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.