Monday 30 July 2012

Going spinning.. session 1

After the pike attack on the end of my rod last week it spurred me on to get the spinning rod out and try for some summer predator sport. I sneaked in an hour or two on the river on the way home work during the week but this produced nothing. A few texts were batted back and forth with  Leo for advise and I was soon digging out the gold spinner stuck in the lonely corner in my lure box.

An early start after a very late night watching the Olympic opening ceremony I was up and out by the river at 7:00am. The gold spinner was rotating its way frantically back to the bank, when a pike launched itself out from under the lillie's right across and over it. That was near miss number one ..

The fish hung around in front of me for a while and I managed to take a few snaps with my cheapo point n click. (looking for a new camera at the moment).

Look, there's the pike

(With a bit of photo editing)... aha, now you see it !
And there goes the first missed opportunity !

Meanwhile, back to the fishing and I was really struggling to hook anything despite 3 or 4 nocks on the lure whilst retrieving. Another missed chance further upstream, and this time it was apparent that to get a hook up they must take it first time as they won't be tempted with the spinner after the initial attack, they're obviously not complete mugs.

Finally, I landed a small perch just before packing up then lost another as I tried to swing it up to hand - being too lazy to bend down and pick the net up !

 I think this might be my first ever lure caught perch !!

Bird spotting corner ....

Thought this could be a rarer lesser spotted woodpecker - but it turned out to be a greater

I'm in the market for a new camera, so I'm looking at bridge cameras at the moment...  can't wait to get one as taking photos to accompany my fishing is a big part of the enjoyment.  The cheapo samsung (wife's old camera)  that I'm making do with since dropping my old canon in the drink and ruining the lens, can't possibly come near to type of shots I'm would like to achieve.

Got some more lure fishing planned in the week, I'm looking forward to it already...

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Just trying to remain focused…

The trouble I have when fishing sometimes is remaining focused on the task at hand. Take the other day on the river, I allowed other species to distract me when was I supposed to be there barbel fishing. I had no intention of catching perch when I set out of the house in the morning but once I had put out a maggot feeder and started pulling them in one a chuck I soon became tuned into a rhythm of cast strike, reel in, unhook etc, the other rod out for barbel relegated to simple sleeper duties at my side whilst I concentrated on the perch.  Now none of the fish  more than ¾ of a pound but I was enjoying myself just catching one after another until the my time was up for my mornings session.

Earlier that morning I had found the well known “barbel swim” occupied by someone on the opposite bank and, being the courteous angler that I am, I nodded  good morning then headed back down stream to find another spot. I had no sooner baited up with a bit of hemp under a tasty looking raft and overhanging tree, ready to cast in a lump of meat in hope there would be somebody at home under there,  when I heard voices approaching along the path. Two anglers stopped in the peg next to me about twenty yards downstream. Now in a stretch of about 20 odd pegs why they had to pitch up right there was a little annoying to say the least. I soon headed off down stream to another area well away from the “crowds”.

At my new spot I organised my gear and set the rod in the rests. I was just fiddling with the baitrunner when I felt a tug on the rod tip and looked up to see a large long fish, up on the surface back out of the water right under the rod tip. My senses took a second to work out what was happening, but then the realisation struck. A feisty pike had launched itself at my rod tip when I must have dabbled it on the surface while I was messing about with the reel at the other end.
I instantly regretted not having the lure rod with me.  Had I done so it would have been lifted straight out the quiver, and a lure flicked out after the pike in no time! There are always these opportunities to exploit but you do have to come equipped to take advantage of them !

Now go find yer mum !

 I spent the rest of the morning catching perch from the middle of the river while the barbel rod sat silently by my side. The barbel will wait of course, maybe I’ll be back another day armed with just a rod and a bucket of bait intended only for them in an attempt to keep my attention away from all the other distractions, then again ....?

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Just a small one this time - Dove Barbel after a MOOOve

I've got my barbel head back on again at the moment so I headed over to the Dove again last night to try for another of its fine inhabitants. I must mention at this point that I did have an aborted session last week too, but that was a bit of a disaster as it started raining so heavily just as I arrived, I only stayed for about half an hour, then fearing the river would rise around me in the darkness.  I saw sense and decided to give it up as a bad idea, quickly heading home to safety and a hot shower!
So, back to the same swim again this week but in relatively calmer conditions.  I’ve only fished a few of the swims on this stretch for barbel so far.  I didn’t get there till nearly nine in the evening so I didn’t fancy looking for different swims to try at that time of the day. I suppose I could be accused of taking the easy option, which I'd put down as a symptom of fishing mainly short sessions.  (A change would be forced on me later in the session though.)

 The colour had dropped out of the river a bit since last time and the water level was definitely down since then, more of the gravelly bank was now available to stand on out of the flowing water. The flow was pushing through at about a steady jogs pace so it would require a five or six ounces of lead to hold bottom. I soon had two rods out, meat down stream and pellet up, in a bit of slacker water. There was the odd a bit of weed coming down snagging the lines and pulling the leads out of position a little, but it didn't stop the hook-baits holding for a good twenty minutes or so.

After a short while I missed a strong pull on the meat rod that might have been a chub, but then there was nothing further to trouble to rods for the first hour. Around 10:15pm I heard a snuffle sound behind me and looked around to see about 40 pairs of eyes watching me intently. Now cows are usually OK with me as long as they’re at least 20 yards away, but these were of the young feisty bullock ‘horns n all’ variety, so when they besiege the back of your peg leaving your only chance of escape if they were to “turn” a swim for it in the drink – I do tend to get a little bit twitchy.  It was obvious what they wanted as they made it quite clear I was in standing in their way. They had come for their evening drink before bedding down for the night and I was stopping them from getting to it. I thought about staying and holding my ground waiting for them to move on, but as they steadily closed in on me I finally bottled it, hastily gathering my gear and sidling my way carefully past the flat left hand edge of their semi circle, feet in the river treading in the shallow water running over the gravel as I went, hoping I didn’t spark off a panic stampede.

I headed down stream to look for another suitable swim in the last remnants of twilight. Safely nestled behind three strands of barbed wire was a smooth area of water on the near side bank with a crease flowing from near mid river diagonally across to the far side bank. It looked perfect for a cheeky bait down the edge, with the option of holding another bait out along the crease. The only problem was spotting somebody already sat there about 20 yards down that I hadn’t noticed in the dim light until he moved his head towards me, I thought he was a bush!  A quick apologetic wave and I stealthy moved on further downstream looking for another likely spot.  I soon found a similar area between perfectly straight banks that looked pretty un-exceptional apart from the flow on the surface. There was a crease further out, too far out to hold a bait on easily in the flow though, but the near bank had a channel of smoother water that fanned out 30 yards down spreading across the width of the river. I had a good feeling about this “glide” so cast a rod in with a boilie just a small chuck off the rod tip into the calmer water.  Soon there were a few small plucks that might have been fish but I suspected weed to be the culprit.  I wound in to find that the float stop positioned up the line had gathered a bit of weedy debris undoubtedly the cause of some of these indications.

I swapped the hook-bait over to a pellet as I’d been continually trickling in a few micro pellets up stream at the head of the run so they could trundle along the bottom hopefully drawing fish up to my neatly positioned larger hook-bait. Time was now pressing on, it was getting on for 11pm (and on a school night!) so I was thinking about packing up soon, “I’ll just give it five more minutes”. As I was practically counting down to wind in, the rod tip ripped round and the bait runner fizzed as line was stripped off. The fish was soon turned and slowly eased back upstream towards me, after a short but steady fight the fish staying low all the way it was time to net it. This fish hadn’t given up yet though and with a few head shakes dived down again using the flow to its advantage to gain back a bit of line from me. Next attempt and it was netted but had put up an impressive fight for only a small fish. I had guessed it might be bigger during the fight so was a little surprised to see just a five pounder in the bottom of the net. Still it beats a blank any day of the week and I’ve found a new successful swim into the bargain. The move proved to be a good one thanks to the cows.  However it's time to try another river for barbel next I think as I get a bit stagnated doing the same thing too often, besides there’s some rivers more local to me that I’ve not really targeted barbel on in the past. It could be time to rectify that next time….

Friday 6 July 2012

Into some fish again .... tench, crucians, barbel

I felt like I'd not been out fishing much at all recently, I had of course but only for a few short little sessions here and there for an hour or two in between domestic commitments and work. These little bankside visits have not really produced the fish I'm after but they have been a good way of learning new swims and sussing out ideas for future sessions. I know that some of these ideas may not come into fruition for a while,  even a year or two, but they will always lie dormant in my mind just waiting for their opportunity to germinate and burst into life.

Back to the present day though, and it occurred to me that getting a bend in my rod was getting a bit overdue, so last weekend I headed out to a club pool to fish for crucians on the pin and float for the afternoon. It was a great little session with quite a few fish caught and a nice afternoon was spent waiting for the float tip to rise or sink. It's not what you can call a relaxing time in the sense that you can sit back and chill out. No, you must be on full alert at all times poised and waiting for the slightest movement up, down or sideways and then let your instincts decide whether to stick or twist. The decision won't always be they right one but as long as the sport is consistent the averages will generally fall in you favour the more that time passes.

A mixed brace on the pin & float

I found that the crucians were not willing to take a maggot this time  but there were plenty of small to medium roach and rudd coming one a chuck that were ! When I switched to corn I immediately landed a small tench of about 2lb, then followed this up with a fat goldfish, before my intended quarry, a crucian, finally succumbed to a neat little punch of luncheon meat. This was quickly followed by another tench while the crucian was still waiting in the net for its photo shoot.  Staying on the punched meat in the hope of more crucians  I then proceeded to get hammered by tench after tench all around the 2 - 3lb mark. No further crucians were forthcoming but then I had to pack up soon after at 5:00pm.  With more time I may have fed the tench off eventually, allowing more of the crucians to get a look in?

A "Gold" Goldfish  (why stock goldfish when you have a good stock of true crucians that will get spoiled by hybridisation???)

How a Crucian should look - to my eyes

Thursday 5th July

For tonights session I headed to the River Dove in hope of a nice fat floodwater barbel before the expected deluge of a months worth of rain will hit tomorrow (Friday).  I have been keeping an eye on the forums and other blogs and  noticed that there are quite a few fish coming out due to these perfect conditions, so never to look a gift horse and all that I got over there to see if I could join the party.

I'm pleased to say that I on my first cast after baiting up I was straight into a fish and soon had a fine summer barbel on the bank. This is the second smallest fish I've landed from the river so my average is still not looking too bad. It was just past ten pm now and I had planned to stay till midnight. I could  have fished on but it had started to rain quite heavily and looked pretty ominous overhead. The intense muggy heat made my natural barometer suspect another thunder storm brewing. I'm not much a fan of being out in the open holding a carbon lightning conductor in my hand so my uneasiness got the better of me and I quickly called time and trudged back to the car satisfied that at least I'd caught a reasonable fish for my trouble. Only halfway back across the fields and I was regretting my decision but it was too late now to go back and set up again what with work beckoning next morning.  Half an hour later loading up the car ready to head home the skies had cleared nicely again and the threat of storms had not developed - typical. In hindsight I should have stayed on till midnight as I'm sure more fish would have come - especially judging by the results others have been reporting over the last week or so. C'est la vie !

Look at the paddle on that !!