Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Pair of Fives

Today was my final opportunity for a running water session before the season closes for three months so there was no way I would pass it up. My preference would have been to target Barbel but the low overnight temperatures convinced me that Chub would be a safer option so armed with luncheon meat and my favourite Chub bait, cheese paste I fought my way through the fog to a familiar stretch of the Warwickshire Avon.
My preferred trotting method was made impossible in the gloom, the float was just not visible for long enough to make it worthwhile so a change to legering was necessitated.
The first two swims I fished yielded nothing, not even a twitch but the third produced a bite almost instantly, unfortunately I missed it as I was reading a text. Thankfully it didn't take long before I had another opportunity and this time I struck into a fish which screamed off downstream instantly. Initially I thought Barbel but the fight soon became a lot easier and I knew it was Chub. A big open mouth came over the net cord and I could see it was a good fish.
The Warwickshire Avon has a healthy population of Chub and their average weight is definitely on the increase. Having said that a five is still a good fish for this river so I was pleased to start the day with a five pound nine ounce specimen. A long youthful looking fish that definitely one day will be over that magic six pound mark, I really hope to renew acquaintance with it then.

5lb 9oz
Normally when I use cheese paste as bait I mould it around the hook but today I decided to experiment with hair rigging it. The former seems to me to be the better option as a succession of twitches, pulls and missed strikes continued throughout the morning which became frustrating.

Eventually one bite materialised into a hook up and after a vivacious battle I landed a rather sorry looking Chub. This one had been through the mill (possible literally) and had a nasty looking growth on the side of it's gill. It was also very lean and clearly not doing well. I didn't stress it further with a weigh in, just took a quick photo and returned it to the water.

A screaming bait runner signalled a third fish hooked and after a spirited effort I had another fish in the net. Not as long as the first and with a slight hump to its dorsal it was clearly a five due to the big belly it boasted. The scales confirmed my initial thoughts as the went down to 5lb 6oz. I was more than pleased with a brace of fives in the same session, it would have been unheard of only a few years ago.

The sun finally burnt off the mist and with that the action died off too.

Spring is nearly here and I have already started thinking about Tench and other species to target over the next few months, cannot wait.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Too Many Fishermen Spoils My Day

Less than a week to go now until the end of the season, sods law that the rivers are looking the best that they have done for months. The Warwickshire Avon still has a foot or so more than normal levels but the colour is dropping out of it and will continue to do so (if the forecast is to be believed!). I felt confident of catching today and unusually was setting my stall out for two different species, Pike in the morning and Chub in the afternoon when conditions had brightened up.
Two rods were set up for the Pike, one with a small Roach as bait and the other had a Herring on it. It was a slow start but I was entertained by three Roe Deer cautiously feeding in the field opposite. Sadly they were too far away to get a decent photo. I remained silent in the hope they would venture closer but they took flight when a couple more anglers noisily trudged along the bank.
Eventually I had a run on the Herring. A small Jack had taken the bait, not it's mother as I had hoped for. The Jack had seen better days battered and bruised and with only one pectoral fin. Hence I only got a head shot.

The rest of the morning played out with little incident but what was noticeable was how many anglers were out making the most of the pleasant weather. A lot of them were lure anglers roaming up and down the banks, quite annoying when they cast everywhere including my swim. They certainly deserved the few choice words they got, not sure they understood English though!
After lunch I moved swims in the hope of finding a bit peace and solitude. I found a deserted section and baited up a run that was slightly downstream and across from the peg where I actually sat. It looked the part for a Chub, overhanging branches covered in flood debris creating a raft of cover over the Chub's heads. Just what they like.
Within an hour an ignorant bloke plonked himself in the next peg down and proceeded to fish the same area I had baited. There was no courtesy of 'alright if I fish here mate?' or 'whereabouts are you fishing?' Some people eh!
After that my heart wasn't in it so I went home and did all the Sunday jobs a day early-brownie points galore from 'er indoors! Maybe enough to get one last session in before the end of the season? We'll see.

It'll soon be spring and we will be treated to lots more of these stunning sunsets.