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??

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I'm Worried.....

Managed to sneak down to the Avon for the last couple of daylight hours and I was glad I did. The wind dropped, the rain abated and the sun popped out for the first time today.

As usual!? a Kingfisher popped along to say 'hello'. 
My plan of attack was two pronged, the downstream rod set up to trap a Barbel and upstream was for Roach. Typically the upstream rod registered the first bite but it was not a Roach that was attached but a Barbel. I played it cautiously concious that the closest components to my unseen adversary was a size fourteen hook and measly three pound line. Surprisingly it all held together and I slipped the net under a seven pound Barbel proving that it is possible but I will not be using it on purpose.

Now the worrying part: Otters have been working their way down the Warwickshire Avon and I had heard rumours they had made it down beyond Bidford but I hadn't seen any evidence until now. The beaten Barbel had obviously had a run in with one recently. Thankfully it had survived the encounter but there will be others that won't. I am not going to get all political with regards to Otters, there has been plenty said already but until now I had not been bothered. Now they are in my backyard, well, lets see what transpires....

I managed just one more fish before the light went completely, a Chub just shy of four pounds. Another fish that had been in the wars but it looked more like an old Pike wound.

A spectacular finale.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Barbel and Kingfishers on the Wye

If I lived on the doorstep of the stunning river Wye instead of the Warwickshire Avon it would be my favourite river bar none. The fact that it is my second favourite river is only borne out of logistics. From its source in the Welsh mountains to where it meets the Severn estuary it is stunning all the way and there isn't much that it doesn't offer to us anglers. Salmon, Trout and Grayling, monster Pike, big Chub, Dace, Roach, Perch and our target, some of the hardest fighting Barbel in the UK. 
Thinking about it I really should make the effort to grace its banks more often, it is only an hour away!
When Martin suggested a trip accompanied by the legendary Trefor West I jumped at the chance. He entertained us for the whole day and gave us some useful pointers that I took on board and led to a bit of success.  
The conditions were not ideal, a low and clear river(as they all are at the moment!) but perseverance paid off and just before lunch I landed my biggest ever Wye Barbel weighing a healthy 8lb 7oz. 

This followed about an hour later by another battler of 6lb 15oz.

Sadly Martin didn't connect with one himself but he did hook and subsequently lose a huge Pike that will probably give him nightmares for a few days.
I also fished a second rod in the hope of my own big Pike using a Bleak as bait. To attract more bait fish and therefore the predators I fed half a dozen maggots little and often into the swim. It had the desired effect and within half an hour I think every Bleak in the whole river was in front of me. The Perch followed them and every time they surged into the bait ball there was a huge spectacular eruption of fleeing fish.

The regular disturbance also attracted another beautiful predator interested in getting an easy meal.

Using my rod as a makeshift perch he helped himself to his supper but didn't shoot off in a blaze of blue and orange as these skittish birds usually do but instead he hung around to pose for his photo to be taken giving me several angles and opportunities to capture his best side.

He must have realised that he had no need to fear me as he stayed around for ages and wasn't disturbed by me moving round the bank side.

I am no expert but he looked to me like a young bird and made what was already a good day, perfect.

Not many people can say they have taken a 'selfie' with a Kingfisher!!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Fall Leaves Fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
                         Fluttering from the autumn tree. .......Emile Bronte

I love Autumn it's my favourite time of year. The colours are so rich, the sunsets spectacular and the nights drawing in. Light the fire, stick an extra jumper on, venture out on a spooky misty morning. Makes one feel poetic!?
I managed to get a couple of hours down by the Avon this weekend. Two rods, one for predators, one with pellet. I had to remain patient beside the low clear river but eventually as the light had all but faded I had my one and only bite. The unseen adversary fought well but lacked the power of a Barbel and soon enough I slipped the net under a short but chunky Chub.

The old warrior looked like a 'four' all day long but fell just short weighing in at 3lb 14oz. I fished on but what was already a quiet swim had been disturbed and there were no more bites before the light disappeared completely.
Good to be outdoors but would have liked a bit more action. Next time....