Friday, 27 February 2009

Fish Nets

Helped out with a netting party today on a Warwickshire pool with Leamington Angling Assoc.

The fish were sampled and are being health checked before they can be moved.

Provided the stock get the all clear then it's great news for LAA members as there will be some cracking Roach, Rudd, Bream and large Carp making their way into Association waters in the near future. No pictures just now but will put some up when the move happens proper.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Lovely Chubbly

25/2/09 Lower Plough AS stretch after work, and with Pete.

During the post-fish analysis over a pint tonight two things became clear. Firstly, I appear to have caught only Chub so far this year. Despite my brief but best efforts with Grayling, Roach, Eels and Barbel it's only been the Chub pulling my string.

Secondly, the hair-rig is not necessarily always the most efficient means of hooking fish.

To deal with the second point first. I set up two rods tonight, one with a large bait designed for Chub / Barbel and one with double maggot on an 16 hook below a maggot feeder. As you might expect within half an hour and a few casts the maggot rod started to get some attention - mostly trembling on the tip signifying small fish bursting (chobbling) the maggots. Next cast, tip bends round and (bosh - as they say) I'm into a decent Chub - 4lbs 6ozs.

Seeing the Chub are liking the maggots I quickly switch the hooklength of this rod over to a small maggot clip loaded with about 10 maggots on a hair. the next hour is spent with plucky / jaggy bites that don't really turn into anything, and certainly not fish.

Bemused, I snip off the maggot clip from the hair and put three maggots directly onto the size ten korda hook. Next cast, the tip bends round and I've a second Chub about the 4lb mark.

With the right hand rod getting nothing much on the bigger baits I put maggots directly on the hook on this too. Within the next hour I've had a total of five Chub, all around the 4lb mark, and all giving bites that bent the tip round and pull line from the centrepins.

I think the Chub were mouthing the bigger baits or turning with them in their mouth but not hooking themselves against the soft rod tps. Either way, maggots direct on the hook 'scraped' five decent Chub.

To deal with the first point - catching only Chub; I think you could fish almost any method during January and February on most midland rivers and find yourself with mostly Chub. Thank god the blighter's keep on biting when most other species don't.

It was nice to bump into 'Swivel' tonight on the bank. I've only been running this blog for about a month and yesterday it had one public follower. What were the chances of bumping into him on my next fishing trip!?

Monday, 23 February 2009

An early lead

Sunday 22nd Feb - An early hour and half at Wasperton and my pal gets off the mark.

My fishing pal Pete has more time on his hands than me. This leaves him able to regularly devote time at weekends to fishing. He was out both Saturday and Sunday over last weekend and put points on our 'fishing challenge' board on both occasions.

I'm not going to enter into any banter here, it would be easy but impolite for me to slate him on a forum where he's got no chance of reply. I'll save all that for when we speak in person.

He was at Lucy's Mill on Saturday after Zander, Pike and perhaps a Roach and had a 10lb 8ozs Pike. It was his only fish of the day but enough to seal top points for the species in our challenge.

The following day he was on the Plough stretch of the Avon and had a single fish, a Chub 4lb dead. Again, enough to get on the board. There's a long way to go yet.

I had an hour or so before a work party for Leamington Angling. I was all out for a decent Perch. I fished the bottom section of Wasperton in the steady water near the car park. I trotted a lob worm just above bottom under a chubber float about two rod lengths out, feeding maggots sparingly to try and attract the sliver fish into the area and hopefully attract the Perch's attention.

On a second rod I stret-pegged a worm down the deep water on the near bank. Mainly to double my chances of a bite but also in case they wanted a static bait. Despite feeling confident with my methods once again they failed to produce. I didn't have a whiff.

I consoled myself by shifting inhuman quantities of topping onto the track and nearby car parks.

I will endeavour to attach a photo of a fish in the near future.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Brandon Bites Back

Weds 18th Feb.

OK so my pal and I are now definitely getting carried away with hitting the fishing targets we set ourselves at the start of the year.

It must be bad for me to forego the rivers when there's only ~three weeks of the river season left to resort to a stillwater. The fact is that the air temp moved to a heady 10C yesterday and remained mild last night. Lakes have reverted to liquid form rather than solid and it's not particularly a) windy or b) rainy at the moment. In fact, there's almost a whiff of spring in the air.

I was at Brandon tonight trying to catch; a 1lb+ Roach, a 4lb Eel, and a 30lb+ Carp. And if none of that came off I would have been happy with a 3lb+ Perch. Yeah right.

Brandon Marsh taketh away as quickly as it giveth. Apart from a judder on the lead and a dip of the float I had no indication of a fish all night, and positively blanked. As dusk descended I did see the odd small Roach flip and Tench roll, but nothing took the bait.

What my mate fails to understand about this this competition is that he finds himself up against one of the best general specimen anglers the odd numbered houses of my street have ever produced. All I need to do now is back that claim up with some fish.

Consolations from tonight include; unloading my gear at home and my mind starting to buzz and race with the forthcoming angling opportunities the year will present. I think this is largely a physiological / biochemical reaction to the increased air temperatures and lengthening days recently. I can't be the only one who wants to be spending more time out of doors as soon as the shoots put in an appearance!?

Secondly, feeding maggots to the Robins out of my hand.

Choglud Brown

Sunday 15th Feb.

I stole exactly two hours fishing from my family this Sunday afternoon whilst they all went swimming - I like to keep my fishing away from the weekends wherever possible.

I went to the Plough stretch of the Avon and was surprised at the height of the river. The height and pace was caused by the the snow melt still coming through.

The real target was a Barbel as the air temp had warmed up but I was happy to include Chub in the plan.

I found a spot with some pacy but laminar flow on the far side of the river, in a hole between some trees. I knew the area had a gravel bottom from previous summer sessions. With spiced hair-rigged luncheon meat on the hook and a two ounce lead to keep things down, I found the rod still needed pointing skywards to prevent the flow dragging on the line and dislodging the lead.

Despite lightly trickling in maggots and the odd cube of meat upstream of where my bait lay to try and encourage feeding no bites materialised.

Air temp was a whopping 9C upon arrival and for the first time in living memory I could stll feel my lower limbs at te end of the session.

My pal Pete joined me and too suffered a blank.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Blithe with an 'I'

A colleague and fishing pal has come up with a hair-brained scheme this year. A rod-race style challenge which takes the guise of .............. 'The Fishing Olympics'.

Set aside your cynicism for a moment and any other instant judgments you might be making about our ability to lead normal lives in the community. Because if nothing else it has formalised some challenging targets for the coming year.

I've always set targets myself. Normally before dropping off to sleep at the beginning of the new year. I try to crystallise the angling targets for the coming calendar year. One thing that always amazes me is how these targets keep changing. In recent years a 20lb salmon stuck it's head above the parapet. Last year a double-figure Avon Barbel was in the sights and was duly achieved. The previous season a 25lb+ Carp caught my imagination and was reached on a cold February evening exactly when I didn't expect it! But this year we sat down with a pint after a blank Christmas fish on the Avon at Stratford and discussed where the various bars should be set. The resulting spreadsheet has caught my imagination and I am already thinking tactically for the coming year.

Needless to say, catching a Grayling is at the forefront of my mind at the moment. And to this end we set off to a day-ticket section of the River Blithe in Staffordshire which reputedly contained them. Those Mindlanders familiar with the River Blythe take note, this was not the same.

Still running high from the input of recent water from the snow this was not an easy mission. The bailiff indicating that they were certainly not common on the 700 mtr stretch of dainty river.

I trotted maggot all day under a stick float in every pacy run I thought might deliver. But nothing more than Chub came to the net. The fish I caught were all peas in a pod, about the pound mark from the faster water.

My pal quickly became distracted from Grayling fishing by a deep pool and put on cheese-paste to land three larger Chub at about the three pound mark.

Although a thoroughly enjoyable day out, I think we're going to have to rethink venue for the Grayling targets which incidentally are 2pts for a bronze: 0.5lb, 3pts for silver: 0.75lb, 5pts for gold: 1lb.

Any ideas on where these might come from? Drop me a line!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Idiots Rule

Some might say I'm an idiot to be out fishing in early February when it's cold, chucking it down with rain and when the rivers are in the fields due to the rapid snow melt of the last few days.

And insane to try for a Barbel when there's only two hours of light available after work and the river is cold, blasting through and chocolate coloured.

I however, disagree.

I prefer the term half-wit, as it is far more optimistic. Like it's hoping that I can still turn things around if I work on it and perhaps seek professional help.

Needless to say, whether an idiot or a half-wit, I didn't catch anything this evening.

It was 5C upon arrival and 3C upon departure. It was also raining heavily for most of the evening with the skies clearing and it snapped decidedly cold from about eight onwards.

Who amongst us recognises that there is a certain something 'special' about the English fisherman? I found myself building regular safety assessments into my fishing routine this evening. Was the water rising? Confirm the route back to the car remains above water. Is the ground I'm sitting on remaining firm and not undercut and likely to be washed away? Are the nearby power lines sufficiently high for this length of rod!?

Don't misunderstand me. No fish is worth losing ones life for, but there's something satisfying if at the end of each retrieve the assessment goes along the lines of, "Well, I'm still alive and the ground I'm sitting on is still here so I may as well have another cast". You certainly feel like the stakes were temporarily raised, and it's the closest I'll ever come to 'extreme' fishing.

For the record; I fished a large open-ended feeder filled with halibut pellet groundbait with spicy luncheon meat on the hook. This was dropped down the near edge behind a small tree that was holding up the main flow and creating some smooth water behind it. I know the area contains Barbel and I know the bottom behind the tree was hard and clear.

The trick was to get the feeder down to the bottom as quickly as possbile before is was washed away. Once on the bottom a yard of additional line needed paying out to keep it there. If the line was tightened against the feeder the current would pick it up and it would then start to pull downstream. If at any point debris caught on the line then the feeder would again be washed up into the current and line pulled from the reel. I always find I have to recast more regularly in heavy water anyway to avoid the build up of crud on the mainline and hook length.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Back on the Plough stretch of the Avon again after work this evening. Snow still on the ground from Mondays heavy snowfall and the air temp. at 2C. Bright when I arrived but soon clouding over with the skies darkening and the forecast of more snow tomorrow.

Only started fishing at 16:30 so didn't have long as it's dark by ~17:30. Fished into dusk.

Ended up with five Chub to around 4lbs max.

Trundled breadflake on the 'pin did the trick. Hair-rigged the bread using my float rubber set-up. Only needed a couple of AA to keep the bait down but moving. Braided mainline ensured every nibble registered on my Fox Barbel Special 1.5lb tc rod. I lost another fish due to a break of hook length (10lb bs) and missed the same number of bites again. The third fish bent the starpoint hook straight in the fight. Later fish once again blunted the fragile hook points.

The water was up slightly but in great nick. I travelled light taking only my shooting stick as a perch and a folding landing net to stay mobile.

Once again the lack of feeling from my knees down was soon remedied by the open fire and Guinness at the Malt Shovel.