Thursday, 29 November 2012

Getting cold but dry at least!

When I woke this morning I had a feeling it was going to be a tough day by the waterside. The rain has finally ceased (for now) and the river is back in it's banks, well most of it is. I hadn't planned on tackling running water, still far too much dirty brown water in there for my liking so I headed off to a favourite local still water of mine in the hope of a big Perch. There had been a sharp drop in temperature overnight and the forecast was for bright and cold conditions all day, not ideal for Perch but I still had an air of enthusiastic optimism about me.
The plan of attack was to fish Prawn in the edge baiting regularly with mashed Prawn and red maggot.
The fish were having none of it. This lake is stream fed so has had and is still getting lots of water in it, freezing cold water this morning. The fish were keeping their mouths shut. Still it was a lovely day to be outdoors. I had started the session fishing for big Perch, three hours later I was just fishing for bites. A change of area and a change to maggots brought me fish. The float would twitch, wiggle and just about go under, the were being finicky due to the conditions. I finished the day with a few very small Perch.....
and a few slightly bigger Roach.
As the sun went behind the trees my feet started to feel a bit icy so I packed away, satisfied to have avoided the blank and caught a few fish.
Click here to see a summer session at Hailes

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Gravel Pit Piking

Beyond the fence is the field where on an August bank holiday weekend there will be hundreds of anglers milling about the fishing stalls trying to pick up a bargain or two. At the moment it is under about seven feet of dirty floodwater. 
This morning I headed off to Linear to attempt to catch a gravel pit Pike, something I have never done before (by design). Three years ago I landed a Pike out of St Johns lake on a boilie! This time I took dead baits.
The forecast rain was not due until late morning so at least I could set up in the dry. Oxfordshire has not managed to avoid the rain therefore the banks were sodden and the pegs were actually in danger of disappearing under water.
I put three rods out, two in the margins to either side and the other straight out beyond the weed line. To say it was quiet was an understatement, not even a bleep, and then mid morning the rain started. 
And it did not let up. The rods continued in silence so to alleviate the boredom I played around with the camera.
I took photos of the rain on top of the brolly...

the rain from under the brolly....

and anything that flew by.

Around lunch time the bailiff came to inform me they were closing the whole complex at 3pm as a precaution for the flooding, I think it was unnecessary but I had had enough so didn't mind.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I'm thinking stillwater this weekend!

The Warwickshire Avon in the centre of Evesham having burst it's banks already and another deluge forecast. Getting home should be interesting and I think it may be a couple of weeks before I cast line here again.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Chub on the Cheese

The last of the leaves are falling from the trees and Winter is almost upon us. Today the river looked perfect, about a foot above normal, a nice tinge of brown coloration to the water and not too much debris floating along. I felt confident of catching especially as I was setting my stall out for Chub, not the most difficult of target in these conditions.
Chub love cheese paste, especially old smelly cheese paste and mine smelled terrible being a batch I made last year that had been in and out of the freezer several times. The rig I set up was a simple running ledger to a 4lb hooklink and a size 10 paste hook. Although it was not a warm day the temperature was still quite good for this time of year. Great from an angling perspective but it played havoc with the cheese, it was too soft because it was warm and therefore difficult to keep on the hook. If it did stay on for the cast then there was the mental uncertainty of "is the bait still on the hook?" or am I wasting my time. I worked out that by dipping the paste into the water for 20 seconds before casting it would stay on until it was eaten or I reeled in, pulling the hook through it.
Hitting Chub bites can be a frustrating game, they rattle the tip, they pluck it, they shake it and sometimes they actual show a bite that you can strike at and hit. I had six of those in total, landing five fish up to 4lb 4oz. No 'five pounder' that I would have liked or 'six pounder' that I dream about from the Avon but a good few hours sport.

click here to see my cheese paste recipe

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Leaf me alone

Perch were the target of this weeks 'sesh' and Willow Farm the venue. I have caught two pounders from here in the past but there are rumours locally of much bigger fish occasionally landed by pleasure anglers fishing for bites. Fifty Lobworms and two bags of Prawns would be bait. I had a plan.
I set up two float rods carefully plumbing the marginal shelf so I would fish at the bottom of the drop off feeding mashed Prawn, cut up Lobworm and red maggots steadily throughout the day to attract the Stripy Sergeants. There was just one aspect I had not counted on, the late fall of Autumn leaves. There were literally thousands of them coming off the various types of Willow that line the edges of this lake.
There was only a gentle to light breeze but it was constantly changing direction. The leaves would blow in, blow across and then out again in a never ending cycle. I kept adjusting the float position and it would be ok for a few minutes and then the leaves would attack it and again and again I would have to move the float.
It took me about two hours to get one bite, the first fish falling for a Prawn. It powered off. At first I thought I was attached to a giant Perch but the fight continued too long and soon I realised a Carp was the culprit. I was just beginning to get control on the light gear when the hook pulled.
The commotion killed the swim and it took another couple of hours before any more signs of life. Next bite came to the worm but I bounced the fish off on the strike, the worm had masked the hook point. Between the worms and the leaves I was starting to think I was staring a blank in the face when the float sailed off while the worm was on the drop and I hooked a fish. It was not the target species but there was an air of relief when I netted a decent Roach. It was an old fish, only one eye and one pectoral fin, I almost felt sorry for it so I took a quick photo of it's best side and put it straight back.
That was the end of the action for another week, a familiar pattern is beginning to emerge to my sessions, nearly blanking with a late fish saving the day. Need to try harder.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Trip 'oop North'

This weekend the wife and I took the kids to visit the old folks in Yorkshire but I still found room in the schedule for a fishing session and also room in the boot for some fly gear. Last year I had had a successful session at Bellflask lake so I decided to revisit the former gravel pit for another bash. Upon arrival I sought out the owner to pay. He informed me that the fishery was closed due to the gravel track leading up to the fishery having some work done to it and also normally he only takes telephone bookings. Having said that he would still let me fish this time 'but dan't fell in thare lad, nay'un to rescue ya, ya got t'hole lake to theeself'-result! I quizzed him about the Pike I had heard about that roam the crystal clear depths and could I have a go for them but only he is allowed to fish for them, the biggest he has had weighed 43lb! Going to have to keep working on him for some of that!
I started out on the spit, the old roadway for the gravel trucks that used to remove the Yorkshire stone, this is central to the lake and gives a large area to fish. Lures were to be my first line of attack and I had the occasional follow but only one take where the hook pulled. The sun dipped in and out of the clouds and a breeze started to pick up so I decided on a move into the sheltered bay opposite. I persevered with the lures trying Ugly Buggers, Dancers, Critters, Lead Bugs and Humungus Whites but the Trout were being lazy, sometimes following slowly but never taking. It was beginning to get frustrating. A change of plan was required.
The odd fish was topping but there was little fly life. I looked for what they could be eating and the only thing creature I could find was tiny white midges. Having searched through my box I picked out a small white dry fly, a grey duster I think. On it went. First cast and I missed a take, then nothing. After about half an hour I put the rod down, reached for my box and suddenly the line tightened catching me totally by surprise. Panic set in when I realised the trailing line was round my boot, I slackened off, untangled myself and pulled tight, luckily the fish was still on. In the clear water the hard fighting Trout gave me a nervous runaround but finally it slid over the net and the blank was avoided.
A full tailed plump Rainbow of about 2lb, shame I did not see the take!
I was on a three fish ticket but at bellflask you can practice catch and release so I did,  plenty of Trout in the freezer anyway.
I fished on, found a shoal of Perch but could not tempt them to take a fly before it was home time.