headed for an exploratory session on an estate lake. The exploration side of things was pike related and I popped out a deadbait in the margins while I plundered roach, perch and hybrids on the float. Plenty of action from the silver fish - pretty much a fish a chuck but nothing of any size. Not a sniff from the pike all session though. I'll return over the winter for another crack whenever the river is out of sorts.

This week saw me back on the Avon and it's a session that I'd really been looking forward to all week. I knew from early in the week that the weather was going to settle down nicely and coupled with that, the river was also set to fine down nicely. Throw in the fact that I hadn't been on the river for 3 weeks and I was really eager to wet a line.

I turned up with a full quota of gear to cover all angles, as I really had no fixed game plan. I walked up to the middle of stretch and very nearly plumped for another crack at the bream on the feeder, but then I remembered cursing myself after my last visit for not trying one of the downstream pegs. I wandered back downstream and settled on a peg with a decent flow down the middle, but with a nice inside slack that was 8ft deep.

The river was a few inches up, nicely coloured and pretty much bang on what I wanted to find. I popped in a few balls of breadmash mixed with a small amount of groundbait and casters. A couple of baitdroppers full of red maggots were also lowered into place just a rod length out.

I kicked off with a float and centre pin approach. The Maver Powerlite was the order of the day with its 2ft extension taking it up to 17ft. It's a rod I've grown to like over the years and on the river I find it gives me more control than I get from my shorter rods. The float was a home made avon that I'd knocked up from a quill and balsa during the week. The starter baits were maggots and casters on a Kamasan size 15.

Roach and Dace arrived quickly, but all were small. I fired in some extra groundbait and got the first indication that predators were around. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash through the water from what looked like a decent perch. I couldn't resist grabbing my deadbait rod and giving it a go. It was also an excuse to free up my hands for a bit, as I needed to set up a leger rig for later on.

It didn't take long to get some action. The float trembled a little, then just slid quickly away. I struck and thought it was a jack pike, but I was surprised to see my 2oz roach had been scoffed by a perch - my first ever on a deadbait. I'd never considered trying for them on deadbaits before and it has really opened my eyes. I'll be looking at refining my approach from now on to see if I can snare one of the bigger ones that patrol this stretch. This one went 2lb 4oz.

To show the size of bait these fish are happy to tackle, I took a picture of it with a deadbait similar to the one I used.

Although I did have some further periods spent on the float and the leger, I concentrated mainly on the predators. I caught 4 pike from the same swim on smelt covered in a bright red worm oil. I've mentioned this before and I have no idea if the oil makes any difference, but it's giving me confidence right now, so I'll stick with it.

All of the pike were jacks - the best perhaps about 5lb. I also trialled a single hook rig and it seemed to go well. I did lose a couple of fish, but I've lost plenty of fish with trebles before, so I'm happy with the initial results. Sadly I ran out of deadbaits with an hour or so to go, so I had to revert back to other tactics.

I had one other perch, but not on deadbait - a bunch of maggots for this one which went 1lb 14oz.

It was a really enjoyable session and as is often the case, I had the river to myself. Temperatures are set to drop a bit this week and we might even have the first glimpse of the white stuff - but only a token gesture if reports are to believed. Hopefully the river will remain in decent nick for next weekend and I'll set about tackling the predators again. I'm already working on some new ideas for the perch and a few things are starting to sprout. I'll do some more research and we'll have to see where it takes me...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Calm Before Storm

More river action this week and for the first time in a long while I was greeted with perfect conditions for my intended quarry. Bream have eluded me this year on the river but this time everything seemed stacked in my favour with the river carrying a few inches of extra water, nicely coloured and temperatures on the mild side.

The club stretch I was fishing benefits from being very sheltered when the mild south westerly winds are howling through. Across the river in the distance I could see trees being bashed around, while I sat in a little oasis of tranquility.

I had a good few hours in hand so I gave it the full baiting treatment. Several balls of groundbait laced with casters and some mollasses were plopped into a 10ft deep swim that has thrown up decent bream in the past. I was confident they would show, but it proved to be totally misplaced as I drew a total blank with them yet again.

The coloured water is good for most species and the roach that are often very hard to find to were very obliging. I caught a good number of nice quality fish with the best one falling to a lobworm and just failing to reach the pound barrier at 15oz.

Dace were one a chuck to maggot, but the lobworm sorted out the better fish. The best fish to worm was a perch that went 1lb 9oz, but I managed to make a balls up of the photo. I was trying to be clever with a different angle close to the water and the fish made good its escape.

Despite plenty of fish being caught, I didn't get anything chomped by a pike. I did have one watching me very closely though and it stayed in place for a good part of the session just beneath the landing stage.

One downside to the day was when I was packing up and I heard a splash behind me. I assumed it was a pike, but I was faced with a cormorant. Then another one appeared out of the water. They saw me and flew off upstream. I've never seen any before on this stretch and I'd like to think I won't again. It's currently stuffed with fish though, so I think it's wishful thinking.

With a storm brewing and talk of possible flooding we'll have to see what damage it does to next week's prospects. Hopefully things will settle down by next weekend and I can have another crack at putting my bream hoodoo to bed.

Saturday, 19 October 2013


I was itching to get on the river this week when I saw the weather forecast. The problem was what to fish for!  As it turned out I had some other commitments from midday, so it was going to be a short and sweet morning session. That ruled out a crack at the bream, as I 'd prefer a longer session when targetting them. I settled on perch and pike.

I'd already got pike rods ready to go, so I picked out one of those. The other rig would be a light bomb on a short 8ft quiver tip set up. The short rod was perfect for fishing just beyond the platform I  intended to fish and where I know the perch (and pike) often hang out.

I was on the bank for 7am, struggling to see what I was doing through the gloom, but basking in the double figure temperature. Was it really mid October?! I popped out a deadbait a little upstream and initially ignored my plans and spent 45 minutes catching dace, roach and chub on the bomb rig slightly downstream. All the time I was also feeding the swim directly in front of the platform, but biding my time. Initially the maggot approach had been slow, but after 10 minutes the fish switched on and it was one a chuck - nothing of any size though.

I then plopped the maggots down in the platform swim and got an instant take. Then a whooosshh, as a pike propelled itself from beneath my platform and towards my fish. Luckily for the dace I reacted quickly and it was lifted to hand. Clearly the predators were present, so I moved the deadbait across and switched to a lobworm slightly downstream.

The worm didn't really yield a lot on this occasion though - the best being a perch perhaps a shade over a pound. The static deadbait rod wasn't working, so I ditched the float and tried wobbling the bait around the swim - again no takers. I then went for legering and it did the trick. I had a take that resulted in a lost fish, but half an hour later I managed to stay connected to my first pike of the season, which fell to a smelt enhanced with some red coloured liquid worm flavouring. I have no idea if the enhancer helps, but I think it makes the bait stand out nicely. It wasn't a huge fish by any means, but at 7lb 6oz it gets the pike season moving for me.

If the weather and river both stay half decent and I get the chance of some longer sessions, I'll probably put the pike on hold for a while. I really want to give the bream and perch some serious attention for hopefully another month, to see if I can crack a couple of personal bests.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Welcome Autumn

Summer is now consigned to history I don't think it will be lingering long in my memory from a fishing perspective. The same applies to the Spring before it!

I haven't done a huge amount of fishing since my last post, but I did sneak a few short sessions in while I was on a family break in Somerset. I took in most of the usual haunts on the Rivers Axe, Huntspill and Tone on 3 different club day tickets.

The Axe (at Bleadon) was miserly, but the Tone (at Ham) and the Huntspill (at Gold Corner) were full of fish. The landing net stayed pretty dry though, with just plenty of small silver fish on offer. I was accompanied by a new fishing partner, Luke (daft name for a dog if you ask me, but he's not my dog so what do I care!).

He was totally fascinated by the whole fishing experience and seemed to be happy just staring at the water, with the occasional excitable look when a fish was swung to hand. Unlike many dogs, this one seems to dislike water, which is a bit of a bonus when you want to do some fishing. His predecessor spent more time in the river than out of it!

A dog rest!
I had a couple of Pike sessions on the Avon in early September - I'd got fed up of the poor fishing and decided on an earlier than normal dabble. It was pretty hopeless though and two sessions threw up just one bite, which resulted in a small jack slipping the hook.

I then got away from the fishing for a couple of weekends courtesy of a Western Mediterranean break. Just before I left, a friend had informed me that the river was now fishing well and he had his eyes on big perch. He was claiming to have seen one of 4lb+ at the end of his keepnet. Optimistic thoughts perhaps, but he's had them to 3lb 5oz from the same stretch and there's certainly enough prey fish in the river for the perch to grow fat on.

Today saw my first session back on the river for 3 weeks and I was itching to have a bash at the perch, with the aim of breaking through the 3lb barrier some time this Autumn. The day before I'd dug up part of the garden to accommodate some broccoli that I'm going to over-winter. It was a good excuse to collect a few lobworms, instead of raiding the compost bin.

The weather was beautifully mild (19C when I called it a day), but the river was still as low and clear as ever. There was a big difference though. Fish that has previously kept their heads down during much of the daylight hours, were now topping everywhere. It was a fish fish a chuck on maggot tactics, with mostly dace showing, but with the odd roach and chub thrown in.

Peering just beyond the platform I started to see some darker profiles moving through the clear water. First a small pike of maybe 5-6lbs, followed by a decent perch. The pair of them kept sweeping through the swim (at the end of my rod), almost as if they were intent on teasing me. I tried a soft small rubber lure to start with, but that didn't succeed so I switched to a lobworm. After much trying I eventually got a take, but that resulted in half a worm coming back and no fish. I quickly dropped it back in and got an instant take - but only from an 8oz perch. I'd wasted too much time by now.

I didn't have a big supply of worms, so introducing chopped worm wasn't an option. In a bid to liven things up I put in a few balls of groundbait at the end of my rod. The idea was to draw in the small fish to a tight area and hope that the perch would be watching and waiting. I rested the swim for a while and went back to trotting for roach and dace on maggot, bread and corn for a while.

When I could see that the groundbait had drawn in the small fish, I switched to a legered lobworm on a light rig (my Shakey Wand was out of retirement!). First drop in over the bait and the tip pulled down hard and stayed put. I struck and could see that I'd got a nice perch on. I took it gently and it popped into the net. It was my best river perch at 2lb 8oz.

I persevered with the remainder of my worm supply, but didn't manage anything else of size. Just a few more perch up to 8oz and several greedy dace.

Hopefully I'll now settle into a more regular fishing (and blogging) routine for the rest of the season and things will improve from here onwards.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Thank Heavens For Rain!

Time for a long overdue catch up, but don't expect to hear tales of great success. I've suffered one hell of a lean spell since the season started. In all honesty I haven't spent that much time on the bank due to various events I've attended, most of which involved a few beers and ruled out fishing the next day for obvious reasons!

Springsteen at the Ricoh
A meeting with former Pakistani cricket star and pie eating champion Inzamam-Ul-Haq
The time I have spent fishing has all too often been short sessions at the wrong time of day. I probably haven't done myself any favours by stubbornly sticking with tactics and venues that were all wrong in the conditions - a fatal combination of blind hope, lethargy and ineptude on my part. I'm blaming it on the heat!

The Ashes has been a pleasant distraction though and I've got my stall set out properly when I combine cricket and fishing. I've found that my DAB pocket radio which can sometimes struggle to retain reception, works a treat when secured to an extendable bankstick:

The Avon has yielded precious little for me. I really want to bag myself a decent Bream from there this year, but things haven't fallen into place yet. The water has been far too low and clear, coupled with bright days.

I had a bit of fun with a rather dumb Pike during the latter part of a session. It attacked my feeder and managed to grab the hookbait, duly biting it off after a brief tussle. I reached for the telescopic rod that I keep on standby for these moments. First run through with a plug and the Pike showed itself again. Time after time it appeared to show interest but it wouldn't take the moving plug.

I slowed the plug down and eventually ground it to a halt at the end of my 8ft rod - static plug fishing! The Pike got closer and closer until its nose was practically touching the plug. The stalemate ended with the Pike snapping wildly at the plug, followed by me yanking the plug into thin air!

Pike centre, plug top centre
One more failed attempt was followed by success though - again with the plug absolutely static.


I had a couple of sessions on the River Wye also, but that was in blistering heat. The river was very low, clear and canoes were out in force on one of the days. Being on the bank very early and/or very late was imperative, but as often happens on these weekends a few beers turns into a gallon+ and bang goes the fishing. Just one Barbel to my name and a small one at that:

I've never seen so many swans either. At one point a continuous run of 43 came through the swim!

During the slow hours on the second day, I heard some loud snoring. I looked across at the next peg and assumed it was Brian, as it's par for the course for him. He'd heard the same noise though and just assumed it was me! After all we were the only ones fishing in that area. Eventually Brian realised that I was actually awake and went investigating. Behind his van (which he'd conveniently located behind his peg to act as a wind break), he found the answer:

Charlie doing some Chub fishing!
As I write this, the heavens have opened for the second time in a few days. The downpour in my part of the city was very intense and should see a good drop of water going into the river. It's currently a few inches up anyway, but will likely be more like 2ft up on the stretch I usually fish within 24 hours.

I'm already sensing a renewed optimism for the weekend ahead and fingers crossed I'll be fishing a river with a tinge of colour and a ravenous shoal of Bream or Roach in front of me! Hopefully the season will kick off from here...

If not, I'll just sit tight, admit defeat, enjoy us bashing the Aussies at cricket and wait for the Pike season! I'm certainly not waiting for the football season - being a Coventry City follower, it's over before the season begins this time!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Keeping Busy in Anticipation

I've remained quiet on the blogging front for the past month. In that time I only managed a brief afternoon session at Snitterfield Reservoir which didn't yield a great deal.

I haven't abandoned my fishing altogether though - I've been turning my hand to bank duties down on the river for the Alveston Village Association Angling Club (AVAAC) that I'm on the committee of.  Last year's floods had all but wiped out the ageing pegs and I wanted to rebuild things as far as possible. Around 30 hours of toil later and I've managed to rebuild the pegs I set out to restore this year. I have more plans for next year, but there's the small matter of doing plenty of fishing before then!

If anyone is interested in some quality fishing on the River Avon just above Stratford, season tickets are available for AVAAC at £20. There's a link to their Facebook page on this blog. The contact details can be found through that page. Mark Pitcher is the secretary and he issues the tickets. All of the usual Avon species are present and the section is boat free, apart from the very occasional canoe. Access is good and there are no stiles or gates to negotiate. There are no matches, which means that the water is available every day of the season for pleasure fishing.

After a quiet May, I'm eagerly anticipting what lies ahead in June/July, with plenty of things to look forward to. It kicks of this week with something not fish related. My brother (Kev) has a TV date this Thursday evening on Sky Sports in the UK Open Darts. He's what you'd class as a semi professional player and having qualified for the event through the PDC pro tour, he's landed himself the plum opening draw of current world champion Phil "The Power" Taylor! It's a round 2 tie and should be on TV some time after 9pm that night.

I have plenty of fishing lined up once we reach the glorious 16th, but I'll save the details for another time.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Changing Fortunes

I've been quiet on the blogging front recently. A couple of weeks ago I suffered another blank at Ryton and I couldn't bring myself to post about another poor session. I gave the fishing a complete miss last week and concentrated on pushing ahead with some long overdue bank work down on the river. That condemned me to a fate that I didn't see coming - a totally fishless April!

This week I decided to head back to Snitterfield Reservoir for a Saturday afternoon / evening session. I'd struggled there back in March in pretty awful conditions, but things were much better this time around. I wasn't going to kid myself that it would be easy, as it can be slow to get going each year. Once it does pick up, it can be a cracking water though.

As it turned out I was right to be cautious and the bites weren't exactly plentiful. I was in two minds whether to set up a sleeper rod, but the lack of instant action pushed me to reach for the trusty Avon Quiver rod which would plunder the margins. I dropped in 4 balls of groundbait and a couple of handfulls of hemp and caster. A large piece of bread flake was the bait.

I pressed on with the main line on the float and I wasn't having any luck with the silver fish. I turned to pick up my pocket radio to catch up with the latest sports news when my margin rod screamed into action. Luckily I'd had the sense to slacken the clutch right off and a fish had started to take plenty of line.

A lengthy battle ensued and it dawned on me that it was probably a potential personal best. I eventually got top side of it and Brian helped with the netting duties. It was a nice fully scaled mirror which weighed in at 14lb 15ozs and it beat my previous best by over a couple of pounds.

As the day wore on, it didn't get any easier on the float rod - just a few Perch to show for my efforts. The margin rod threw up a couple of other fish though.

The first was a Crucian Carp which also took a big piece of flake on a size 10 hook. Not exactly the tactics you would normally use for catching shy biting Crucians! It weighed 1lb 9oz and was also a pb as it happens.

The last fish came on my final cast and was a Bream of around 2lbs. It was as rough as sandpaper in places and was well into spawning mode.

It's nice to report some fish on the bank again and hopefully things will push on from here.