Sunday, 24 February 2013

In remembrance of a good friend

It was in the latter part of 2012 when a friend of mine within my fishing circle was cruelly taken away from life by the cruelest of all diseases, Cancer. I hadn't know Rob that long but during the time we had spent together on either a water or telephone we had forged a strong relationship and often knew snippet's of information that closed the loop on an outstanding niggle for each other.
It was shortly after Rob left us that I contacted a group of anglers who also knew Rob and I was regularly in contact with and mentioned the fact that I thought we could do something as a group to preserve the memory of Rob. I had the idea of a plaque with some fitting words on that we could locate on the river that was the closest to Rob's heart, the River Dove. I also contacted Rob's family and told them about what the group had in mind and they were very happy with the idea that a plaque would be in place on his favourite river.
We decided that £20 a man was to be collected and without having to do the maths for you we soon had £500 in the bank to cater for our idea. I contacted Brunel engraving - to create the plaque and I have to say that I would recommend their services to anybody without fail. There were 2 of 3 transactions between the engravers and myself as we tweaked a couple of items but eventually the group were 100% happy with the draft format. The finished plaque arrived just 3 days after I approved the design and I have to say I was chuffed to bits with it, a fine job indeed!

The group had decided the location that the plaque should be mounted, a member of the group had then contacted the club who had the fishing rights (who we were all members of) and then the landowner, the club were fine as long as the landowner played ball which they did so the date was set for Feb 23rd to mount the plaque on the River Dove.

So onto the day itself, 13 of the group were in attendance and we had also invited Rob's wife Joy and 2 children, Dan & Bobbie, an old friend of Rob's, Barry, was also there with his wife. The plaque had been mounted to the chosen tree earlier that morning by myself and one of the group but we had left the final push home on the mounting screws for Rob's children to complete. The group assembled and the plaque was located, Rob's family were clearly moved by what the group had done and we all took time to reflect on what a great guy he was.
The remainder of the collection (£300) was donated to the 'melanoma support group' who Rob had interacted with the previous year so the cheque was also presented to Joy to pass onto the group. We then had a chat for a while before Rob's family left for home and the assembled anglers dispersed throughout the stretch to have a few hours fishing.

I started in a nice looking swim with faster water down the main part of the river and a nice slack on the inside, a maggot feeder was cast into the main flow and a float rod was to be used fishing a lobworm for Perch in the slack. It was whilst I was setting the float rod up that the tip sprung into life and a Grayling of about 12oz was netted, a nice start on a cold day.
The swim then went quiet so a move downstream was made, I settled into the tail of a long sweeping bend where the flow started to ease and again I fished the feeder for an hour without a bite so another move was made, this time I dropped into a peg I have fancied for a while, it was at the start of a large wide right hand bend with a pool in the centre and again deep slack water right under my feet so both of the days methods were catered for. After about 15 minutes the float was away and after a spirited scrap a Brown Trout of about 2lbs was in the net.

The rest of the session was uneventful until dusk when the feeder rod absolutely hammered over 'barbel 3 foot twitch style' but when I lifted the rod I felt no resistance, on retrieving the tackle it was clear that the hook had gone so whether I had suffered a bit off I will never know but I wasn't impressed! Some nice fish had apparently been caught through the day including a couple of 2lb+ Grayling and a Crayfish!  The day was never about the fishing though, it was about the remembrance of a great angler and a great friend.
R.I.P. Robbo

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A 100 mile Perch

The day began with a journey North up the M6 to my intended venue for the day, Perch & Pike were the target on a club reservoir, when I arrived I was greeted with 9 cars in the car park, not good news and I am not a fan of having to slot into what spots/pegs are free so I quickly popped up to view the water prior to unloading the gear to get an idea of what water was free. I am glad that I did as half of the water was iced over, including the entire back that I had wanted to fish from, the remaining bank was crammed full of anglers so back in the car I went and I was now heading South down the M6 a bit quicker then my earlier journey! 
40 miles on the clock......
The local rivers were too high, fast and filled with snow melt so I already knew I was restricted to a stillwater, there was a failry local stillwater to me that I knew held some nice Perch so that was the venue choice, I now had to drive home to dump my Pike gear and add a float rod so my Perch outfit was 100% complete.
80 miles on the clock......
I eventually arrived at my local stillwater at 12.30 with 90 miles on the clock.....
I have fished this venue a few times, the last 2 occasions being specifically for the Perch but without one to trouble my landing net, scales or camera, I had fished an area that had been reccomended to me so this time I fancied a change and headed to another part of the fishery, the plan was to fish lobworm on the float and also on a feeder rod as a sleeper.
I was fishing for 1pm and little happened until about 3pm when I had a bite on the float rod that I duly missed. I was then watching the float like a hawk when the bobbin slammed against the blank on the feeder rod but dropped as quickly as I event that occurred 3-4 times more over the course of the session without any hook up's so I need to think about a rig change for the next session, I was using a small blockend on a large run ring and a 2 feet link so maybe next time I will revert to a helicopter rig to try and change the odd's.
It was about 3.30pm and I started to recieve a few dips on the float rig before I finally hit a bite and felt resistance, after a short dour scrap I netted a nice Perch. On the scales it went 2lb 10oz so not a bad fish, a little bleached out as the water in this place is coloured but a nice fish nonetheless.
I then started to receive indication's on the float and then proceeded to miss another 2 bites which wound me up no end as it was obviously the witching time for the Perch, by 4.30pm all was quiet and I fished on until 5.30pm without another touch. I was happy with the fish I caught but during my next session I will make sure that the 3 - 4.30pm window is monitored a bit more closely.
I drove home and was unloading the gear by 6pm, with 100  miles on the clock.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Difficult One

I was again on the Upper Avon yesterday with Pike, Perch & Chub on my hitlist. I was actually down on the river the previous afternoon to replace an access bridge that the recent high waters had dislodged and unceremoniously dumped into a feeder stream that it was positioned to span.

During my time down there I had a look at a few swims and the river looked spot on, fining down nicely and the bottle green colour that screams Chub but doesn't slam the door shut on the preds either, things looked better then the conditions I fished in the previous weekend.

It was then old Mr Weather's opportunity to stick a spanner firmly in my fishing works, it snowed overnight, turning to sleet/rain in the morning, not huge amounts but cold water had gone into the river and I feared the worse. I arrived at the river just after noon and after slipping and sliding down the access path I cast my eyes upon the river for the first time that day, yes it had risen slightly and also coloured, it was now the colour of weak tea, never great conditions in my experience but I was there so I would have a go. Getting to my chosen swim was quite difficult, the bankside path was up to 12 inches under water in places and I went a*se over t*t just as I reached the peg, covering my new Bib & Brace in slimy mud especially around my backside! The swim itself looked reasonable, a steady flow in the main river with the usual slack on the inside still a slack.

I cast out a sardine for a Pike whilst I set up the float and quiver rod's but it was in hope rather than expectation as the river was a little bit too coloured for an esox.  After about 20 minutes the Pike rod was wound in and I replaced it with a float rod down the edge with a lobworm and a quiver rod upstream just on a crease line with a Kamasan feeder holding maggot and chopped worm with a lob tail on the hook. It was a very slow session and the time was approaching 4PM and I was still to receive a bite, no fish had been seen topping throughout the session and I was feeling beaten, I then had a sharp dip on the float before it sunk from view, I struck and wey hey I had a fish hooked, after a quick tussle I netted a Chub about 2LB, not front page news but a fish in conditions that were a country mile away from being perfect.

I had put the usual bankside marker down at the start of the session to gauge how quickly the river was rising, it was indeed but not on a massive scale but my stick now had H20 behind it so I was thinking about the route back off the river as several places had been close to the tops of my wellies!

I fished on for another 30 minutes before starting the journey back to the car, as I suspected the river had risen enough to cause me a problem and I ended up with 2 'booties', all part and parcel of the past time I suppose but then as I got to the car I noticed that my landing net head that had been attached to my rod holdall was no longer there........Through the water I went again, past the point of caring about wet feet now and found the net almost where I started the journey!  Happy days.
The weather forecast for the next 7 days looks reasonable, a bit of rain earlier in the week then hopefully a few dry days so hopefully by next weekend  the river will be in reasonable nick and the residents in mood for a nibble of two.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Mission Chubpossible

The recent weather had again caused havoc with my fishing plans, warmer fronts brought rain after the recent snow and ice but then it was followed closely behind it by a colder front so again I found my self checking the EA web site with spiralling water levels with dropping temperatures, not good for anything of the fishy type.........
As the weekend approached I did have slightly renewed optimism as the forecast rain did not really appear and the river had run off to a level that allowed access so I gave it a go. It does not take much to make a total mess of the river on the upper reaches of the Avon, just 2 feet of extra water sees a lot of the river over it's banks and access denied!
On arrival to the river the first problem I encountered was trying to cross a small bridge that was used to cross a small brook, I saw small brook but the recent weather had turned it into a medium sized brook! The recent floodwater had obviously lifted the bridge from it's support and then unceremoniously dumped it back into the brook, I managed to walk back up the brook and then jumped across although this problem would have to be resolved sooner rather than later.
I fancied an area quite a way upstream from where I was as I knew that there was a deeper hole in the middle of a straight that I fancied fishing and also looking at what it looked like with extra water on. The rest of the walk up to the area was equally as eventful as the start, another bridge was underwater but passable and 2 trees were over that I had to limbo underneath but eventually I arrived at the spot, the straight itself was like glass and the smooth flow made me confident of  a few fish being present as a lot of the water I had walked past on the way upstream was quite fast and turbulent.
The plan was to fish the quivertip, lobworm being the bait, either whole or in sections and a blockend black cap Kamasan to provide a few red maggots for each cast.
The first cast had only been in for 5 minutes when a fish swirled about 30 yards downstream, I noted the fact but cracked on where I was for now, a further 20 minutes past and another cast when another fish swirled in the same area so not looking a gift horse in the mouth I upped sticks and moved downstream 20 yards so I could cast just above the swirling (and hopefully feeding) fish. The first cast went untouched but the second resulted in the tip folding over confidently after 5 minutes, a short scrap and a decent Chub was in the bag, nice thick set shoulders on it and a huge tail, it went 4lb 11oz on the scales and was a welcome fish to say the least.

The fish was returned a way upstream in an attempt to prevent spooking it's shoal mates but after a further 30 minutes of fishing no bites were forthcoming and no further fish were seen swirling on the surface so a move was made. I really wanted to stay in this area until dusk as I felt it held more fish but with the underwater bridge accompanying the brook jumping Olympics on route back I wanted to clear both obstacles in daylight rather than the start of the dark period so off I went.

The second peg I fished looked great in the current conditions, the water rushed in from the right, hugging the far bank creating a huge slack on the inside, easy to fish and hopefully full of fish.

I knew Chub inhabited the area and had heard of recent Perch catches from the area, although there was colour in the water (weak tea rather than chocolate) I thought that the worm/maggot combo may tempt a stripey if I cast my bait close enough to one. Within minutes of my first cast the tip was twitching and then over it went, a Chub around  1 1/2lb was the culprit. I then fished onto dusk but didn't receive any further bites which was strange as I felt that the area looked good for a fish or two, just goes to show you.
The next few sessions will all hopefully be spent on running water, the weather will again be the key player dictating what species are targeted but as long as a door is open somewhere leading to a river I will pass through it.