Friday, 25 July 2014

Roving and Stalking

Morning Session

Fladbury Mill and Weir
It was already baking hot when I got to the river this morning, not ideal conditions but angling is all about opportunities and making the most of the conditions. Put a bait in the right place and the fish will generally accept the offering so with that in mind I donned the waders and proceeded to trot some luncheon meat in a swim that can only be fished from in the water.
I would love to say it was easy but it wasn't however eventually I hooked up and had a terrific scrap from a part-tailed 8lb 6oz specimen.
8lb 6oz
An instantly recognisable fish should it grace the bank again.
I decided it would be a case of catch a fish and move on to the next spot plus I needed to get out of the sweaty waders, they were beginning to get a bit wiffy!
The next swim proved fruitless but the third one gave me an instant bite, a small Chub that was no match for Barbel tackle. Interestingly it still had spawning tubercles which is late in the season, unless they are having another go?!

There wasn't long to wait before the rod hooped over again and this time I enjoyed a feisty battle from a small five pound Barbel.....

Easy does it.....

Steady on............!

Now you're mine

An Afternoon Stalking
With the sun now burning away at its highest point of the day I gave up on the river . The kids had gone to the cinema with Gran so not being one to look a gift horse etc I decided to have a look at Stubb's pool on the way home. 
Stubb's pool in it's heyday was a great place for a spot of Carping, plenty of doubles and twenties and also rumoured to hold a couple of thirties. Nowadays it is just a shadow of that former self, the great flood of 2007 ripped away most of its stock and subsequent floods have not helped the situation either. It is just far too close to the river. My mate Jim had been quite damning about the place recently so I wandered down there fearing the worst. 
In the end I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. Quite a number of flood survivors were sunning themselves around the lake and the banks were well overgrown telling me they had seen few visitors of late.

Armed with a bucket of dog biscuits I walked the perimeter baiting various spots to try and get the fish going. They took only a slight interest in the free floaters but that was enough encouragement for me and I set about trying to tempt one.
It proved to be quite difficult. Having only a few competitors the fish are choosy and quite skittish not being used to human presence. Still preferable to a massively overstocked puddle.
I was just about to move pegs when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a nice ghost carp sidling along the island margin. The cast made was near perfect more out of luck than judgement and the Carp made a beeline straight for the bait, I couldn't believe my luck when the floater disappeared and the hook found purchase in the Carp's mouth!
It came across the lake reasonably easily but once it was under the rod tip it played merry hell. For a good ten minutes all I could think about was how small the size 12 hook was in its mouth but thankfully it held firm and eventually I slipped the net under what was obviously my biggest and best looking Ghost Carp ever.

12lb 13oz

Stunning whichever way you look at it

A quick photo shoot and she was away back into her watery home and I went back to mine to cool off and down a cold beer.

Back she goes 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

One Opportunity-Missed

Tonight was definitely a case of the one that got away as the title suggests. My face dropped as I pulled into the car park on a granted popular stretch of the Avon, mine was the tenth car to arrive! I wandered upstream to where Martin had set his stall out opposite a tempting run of overhanging willows.
A brief chat and a mooch about and I dropped in three pegs below him. Despite the amount of cars there was still plenty of choice as five anglers were all blanking around the weir pool. I baited the swim liberally with hemp and pellet and settled in for the waiting game

It was slow to say the least with the magnificent summer possibly to blame but as usual I played with the camera and was entertained by the ample variety of wildlife. The damselflies were particularly active flitting and dancing around each other in the fading light. Also the Kingfisher was extremely busy flying up and down and up and down, catching fish and then returning them to an extremely well hidden nest. I tried to get it to pose for a photo but they are way too fast!

When the sun had set and the light had all but faded I finally got the bite I was waiting for. The rod instantly bent double, almost leaping from the rest and it was fish on. I slowed down the initial run only to have it make another equally determined bid for freedom and this time the Barbel got its wish. That gut wrenching moment when the carbon straightens out is heart-breaking to any angler. It happens to us all and the pain never gets any easier to bear. The only consolation I have is that I don't think it was a big fish, the run from a monster is generally more deliberate but of course I will never truly know.
You win this time Mr Barbel but I will be back for revenge!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Short Sunday Session

Time is once again of the essence at the moment so another short early morning session on a local stretch of the Avon is all that could be afforded. With my recent success on pellet I continued in that vain and within twenty minutes had a screaming run on the downstream rod. A super battle ended with my victory and I was pleased to land an 8lb 7oz Barbel that was in top condition.

I thought that it might be the prelude to a bumper session but it did not prevail. I managed one more small Barbel before having call it a day.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Pellet Deviation

The mainstay of my Barbel attack over the past couple of seasons has been luncheon meat on the hook and trotting gear but I felt I was getting into a rut and on a whim I purchased a couple of bags of pellets from the local tackle shop. I think seeing a lot of recent captures coming to a pellet approach had made me think it might make a nice change to sit back, chill out and have an easy session for a change. No waders and standing in the river for hours. Turned out to be a excellent decision.
As always the local Warwickshire Avon was the venue of choice, well it is on my doorstep and it does contain an excellent stock of hard fighting Barbel.
Upon arrival I went for a wander to see what swims were available and got chatting to the bloke on the island peg. I know it is 'good to talk' but this bloke wouldn't let me go, he could natter for England and I also helped him land a small Barbel while he was gabbing on.
Eventually I got away and was just unloading my gear from the car itching to wet a line when the bloke in the swim next to the car park landed an eleven pounder. He shouted across for some assistance which I couldn't refuse and it was well over an hour after my arrival when I finally started setting up!
It didn't matter though it was still well before witching hour.
Two rods were ultimately cast out, pellet on the downstream one and Luncheon meat just above. Obviously I didn't have total confidence in pellet as a hook bait but I think my mind may be now changed on that score.

First cast and in no time at all the pellet rod did that big twitchy thing and after a spirited battle I slipped the net under a 6 pound fish. A reasonable start.

A half hour or so later and the pellet rod signalled another bite, this time the fish kited across stream instead of flying down so I knew that a Chub was the culprit. It was no match for the stout Barbel tackle and I netted it easily, probably weighing about three pound.
A period of inactivity followed until the sun had totally dropped below the horizon then the pellet rod screamed off for a third time and I knew this was the fish I had hoped for. It ran and ran and ran leaving me helpless against its power in the strong current. Gradually it started coming towards me and at first glance I thought this is a good fish. The usual prayers for a strong hook hold were answered and after a few hair raising thrashes in front of the net it was mine. I lifted the net to see a solid stunning Barbel and knew straight away it was a double. I was even more elated when the scales registered 12lb 6oz. The pellet rod had completely out fished the meat by a resounding three to nil.

The nice chap in the next peg helped me out with photographs but he also wanted to chat away but this time I was in no rush to fish, in fact I didn't even bother recasting. I just packed up and went home to bore the misses with my evenings tale.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Exploring the Upper Avon

The upper Warwickshire Avon in it's more intimate and diminutive form is a stunning waterway winding it's way through it's namesake county and boasting more natural bank sides that are not manicured for comfortable angling. Today Martin took me to one such stretch where knowing the time was never a problem as the church constantly reminded us.
Our tactics were in complete contrast. I fancied a day trotting catching anything that came along, lots of action without discrimination of any species. Martin would bait, wait and try to nail some of the stretches famed big Chub. An equally relaxing style but quite specific.

The run I chose screamed Dace with a chance of Chub. A pacy near bank run that flowed under a fallen willow. I fed maggot and hemp and caught right from the off. Dace followed Dace followed Roach followed Chublet with a few Bleak and Gudgeon thrown in for good measure. I soon built up a steady rhythm of nearly a fish a chuck and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

No monsters but some decent size Dace among them. Somewhere in this river there are some monster Dace but as yet I haven't found them, I will keep searching though.
Lunchtime came and went and I decided to explore some more of the stretch. I found a slower glide and chose to freeline some rolling meat along some overhanging willows. In no time at all I hooked into a decent Chub.

Meanwhile Martin's tactics had come to fruition and he landed four decent Chub. The biggest was this 4lb 5oz specimen which he backed up by a trio of 'threes'.

Mid afternoon and the sweaty waders came off and we retired to the pub for cold liquid refreshments.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A Face only a Mother Could Love

Float fishing for Barbel in fast water is a hazardous occupation fraught with danger from unseen snags and potential hook pulls and with this in mind I treated myself with a new weapon for this season in the shape of the above rod. Slightly longer than my previous Barbel rods giving that all important further reach required to control a Chubber float in turbulent swims. It also has a lot more backbone helping me bully powerful fish away from snags. but with enough give in the tip to make the fight still a pleasure. As you can probably tell I am more than pleased with it.

Sadly it did not get used to it's full capacity in my latest Summer session as the Barbel were just not where I would expect them to be, probably too early in the season and they are recovering from their spawning exertions in slower more leisurely paced water.
I worked hard and managed to avoid a blank with a solitary Chub but it was not pretty, this beggar will not be a chooser though.
A face for radio??
As always it was a pleasure to be out made even better when the sun turned the trees golden and the sky brilliant amber.