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!


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.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

They're not 'avin' it mate....

I'm never happy attributing a poor days fishing to the fish not 'having it' or to them 'being off' on the day. It can't be their fault I didn't catch them, they're only fish.

Provided they were there, which I know they were, there must have been something I could have done to induce a bite - it's just that that thing wasn't in my armoury on the day. I liken it to someone putting a roast dinner in front of you after you've just eaten. You're not likely to go out of your way to get at it. However if someone were to offer you a wafer thin mint you might just reach out for it.

The days succeeding a blank are when I am at my most vulnerable to the shiny lights of the tackle trade. Indeed the tackle trade's shiny lights are based almost entirely on persuading you that dog days like those could be things of the past, times you could look back on and laugh at your own ineptitude, if only you were  to buy their 'thing'. Perhaps if I had had that thing then my day might have been different?

Enter stage left...... this pair of beauties (2 of 3) from The Range. Not really tackle trade I know but still twinkling at me. Glow in the dark jelly lures with spangly bits on the side and real life hook point protectors. How the hell can I ever fail to catch predators again with these boys at my side?

From a physiological perspective, sometimes the fish just aren't 'aving it.


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Avro Vulcan XH558 at Coventry Fly In 2010.

We took our boy to the Help for Heroes Fly In at Coventry airport today for his seventh birthday.

Just like when I was kid watching the air shows, the Vulcan bomber's thunderous appearance stole the show.

Any anglers out at around eleven a.m. in Warwickshire might be wondering what the noise was! I suspect those at Jubilee pools might have noticed it.


Saturday, 25 September 2010

Never Stop Gambolling.

I've been out a few times since last posting but on each occasion the fishing was less tome and more tomb inspiring.

Last Sunday morning my daughter and I had a three hour slot before lunch to try and catch ruffe on the canal at Ansty. We both fished with poles into the boat track and fed earth and pinkie groundbait. After a biteless half hour she went back to the car to listen to the radio. Within a further thirty biteless minutes I'd joined her. The endless boats and water movement without so much as a dither of the float weren't conducive to pleasurable fishing. We called in at a supermarket on the way home and bought a big fruit pie and a tub of ice cream. We ate the pie after an autumnal dinner of sausage, mash, peas and gravy. The only positive from this is trip was that the morning outdoors made the food taste great.

On Tuesday evening I went to the Avon at Wasperton after eels. I fished feeders opposite the fallen tree above the swans neck where I'd caught eels last year and this time used either maggot or worm on the hook.

 In the field on other side of the river a herd of beef cattle made their way slowly in an upstream direction. There were calves amongst the group and in between eating grass they would sporadically start running and chasing each other around. Joyously mucking about. Jumping, jostling and barging into one another. The parents looked up now and then but didn't look like they were going to join in at any point. The calves reminded me of my children who are forever making video-game-themed courses in the back garden which they race around. I get dizzy just looking at them. It made me wonder at what age cows - and humans for that matter - stop gambolling? I couldn't answer my own question on behalf of the cows but I reasoned that us humans never really stop. I certainly haven't. Fair enough I can't remember the last time I did a cartwheel but find yourself in front of me in a race up the stairs and be prepared to have you ankles grabbed. Totally contrary to my 'don't play on the stairs!' ruling.

I had two bream about three pounds each as the sun went down.

Chase me.

After sunset the clouds broke up and moon shone through illuminating the landscape in a blue light. It was bright enough to cast shadows and for me to walk back to the car without the aid of a light.

Yesterday I had the day off work to fish for predators on the Avon. I was weighed down with a heavy cold which had serious motivation sapping powers. I didn't catch any predators. My excuse is water tight. The water was so clear even the fish eaters were taking shelter, from fish eaters of the same species bigger than themselves. To provide evidence of the water clarity: I could see the stony river bed all the way between the top weir at Lucy's mill and the larger bottom weir. That's a first.

Two blokes were up from Banbury bream fishing and optimistically had two keepnets in the water as both times in previous years they'd filled them. When I walked past them as I was calling it a day they'd had four between them. Abnormal.


Saturday, 18 September 2010


Friday 17th September, 16:30 - 21:00. The weirs at Lucy's Mill (Leamington Angling). 16>12C.

Sadly Danny couldn't join us this evening as he had other commitments but three of the ramshackle four: Pete, Jeff and I had an evening on the Warks Avon after zander and bream respectively.

Jeff and I arrived first and we found sport was slow whilst the sun was high in the sky despite Jeff wearing his new jumper. I targeted zander with deabaits, launching both rods across to the shade of the sluice hole. Pete arrived around six and we were set up three in a row opposite the flats.

Perched like a hippo on a map pin I recast my baits to a variety of spots to try and find the predators.

There was guy fishing upstream of us when we arrived and every time he cast his groundbait feeder out into the slack water just off the flow of the weir a gang of bleak would rush to the surface to pick off the bits. The gang were frequently seen leaping clear of the water as something hit into them. As the evening wore on Jeff had the same performance in front of him. After casting out a feeder the bleak would come up to the surface only to scatter as they were attacked from below. Good perch maybe.

I brought my lines in close and had my first customer of the evening, a pug nosed pike of 10lbs 8oz.

No lower front teeth.

My single treble was just inside the lip.

 Whilst I was returning the fish my other tip registered a bite. A small 12oz zander was on the end of the strike.

I have just eaten a dead bait half my size.

As dusk descended I had a run of subtle bites which I couldn't convert into fish. I changed the hooking arrangement on my traces over to a large single at the top with a treble midships of the dead bait and pretty soon had a 7lb 3oz pike then a 4lb 5oz zander take hold.

I got my eyes on you!

I trust you are NHS.
After all this time Jeff was approaching a successful outing. Pete and I stared at his tips so hard I wouldn't have been surprised if they simply caught fire in front of our eyes such was the mental intensity focused upon them.

Once the metaphorical cork had been popped it was hard to stay focused on the fishing, more-so when there are a few friends on the bank. Once we had something to celebrate thoughts quickly turned to the pub.

Before we got anywhere near the pub however the subject of next years competition took centre stage.

If you fancy joining us next year then please contact me on email via my profile link. The only entry criteria we have are honesty, coupled with a commitment to write up your exploits on here somewhere.

Our meandering conversation was earnest. Within the scope of this years challenge we enjoyed the fact that we are not direct adversaries. No one can take a point away from anyone else. We are all pitting our wits and fishing skills against a sheet of paper - notional targets. We walked back to the cars along the banks of the Avon, past the floodlit medieval church, Shakespeare's theatre and the chain ferry. There was an intense discussion about the ethos of next years challenge. Pete openly admits that fishing for the smaller species is not 'his thing'. I confess to loving having a strategic plan for the year and the driven diversity of fishing for species which would not normally receive my attention. We all agreed that complexity was our enemy and that we should keep things as simple as possible.

The overwhelming consensus was that we did not want to find ourselves wasting our precious leisure time chasing the million to one shots which are massive specimens. But more importantly,  that none of us want the isolation of direct opposition to the cohort. We crave a shared interest over a point scoring fight to the death any day. 

Make no mistake, the result of this years competition is still in the balance. If Danny brings back the expected eel and ruffe point from his upcoming holiday to the broads I think he'll have it in the bag. But do you know what? Right now I'm not that bothered if he takes it. Last nights outing was everything I want from a bloggers competition. Like-minded souls finding endless enjoyment and discussion which are otherwise nowhere to be found amongst those you spend most of your time with.

Just for the record:

Reckon you can beat us!?


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Trident Tested.

Tuesday 14th September, 17:00 - 21:00. Stratford Lido (Leamington Angling). Heavy rain during the afternoon with skies clearing at five. 16>14C.

This evening session was a three pronged ruffe, eel, and zander mash-up at the lido. A little research lead me to an online interview with with match angler Clint Elliott where he mentions getting 'bitted out' by ruffe whilst fishing worm down the edge on the Warks Avon. The main thrust of this evening then was to get bitted out myself.

As I was fishing worm I thought I'd also stand a chance of an eel if they were around, and to ensure I stayed busy I put out a dead bait rod for zander.

Before I could start fishing I had to sit out a torrential downpour in my car. As soon as it let up for a second I had my wellies on and was out.

I chose a peg just down from the lido bay where the flow was on the near side and there was a steady flow with some depth at my feet. Owen the bailiff says the water level up here (directly above Stratford) has dropped since a row of bricks were knocked off the weirs in town a few years ago.

Rather than use a quivertip whilst targeting ruffe I set up a stret-pegged waggler in four feet of water. It took a little time to get the setup right - adjusting the depth of the rubbered float and the angle of the rod tip to the water - but once right it worked like a dream. The bites were indicated at first by the float trembling and sending out small ripples across the surface and were followed up by the it slowly cocking and disappearing. A really pleasurable way to fish.

I challenge you to fish for ruffe without smiling.

I had a 2XSSG shot on a loop of line running on the reel line to keep everything static.

I bait-droppered in chopped worm in compost with a few pinkies thrown in. The bites were instant but it was mostly beautifully marked perch which nabbed the red worm bait.

Not a ruffe.
Not a ruffe.
One stret-pegging efficiency tip I have for you is that I used a clip swivel to attach my hook length to my reel line. This meant I could unclip my hook length and clip on the bait dropper quickly.

I ended up with sixteen perch, three dace, two gudgeon and a bream on the float.

I had a jack pike about four pounds on the dead bait.

So no ruffe, no eels, and no zander. Laser guided species targeting don't you think?


Sunday, 12 September 2010

After Ruffe On The Grand Union Canal.

Sunday 12th September, 06:15 - 08:45. Grand Union canal at Long Itchington.

I saw another dawn this morning and enjoyed it just as much as last Tuesdays. This time I was on the grand union canal trying to catch a ruffe in the fishing challenge I have on with my pals.

The canal looked good, steaming at first light:

I fished a pole with maggot and fed maggots and compost into the milky water.

I could see fish  feeding and bubbling on the silt up by the lock and wondered whether they were bream. At seven o'clock a carp came clear out of the water and made significant ripples which spread out towards me.

Carp to over 30lb have been caught from this stretch.

I also saw a good number of roach and bream rolling on the surface throughout the morning.

About half an hour in and I started to get a few bites. I caught a steady stream of perch, all in mint nick. Half a dozen in all.

My last fish of the day before the boats started moving at eight o'clock was a roach bream hybrid.

All in all a jolly good start to the day.

By nine o'clock I was cutting back trees and brush at Jubilee with the Leamington work party.

No ruffe.


Thursday, 9 September 2010

A Most Glorious Dawn.

Tuesday 7th September, 05:30 - 14:00. River Avon at Wasperton then College Pool. Warm and dry after very heavy rain the night before, rain setting in mid afternoon.

After an early morning airport run for the inlaws I now stood looking out of my kitchen window into the gloom, drinking coffee and eating a breakfast of buttered muffins. The rain from the front which had battered the country the previous night had now subsided to a misty rain but I'd seen some serious puddles at the road side during my drive. The world has an enigmatic charm at four a.m. The roads are almost completely empty and there's a post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

I drove to Wasperton village in the dark and wondered in what state I'd find the river. My plan for the day was to tough out the dace point on Leamington Angling's top meadow and then make use of my BAA day ticket and fish for pike downstream with whatever time remained. I'd not slept properly and had been up since three and so expected a mental crash at some point during the day. But by god it felt good to have a whole days fishing in front of me.

I got my first sight of the river by head torch after walking across the soaked grass of the meadow. It was up, yes, only a foot though, and the clarity was good. I intended to wade in a little and trot down the Hawthorn bush swim just upstream from the run of willow tress but the added water ruled out that idea. Instead I made my way downstream without tackle assessing by torchlight where else might offer the opportunity to fish with a float.

The height was not dissimilar to my last visit which prompted me to graph the effectiveness of  various methods against flow speed.

I set up whilst the light was too dim to fish.

I put up a stick float in a top secret swim with no identifying features:

As the sun rose the countryside exploded into colour.
 I made my first cast just before the sun broke above the receding rain clouds. I had broken blue sky ahead of me and the the river looked amazing. Wave after wave of elation hit me as I was treated to the most beautiful sunrise in my favourite fishing month on my home river.

Almost there. Mist clung to the grass.

The light of the sun was contained by the low cloud.

The river steams and the first shafts of light hit the fields.

Now risen, the sunlight was intense.

I spent as much time looking over my right shoulder as I did looking at my float.

The wooden electricity pole made a good shield against the direct sunlight.

Morning has bro-ken, like the first mor-ning.....

Thankfully the dace were obliging and after playing about with the depth of the float I found I caught pretty regularly on double maggot.

My stick float set up.
I was paranoid about a pike attack as my ever increasing net lay in the rivers edge. As Pete arrived at eight o'clock I'd just weighed in at 11ozs. I weighed in again at 1lb 3ozs and then finally called it a day when I weighed in at 1lb 7ozs.

1lb 7ozs of Warks Avon dace.

By ten o'clock I'd packed up my dace gear, driven down to the BAA water to catch up with Pete and set up a deadbait twitching outfit. We leap-frogged our way down the BAA stretch for an hour without so much as a pull. At eleven o'clock I could feel any chance of the pike point slipping through my fingers and had a tactical chat. Pete went on to focus on barbel and I made another move up to college pool to try for perch.

Both rods were in college pool by midday - an inflated lobworm four inches off the bottom and a light float outfit fishing maggots.

The lobworm rod received a bite within a couple of minutes of being cast and a jagged fight with a fish which felt like a couple of pound in weight ensued. I was sure I'd hooked a good perch. To my surprise it was a chub which came up from the depths. I'd heard about the chub in college but had never caught one myself so was chuffed with this fish.

It didn't take long for the perch to home in on the maggots and I weighed in 3lb 10ozs of them after one hour of fishing. They were a lovely size to be catching to build a weight, averaging 3oz I'd say.

During the second hour I made some subtle rig adjustments and really tuned into the fishing. I became a perch catching machine. Spurned on by lack of sleep I bagged 5lb 14ozs of them in my second hour on the pool, just one ounce short of the perch point in that second net alone.

Plus the first net of 3lb 10oz the perch point was bagged.

Totally satisfied with my two point outing I wearily packed up just after two o'clock and went back to the river to sit with Pete.

You can park behind your peg on the BAA stretch and as the rain had once again returned I indulged in some proper brummy barbel fishing, sitting in my car eating my sarnies watching Pete's tips!

Properly wired now and with the insulin hit of two rounds of sarnies in my blood I drove home.