Sadly Danny couldn't join us this evening as he had other commitments but three of the ramshackle four: Pete, Jeff and I had an evening on the Warks Avon after zander and bream respectively.
Jeff and I arrived first and we found sport was slow whilst the sun was high in the sky despite Jeff wearing his new jumper. I targeted zander with deabaits, launching both rods across to the shade of the sluice hole. Pete arrived around six and we were set up three in a row opposite the flats.
Perched like a hippo on a map pin I recast my baits to a variety of spots to try and find the predators.
There was guy fishing upstream of us when we arrived and every time he cast his groundbait feeder out into the slack water just off the flow of the weir a gang of bleak would rush to the surface to pick off the bits. The gang were frequently seen leaping clear of the water as something hit into them. As the evening wore on Jeff had the same performance in front of him. After casting out a feeder the bleak would come up to the surface only to scatter as they were attacked from below. Good perch maybe.
I brought my lines in close and had my first customer of the evening, a pug nosed pike of 10lbs 8oz.
|No lower front teeth.|
|My single treble was just inside the lip.|
Whilst I was returning the fish my other tip registered a bite. A small 12oz zander was on the end of the strike.
|I have just eaten a dead bait half my size.|
As dusk descended I had a run of subtle bites which I couldn't convert into fish. I changed the hooking arrangement on my traces over to a large single at the top with a treble midships of the dead bait and pretty soon had a 7lb 3oz pike then a 4lb 5oz zander take hold.
|I got my eyes on you!|
|I trust you are NHS.|
Once the metaphorical cork had been popped it was hard to stay focused on the fishing, more-so when there are a few friends on the bank. Once we had something to celebrate thoughts quickly turned to the pub.
Before we got anywhere near the pub however the subject of next years competition took centre stage.
If you fancy joining us next year then please contact me on email via my profile link. The only entry criteria we have are honesty, coupled with a commitment to write up your exploits on here somewhere.
Our meandering conversation was earnest. Within the scope of this years challenge we enjoyed the fact that we are not direct adversaries. No one can take a point away from anyone else. We are all pitting our wits and fishing skills against a sheet of paper - notional targets. We walked back to the cars along the banks of the Avon, past the floodlit medieval church, Shakespeare's theatre and the chain ferry. There was an intense discussion about the ethos of next years challenge. Pete openly admits that fishing for the smaller species is not 'his thing'. I confess to loving having a strategic plan for the year and the driven diversity of fishing for species which would not normally receive my attention. We all agreed that complexity was our enemy and that we should keep things as simple as possible.
The overwhelming consensus was that we did not want to find ourselves wasting our precious leisure time chasing the million to one shots which are massive specimens. But more importantly, that none of us want the isolation of direct opposition to the cohort. We crave a shared interest over a point scoring fight to the death any day.
Make no mistake, the result of this years competition is still in the balance. If Danny brings back the expected eel and ruffe point from his upcoming holiday to the broads I think he'll have it in the bag. But do you know what? Right now I'm not that bothered if he takes it. Last nights outing was everything I want from a bloggers competition. Like-minded souls finding endless enjoyment and discussion which are otherwise nowhere to be found amongst those you spend most of your time with.
Just for the record:
Reckon you can beat us!?