Friday, 31 December 2010

On To The Next One.

It is not for the host to judge the success of a party, but I know I certainly enjoyed myself at the gathering in my garage the other night.

Music, beer, roast potatoes on cocktail sticks and a few friends was a simple formula.

For the first time in a while all of the 2010 challengers were in a room at the same time. That's Danny, Jeff, Pete and I. The icy conditions before Christmas had curtailed Danny's predator aspirations and with it his late points surge. Brummy Pete doesn't fish unless it's 6C outside and so had already totted up his card. Jeff, of course, has had his roach head on for some time now. All of which meant last gasp points were looking very unlikely.

So with only a few hours of 2010 remaining I was awarded the majestic trophy and crowned winner of this years Record Weight Challenge.

Majestic majesty lined with luxurious luxury.
Here are the final scores.

A record weight equalling bag for sixteen of the twenty two target species for me. I did catch grass carp, eels, pike, zander, even a 27lb wels catfish (which I'm not allowed to tell you about) but not enough of them to score a point. One species which eluded me all year was (bloody) ruffe. I estimate I must have spent about forty quid on bait and petrol chasing those little brown jobs, for nowt!

Next years nonsense is the self-explanatory titled '2011 % of Record weight Challenge'.

Our central scoresheet converts the weight of the best fish for each species into a percentage of record weight and he with the largest total at the end of the year wins. We have a dozen anglers competing this year, all bloggers, so hopefully you can look forward to reading about the various adventures.

This is how the score sheet will look.

Example scores only - as if I'd settle for only a 99% barbel.

I can't wait to make a start catching something to fill it in with.

I've been out fishing once this week with Jeff after roach on the Sowe and enjoyed it immensely. Until you catch one of these stunners you'd never believe such a small river could hold fish of that size (1lb+).

Jeff's done a better than average job of writing it up so I'll not waste keyboard paint here.

Finally then I'll wish you all a Happy New Year and Tight Lines for the next twelve months.


Keith .J

Monday, 20 December 2010

Tomorrow Is A Big Day For Me.

Every year from about the end of August onwards my fishing becomes gripped by a sense of urgency brought about by shortening day lengths. When the evenings start to shorten I'm always amazed at how quickly they close in. Short sleeves quickly turn to fleeces and in turn big coats.

After tomorrow however, it's up up up all the way through to a day designed by Izaak himself as the best day for fishing in England, the 21st June. On this perfect and longest day of the year the sun will rise at around four in the morning and set at around nine forty. That's over nineteen hours of Piscean (or should that be Geminian) potential in a single day. If I shut my eyes I've thirty odd years of superimposed images which burn white bright in my head of those summer dawns. These images keep me warm during the winter.

Tomorrow however is the summer solstice's nemesis, the shortest day of the year (please all boo in unison as you would at a pantomime at this point). Tomorrow the sun will rise at eight and after skirting the horizon on it's low winter zenith will have set again before four.

Piscator to Venator: "Study to be grumpy" (Izaak Walton 1653).

Tonight the Avon has frozen over at Evesham.....

Icicles hang from my garage roof.....

And our Leamington Angling Association work party at Jubilee Pools last weekend was set against a stupendous backdrop.....

But as of tomorrow friends, the sun fights back.

Never mind Harder Better Faster Stronger , just look at the Longer. From tomorrow onwards things turn a corner, and I for one can't wait.


Joke: I went to a pantomime with the kids last night and was alarmed when the lead actor playing Aladdin was anally raped in front of our eyes on stage. In fairness, the audience did try to warn him beforehand.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wheel-ruts Frost-fixed.

There's an icy blue haze hanging over Warwickshire just now.

Cold, still, and beginning to make a nuisance of itself to most of the anglers I know.

This morning I was late to work as I was inexplicably drawn to the grand tree-lined driveway up to Coombe Abbey. The avenue of mature trees along the quarter mile straight to the twelfth century Abbey were totally white from the frozen fog which has been depositing tiny ice particles onto everything around here. Totally spectacular and well worth the diversion. It made me want to remain outdoors in the countryside all day.

Warwickshire's cold blue stillness is in total contrast to the severe domestic turbulence which has immersed me recently. Suffice to say I've had bigger fish to fry of late and have done nothing more than strap myself in for the ride. The dust is now settling and I find myself in a new reality in which despite the season, green shoots are appearing almost everywhere I turn.

I've still been fishing, but it's been the angling equivalent of a comfy chair rather than an edgy Swedish designed aspiration. A day catching carp on the tip, after bream on the Avon and more recently turning to the winter stalwart the chub on the pluff. My drive to fish out of my comfort zone towards this years challenge has been extinguished.

Twice in the last two weeks I've had to call it a day when the line has frozen in the rings preventing me from winding in.

In this cold weather I've really cut back on the amount of bait I'm putting out when fishing the upper Avon. I'm still using liquidised bread in my cage feeder but am mixing garlic granules and grated blue cheese into it in an attempt to give a strong downstream scent without it being too foody. Results are very promising.

I've also discovered the Albright knot which I now use to join my braided mainline to a three foot length of 10lb mono when feeder fishing. I'd had trouble previously with my hooklength wrapping round the braided mainline on the cast, rendering the hook bound-up and useless. The short length of stout mono upon which the feeder runs has eradicated this problem whilst still offering the sensitivity and flow cutting properties of the braid mainline when fishing a quiver tip.

Last Saturday a low double-figure number of bloggers amassed in Coventry for a get together. Unsurprisingly most of us hadn't properly met before apart from on here. The conversation just seemed to roll and roll into the night. Highly entertaining. Not least because Jeff's almost nano-celebrity status meant he had so many pints bought for him he actually stopped talking towards the end. Something I've never witnessed before. Jeff's always the last man talking.

We discussed next years 'Percentage of Record Weight Challenge' with some vigour with the outcome being that everything below a dace will be be excluded from our targets due to the difficulty in obtaining an  accurate weight. Other than that, and apart from brown goldfish, the other species made the cut.

Amusingly there was an overwhelming enthusiasm for a bonus point (or rather bonus 50%), the details of which which we can only disclose at a later date.

For completeness then, here are the scores on the 2010 doors tonight.

I've still not caught a (bloody) ruffe!