Tuesday 5 January 2010

It's finding them that's the hard part

             Winter closes it's grip..       

The weather forecast for Tue didn't look good but I had a session sorted for the morning and I couldn't get out again for probably another week. So there was no option but to brave the cold and hope for the best. The weather wasn't too bad on arrival; it was frosty and cold but not as bad as Monday’s -6 C. The cars thermometer only read -1c on the way there. There was snow throughout the session in the air but not enough to make me worry, and the few flurries were over in minutes so I wasn't too concerned. (only -1 C  ...  what like its a spring day or something !)
                                                                                                                                                                                           Success at last

I started off trotting a couple of reds along a nice long run on my side of the river, with steady-ish water running parallel along a crease to a more pacy turbulent flow from the middle to far side. I figured that there might be a Grayling or two along this

stretch lurking in the dying weed, and after a few casts I was sure I had a chewed maggot come back. It was difficult to tell if all the dips of the float were bites or not as the bait was set to drag along the bottom. This logically causes the tip of the float to bob under along the course of the trotted run. Soon though I had itchy feet so decided to try further upstream. I tried several swims and runs finding some good areas for future Barbel and Perch sessions along the way (always a bonus). That’s the advantage with winter fishing; you get to see the river stripped down to the bare bones in terms of vegetation and cover.

After a while I started to work my way back down stream towards the car, as I wanted to try a few swims near the start of the stretch before I left for home. I'd had a few broken hook links due to snagging overhanging branches or tangles caused by line twist. This was a major problem for me today for some reason. I found some small swivels and tied the hook link to one, which did help for a while but I still got a twisted knotted mess after a few lengthy trots down. I think the speed of the retrieval was to blame, too fast and the maggot/s spin like a propeller. The other factor was the shot used, 2 SSG which although convenient in weight for my Drennan 2 Swann Loafer, were not very stream lined causing additional drag and twist to the line. A longer string of AAA's or BB might have been better.

I eventually got down to the last swim of the day and cast in to a nice looking run of water, smooth with a gentler pace, and no sooner had the float settled into it's run than it was dragged under by something. I naturally assumed the bait was caught on the bottom as had happened numerous times during the session, but when I struck I felt a pulsing sensation, followed by the flash of a flank. My first thoughts were of a nice Dace, or maybe a smallish Chub, then when I realised this fish was fighting quite hard it dawned on me that this could actually be a Grayling!

First Lady ...

Shortly, the fish neared the net, I had to concentrate and not let it slip the hook, that would just be devastating. It rose up and I scooped it into the waiting net.  I still couldn't make it out for sure until I had the net head over the bank and there she was my first Grayling, getting on for a pound I would say. I had forgotten my scales so I can only guess,  not a bad start whatever she weighed.

I did the photos and quickly nursed the fish back into the river. As I let her go she hovered momentarily in the flow, slowly sank down, turned and swam away.  

I had a few more casts even though it was past my time to be leaving, we'll you can't resist can you, and had one more fish on that felt solid but slipped the hook a second later.

By then I think I had spooked the shoal as the bites soon dried up. I left the fish to their river and went on my way happy, just in time before the snow really started to fall.

Monday 4 January 2010

What lies ahead for the new year ... ?

Well that's 2009 done and it's been a difficult year from a fishing point of view. It started off reasonably well, with a couple of nice Barbel and my first Zander, but then once I got back onto the rivers it never really happened for me. I don't think I'm alone this year either.
Choice of river was the key to success I think and while I also fish the Severn, Teme, and Avon etc, I stuck it out on the Dove and Trent instead this year and found it tough going. As it turns out I would have possibly done better had I fished some of those other venues, but you live and learn as they say!

So onto 2010, well so far I haven't made it out and it's the 4th Jan already! It looks like it will be cold for most of Jan, so I will be heading for the river while the canals and still waters are frozen solid. As I write this it's - 6 C outside, and I am planning my next session after Grayling.