Monday, 27 August 2012

Where is everybody?

Amazing, bank holiday Monday and I had the whole river to myself, either the weather had put everyone off or they were at the angling festival in Evesham. Every year I wander down there and every year I am disappointed, the same stalls selling the same crap as the previous year. I know where I'd rather be.
The river looked perfect, a couple of inches above recent levels and with a lovely tinge of colour. I was trying a different stretch from normal that looked good for a fish or two. I started in the fast water below the weir, trotting meat down a lovely long glide as far as I could see. Nothing was forthcoming but twice in as many minutes there was a big splash from a fish above the weir. I had no choice but to give that swim a try.
I also changed tactic to a static leger approach and within an hour I had a Barbel on the bank.
This must have been the culprit of the splashing because there was no sign of anything after that.
As a last roll of the dice I dropped well downstream to a slow deeper section and although this also was quiet I did land a 5lb 7oz Bream which put up a fairly decent fight-for a Bream.
On the way home I stopped off to have a look at another popular section of the Avon and that was deserted too, not everybody could be at the festival, surely?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Brilliant Barbel Session

Following my previous success with float-fished meat I ventured down the Avon again this morning looking for a similar result. I was late getting to the river, not arriving until gone 7.30am and considering it was a lovely warm morning I was amazed to have the river to myself. Again a 2 and a half Swan loafer was employed, bulk shotted 6 inches above the hook, hair-rigged meat as bait.
First run through resulted in a familiar fish coming to the net. A four pounder with only one eye which I have now caught three times this season, he must like me!
My friend 'cyclops'
A couple more casts later and I landed another small fish, this one had eyes that made up for it's mate.
I have caught quite a few Barbel this season but have not had a single 'double', which was beginning to wind me up a bit but all that was to change, in quite spectacular fashion. I hooked a fish that felt a different class altogether, dogged deliberate fight, large tail slapping against the surface, the sight of it made my nerves jangle. Luckily everything held together and I put the net under an immaculate 11lb 9oz specimen.
11lb 9oz
My biggest Barbel for three years and I could have gone home happy right then. I am glad I didn't because the very next cast I landed another beauty, another 'eleven', this time 11lb 1oz.
Over twenty two pounds of Barbel in two casts, cloud nine now!
The swim then went quiet so I wandered downstream, trying a few swims as I went without success.
After an hour I returned to the original swim and first run through had another good fish just short of a double weighing 9lb 13oz.
I caught three more smaller fish before calling it a day, it was still only 1pm but I was shattered.
Eight Barbel for well over fifty pounds, not a bad morning's work and a great recommendation for using moving baits to catch old Barbus.

Is a static bait the best way to catch Barbel?

This week I have used up a couple of days of my few remaining days off work left in order to give my Summer barbel campaign some real momentum.
Tuesday 21st August.
Got to the Avon early and baited up the swim with Hemp in order to fish meat over the top. The swim is one of my favourites and my confidence was high. The barbel had not read the script though but it was still an enjoyable couple of hours as I was visited by a moorhen and her four chicks which came really close considering what a skittish bird they normally are.
The Kingfisher was very active getting it's breakfast, I will never grow tired of watching these beautiful creatures.
and there was also the usual Swans, Duck, Sparrows, Wrens and a noisy Thrush.
The bird life was a pleasant distraction but I soon grew tired of them and the motionless rods so decided for a change of tactic.
Out came the waders and I tackled up with a loafer, bulk shot down the line and the same hair rigged meat on the hook.
Such a good look!!
First cast and I was into a fish straight away.
Not a monster by any means but a good fighter and a blank saved. I carried on, roaming from swim to swim and finished the session with five Barbel and two Chub.
Trotting certainly outfished static on this occassion.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


A frustrating day spent fly fishing. The hottest day of the year and spooked fish led to a blank on Bushyleaze Trout lake. I tried every fly in the box, saw lots of fish but they ignored my offerings, all except a mayfly-like effort that gave me the only bite of the day-I missed it!
I still enjoyed it though, a beautiful day spent in stunning peaceful surroundings.

Fishing is a wonderful excuse!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Big Bad Bruce the Blanker

My Aussie neighbour has set off back down under but we managed a short evening session before he went to try to get him a 'Pommie' fish on the bank. This time I took him Barbel fishing, sitting in one swim, blowing the froth off a couple of 'tinnies' was much more relaxing than the previous session of lure hiking. We put two rods out, both baited up with luncheon meat over a bed of hemp, Bruce would take the left one, I the right.
The right side rod was inevitably the first one to go and I played in a 7lb 8oz Barbel.

We were happy to just get a fish on the bank so from then on the big Aussie would have both rods. As the light faded we got another bite, and Bruce was away. The fish made an unstoppable run downstream and then with Bruce applying steady pressure it started to come back towards us. It was clear it was a good fish, we could see nothing in the darkness but the fight was deliberate and tough, signs of a biggie. It was looking like Bruce was getting the upper hand when disaster struck, the fish kited across into a weed bed and became stuck solid. Steady pressure wouldn't shift it so we tried the slack line approach, nothing worked. After 10 minutes we gave it too much pressure and heard the sickening crack as the line went.
Within seconds of recasting one of the rods did a three foot twitch and Bruce was in again. This time there was no way it was getting to the reeds. Bruce piled on the pressure but sadly a bit too much pressure and the line snapped. There was time for one last bite but it was missed, the hook did not penetrate due to a snail masking the point. It was not his night and Bruce was sent home an unlucky blanker. There is always next time!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Slow start to my career as a fishing guide

Sun setting over the Warks Avon
My guiding service will have to remain cheap, free in fact until it improves significantly. This week I have had two sessions with new angling friends and both have blanked despite considerable effort on all fronts.
On Wednesday evening I met up with Jim. Jim has been fishing Stubb's Pool midweek while I have been fly fishing for Carp. He has also been after the Carp and last I week I photographed a cracking 16 pounder for him. We chatted a bit and talk turned to Barbel, he fancied a go for them having only caught one small one previously so I offered to give him a few pointers on one of my favourite stretches.I showed my rig, method and bait, let him choose which swim he wanted and told him where the fish were likely to be. I dropped in the next swim. It was fairly quiet until dusk started to fall then I had the first take and after a cracking fight I landed a small Barbel.
I thought it was much bigger until it was in the net. Twenty minutes later the rod buckled and the reel screamed and I was in again. Another great fight and another Barbel landed, this time a much better fish weighing 8lb 8oz.
8lb 8oz
Sadly that was all the action, an enjoyable session but a shame that it was a blank for Jim.

Session Two

My next door neighbours have an eldest son who has lived in Australia for the last 28+years, since he was 18 years old. He was born in England but speaks with a broad Aussie accent. His name is Bruce!!-brilliant!
A keen fisherman Bruce so we met in the pub last week and arranged a day out on the Avon. I figured that a day spent behind motionless rods probably wouldn't be his bag so we decided to lure fish for Pike.
Big Bruce 

Friday was clear and sunny and I knew it would be tricky but I thought we would catch something, we blanked. Miles of riverbank were trodden in search of old Esox, every lure in the box was cast but we ended with a couple of follows from small Perch and that was it.
Strewth-being a fishing guide is harder than I first thought!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

New lure- instant success

I spent Wednesday evening down by the river playing with some new toys that I have recently acquired, some big Pike flies.....
and some fancy new plugs......
These are pretty impressive pieces of kit. They were probably designed with Bass in mind and I am itching to cast them into the sea. Three ball bearings rattle in the 'belly' and you can just about see the red oil that rocks around the inner chamber looking blood-like! They have a lovely action and fish just below the surface on the retrieve.
I cast it out downstream and mid river and as I started to turn the reel handle it got nailed.
A Jack had taken an instant liking to the lure. Not a monster but I was pleased. I fished on for about an hour, exploring this quiet stretch of river, had one more attack on the lure but the Pike missed it before the heavens opened yet again and I decided to retire to the pub.
I am bored of this weather now!!