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.