Thursday, 26 December 2013

It's been a while........

For various reasons I haven't updated my blog for a while, I have been ill, I have been busy at work, I have had family issues, all reasons I know but I have also felt that my fishing mojo has gone walkabout elsewhere of late, a few blanks here and there, bad weather etc etc but I really haven't felt as though I have been anyway the top of my gears of late.

Anyway that is the bad stuff out of the way! A general catch up on personal stuff, I turned 40 in November, scary stuff when I think of how quickly those 40 years have passed me by.......
I managed to gather some nice fishy items as presents, two Tench rods built on Harrison Chimera 2 blanks were built for me by Mick Holgate ( Top job again Mick :)  I also received a new pair of willies, a pair of Arctic Sport Muckboots, only worn them a couple of times so far but very impressed. The next item was a pair of new polarised glasses, I went for these -    I have been told great things about these so time will tell. A Chub 2 rod quiver finished the tackle presents off so I didn't do too badly......

A night partying ensued with family & friends, the cake was something else..........

Another present

My fishing of late has been targeting the species that matched the conditions, a session on a 'perfect' looking high & coloured River Wye resulted in a blank, a couple of sessions for Chub on the upper River Severn also hit the same mark, it was then time to go through the same motions for Pike.........

Dusk on the Severn

I had a remaining day's holiday before the Christmas break and after scrutinising the weather patterns a day stuck out, I took my chance and headed down to the Wye but this time it was Pike that were the target, a Barbel/Chub rod was also packed as the temperature had remained good the previous two nights and the river was holding onto a foot of water.
I chose a swim with a lot of slack water under my feet, the flow wasn't too bad across the river and looked OK for the second attack.
The day passed fairly uneventfully, a Chub of about 3lb was caught on the second cast on a small blob of paste but the Pike float was living life above the surface of the river.......
I popped back to the car for a bite to eat and returned to the swim about 3PM, I was planning on fishing for Pike until dusk and then  sticking with the Chub/Barb rod until 7PM. Within a few minutes of the Sardine being cast back onto the drop off in the slack the float started a sub surface move, a stutter take as the float was under one minute then back up the next but I wound down and felt a kick from a heavy fish, a reasonable scrap was played out and in the net she went, no problems with the unhooking and she was hoisted up onto the scales, at 18lb 6oz it was my PB so I was one happy chappy!


I held her whilst she got her breath back, a big fish indeed with a bit of filling out to do over the winter, a definite 20lb fish come spawning time.
I fished on but only a Chub was caught on dusk, the conditions looked good for Barbel but they didn't show that night.
The fishing may have been slow over the past few weeks but I have been fortunate to spot an Otter on both the Severn & Wye, the Severn Otter popping up a few feet in front of me and a little close to my sardine for my liking, incidentally the stretch was the same one where I spotted my first Otter back in 2003, they obviously have a holt in the vicinity and are doing well for themselves.  Kingfishers seem to be rife on both river systems and I was lucky enough to have one feeding opposite me on the Wye for almost an hour, a busy bird they are!
The weather so far over the Christmas period has been wet & wild, I was hoping to get out and do some river Piking on my local Warks Avon so I will keep an eye on the levels, I am not holding my breath though!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rain at last!

Well during the past week the weather forecast was for rain, it was due to start last Monday all the way through to Friday and covered the catchment areas of the Severn & Wye, the two rivers I was looking to fish as warm rain can only spell one species and that species lives in both systems, Barbel.

 As usual the weather forecast was a huge over estimate and the rain fell sporadically but it did fall at the right places and by Friday morning the Wye was on the rise so the decision was made to travel down to Ross On Wye on the Saturday and see what panned out. I arrived at the stretch at about 1PM and immediately the river looked superb, a metre of extra water was showing on the EA website and chocolate colour it was! After parking the car I checked a couple for their tickets who were fishing next to the car park, the female half of the couple had just returned her new PB, all 10lb 11oz of it so she was on cloud 9, they were obviously feeding.
I walked downstream to a spot that I had previously fished in similar conditions and it looked good with a well defined crease running through the swim making bait placement an easy choice, or so I thought.......

I set 2 rods up, both with splodgers (feeders) containing groundbait, pellet and crushed boilie, hookbait would be either boilie, pellet or corn. First casts were made, one up and one down and within 5 minutes a Barbel rolled very close into my own bank, I reeled in the D/S rod, refilled the feeder and dropped it just above where the Barbel had shown, within 5 minutes I had a stutter take and a fish was on, an unspectacular fight then took place against a stubborn fish that didn't take much line although stood its ground for a while, it hit the net and hit the scales at 8lb 3oz,a  good start.

I then endured a quiet spell (apart from canoeists) but then another rattly bite on the D/S rod was hit and a 6LB Barb was in the bag, shortly after I lost a fish not long after the strike, it felt like a Chub. The next fish was indeed a Chub of a pound, the species count was up to two for the day.  The sun was dropping towards the horizon when the D/S rod folded over and the baitrunner screamed, no Chub this time! I then had an epic battle with a very strong fish that used the extra flow to its advantage and held deep, I saw it twice and it looked a good 9LB, maybe more but I will never know as I pumped the fish up towards the net the hook inexplicably pulled......the air was blue as I had taken my time and enjoyed every second of the fight but lost out at the death, the hook looked sweet as so I will never know the reason but losing a Barb at that stage of the fight is unknown to me.

The sun was now almost set and I wondered if things would kick off after dark, not a usual scenario with coloured water flowing through the rivers veins but the daytime period had hardly gone ballistic. 
Around 7.30PM the fireworks started and the U/S rod that had sat idle all day kicked into action and bucked, a typical ruck ensued and a 7LB Barb was in the net, the rod was cast out again and within 2 minutes was away again, a 7LB Barb the culprit. Ten minutes later it was the same story, 7LB Barb.......
The routine was broken by smaller 5LB Barb as I was starting to pack up about 8.45PM, the D/S rod after dark had turned to stone and the U/S rod had sprung to life, weird because as far as I know the river bed isn't that different but the nocturnal shoal obviously appeared from somewhere.
One strange thing that I haven't mentioned so far was just on dusk, a light mist formed on the surface of the river and everything looked eerie and atmospheric when I heard ladies singing, it got louder and louder and with it I could hear the movement of water by the use of paddles.................this was like Pirates Of The Caribbean! Eventually a canoe came into sight and 2 ladies were obviously taking a last minute journey downriver whilst singing a version of 'Waltzing Matilda'.....madness!  

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Upper Avon Perching

I had an afternoon pass out so plans were made to visit my local stretch of the Upper Warks Avon in search of Perch. It was the first time I had visited this season and the undergrowth was very heavy considering it was the end of September, more like June 16th............
A sorry situation in some ways as this stretch of the river seems to have lost its mojo over the past 3 years, when I first moved to Coventry in 2008 the river was a great stretch, Barbel were prominent and some swims were black with Chub at times but things have deteriorated over the last few years, the Barbel have seemingly moved on, the Chub are still there but in a more thinned out state so I have turned my attention to other species namely the Perch. I have caught them to 2lb 3oz which is a nice fish but I am sure that there are 3lb+ fish throughout the length to be caught which is my target weight. I shouldn't knock the fact that the stretch looked quiet and underfished, that is just the way I like it!
On my trek upstream to my chosen peg I noticed an awful thing, one of the swims on the stretch is a narrowing in the river, roughly 7-8 feet deep over gravel with prominent streamer weed, the far bank used to be adorned with willows that overhung the narrowing causing a haven for Chub and Roach (as I have caught them) and I was sure that Barbel would pass through at some stage as it looked right. Yesterday though I witnessed an abuse to the landscape, the far bank willows had all been cut to the ground, the far bank was now barren, flattened and featureless, the swim looked ugly and unwelcoming, it used to provide a nice private feeling due to the coverage provided on both banks but now that has gone, I am not sure who had done it or why, I originally thought an EA slash & burn team had passed through but no other swims looked affected, an act of vandalism in my mind without any specific purpose.
When I arrived at my chosen swim it was obvious that nobody had been cutting and slashing here, I love this swim as the river drops from 5 feet into 10 feet, a nice deep hole where I have caught many species of fish from. Over the course of the last few weeks willows had fallen over the river below the deep hole and due to the low flow and levels over the summer a huge raft had been created, the swim looked god damn tasty to say the least!

This swim had given me a few 4lb+ Chub in the past and now the large raft had formed I was hopeful that a few more would be lurking about beneath it now. Lobworm would be fished on the float with reg maggot as feed, first cast down the edge and the float was gone, a plump 10oz Perch was soon on the bank.
I had a few more further dips and knocks but nothing to strike at, I decided to then run the float into the hole from above my seating position instead of fishing down the edge, the first run through and the float was gone and another Perch roughly the same size as the first was landed, I didn't stand on ceremony with this fish as Pike was up its jacksi throughout the fight. I then took another 4 Perch running the float through and again the Pike was after them. I had the drop-shotting gear with me so I ran it through the swim a few times in an attempt to remove the Pike as it wouldn't be doing the fishing much good as it was obviously hungry but no takes were forthcoming so it was back on the float. The swim went very quiet then and it wasn't until dusk was upon the river that the final bite of the day came, a stutter take but the float eventually buried and the strike resulted in a decent fish pulling back, after a brief scrap the biggest Perch of the session was in the net, I guessed it to be about 1lb 4oz, not the 3lb fish I was after but an enjoyable session.
I do enjoy my Perch fishing but feel that the summer is clinging on by the skin of its teeth at the minute but cooler weather will no doubt be coming our way, the current forecast for this week is rain Tues-Thurs so hopefully the rivers will be in better condition and some Barbel fishing maybe on the cards, we will see......

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Not a lot to tell

I have found it quite frustrating on the Barbel front this season, fishing sessions across several rivers since June 16th and I haven't really found my groove where Barbus Barbus is concerned, yes we have had a few months without any real rainfall so low and clear rivers have been the mainstay but even a few sessions into dark have not yielded better results on a consistent basis.
My last three sessions out have been on the Warks Avon (x2) and the middle Severn.
The first Warks Avon outing was begun on the float with the usual hemp & caster combo, plenty of silver fish came my way and as usual a nice Pike grabbed one of the hooked Dace and led me a merry dance around the swim, I am quite looking forward to the pred fishing this winter on this stretch! As the float fishing came to an end (I usually fish a Barbel rod and hour before & after dusk on this stretch) I hooked the proverbial Barbus, it stayed deep and unmoving before swimming powerfully past me upstream, it then buried its head into a sunken reed bed before the 3.6lb hooklink snapped, the air turned blue.......I stayed put in that swim thinking I was in the right spot but the following 2 hours on Barbel gear resulted in just a solitary Chub.

The second session was with Josh and a mid-week quick fire job, we this time headed upstream with a lure rod in hand, I was using a drop shot rig and Josh was on a rubber 'thingy', he definitely has a thing for lures and lure fishing and his collection is getting as large as my own.......
Anyway it wasn't long before I hooked into a Perch about a pound, not a huge fish but I was happy that the method had given me a fish first time out.

Two sets of lost gear and a rain shower had us heading for the car but we had enjoyed it.

Yesterday saw me heading to the middle Severn, I didn't arrive until 6PM and the intention was to fish until midnight. Barbel were the quarry 100% this time and 2 rods were deployed, the upstream on a feeder and the downstream rod a lead/PVA bag.

 I was fishing by 6.45 and on dusk a few fish were moving giving me high hopes, they were to be false as by 11.30PM I was packing up without any signs of a fish.

I think the Barbel fishing will be put on the back burner until we get some decent rainfall, Perch maybe next on my list......

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Two PB's Up North

Today saw Josh and I heading North, the reason at the beginning of the week was to pick up my finished float rod from Mick Holgate ( in Standish nr Wigan. I had taken the rod just before the river season started with a decal and inscription not yet complete so I dropped the rod back with Mick a couple of weeks ago and now it was 100% complete. As the week progressed Josh showed an interest with joining me for the ride and also taking a look at the River Ribble, a river that currently holds the PB for my Barbel & Chub, a river that I have spoken to him so much about over the past few years so he wanted to see it! As late as yesterday my wife said to me as we were in the area picking the rod up and as Josh wanted to see the river why don't we chuck a bit of tackle in the car and fish for a couple of hours....................OH GO ON THEN!
We left Coventry at 8.45 and within 5 minutes Josh asked where the fly rod was that he wanted to use, oh sh*t was my response it is in the garage, so a180 degree turn and we were heading home to pick the fly rod up, great start. It was round the Cannock area on the M6 that I remembered that my groundbait was also still in the garage, jesus this isn't good but after a quick call to Mick he identified a local tackle shop to him (Coppull Fishing Tackle) so we were out of the woods on that one, I just hoped that the rods/reels were actually in the bloody holdall!
We arrived at Micks at 11.00 and the rod was there in all its glory looking sweet as, he had also left a card for the tackle shop so I quickly took the post code and dropped it into the Sat Nav, only a couple of miles away and en-route to the stretch of the Ribble I had identified, things were coming together at last.

Finished rod with decal and inscription
We arrived at the tackle shop within 5 minutes of leaving Micks and I asked Josh to wade in and pick up a bag of groundbait, anything would do as long as it stunk were his instructions, he got back in the car with a bag of Krill groundbait that on first glance I thought was Dynamite but it was in fact Old Ghost......never heard of it but hey beggars cannot be........
Old Ghost Krill Killa
 So we finally pressed on to the Ribble, the first stretch we looked at had 5 cars in the car park which although doesn't mean anything to you told me that we would merely turn our car around and head for another stretch, this was ten minutes away and on arrival I was glad to see only 2 cars in situ. We walked down the stretch to a peg that I used to fish when I frequented the stretch back in the early 00's, there were a few new snags in evidence but bedrock gullies don't change in 10 years so I was happy enough and it would only be a short session anyway. I set up 2 splodgers with 8mm pellets on a size 10, Josh would use the fly rod as he seems to be getting into it but I intended on giving him any takers on the far bank pellet offerings. After about 20 minutes the downstream rod was away with a stuttery take, Josh played it towards the net and it was then I saw a flash of red fins, a small Barbel I presumed but the next view of the 'Barbel' clearly showed a decent Roach, in the net she went and on the scales she went 1lb 7oz, a PB, a beauty indeed with cormorant damage on one flank but they are coming back (Roach that is) as mates catches have shown.
1.07 Ribble Roach

So the session had started well and we fished on, around 30 minutes later the upstream rod went and this was a far more aggressive take so I immediately thought a Barbel would be the culprit, again I passed the rod to Josh and it started to beat him up straight away, taking line at will and I thought if it was a Barb, it was a good one but as the fish neared the bank it again performed a change as per the previous Barbel-Roach had, this though was a change of Barbel-Common Carp, a nice stocky fish that fought well above its punching weight, the scales showed 9lb 6oz so it was a second PB for the little guy in just over an hour, happy days indeed!

We fished on until 3PM without any further action but Josh enjoyed it and I must admit although I didn't catch I enjoyed being back on my old stomping ground, the Ribble is a great river and it has fished pretty consistently over the past few years, plans are afoot to get back and fish into dark for the two of us and we left the river happy enough, I had my rod, Josh had two great fish, what more would we want.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Barbel double under the stars

With Josh and I on holiday a night session was in the mix, the target species would be Barbel and the venue the upper Trent, the weather forecast was OK and after the recent rain the river had fallen and the dreaded green stuff that   floats down and wipes out your rods had also subsided. It is almost as though the Trent becomes unfishable at least on the upper section when the river rises, huge clumps of weed appear and they can be a nightmare, wiping you out within seconds of casting in sometimes.........

We arrived fairly early so we could secure the chosen swim and that we achieved so we had a walk about the stretch having a look in a few nooks and crannies before starting to set up base camp, the bivvy was erected as Josh was with me (he likes a proper roof over his head at night!) and we also had a bite to eat before starting to assemble the rods, rigs and get some bait into the run. I bait dropped 2 & 1/2 pints of hemp plus 6 of pellet and around 40 crushed/split boilies in to get a decent bed of bed down and hopefully to start some whiskers twitching, the rods were in at 7.30PM and we sat back and enjoyed the evening and the accompanying wildlife that goes with it, swallows, swans, crows, magpies, buzzard and a kingfisher were all seen throughout the period leading up to dusk but the tips remained motionless. At 9PM I got the dropper out again and topped the run up and then it was sit back time as darkness descended upon us. It was the night after a full moon but there was ample cloud cover above us for the first few hours which I was glad of as I have never caught that much with a big bright moon lighting things up!
Josh retired to his bedchair/bivvy at 11PM and I remained outside by the rods staring intently at the red & green isotopes on the tips. At 11.55 the downstream rod keeled over and line was taken from the free spool, I lifted into the fish, felt a thump or two before the hook pulled....................some choice words were uttered before I checked the hook point (which looked OK) so I rebaited and dropped the rod back into the run. I then sat out for another hour praying that our only chance hadn't been spurned, at 1AM I too retired to the bivvy and although I remember it taking some time for me to get to sleep the next thing I remember was the Delkim on the downstream rod shrieking, I was straight up and on the rod and felt a good fish pulling back, I slowly pumped it back upstream and it then went mental under the tip, continually boring back into the middle of the river before finally giving up and in the net she went. I was continually shouting Josh during playing the fish and he eventually staggered out of the bivvy half asleep as I netted it, must do better Josh! I thought 8-9lb on the mat but the scales told us 10lb 1oz so happy days, first Trent Barbel and its a double.

Josh also got a picci, still wearing his Tiger onesie!

I was hopeful of further action as these fish are definitely night crawlers so topped up the bait again before casting back in but no further action came our way and we called it a day at 7.15AM.

We dropped into the Salt Box Café for a breakfast and then I took Josh onto the River Dove to see the plaque that we had erected earlier this year in memory of one of our fishing pals. All in all a good session and Josh is already chomping at the bit for the next 'under the star' session.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sunday trotting

Every other Sunday between April & October my daughter attends a local equestrian event in Warwickshire, I am there on most occasions providing support, towing the horsebox when required and anything else I can turn my hand to so trotting on a Sunday is not an unusual thing for me....................

First Place!

This last Sunday however I was partaking in the piscatorial form of trotting, the River Severn was the venue and Barbel were the quarry, the swim was already chosen with a couple of fall backs if the river was too high to wade out to where I wanted to be. I arrived at just after 7am as I heard Keith Arthur tell the listeners that his 'Fishermans Blues' show was being cut back from two hours to just one......he didn't seem bothered so hey ho. I parked the car in a temporary spot whilst I ran down the bank to quickly survey the level, it was game on so back to the car and into the car park and on with the chesties.  The run I intended to fish was quite close to the RH bank but the access was impossible from that bank so I accessed from the LH bank, 3/4 of the river from that side being no more than 18 inches deep before arriving at the fast 4-5 foot gravel lined run that I wanted to fish, first job was to get some banksticks in the gravel so the rod, bait bucket and landing net were all positioned correctly, feeding this swim would play a huge part in how the fish reacted and I didn't want to be looking down for my bait as more often that not the swim would receive two handfuls of bait per trot.

Mid river set up
The set up was simple, 7.6lb line to a 6.12 hooklink, size 14 Drennan Super Speci and a 2&1/2 swan Drennan Chubber. Hopefully my new 14ft Gti SU would be tested today as afterall this was why I had bought it!  I fed the run with hemp & caster for about 20 minutes whilst drinking in the surroundings under the watchful eye of the Wrekin but I eventually gave up and started to fish, three casters on the hook, first run through and the float buried straight away, I thought it was a snag and lifted the rod, the 'snag' then ran past me at speed and into another snag and snapped the hooklink, GREAT bloody start! I re-rigged and disposed of the lighter link and ran the 7.6 straight through. Third run down and again the float buried but this time the strike was met with a heavy weight and the tell tale head shake of a hooked Barb, she sat in the flow for 20 seconds solid before running downstream with the pin spinning wildly! Excellent this is what I wanted, after a good scrap with the rod doing the business and soaking up the lunges she was guided to slack water to my left and ready for the net, she looked every ounce 9lb too but as she approached the net the hook pulled, she righted herself and shot off, Barbel 2 - Danny 0 ........ 

I regained my composure, the hook seemed fine so on I went, it took a few more runs through before the first fish was landed and that was a plump Dace, the next trot through again saw a bite and the rod once again was firmly hooped over against an unmoving object, after a great scrap again the first Barbel of the morning was drawn over the net , thank god for that!
As the session continued so did the bites and Barbel came steadily to the net, I finished the session on 7 Barbel, all but one to caster (other one pellet). An interesting point, whilst I had a bite to eat and a drink I dropped a light lead fishing an 8mm pellet down the run but after 20 minutes without a touch I changed back to the float, first run down and bang a fish was hooked, just shows how a moving bait outfishes a static one during the day in bright conditions on a clear(ish) river.

All in all a great session, the rod handled the Barbel beautifully with plenty of power to absorb the runs of the Barbel in the fast flow, I'm now looking for another swim to test it in!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Changing weather

Well the heat wave is staying with us and the fishing has been varied in my experience but saying that just as I sat down to pen this blog entry the heavens opened and I had to sort a blocked drain out that was the root cause of my garage being under 2 inches of water, the amount of rain that has just fallen in the past 20 minutes was incredible, it won't do the rivers any harm though.......

Flying Rudd

Josh and I visited the Tench lake a couple of Fridays ago, the temperature was over 27 deg C when we arrived and the result was the surface of the lake carpeted with Rudd as far as the eye could see, I had brought the fly rod with me today as I thought it maybe an option for the Rudd and indeed it was to be. Josh excelled on the fly rod and took over a dozen Rudd, his casting is improving no end.

I fished 2 method feeders for the Tench but the Rudd massacred anything I put on the hook, next time it will be a big boilie for the Tench but that narrows things down in my eyes.........
The new weir and fish pass has now been finished on the River Sowe above Stoneleigh, I really must get down there for a fish soon as it has thrown a few nice fish up for me in the past.
The Barbel on the stretch of the Avon I have been fishing have been hard to tempt although I am enjoying my fishing on the stretch nonetheless, I usually start the session on the float and then put a Barbel rod out for the last couple of hours before 'off' time. The float fishing is generally good sport and I seem to be making small amounts of headway as I have found a couple of groups of fish that seem to be unfished for at the minute, I am purposely staying away from the known pegs as I would rather find my own sport, it is taking some time though!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Fishing or sunbathing?

My last two sessions have been made in some rather strange weather conditions for this country, hot and warm with a large firey ball in the sky, what the ***!

The River Teme was fished last week on the BAA card, the first time Josh had ventured onto the Teme and after a bit of homework a stretch was chosen that was reputed to hold some fish, the plan was to travel light and cover as much water as possible over the course of the day. The stretch was a great one on the eye, lots of fast waters and the float rod will be taken on the next visit.  We fished in 9 swims throughout the session but alas no Barbel were caught, we did see some Lamprey in the throes of spawning though which was a first for me. We will return again at a later date.


The second warm weather trip was onto the Warks Avon, I arrived nice and early to try and catch a Barbel before the heat of the day kicked in, again no signs of Barbel or anything else for that matter and at 8am I set the float rod up for the remainder of the session (plus applying sun cream!)

The float fishing was not much better in the clear blue sky and ever rising temperature, I stayed on the move fishing swims with faster water and I caught fish from two swims out of five, Dace, Perch & Chub were the fish caught, I bumped into my old mate Esox in one peg, she had a Dace off me last week and tried again but she didn't get a good grip, she then sat under my feet watching me waiting for another crack at breakfast, she is a nice mid-double so I will be back for her in the winter when she is a bit fatter.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Still floating on the Avon

My initial tactics at the beginning of the season have yet to change, float rod, centrepin, hamp and caster and a small amount of gear in a rucksack so I can stay mobile. If that is one thing I keep nagging myself about it is the amount of gear I take when river fishing, most of it is never needed on a regular basis but the 'just in case' theory always keeps chewing away.
The stretch of the Avon I have been fishing is new to me and Barbel at some stage will be the primary focus for me but for now I am happy float fishing across as many pegs as I can so try and see as much of the stretch as possible and more importantly to learn the make up of various swims which a float is great for doing. It is very rare that a float runs unimpeded down a run, there are usually underwater structures that you have to help the baited hook run over or around and it is commonly at these underwater intersections where the quarry are lying whether it is a weedbed, snag, rusting bike frame etc etc, they are fish magnets.

Late Sunday morning saw me heading to the river and I was fishing a great looking peg but one that I knew from the deviation of the rivers flow must be a heavily populated underwater landscape as it was a haven for any flood debris to congregate or any other large items of rubbish to hold up in.
Above and below the swim was 12 inch deep gravels and the swim overlooked a large scour that the flow has taken out of the bank over the years, a quick plumb gave me about 6 feet in places and I guess in spots it is deeper still but what I have already said about a float running unimpeded rings so true in here!  I trickled caster and hemp in way above the drop off as I tackled up to try and get it down into the hole where I thought the fish would be, the first fish, a Dace came during the second trot through, the third trot resulted in a situation that I have had too many of already this season, a bumped fish that felt heavy. I have been using the Drennan Specimen Plus in size 14 in case I run into any Barbel, I am sure that the pattern started life as the Drennan Barbel hook but the company seem to have changed its name now but more of the hook quandry later.......
The session progressed reasonably but I found that more bites came if I dropped the float into a dead spot in between the two flow paths that entered the hole, first drop in here with half a lobworm as a change bait and the float was gone and a good fish pulled back, the fish hit the surface after heading upstream and I quickly identified it as a Perch and the large swirl that accompanied it as it hot the surface didn't quite match the size of the fish I had glimpsed as it surfaced.....a Pike was after it and struck out twice as I quickly hauled the Perch into the landing net.

The Perch was returned and the session continued with a few bites, most of them missed but I did end up with a few Dace, Bleak and a couple of Chublets, the majority of the bites were in the slack zone in between the flows and try as I did I ran the float all the way down the flow a few times right under the canopy of cover at the back where it screamed Chub but no bites were forthcoming, a great looking swim nonetheless and I will return.
I returned 2 days later for another quick session after work, again I opted to fish a different swim in an effort to understand the river so this time a swim towards the lower limit was fished, again with some flow so the float would run through nicely, shallow gravels above into a nice 4 & 1/2 - 5 feet run. Again most of the gear was left on the bank and the essentials were taken onto the staging to begin the session, whilst I was finishing off setting the float gear up I became aware of some bankside disturbance, several cows had assembled behind the peg in their usual starey eyed manner, my initial concern was of my gear that I had left behind the peg including a Barbel rod and extra bait so it all had to be moved onto the staging aware from danger of being trodden on or eaten, they also decided to stamp on the end of the staging which gave out great fish attracting wallops into the water, a great start and to be honest I wasn't very happy about their proximity to my peg.
The fishing began anyway and I was catching from the off, this time however I was using Drennan 14's in the Super Specialist range that are still a strong hook but made from a finer wire, the thinner gauge point seemed to be doing the job tonight and a lot fewer bites were missed, a couple of Chublet were caught early on before a few Roach then turned up, the last one again being grabbed by a Pike but thankfully quickly dropped.
The fish continued coming at a steady stream even though I was chasing cows away from trying to walk along the staging every ten minutes, I struck into a heavy fish at the very beginning of the run and the new float rod was put through its paces, the fish, a decent Chub played the usual dirty games and tried to get under the staging I was sat on but the rod soon tired the fish out and it was ready for the net, at 4lb 2oz it wasn't a bad fish.
Further fish came my way as well as another brush with a Pike but this time it resulted in a lost hook, all in all it was a very brief session but Chub, Dace & Roach were caught, a very enjoyable session apart from the local cattle distractions and I will definitely be fishing the peg again in the near future.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Back on the float

I had a brief window on Tuesday night so I quickly grabbed the gear that I had used on Sunday and headed back down to the Avon, this time thankfully it was a bit quieter so I headed towards an area that I had seen during the close season that looked good for running a float through. The swim I wanted was vacant so I set the float gear up, trickling caster and hemp in as I did so, I then fished this swim for 45 minutes without a bite so I decided to move upstream a couple of pegs to try my luck there.
This swim was a bit different to the first, that being a steady run on the outside of a bend, the second swim was a mid river crease that stood out like a sore thumb so it was simple to fish and equally easy to bait so I settled down cross legged on the platform (no chair used during these quick after work sessions) and started to run the float through, gauging the depth as I did so.

Second run through and a nice Dace was swung to hand, a good sign of a healthy river if you ask me and not a fish I have caught many of in the upper reaches I usually haunt. I then landed a couple of Chublets about the pound mark before striking into their bigger brother about 3lb. The next run through gave me my first Barbel from the stretch, it was only about 2lb but it fought well and was most welcome, the little'un croaked during its brief stay on terra firma so it was quickly back in the wet stuff and powered off none the worse.

A few more Dace were caught before the session ended and I headed home back to Coventry, I am enjoying myself on this stretch and I haven't even scratched the surface yet.

Monday, 17 June 2013

A mixed bag

For the past few weeks I have been in regular contact with Mick Holgate from Kingfisher Rods -  Mick has been crafting me a new float rod, a 14 foot Gti SU (Stepped Up) to be precise, the rod would primarily be used for trotting for Barbel on flowing water and float fishing for Tench on stillwaters so it could be a 12 month job for this piece of carbon! I cannot recommend Mick highly enough for any of you prospective readers thinking about a new purpose built custom rod, every detail is covered starting before the blank has even been sourced. I have specified my own guides, reel seat, handle material and length and most importantly the spacing and amount of guides on the butt which aids casting with a float on running water. It has taken some time but it is a great looking rod and even though the prospective Barbel & Tench haven't troubled it yet it has performed well so far with a couple of modest fish. Take a look at Mick's website, I think a couple of Triptych Tench rods are next on my list.

Josh and I returned to the lake that provided us with the recent Tench catch on Saturday, the session would be a short one due to other commitments but fishing time is never spurned. After the last session it was apparent that the masses of Rudd in this lake would take anything that they could so the bait sizes were increased accordingly, an 8mm pellet was fished on the new float rod and a 10mm boilie plus rubber corn on the method rod. Plenty of bites were received on both rods but unfortunately the Tench stayed away but some nice sized Rudd were caught between 10-14oz, they are piranhas!

Yesterday saw the curtain rise on the 2013-14 river season, always a great date on the calendar but frequently not the best day for fishing. I chose a new club stretch on the Warks Avon, I had carried out some recce's during the close season and noted several swims that were great for running a float down, I had just purchased a new float rod after all. I arrived on the river at about 5PM and intended to fish until 10PM so five hours fishing lay before me, caster and hemp were the bait of choice today and my chosen swim was a speedy glide that slowed off after a narrowing in the river, hopefully Barbel would be lurking towards the bottom end of the run but time would tell. The first two runs through the swim gave me two reasonable Dace about 8oz each, unfortunately both had slash marks on their tails so something was about although I wasn't sure if it was above or below the surface from where the attack had started. I caught a further 4 Chub up to about 3lb over the next hour before hitting a much stronger fish that shed the hook fairly quickly, after that the float line dried up so for the last 90 minutes I fished an 8mm pellet using feeder tactics but only sharp unhittable pulls were received.  Not the most ground breaking weekend but a start, onwards and upwards and that new rod will be tested soon enough I am sure.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Flouro for the Tench

Josh and I were fishing a new water to us and wondered what was in store for us, the weather lately had made any certainties uncertain so we couldn't start any chicken count due to recent kicks in the proverbials due to the ever changing conditions.
The water was around 4-5 acres in size and the stock fish relatively unknown, we did know that Roach & Rudd had been caught in the past but apart from that it was a piscatorial blank canvas.
As we unpacked the gear from the car Josh pointed out that we had a passenger attached to the side of the car, a mayfly was indeed hitching a ride during its short life span.

We chose as swim on the windward bank and a stiff wind it was, I set up a float rod but set Josh a method feeder up as the wind could have made life difficult for him. Maggot, caster and corn were the baits on the float rod with hemp as an added attractor as loose feed. The first cast was made on the float rod and a bite was instant, a Rudd around 6oz was duly swung to hand, followed by another, and another, real gems, some of them looking a bit plump around the waistline so obviously the females were approaching spawning time.

It was a bite a chuck on the float line throughout the session with Rudd from 6-12oz, it was great to see so many silver fish in a water!
I had sneaked a sleeper rod out down the inside in a corner where the wind was blasting into, method feeder was the rig with a pink flouro 8mm krill boilie tipped with a piece of the marvel bait rubber corn, the real stuff wouldn't last two minutes in this place with the killer Rudd about.

It was after about twenty minutes and the sleeper method rod was away, I wasn't using an alarm but the baitrunner clicked, the tip went round then a slack line so I hit it and a good fish was felt, after a good tussle that included a brief encounter with a snag a nice Tench was landed about 5lbs, a great start. Ten minutes later and I was away again, another nice Tench was landed around the same size as the first. The third take when it came shortly after I handed to Josh as he was looking a bit glum sat up the bank without any fish, he played the Tench well and a fish about 4 & 1/2lb was duly landed. So the Tench were coming thick and fast amongst the Rudd on the float rod, a hectic session to say the least. The last Tench came around an hour later again about 4lbs plus I pricked another fish. Josh then had his fish just as we were about to pack up, the smallest of the session at 3lb. A great session on a new water, I hope that we can get on there again soon to see what else is swimming beneath the surface.........

Josh with the catch

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Trees doing what?

Some of you may have noticed some recent blogs that show trees 'eating' signs attached to them ( is one of the blogs but I have also seen others.

This is my addition to the list, this tree fancied a handrail for its lunch!

I walked a stretch of the Warks Avon this morning that is new to me, it looks very nice indeed and a different river compared to my usual upper haunt, this section has everything, weirs, fast runs, slow deeper runs, snaggy sections, the lot. I am planning on fishing the stretch on June 16th, not until the evening until dusk, hopefully the banks will be quieter by then (who am I kidding) but there is so much to choose from I will find somewhere. I am currently having a 14ft power float rod made by Mick Holgate -  that will be ready in a week or so, the plan for the 16th will be a nice pacey swim with float rod in hand.
I am heading to South Africa tomorrow night for a whistle stop 3 day tour with work, Johannesburg, East London & Cape Town are being taken in before a 7am arrival back at Heathrow on Friday morning, I think I will be in need of some sleep when I get back home.