Sunday, 27 September 2015

Bleak Outlook

I am currently in the process of setting up my own business and add to that three kids, three dogs and various other animals in the menagerie and time is short.
I did however find myself with a couple of spare hours yesterday afternoon. The kids were off swimming so I grabbed the fly rod and headed down to the local river to see if I could get a rise.
The sun shone brightly, the river was crystal clear but there was plenty of fly life, daddy long legs mostly. It seems to be a particularly good year for them this time around. When I walk the dog at day break there is literally swarms of them in the fields.
The river had plenty of fish rising, mostly tiddlers sipping small black gnats off the surface so my best opportunity seemed to be a tiny black spider pattern tied to a size 18.
I caught plenty of fish and missed plenty too, the odd small and I mean small Dace and quite a few Bleak. I was never going to break any records but it was exactly what it was meant to be, a bit of fun in the short bit of time I had available.
Goodness knows when I will have time to wet a line again.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Wychavon Parish Games Angling Match 2015

The Wychavon Parish games were started in 1978 and as far as I know are unique. 35 Parishes enter competing in over 15 different types of event from bell-boating to petanque(boules), darts to cross-country. Each year there are over 1000 participants with trophies awarded for first and second place in each discipline and an overall trophy for the winning parish.
This weekend was the angling(the only match fishing I do). Teams of three from each village fishing in three different sections on the Avon in Evesham. Points are awarded in each section, first place one point, second two etc. and the team with the lowest points is the ultimate winner. Last year (with the same team, myself, Ady and Don) we finished second, this time we wanted to go one better!

I drew peg nineteen a bland featureless section of uniform depth and with nothing in the margins, this was going to be tough I thought to myself. And so it proved. It took me an hour to catch my first fish a Dace of minute proportions, I followed this up with a minnow. Thankfully those fishing either side of me were struggling too.
And then the sun came out. Halfway through and I had about half an ounce in the net. There were fish in front of me topping every now and then so I decided to shallow up and cast to the ripples resulting in an instant bite. The instigators of the rings were Bleak. I managed to get several more bites landing about ten of them, bumping off several and losing a few to finish the match with a meagre paltry three and half ounces. However this was enough to beat the anglers either side of me and quite a few in my section.
Ady and Don had fared better in their respective sections and we finished the match in joint first place. In the event of a tie the total team weight is taken into account and sadly we were pushed down into second place. Ady had lost a two pound Chub which could have made all the difference, If I had landed two more Bleak to get to four ounces then that would have made the difference too.

Match fishing can be a highly frustrating sport!!

Next year, next year!!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

More Birding than Fishing

Another short snatched session on the Avon and this time my target was more specific than last week, namely Roach. Not little live bait sized Roach but the sort of stamp of Roach that remains unbothered by most predators aside from the bigger Pike. Roach above a pound. I set up in a swim where I know they sometimes reside, hair-rigged a small pellet and fed some alongside. Within ten minutes I had the first Roach in the net, 1lb 1oz. A perfect start.

From there on the session went downhill fast. Over an hour of inactivity had me reaching for the maggots. Another hour of relative inactivity aside from a few tiny twitches saw me go back onto pellet. My thinking being that I would rather catch another biggie or nothing at all than be bothered with tiddlers.

As often happens when the fishing is slow the camera came out and I amused myself trying to capture the pigeon that kept flying back and forth across the river in front of me.

As luck would have it while the camera was in hand the Kingfisher decided to pay us a visit and gave me a rare opportunity to capture some flying shots before it wizzed upstream out of sight.

The rest of the action took place above the surface of the water but I still enjoyed it none the less.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Adapting for Success

A beautiful sunny September day and a rare (of late) opportunity for me to spend a few hours by the river. 10am - 2pm is probably the worst time to fish and couple that with a river that is lower and clearer than I have ever seen it before makes for a tough angling session. Still beggars can't be choosers.
I wandered up and down the river looking at all the usual Barbel swims but the lack of fish in any of them forced me into a rethink. Luckily I had a plan B involving maggots and the deeper swims. I just fished for bites, pure and simple, any species would do, wasn't bothered.
In fact I had an enjoyable couple of hours, plenty of action involving lots of these.....

and loads of these....

Oh and a solitary Gudgeon.
Fish of the day was this 7oz Dace that I nonchalantly swung in thinking it was a small Chublet but was over the moon when it turned out to be a Dace.

A pretty decent Dace for the Avon and a fun day pleasure fishing. If I had fished for Barbel I would definitely have blanked. Maybe some anglers would have preferred that but not me, it is more fun to catch something than nothing at all.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Blue Shark Heaven

On the first Friday in September every year we head south down the M5 towards Plymouth for our annual shark trip. It has become an integral part of the fishing calendar and is a weekend we look forward to with great anticipation. Action is virtually guaranteed, only once have we blanked and that day I caught my first ever Bass so wasn't really that bothered.

We always use the same skipper, Malcolm Jones aboard his forty year old former lifeboat 'Sea Angler Two'. He works hard for us, is good company, always has a story or two and makes loads of 'cuppas' which are essential.

Tactics are the same each year, big circle hooks tied to wire traces, 200lb leaders and polystyrene floats. Mackerel flappers are used for bait set at various depths in an oily slick full of bits of mashed-up fish, bran and special secret fish oil.

If sharks can smell a drop of blood from so many miles away why do we need so much rubby dubby? I'll ask him next time.
Three rods are deployed at various depths and as I lost the toss Nathan would have two and I would fish the third. I got to choose which rod was mine though and selected the deepest one, it is usually the first to register a bite and on this occasion I was not wrong.

Half an hour later the ratchet started clicking away and I was into a fish, seconds later one of the other rods hooped over and we had a double hook up.

The first of the day a pup of about thirty five pounds.

And that was how the action continued for the rest of the day, nine Sharks landed in only four and a bit hours fishing. The biggest weighing something close to 100lb, caught by Nathan but sadly it rolled round the trace when we got it close to the boat and bit through the leader.

The biggest I managed was a seventy five pounder that we did manage to boat for a photo opportunity.

A feisty bugger that seemed determined to try and get its own back on us.

Hard fighting fish both in the water and out. Despite the aching arms and shoulders we still managed to lift a few pints and celebrated a successful trip long into the night.
Cannot wait for next year!