Monday, 28 March 2011

Karma Angling.

I'm writing this on the back of three PB's in three days, a purple patch of Hatt-ian proportions.

I'm not yet prepared to accept the nose-dive in form I'm certain I'll soon be dealt however, and intend to surf this wave until the bugger crashes ashore.

Last week started slowly. I arranged to meet up with David at Leamington Angling's College Pool after Sean had caught a decent perch there the weekend before. Talking to a few guys revealed perch of 2lb 11oz and 2lb 15oz had also come out recently and so our hopes were high.

I fished opposite David [no more url's] at the far end of the pool with one rod on an alarm for bream and my pole down the edge for perch. David was fishing similar tactics and to cut a long story short I watched him reel in a procession of bream and then cap it off with an amazing perch of 3lbs 10ozs.

That was, and still is, the biggest perch I've seen on the bank and although admitting I'd like to have caught it I was honestly pleased just to have seen it, and seen it caught by a pal.

I went back later in the week to try again for perch but succeeded in only catching carp. The biggest went 12lb 6oz.

12lbs 6oz College Pool Carp.

Now that's not a big fish, but when you consider these carp were only stocked into the pool a couple of years ago at between three and five pounds you get the impression they're growing on. A second hand report of a sixteen pounder from the venue now seems more likely than not.

[More url's follow! But it seems rude not to.]

On Saturday I met up with Les Lerigo, Pete and by happy coincidence Gaz' at Weston Lawns. I was after perch and settled into a corner which was due to be out of the wind for the day according to the forecast. Previous days had been bright, sunny and warm but Saturday brought a cold, foggy start. A day which never really got going with low cloud hanging overhead all day. Perfect for Perch!

I fished my centrepin reel with four pound line straight through with a fourteen foot float rod, and fed red maggots and prawns and fished a worm on the hook. I've taken to injecting the head of my lobworm bait with a bit of air so it sits just off the bottom, gyrating like a worm-woman belly dancer.

I had two perch of 1lbs 9ozs early doors, each of which made me smile with irony because they both exceeded Jeff's apparent glass-ceiling perch weight by exactly one ounce.

In between bites it was quiet, no knocks and sways like you expect when carp fishing the margins in summer, just a dead still float.

At midday the float wobbled and retreated beneath and my strike connected with weight. Although not a long-winded tussle the fish took line from the reel three times before I could get it up onto the surface.

This fish looked different, bigger than the others I'd had. I'd taken a phone call from Pete as he had parked up his car and between hanging up and him yomping into view I'd caught a 3lbs 3oz perch, a new pb.

3lbs 3oz Perch.

Buzzing, I caught up with Pete and Les and then sat down again to focus on the job in hand.

The next cast resulted in a bite, but this time I couldn't identify the fish from the fight, it was rapid, zooming about all over.

Once in the net it was obvious that it was a record gudgeon which had burned his pension payout on cosmetic surgery:

Massive Cosmetically Altered Gudgeon.
I had another of these celebrity gudgeon about the same size later on.

It took until five o'clock for the next bite on the float. There had been the odd wobble beforehand indicating fish in the swim but when it went, it went.

Once again the fish took line from the reel as I tried to keep it out of the bankside reeds. This one stayed lower in the water than the last. Have you noticed that it's only when you see the fish on the surface that your brain does the maths and scares the pants off you? Whilst they remain hooked but deep and out of sight you  have only your imagination to contend with. I believe this is why so many lost fish are monsters.

Once in the net I exclaimed to myself, "[expletive, expletive]... I think it's another three!".

Pete came over to witness and photo and it turned out it was my second perch pb of the day: 3lbs 6ozs.

3lbs 6oz perch.

Honestly? I sat out the last two hours in a daze, reflecting on a great day and wondering what the reputed big girls in there might go to at this time of year. It was a good drive home.

And so to tonight. Do you remember in the post before last I reported stocking Leamington Angling's Jubilee Pools with some nice fish resulting from a netting party of a Warwickshire stillwater?

I worked like a common dog that day, ferrying fish to and fro', wet and cold, and driving a transit in chesties. I'm proud to say however that every fish made it in once piece into their new home.

Do you remember this rudd? I lifted it out of the container for a photo as it went into the lake as it was such a memorable fish.

A big rudd stocked into Jubilee Horeshoe Pool.

Wanna see it again?

2lbs 1oz Rudd - Jubilee Pools.

I mean come on, check out the tail. A big split in the centre with a minor split above. It has to be the same fish!?

Now if that's not karma angling I don't know what is.

Here are the scores tonight:


Keith .J

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A PB Perch Times Three And One Last Cast.

I've been devoting a few evenings to perch fishing on commercials recently, and I've fallen for it big time. So much so that despite the imminent approach of the close season last week I chose perch fishing right up until the last minute and when I couldn't ignore the Avon any longer.

Spurred on by the amazing three pounders caught by Steve and Lee in our bloggers challenge I just had to give it a go. Good perch are now firmly on the list of species which put a massive smile on my face when I get one.

I went back to the commercial near Bedworth which Merv' Wilkinson commended for my first outing but blanked spectacularly, only hooking a carp which came off after a short struggle. I bumped into none other than Stef Horak whilst I was there and he came over to chat for a while. Nice bloke, what else should I have expected?

On my second outing to the pool I'd had nothing in the first couple of hours - it's a strictly dawn 'til dusk fishery. I kept looking at my watch and quickly back at my pair of pole floats.... 5:30, 5:45, bloody hell I reckon I can squeeze out another ten minutes.

Stay up there Sun, don't sink!
Right at the last, one of my floats dived under - the bites you get when fishing worms are simply amazing, so positive - and I struck. After a few short tugs up to the surface came a perch and I was on it with the net like a flash, reminded of my recent loss.

At 2lbs 7ozs it was a new PB for me and I was over the (ever brightening) moon. I rushed to take pictures and pack down so as not to incur the wrath of the owner. I was in such a rush that only once I was in my car and out of the fishery gate did I let go a few yelps and air punches. Thankfully I missed all the air bags and dashboard and made it home in one piece, high.

2lb 7oz Perch.
For my next outing I took my now irrepressible skills for catching big perch (all one of them) on a trip to pool two at Weston lawns. Once again I fished the mighty worm on the hook and fed prawns and red maggots sparingly. Izaak looked down from between the clouds and said unto me, and in no uncertain terms, 'Keith my son, you're a ****'. I had nothing but carp.

Five in fact and up to 13lbs 8ozs, all of which stretched the knicker elastic on my pole to incredible lengths but frankly not what I was after.

13lbs 8oz carp, pool two, Weston Lawns.

Last Friday I had the day off work and despite the rapidly approaching close on the rivers convinced Jeff we should have a day at at Weston Lawns. He seemed a little uncertain about the proposal but I was like a red-eyed rat at another opportunity to go perch fishing.

We spent the morning catching roach to 12ozs on light tackle and late-morning I put a worm down the edge on a second rod. After a bright start the skies had clouded over and the light levels dropped, and in the early afternoon I had a bite on my worm. The result was a 2lb 4oz perch, result!

2lb 4oz Perch
Given the change in the weather (for the better) we moved pools and went all out for perch for the remaining few hours.

I succeeded in catching four more fish: two at a PB equalling 2lbs 7ozs and two more about a pound and a half (not weighed).

2lb 7oz Perch No. 1.

2lb 7oz Perch No. 2.
In both cases the the fish came in pairs. An hour or so would pass without so much as a touch and then float would start to dither and a bite would follow. On each occasion I had two perch in successive casts. I could imagine the shoal 'mugging' round the lake on the prowl and coming into my swim occasionally. I believe the key to catching these fish regularly is to determine a place they pass through frequently and put your bait there. Well chuffed with my day we retired to the ale.

My mate Pete's back from his far flung nuptuals and we had an afternoon at Waspo' after barbel on Sunday. Apart from enjoying the warm spring sun, I had only a chub of about two pounds and some tiddlers on the maggot and wand.

The Hawthorn Bush peg, Upper Waspo'.

For my 'one last cast' into running water I met up with Pete again last night on the upper Avon with just the hope of not blanking at the forefront of my mind. It was a bright late afternoon and the best chance was always going to come a last light.

Once the minnows had stopped chobbling I put out a bunch of five maggots on my left had rod and with my last cast bagged a 4lb 6oz chub on this to finish off my season.

4lb 6oz Chub.
It'll be roach and perch for me now until March is out and the cyprinids get on the move.

Here are the Blogger's Challenge scores this evening:


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Fish I Lost The Night Before I Hooked It.

As I type I have a fleeting banded image branded onto my retina which is burning a hole into my every thought process. A glimpse of something stupendous that will only serve to fuel the fire until I next return. I might have trouble dropping off to sleep tonight.

It's naturally a lost fish that's the source of my turmoil, but I'll get around to recounting that painful moment shortly.

I've been busy since last writing here. Sometimes fishing, sometimes not, but always amongst the great outdoors of our amazing English countryside. On the cusp of spring.

Last Sunday saw the Leamington Angling Association work party attempt a Herculean bog-lifting exercise at Jubilee pools. Sodden ground and ton weight out-houses made even the off road Land Rover slip and slide.

A fair amount of brute force coupled with a dash of logistical nouse did the trick however and soon the lady and gentlemen patrons of Jubilee pools will be enjoying the plumbed-in toilets on a hard standing with an en suite wash basin. Oooh la la.

Note to reader: My kids never lifted a finger to help.
On Monday night I played benign spectator to Jeff Hatt's Barbel exploits on the Avon at Lucy's Mill. I've done my fair share of Barbel fishing on the Avon and so once his new PB fish was safely returned I suggested we decamp to the pub to toast it rather than stay out any longer. One fish a trip is all that most can hope for from here.

An evening outing on the upper Warwickshire Avon saw me bank yet another four pound chub - this one was four pounds three ounces. If next years challenge is to bank as many chub between four pounds and four pounds four ounces then I'm a nailed on victor. So far I've had a four, a four-one, two four-threes and a four-four.

4lbs 3oz Chub.
On Thursday I spent the day with Andy back at Lucy's Mill. We were both hoping for a late season barbel and the conditions looked spot on. The river was up and coloured but not in flood. I needed a large four ounce feeder to hold bottom in the flow of the main weir and apart from an hour perch fishing in the slack water mid-afternoon I hung it out there in the flow all day, but only had a bream to show for it.

Load the rod Andy.
Jeff, I call this piece 'Sticks and Cork Amongst the Grass'. I thought about climbing a tree to take a photo of a dog turd  but I'm just not avant garde enough! :) FYI your photos are something to aim for.

I think the big guy in the sky (Patrick Moore) was pointing us to Sausage Island.

On Saturday Danny and I had the pleasure of a day afloat on a rowing boat at Blenheim Palace Lake after perch, and although neither of us connected with our target species we both properly avoided the blank in style, something which from research is commonplace amongst anglers at Blenheim.

The grounds of the palace were sculptured by the safe hands of one Lancelot Brown aka 'Capability' to his mates, and boy does he do a good back garden (yard).
I had to photograph the directions to the car park  as neither of us could remember them.

Although strong shouldered, Danny's rowing capabilities at times fell short on accuracy. 
This was Danny's (many) attempts to position us close to a reed bed. At one point we did spear the boat onto the shore.

Between us we had a pike and a tench each. Anticipating a tough day, and after hearing of Jeff's purple patch  Danny had the genius idea of fooling the fish into thinking Hatt was amongst them and created a pair of masks for us each to wear when times became hard.

Here I am with my five pound one ounce tench which succumbed to the illusion:

Danny comes up trumps with our new specimen-fooling disguises.
I'm not the best predator angler as those who know me will vouch for and my deadbait rod had been still all day. Rather than cast tight to the margin for my last cast I decided to remove my float and lob a straight legered deadbait out into the deeper water. I'd like to claim some well thought out strategy to this move but to be honest it was just a change from what hadn't previously been working. I set the bait runner onto it's lightest setting and carried on pole fishing, facing the other direction.

The boat was naturally swaying gently against the mud weights and whilst the line settled we could both hear a few Jaws-like clicks of the reel. After a couple of minutes in the deeps the reel began to click, very slowly. We discussed whether this was a fishy phenomenon and after a few seconds of steady clicking I picked up the rod, wound down and struck. My deadbait came in with deep lacerations down it's side, something we had both been experiencing on and off all day and which was certainly caused by signal crayfish in the lake. In fact Danny had pulled one out earlier on his worm.

I put on a new bait and lobbed it out into the depths once again. We were now well into last knockings. The sun was setting and a Kite quartered the lake.

Again, after a few minutes my reel began to click: tick...tick...tick.....tick, but this time the rod tip was definitely pointing down  towards the water and the ticks were closer together. Once again I wound down and struck and to my surprise felt a fish on the end.

Within seconds of being hooked the fish was at the boat and I said to Danny, "I dont' think it's that big". Upon me uttering this the fish powered off, away from the boat and taking line from a tight clutch. I soon had it up on the surface and in no time Danny had it aboard. The big barbless single was neatly in the scissors.

It was once it was in the boat I could see the size of the fish. On the scales it went seventeen pounds seven ounces. A new personal best which turned an already great day into an exceptional one.

17lbs 7ozs Blenheim pike.

On Sunday I had few hours at a local commercial and had a perch of 1lb 5oz. Seasoned local big fish angler Merv' Wilkinson commended the venue to me. Unlike other sports where people are forced into retirement in their mid thirties, anglers just seem to mature like good wine. So just a hint from Merv' was enough to inspire me.

1lb 5oz perch.
Yesterday Leamington Angling Association committee, accompanied by the students of Warwickshire College swung into action once again to undertake a netting of a Warwickshire trout pool with an excess of coarse fish.

The net result (geddit) was a large number of quality bream, roach and a few rudd which went into Horseshoe pool at Jubilee.


And so finally to tonight's trip. After getting home from a tiring day on yesterdays netting party, damp, muddy and knackered, I wearily readied my gear for this evening's fishing. I was going back to the local commercial after perch and so packed my margin pole. At the last minute I thought about taking a second rod but rather than break down one which was set up I chose to try out my latest eBay bargain; a Shakespeare ten foot Avon style affair - it will be perfect for the upper Avon in summer - stout yet stumpy. I had a reel already loaded with braided line and so coupled it with that and a leader of mono.

To cut an already long post short I had three carp at the commercial. The biggest was thirteen pounds fifteen ounces. 'Wang' went the elastic, 'Bugger!' went the angler, I was not after carp this night.

13lbs 15oz Carp.
As the light started to fade the float on my Avon rod plunged beneath and I swiftly picked it up and felt a fish. A large perch rose to the surface and hung there for a split second. My left hand reached for my landing net and I was bodily moving towards it. The Avon rod had little give in it's tip and the braid was taught between me and the fish. A quick shake of the head whilst still on the surface and the perch threw the hook, and sunk very slowly out of sight. I plunged the landing net into the water hoping to trap it against the near bank but it was too late. The fish was gone.

I've not caught many big perch but it was definitely two pounds plus. I am preventing myself from greater estimates in order to preserve my sanity. If only I'd have put up a rod with a more flexible tip rather than go for the lazy option of the 'free' rod last night, that perch might have been mine.

All I know is that the image of that lost fish is already beckoning me to try again.

You know the score mate:

Earlier this evening someone else was in the lead.