Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Personal Best River Roach!

An accidental meeting with a mate of mine, 'Welsh' Simon, in a Morrison's check out queue led to the capture of a personal best Roach from the Avon. He has recently converted to the dark side (match fishing) and he told me about a swim on the lower Avon that he has been nailing some big Roach from. Match fishermen are not as secretive as specimen anglers so had no problem giving me the exact swim, bait etc. I owe him a beer or several.
I stopped off at the garage and bought a fresh loaf of sliced white Warburton's (other makes are available) and wandered down to the peg in question. My confidence was at a low following a recent poor run of fishing results plus I have not fished with bread for many years but that was about to change.
I mashed some bread, threw three golf ball sized lumps into the middle and then fished open feeder, simple running rig to a size 8 paste hook with bread flake for bait. To say I was shocked to get a bite first cast is an understatement. I played it very carefully and after a good fight landed a Roach.
I knew before netting it that it was a pb but exactly what would it weigh?
Am I happy with that!
I didn't think they grew anywhere near that size in the Avon but apparently there are quite a few in the right stretches.
I fished on and had a few bites but did not connect to any more fish. Needless to say but I will be back for more.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Chub, Warks Avon.

Only a couple of spare hours in the whole of this week so I grabbed a rod, a net, a few bits and a tin of luncheon meat and headed for the river. The weather was pretty dire, windy and wet but I managed to catch a Chub and lose a Barbel.
At 3lb 6oz it wasn't the biggest I have ever caught but very welcome. The Barbel I lost managed to transfer the hook into weed which really should not be there at this time of year. We have certainly had some strange weather this year!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Coventry Canal, Zander

My fishing time has been limited of late but I have still been out in the fresh air having a good time due to this little beast. We have been using it to clear acres of brambles, nettles and even whole trees. The amount of controls it has means that it takes a considerable amount of hand/eye co-ordination but I have got it sussed, and it has been great fun.
An invitation to meet up with fellow bloggers for a roving Zander match tempted me away from my big toy this Sunday. The Jeff Hatt birthday bash(not revealing his age!) wasn't due to start until 3pm, a sensible time for Zander so I headed down to the brook in the morning to catch some fresh dead baits.
This diminutive watercourse is a stunning place to fish. Completely natural with trees draped over the water, overgrown pegs, long glides, little whirlpools and weed infested sections, all full of a variety of fish. I had bites right from the start, too quick in fact as I missed the first one but I got my co-ordination together and started to catch. I had Perch, all too big to be bait, Minnows which were too small, some Dace that were good, a Chub and a surprise Trout, also both too big. When the float went under you have no idea what is on the other end, a lovely way to fish. The best fish of the session was this 6oz Dace, which of course went back.
I ended up taking three baits which was never going to be enough but I had some shop bought Roach in the freezer so was not too bothered.
Ten bloggers including Phil Smith (has he got a book out at the moment?) gathered together in Coventry, a really good turn out, and the 3ish match finally got going about 3.30pm. A Le mans style start saw anglers heading off in all different directions and being a virgin on these waters (in fact it has been 23years since I wet a line in a canal) I followed Lee to the site of his recent pb. I chose to fish next to a boat that had obviously not moved for a decade and placed one bait alongside and the other over towards the far side, next to an entanglement of bushes. Within seconds the 'boat' rod indicated a bite, I left it for ten seconds and it carried on twitching so I struck. Thin air and no bait! That was one fresh bait gone already.
The far side bait twitched but not enough to strike at and after 5 minutes I brought it in, covered in teeth marks on one side and a plastic bag on the other. Darkness fell and with it the bites slowed down, I decided on a move to a different swim, meeting up with Keith on the way. We settled on one of the most comfortable swims on the whole canal. A park bench and this is the view:
The baits were cast in and Keith popped to the bar. I know it is not the right way to chose a swim more beercraft than watercraft but it was a social event. Needless to say we blanked. Word was going round of a few fish taken, Andy landing two and beating Danny to second place and at 7.30pm the match was wrapped up and all the fishermen retired to the local hostelry.
The banter was good, all fishing based of course and the evening finished with a revelation about a certain famous angler courtesy of Danny, ask him because I am not revealing anything!
Well done to all who caught and thanks again to all for a pleasant evening. Happy Birthday Jeff.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Kingfisher Trout

The river has been a very cruel mistress of late so I decided to play away from home this week and I pulled a couple of times. A quick internet search and I found Kingfisher Trout lake, a picturesque spring-fed lake just outside Bromyard, virgin territory.
I am still very much a novice with a fly rod so upon arrival I asked the boss lady what flies were working and if there were any hotspots. She said buzzers on a slow retrieve were good and that Boobies and Wagglers were banned. I assured her that I would keep my Boobies covered up and that I had no idea what a waggler was so probably did not have any.
I left the lodge none the wiser and headed for a quiet corner out of the way. Not because I thought the fish would be hiding there but so I could get my casting up to scratch before coming out in the open.
A couple of hours later I moved spots and having tried many different flies during the morning I finally had a take on a daddy long legs-a-like. I landed my first Kingfisher Rainbow weighing 2lb exactly and followed it up with a 1lb 9oz fish not long after.
I carried on thrashing the water to foam for a while after missed a couple of rises and went home content with a brace. Max helped me clean and gut them, in fact I think he enjoyed it!?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pike, Warks Avon

I set off for my weekly fishing trip with high hopes and expectations. Pike were the target and the location was my banker swim for predators. A peaceful backwater that is full of fry and predator fodder. When I arrived just after 7.00am the signs were good. Every minute or so there would be a spray of small fish leaping from the water to try and escape the Pike as they rushed the shoals. This is going to be like 'shooting fish in a barrel' I thought to myself. I put a Roach dead bait and half a Mackerel in the two most likely looking spots. Confidence was high.
My confidence started to wane more and more with each minute that passed. I could not believe the buzzers remained silent. I changed tactics to float fishing, I changed baits around and I swapped swims, still nothing.
All the way through until just after 2.00pm and finally the left buzzer indicated a bite. I struck but felt nothing, never mind at least they are feeding again. A couple of minutes later the other buzzer lifted slowly but surely as the Pike made off with my Roach, again the strike hit thin air. A fresh Roach went back to the spot, the buzzer will go again I said.
Sadly my chance had gone. There were no more indications of fish until dusk fell and yet again I went home a blanker. At least I had had bites this time. Next time a fish!
Come on, make some noise!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Stopped blanking-Just!

After the sound thrashing the Severn has given me over the last three weeks I decided to take a break and have a go on the Avon. I still wanted to nail a good Zander but also I was fearful of another blank so bets were hedged, one rod dead bait and the other Caster. My choice of swim was the familiar Chadbury weir were I have in the past landed Barbel, Zander, Pike, Roach, Dace, Bream, Eel and Perch. I had to catch something. 
All the best laid plans etc. I struggled for hours and the doubts started to creep in, was it me? the bait? the rigs? the conditions? I changed tactics to rolling meat, still no good. I tried pellet, nothing. As a last ditch effort to avoid the blank I fished a Roach sink and draw style. About twenty minutes later I finally nailed a Pike, probably the smallest I have ever caught but there has not been many as welcome. 36 hours fishing for this tiddler!
Next week I'm going to play Golf.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

What a Blanker!

I have not posted for a long time because I have not caught a fish for what seems like an eternity. With the change of season I decided to break the British Zander record and started a campaign on the river Severn near Tewkesbury. However after three straight blanks it need not be a record, any Zander will do, or a Pike I am not fussed! Just something pulling my line. I get really frustrated blanking. I have been trying everything, low resistance rigs, treble hooks, single hooks, fishing into darkness, baiting the swim etc. If anyone has any ideas can they please let me know.
I need a (confidence restoring) break so will be fishing for something different next week but will be back for another record attempt soon.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

PIW Friday

This would be a brilliant place to film a horror movie. A misty spooky start to a days Grayling fishing in the heart of the beautiful Welsh countryside. This church is on the banks of the river Irfon, a tributary of the Wye, just a couple of miles from Builth Wells. From the church you can see three houses so I am guessing that there is not a huge congregation attending on a Sunday morning.
The Irfon is a stunning natural, barely fished river that is full of wild Brown Trout and Grayling and I had a brilliant time trotting maggots and landing a fish every other cast. I explored several swims, from long glides to rapids and ended up catching Grayling to 1lb 
and Trout to 1lb 6oz, nothing massive but a super days sport. 
Once the sun came out the church did not look half as scary.
See what I mean, middle of nowhere!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Piscatorial Indulgence Week, Wednesday and Thursday.

Took a break from fishing yesterday but I did introduce my 20 month old little boy to the wonders of the local fishing shop. He did not seem that impressed until I ordered a load of maggots. They are probably pretty fascinating to someone so small, he made lots of noise at them anyway.
Today I headed down to Hardwick lake, part of the Linear complex in search of one of their big Bream. I made up a typical Bream ground bait with Halibut pellet, sweetcorn and chopped worm and balled in a nice carpet to hopefully grab their attention. As hook bait I tried plain old worm on one and a worm sweetcorn cocktail on the other. I felt quietly confident as I have landed them to 10lb 10oz in the past from the very swim I found myself in and those were accidental captures when targeting Tench. How could I fail when I was actually trying for them?
Yes, you guessed it, I failed. I had fish in the swim, they rolled every now and again but the alarms remained silent.
However I did manage to avoid the blank. Early after lunch I had a tentative bite and hooked into a fish that did not put up much of a scrap. That led me to believe it was the target species but then as it came close I could see it was old Tinca. I was disappointed and relieved at the same time, not a Bream but at least it saved an otherwise blank day. I packed up late afternoon to go back to the drawing board.

5lb 3oz
A short morning session due to family commitments, I was looking after the kids while 'er indoors went shopping for clothes and to have an afternoon to herself. I couldn't say no as I will be fishing hard over the next three days. Therefore I decided to stay local and popped down to Willow Farm fishery with some worms in an effort to nail a decent Silver Bream.
Same as yesterday I struggled to get hittable bites in a frustrating couple of hours. Yet again a Tench came to my rescue and saved me from a blank.
A frustrating few days fishing but it could all come good tomorrow, I hope so!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Piscatorial Indulgence Week, Monday

I am off work this week purely for fishing but could only manage a short lure session this morning due to family commitments. I spotted this boat moored up on the far bank and I thought it might be an omen but sadly it wasn't. I blanked with not a touch or a follow to show for three hours spinning. I tried every lure in my bag along about a mile stretch, still at least I stayed dry this time!
I did however spend ten minutes watching a dirty great Cormorant trying to fit a large skimmer Bream down it's throat. It failed and moved on, just would not fit in it's throat but the fish still perished. Got some good photos though.

What you looking at!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

A Bad Days Fishing....... better than a good day in the office. I agree with the tacky signs that can be found in equally tacky shops but today I almost disproved it. 
It has been a long time since I have fished due to two weddings in the space of four days, and one of them in Switzerland. I found a couple of spots over there but...
River Vispa, Switzerland
Mountain lake in the shadow of the Matterhorn.
both these waters are pure snow melt, nothing piscatorial can live in either. There may have been a couple of objections if I had gone fishing anyway.
The anticipation for todays trip was therefore quite high. I set off early and managed to get three miles down the road when the Landie started to make a sound like a helicopter was behind me, a blow out on the rear off side. I managed to pull in to a petrol station forecourt and surveyed the damage.
Thats not gonna inflate back up I thought (plus other unprintable comments). The spare is on the back door and the jack is under the front seats so at least I did not have to unload the fishing gear to change the wheel. I put the jack together and went for the wheel nuts. The alloys might look good but they are not made for removal by a standard nut remover. I realised the job was beyond my tools so I had to ring our local garage for assistance. This was beginning to hurt and not the start to the day I needed. 
The bloke from the garage arrived, got the nuts off, went to jack it up to the right height and the whole thing rocked back and fell off the jack. The standard supplied jack is as crap as the nut remover. In one way it was good that it took garage monkey over an hour to change the tyre, It meant I did not look as much as a girl as you are probably thinking. I finally got to the river at about 10.30am.
My plan was to head for the Barbel banker swim, nail a couple and then move on in search of a big Dace. I did get a Barbel but not as quick as I had hoped, but it was a great battle in the fast water and weighed 7lb 5oz. Rolling meat had done the trick again. 
Half a mile downstream there is a swim that is fairly fast flowing and never fished due to its distance from the car park but this means it is very overgrown. I scrambled my way down the bank through the thick nettles and took a step too far, it was so over grown I stepped too far and into two foot of water, lost my footing and got a soaking. I scrambled out of the river, calmed myself down and checked my stuff. My phone and camera were dry and it appeared that I had not lost anything. At least that went my way.
I was soaked through from the waist downwards but it was warm enough so I found the peg and carried on fishing. When I was rolling meat I had noticed a bit of weed coming down stream but did not realise quite how much there was. Within a minute of casting out the feeder was dragged out of position and I was reeling in masses of the stuff.
I managed to keep the chop worm feeder in long enough for two Perch, one not a bad size at over half a pound but the wet feet and the weed started to really get me down and I headed off mid-afternoon.
I got back to the van and squeezed out my socks, 
emptied my wellies,
and went home. Not the happiest day fishing I have ever had!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dace chase

A misty sunrise greeted me as I made my way across the field at Barton, on the way to the weir peg where I felt I had unfinished business due to being kicked off last week for a Brummie match. Again I was fishing for Dace, not something I have done a lot of since I used to catch them twenty years ago from the fast flowing water of the river Ure. I had reasonable success with them in my youth, catching them to the pound mark so my hopes were high for a big one today. Eight or Nine ounces seemed an acceptable target from the Avon.
I had no problem finding the Dace, a massive shoal of them, and managed  to catch about 40/50, but they were all of virtually the same year group and weighed around an ounce apiece. I would have caught more but the Jack Pike kept picking off an easy meal. Five times they snatched my fish and bit through the 3lb mono every time. I did get one close to my bank but he disappeared as soon as he saw me.
Late in the day when I was running low on maggots I had my biggest Dace of the session, weighing a whole five ounces.
It bettered last weeks effort of four ounces but it will take me a long time to get a good 'un at this rate.
I also caught Gudgeon, Roach and Perch, one of which was the biggest fish of the day.
An enjoyable day angling.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Tiddler Bashing

Badsey Brook
Take 1:
My brother and I started out the day on the Avon at Barton. We had just nicely got settled in, started catching a few Dace and Perch when a couple of Brummies turned up. "Ow mate we got a mutch on ere tuday". Bugger! My fault, I should have checked the BAA website first but there has been so few matches on the stretch this year I did not bother. So we upped sticks and left. I gave them a parting shot about Barbel in keepnets on the way to the van. They assured me they weighed them in as and when they were caught, Bollox. 
Take 2:
My mate Cockney Steve has been going on about a Mr Crabtree-esque little waterway called Badsey brook, where he goes for livebait but has been catching some Dace that are too big to use so we headed there. At the moment the best swims are choked with weed but give it a frost and a decent run through of rain and I reckon we could be on a winner.
 I dropped some maggots in the best swim I could find and within seconds I struck into the closest I have ever come to a British record. I have never weighed a Gudgeon before but this one went on the scales as it was way bigger than any of it's predecessors. Three and a half Ounces!
My brother thought I was mad but never mind. I struggled after that but did manage a four once Dace, points on the board. 

Take 3:
After an hour or so of no action we decided to move to our third venue, Willow Farm and try to better our Silver Bream efforts. We caught them but small ones, along with Roach, F1s, Goldfish, Tench and Perch. Best of that lot was a Perch well over a pound but we decided not to put it through the photo trauma. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Shark Trip

The weather forecast at the start of this week did not look promising. There were hurricanesque winds forecast for every single day along the Devon coast and I was sure that our shark trip would be called off. Friday, the day we were going was about the best but still too breezy for our skipper to risk taking us out. However as the week wore on the Friday forecast improved until it was obvious that it was going to be a break in the weather. My excitement kept building as I checked the forecast on an hourly basis.
In the end it was flat calm as we set off from Plymouth harbour on board Sea Angler2, just misty and drizzling, 'sticky rain' our skipper Malcolm calls it.
We got to the Mackerel fishing mark and for the first time in ages there were loads of them. Full strings all the time and it took no time at all for us to have plenty for bait and to make rubby-dubby.
A smelly mixture of mashed Mackerel, fish oil and bran, sharks love it!
 We then steamed out to the shark drift, 21 miles out to sea. It is fascinating how the skipper finds these places to fish because it all looks the same to me.
Dave and I drew straws for rods and thankfully only an hour in to the drift, mine was the first to take off. After about ten minutes I had the fish alongside but Malcolm let her run again because they are never beaten first time and if not played out they become a real handful on the boat. They are not a Great White but they have teeth to make a mess of human skin. I asked the skipper how many times he had heard 'we're gonna need a bigger boat' and he said 'every f'ing time'. I changed my mind about singing the theme tune. A couple of minutes later and we brought a 50lb Blue on to the boat.
She thrashed a bit but was good for the photo shoot.

As I went to put her over the side she bit through the rubby-dubby bag, and left it with a great big hole in it, a toothy reminder.
I then let Dave have use of all the rods and another hour later he landed his first ever Blue, slightly smaller at about 40lb. He then followed this up with a twenty pounder and I finished off with a 30. Four sharks on the boat was a good result and we went home happy, but still with an itch for a 'ton'!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Meaty Eel

I headed down to the Barton stretch of the Avon this morning for a short session chasing Barbel. Started rolling meat down the run and after a biteless couple of hours I changed tactics and ledgered in the fast flow. First cast I missed a bite and second chuck I had the three foot twitch and fish on, sadly it found one of the many snags and I lost it. It felt like a good fish.
The bites started to get twitchy and I suspected Chub but then a short while later I found out the culprits.
The hook was in the corner of it's mouth and so I managed to unhook, weigh and return without touching. At this point I should claim to be respecting them because of diminishing numbers, endangered species, minimal handling etc but I won't. I did not want to be covered in slime and then smelling it for the rest of the week. 
Bonus points for the challenge- 1lb 2oz. That was the only fish landed of the session so no blank and I went home contented.