Saturday 30th May. 17:00 - 1900 at Jubilee. Glorious weather, 24C.
After some impromptu fish spotting with Pete on the upper Avon - he was on his way to fish Snitterfield for the evening - we went our separate ways. Not before we'd marveled at the Barbel though.
I had what can only be described as a 'domestic opening' this afternoon with both kids and wife being at some or other party for a few hours. As you might expect I got hold of the opening and stuffed it full of fishing! It's what I do.
I headed for Jubilee hoping to better my recent 1lb 7ozs Roach with something which would take me into the heady gold bracket for the species of the fishing challenge.
I fished shallow and light and fed maggots sparingly on Horseshoe pool. After fifteen minutes in one corner I'd had just one Roach.
I went looking for the Rudd. I found some out of the wind picking flies off the surface. I sat down and began to trickle in maggots. I could see the Rudd were interested in the bait and had a couple of half bites but nothing that took the light float under - apart from the carp that also occasionally showed an interest if their cruise paths happened to be near the maggots as they were trickled in.
Having not had enough interest to stick with the method in the first hour I again wandered off looking for an opportunity.
I found one in the shape of the shallow Lilly fringed margins on the far side of the pool. A chance to try for the Crucians in Horshoe which I've heard of but are rarely caught. Switching over to a bottom bait and a rope-like four pound line straight through I shovelled in the maggots and gave the marginal lake bed a go.
First fish from this new peg was a Roach. Second was a Bream. I weighed it and at 5lb 10oz was pretty pleased with myself. I thought of the fishing challenge however and recollected that nothing less than seven pounds would get me on the board.
I then hooked and lost a Carp which I think was HITA (hooked in the ass). Just before the bite a group of fish entered stage right and went straight through the swim. I think these guys and gals had only one thing on their mind however and it wasn't food. But a fisherman's reflex can damn you as quickly as it can anoint - the float went down and I immediately lifted into it. The Carp tore off up the bank with me giving it as much stick as I could. After about a minute of arm aching single directional pull the hook slipped.
I shovelled in more maggots and reflected on the fact I should have been home half an hour ago.
The float dipped under again and this time I lifted into something pretty weighty. We all know this fish is going to be a Bream now but at the time I didn't and would have been forgiven for mistaking the species for one that actually pulls back.
Are you sitting down? This Bream fought! Let that sink in a minute.
Also, once on the bank it gave me a right slapping. First it jumped out of the landing net back into the water making me have to trap it in the landing net and bring it ashore again. Then once in my weigh bag it gave some hefty thumps of the tail.
Is this a trait of big Bream? I'm used to the slimy buggers making like a rag on the way in then laying on their side for half an hour after you return them?
Upside of this bad tempered snotball is....... it weighed seven pounds on the nose!
That earns me a bronze in the challenge. Here's the scores;
I'll say now I wish it had weighed 7lb 2oz or something not so 'on the line'. But you can't argue with the scales and so that puts me ten ahead!
I've uploaded my 'proof' video I often take. It's classified PG as there are some gratuitous nose hair shots as I try to do the whole thing in one take. You suffer for my art don't you know.
I've another night session planned for the end of this week so am looking forward to another early summer dawn.