Listening to the traffic report as I got in the car to leave work meant a quick change of plans had me heading down the A46 towards the River Avon at Stratford, instead of heading up to the Trent on the M1, that had now ground to a halt on the section where I would have been travelling along it.
The river looked low and clear, lower than my last visit a few weeks ago and the vast beds of weed could be seen clearly from my view crossing the foot bridge. The swim I fished last time was occupied with a couple of hapless noddys, all plastic bags and cheap folding chairs, but luckily the other swim I had in mind was free, so I set up there. Roach was the first target, so the feeder rod was quickly set up and cast in, bread on the hook and a crumb groundbait mix in the small cage feeder.
The action was pretty slack in fact I struggled to get any bites in the vastly reduced flow of the weir. The fish were there though, they were topping left, right and centre of me but they just couldn't be induced to take the bait. I switched over to a smaller hook to try maggot and redworm and this gave instant results from the shoals of small perch. Soon though I hit something that felt a bit better and I quite expected to see a 4lb bream rise up through the top layers and into my net. I was surprised and then quite pleased to see a small eel wiggling its way towards me instead. Just a shame it was one of the smallest eels I've ever caught, not many points for that ! I contemplated using it as bait for my zander fishing later but decided to do my bit for eel conservation and let it go back.
|A whole 7oz of wriggly slime !|
Darkness was now drawing in fast so I thought about getting the zander rods ready. I realised that I'd left the deadbaits in the car ! not to worry though as the noddys had now vacated the other swim where I thought I'd have a better chance at some zander. I packed up the tackle and made my way all the way back to the car, dumped the gear I didn't need to lighten the load on the way back, remembered to collect the deadbaits then headed back to the zander swim.
I set up the rests for my preferred long drop bobbin indicators and cast the rods in both together. Just as I was just settling the second bobbin the first rod was away already. The rod hooped round into a satisfying fish and I was into my first river zander. The fish was hooked right in the front of its mouth, the whole rudd engulfed down its throat, thanks to the suggestion from merv to try hair rigged baits - it works, and no deep hooking!
After the first fish it was a hectic next half hour that saw me miss the next take on the second rod, then I connected to what I thought was another small zed. It was only when I peeled back the folds of the net that I realised this second fish was very spotty and brown, my first ever brown trout was banked. Not by conventional methods I know but it still counts to me. Shame it's not worth any challenge points though, maybe we should include all the game fish next time eh!
|1lb 11oz Brown Trout|
That was the last of my fish for the night, apart from one more aborted run that didn't hook up. I think the hair was too long on the second rod, the hook just a little too far from the bait to be as effective - note to self, check length of hair next time.