Friday 30 July 2010

Barbel Gathering

I headed down the A46 once again to the wonderfull Warwickshire Avon.
Fishing in the same area as last week but this time I tried fishing the hemp & caster filled feeder across the river as close to the overhanging trees as I dared.  First cast and within two minutes the rod ripped round and produced this fine 6lber, my first on caster and my biggest from the Warks Avon to date.

The next cast brought a nice 6 oz Perch but then the caster line went quiet for the rest of the session.
I put the pellet rod out after a while,  casting it further downstream to separate the baited areas. I soon had a bite after about 15 mins, but like an idiot I forgot to disengage the baitrunner and fluffed the strike completely.  The rig came back without a fish.

A bit later on I caught this Bream though, which may explain the earlier missed fish, as Barbel generally hook themselves I find.

That was it for tonight,  a session with its own soundtrack provided by the Global Gathering festival in the distance, the bassline pounding out and being carried over the fields to me on the wind.  It made me think back to my raving days, another lifetime ago.  Some 18 years earlier  and  I'd have also been in a field in the dead of night somewhere dancing like a lunatic (has it really been that long !).  Now I'm still out in a field in the dead of night, but it's fishing that I go 'loco' over these days.

Lights in the Sky = Global Gathering at Long Marston Airfield

I also fished the canal on Thursday night for an hour, that produced just one small Zander of about 2lb.

I hit another fish at the end of the session that was on my single hook for a second or two.  It felt more substantial than the usual stamp I get here, but it was not to be as it must of spat the roach head out, the hook missing its target. 

Sunday 25 July 2010

Top pool with a passion...

Three hours were spent  fishing a lovely small river pool at the top end of a stretch of local river. With Chub and a hopefull Barbel in mind, I droppered in some hemp and caster in a couple of swims. I fished caster on the hook with worm as a change bait.

The morning was overcast but warm, and on arrival at about 6:30 am I had the stretch to myself.  A small perch kicked off proceedings followed by a number of perfect clones.  There were fish taking flies off the surface and in the fast shallows up stream of my pitch I thought I saw a brown trout viciously  take some unfortunate from the surface.  In the margins I amused my self by feeding maggots to a small shoal of finger sized perch, of which there were about four or five, their leader distinctive with some white aberration hanging from his mouth.

Fast shallows - were there trout about ?

I fished on and caught a larger Perch from the crease of the flow coming into the head of the pool.  It had me convinced it was a chub, till it surfaced.  I justified the need to weigh it to myself, as It looked like threatening a pound, but the scales said a mere 10oz (I must test them again - not sure how accurate they are with lower weights).  When I dropped him back near the small shoal at my feet it was comical to watch the small perch react to him.  White mouth appeared with the gang cowering behind, the bravado was knocked a bit by the giant in their midst, they hung back before risking another maggot.  Finally white mouth ventured forward, took a maggot signalling normal activity to resume.  I looked away to check the rod tip and when I glanced back the 'big' one was gone, back to the depths I guess. 

Soon after I was joined by a lad that came crashing through the undergrowth behind me. "You just caught a Barbel"? was the greeting.  "No, a Perch"  my reply.  "Are there Barbel in here then "? I lied.  "Yes I always catch them in that peg " he points to where I am sat.   "Oh yeah, what d'you have em on"? I asked.
"Soft boilies.... you can have some if you want "  I smiled to myself and declined the kind offer.
We chatted for a while and I discovered that not only had he caught many Barbel, but at least a 12lber no less, and from this very peg.   Bless him,  he sat there struggling to side hook his 8mm soft hookable onto his size 6 hook.  So I offered to drill some for him to make life easier.  Then it struck me, it's that flippin  Pete from 'A Passion for Angling', he even had the floppy white hat.

It was soon 10 am and time for me to go,  I gave 'Pete'  my spare bait drill and sorted him out some pellets I'd already pre drilled.  Instructing him where I'd baited up, I wished him tight lines and left him to it.

Entomology Corner...

On the way back to the car I managed to photograph this stunning Blue tailed Damsel - A male I believe, following a quick research on google.

 Male  Blue-Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

I also snapped this "Ladybird" but was then surprised to learn it is in fact a Harlequin Ladybird, an invader to these shores.  First time I've "realised" I've seen one though.

Harlequin Ladybird (H. axyridis succinea )
I'm getting quite into this 'Bug snapping' now, it adds a little extra interest to the session getting a good shot of a new species, and to be honest I'd never really taken much notice of how beautiful some of these insects can be.  The colours and patterns they display are stunning, when you open your eyes. 

Friday 23 July 2010

'Avon a go' !

Friday evening finally arrived and a trip to the river after work was well in order, after a long working week.

Inspired by reading an article by Stef Horak in July's C.A.T.,  I decided I would give the caster and hemp a serious go.  I have tried  a similar method before, but this time I thought I would try to build up the swim using just the casters and hemp and try hard not to be tempted to add any maggots, even though I had a pint with me.   I don't know why but I can't seem to buy casters without buying a pint of maggots too ?  On the first cast I had a small tap on the rod, but nothing worth striking at.

On the other rod I tried first a boilie, then later a small pellet. The pellet started to get a response straight away, the rod tapping and nodding every so often.

A nice way to start the weekend

In the last light before dusk the pellet rods tip bent round, I connected with a powerful fish that steamed off hugging the bottom and heading downstream.   I turned it and brought it up and out in front of me in the 'snag free' water.  Grabbing the net I thought I was now in control...., but not for long as it went off on another surge, crashing into the lilies and cabbage's to my left.  Finally after putting up quite a spirited fight, I managed to coax the fish into the net.  It had fought well for a mid size fish, as they often do, the size of this ones fins in proportion to its body, probably gives a bit of turbo boost.

This is my first fish from this stretch, which if nothing else means I know where they live now !

The caster rod had showed no further signs, so it was reluctantly packed away,while I concentrated on the other rod.   I've not had any Barbel on particle baits so far, but I'll give it some more time, as there are certain swims on other rivers where I think it would catch me a fish where pellets/boilies etc are usually ignored.  

 There's some power in that tail

Sunday 18 July 2010

A procession of Perch

Another Sunday morning small river session, that began with a rain shower, not that the rain could stop me though. I started by casting a link ledgered worm into a small pool that was heavily overgrown with marginal reeds.

I poked the rod tip through them and waited for the first bite to happen, It didn't take long but disaster stuck when the vicious bite that wrapped the tip round resulted in a broken hook length.

 The Palomar knot had  parted near the swivel.   I must have damaged the line when tying it, creating a weak point that was exposed by the take and resulting strike, one of the drawbacks of a pre stretched line I guess.
I recast and caught my first palm sized Perch of the day, it was the start of a procession of them that meant  I finished up with about 15, the biggest getting on for about 6 oz.

First of many..

The biggest of the bunch

I was hoping for a nice Chub or a larger Perch but they didn't show.  Some of the holes and rafts looked like they would contain a wise old Perch, probably tucked away at the back watching the youngsters foolishly make their mistakes, like lemmings off a cliff.

 I managed to spot a female Banded Demoiselle, but she landed a bit too far away for a nice crisp shot unfortunately.

If not before, I will return in Autumn to see if any larger relatives of this perch population will make a visit to my net !

Saturday 17 July 2010

A bend out of the blue...

I had to go over to Shifnal in Shropshire on business, ... "but hang on" I thought,  "isn't the Severn near there !"
So after my work was finished and with the tackle tucked away in the car, I headed down to a stretch of river I'd never tried before, near Bridgnorth.


I fished two rods in the faster water first, with maggot and pellet respectively, thinking that there would be more fish in the oxygenated water.  After an hour had past producing just one small chub, I had itchy feet - so moved to some slower, slightly deeper water upstream that I liked the look of.

 Swim two, and first cast with the pellet rod I managed a splasher of about 4 - 5 lb that fought well for it's size. It's probably because it's been so long since I experienced the feel of a Barbel on the end !  The bite came suddenly and out of the blue , as they usually do with Barbel,  just as I was starting to curse my luck.
 Another small chub was landed on the maggot rod, while the barbel was resting in the net after landing.

Darkness had fallen by the time I had returned the fish and when a rain shower passed over shortly after, I decided It was time to go, so I wound in the rods and called it a night, happy to have felt a nice bend in the rod again.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Crafty crucians...!

Napton Reservoir has some nice crucians in it, they appear to have a slightly rounder shaped body to the strain you usually see. Whether there is any impurity in them I have no idea and to be honest I don't care.  I like the look of them and as they're reasonably local they are on my target list.  So, prompted by a forum entry I saw recently, they were in my mind throughout the working week.
When the chance came I set off  for a quick couple of hours after work with the hope of tempting one or two of these elusive Napton inhabitants.

The conditions were not great, being a hot day with very bright clear conditions. Although the water seemed to have a bit a colour in it.  I fished for about three hours up to sunset building up a swim by baiting with white crumb, caster and maggots.  Over this I float fished various hook baits on an size18 hook to 2lb hook length.   I had to wait probably 2 hours for the first bite, that when it came, I failed to react in time due to the torpid state my mind had fallen into.   I find there is a certain amount of "tuning in" you need to do when float fishing.    This is ok when you get lots of bites, as you can afford to miss a few.   If however (as it turned out for me) you are fishing for only one or two bites there can be no errors.   After the first missed bite I was determined not to make the same mistake if I got another chance. 

 Waiting for that pimple to move

By now there were bubbles appearing near the float, not pinprick small Tench bubbles as you might suspect on this water but they larger and were definitely from fish feeding on my bait.  I then saw a crucian roll a foot or so from my float.  My concentration was now honed like a cat waiting to leap on a bird and I don't even know if I was still breathing in and out !
Then the float tip vibrated, wobbled a bit and started to move to the side, I struck and felt the fish bump off the hook - arggggh !  The redworm i'd had on was gone and so was my last chance of the evening. The light soon faded and I conceded defeat - this time !

Maybe next time ...

Sunday 4 July 2010

Summer small river Perch and Chub

I managed to sneak in a couple of hours on a local river this morning for a spot of Chub and Perch fishing.

I arrived 'early-ish'  about 7:30am after stopping on the way to buy a loaf of bread for Chub bait.

Getting to the swim was a challenge in itself as there doesn't seem to have been many anglers down here so far this season.

Across the endless Jungle !

I set up a simple paternoster rig with 2 SSGs on 6lb mainline and a size 4 hook on 12" of 4lb hooklength coming off the mainline 18" above the shot,  fixed by float stops either side of the swivel (rather like a long  helicopter rig).  A nice juicy lob worm, collected from my lawn back in April, was placed on the hook and the rig was swung out adjacent to the nearside vegetation into a small pool on a bend in the river.

Within a minute the tip bounced and pulled down.  I struck but got  'bare hooked'.  The second worm was swung in, with the same results!  Contestant number three was hoisted into position but this time I cut it in half to see if I could get both bait and hook in the mouth of whatever was managing to 'do me' every time. 
Less than a minute later and the tip pulled down, I struck and the rod hooped round as a reasonable fish was hooked.  The chub headed for the nearest bunch of streamer weed but I stopped it snagging me up and forced it to the surface through the waving strands and into the waiting net.


I carried on fishing the swim after releasing the fish 30 yards downstream away from the shoal, but only caught small perch.  I saw a large fish grab something from the surface on the opposite side of the pool  but the shoal were now proving more difficult to tempt.   I had one more significant pull on the tip but the strike was met with another bare hook.  Finally, I decided to move on after an hour in this first swim having only given myself limited time to try other spots on the stretch.  It was obvious the fish were getting spooked in the first pool swim by now.   I tried two more areas but only caught one more small perch.

The final swim produces another greedy small Perch

Fishing these small rivers can be a challenge, and fishable swims are usually limited but there are some real surprises lurking in these waters if your brave enough to give it a go.

There's lots of unfishable parts at this time of year

There have been some great pics of Damsel and Dragon flies appearing on some blogs recently , here's my effort a male Calopteryx splendens - Banded Demoiselle.

This third and final swim failed to produce any chub, I think the bright late morning sunlight was forcing them well under cover by now, so I packed up and was back home by 11:00 am, ready for my family duties.  As for them, well,  they were still getting ready for the day ahead!

Saturday 3 July 2010

Closing the chapter ...

It was to be my final Tench session for a while today and, like Ghana in the world cup, it ended so close but so far !

I started out in the swim I had caught from a couple of weeks ago but found the weed had now sprung up so much that it encroached nearly all the way across the width of the lake at this end.  I was starting to think I should be in another peg, when two other anglers turned up in the next peg and started arranging their kit and tackle.  I'm too used to having most of, if not all of the lake to myself , so was not happy about these two pitched in the next swim 20 yards away when the rest of the lake looked to be free! 
I decided to move and finding a usual hot peg near the car park free, I dropped in there to check the weed situation with the marker float. 

After a good few casts I was convinced I had found a dining table size gravel patch amongst some loosely growing Canadian pond weed.  With the spod  I baited the spot with hemp maggots and a few pellets and set up the rods.

Both rods were set up as helicopter rigs to try to avoid the weed growth, then cast in either side of the baited area.  I didn't have to wait long before the left hand rod was off !   I watched the bobbin rattled against the rod blank as the fish took line, I lifted the rod and disengaged the baitrunner and bent the rod in a swift upwards sweep to feel for the fish but it was only the disappointing resistance from the returning feeder that I was to feel.

I tried to shake off the deflated feeling with a new hope that there might be more chances to come, but this was not to be and the session ended at about 10:30pm with another blank.

The sky paints a picture in pink

I will be back on the Rivers for my next session after Barbel or Chub and hopefully I can get into some more consistent catches this season.