Thursday, 15 August 2013

Under the old Willow

The old Willow in my favourite swim has finally succumbed to the pull of gravity under the weight of this years foliage. It has had a dangerous lean on for a long time. I have sat by this old tree for more hours than I dare to add up and I am grateful to it for giving me respite from rain and snow on several occasions. I hope it is left alone to wither away naturally but no doubt someone with a chain saw will deem it necessary to remove it. At the moment it is creating a brilliant habitat for fry.
Today was yet another short morning only session before an afternoon school uniform shopping expedition for my eldest. Not a massive amount to report, but I did winkle out a few fish.
First up was a 7lb 14oz Barbel, taken on trotted meat as usual.

The swim went dead after that so I dropped into the next spot and landed a 4lb 6oz Chub.

Similarly I could not get another bite from that peg so dropped down one more and first cast in the new area saw me landing a 6lb 11oz Barbel

After that I called it a day.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

'Smashing' session

A stunning sunrise accompanied me this morning as I made my way along the banks of the Warwickshire Avon. A good start to what I hoped would be a busy day full of hard fighting Barbel. I set up leisurely, there was no need to rush as I had plenty of time unlike most of my recent sessions and when I struck into a fish on the second run through everything was going according to plan. However it was at that point that everything started to go wrong. I was just beginning to get the upper hand when the hook inexplicably pulled. I rebaited and on the fourth cast I ended up snagged up.
The two major problems with float fishing fast swims are hook pulls and snags and I had experienced both within the first couple of minutes. There was a fair bit of weed in the swim so with a decent amount of pressure it is normally easy enough to release the hook. I gave the rod some side strain, not too much or so I thought when suddenly there was a loud 'crack'. The rod had snapped in two places! What an utter disaster. I hadn't planned on fishing two rods so this was the only one I had in the van. As the river is only fifteen minutes from home I packed up as fast as I could and made my way back to get a spare. I was just leaving the car park as a couple of anglers were just arriving and I knew that my swim would now be taken.
Having picked up another rod I made the decision to try a different stretch of the river which is not as heavily fished and where there is a lovely swim perfect for trotting. I baited the run with Hemp and broken pieces of meat and within no time I was into another Barbel. All through the fight the fish felt heavy and I was just about to get my first glimpse of it when I suffered another hook pull. I am beginning to think it is time to look at alternative hooks to the ones I am currently losing.
A few more runs through and I hooked another fish and this time it did stay on right to the net.

Not quite a double but at 9lb 12oz a good fish that went some way to making up for what had transpired previously in the day.
As I was beginning to tire I changed tactic and swapped the float for a lead weight. First cast the rod hooped over and line started to fly off the bait runner. The battle was fairly short lived though and I soon netted one of the smallest Barbel I have ever caught.

An immaculate specimen and a good sign for the future of the river. That was the last of the action for the day unless you count the Kingfisher who was very busy all morning.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Barbel bonanza before breakfast

Another dawn start saw me toddling down to the Avon, this time in search of Barbel. I travelled light not even bothering to take a seat as I planned to stand in the river all morning. As usual luncheon meat was the bait but this time it was the popular (amongst anglers not sure any humans consume it!) garlic flavoured Spam. I trotted it below a two swan loafer and on the third run down I had a bite. A sluggish fight ensued and within no time at all I was slipping the net under a good fish. On the scales it scraped past the 10lb mark by a mere ounce.

An excellent start to the day and my first double of the season. I continued catching regularly after that taking a five pounder with a big paddle............

and then a six pounder................

and then followed that one with my second scraper double of the session, this time 10lb 2oz.

I remember feeling more pleased than I look!
The very next run brought another fish, this time weighing 5lb 11oz.

A quick check of my watch and it was only 8.30am. I decided it was time for a wander, tried a couple of other swims but the result was just one lost fish before I called it a day. Did see the biggest ever Duck nest though.
Not a male in sight and I don't blame them, who would want to live with nine women?!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Short trotting session

The only way to squeeze in time on the bank at the moment is to rise early, get there at first light and then back home for breakfast. Not really an issue at this time of year, apart from the lack of sleep. This was my first session for several weeks so I thought I would target just fish, sounds daft but I mean that I just wanted to catch, size was irrelevant.

I chose to fish the run off of the weirpool down at Barton on the Warwickshire Avon. An area with a good head of fish and a nice long trot. I chose to use one of the handmade avon floats mentioned in my previous post coupled with a 13 foot float rod and centre pin reel. I chose to feed hemp and casters with a single caster on the hook, a size 16 buried inside.
I caught steadily throughout the morning swinging in a succession of Roach and Dace plus a solitary gudgeon. Nothing that made me reach for the scales but a fun session with plenty of action.

For the final hour I decided to change bait, putting on a big lump of luncheon meat and letting it trundle down the same run to see if anything bigger was at home. On the third run the float dipped and I struck into something much more substantial. What ever was on the other end of my line was not happy and it used the powerful flow to it's advantage as it powered off downstream. At this time of year the river is busy with pleasure cruisers and one turned the corner just as I was playing the fish. I had no choice but to bury the tip underwater as the boat went straight over my taut line. This gave the advantage to what could only be a big Barbel and it took it. Without any control I was powerless to stop the fish ploughing through unseen weedbeds. The boat passed by, I raised the rod tip and could feel the weed. Maintaining steady pressure I began to regain control and then the hook pulled. Without the boat would I have landed the fish? Who knows but it definitely didn't help. I was gutted, it felt like a good fish. I fished on further but the action was finished for another day.