Sunday, 30 November 2014

Last Cast Saloon

After a one week lay off due to other commitments, I returned to the Leam this week for an afternoon session.

I'd been closely monitoring the river level all week and it did push up to around one metre above normal at one point. A drier end to the week saw it dropping nicely for my arrival though.

After a brief chat with a fellow blogger who had been plundering the abyss, I settled into a swim just below an overhanging tree. The far side offered an enticing slack while the main channel of water was running beneath my feet.

It didn't take off though and a biteless half hour saw me itching for a move. With the deep hole now vacated and no doubt fed, I made a simple choice of dropping in there. Roach were topping from the off, which is always a pleasing sight.

It developed into a strange old session where I missed a lot more bites than I hit. I was using two rods and it was perhaps one of those occasions where one rod fished with 100% attention might have been better than two.

I managed a couple of roach, a perch and a gudgeon which gave the most violent of bites for such a small fish.

The worms weren't successful again and neither were the prawns or bread flake. Bites tailed off over the last couple of hours and the roach were less active on the surface.

I pretty much gave up all hope of catching something that might require netting. Loading up a size 14 hook with 4 maggots I dropped the feeder tight to the far bank in an area I hadn't cast to previously. This was to be my last cast.

I dropped lucky and the tip pulled round. A plump perch popped up in front of me and slipped into my net.

At 1lb 14oz it's a Leam pb for me and over a pound bigger than any other I'd caught from the venue previously.

Maybe I've been attacking the wrong part of the swim all along? It has given me food for thought though because this part of the river has double bank access. The far bank is too overgrown in the summer months but now looks a lot more accessible. A little investigation might be needed when the water levels drop down fully.

If my phone is to be believed we should have a drier and cooler week ahead. A return to the pike could be on the cards.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Odds Against

An away day this weekend at the glorious Blenheim Palace.

Sadly the fishing was less than glorious. Joined by 9 other boats on the day we only saw one fish caught and that was while we were approaching our first port of call near the Grand Bridge.

We worked hard all day moving our way around half the lake, eventually getting back to our starting point, taking in 9 different swims.

Brian takes the oars. Rio 2016 beckons!
Shallow water, bankside margins, rotting lily beds, reed beds, overhanging trees, deep water, open water. Every likely swim was tried.

Deadbaits (4 types) were tried hard on the bottom, suspended and wobbled. Plugs, spoons, jerkbaits and a strange but hypnotic looking squid lure were all given a shot too. All this between two anglers across four rods.

Only one fish was seen topping and when you see what they have to put up with, it's hardly surprising.

There are 12 cormorants in the above photo and number 13 was just out of shot. Whatever fish are in the lake are possibly tightly shoaled wherever they feel safe.

A brief chat with a local bank fisherman in the car park before we started fishing revealed he'd had just one pike in five sessions. He said it was a shadow of what it was, but blamed much of it on migrant anglers taking fish.

I tend to think that our feathered competitors are a more obvious concern. They were present on my previous visit two and a half years ago, but numbers seem much higher now.

It's a lovely venue to fish and the whole boat experience makes it something totally different to the norm. It's one of those settings where fishing is just a bonus and the autumnal colours on this occasion were very easy on the eye.

Will I go back again? - Yes I probably will. Not for the prospect of prolific fishing, but more for the novelty factor, the idyllic setting, good company and the off chance that i might get my net wet. Some fishing days aren't all about the fishing.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Autumn At Last

Firstly, a quick catch up from last week. I squeezed a day off work and headed down the Avon in stupidly balmy conditions of around 20C.

There were plenty of roach and dace to stick float tactics. A cheeky switch to a big roach deadbait saw a first cast take and a decent fish was on. Sadly we parted company and a nice double wasn't to be my prize. I sulked for most of the session after that.

The pike were very quiet and I only managed a small consolation by way of a jack that had also seen my unhooking mat the previous week.

On to this week and what a change. Tthe temperature was 10C lower, albeit close to the average for the time of year. The river was carrying about 18 inches of extra water.

The venue was the Leam this time. Having checked the river levels, my usual stretch of the Avon was around a foot up. That isn't a problem but it's about the limit of what I like it to be. I was interested to see how the Leam would handle the extra water.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a slightly coloured river with just a touch more flow than usual and in decent nick. It was only going to be a short afternoon session and after messing around with a float rig I switched to a feeder attack.

I recently acquired another TFG 8-10ft Compact All Rounder rod. I already had the Nan-Tec version but I couldn't resist buying the normal version for a bargain £35.99 (includes an extra 10% discount) at Go Outdoors. Both rods were put into action - one with worm and the other with a bunch of maggots.

The worm was a poor second and the perch seemed much happier with maggots. I had half a dozen up to about half a pound from a hole over 17ft deep.

A couple of roach also chipped in, along with a ruffe.

I dabbled with a deadbait at times but I wasn't confident and drew a blank on that front. I saw some predatory movement mid river on a couple of occasions and it looked like a decent perch. I will need to persist with the worms I think as there are some classic perch swims to be found on this stretch. The good news on the worm front is that my accidental wormery is flourishing and supplies are plentiful.

A pleasant afternoon apart from suffering another Coventry City debacle on the radio. I'll be giving the Leam plenty of attention over the latter part of the season I think.