Friday, 30 December 2016

Severn Roach and an Opportunity

In days gone by the middle Severn was a mecca for Roach fishing and it seems to be making a bit of a comeback as far as it's silverfish stock are concerned. There are even a few over that magical 2lb mark, Andy having landed one only the week before. Having seen the photo my appetite was wetted for a big Roach of my own so when he offered to take Martin and I to the scene of his success we didn't have to think twice.
A few little issues (and Andy's love of a full cafe breakfast!) meant we were a bit late starting but with a heavy overnight frost I don't think we missed much.
So with a bucket full of maggots we set about plundering the Roach. It wasn't easy going but there were a enough fish biting to keep up the interest and I do love trotting for Roach.

The kingfisher flitted about and I fed a rather friendly Mallard a few grubs to help him along.

Late in the day Andy popped down to my swim to say he was packing up as a Pike had just taken the Roach he was playing and he couldn't be bothered to set up again.
Thankfully I had chucked my Pike rod in the bag so I attached a freelined Roach deadbait and cast it out into Andy's swim. I let the bait sink before giving it a slow and twitchy retrieve. The bait got within a few feet of the bank before getting nailed. A feisty little battle followed before I put the net under a short but fat little Pike. 

Andy wasn't convinced it was big enough to be the culprit of his bite off but a few further casts failed to produce any more action so we set off home before the freezing fog descended.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Dorset Frome: A long way for Trout

A seven hour round trip to a coastal section of the Dorset Frome that is fast becoming an annual trip. We don't endure this considerable effort to catch Sea Trout but they love trotted maggots and are resident in such abundance it is difficult to avoid them. Within the first couple of hours I landed over thirty. Most around half a pound but a couple were a bit bigger, the largest weighing 1lb 9oz and technically a pb for a species that I never specifically target. It put up quite an acrobatic display of head shaking and leaping clear of the water several times.

I did manage a couple of chunky Dace in amongst the Trout but the monster Roach this stretch is famed for eluded us again.

I moved swims in time to see Andy land a huge Trout of his own, the dark colouration and lack of tail fork makes me think it was a 'Brownie' but Andy is not so sure and thinks it is a spawning male Sea Trout. Answers on a postcard please...
We fished on through dusk before treating ourselves to a KFC on the long trek back to the Midlands. A chat with one of the locals has given me plenty of ideas for tackling next year's trip, a change of tactics is in order to avoid the gregarious Trout and give the big Roach and Dace more chance to find the bait.

Monday, 12 December 2016

A Rant and some Chub

The Warwickshire Avon at Marlcliffe looking her resplendent tree-lined best in the height of Summer. The banks lined with colourful trees, bushes and reeds full of wildlife and plenty of Willows helping to combat erosion.
A short amble downstream and we reach the lock island, another haven for wildlife. I have seen Kingfishers aplenty down here feeding on the fry that take shelter in the roots and reeds, Swans nesting and nurturing their ugly ducklings, and even a family of Mink.  

Even in the depths of Winter it is still a lovely place to be, maybe even more so when the banks are less crowded.



So who's idea was it clear the whole far bank of every tree and the whole island as well!! Rumour has it that the Avon navigation trust are trying to make the river deeper to enable bigger boats to be able to travel upstream to Stratford. I'm no expert but surely the bankside clearing will only increase erosion and therefore the widen the river making it shallower? or is it not that simple?

The weir height has been increased with loads of rocks added to the slope. This will increase the depth of the water above but surely it can only be a temporary measure as the first few floods will soon wash these down the slope.

Rocks on the weir

The island is now a shadow of its former self. It is not easy to tell from the photo but the bank is now a bolder-strewn wasteland with sharp rocks stretching well out into the water. I am sure the Barbel will return to spawn as they always do but I implore anyone fishing for them in these swims to use really strong tackle. Any fish that are landed will probably have mouths full of hooks from lost battles where the hooklink has sheared on the rocks. This whole exercise has not been done without any thought on fish safety whatsoever. A beautiful area has been decimated and cannot be the haven for wildlife it has been. I will be looking for pastures new come next season. Rant over!

My (former) favourite swim
Anyhow I did manage to wet a line in a banker swim much further downstream. Chub were the target and I landed a couple of them.

One four pounder and a smaller one fell to a lump of last years cheesepaste. An enjoyable bit of fun in the Winter sun.

Friday, 18 November 2016

A Pair of Jacks

The late afternoon turned out bright and crisp following a stormy lunchtime. I had a couple of hours free, a rarity these days, so I grabbed the Pike rods and headed local.
Half Mackerel and small Roach were deployed in a particularly snaggy but very likely looking swim in the hope of nailing some toothy predators.

I fished on well into darkness thinking I might just land a Zander or two but sadly the only fish to show an interest were a couple of Jack Pike. To be fair they both fought very hard for their weight and I did enjoy the battles but not quite the size (or species) I was hoping for. Next time...


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Return to Mexico (Day Two)

Three days later and I was back aboard the same boat, same skipper. Again we were chasing sharks and this time we would stick to our guns.

It took a while but finally we managed  to hook into one, and a good one at that. I have landed several big species in various countries but never have I been hooked up to such a determined hard fighting fish as this one. If it didn't want to move I could not shift it.

Half an hour in and my arms burnt from the lactic acid in my muscles, my fingers cramped up so much that I couldn't straighten my hand, stinging blisters appeared on my fingers and the sweat flowed from my pores. I would be lying if I said that I didn't contemplate throwing in the towel but I grit my teeth, dug deep into the last of my reserves of strength and determination and finally after what seemed like forever I won. The tail was lassoed and the shark hauled aboard.

At 72 inches, approx. 120lb it wasn't the biggest ever landed but it was mine. I emptied a bottle of iced water over my head and posed in the searing heat with my prize- job done.
I informed the skipper that I didn't want another but could we fish for other stuff, jokingly I said Wahoo but within minutes I was hooked up to a Wahoo! 
Blue sharks are quick but nothing like the 'Usain Bolt' of the sea. This thing stripped line off at such a rate I thought the reel might run out but thankfully the ensuing fight was not as gruesome as the shark. I got a grip and was able to deal with it more easily. Another first and another species ticked off the list.

Half an hour bottom fishing resulted in two more new species, a Red Hind and a Porgy and on the way back we spotted a cruising barracuda which was obviously hungry.

Two awesome days fishing, seven new species landed, three off the bucket list and a personal best shark. Paraiso!!

Back in Mexico (Day One)

At the end of September our business celebrated its first birthday. The hard graft is paying off and we definitely deserved a well earned break so the whole family jetted off to Mexico for twelve days. 

Frigate bird
Like last year I scoured the internet for suitable boats for a couple of days big game fishing. Always a shot in the dark but I dare not leave it until arrival in case they were fully booked. 
October is possibly the worst month for fishing in Mexico, all the bill fish species are notorious by their absence however there are still plenty of bait fish and tuna about and because of that the sharks stick about also. So shark fishing it was then, with a chance of a few other species besides.

To increase our chance of action we would fish several methods at once, feathers for the Bonita, Tuna and Mackerel (all great shark baits), teasers in case a Mahi Mahi turned up and whole fish baits for Barracuda and Wahoo. 
The shark baits are loaded on a down-rigger and trolled at depth but it was a surface bait that took off first and within minutes I landed a personal best barracuda.

Removed a tooth for my son!
Bonito and tuna followed but the sharks remained elusive. Several hours of inactivity forced us to ring the changes. We fashioned up some tuna steaks and bottom fished over rough ground for only a few minutes. In that short period of time I landed two stunning trigger fish and my very first Amberjack.

Great Dentistry
Back trolling we managed one shark bite which resulted in a bitten through leader and a 'merde' from the captain-didn't need a translator for that snippet of Spanish!
However we did catch one more fish, the highlight of the day for me, another first and a fish that has been on my bucket list for years but I have ignored in favour of bigger fish. Shame on me as there can be no fish more stunning.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Parish Games Match

Whilst I enjoy the camaraderie that fishing a team match gives I don't want it to be any more than an annual event. Being told when and where to fish goes against my nature but this year I enjoyed more than ever before. That was mainly down to the fishing. Whilst the majority struggled I found myself in a half decent peg which gave me hope and when I missed a bite first chuck my confidence still grew.

Peg Twenty was my station for the five hours down in the middle of town and I started fishing maggot feeder about two thirds of the way across. Four Perch in the first hour was a start but I was gutted when I lost the biggest at the net, well over a pound it could have made a big difference.
Whilst feeder fishing I fed a line about a rod length out regularly with maggots and for a change I decided to give it a trot. First run through resulted in a Perch and after that followed a procession of Gudgeon.

They continued for the remainder of the match and I finished the day with quite a respectable net full of fish weighing in at 3lb 4oz. The fishing had been tough for most so much so that I had enough to frame in third place so ended up £25 richer. And the team finished a respectable fourth.

Summer Catch-Up

The Mullet fish-in was more like the Mullet fish-less. Several members of the Mullet Club descended on the Southern Welsh coast but the fish obviously saw us coming.

We started off under a salubrious graffiti ridden road bridge in the shadow of the Liberty stadium.

Andy on the left, Phil to the right and it was Andy who landed the first and only fish of the whole day, a decent 3lb fish.

I toiled hard but could not even muster a bite. As the tide ebbed the reason for my lost tackle became apparent, the local Morrisons need look no further for their lost trollies!

I counted six of them in my swim and those were just the ones I could see, there was probably more, the joys of urban angling!

We moved area but still no fish.

We tried the city centre with the same result, fishless, not easy these Mullet!!

A few days later and back on home turf I managed a lot more fish rolling meat around.

Chub and Barbel all fell for the tactic.

Including this chunky 9lb 5oz specimen.