Friday, 24 January 2014

Found: One Raft

The river level had been falling all week but it was still two foot higher than normal when I arrived for a short session today. Recent frosts and cold nights had put paid to any chance of old Barbus showing up so the target had to be Chub. In the coffee coloured water the fish would need their sense of smell to find any food therefore bait had to be malodorous cheese paste.
In the above swim the main strength of flow comes across from right to left along the far bank. The boat channel and therefore deeper water is along the left hand side. I figured the fish would be there taking it easy under the left hand willow and I was not wrong.
A few lumps of paste were chucked in to arouse the fishes senses whilst I set up. I bait sparingly with cheese, it is very filling and I don't want the fish full before they find my bait!
First cast resulted in a tentative twitch but when I struck there was that magic tail kick and fish on. The battle was easily won and I slipped the net under a 4lb 5oz Chub. A good start.
Two more smaller fish followed in quick succession before I decided to go for a wander.
It was probably a mistake as I blanked in the next three swims and so I then went back to the original spot but I failed there too. Perhaps an opportunity missed or maybe not, will never know!
By the way has anyone lost a raft??

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Lenches Lake Trout Fishing

Top lake catching the sun
With limited time available and the local Warwickshire Avon still out of sorts my best option to get a fishing fix was to grab a fly rod and head down to the Lenches Trout lakes. The Lenches is a pair of crystal clear spring fed lakes complimented by a stunning Scandinavian club house where the proprietor serves up free tea and coffee plus bacon sarnies at a small cost. It is packed full of photos and tackle and has a unique character of it's own, a civilised place to begin a fishing session.
My 'go to' fly for Winter stillwater fishing is a homemade gold headed red lure with a marabou tail and today once again it did not let me down. First cast I felt a touch but the fish must have grabbed the tail, third cast and I hooked into a small Rainbow. It put up a spirited fight on the light gear but I won the battle and netted a near 2lber.

Winning fly on the rod handle
My lack of confidence meant I only bought a three fish ticket and in just over an hour I had filled my card, the killer fly accounting for all three, the second fish even taking the fly on the drop. "It's too easy" I told the chap back in the clubhouse. We chatted about all things fishing over a complimentary coffee and I decided to up my ticket to six fish, it was far too early to go home yet.
I changed fly to a cat's whisker to make it more of a challenge and it worked, no bites, just one follow that ended in a refusal. The clouds dissipated as well which did not help.

A better day than forecast
After a fruitless hour the fish seemed to suddenly switch back on and two more were netted in quick succession both around the two pound mark. Time was marching on and I was just beginning to think of packing up when the line tightened and I struck into a very angry fish. It set off on a run unlike all the others stripping the fly line almost to the backing before I managed to turn it. Without me knowing a knot had formed in the fly line at my feet which luckily slipped through the rings and from then on I had to play the fish at distance trying to avoid it making other runs against the knot and risking a snap off. Eventually I started to gain the upper hand and pulled the knot back carefully through the rings and  down to my feet, thereafter making sure that it stayed there no matter what the fish did. With an aching shoulder I finally landed the best of the day weighing over three pounds.

Ticket filled for the second time that day and it was home time. Fishing 'itch' satisfied for another week but still desperate to get back on the rivers if only it would stop raining!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Puddle Perching

My first session of the New Year had to be in stillwater as the rivers were still raging torrents but they do look more fishable by the day. My target was big Perch and there are large ones rumoured to abound this local water. In previous years I have landed 'twos' but the bigger ones have eluded me, so far.
There is also a good head of Roach in this water so after I had set up a couple of Perch sleeper rods I float fished maggot to stave off boredom and the action was non stop. Nothing landed over half a pound but I enjoyed it none the less.

After a couple of hours tiddler bashing I concentrated solely on the Perch and I felt confident of landing some but a phone call cut the session short before the magic hour of dusk had arrived. The Perch record stands for another week at least!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013 Review, 2014 Plans.

Another year has flown by and whilst fishing will never take a back seat in my life there has been occasion when it has been a struggle to fit it in as much as I would like. In fact I did well to fish as much as I did as 2013 saw us finally get planning permission to start to build our dream house(estimated completion March) as well as the birth of our third child, Grace Josephine. My wife is very understanding though but she will never completely understand my angling addiction.
This year has not been easy on the fishing front but there have been some good days and five new personal bests landed, mostly Game fish.

2013 Review


I started the year pretty much where 2012 finished, landing double figure Rainbow Trout and teaching myself how to tie flies.

My first pb of the year was this battered old Chub weighing 5lb 12oz. A real old warrior that would have been a 'six' a few years ago but it made a difficult cold day bearable. It fell for my favourite Chub bait cheese paste and was the only fish of the session.


A tough month, cold and wet and my results reflected that, a few Dace and Chub landed but nothing special.

March and April

Another couple of tough months, I caught Roach, Rudd, Carp, Perch and Trout but again not worth writing home about.


At last the weather changed, I took the kids out for some fun fishing and my Tench campaign started for the year.

I also landed a surprise 13lb Pike while Tench fishing, it took a liking to my worm hookbait and luckily did not bite through the 8lb hooklength and amazingly the size 14 hook held firm as it thrashed and tail-walked around the swim.


The Tench campaign continued and included the best of the year weighing 8lb 13oz.

My focus changed to Barbel but also included the inevitable Chub but they are not a nuisance when they include a new pb, so nearly a 'six' but just short at 5lb 15oz.

I also enjoyed a venture down to Avington Trout fishery where I met up with an old friend I had not fished with for over 20 years, the Trout were stunning, scenery spectacular, ticket costly!


More Barbel fishing but also my third five pound Chub of the year. On some rivers you could expect 'fives' fairly regularly but they are rare locally to me so I was pleased with the hat-trick.


Concentrated mainly on Barbel landing a couple of doubles in amongst several fish.


A month of exclusive predator fishing starting with a fifty pound plus Blue Shark and finishing with a 3lb 2oz Perch from the river, my favourite capture of the year.


Favourite session in October was a trip to the Wye catching Trout, Chub and Barbel. A stunning river that I hope to explore a lot more of in 2014.


An adventurous month where the only line I cast was into the Hampshire chalkstreams, the Test and the Itchen. Landed lots of Trout, Grayling and Sea Trout including personal best Brown Trout and Sea Trout.


The highlight was another long distance Grayling trip which finished the year on a high, a 2lb 1oz Grayling being the last fish of 2013.

2014 Plans and Targets

Monotonously I am still chasing a double figure Tench and come the spring that will figure highly in my fishing. A twenty pound Pike is another long term ambition that I will also try to satisfy. My Piking has been neglected over the last couple of years.
I can see the fly rods getting a lot of use this year also and more coarse fish targeted that way.

Happy New Year to one and all, tight lines and screeching reels!!!