Monday, 25 September 2017

An Indian Summer Evening

When I arrived at the river late afternoon it could have been the middle of July not early Autumn. Blazing sunshine from bright blue skies, temperatures in the high teens, the swifts flitting across the surface taking in as much of the abundant fly life as possible.

Coots and Moorhens busying themselves above the (despite resent downpours) crystal clear water and weed growth still in abundance. I was in no rush to cast as I planned to be there until nightfall which is now at a much more convenient time for a family man. I lightly baited a swim before Tazzy and I wandered the bank to check if anyone else was wetting a line. Just the one chap way downstream and the conditions meant he was having a blanking time.
When we did finally start fishing I chose a deep hole feeling it might give me the best chance of a few fish. The targets were Barbel on one rod and Roach on the other, rumours abound of a recent two pounder taken from the stretch and I know they can be had from this area so there might be some merit in it. It is several years since I last had one of that size and I have a yearning to try and repeat the feat to prove it was no fluke.

It took a while but eventually the first bite of the session materialised. A decent scrap on light gear had me wondering as to the identity of the unseen adversary especially when it buried itself in a ball of Canadian pondweed that was between my swim and the main flow. I probably should have removed the obstacle prior to fishing but it did not matter as I managed to bundle the whole lot into the net including the still unseen fish. I unwrapped my prize and should have guessed really, a sneaky Chub of about three pounds.

Once the sun had dropped below the horizon the action hotted up ever so slightly as more Chub took a liking to my pellet offerings.

All very similar in size but a lot easier to land with the weed removal completed.

Finally on my last cast (as I could not see to rebait and had forgotten my head torch) one of my targets came to the net, not as big as I had hoped but a respectable 14oz specimen. I am sure the catch rate will increase as soon as we get some more typical Autumnal weather.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Parish Games Bridesmaids

We didn't get the best of draws, the river was low and clear, conditions too bright-all excuses that were discussed over a pint post match. I can honestly say we did however make the most of our opportunities. The annual Parish games fishing match, the once a year where I dip my toe in the strange world of match fishing.
The fishing was tough, in fact it was worse than tough. Dry nets numbered well into double figures so the fact that every one of our team of three caught something meant we were in with a chance at the end.

I contributed a meagre 7.5oz made up of three Perch, some blade Roach and a solitary chublet, all caught reasonably early on. As I say tough going but I still enjoyed it! This bag of monsters gave me fourth in my section. Ady also finished fourth in his section and Don caught a credible 2lb 5oz to give him second in his section and third in the match overall.

As a team we finished second overall for the third time in four years-consistent!! Next year is going to be our year........

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Avon Evening

4lb 9oz
Not quite sure why I look so miserable having just caught a cracking summer Chub weighing over four and a half pounds. This was the third fish of a highly enjoyable evening spent by the Avon. Not a long fish but it had a good girth, probably been feeding on all the pellets I had baited up with.
Martin was already ensconced himself in the fast water below the weir when I arrived so I plonked myself in the next peg, a slow moving area that I thought might throw up a few surprises. My two pronged attack consisted of pellet on the right and half a Roach on the left in the hope that a few predators attracted by the abundant fry life would take advantage of an easy meal. Two small Pike fell for the approach in the early evening but as the light faded the pellet rod started to come to life.
We decided to give it ten more minutes and truly at last knockings the pellet rod hooped round as a decent Barbel tried to make its escape. In the darkness it felt like a good fish. I had no idea exactly where it was in the river so stopping it snagging me up was almost impossible. It managed the inevitable but thankfully the weed was sparse and I managed to cajole it back into open water.
Finally I was able to slip it over the net with Martins help. In the gloom I thought it was a double but the scales revealed it fell a bit short of the mark. Anyway it capped off an enjoyable couple of hours by our special local river.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Annual Shark Trip

The sun rose as we trundled down the M5 on our way for our annual Shark trip off the Plymouth coast. Two aborted trips last year both lost to the weather has us keener than ever and there was no fear of mother nature stopping us getting out this year.

As always we were aboard Sea Angler II with Malcolm Jones, one of the most experienced and trusted skippers in the area. This year he had a first mate on board too although Robbie did seem to be more there for company rather than work but he did mash up the rubby-dubby as we steamed out to our drift. The (not so sweet) smelling mixture of Mackerel, bran and oil used to attract the toothy critters to our mackerel flapper hook-baits.

The sharks have been about in numbers this year and within minutes Nath was into the first shark of the day. Year on year shark numbers seem to be on the increase and the variety also seems to be getting more varied, Porbeagles are getting more regular and Threshers have been spotted. In future years it may be possible for us to even target Tuna and other Pelagic species.

What followed was a procession of Sharks at regular intervals weighing up to about forty pounds.

Just after lunch a fish took the bait on the drop and as line screamed from the reel I realised that I was attached to a much more substantial fish. An arm aching battle ensued, several times the shark was brought alongside the boat, Malcolm grabbed the leader but each time the shark wrestled away and I was forced to haul her back to the surface.

Eventually she was dragged onto the side of the boat, holding her down the trace was unclipped and the hook removed.

Three of us lifted her into the boat. She measured 66 inches to the fork of the tail and had a 33 inch girth which equated to 90lbs in weight. The girth squared multiplied by the length divided by 800 equals the weight in pounds. As accurate as it gets on a boat!

A quick couple of photos with my new pb and she was returned to her watery home, hopefully the only thing that was hurt was her ego.

We still had time for a few more fish including one which I battled on a spinning rod and fixed spool reel which was a lot of fun before we steamed back to port. Sixteen sharks landed between us made for a fab days fishing and all that was left was a night out around the nightspots of Plymouth.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mullett Blank and Barbel Rod Testing

A trip to Swansea ended in a blank, one hooked fish, one lost to a hook pull. Still the night out was fun and Andy did catch so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Saw a few fish but they were quite spooky in the brilliant sunshine.

An evening session on the Avon was more productive. I am in the market for some new Barbel rods so Andy has lent me his Harrison Torrix 1.75 test curve to try out. Wasn't sure about the look of it, quite a light but thick blank but looks can be deceptive. It casts beautifully and when I hooked a hard fighting Barbel close to snags it took on it's full curve and I must say I was impressed with the power and feel.

Despite only having one eye the 7lb 9oz fish gave the rod a proper workout and I felt I had much more control than with my current set up. The rod is still in the truck so I think I will give it a couple more sessions before taking the plunge. Need to be sure as they aren't the cheapest on the market.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

While the Kids are Away

Managed  a couple of evenings out while the kids are on holiday:

Friday Night

Grabbed a load of maggots and headed down to the Avon. The Perch were hungry and landed one after another all about 2-4oz plus a few small small Roach and Dace. Nothing special but then I didn't set my stall out for anything bigger.

Tuesday Night

Last night was back on the Barbel with a single rod fishing pellets and pva bags plus a second 'sleeper' rod baited with small Roach for any predators that happened to be passing by. The action was very slow until the light faded and the sleeper rod was first to go. A small Pike that tail walked a bit before it snagged me up in some of the masses of weed that is prolific this year and then escaped.
As I turned round to rebait the Barbel rod bent double and I enjoyed a fabulous scrap with a fit seven(ish) pounder.
One more classic Barbel bite which failed to connect and then the swim went dead again. A very short little feeding spell but at least I avoided the blank.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Monthly Update-July

There are not enough hours in the day to write comprehensive blog posts about each session. Hence from now on it will have to be monthly updates, here is one for July.

Session One.

Friday early morning spent rolling meat under the willows in my favourite weir pool. 

Two small Barbel landed both around five pounds-odd. Back home in time for breakfast.

Session Two.

A pleasant evening fishing pellets on the upper Avon stretch that is fast becoming my favourite stretch of the river. Picturesque, peaceful, private, no boat traffic and full of fish. I feel the average size is probably less than I am used to but who cares. It is fun and there is certainly a few good doubles to be had.

One lost Barbel (my fault-gave it too much welly) and a brace of Chub landed on this occasion both around the four pound mark.

Session Three.

Back on the peaceful syndicate stretch and this time the Barbel did play. Small fish but immaculate and a good indication that this stretch has a bright future. Pellet and Pva bags again proved their downfall.

Session Four. 

Another early morning jolly but a blank this time. Got a proper soaking. Did manage to get this photo of two expert fishermen having a chat about their favourite swims!

Session Five. 

An evening session, pellet on one rod but this time I fancied a bit of variety so small Roach deadbaits were deployed on a second 'sleeper' rod in the hope that some Zander might be in the mood. 
First up a terrific battle with an 8lb 10oz Barbel. They don't half pull back in the low clear conditions but all held firm. 

The fish needed nursing in the margin for quite some time having expended all her energy in the battle but finally she swam off strongly.

Sadly that was the end of the action on the pellet but I did have some fun with tail-walking Jacks on the dead bait. Two landed, biggest 5lb 10oz.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Big Barbel Before Breakfast

A beautiful dawn, perfect for a sneaky session before work. One tin of Spam was all I needed to land a cracking eleven pounder in the golden sunshine whilst the rest of the world slept. 

One lost fish to an unforeseen snag and a four pound Chub the only other occurrences before I snuck back home for breakfast.