In the thirty years I've been fishing I've noticed a change in the rivers too, and I'm not pretending they're all for the better. Firstly there seems to be a little less water in them year on year and secondly the water that is there during low times is cleaner. I'm familiar with the recent history of the Trent and how a combination of reduced warm water power station outputs and suspended nutrients (sewage) quickly lead to a dramatic increase in water clarity. This in turn changed the size and number of fish the river could support but I've not heard it called 'dead' for a long time. The species mix has changed in my home river the Warks Avon, and I doubt if I'd be regularly fishing for zander and barbel if it hadn't. I just think things have changed and as anglers we need to change too. If the rivers are in a healthier overall state then so what if we have to diversify to find our sport?
I came to the Avon after Dace in our fishing challenge and set up at the tail of the bay at Stratford Lido. I fished a waggler two-thirds across where the river looked at it's deepest and fished maggot on the hook. There is a lot of weed around and not much push at the moment.
|Scratch your balls if you love the Avon.|
The boat traffic was heavy in the late afternoon but they were mostly small hire boats coming up from the town so didn't interfere with the float fishing much at all. If I were fishing a feeder it might have been a pain. I saw one boat crash and a second drive straight under an overhanging willow whilst I fished. The overhanging willow incident had the occupant girls screaming like extras in the film 'Titanic' but no one was badly hurt.
Shaven headed youths weaved, smoked skunk, drank beer at the wheel, over-revved the outboards and swore loudly. My Leamington Angling work party colleague Ian summed things up nicely last week when we stood and watched a similar display, "And you wonder why every f****r hates you." he whispered under his breath as one urban-massive belted upriver loudly speaking patois. We were all young once I suppose, it's just the older you get the harder it is to remember.
|Looks like a pole but it is a rod.|
Then I caught a silver bream.
Now this time last year I didn't even know that silver bream existed. I just thought it was the name some people gave to skimmers. It's only through Jeff Hatt's learning's that they've appeared on my radar and I reckon I can now tell them apart from other things.
Over the next few hours a couple more silver bream joined the first in the net and so when Danny arrived I told him the river had thrown up these little surprises.
Danny settled in downstream and as the evening progressed things turned to a fish a chuck for me. More perch and dace came to hand. Then as if a switch had been flicked the swim went dead. Predators no doubt.
And it stayed dead for over an hour.
Only after eight o'clock did the bites start again, and the first fish of this new dawn was....... a silver bream. Next cast, another silver. Smaller than before, but that made five in total.
The light was fading now.
Another silver. Six! I'm giving an excited (and probably highly annoying) running commentary to Danny and the bloke who lives in the big house on the opposite bank who had come down to fish at the bottom of his back garden. He had some clonking bream out to about five pounds on corn and a groundbait feeder.
At just before ten I had a massive tangle at the reel caused by pulling out of weed and rushing to get back in. I knew I wasn't near a dace or perch point but the silver bream was touch and go.
The pure roach weighed 11ozs.
I had about three and a half pounds of perch.
I had 8ozs of dace across about ten fish.
I weighed the silvers......... 2lb 12ozs.
Danny handily had the targets to hand and only after I'd weighed-in said what I needed to hear - the silver bream target was 2lb 2oz.
Well I never expected that from this evening. I thought I wasn't going to get anywhere near this point all year and had Jeff down for it if anyone would.
I've left the pure roach and immature bronze bream at the bottom of this first photo for comparison.
The silvers were all peas in a pod.
Here's a close up of one and the tail of another.
And finally here are the scores tonight.
The Avon is dead. Long live the Avon.