Monday, 27 December 2010

Blank, Warks Avon.

It is a tradition of mine to fish Boxing day and this year I was determined to give it a go. I have stopped looking at the temperature and I am fed up with people telling me 'oooh, its minus 8 now and will be minus 33 later' etc. I put on all the thermals I have plus three pairs of trousers and goodness knows how many fleeces, I lost count at 6.
On arriving at the car park I made the first tire tracks in the snow so no one has been as stupid as me for at least a week. Apart from the dog walkers.

I checked out the river and downstream was frozen over as far as the eye could see. Upstream looked ok but laziness got the better of me and I chose the nearest peg.

I figured I had two hopes, Chub and Pike so I put out a rod for each. Cheese Paste on one and dead bait on the other. I felt confident but three and a bit hours later my flask ran dry, the rods had not moved and the cold started to penetrate my third and final sock. Time to head back to the roaring fire and Tomato soup. Heinz of course. Still at least I had given it a go.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

PB Pike, Warks Avon

A three week stint of DIY and decorating meant that I finally got a few hours on the bank today and I was feeling confident due to a recent slight rise in temperature. The Landy still had a frozen windscreen though when I got up so I decided not to bother with Barbel and to take the safe option and go for Pike. I was not surprised to find I was the only fool/angler down by my chosen stretch.
The first peg I tried was unproductive for a good two hours so I moved to the next peg down all of 10 yards away. Sometimes that can make all the difference and within 10 minutes I had a fish on. Sadly the hook pulled at the net.
In my opinion Pike are a pretty stupid fish lacking in survival instinct or just possibly complacent due to being the top of their food chain because the same fish(90% sure) picked up the same bait from the same spot within minutes. This time I landed him and he weighed in at 9lb.
The next run ended in disaster as an unseen adversary took me into the snags and the line parted. Not a case of the big one that got away as I always manage to persuade myself that it was a tiddler. 
A couple of hours of inactivity followed and I decided to chuck a bait out towards the middle instead of the margins. A kind of chuck and chance it effort. It worked. 20 minutes later and I was away again.  A slow, sluggish fight ensued with a harrowing moment with another snag (pictured), the branches were moving and silt was being disturbed but steady pressured ensured I won and a large crocodile like head broke the surface. The size of the head made me nervous as I knew I had a possible new pb but she slipped into the net easy. On the scales she weighed 18lb 3oz and I went home a happy and lucky angler.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Chub, Warks Avon

A first fishing session for what seems like an eternity but in fact is probably only three weeks and it was a tough one. Two bites in four hours resulting in just the one fish, this 3lb 15oz Chub. The dramatic fall in temperature is probably to blame for the slow sport and due to the cold I decided to target Chub with cheesepaste. I had intended to start early and get a full day in but that was scuppered by the fact that our pool team won 7-2 the night before and I went on to celebrate that fact a bit too hard.
It was nearly midday when I made it to the river and the fish was landed just after 4.00pm. I was really beginning to feel the cold and my hang over was still lingering hence I could not even raise a smile. Saved the blank though and I went straight home afterwards.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pike and Zander, Warks Avon.

The Warks Avon is still unbelieveably clear for the time of year and coupled with the gale force wind made for a difficult session at Fladbury Mill. A blank was avoided but in unusual and controversial circumstances. This 12lb Pike was landed with none of my trebles in its mouth but it did have some one else's hooks in it's stomach. The braid from the end of that trace had wrapped around my trace and this had been strong enough for me to land it, despite our lad's best attempts to knock it off! He got my trebles caught in his net and I then had to use my net to land it-farce.
So does she count or not? My theory is the Pike took my Roach dead bait, then it came loose and caught around the trace at a later date, so counts. Our lad does not agree and just thinks I am a jammy get and it should not count. Just because he blanked. 
What is strange is that the very next day I landed a Pike with a treble in it's stomach and the same green braid line hanging off the end. Smaller fish and from a spot 10 miles away. Hopefully just a coincidence and nothing more sinister. Do not like catching Pike with hooks already in them!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Catfish, River Segre, Spain

Twelve months spent persuading 'er indoors and then ten months since booking the trip were all forgotten when finally we made it to Mequinenza, the Catfishing capital of Spain(if not the world).
Dave from the tackle shop and I had booked this trip with Catmaster tours and our guide John Deakin and we would thoroughly recommend them both. We arrived on the Sunday and after a few beers with the rest of our group we had an early night in anticipation of the 7.30am start the following morning.
It is quite a different method of fishing than any I have been previously used to. 150lb braid, stringers of pellets, rowing the baits out three times daily all takes some getting used to. Also the rod rotation system, known as knockout takes some adjustment too.
The first day was a roaring success as five of our six anglers had fish, mine being a biggest ever fish for me weighing 88lb, good start.
The problem with rod rotation is that I now sat it out until Dave had had a fish. This took 48 hours due to  a quiet period for bites and two missed takes. Sitting on the bank from 7.30am until 12.00 midnight is hard enough but for two days and not actually fishing is really frustrating for an angler. The boredom set in and we took the piss out of each other, took the piss out of the guide, got pissed, unscrewed each others chairs so they collapsed and even took photos of the ants eating bits of pellets amongst other things. 
Finally on day three Dave had his fish, all 185lb of it! I have a photo but this is my blog so stuff him!
The rules then meant the rods were back in my hands until I had a 'ton' fish.
This was Thursday and with only two days left I needed some divine help so there was only one tactic, praying!
It worked! The fish came thick and fast that day. Three in total. The first weighed 70lb.
The guide said that this one liked me and it was a sign of affection when they crap down your leg. I just hoped it was good luck like bird shit!
The next one weighed 67lb, they were getting smaller and my 'ton' was looking frustratingly less likely.
Then finally it happened. I hit into a fish that really tried to pull me in and took line off a super tight clutch. The power of these creatures is unbelievable and must be experienced by all anglers. She went 120lb on the scales and there was one very tired but relieved angler in Spain that night.
I was so relieved that I showed her my affectionate side. Well I have kissed worse looking things! (In my youth in case the wife reads this-not likely though as it's about fish!)
After that I felt anything would be a bonus and I could not believe it when my rod set off for the sea again. It proved to be an even bigger specimen at 126lb and my Spanish trip was complete. I will return though as I now have a new itch-for a 200lber!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Perch, Willow Farm

This swim is the most 'Perchy' looking swim I know and despite fishing 10 hours(wife and kids still away!) the only one I nearly caught would have weighed about two ounces but the hook pulled. Chopped lobworms and red maggots were fed all day to attract the small Roach to the in turn attract the large Perch but it was not to be. The weather was bright and sunny which did not help and I did miss several bites on the lobworm hookbait but put these down to small fish playing with it.
However I did avoid the blank by catching a Roach, a Rudd and a brace of Carp. All obviously 'nuisance' fish but the biggest Carp weighed 13lb 2oz and was a real hit and hold effort on 4lb line so was very pleased to land it.
It decided to behave like a Grayling too.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Grayling, Teme

A couple of days spent chasing the Lady of the stream on the stunning river Teme. This fish filled river is almost as beautiful as the Wye and the over grown banks and steep slopes can be a real challenge but the results are almost guaranteed. The wife and kids were away for a week so full sessions were possible and I took advantage. 
Only one slight issue at this time of the year and that is Minnows, there are millions of them so peg choice is restricted to the faster water where they avoid. Trotting a loafer using light gear was an absolute joy and traveling light and peg hopping made it all the more pleasurable. I think I had somewhere between 30 and 40 Grayling to 1lb 2oz, three Dace and whenever I changed to worm the Trout came along to a pound.
Her ladyship put up commendable scraps both in the water and especially on the bank so I only took photos of the biggest and as you can see she led me a right song and dance. They never give up until they are back in the water and then they go all quiet and have to be nursed back to fitness. Typical women!
Hold still ya bugger!

Thats better.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Barbel, Wark Avon

Back down to Earth with a bump following the highs of last weeks Shark expedition. The Warks Avon was the venue for a Barbel foray but despite warm, dark and overcast conditions they just did not play ball. I looked at the weather and felt full of confidence but that drained in direct correlation to the fishless hours. I had bait dropped two very fishy looking areas with hemp and was fishing flavoured meat over the top. One area was the smooth water at the bottom of a run off the weir and the other a very likely looking gravel run downstream. Four long hours into my short Five hour session and not a sniff.
I decided to chuck it and chance it so instead of cubes of meat I ripped off chunks, put one on each rod and chucked them in the 'washing machines' under the weir sill. Within minutes I was in and what thought like a really good Chub popped it's slimy head above the surface, a big Eel!
I then amazed myself. I got the hook out with relative ease and weighed it at 2lb 1oz. Also I laid it on it's back and rubbed it's belly. It then was still long enough for me to take a self portrait. I normally don't get close to them, but I was on my own so had no choice. The Anguilla swam off strongly and I went home a happy angler.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Blue Shark, Plymouth

Plymouth is a favourite venue for our sea fishing club and I would like to say it is the fishing that makes it so but that is not always the case. Sea fishing is at best hit and miss. The Tope session earlier in the year had hurt and I was not looking forward to another attack on Sharks that would end in a blank. I need not have worried though as Malcolm Jones on Sea Angler 2 is a tried and trusted skipper and has never really let us down. He works hard to get results and that always helps.
Sea fishing rigs are amazing. I wish I had photographed this one as it is different to any other I have ever used. 50lb main line leads to a matchstick which holds the soft drink bottle float so that the bait is at the right depth, which leads to a wire trace leader and a circle hook that looks like it would never hook anything. But that lot works! 
Three anglers with three rods out led to five Sharks on the boat. When they run they are unmovable, just hang on and wait  for them to tire. This can be an arm aching 30 minutes. 
A super result, all taken on Mackerel flappers at about 20 metres depth. Simon took the biggest at 87lb but I was more than pleased with my 80lb contribution. The biggest fish I have ever caught and I celebrated it in the bars of Plymouth that night, and the next morning!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Barbel, Warks Avon

The river looked in tip top condition, just fining down after a well needed flush through of rain and when I pulled into Barton car park I was not surprised to see it full of cars and vans. As I was there a few hours before dusk I decided to walk the full length of the stretch and have a chat with the anglers there to get a low down on what had been caught and what bait was working well.
I talked to all of them and there was a lot of grunted replies and dry landing nets, a few small Chub and not a Barbus between them. It didn't bode well but I told myself they were all still there to be caught then and renewed my own confidence. Pellet on one rod and Boilie on the other, both dipped in flavour.
Dusk came and went and the river sent me home with my tail between my legs, she is a cruel mistress! I went home to plot my revenge.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Eel, Warks Avon

An evening session hoping for Eels but lobworms have a universal appeal to all species so with every twitch of the quivertip you have no idea what the culprit is. The first three fish landed were all 3oz Perch and then suddenly the tip flew round with a better stamp of fish. A really tough tussle ensued with the unseen quarry battling through the far bank weedbed and causing a few hairy moments. Finally the culprit started to tire and I could see a stunning river Tench of about 4lbish. The fight was better than any of the 8lb Tench I had battled in the spring, amazing from a fish half their size. Living in running water had really built up it's muscles.
I shouted four pegs down to our lad to bring the camera and when he arrived he told me he had a decent Bream and so I put the Tench back and trailed up to take his picture in return. He was also on the Lobs and the Bream weighed 4lb 7oz. This season is his first real foray into serious specimen fishing so this is probably his fourth or fifth pb of the year!                       
Being super competitive I had to outdo him and I added several more Perch, two Chublets and my own Bream. Having already had a double figure Bream this year I would normally have put it straight back but instead I decided to wind my brother up and weigh it as I was sure it was the larger. I was proved correct but only just, beat him by 2oz! His round first at the pub on the way home!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Barbel and Chub, Warks Avon

An early morning session that blew hot and cold and we can probably blame it on this regular visitor to the swim!
We did manage a few fish between us though. I started the ball rolling with a 4lb 4oz Chub and our lad quickly followed suit with his own 4lber, a Barbel weighing 4lb 11oz. 

The swim then went dead for an hour or so. I have never seen the Avon so low and clear and it was plain to see why the swim was dead. For half an hour we watched old Esox trying to eat a Barbel of about a pound and a half, fascinating but just too far out to get on camera. I decided at that point to have a play in the lock with some worms. It was like an aquarium and  although I could see one or two better Roach the stunted Perch did not give them a chance. A succession of eight or nine in about five minutes soon spooked the Roach, one of which was well over a pound!
Having got bored of that I returned to the Barbel and they came back on the feed. I landed a battling 6lber and Nath managed a 7lb 9oz fish plus a pb Chub of 4lb exactly.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Barbel, Warks Avon

A successful overnight session on the Avon for both me and our lad with a total of five fish caught, all different species! I was fishing mainly for Barbel and the boy was after Zander and Pike. There is a huge amount of weed in the river this year and trying to find a couple of pegs where we could land fish if we hooked them but also had a reasonable chance of hooking them wasn't easy. We eventually settled into adjacent pegs and with the land rover parked behind us, we left the bivvy in it's bag. At 9.30pm the tip of my rod did a 3 foot twitch and then danced around as I tried to steer a 7lb 8oz Barbel to the waiting net. A couple of hairy moments with weed and eventually it was in the net.
It just turned midnight and my rod bucked over but this time it was a chub and having put up a really good account of itself I landed and put it straight back, probably about 3lb 8oz. 
2pm and it was our lads turn and after a weedy battle he landed this 5lb 11oz Zander taken on a Roach dead bait. 

A celebratory can of Carling and I was falling asleep in my chair so I reeled in and climbed into the back of the Landy. The wind and the rain were now really noisy and I thought to myself my brother has either fallen in or must be crazy to still be out I this. I was just thinking about checking on him when the passenger door went and he got in the front. His snoring woke me at about 5am and as it was light I got up and started fishing again.
I put a dead bait out and landed a near double Pike and also had a skimmer Bream took a size 9 hook. 
At 9am my wife rang to tell me that she was ill and I would be looking after the kids for the rest of the day. Should be fun after only three hours sleep.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Barbel, Warks Avon

I tend not to use particles for my Barbel fishing as they not discerning and any species will take them. However because the river is so low and clear and a big lump of meat, boilie or pellet will spook them I gave casters and hemp a try on a short evening session.
Constant tapping from bits and three Dace and a Perch reminded me once again. I persevered however and finally nailed a whiskers. I lost a smaller one in the abundant weed before finally carefully landing this probable 5ish pounder. Now a dilemma, back to big baits or stick with the particles?

Tope, Brightlingsea

Firstly I apologise but I wanted to show the reason we made a 7 hour round trip to the Essex coast and back. This 48lb Tope was the biggest of five Tope caught LAST YEAR when we chartered a boat out of Brighlingsea. They are called the Greyhound of the sea and they feel like a 48lb Barbel when they run. This year was a major disappointment and we should have twigged early on when even the Mackeral bait were difficult.
This year there has been a lack of a Tope run and that is probably due to the lack of bait but we were stubborn and when we should have stuck on a Skate bonanza we twisted on the Tope and bust.
Tony however landed the only non bait fish of the day, this 5lb 4oz Ray which is a club record. Still two nights away with good mates and plenty of Ale is never a total downer!

Pike and Zander, Warks Avon.

An after work short evening session down by Wick weir chasing predators with dead baits. Small Roach are a universal bait and could result in either of the big predators but last year we landed Eels on them too at around this time of year. If small Eels are around it can result in chewed bits of Roach and false takes but this year none have been caught or mouthed. Hopefully this is not a sign of their absence.
It is not often I have to be photographer and our lad is the subject but he beat me tonight. This 7lb 3oz Pike was the only fish landed as I missed my only bite of the session. Cannot win them all!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Barbel, Warks Avon

The title and aim of the session were both Barbel but the Chub were a lot more obliging. Fun at first but becoming a nuisance. Following an opening day blank it was pleasing to get a new season off and running with a Chub on the bank. But after that there followed another eight, all between 3lb and 4lb. Normally that would be an excellent days angling and I am not that short sighted as to realise this but I was only wanting Barbel. Probably sounding like a miserable old Yorkshireman having an unnecessary moan but sod it.
I did manage one example of the target species which took the secret flavoured luncheon meat, I did not weigh it but would guess at between 6lb and 7lb tops. 
The minnows seem really abundant this year and they were a menace, stripping the meat off the hair in about 20 minutes, so I changed to boilies and that caught more Chub plus an impaled Minnow with a size nine hook in it's cheek. Swam off ok though!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Trout, Lenches Lakes

A first fly fishing trip for over twenty years to the Lenches lakes. Accompanied by Uncle Ken a breezy day made for difficult casting conditions for an amateur but perseverence paid off with a brace of Trout weighing 1lb 6oz and 1lb 10oz. Several tangles and a few expletives but a happy angler at the end of the session.