Saturday 26 March 2011

Finding the time for a canal carp...

greeted by the setting sun.

One evening about 8 years ago whilst walking along the canal at Fazeley, I happened to spot what I thought must be a good carp create a bow wave on the surface near to a mooring. At the very next opportunity I was back with rod and line to try for that fish. I never did catch it or anything near its size, but I did manage to land a small (baby) one on my first attempt, which I was more than chuffed with for my first go, and it proved conclusively that there were some carp around.

My only canal carp to date (circa 2003) - I haven't really tried that hard to catch another yet though...

Since that time I’ve been nagged by an urge to fit in some time trying to land myself a decent carp from the canal. With this in mind and along with the recent mild spell we have been having, I had a couple of attempts this past week.

Nothing to report as yet (except for a few small bream) I just hope I can keep the focus going until I land one of these enigmatic wild canal fish, that is before the call of other spring species takes my attention away again.
This is the largest of the bream I caught tonight at 2lb 11oz. It might have edged more towards the dizzy heights of three pounds if it wasn't for the nasty chunk gauged out of its side !

Sunday 13 March 2011

Down the Anker ...

I headed to the Anker again this morning for what will probably be the last session on the rivers this season, unless I can get a pass out for a few hours after work tomorrow.
I've enjoyed trotting a float down this stretch so decided to have one more go in case I managed a nice chub or roach etc.. for the challenge.

After a slow start I ended up with a few perch to 1lb 4oz and some gudgeon, missed a probable chub bite on the sleeper rod too. The roach were not interested at all today, maybe the rain put them off ?

Still, not a bad mornings fishing despite the rain.

The best of the perch

Sunday 6 March 2011

Perch and Pike bonanza

After the session on Wednesday last week, I couldn't resist  the chance to try for another Dove perch.

On Sunday morning 6:45 am sharp I arrived on the bank ready to fish,  the float rod set up with my pin.  I quickly droppered plenty of chopped worm in the spot before I did anything else, then set the floats depth and got myself into position.  First cast, and after a few minutes the float had disappeared.  I hit a solid weight that slowly and surely plowed its way around the swim and out into the middle of the river.  I knew a pike was the likely suspect and so it proved when  this 6lb jack hit the net. The mono had held firm, the hook nicely in the top lip towards the scissors. 

First cast 6lb 4oz

After dealing with the pike I was soon back in position, but had no expectations of any more fish.  Before long though, the float bobbed again moving purposefully across the water and sank away, my strike met with another solid weight that did a jag, jag dance under the surface - perch !  It wasn't long before a stripey football of a fish rolled on the top then sank back down again. After an uneventful fight I had the fish under control and quickly in the net.  When I lifted the net up the thought crossed my mind that it might even be a three !  Sure enough the scales confirmed it, and in the space of five days another PB was bettered.  I'd only been fishing for half an hour.

Second cast 3lb 3oz - new PB

The wind had now picked up making casting a problem with the float and centrepin (I need more practice).  I knew a light ledger would make things easier so changed the rig over for a simple two swan shot link and a braid hooklink.
Next cast and this double figure pike picked up the juicy lob worm, my biggest pike from the river.  The braid was completely intact despite the the fish being hooked fairly deep. (Of course I don't recommend it for pike fishing though)  With the hook safely removed the fish was photographed and returned. 

3rd fish 10lb 4oz

I then proceeded to catch the remaining perch, one of which I thought would make it a brace of threes, but this second largest of the fish fell a bit short at 2lb 8oz.

 I noticed an unusual thing when playing one of the smaller fish in the way it's colours were extremely bold and vivid during the fight, but less so after landing.  It was as if it was flashing a warning at me, in the way a marlin glows bright, almost neon colours when ripping through shoals of fish. (unless I imagined it of course)

Final perch tally - 3.3lb,  2.8lb,  1.8lb  & 1.5lb 

Soon enough it was time to go, but if I could have stayed I think the fish would have fed all day long.
Just an unbelievable experience really, I don't get many opportunities like this - a red letter day indeed.

The brace !

 - all the fish taken on worms, hand picked out the garden.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

A long time coming ....

With the River season drawing to a close in less than two weeks, I've been trying to make the best decision on the day as to where to fish. The draw of other venues is strong but I am trying to remain focused on the rivers till they close. With this in mind it was a toss up between the Avon for another go at the roach and maybe a barbel, or head to the Dove to have another go at landing a nice winter grayling, and maybe a perch if I could find them ?

I mixed up some sweetcorn and ground bait mash to feed the swim then trotted through it to see if the grayling would oblige.  I know where they can be found so I wasn't worried about the location. Finding them is one thing but would they play ball.

The short answer is no they didn't, I tried a few swims, ran maggots and corn through at different depths - tripping the bottom, holding back but nothing showed any interest.  I decided that at 4:30pm I would call it a day and head to a perch swim I know of.  But before I did, I tried dropping a worm into a small slack/eddie that I'd just discovered. This didn't produce any signs and after only a few minutes I abandoned it but made a mental note for future.  I was too eager to get to the spot up stream where there would be a better chance, I hoped.

At the perch swim it was still as I remembered from two years ago when I first spotted some big perch here and I soon had a dropper load of chopped worm in position, hopefully drawing the fish from under the small snag downstream.  My simple rig consisted if a link ledger with two swan shot and a juicy fat worm hooked through the head, cast into the slack.  I positioned the rod on the rest and waited for an indication.  First the tip trembled a bit, then small bites started to come but were short, sharp taps and pretty un-hittable.  I wondered if these were from small fish pecking at the worm?
Soon one tap became a stronger pull and I hit it, but the rig just flew toward me minus the worm.  This happened a couple more times, but I was still encouraged that at least the fish were not being spooked by the activity.  After missing about four of these bites, the worm deftly robbed each time, I started to wish I had set up a float instead, thinking this would have given me a better chance of connecting up with them.

I decided to try just half a worm instead, hooked through the cut end. I cast it into the spot and waited. A couple walking their dog caught my attention on the far bank, the woman was wearing a bright red coat that contrasted drastically against the green background of the fields, which must have broken my intense concentration and my attention, ( it's funny what makes you look away from the tip !).  Snapping my mind back to the task at hand, I looked back to the tip just in time to see it pull down enough for a strike, again I hit the take and the rod hooped round.

I assumed it would be a jack pike from the resistance I felt, and then a fish surfaced. In that split second I didn't see it clearly enough to confirm, but then I started to feel a familiar jag, jag, jag sensation. "This ain't no pike" I thought. The fish pulled hard for the bottom but I drew it up to the surface again.  The perch was big, I could see that, but I wasn't allowing any panic to set in yet. 
Meanwhile the dog walkers had stopped to watch... great an audience,  no pressure then !!  The fish came up again and the net was ready, I drew it closer  "don't come off, please "   I repeated in my head,  gradually she neared the edge then flopped over the rim into the net, and was mine.

I showed it to the spectators across the river, to get rid of them really so I could concentrate on sorting it out and allow myself a small whoop of joy !

The fish was weighed and managed to go 2lb 12 oz on the scales, despite me willing them round to the magic three, it just wouldn't quite reach that far.  Of course I am still over the moon, and a new PB was finally realised displayed in vivid colours in my hands.

Here's a few indulgent pictures  (well it is a new PB after all, and one I've been trying to break for a good while)