Friday, 21 January 2011

Make Tracks.

Thursday 20th January, LAA Wasperton. 15:30 - 18:30. 6C > 1C > -1C > 3C.

It was bright and sunny when I left work. Driving West away from Birmingham and then South down the M40 it was 6C outside and I had to use the sun visor to keep the bright rays out of my eyes. Despite a cold start this morning the day had warmed. I was looking forward to facing into the dying sun on the river bank and perhaps even feeling it's lingering warmth on my face.

As the motorway started to descend into the glorious Warwickshire Avon valley I could see a solid blue haze clinging to the horizon in the distance. At the motorway exit I drove into a wall of fog and the temperature quickly dropped to 1C.

Wasperton village and the river was a totally different scene from the rest of the county. The mornings frost still clung icy white to the grass in the meadow and the visibility in the fog which cloaked the entire river was 50yds at best.



It's behind me!
 I fished a pair of rods and feeders with meat on the hook into the still powerful winter flow.

Apart from a couple of sharp pulls which I suspect were from small chub I had no sport. The fog soon became freezing and ice built up on my rods, gear and clothes. Once my feet started to hurt with cold I called it a day.

It was -1C when I departed but as I rose out of the Avon valley the dense fog cleared and temperature rose. Back home in Coventry it was 3C.

A large winter moon - which has been setting so beautifully on my commute into work recently - greeted me home.

I have a piece of software on my phone which enables me to record the tracks I make whilst fishing. I intend to turn it on whenever I remember this year and overlay the tracks onto a single map with the intention of building up a nice spider diagram of my whereabouts on fishing sorties.

Here's how it looks tonight:

I've already forgotten to turn it on a few times.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

An Incremental Chub.

Monday 17th January, 15:30 - 17:30. The Plough AS. 9C - 6C.

With my work now as uncertain as everything else in my world I left early on the back of a, "Sod it", moment.

I called in at home, was changed and had my fishing gear in the car within ten minutes of arriving.

I took the remainder of Sundays groundbait and small meat cubes to the closest peg to the layby parking and was soon fishing.

I took a single rod and cast just off the main flow to a slacker glide on other side. I could see where the river had subsided in recent days.

At 4:20 I had my first bite and first fish, an incrementally larger chub than this years current biggest at 4lb 4oz. The fish fought well, taking line from the reel more than once, and when I saw it's head thought it could go five.

On the bank I could see it had the head of a five pounder and the tail of a three pounder, so four pounds plus seemed a good compromise weight.

Big up top.
On the next cast I had a three pounder and so soon retired home pleased with my efforts.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

There's A Funny Smell Around Here.

Sunday 16th January, 15:00 - 19:00. Stratford Town waters with Pete. 13C - 11C. Strong SW. River coming down from a flood.

This morning I set fire to my head.

Whilst tending a bonfire on a Leamington Angling work party a cruel gust of wind pushed the roaring flames in my direction. The frazzling sound was accompanied by the distinct smell of burning hair. As soon as I could look in a mirror I could see the afro style burned bits all down the left hand side of my head. A kindly lady passer-by took a look for me and commented that my face was very red and was I sure I wasn't burned? I hadn't the heart to tell her that that was my complexion on a good day.

Not easily dissuaded from fishing I met up with Pete at Stratford to fish the tail end of the mild conditions in the slim hope of a barbel. I'll be damned if at least one doesn't show up amongst catch reports in the blogosphere from the English weekend just gone, everything felt just right for them.

With all the warm rain entering the river and with the flood subsiding I reckoned there was a chance.

The wind was strong and the river still high.
First cast in I had a bream of 4lb 14oz on a small cube of spicy meat below my feeder.

Here I am, sitting on a park bench nonchalantly holding my bream. Are you sure you've not been burned in a horrible bonfire accident?
Thinking I might be into an afternoons work I kept the feeders going in in earnest. Apart from two other suspected plucks that was it for action for the rest of the evening.

The tips remained still thereafter.
It was great to be out in the mild weather. It felt like late March rather than January. I love each month from now until September with increasing intensity.

Here are the scores on the doors tonight:

Time on my hands boys, time on my hands.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Stockton Roach.

Saturday 15th January, 13:00 - 17:00. Stockton reservoir. 11C - 9C. Strong SW.

Needing a break from my unsuccessful predator exploits I planned a trip to Hopsford Hall with light feeder tactics after whatever swam. After placing a call to the fishery and them confirming it was closed until 14th February I thought I'd take a trip to Jubilee pools. Once I'd remembered that too was closed until 12th March I headed to Stockton (Blue Lias).

The wind was strong again but I set up in the lee of an island near the car park and fished towards using liquidized bread and maggots in a feeder and red maggot on the hook.

Football on Radio 5 live and fishing go hand in hand on a Saturday afternoon. 
Second cast in I started getting indications.

A wrap-around bite on the lightweight quiver resulted in an 8oz roach.

8oz roach.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon catching a dozen and a half roach up to 13oz. In fact I had two fish at exactly that weight.

1st 13oz roach.

2nd 13oz roach.
It was lovely to see the tip going round again. My hooklength wasn't geared up for carp and so I was glad to stick with the silvers, in fact I only caught roach all afternoon.


Monday, 17 January 2011

Chub, Blank, Blank, Blank, Tiny Zed.

I've not posted on here for a while and there's a bloody good reason for that.... When I've not been at work I've been out fishing!

As I eluded to in an earlier post my domestic circumstances have changed somewhat recently. I'm not for one minute denying the negatives of my situation but on the angling front it feels like I have found the golden ticket amongst my maggots.

On most week nights and every other weekend I find myself with time on my hands, an unprecedented situation. Given it's January and money's tight then what better way to fill an evening than with a trip to the waterside. It's like I'm over-revving at the moment, like the governor's gone - in more ways than one, and it's only mid January!

Not all of my outings have been productive but that seems to be par for the course at the moment with the wildly swinging weather conditions. The title of this post sums up last week succinctly.

I had a 3lb 10oz chub upstream of a large wet tree on a short trip to the Plough AS one day last week (seriously, I'm struggling to remember even which day it was it's that far back). It was my first try with cheese paste so it gives me confidence to try it again.

Wet Tree.

3lb 10oz Chub.
I've already had one chub at 4lb dead this year so this one didn't increase my score in our bloggers fishing competition.

I then went on to blank on another night back on the Avon, but the sky looked nice at dusk.

The sky is nice.
I then blanked again on the Avon and didn't take any photos.

On Thursday night I met up with Jeff on the canal and had a go for roach using worm on one rod and either bread or prawn on a second. I fished these baits on light ledger gear and bite alarms so we could natter without me missing a thing. Apart from a liner first cast the early part of the evening was blank for both of us so we moved down to the mouth of the marina where Jeff's been doing so well for predators recently. Here I watched him catch three of the smallest zander I've ever seen. Although I blanked in part two as well as part one, ridiculing the size of his fish was much fun.

On Friday I had the day off work and so (once again with Hatt Senior) took a trip to Coombe after predators.

Coombe was tough, neither of us caught, but I could tell Jeff was totally caught up with the potential of the place. Hinted recollections of double figure zander and bream, big crucians and king carp had him lying on the path frothing and twitching. In fact the harder the water sounded the more interested he became. I heated up a home made chile con carne on the bank at lunch time which buoyed the spirits and restored order.

After lunch I broke out the waggler rod and had a go with maggots. Even though this never bought me a bite I at least felt happy again having broken out of the predator angler's all or nothing constraints. I'm no expert when it comes to predators and quickly become disinterested unless results are forthcoming.

We cut and run before dusk and once again headed for the marina swim on the canal after a blank-saver.

Here I had a 12oz zander for my efforts.

Looking at the small slit in the side of this fishes mouth I believe Jeff caught it the night before, as this was where all of his hook-holds were. My hook is in the top lip.

If you're going to dive in for them I'll lend you my gnashers.
Just before packing up at the marina I resolved never again to devote a whole day to predator fishing, I'm just not cut out for it. Instead I will use a sleeper rod to fish for predators whilst doing something far more entertaining on the other rod, like seeing if I can stick it in my own eye.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Grueller on Various Sections of The Avon.

Tuesday 4th January, 09:30 - 18:30. LAA Top meadow at Wasperton, Lower Wasperton and Stratford town with Jeff. Strong cold wind ~5C.

After bites and fish the previous evening at Saxon Mill I expected a fruitful morning dace fishing on float and maggot on the top meadow at Wasperton. During the warmer months there are plenty of dace in the stretch and I broke out my centrepin and fourteen foot rod to enjoy the experience.

I was wrong about finding sport in the pacy water and I toiled for an hour on the stick float without a touch. I enjoyed sending the float down midstream and steering it along the crease to the bankside vegetation. I fed maggots sparingly.

I caught up with Jeff at the end of the run of willows which the barbel favour in summer and watched him try for a chub under a nearside tree. I had a brief go with a maggot feeder in a glide by the dried reeds on the far bank but the current was so strong it dislodged the maggot feeder continuously.

We moved down to the lower Leamington section of Waspo around midday but despite the slower water couldn't buy a bit down here either. In addition to not catching a life force sapping wind had sprang up in our faces turning Jeff an ashen white.

Sitting it out and waiting for the big bream and chub to turn on down here was falling out of favour with us both.

We cut and run and headed for respite in the warmth of the car and the last few hours at Stratford. Here I fished two feeder rods to the middle of the river for no reward. What a grueller!?

Jeff conjured two roach out of nothing and registered the far bank mark for future reference.

I sloped off with blocks of ice for feet, blank.

Here are the scores at the end of the opening week of our bloggers % of record weight competition:


Saxon Mill Dace and Chub.

Monday 3rd January, 13:00 - 18:00. Warks Avon at Saxon Mill with Jeff. 6C and dry.

The Saxons (Latin: Saxones, Old English: Seaxe, Old Saxon: Sahson) were a confederation of Old Germanic tribes. Their modern-day descendants are generally considered ethnic Germans, Dutch, or English. They are primarily found in Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony-Anhalt, Westphalia, Drenthe, Overijssel, and England. The modern German state of Saxony is not inhabited by Saxon descendants, and was so-named because it came to be ruled by the medieval Saxon dynasty.

Whilst on a last minute two week package deal in Warwick in the twelfth century the Saxons built a splendid mill which was luckily situated right next to the river. Both mill and river are still looking good today in the twenty first century. I wonder if some of our modern creations will stand such a test of time?

Photo courtesy of Snowmanradio
Whilst still setting up my fine quiver tip dace rod we met fellow 2011 challenger Bazal Peck. Despite our best efforts Jeff and I had failed to any procure maggots for today, both of us had only bread for bait. Whilst we chatted, Bazal generously gave us half a pint of reds each. Top man.

I had a deadbait out on one rod for Pike and a cage feeder stuffed with bread mash and hemp on the the second. We'd settled upstream of the weir within hailing distance of each other.

I was surprised by the walking pace of the water up here. Faster than expected.

Jeff had indications on his tip before me but when mine started I hooked up with two dace in succession. The first was four ounces and the second six. I was using maggots on the hook below the feeder.

6oz Dace.
After these first two fish sport slowed somewhat and it took until the light started to fade to get back amongst the bites. Before dusk I had perhaps half a dozen more smaller dace and then as soon as I needed my headtorch to see my tip the chub moved in. The average size of these was about the pound mark but I had one bigger bonus fish of three pound plus. 

Nothing troubled  my deadbait on the pike rod.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

One, Two, Three, Four, Go!

Sunday 2nd January, 13:00 - 17:00. The Plough AS. Cold but dry.

One. I was the only car in the car park at Coombe Abbey fishery when I arrived. 'Lake to myself',  I thought. I unloaded my roving pike gear and soon discovered the whole of Coombe still had an icy lid on it. Plan B.

Two. I made swift preparations at home and made my way to the Plough stretch of the Avon. I chose the bathing pool peg as there was enough room for a pair of rods. I fished both rods on cage feeders with liquidised bread and ground grilled hemp with hair-rigged bread on the hook. The hair for the bread allows me to squeeze it on hard enough so I'm confident it stays on without fear of blinding the hook.

Three. I sat for three hours without so much as a tap. I kept the small feeders and bait going in regularly.

See how I wait.
Four. At four o'clock on the dot I had my first bite and connected with a chub which weighed exactly fours pounds.

I then sought to teach Hatt a few things when it came to self-take photography.

B'stard makes it look so easy....
I had a few more bites between four and five but couldn't connect with them. The problem was I fishing just off the crease in the slacker water and that made the bites very delicate rather than being strong hittable tugs.

Off the blocks in our bloggers competition with a chub but I'm hoping to better the weight significantly before the season ends.