Monday, 4 October 2010

Sleeping Ruffe.

Sunday 3rd October, 07:20 - 09:00. Oxford canal at Brinklow / Cathiron. Heavy rain. 15C.

This morning was the sort of early morning entertainment that only fishing can provide.

I awoke at 6:30 and could hear the rain before I even made it downstairs.

I boiled the kettle and pulled on my clothes and immediately started to question my sanity as I looked out of the kitchen window into the gloom. Although it was still dark I could clearly see the reflections of raindrops in the puddles in the back garden.

The garage was warm and there was still some heat left in the stove from last night. My gear was already in the car. I took my pre-chopped worm and compost mix and tub of maggots from the fridge.

With the car backed-out I stood in the garage doorway and pulled up my hood. The rain drummed hard against the steel roof. I turned off the lights and took a long look at the sheets of rain falling in front of the headlights. It was a 'go, no go' decision. If memory serves, I've never yet arrived at a 'no go' conclusion.

Still half asleep I turned the wrong way out of the drive onto the road.

Once again play at the Ryder cup had been suspended due to heavy overnight and continuing rain. Now committed to the fishing I could happily smile at the absurdity of the task in hand.

Andy had mentioned he'd caught a ruffe from the nearby canal and so I had a short time before a Leamington Angling work party catch five ounces of them towards this years fishing competition which I have on with my pals.

As soon as I got out of the car I put up my umbrella before shouldering my tackle. Still almost dark I needed a headlight to connect my pole rig. (You must be getting bored of this next bit....) I droppered in six lots of worm chop and compost and two of maggots.

First put-in and the float sailed under. 'Ye of little faith', I thought. It was a hybrid of about half a pound. I didn't get a photo as it flipped the hook as I swung it in, dropped onto the grass and squirmed back into the cut. Plop.

It took a while for the next bite which was from a bootstrap zander. This too fell off as I was swinging it in.

The boats started at eight and with them the water movement increased. I felt a little self conscious as the first few chugged by - sat in the heavy rain holding onto my brolly and smiling through a grimace (or was that grimacing through a smile). It was noticeable the effect the first boat had on the water colour. After all night settling, the churn created sub-surface clouds of silt emanating from the track.

Two hours, two bites, no ruffe. Manic giggling as I loaded my wet gear back into the car.

I got a new watch for my birthday.
We worked hard on the pegs at Jubilee but don't worry, it'll soon grow back. I amused my fellow workers by expressing a real love for working outdoors in the pouring rain. "Why?", they wondered without finding the need to swear at all. Well I knew had a gammon joint and potatoes for lunch and the golf and/or football on the telly in the afternoon. I also had a four pack in the fridge and so hard labour in the rain provided the perfect prelude to a wet Sunday afternoon in the warm and dry. I would also have ample opportunity to wrestle my children into the carpet. I'm convinced Leamington could market and brand this outdoor activity as corporate 'Team Bonding' or 'Colleague Cohesion', make a tidy packet and get our pegs cleared at the same time. It takes a lot of synergy and solutionising to chop down trees without getting killed and getting holes burned into your shirt without twatting the guy 'managing' the bonfire. 
I digress. No shower is as good as the one after you've come in from working outdoors all morning. Nor can any meal following that shower ever taste so good. No beer can ever quite taste like the one after the meal after the shower after working like a common dog outside in the rain all morning.

As for (bloody!) ruffe? After tonight's fishing club meeting and putting an epoch's fishing experience to work I have a new nailed-on, you cannot bend it venue...... but I first need to wait for the waters to subside.
Here are the scores tonight.


Sunday, 3 October 2010

River Anker After (Bloody!) Ruffe.

Friday 1st October, 14:00 - 16:30. River Anker at Tamworth. Heavy rain.

The Ryder Cup was forced to halt proceedings this morning because of heavy rain at Celtic Manor in Wales. By mid morning the deluge had reached the Midlands and the skies were dark overhead when I left work. The wind was also gusting strongly and neither relented whilst I was on the bank.

This was the first time I've fished the river Anker. I was following yet another ruffe tip this afternoon in my marathon attempt to catch the little fish in this years record weight challenge.

The Anker flows out of Nuneaton tracking the Coventry canal along most of its length before its confluence with the Tame in Tamworth about half a mile downstream from where I was fishing. And what a lovely looking river it is. Here, almost at its terminus, the water was clear, purposefully flowing and quite deep.

I started by stret-pegging a couple of maggots over some droppered chopped worm and earth.

It was quite a slow start in this first swim, I only caught a couple of small roach.

The river was metamorphosing in front of my eyes. When I started fishing I was swinging out into slow gliding water down the near edge, just off the crease of the main flow. Within an hour the force of the current had increased and with it my crease had all but disappeared. I thought this might now be a little too fast for the little ruffe and so moved downstream a peg to a big slowly rotating back eddy.

I started with my bait on the deck again but second cast a perch grabbed the maggots on the way down.

My stret-pegging approach no longer felt right for this slacker water so I made a few adjustments and quickly transformed my set up into a regular float outfit. Bites were more frequent after the change and I bagged a few more perch and roach letting the bait drift round the eddy. I tried a small worm but all the fish came to maggot.

With only half an hour left before home time I moved downstream one peg further. I figured my gear couldn't get any more wet than it was and I was really enjoying myself picking up a fish here and there in the moving water without really baiting up the swim.

In the third swim, which had a strong flow on the far bank with a very slow current on the near side, I droppered in one of 'chops and earth' and one of maggots. Here I caught mainly chublets and one gudgeon.

Contrast the water colour with previous photo.

By now the river was visibly swelling after the rain of  the day. It was changing colour from clear to dusty too.

I called it a day and made my way home in the pouring rain via the midlands motorway network and listened to Ryder Cup commentary on the radio in which the commentators described the bright sun the players were now bathed in.