Monday, 27 June 2011

Mornings Only

I managed to fit two morning sessions in this weekend as the title suggests, and they were very contrasting. On Saturday I went down the Avon looking for Barbel and on Sunday I visited the Lenches fishery with a fly rod to catch the resident Trout.
Saturday 25th June
The alarm woke me up at 3.30am and a quick cuppa later and I was in the van and down to the river at first light. Normally I am first on to the river but this year I have noticed an alarming number of bivvies and this was no exception. Two bivvies already in place in the swim I wanted meant I had to take my second choice. I wasn't 100% confident of catching old whiskers and it proved to be the case. No Barbel took my boilie but I did catch a decent Chub to avoid the blank. I haven't double checked but I don't think I have blanked yet this year which is really pleasing but there have been a few similar sessions where I have come close.
A quick self take with too much fingers not enough fish and I was back home for a 9.00am breakfast.
Sunday 26th June
My fly fishing buddie Uncle Ken was down at ours for the weekend so that could not pass by without some fluff chucking. We headed off early morning to the Lenches. There were three other anglers already fishing on the top lake and Uncle Ken joined them. I headed down to the bottom lake so I was alone and no one would notice my amateurish attempts. I prefer the bottom lake because it is shallower and easier to see the fish. This helps me learn which fly does what in the water and also the fishes reactions to each. Most of the time they ignore the fly completely, odd occasions they come for a look and turn away. I kept changing flies all morning but to be honest it was probably my casting that kept them away.
After an hour or so I put on a fly that my daughter Maisie would have chosen first. It was barbie pink and large and fluffy and I thought the fish may attack it in the bright sunshine. Apparently it is called a pink Cactus fly. I cast somehow into the middle of a few and they all seemed to rush at the fly as soon as I started to retrieve it. A 2lb 6oz fish won the race but lost the ensuing battle with me. Result.  Half an hour later and I had one of his mates too, 2lb 2oz.
If you look closely you can see the fly just above the rod handle. The Trout looked shocked to have fallen for such a thing. I was only on a two fish ticket and had reached my limit before the 'experts' which shows that it is better to be a lucky angler than a good angler!
I extended my limit and within no time had anglers fishing either side of me and one opposite! That did not bother me as I knew my casting would soon scare them off! A couple more fish came out but not to my rod and we were home for 1pm.
Two pleasant fishing sessions and still lots of time to play with the kids, it cannot get better than that.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Silver Bream, Willow Farm

I took advantage of the longest day of the year to do an evening session and went back to Willow Farm to try for a larger Silver Bream. I managed it but only by a meagre ounce and I know there are bigger in there. They are not the only species in this pool though and I caught examples of them all tonight. 
I started the session using up the remaining maggots from opening day. This was a mistake. I took two Carp, several Roach, two Gudgeon and three Tench including one of about 5lb which put up a great scrap on light float rod tackle. I also had a brace of Goldfish!
When I ran out of maggots I changed to worm and then I started catching the Silvers. The largest going half a pound. I still caught a couple of Perch and another decent Tench but it was mostly the target species. 
A thoroughly enjoyable session watching the float until I could no longer see it.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Opening day jungle warfare and the big one that got away

The glorious 16th finally arrived and the excitement is still massive for me. I set my alarm for 3.30am but as often happens I was wide awake well before it went off, so I switched it off (before it woke the missus) and made a brew.
I headed for one of my favourite stretches of the Avon and knowing how popular it is I went for the peg as far away from the car park as possible. No one had been down that far for months probably since I last fished it and landed a 5lb Chub way back in February.  The path was overgrown and it was not possible to see a peg or a pathway to one. I am 6 foot tall and the nettles were over my head. As long as I did not fall over I would be fine and I know where the steep bit is. I got down to the waters edge and as quietly as possible made a gap in the reeds to fish through. Proper fishing!
This was my view back to the top of the bank and the pathway back to the van. I made the effort for the peace and tranquility but also the swim is faster flowing than the stretch before, and no walkers or other anglers would spook the fish from the high bank in the clear water.
The fish had not seen anglers baits for 3 months so I figured maggot and hemp would be the best to get them competing and more natural than pellet and boilie.
My primary target was Barbel but it soon became clear my approach was working for all fish, it was not specific at all. The first landed was a Gudgeon, a big one but I did not weigh it. This was followed by a succession of Chublets shaking the tip and eventually hooking themselves or chewing the maggots to empty.
It became frustrating but I knew if I waited old Barbus would come along and he did. A typical three foot twitch and I struck into a dead weight. He took a second or so to wake up but when he realised what was happening he powered towards some downstream Willow trees. I applied pressure, as much as I could but it was not enough and as soon as the line hit a snag it parted. I was gutted, opening day disaster. It felt like a good fish but all Barbel do.
The bites kept coming from the smaller fish and I was pleased to land a nice river Perch of about a pound.
A big headed but empty fish, never the less stunning. My biggest surprise of the day and probably the best fight was this baby Pike which took the double red maggot and did not bite through the line. 
All in all a good start to the new season, about 30 fish caught, Chub, Dace, Gudgeon, Perch and Pike but the edge taken off it with the lost Barbel.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Crucian Pb, Marsh Farm

This weekend I made the long arduous journey down to Surrey thinking I would nail a three, possibly four pound Crucian and be home in time for tea. Fish never read the script, do they? It turned out to be a  difficult day but I did manage one example of the species, a 1lb 7oz stunner that took a Strawberry pellet about mid morning. As I have never weighed a Crucian before it was more a case of setting a best rather than beating a previous one. I have only landed two previously and this example was definitely the biggest.
I tried every bait and everything possible to land more but they were playing hardball. However I did manage to land a small Tench, a few Rudd and several Roach, up to a pound, so there was action during the day. I missed quite a lot of bites too.
I fished with what I thought was sensitive float gear but looking back it may have been a little heavy for these shy biters, next time I can make it a lot more Crucian friendly.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Silver Bream, Willow Farm

The 2011 bloggers challenge includes a few species that are out of my comfort zone, in other words I have never seriously fished for them. I like to fish waters that hold big fish but that is probably being a bit short sighted as fun can be had fishing for smaller species and tonight was one of those evenings that proved my point.
A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through the photos on the computer and deleting the rubbish ones when I came across a photo of my daughter, Maisie with a fish she had caught on a day out with her Daddy. It looked like a Silver Bream.
Big eye, Anal fin, silvery scales etc, had I stumbled across some possible points close to home?  Tonight I decided to give it a try.
When I arrived at the puddle I had a quick chat with the two old boys already fishing and one of them had a decent Bream in the net, I explained what I was after and he pulled out his keepnet to show me what he had caught. To me it looked like several Silver Bream, including one of over a pound! plus a few very small Crucians and a Goldfish! This got me excited and keen to get fishing.
I baited up my swim with maggots before I set up to give the fish some time to find the bait. Having fished this lake previously with Maisie I knew that it was full of stunted Roach so I thought that if I loaded the shot low down then the maggots would get through to the pond bed and that would give me the chance to pick off the silvers. It worked! First cast a gudgeon, next eight fish were Bream.
The biggest weighed in at 7oz and not being an expert I have included several photos in hope that Jeff (silver Bream) Hatt can verify that they are true Siver Bream. Having studied his ramblings closely I certainly think they are.
I have included this photo so that regular readers can see I now have a new butch fishing Transit van and am not turning up at the waterside in my hairdresser's Mazda!