Wednesday, 30 December 2015

It's Lovely Down South

With the amount of water around at the moment and hurricane Frank violently battering us,(it took the roof off the kid's playhouse this afternoon-another job for the New Year!) it was amazing that yesterday we were treated to bright blue skies and some sorely missed sunshine. We had to head way down south to find it though.
Our target was Roach and Dace, not the incessant procession of Trout that found our maggots irresistible.

By moving about the river I did find some Dace up to 8oz which were good fun but the Roach were nowhere to be seen.

We carried on into darkness in the vain hope that they might show but they continued to elude us. Scant reward for a tough round trip of over six hours but that won't deter us from returning.

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Avon and the Car: Update

I half-heartedly cast a line yesterday into a rapidly rising Warwickshire Avon. Thankfully it doesn't look likely to break its banks this time unlike virtually every river in the north of England. My heart goes out to those unfortunate folk who will have a pretty miserable start to 2016.

I didn't expect much action but I wasn't there to empty the place, just an excuse to get out and walk the dog really.

The amount of crap being washed downstream was amazing but made the fishing doubly difficult. On the plus side when the water does recede the river bed will be a lot clearer. 

Car update: It is still there but probably not for much longer if the river keeps rising. Latest word bank-side is that someone lent it to their friend and the chap that abandoned it has not been seen since! It is not fully insured, only third party and the owner hasn't got any money so cannot get it retrieved. Both the police and environment agency were informed over eight weeks ago. The Avon Navigation Trust won't do anything about it but My betting is that will change when it slides into the river and is sat right in the boat lane entrance to the lock.


Sunday, 20 December 2015

A Good Move

The initial intention was to fish for Barbel and I set up in the same swim as last week. Conditions looked great, the river was about a foot above normal, had a nice colour to it and the temperature of late has been exceptionally mild for the time of year. Feel a 'but' coming along? As is often the case the Barbel hadn't read the script. After over an hour with no activity, not even a slight twitch I decided a change of tack was required. 
I like to always have a plan B in place as my fishing time is precious and never to be wasted. I grabbed some cheese paste and a pack of Roach dead baits and wandered down below the weir. Dead bait in the margin, cheese out in the flow and finally got some action. A brace of Chub landed both around the three and a half pound mark. Cracking battles in the snaggy swim.
Only one bite to the dead baits but a really pleasing stunning Pike of 11lb 3oz. The move was well worth it.

Struggled to get the focus right on the self-take but rescued what I could on the computer.
The car is still there and getting closer to the river!!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

December Surprises

When I made my first cast this morning there was more hope than expectation. Over night temperatures were hovering around 5 degrees centigrade and the river level was on the rise. I decided to play it safe fishing two rods, a 'sleeping' Pike bait chucked along the margin and maggot feeder deployed towards the far bank willows. I settled back preparing to build a swim hoping to nail a few Roach, Dace and maybe the odd bonus.
My coffee flew everywhere when the rod tip almost immediately jumped in the rest, bent down towards the water and just kept on going in a manner that could only be produced by an angry Barbel.  The anti reverse was clicked off just in time to allow the fish some line and the battle commenced. What was obviously a reasonable fish used the strong flow to its full advantage and the 3lb hook-link rendered me fairly helpless to do anything but hang on. Gently and carefully I coaxed the fish back upstream and with an aching arm I breathed a sigh of relief as it slid into the net. A short immaculate specimen that was as fat as butter. Curiosity got the better of me and I put it on the scales, 8lb 6oz.

I thought to myself that it was a one off and so stuck with the light hook-link and size 16 hook but it turned out to be a mistake. It didn't take long before another Barbel was hooked but this time the fish found a snag and with it its freedom.
Hint taken I tied on a new hook but this time using eight pound line. Surprisingly the Barbel were really having it and in no time at all I was attached to another. With more power at my disposal the battle was short-lived and soon enough I was slipping the net under another fat Barbel, this time weighing in at 9lb 6oz.

Normally I would have made the effort to take a decent photo but with a sloppy sliding bank side and a dodgy knee I settled for another 'net' shot rather than risking more damage to my painful joint.
Having never caught a Barbel in December before (I don't see the point in trying) I was made up with the mornings fishing so far. It didn't last though and following a quiet spell the maggot bait was swapped for cheese paste. The air temperature had noticeably fallen and felt much more 'Chubby'. The change of tack worked and a brace of Chub were landed, weirdly both weighed exactly the same, 3lb 12oz.

In between I also managed to land a small Jack Pike to round off a pretty good Winters day by the river.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Morrisons beats Tesco

The conditions were perfect for a days Perch fishing, little windier than I would have liked but dull and overcast for the whole day. 

Armed with plenty of prawns I headed to one of my favourite commercial puddles and deployed the bait under super-sensitive floats. The first couple of hours were frustrating to say the least as the floats dipped and rose, Any strikes were met with fresh air. I thought the culprits were small fish nibbling at the large bait until eventually I swung in an angry little crayfish with a lump of Prawn in its mouth and a size eight hook in its leg.

All morning I had been using Tesco finest prawns and didn't have a fish to show for them. I changed to Morrisons fresh farm prawns and had an instant result. Strange that the fish had a definite preference or was it that they just switched on at that exact time? 
Sadly not the Perch that I craved but at least the rod had had a bend in it from a pretty little F1.

Almost instantly another Carp fell for the bait, this time a Common.

Then finally the target species showed up, the first of four landed in total and the first one ended up being the biggest, weighing two pound on the nose. A decent fish but they grow a lot bigger in there.

I lost count of the number of Carp that gate-crashed the party, they were good fun on light tackle though.

Not an easy self take!!

Tazzy got bored and proved that she is crap at hide and seek.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Chub on the Cheese

The recent drop in temperatures had me reaching into the freezer for some home made cheese paste and I headed off down the Warwickshire Avon in search of some big Chub. My target every Winter is to break the six pound mark (my pb being just short of that). A tall order on the river locally with the majority of the fish weighing three or four pounds and a five being a good fish. I know I could venture further afield to give myself more chance of hitting the target but the satisfaction would not be the same so I'll stay local until I crack it.

I love Winter fishing for the solitude. My only company on the whole stretch was a pair of nearly fully grown cygnets and the now common Kingfisher. Call me a miserable Yorkshireman but I go fishing to get away from people(apart from a few fishy buddies), not to be sociable with strangers.

Miserable Yorkshireman!!
 The fish were finicky but I did manage to land three Chub, all peas in a pod and all weighing virtually the same, just short of the four pound mark. Good sport as always in the conditions.

Still miserable!!
P.S The car is still there!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Marlcliff Moron


There are far too many idiots in this world and sadly fishing has it's fair share. I didn't believe it when Andy told me that someone had driven past the weir at Marlcliff and down to the first peg on the lower meadow but today I saw the evidence with my own eyes. For anyone that doesn't know this stretch of the river there is a car park about two hundred yards upstream for BAA members. There is a lower unofficial car park down by the weir that is not supposed to be used as it is owned by British Waterways but some do. This guy(presuming no woman is this stupid) has driven through that car park across the grass, round the lock arms up a path that is slippy as anything even in summer, around the bend and turned right down to the peg. How he has not ended up in the river I do not know as this is a slippy peg! His car has been there for over a week and I can't see it being shifted for some time to come. 'What an idiot!!'.

Anyway I didn't just go down there to see the car (although a bit of me did!). I had a go at some fishing too. Torrential rain in bursts, gale force winds from storm Barney and a lack of action meant I didn't stay long. For once I think the dog was fed up before me. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Windy Mullet Battling

This weekend I managed to get a pass out for a full days fishing. Initially the plan was to fish the river Frome but the gale force winds predicted meant that exposed river fishing was not going to be possible. Instead we decided to head for a bit of Mullet fishing in a (relatively) sheltered marina. The wind was still blowing a hooly but certain spots were just about fishable. I headed straight for the steps to be able to get low to the water meaning I was just able to control a float. Bread flake on the hook and three loaves that had been mullered in the blender to use as ground bait. 

 Two hours of inactivity to begin with before a slight twitch on the float had me alert, poised and ready. Next cast and the float slid under with real ferocity and I connected to a fish. The fight was very different to my previous battles with Mullet. There was no rushing around all over the place but instead powerful surges and deliberate lunges for freedom. I did the usual prayers when connected to a good fish, 'stay on, stay on' I repeated over and over again and when I got my first glimpse my heart rate quickened considerably. With the net dipped in the water it made what I hoped was its last lunge and indeed it was as it swam straight into the net. A stroke of luck but one I was happy to take.

Weighing 4lb 11oz it easily beat my previous pb and after collaring an elderly lady passing by to take the trophy shots, which she didn't do a bad job of,  I phoned my Mullet-mad mate Andy to tell him the good news. He was having a good day himself with six fish landed and our other companion Phil had also caught. They were having it!

 Strangely though as is often the case with fishing all of a sudden they just switched off. All three of us were left scratching our heads as to why but at least I had a little bit more excitement watching a forensic team board the boat opposite. I tried to earwig what they were saying but to no avail. I googled but still have no idea what had occurred.

The wind finally got the better of us mid-afternoon and we beat a hasty retreat back to the Midlands.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Avon Piking

A rare occurrence took place today, the sun came out, accompanied by a slither of blue sky. Albeit brief it was enough to have me scrabbling for the camera to record such a rarity of late. The unusual event took place during a short afternoon Piking session that I treated myself to on the back of a couple of weeks that has seen the new business venture progressing nicely. 
Two rods were deployed, one with a small Roach dead bait along the nearside margin and the other with large sea-baits thrown across river into a fishy looking slack. First off was a smelt that remained untouched for a half hour. I changed it over to a Mackerel tail and within a few minutes I was playing a feisty Jack that fought really well in the strong flow. I eventually won despite much angry head shaking and weighed in an immaculate 6lb 13oz fish. 

I was off and running with my first Pike of the campaign in the not so 'Pikey' conditions. It still feels too autumnal to be chasing these predators but with the alleged global warming being reported this may be as cold as it gets!

Tazzy kept watch for goings on down river while I kicked back and chilled on my easy chair.

The Roach bait remained static all day while the sea baits did the opposite. A couple of missed runs followed until finally I managed to hook the culprit. An even smaller Jack had been playing with the bait (and me!) until finally I managed to nail him. It was only about three pounds so I didn't bother taking weights or pics, just putting him back straight away. It turned out to be the last of the activity for the day apart from my usual messing about with the camera.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Never Turn Your Back on a Spaniel

The weather has certainly turned and with it I had a change of target. My plan was to spend the day chilling out by a commercial puddle in the hope of nailing one of it's (reputed) monster Perch. Prawn hookbaits deployed I retreated to the shelter of the old brolly in an attempt to stay dry as the heavens opened and stayed that way for most of the day.

It didn't take too long before the float sailed away and I was attached to a tough wee battler, not the target but a handsome little Tench of a couple of pounds. One of its brethren soon followed and I started to fear the worse, a succession of teddy-bear-eyed Tincas beating the Perch to the bait every time. Getting my hopes up mid battle to dash them again on appearing at the net.

The disturbance must have spooked the shoal and the next fish turned out to be a targetted Perch but nothing like the size I was hoping for. It must have struggled to get the bait in it's mouth, greedy little bugger.

Despite the inclement weather quite a few fish were feeding, the float indicating lots of twitches and trembles, most likely small stuff pecking at the big bait. The insert wagglers I was using are super sensitive giving an excellent picture of what's going on sub-surface.
Eventually a positive indication, resistance on the strike and a solid Bream came straight to the surface, barely flapped and was easily glided into the net. I find stillwater Bream fascinating creatures but they really are pathetic fighters.

Another baby Perch followed, I almost threw it straight back but it had the darkest almost jet black stunning eyes that warranted a quick snap.

Despite my best efforts the action died off and whilst I fished on in vain hope a monster would show, it was not meant to be.

All the while Tazzy had had a good day exploring, chasing wildlife and she even managed to nick a ham sandwich off the bloke fishing three pegs down. Thankfully he found it amusing! Typical bloody Spaniel.

Sneaking off........

Skulking back........

What did I do wrong master??