Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hail or Shine.......

The rivers are now behind us for another season so it is the stillwaters that we now look to satisfy the craving. I had managed to secure a free 10M pole from a fishing buddy up North so it was with that item of tackle Josh and I headed to a local water last Saturday, I had checked the weather forecast the days leading to the weekend and Saturday soon emerged as the day as I read 0% chance of rain with cloud/sun mix, cannot complain for mid March, the brolly was packed anyway......
We arrived at about 1PM and I soon had Josh fishing with the top 4 sections of the pole using maggot, I was on the next peg fishing a large pole float with a lobworm beneath it aiming for the resident Perch or anything that swam. Josh had taken a couple of small Perch and I had just settled into my swim when the 'plip plop' of the first rain drops started to resound around us, within 30 seconds there were pretty large hailstones mullering down upon us so up the bank we scampered and the brolly was erected quick time.

Deserted hail battered swim

The hail storm didn't last long so we were back on it, I had forgotten to fold down my chair in my haste to get the brolly up so it was wet backside time for me and Josh wasn't loving holding his now wet & cold pole so that soon went up the bank whilst he drank the contents of his flask. I asked him if he was to return but then the second hail storm descended, this was a bruiser and lasted around 15 minutes, we had now probably spent more time under the brolly sheltering from hail than actually fishing, don't you just love this bloody country......not!
The impending ice balls cleared and we were free to fish, I caught a reasonable Roach about a pound quickly followed by a slightly smaller Perch, the Perch (and all others caught on the day) were as fat as footballs, obviously they hadn't spawned just yet, I had wondered with the mild weather and thought that they would have done so but it seemed not on this water. 

Josh wasn't impressed with the conditions and as it was only a short fire session that was that, we caught eight fish between us and Josh needs a pole roller but on the whole we enjoyed it.

The tackle has been cleaned from the past river campaign, Barbel & Pike rods have been dismantled and the Tench & Fly outfits have found their way to the front of the rod holders in the garage. The current 10 day weather outlook isn't bad with temps rising after today/tomorrows rain. An evening session on Draycote is planned for next Friday for us and maybe the first Tench session too on the Sunday, fingers crossed all round.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Curtain call on the Wye

Thursday 13th was my last session on running water for the 2013/14 season, as per the majority of other river anglers the winter of 13/14 had been a literal wash out. The River Wye was again the chosen venue for my last bow as it has done for the past 3 seasons, I do like it down there, a great river and great surroundings so why not.
I left Coventry at 5.30am and instantly was hampered with thick fog making it slow going on small local roads, the A & M roads were better but it was usually because I was following tail lights in front which is a dangerous past time in itself! I eventually pulled into the car park at 6.45 and was on the bank for 7, foggy conditions still surrounding me but now it was very atmospheric rather than a hindrance, I have usually found that fish feed in fog, don't ask me why but that is my finding anyway. A two rod approach was the order of the day, a sardine on a float/pat for the Pike down the edge and a Barbel rod halfway over using a single pellet on a long nylon link with pellet and groundbait in a feeder.
Atmospheric Wye morning

The second cast with the Barbel rod saw the tip bump a couple of times before the feeder shifted and over the tip went, a good scrap soon saw a plump Barbel in the net, she looked a big 8 but the scales showed 9lb 7oz, always nice when they do that.

9.07 Wye Barbel

The next cast saw a repeat and another good ruck saw another Barb in the net, a bit smaller than the first fish and the scale agreed this time and showed 8lb 8oz, this is good, this fish had a nice white edge to its tail fins.

8.08 Wye Barb

The sun now started to burn through the fog and with it the fish backed away and the bites ceased, I had noticed a couple of bobs & dips on the Pike bung and when I retrieved the Sardine it was in a bit of a mess, the marks didn't look like Pike teeth marks, maybe Crayfish or Eels but I have not heard or seen the former plus I was fishing a popped up bait so I am open to ideas guys?

Sardine stripped 

The sun grew stronger and I retrieved the Barbel rod and started to trot a lobworm tail along the nearside crease, I have never seen a Perch on this stretch of the Wye but I am sure that they are there, I fed maggot & chopped lobs for over an hour but only caught one fish, a daft Trout about 2lbs, no Perch or Chub to be seen.
I went for a walk along the stretch to take a look at other swims and got the Barbel rod back out at 4PM, a short while later it was away and a Barb about 6lb was duly landed and returned, I hoped for further action but dusk came and went and I fished into dark until 8PM without a touch on either Barbel or Pike rod. I was hoping for another Pike but it was deadly silent on the rod all day despite positioning the bait above & below my fishing position, I was later to find that Pike were caught in the swim earlier on in the week but not today......
I bid the river farewell and that was that for another 3 months, I cant wait already.

Monday, 10 March 2014

A warm day on the Wye

The river season is running to a close, it has been a strange one, not a very good one in my experiences, my winter Chub campaign didn't happened, my winter Piking campaign didn't happen, for two months I haven't even thought about getting near a river and I usually will have a go in the wildest of conditions but not this winter.......

Anyway back to the current timeline, I had planned two visits to running water prior to the 14th March, I mulled over a few venues, Trent, Severn, Warks Avon were considered but I chose the Wye, I love this river, the surroundings are some of the best in the country in my opinion with two of my favourite species readily available, Barbel & Pike.
The first session was yesterday on a day ticket water, a few mates were down there for an extended weekend but as the Wye is only just over an hour for me I could be there and back in a day no problem. I arrived at the venue around 7AM and the sun was already kicking the ass out of any early morning mist that was about, bright sunlight has never been a friend of either Barbel or Pike angler but it looked as though it was happening today. The river looked to have around 2 - 2 & half foot on after a slight rise the evening before, nicely coloured and steady flow, it looked great for Barbel, fellow modest conditions for the fish compared to what they have endured over the previous few weeks. I walked upstream to Pike fish for a couple of hours before the sun was too high in the sky, first drop into a nearbank slack with a sardine saw a stuttering take that I missed, damn it (or something similar to those words) and the bait dropped back into the same spot didn't see another chance, half an hour later and I moved to another spot without any luck, after a third dead spot I decided that the Barbel gear was coming out earlier than planned.
I picked a swim that had glassy steady water and a decent enough slack down the edge, the Pike rod was despatched and left on the baitrunner whilst the fairly standard Barbel gear that consisted of groundbait feeder and a long nylon link with a single 8mm pellet were cast out to a nearside crease. The day got warmer and warmer, 16 deg C my phone told me but it felt warmer than that but that may have been due to the fact that we were at the bottom of a prominent valley. Spring had definitely sprung but my god what a temp rise!  The day continued, a couple of fish were caught throughout the group of us that were there but it was hard work all round.

At about 3PM I had a move and dropped into a swim upstream, again a glassy surface was chosen with a Pikey looking margin to drop my Herring into so I was in there, settled and off again.

I was in straight away on the Barbel line and a splasher Barb of around 3lb was soon in the net, a start and the first Barbel of 2014. The next hour again passed uneventfully even though the sun had now dipped behind the far bank wood providing shade onto the river with a noticeable drop in temperature with it. I was beginning to think the day would have better sunbathing rather than fishing when I noticed the near bank Pike bung sink and head past me upstream, I slowly wound down and lifted into a heavy fish, a couple of pulls and then in true Pike fashion it gave up and I slid a nice fish into the net, I though scraper double during the fight but once on the bank it was obviously bigger, the hooks were out nice and easy then onto the scales, 15lb 8oz was the recorded weight, she looked heavier but was very empty at the back and along with the red marks on her flanks I was wondering if she was recently spawned?

I slipped the fish back and then fished on for a further hour but nothing else showed up fish wise. It was a hard day but it ended well, that is a double figure Pike on my last two visits to the Wye so not bad, my target is of course a 20lb fish so the quest continues......
I have a further session left before the curtain closes, I will be back on the Wye on Thursday, again Barbel & Pike will be the main targets with another rod fishing worm in the mix, I am hopeful as the river should be spot on by Thursday, temperatures are remaining steady during the day but with no further rain forecast she will level out nicely, hopeful, hopeful, hopeful.