Sunday, 22 January 2012

Where To Go?

Choosing where to go fishing  at this time of year can be problematic. The inevitable 'daylight hours remaining' calculation follows every look at the watch before setting out.

My family responsibilities over with for another weekend I found myself standing in my garage staring at my fishing gear - my mind in a whirl working through the various probabilities of an afternoons sport.

The long shot venues are called up, ranked into some sort of order and then placed alongside the knowns of venues involving firmer likelihoods of catching. We've had some rain round here recently so chub on the river or perch on a commercial were doing their best to come out top of the pile.

It doesn't help matters when other bloggers are writing about glimpses of monster pike or river roach which would shake most personal bests.

My new found affinity for perch saw through this time round and I was soon in my car heading for still water.

The wind was noticeably strong whilst driving but unmistakably keen on the pools. Tearing at the waters surface there were bubbles collecting in the windward margins.

I put out two light quivers on alarms in an attempt to fish beneath the howl. The nearby power lines were singing and swaying in the force of the westerly.

I hooked a perch here a couple of weeks ago which took line from the reel and when it rose to the surface had my adrenalin pumping good and proper. As I drew it towards the net I had a good view of the fish and knew it was the biggest perch I'd ever hooked. Well over three.....that could be a f........the fish rolled one last time and my float rig fluttered up into the air. I sat shaking and ruing my luck for the next half hour.

Although the sunken lines of the quiver tips and alarms did get beneath the wind I was plagued with sharp jagged bleeps and tugs which I couldn't hit. As the afternoon wore on the wind subsided a little and I swapped one of the rods for a float set up. As soon as the float rod was out I started to see the subtle touches and lifts which the quivers and alarms were previously hiding.

I caught two perch on the float as the light started to fade, the biggest 2lb 5ozs.

Not quite the monster I was hoping for but proof to myself (if any were needed) that I probably enjoy float  fishing for perch so much because it's float fishing, not perch fishing.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Here We Go Again Then..

The net results of our Bloggers Society AGM at a local alehouse early in the New Year were twofold.

Firstly and most importantly, we uncovered an equation which Einstein himself would have put his moniker on, namely: Jeff Hatt + Alcohol + Fresh, cold, oxygen rich outdoor air = The wobbliest legs since Bruce Grobbelaar. That said, Jeff and all of the other band of merry men provided excellent company throughout the night. I think we may have struck upon a new tradition.

Of slightly less significance was that in an attempt to narrow the field this year we would adjust the rules of the 2012 fishing challenge so only the top five fish of each competitor will count in the final reckoning. Still sticking with the percentage of record weight theme but enabling people to hone their angling targets rather than having to try for all species.

Consequently I burned the midnight oil last night and have rejigged our shared score sheet so only our top five catches will now count. How I cursed Google docs for not allowing non-consecutive cell references to form a named range.

This years score sheet looks like this:

2012 Top Five % of Record Weight Challenge.
As you can see we already have some early scores from the bank from those willing to brave the cold weather we are currently experiencing.

I've managed a couple of outings in spite of the four letter word which begins with a 'W'  - and for me that's 'work' and not 'wife'! - and have had a scraper decent perch and chub to show for it.

A 1lb 12oz Perch and it's smaller relative caught on the same worm.

A 10oz Roach which took a liking to a fat lob. 

4lb 1oz Chub, best of four fish from the upper Avon Sunday afternoon just gone.
Great to be back outdoors.

The funniest thing I've seen so far this year however is when Jeff and I took a trip to a local commercial in search of big perch. Not having a bait tub into which I could lend him a few maggots he started to take a look into the many bins around the lake to see if he could find a suitable receptacle. Seeing him root through the bins was amusing enough but you should have seen the stuff he was pulling out!

There was obviously a match on the day before and in no time at all he had amassed an emporium of casters, pellets, groundbait and so much other high quality fish food he was forced to become choosy about which bags to keep otherwise he'd have never carried it all.

The bait which made the cut.
Now that's what I call ready made bait!

 It just so happened we weren't after carp on the day but it could all be stuck in a freezer in anticipation of a chub session don't you think?

Finally, I've consulted the charts and have determined that come February 10th I'll be able to leave work, be on the bank in the light and have three hours fishing of an evening without encroaching too heavily on dawn 'till dusk club rules. Here chubby chubby.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Done and Dusted. Home and Hosed.

Our bloggers 'Percentage of Record Weight Challenge' drew to a close when Big Ben struck and the fireworks started.

I for one thoroughly enjoyed last year, so much so I think it's going to be one of those years I look back on fondly for many years to come.

I remember when as a newly wed - and before we had kids - the wife went with friends on a summer holiday abroad  for a week. You'd think with the house to myself I'd settle onto the settee and reach for the remote but that just wasn't the case - I was never at home! My routine that week was to leave work as soon as humanly possible, fish until fifteen minutes before the Indian take away closed and pick up my order on the way home then repeat the following day. I've never seen as many cartons and foil trays as when I tidied the house before driving to pick the missus up from the airport. Good times.

Fast forward fifteen years and I find myself separated, with time on my hands and working for a company being wound-up and which was consequently slowing to a stop after the British government decided Forensic Science wasn't it's thing. I had the maximum holiday quota and also flexi time at my disposal and I am proud to say that three weeks before my exit I still owed my employer over a week of time! Holy shit did I go fishing last year.

'You can have too much of a good thing', is only partially true. Yes there were two weeks at the beginning of June when I'd become tired of stillwaters and had a lay off until the rivers opened, but that was when I was in the thing, amongst it, immersed in it and I needed the air. Now I've started a new job working for a company which is soaring rather than nose-diving and which requires attendance until well after sunset during these dark winter months I'm hankering after a second shot at those two weeks in June so I can fill them with hooks and line.

With all that time on my hands it's no surprise I won our competition. I warned all those who attended my garage party and meeting at the pub last year they were stuffed. Three competitions, three years, three first places [he says trying to stoke up the others].

The Final Scores.
I'm pleased with my nine personal bests across the year, but saddened by the lack of form from some of my local waters, and especially the Warwickshire Avon itself.

We have a bloggers AGM / Piss-up arranged for this Saturday night so let's see if there's a thirst for a similar type of competition next year. Perhaps, perhaps not.

One thing is for sure, I now have my feet firmly back on the ground and fear I won't be able to commit anywhere near as much time to fishing in future and at the end of the day, time is what it's all about.

Make the most of it.


Keith .J