Sunday, 28 June 2009

Snitterfeld Crucian before Abeit

Sunday 28th June. Snitterfield Reservoir 07:00 - 09:15. Very Warm misty start. Clearing to a hot day.

I nicked a couple of hours before our Leamington work party at Snitterfield this morning. Having caught that Crucian almost by fluke the other week from Stockton on a pellet meant for Carp I decided to feed and fish only halibut pellet for this short session.

I fished a 6mm pellet on a band under light pole float under the rod tip towards some marginal weed.

The summers morning was made for fishing - float fishing particularly.

The larger pellet seemed to keep the Roach and Rudd etc. at bay. I only had three proper bites during the two hours fishing. I hit two out of three and both were Crucians: 1lb 6ozs and 1lb 7ozs. There were plenty of fish showing on the surface and others were catching well with Bream and Roach.

I packed up when the first two stroke of the work party fired up and joined the throng, cutting hedges back to clear walkways and paths. Although the small motors make a racket in the quiet of a summers morning if the work wasn't done the fishery would soon fall into disrepair. Having been doing this type of peg-clearing work for a few years now I quickly learned that it is a never ending and largely thankless task.

Every time you're walking down a path or track to your peg and see a cut branch to the side remember someone's been there before you keeping the way clear.

I've a night planned again this coming week so I'll let you know how it goes.


After Carp and an Eel at Brandon

Tuesday 23rd June. Brandon after work. Very warm, NE breeze.

I was at Brandon on Tuesday after work after a carp and an Eel.

I settled in a deep bay with the wind blowing towards me. I fished a simple Carp set up in the margins in hope of a run and fished a bunch of red maggots under a float in the hope of a an Eel or Tench.

I saw a couple of Carp roll in the bay but not much else. There were lots of fry on the top and the odd small Perch chasing them into the air. I saw one small Tench roll and small Roach sipping flies from the surface. Otherwise very quiet.

I didn't have a touch on either rod all night.

Things have gone a bit slack of late but I'm concentrating on something special again so that's not surprising.

Pete's had a Crucian from Snitterfield so the scores on the doors are now;

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Brandon Snippett

Friday 19th June. Brandon Marsh, 16:00 - 18:45.

To finish off my fishing week I returned to Brandon with one rod and minimal tackle to try for a Carp. I fished the windward margin for an hour or so with not so much as a touch.

Do you know what though? I really enjoyed myself.

Tues June 16th

Brandon. 00:00 - 15:00. Sunshine and white cloud. Blustery breeze. Warm.

Midnight came and the signal to begin fishing was given.

I cast out two rods, both on straight running leads. One had a pellet as bait the other had two grains of corn.

After casting I sat behind the rods; tense, taught and alert. Hoping for one of the light bobbins to lift.

After half an hour I let my shoulders come down from around my earlobes as nothing had moved the lines.

After an hour and a half my hopes of a shoal of large Bream in the swim had faded and I switched both rods across to a bait that could see the night out without attack from small fish.

The left hand rod on pellet had the odd bleep, jerking me from a half sleep.

It was this rod that at 02:30 had a hook-up. I was out of my sleeping bag in a flash and connected with something very, very powerful. It swam in a single direction away from me and towards a submerged bar. I couldn't stop it and soon felt the excruciating grate of line upon gravel bar as it continued to power away. Soon after the line pinged slack. I had been cut-off on the gravel bar. I swore alot.

I was using a running lead and the hook was barbless so was happy the fish - whatever it was - would soon shed the hook.

I set up an identical rig again, cast out, and had trouble getting back to sleep.

The left hand rod had a few more bleeps as I drifted off and then things went quiet. I slept until 07:00, tired from the nervous energy expended the previous day.

When I wound in for a re-cast first thing in the morning the pellet on the left hand rod had gone. How long had I been fishing baitless? Who knows.

I rebaited both rods but neither had another indication.

Other anglers had turned up by first light and I'd seen one guy catch a couple of Eels under a float. Recognising I need an Eel in the Challenge I tried for one with maggot under a float for about forty five minutes. I didn't have a bite.

I soon become restless behind rods and alarms that did nothing and so went of in search of an opportunity just before lunchtime.

I hooked and lost a Carp on floating bread from another lake, as the day was beginning to feel hot. Whilst talking to Frank Cheshire, Vice President of Leamington AA, we noticed some Tench patrolling the margins in the sunlight.

Quick as a flash I changed set up to one of freelined bread flake. Within minutes I'd hooked and handed out a Tench of about three pounds.
After this the Tench disappeared. I returned to my night pitch and packed up my gear.

I had lost a good fish and had heard of a few caught which would blow any anglers mind the previous night. I will return.

Thurs June 18th

The Pluff. 08:30 - 16:00. Match section.

Pete and I met up once again for a days fishing, my fourth on the trot - heaven.

We found the upper Warks Avon it it's finest early summer finery. Lush greenery and clear waters.
Once again I was on the bank first, primarily as I live the closest. I chatted to a regular and set up in my favourite swim to await calamity Pete's arrival.

I lost a Chub first cast and then things went quiet. Pete arrived and set up in the swim directly downstream of me.

Soon after I hooked and landed my first Barbel of the season. 8lb 5ozs;

It was an amazing fight in the clear water and confined space of the swim. The centrepin I was using was an asset during the fight as I could clamp down and set the clutch to stop when I needed to then give line and be more gentle towards the end. I was elated when the fish glided into the net. Pete was dismayed when I weighed it in a plastic bag.

After the fish was safely returned I joined Pete in his peg, glowing. We watched Barbel and Chub moving through his swim over his bait. As if on cue a Barbel moved onto the gravel in full view picked up the bait and the tip bent round. Pete had the fish on but then lost it when it made a snag on the far side and shed the hook. It was almost the perfect start for both of us and I think Pete saw that after I'd removed the bankstick he was now chewing on from his mouth.

I moved upstream and soon had Barbel feeding again on a gravel run. I hooked and lost one which too made a snag before I could stop it. Although I clamped down it was the bend in the rod that gave the fish the latitude needed to make the snag and freedom.

Pete then lost a large fish in another downstream peg. There was considerable radio silence on the walkies after this second loss.

Although I went on to catch eight Chub from various spots on the stretch, I didn't make contact with another Barbel - I saw a few though.

Pete and I finished the afternoon fishing on the same peg watching Barbel and Chub feeding on the gravel with Rob from Leamington (BoilieBob). He had obviously spent many hours doing this as his insight into the fishes behaviour was insightful and well observed. Upon his suggestion Pete and I 'back-leaded' our line to try and overcome the spookiness of the fish and this resulted in two more Chub for me. Great fun.

Four days fishing on the trot and I can't wait to get back out there.


Weds June 17th

To the Rivers!

I had arranged to meet up with Pete at Stratford weirs at 08:15. Not being able to sleep at the thought of fishing the Avon again I was on the bank by 07:45. As I arrived first at our favoured pegs I could see they were already well and truly occupied. Four anglers of incorrigible character were ensconced. There was no room at this inn.

I chatted a while with these associates / reprobates and enjoyed their shared enthusiasm for our pursuit.

Pete was yet to arrive so I phoned ahead and diverted him to Wasperton to check out the angling density there. He wound me up further by saying there was a school party of children on a field trip in every peg. Furthermore he went on to say that if I insisted on boasting about the fish I 'd caught to the local papers it was noone's fault but my own that the original pegs were taken on this prime fishing day. I want to put his point of view down to jealousy but I think realism on his part wins.

Waspo' was free so I upped sticks and went to join him there.

He fished the 'hole in the willows', I fished the 'Hawthorn bush'. Neither of us caught a Barbel.

I had two Chub for my efforts, biggest 4lb 14ozs;

I caught a Pike in bizarre circumstances. Fishing maggot feeder I caught a small Dace about 4ozs. Wanting to show the fish to Pete I put it in my landing net in the edge of the flow. About fifteen minutes after doing so a Pike struck the landing net in a flurry of spray and muddied water. It got it's teeth stuck in my net so thinking quickly I picked the net up and rotated it 180 degrees trapping the Pike against the bank. The Pike weighed 4lb 14 ozs. Weird.

Although neither of us caught Barbel we both really enjoyed the day. Perhaps if it were later in the season then ten hours on the bank without the desired effect might not have been greeted so warmly but as it was our first river session of the year we were both smiling come pub time.


Mon June 15th

Monday June 15th. Blustery South Westerly with patches of dark cloud. Hot when the sun was out but with occasional heavy showers.

At the point of near explosion - concealed to all but those who know me best - I was at Brandon by 08:30 on Monday morning. The day before the opening day of the fishing season.

I'd been feeding a spot for some days in the hope of good Bream and had become paranoid about someone bagging it before I arrived.

I had all my overnight gear in the car but set up only my shelter on the peg. Once set up a calm descended over me as I knew I would be fishing there that night.

Only then did I take a look at the water for signs of fish. I had been in such a rush on previous nights when putting bait in that I had barely had time to sit quietly and observe. If I have learned one thing then it is that sitting quietly and observing (whilst not fishing) is worth it's weight in gold with English coarse fish.

I saw a couple of large carp porpoise and a few Tench roll. Enough to inch the lit fuse towards my dried powder.

Once I'd secured my spot I made tracks to Jubilee Pools. Knowing that despite seeing the fish, the night at Brandon could easily be biteless. I wanted to see the float go under during the day in preparation for this.

Fishing near to the weeds on the far side of the Horseshoe pool, my target was either one of the lesser-spotted Crucians, a good Roach or a large Bream. I started with maggots on the hook to cover all bases.

I caught Roach, Rudd and Perch on maggot but nothing of any note. Remembering the Crucian I caught at Stockton just days before I began to feed and fish with small pellet.

Although the bites from the small fish slowed I soon had a sail-away that connected me to a fish which I thought was a small Carp. I saw the fish before it shed the hook and it was a decent Tench.

Persevering with pellet under a float I went on to land three Tench from the margins, largest 4lb 14oz.

A thunder storm was rumbling around and dark clouds gathered ominously by early afternoon. Cutting loose from Jubilee was hard but I did so at about 15:00 and made my way back to Brandon.

Upon arrival I carted the rest of my gear to the peg, set the rods up, put some bait in and then just sat back.

The heavens opened and the world got wet. I was under my shelter with a beer in my hand by this time and so was happy to watch the electrical show the sky put on.

The rain cleared by about 17:00 and the lake steamed.

All I had to do now was sit it out until midnight.........

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Saturday Afternoon With the Family

13/6/09 15:00 - 17:00, Stockton Reservoir. SW breeze with broken sunshine. Very Warm.

Out with the family on a Saturday afternoon. My daughter had asked to go fishing and so we had a couple of hours on the British Waterways reservoir at Stockton.

I nipped off from the pub early to set up whilst they finished their food and hooked and lost a decent Mirror Carp on the first cast.

When they arrived we fished under the rod tip right in the margins with the wind blowing towards us. A few handfuls of pellets were regularly put out and a lassoed pellet under a pole float was the tackle.

The float swayed regularly with fish in the swim and the odd bow wave of a Carp shot out from the bank, spooked by the heavy footfalls and general chatter of a family of four on a wooden platform. I caught a decent Roach whilst they were looking at nearby ponies.

When the float did go under again it was a surprise Crucian Carp that took the bait.

After that my girl Abbey had a go on the rod and lost a decent carp when it got into the reeds. Persevering she hooked another soon after and did a good job of playing and landing it.

Not wanting to miss out Max then had a go on the rod (with help) and caught a small Mirror Carp.
A beautiful day to be by the water. I'm pleased both of them seemed to take an interest in the fishing too. With the middle name of Izaak surely my boy's bound for greatness!?

He'll probably end up a bloody golfer.


Cometh the Hour......

......Cometh the Rivers!!!!!

For the benefit of our American readers (and there are a few now) the rivers and some still waters in England have a closed fishing season between March 15th - June 15th inclusive. The only still waters to close are those classed as SSSI's (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), canals, other lakes, drains, fens, puddles and ditches remain open all year round.

The opening of the new season is rapidly approaching and that's a great day in any anglers diary. This blog - Warwickshire Avon - will hopefully once again include some write ups of fishing this beautiful river.

I can't forget the fishing challenge though and so may well find myself on stillwater more than normal for this time of year.

Perversely it will be to a still water I'm headed for the opening night. To one of the aforementioned SSSI's. I'm still after a number of big things that live in lakes and in the past few years this has been my ritual, to get to the lakeside mid afternoon on the 15th then just lie on a bed chair, put some bait in and soak it all up until midnight arrives. Then the first cast!

I've the following three days booked off work this week so I'll be seeing a river very soon anyway. Last year I called it a day on the lake mid morning and was on the Avon roving for Chub soon after. I started last season off with thirteen Chub taken on either trundled breadflake or pellet.

I'll let you know how it all goes!

Friday, 5 June 2009

60 n/o

4-5.6.09 Thurs - Fri Napton night session with Pete and Daz White. Became overcast as time went on then rained Friday evening. Easterly breeze.

What has become of me!? Just two weeks ago a seven pound Bream from Jubilee Pools brought a smile, no a grin, to my face. It took a while for me to come to terms with that. Now, after words of 11lb+ Bream I'm at Napton for a night session after the things. This fishing challenge has properly taken over my angling priorities, turned my fishing upside down and made me go after species in previous years I would have only caught by chance.

In the close seasons of recent years I'd probably have a few twenty pound carp and a few decent Tench under my belt by now and that would be that - satisfied - looking forward to Barbel on the rivers again.

Twenty four hours fishing means twenty four escapist hours for me so I try and cram as much into them as possible.

Arriving with Pete at the lakes about four in the afternoon we decided to fish the smaller of the two now-joined reservoirs. We set up camp then turned out attention to tackle. Daz White would join us later.

As Bream were the main target, with a big Tench of even a Carp within my peripheral vision, I opted for method feeders on both rods with helicopter style hook bait presentation. I had prepared a decent amount of groundbait earlier in the week containing everything I thought a Bream might like.

After the initial 'leading around' to find clear lake bed and subsequent groundbait bombardment the rods went in. Within seconds the lines and bobbins started jumping. After half an hour I was perplexed at why nothing was hooking itself. I set up a slider float and fished maggot in the deep water over the groundbait. First cast I hooked and lost a small Tench in the weed. Second or third cast I landed one, a male about 2lbs.

The bobbins jumped away all evening but despite fiddling with the terminal set up I couldn't get them to hook themselves properly - the float was by far the best way to catch these small fish. Just before dark I swapped over to two large pop-up boilies to fish through the night.

During the night Daz had a 21lb 140z Carp and a 16lb Carp from clear spots near the causeway. Pete was comatose and missed the action. I had no big Bream or Tench to report.

I was up at twenty past four and had four fish in quick succession on the float. We saw hundreds of Tench showing during this session. Occaisionally rolling and splashing on the surface as they fed below.

Pete was up an hour or so later and set to work in ernest on a float rod at the bottom of the marginal shelf. He fed corn, hemp and maggots and started catching Tench from the off.

I switched over to a small method feeder on a quiver tip and fiddled about some more with my hooklength and bait to see if I could convert more of the knocks to bites. Eventually I got somewhere with a combination of a very short hooklink and single grain of plastic corn popped up direct from the swivel next to the in-line method ball. There must have been a serious amount of fish in my swim given the activity on the rods but despite this I could only duff nine Tench out.

Pete started to take on the look of someone becoming slowly obsessed as he continued to catch regulary. Becoming increasingly drawn into an angling vanishing point he said things like, "I need to eat but I can't stop", "I'm in a good ryhthm now", "It would be nice to catch something other than a Tench!".

I ran out of ground bait at about ten o'clock in the morning so packed the shelter and feeder rods up and went off spinning for a Pike. I was not sullen at Pete's succes or my relative poor showing on the feeders. He's had a lean spell of late and besides when you do an overnight you inevitably become a team. Information on fish sightings, theories and tactics are readily shared and discussed in order to maximise chances.

I returned from spinning about an hour later and he was on a total of forty Tench, each in the 2-3lb class with maybe the odd one slightly bigger.

I went off stalking Carp with bread in a corner where I'd seen fish move.

I returned about an hour later and he had just over fifty Tench. Thankfully none of these fish were troubling a point in our fishing challenge. He was losing the odd one to the weed but was getting the majority in.

I went off spinning for Pike again and soon had a text saying 'get the kettle on', he'd now had fifty Tench.

I returned wearily - but only through lack of sleep - and sat behind him as a spectator as he made it to sixty Tench! I enjoyed watching and shared in his joy as sixty Tench in a sitting is good going.

The only way he could force himself to pack up - at half three in the afternoon he was babbling about staying on until dark and going for 'the ton' - was to force himself to jettison his remaining maggots and hemp into the pool. As the last of the bait sunk out of view he realised his session was over.

No points were earned by either of us on this trip but I definitely enjoyed myself. I'm pretty sure Pete did too....


Nothing Special

2.6.09 Hopsford Hall after work. Weather still sunny and warm. Light NE breeze.

I returned once again to Hopsford Hall with the aim of connecting with a big Perch. I fished on the dam end by the overhanging willows, hoping the Perch might Like the shelter of the trees and live there.

I fished two rods; the first a ledger outfit on a centrepin, dedicated to Perch. The second a float rod with red maggots as the bait.
The Carp were up in the water and dark shapes and swirls could be seen into the evening as they moved around soaking up the sun. Once again I was not motivated to fish for them, being blinded by a thirst for points in the form of a Perch. Although I need a good carp I've a parking bay reserved for one in my mind and the barrier will open on June 16th.

Apart from this year I don't think I've ever been to Hopsford and totally ignored the Carp. My pb fish once came from here in the form of a 25lb 5oz fish - caught on 5lb line straight through from a windward scum line on dangled crust. In other years I've taken fishing for them close in to ridiculous lengths, sitting 14ft back from the edge with my line on the grass and a pole float with double maggot and strong hook fished right in the edge with good results.

I started shallow on the float and fed lightly and steadily. I caught Roach and Perch, but nothing special. The bites were often tentative so i moved from a 2BB waggler to a 4x10 pole float. Both could be swung out easily under arm to the marginal slope where I fed and to where the ledger rod was sitting.

The pole float enabled me to convert a much higher proportion of bites, with the float being pulled under more readily rather than just dipping.

In search of something different to 10oz Roach and 6oz Perch I dropped the hook bait to the bottom.

The proportion of Perch increased so I kept my hook bait on the deck for an hour or so. I hooked and lost a carp whilst there.

I continued to catch throughout the evening but could not connect with a better target fish. The ledger rod for Perch was silent.

So an evening with cracking weather with plenty of fish but unfortunately and once again - nothing special.

I don't know about you but my mind is starting to recall the smell of a summer river and these thoughts are increasingly pervading even my stillwater efforts. The rivers (and some stillwaters) open again here on June 16th and the crazed look in river anglers eyes is becoming outwardly visible now.