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