Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Max Bagging Up

Max has got the bug bad. All he has spoken this week is going fishing, different species, places to go. He has always had a passion for animals but that has now transpired to all things fish as well.
This week I planned an action packed morning to add further fuel to the fire in his belly and to give him more experience of casting, playing and also unhooking some fish for himself. As sad as it is a commercial would be the best place but not somewhere catching pasties and mud pigs. A silver pool like the one at Willow Farm was ideal, plenty of bites and a lovely variety of silver fish.

First cast a decent Roach and he insisted the camera came out to record the historic moment. Several more followed along with some decent sized Silver Bream and a few dainty Perch.

When he started to get the hang of things it gave me an opportunity to get the camera out and take some action shots.

A quick learner it was a joy to hear his squeals of delight when he got a fish on.

Biggest fish of the day was this 2lb 2oz Common Bream.

Pleased as punch with a quality netful of Silvers. Back on the river next time....

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Solitary Barbel

We were only chatting in the pub the night before about how we are catching Barbel but not in any numbers. One, two in a session at best. Now the fish are obviously there, they tend to live in shoals but the low clear conditions and a struggling fish is possibly spooking the rest of the shoal. Well it's a theory.
I started the session trotting meat, changed to rolling meat but without success. It was hard going so for a break I poured a coffee and changed to a straight lead, pellet and pva bag. A comfort break called and as soon as I turned towards a nearby bush the rod hooped over and it was fish on. I was on the rod in a flash worried that the fish would find sanctuary in what is a quite snaggy swim. Luckily my reactions were quick enough and after a spirited battle I slid the net under a chunky six pounder. 
The hook was quickly removed from the bottom lip and I also removed another hook from its chin, it looked to have been there for quite some time, a sore reminder of its last battle but no harm done.

That was the end of the action despite my best considerable efforts. Next up a weekend session with Max to teach him the finer arts of float fishing in stillwaters, He has the bug bad, won't stop talking about it!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Childhood Enthusiasm Rekindled

Picnic by the river, Max enjoying his ham sandwiches on his first ever Pike fishing trip.
It was hard work, several swims in different stretches, Max's patience started to wain, it is not easy to keep a seven year olds boredom at bay when the fish won't play ball. We tried slow stretches, under willows, dying reed beds, deep holes and shallow glides., every spot that looked likely. Moving swims renewed the lads enthusiasm each time but without results. Eventually we ended up on the edge of a weir pool.
The dead baits remained untouched still so a change of tactic to sink and draw and on the second cast we finally got a take. It was not a monster (thankfully) as the adrenaline got Max in a bit of a panic but with a little coaching he did enough to get the fish to the net. A perfect predator in miniature was bravely held up for the camera and my relief was immense. He was so buzzing with excitement he asked to phone his mum straight away, he couldn't wait to tell her he had caught his first Pike. I had forgotten what that sort of excitement was like but it came flooding back, I'm still buzzing on his infectious enthusiasm. He had the camera out the bag before I even got into the house and the printed photo is pride of place by his bed-until the next time. I gave him a book and now he wants to catch a Catfish- or an Eel-or a Barbel or a...
Wouldn't we all love to be at that discovery age again?!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Dull Session

A sneaky few hours on the Avon. Not a lot to report. No Barbel on the pellet rod but managed to avoid a blank with the smallest Pike I have ever caught and one a bit bigger at 6lb 2oz both taken on Roach deadbaits. River still low and clear. As I said, not a lot to report!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Fighting Fit Fatty

Landed at the river late but with the determination that I would give Andy's Torrix another test with a hard fighting Barbel. The warm weather is still holding and although recent rain has increased the depth of the Avon by a good few inches no colour has been added to the water. With confidence high I cast the pellet/pva combination into a known Barbel holding spot and waited for the inevitable bite. Maybe it took longer than I expected but when the bite came I wasn't quite ready, daydreaming or thinking of work maybe. I lifted into the fish, struggled to gain control and just when I thought I was winning it became snagged up in an area that is usually clear. Steady pulling wouldn't shift it, different angles proved fruitless and releasing the pressure in the hope the fish would swim out did nothing either. By now it was obvious the unseen adversary was long gone and I pulled for a break. Bugger!!
The disturbance seemed to have put the rest of the fish down but in an unusual show of determination (for me!) I sat it out well into dark. Normally the draw of the 'local' would have me long gone by the time another chance came along but I was adamant I was not going home a blanker.
Finally the rod hooped round and this time there was no way the fish was reaching the snag, it tried its damnedest mind. I had forgotten the thrill of playing fish in the dark, feeling the way without really knowing where the fish is and then the flash of colour in the head torch as the battle is almost won. In the end I did win, not a long fish but it was as fat as butter and fighting fit. Weighed it in at 7lb 11oz, took a quick photo and then had the thrill to watch it again in the head light as it slowly sank down the depths back to its watery home.

Monday, 25 September 2017

An Indian Summer Evening

When I arrived at the river late afternoon it could have been the middle of July not early Autumn. Blazing sunshine from bright blue skies, temperatures in the high teens, the swifts flitting across the surface taking in as much of the abundant fly life as possible.

Coots and Moorhens busying themselves above the (despite resent downpours) crystal clear water and weed growth still in abundance. I was in no rush to cast as I planned to be there until nightfall which is now at a much more convenient time for a family man. I lightly baited a swim before Tazzy and I wandered the bank to check if anyone else was wetting a line. Just the one chap way downstream and the conditions meant he was having a blanking time.
When we did finally start fishing I chose a deep hole feeling it might give me the best chance of a few fish. The targets were Barbel on one rod and Roach on the other, rumours abound of a recent two pounder taken from the stretch and I know they can be had from this area so there might be some merit in it. It is several years since I last had one of that size and I have a yearning to try and repeat the feat to prove it was no fluke.

It took a while but eventually the first bite of the session materialised. A decent scrap on light gear had me wondering as to the identity of the unseen adversary especially when it buried itself in a ball of Canadian pondweed that was between my swim and the main flow. I probably should have removed the obstacle prior to fishing but it did not matter as I managed to bundle the whole lot into the net including the still unseen fish. I unwrapped my prize and should have guessed really, a sneaky Chub of about three pounds.

Once the sun had dropped below the horizon the action hotted up ever so slightly as more Chub took a liking to my pellet offerings.

All very similar in size but a lot easier to land with the weed removal completed.

Finally on my last cast (as I could not see to rebait and had forgotten my head torch) one of my targets came to the net, not as big as I had hoped but a respectable 14oz specimen. I am sure the catch rate will increase as soon as we get some more typical Autumnal weather.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Parish Games Bridesmaids

We didn't get the best of draws, the river was low and clear, conditions too bright-all excuses that were discussed over a pint post match. I can honestly say we did however make the most of our opportunities. The annual Parish games fishing match, the once a year where I dip my toe in the strange world of match fishing.
The fishing was tough, in fact it was worse than tough. Dry nets numbered well into double figures so the fact that every one of our team of three caught something meant we were in with a chance at the end.

I contributed a meagre 7.5oz made up of three Perch, some blade Roach and a solitary chublet, all caught reasonably early on. As I say tough going but I still enjoyed it! This bag of monsters gave me fourth in my section. Ady also finished fourth in his section and Don caught a credible 2lb 5oz to give him second in his section and third in the match overall.

As a team we finished second overall for the third time in four years-consistent!! Next year is going to be our year........

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Avon Evening

4lb 9oz
Not quite sure why I look so miserable having just caught a cracking summer Chub weighing over four and a half pounds. This was the third fish of a highly enjoyable evening spent by the Avon. Not a long fish but it had a good girth, probably been feeding on all the pellets I had baited up with.
Martin was already ensconced himself in the fast water below the weir when I arrived so I plonked myself in the next peg, a slow moving area that I thought might throw up a few surprises. My two pronged attack consisted of pellet on the right and half a Roach on the left in the hope that a few predators attracted by the abundant fry life would take advantage of an easy meal. Two small Pike fell for the approach in the early evening but as the light faded the pellet rod started to come to life.
We decided to give it ten more minutes and truly at last knockings the pellet rod hooped round as a decent Barbel tried to make its escape. In the darkness it felt like a good fish. I had no idea exactly where it was in the river so stopping it snagging me up was almost impossible. It managed the inevitable but thankfully the weed was sparse and I managed to cajole it back into open water.
Finally I was able to slip it over the net with Martins help. In the gloom I thought it was a double but the scales revealed it fell a bit short of the mark. Anyway it capped off an enjoyable couple of hours by our special local river.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Annual Shark Trip

The sun rose as we trundled down the M5 on our way for our annual Shark trip off the Plymouth coast. Two aborted trips last year both lost to the weather has us keener than ever and there was no fear of mother nature stopping us getting out this year.

As always we were aboard Sea Angler II with Malcolm Jones, one of the most experienced and trusted skippers in the area. This year he had a first mate on board too although Robbie did seem to be more there for company rather than work but he did mash up the rubby-dubby as we steamed out to our drift. The (not so sweet) smelling mixture of Mackerel, bran and oil used to attract the toothy critters to our mackerel flapper hook-baits.

The sharks have been about in numbers this year and within minutes Nath was into the first shark of the day. Year on year shark numbers seem to be on the increase and the variety also seems to be getting more varied, Porbeagles are getting more regular and Threshers have been spotted. In future years it may be possible for us to even target Tuna and other Pelagic species.

What followed was a procession of Sharks at regular intervals weighing up to about forty pounds.

Just after lunch a fish took the bait on the drop and as line screamed from the reel I realised that I was attached to a much more substantial fish. An arm aching battle ensued, several times the shark was brought alongside the boat, Malcolm grabbed the leader but each time the shark wrestled away and I was forced to haul her back to the surface.

Eventually she was dragged onto the side of the boat, holding her down the trace was unclipped and the hook removed.

Three of us lifted her into the boat. She measured 66 inches to the fork of the tail and had a 33 inch girth which equated to 90lbs in weight. The girth squared multiplied by the length divided by 800 equals the weight in pounds. As accurate as it gets on a boat!

A quick couple of photos with my new pb and she was returned to her watery home, hopefully the only thing that was hurt was her ego.

We still had time for a few more fish including one which I battled on a spinning rod and fixed spool reel which was a lot of fun before we steamed back to port. Sixteen sharks landed between us made for a fab days fishing and all that was left was a night out around the nightspots of Plymouth.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mullett Blank and Barbel Rod Testing

A trip to Swansea ended in a blank, one hooked fish, one lost to a hook pull. Still the night out was fun and Andy did catch so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Saw a few fish but they were quite spooky in the brilliant sunshine.

An evening session on the Avon was more productive. I am in the market for some new Barbel rods so Andy has lent me his Harrison Torrix 1.75 test curve to try out. Wasn't sure about the look of it, quite a light but thick blank but looks can be deceptive. It casts beautifully and when I hooked a hard fighting Barbel close to snags it took on it's full curve and I must say I was impressed with the power and feel.

Despite only having one eye the 7lb 9oz fish gave the rod a proper workout and I felt I had much more control than with my current set up. The rod is still in the truck so I think I will give it a couple more sessions before taking the plunge. Need to be sure as they aren't the cheapest on the market.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

While the Kids are Away

Managed  a couple of evenings out while the kids are on holiday:

Friday Night

Grabbed a load of maggots and headed down to the Avon. The Perch were hungry and landed one after another all about 2-4oz plus a few small small Roach and Dace. Nothing special but then I didn't set my stall out for anything bigger.

Tuesday Night

Last night was back on the Barbel with a single rod fishing pellets and pva bags plus a second 'sleeper' rod baited with small Roach for any predators that happened to be passing by. The action was very slow until the light faded and the sleeper rod was first to go. A small Pike that tail walked a bit before it snagged me up in some of the masses of weed that is prolific this year and then escaped.
As I turned round to rebait the Barbel rod bent double and I enjoyed a fabulous scrap with a fit seven(ish) pounder.
One more classic Barbel bite which failed to connect and then the swim went dead again. A very short little feeding spell but at least I avoided the blank.