Friday, 31 December 2010

More Famous than Richard Walker?

Oh dear, it is with great regret that I have to inform those who don't already know, that one of our fellow Bloggers has gone over to the Dark Side. I cannot bring myself to name the culprit, but in a current publication, sometimes bought by fellows of the angle, this individual has been feted.

Without going into too much detail, I can say that "roach", "frozen canals" and "small streams" were all mentioned.

To think that he's now rubbing shoulders with his fellow conspirators, Des Taylor and Keith Arthur, brings a small tear to my eye.  I can only hope that he has too much to drink tonight, falls over, bangs his head and knocks all this nonsense out of it!

Seriously, well done mate for getting into the Press.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Last Trip Before Christmas

As this will bw my last time out on the bank before Christmas, I thought I'd try somewhere very local. I had treated myself to a nice little wand for tiddler snatching so wanted to give it a run out.
I tried 2 swims but neither was in a forgiving move so I retired gracefully to a warm room with a glass of whisky.

Happy Christmas to all fishermen (and fisherettes!) out there especially fellow bloggers.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

18.12.10 Going Fishing Part 2

Mnnn, think I made the right decision.

18.12.10 Going Fishing?

OK, I'll own up.  Went out last week on the Avon and between me and my mate (14 combined hours) not a fish, not a bite not even a twitch between us. Just some liquidised bread in the feeder and some flake on the hook for the INEVITABLE chub. But no!

Fish 10 - Us a big fat zero.

So this morning, having finally finished the Christmas decorations etc, I thought "A couple of hours me time". Sure we'd had snow yesterday and more forecast for today. But am I man or a mouse? By the time I'd sorted a couple of rods out, the answer was definately "squeek, squeek". At the moment 8" and still falling, so TV on and a nice glass of whisky.

Roll on next week!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Latest Venture Out

Decided to give it a go yesterday. The weather had warmed up and the snow was melting. A light rain had started so despite the "snow melt" I packed a very small set-up and headed to a venue I wasn't that familiar with. Things started to go wrong when I arrived in the general vicinity only to realise that the exact location (which other Bloggers had suggested) was proving impossible to find. I asked a few people but surprisingly no-one had heard of it. The nearest I got was someone who knew the road but when I eventually got there the swim proved to be the wrong one.

Stuff this, I thought so I parked up and decided that it couldn't be too difficult to sort out the exact spot.  By this time the rain had gone from light to "wets you right through". My outerwear was proving to be up to the job but I'd forgotten my hat and the rain was causing a problem with my glasses.  Eventually a friendly local pointed be in the right direction and I finally found the swim but was surprised to find Keith already in it! Still he called me over and with a pint of tasty real ale I settled down.

Soon the bloody place was crowded with other fishermen. So we all decided to stuff the fishing and drink! Mind you, as I was driving I had to switch to pints of lime and lemonade. Blimey, it gives you stomach ache!

So it was great meeting you all and having a good chat.  Look forward to seeing you lot on the bank somewhere.  Only sorry I had to leave early just as you all seemed to be settling in for a session.

BTW, how was that Lap Dancing Club?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Pool in Worcestershire

Went out today to a relatively small pool I'd had my eye on having heard of good sized perch. Arriving to find a fellow already fishing my chosen swim (!) I had a chat with him. A local chap who fished there regularly. When quizzed about the "big" perch he smiled and told me I'd just be plagued with 4" tiddlers. Apparently there had been some biggies but none had come to the bank in recent years. So much for out of date info! Still, not deterred I set up a waggler fishing just off the ledge about 15' out with maggots - my plan was to start attracting some small silvers and then fish lobs or prawns to sort out the grandaddies or grandmas. As an afterthought, no not really an afterthought,  because a chat with another angler earlier had told me of the nice bream - up to 9 1/2lbs and upper double carp - I put out a carp rod baited with The Source 15mm boilies.

The pool is quite small so I was able to scatter freebie boiles by hand just by walking around the bank where I'd cast.  The less said about the waggler for perch the better. The other angler was right. Fish after fish after fish came to my maggot approach but they were ALL 3 - 4" perch. So eventually I swapped the float rod for another carp rod.

I'm sure you all know that the temperature today was hovering around zero and for much of the time we had bright sunshine in this part of Worcester. So not particularly conducive to hauling.

Still, around midday I had a strong take and after a very dogged fight a 10 1/2lb common came to the bank. A very pretty fish, quite silvery rather than gold - apparently due to the light-coloured clay bottom.

I was pleased that something had found my boilies interesting.  Then around 2ish the hanger on the same rod shot up to the alarm and I was into another fish which, like the first, kept low in the water. A determined sort of fight rather than spectacular had me sliding the net under what looked to be a better stamp of common. The guy who had "stolen" my swim came around and when I netted the fish remarked that it had to go 20. He kindly weighed it and I was only slightly disappointed to see the scales register at 19lbs 6oz.

A new PB common. Well chuffed. The photo doesn't show its shoulders - well chunky. Also, when I got it on the mat I thought it had a bum problem, there was what I thought was blood coming out of  it but on closer (!) inspection I saw it was the remnants of all the Source boiles!!

Packed up around 4ish as the temperature had again fallen to just below zero. Thank god for my new second skins bought with my daughter's gift voucher for Baileys of Warwick.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Avon at Twyford 19.11.10

Well, after 2 blanks, one here about 10 days ago when the torrential rain around midday not only cut short the trip, but it made the drive up from the river bank to the track almost impossible and a few hours on College Pool last week, I had 6 or 7 hours back on the river. Everything looked perfect. I'd checked with the EA river levels website (thanks Sean for that link) and around Evesham the Avon was fairly stable. When we arrived the colour was good and the flow seemed just right.

After the last but one session when pike had been swirling both in the margins and in the main river, I'd taken some suitable gear just in case. I set up a roach deadbait (bought frozen from my local shop) on an overdepth float ledger. A large open feeder was filled with small pieces of meat and plugged with hemp and hali crush. I fished this rod on a long flouro leader to a size 10 with a longish hair to which a lump of meat was attached. I catapulted out some 1" squares every 30 mins or so.

Despite searching the margins next to the decaying reed stems and under nearside trees, the pike rod failed to excite any predators. Around 2:30 ish the drizzle started and soon it was a steady rainfall. My newly purchased Drennan waterproofs came into their own and probably persuaded me to stick it out without resorting to a brolly. Just wanted to proove their worth!

Around this time my mate who was fishing with me decided to pack up. While watching him negotiate the slope back up to the track, my barbel rod pulled round and I was into something. Not huge but something anyway. Like much of the middle Avon there are platforms along this stretch which have a reasonably small gap between slats. I was sitting up on the bank but had to get down to the platform to land the fish and as I wound down I went out along the platform. Concentrating on the rod tip I failed to notice that where there was a small drop down from one level to another there was a gap which neatly allowed my left boot to drop through. So there I was, rod held high trying to keep contact with the fish while my leg was through this gap up to my knee. Also, my mate had just waved goodbye and there was no-one else on this stretch, not even a dog walker. Realising that what goes in should come out I pulled and wiggled until I'd got both feet firmly on the platform. The fish was still on and I guided it into my net.

I've caught bigger chub but not in such adverse (some may say comical) conditions. So I'm proud to report it here.

3lbs 2oz and every ounce was earned.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Island Pool, Jubilee 1.11.10

BBC weather forecast was "warm for this time of year" and "mainly sunny".


The wind was blowing, (or should that be howling?), into the disabled pegs bank and Ros, having caught me for my money just as I was opening the gate, told me that there were still some pegs free there.  So I parked just behind one of them in case I needed to escape the gale and set up. I'd bought one of the Fox Zig Rig floats to try and having recently read that contrary to perceived wisdom zigs are not just for the balmy days of summer decided on a zig on 1 rod and a bottom bait on the other.

As the leaves have been raining down now for a few days I set up a chod rig on rod 2. Initially I used a pineapple pop up on the this and a bright pink super-floater on the zig. Rather than try to launch a sloppy spod over the zig due to the wind - I didn't fancy the sludge flying back in my face - I tried a roving approach over the gravel bar towards the island. Baiting up around the chod was proving almost impossible as a bunch of seagulls alternated between riding the waves and circling overhead. They seemed to know exactly when I reached for my catapult and rose off the water in anticipation of a free feed. I tried firing a couple of boilies to the left or right and quickly sending a couple towards my rig but they were quick enough to dive bomb almost every bait. I don't mind most birds - with the exception of the dreaded C word - but didn't want to use all my boilies feeding this bloody lot.  So hardly any freebies to entice a carp to try her luck.

A nearby overhanging tree had a regular drip feed of various size boiles for a last-knockings attempt. A simple bottom bait on a short hooklength was lowered under the branches but no takers.

This is why I was packing up at 4:15, 45 mins earlier than gate closure. There weren't many fishing and from what I could glean not a lot was caught. The exception was a pole fisher to my left who ended up with about 15lbs of silvers. Even he said it was nothing compared with last Friday's haul.

I think the most fun I had was working out how to set up the Fox float. Oh, and also trying to outwit those bloody seagulls!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Avon at Cleeve Prior 27.10.10

Took myself off to Cleeve Prior again to try a peg which I referred to earlier. (Should really be "to which I referred" - just watched BBC Breakfast going on about correct pronunciation etc!) The whole stretch was empty so I had no problem in settling in. As with most of this stretch, the inside line was about 5', deepening out to the boat channel where I intended to fish a 3' flouro hook length with a couple of elipses for barbel. Rather than a straight lead, I tried a 30g feeder filled with a mixture of sizes of pellets plugged with some hemp and hali crush. With the recent rain we had I thought the river may have been a bit more coloured and higher.

I put my trusty (not) float ledgered sprat under the willow to my left - you can just see the red tip of the small cigar float.

After 2 hours of no interest on the pellets, I switched to a large piece of luncheon meat. I started to get sharp twitches on the rod and thought they might not be barbel so I replaced the solid top on my Duo Lite with a quiver tip and reduced the length of the hook link to 12".  This had the desired result and I started to latch on to some chub. The largest went 4lbs 2oz on my new Berkley scales.

It was a nice plump one and was in pristine condition.

I'm afraid my attempts to smash the Avon Zander record failed miserably, yet again. Still I've just received a missive from Keith with some comments about the Oxford canal so I'll persevere. Watch this space!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Still a Virgin!

So yesterday I went down the Oxford Canal 5 minutes away to have my first efforts at finding a zander. The weather couldn't have been worse, by 9 o'clock the sun was streaming out of a bright blue sky and I'd stripped off my 2 outer layers leaving just a T shirt on (plus trousers of course). The stretch has quite a bit of far bank vegetation below the lock and a bit of a boat yard above, so I thought it could make a reasonable mile of zander haven.

I used 2 speci rods, one my 1.5lbs barbel and a Greys 12' Carp Bagger rated at 6lbs - 10lbs line I won in a competition a couple of years ago. Both started off with very small cigar pike floats but soon I had to add small drilled bullets via a run ring as the wind was blowing directly down the canal and made controlling the float extremely difficult. This anchored the rigs just enough to hold them steady. My home-made traces were Drennan 20lbs soft strand wire around 10" long with single size 6 Korda Hybrid Wide Gape hooks.

I fished over depth firstly along the boat-free section and moved regularly as Danny suggested. After 3 hours I decided to move above the lock and try against the boats. One rod was positioned alongside a narrowboat on my side and the other cast to one opposite. Bait was a bag of sprats bought a couple of days ago at Morrisons. They were hooked through the wrist of the tail and I tried whole ones and then with the heads cut off - mmmm, smelly oozey. But not even a twitch on the float. Also their flanks were as pristine as when they were cast in, so no nibbles.

I'm probably going to the Avon at Twyford again next week so I'll try again there. Failing that, the Gloucester canal seems to be fishing well.

Monday, 18 October 2010

A Try for Zander

Spurred on by you Zander experts, I've decided to attempt my first fish. This morning I've been into my local tackle shop and asked for any reports of them around here. Nothing. I've explained that up towards Coventry, the canal is CRAWLING with them.

I've bought some Fox Predator Run Rings and I'll make up my traces with some soft coated wire I've got with size 6 Korda Hybrid Wide Gape hooks.  I intend to fish dead baits anchored with a light lead and a small cigar float.  I think my 1 1/2lb barbel rod will be well powerful enough and I'll use one of my smaller carp reels with 10lbs Suffix mono.

I've looked on the Internet but can't find too much info about the Oxford Canal around Banbury, just general stuff. One of the first things I spotted was that Zander don't go for sea baits. Great, I'd already bought 1/2 kg of sprats from Morrisons! (I'd watched Tight Lines on Friday where sardine sections were catching.) Maybe I'll take some light float gear to try to catch some roach. Is daylight fishing a waste of time? Should I only go out around dusk and risk the local hoolies?

At the moment it'll be either Wednesday or Friday for this momentous trip, so any tips from you lot would be much appreciated.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Avon at Cleeve Prior 14.10.10

I looked at the weir at Marcliffe but there were a couple of guys on the pegs so drove on to Cleeve Prior. I've never fished there before but thought I'd give it a go. A late start saw me finally on the bank at about 11:30am. I went to the bottom section near Stubbs Pool and as there was a match on the middle meadow I settled into a swim at the back of the pool. The pool itself was very low and chock full of weed. A couple of regulars who drove past told me that a lot of fish had been lost to the river during the last floods. Now there's a fish fence all around the pool so losses should be avoided in the event of more floods.

A 15mm Source boilie, which had been sitting in a potent mix of Hemp & Halli groundbait soaked in the same liquid, went across to a willow half hanging in the water on the opposite bank followed by a dozen or so similar offerings catapulted around. I then fed maggots regularly a rod and a half's length out and trotted a stick about 20 yards down until it went under a similar willow on my bank.

The tiddlers immediately started to be interested and I had loads of gudgeon, a few small chub and roach as well as spirited perch which was followed all the way to being swung out by a larger one. As I'd brought along some of my "special" home-reared lobs from my wormery I put a lob tail on a 14 and placed it roughly where I'd hooked the perch, hoping to tempt its' larger brother. Despite scattering more chopped lobs around the spot nothing happened! I switched to 4 red maggots and managed one of the smallest roach I've ever caught.

With hindsight I should have used it to temp the perch, but I'm not a big fan of livebaiting so it went back to join its' mates.

During the afternoon another angler stopped by me and showed me pics of his barbel catches from the area including one he assured me was the 2nd biggest authenticated from the Avon this year (?) at 15lbs. He was peed off that the match anglers wouldn't let him fish the, empty, swim where he'd caught previously while the match was in progress. However, when I finally packed up in semi-darkness at about 6:30 I saw his car in his favoured swim (he told me he'd be there as soon as the snatchers had departed) and took a photo for future reference.

Today, Saturday, I met a guy who gave me some info about the free stretches of the Ouse in Buckingham where there are, he assures me, large perch and chub to be had. So a recce is called for over the weekend and a trip early next week. Oh how we can be fooled!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Suffolk October 2010

Just returned from a week in Southwold. Typical October weather, one day howling gale next fabulous shirt 'n shorts sunshine.

This year I managed to smuggle 2 outfits into the car, my Nash spod rod with a Wychwood Extremis reel loaded with 8lb mono and an Abu 3lbs TC pike rod with an older Sigma Titan loaded with 10lbs mono. To both I attached 13m Daiwa tapered shock leaders 16lbs/65lbs (even though I'd only be casting max 50 -60 yds). I'd stocked up with lug and traces at Southwold Angling Supplies - hope there's a discount in it for me after naming! Just a simple 2 hook flapper was suggested. High tide on Saturday was about 5:30pm so I fished from 3 till 6. I put one rod about 15 - 20 yards out and the other about 60 yards just short of the first of the sand bars which run parallel to the shore line. Caught 2 small eels, the first in a long time, and a couple of nice plaice which I wasn't expecting. I took the larger of the two back to the flat and it made a very satisfying tea.

Towards HT I had quite a few taps which never came to anything. (Probably those same whiting which annoyed Danny some days ago). The other point of interest was that throughout my time on the beach there was quite a bit of Police activity, eventually resulting in one officer stopping people walking along the prom. As this point was 2 yards from the groyne near where I was fishing, in hindsight he might have asked me to move away as well! While I was packing up I asked him what was the problem, to which he replied "Unexploded Bomb".  While I was cooking the plaice I heard a "whump" as the Army detonated it.

On Sunday the sea was wild and I'd used all my bait so was happy to sit in the bay window watching the gulls sweeping the breakers for sprats or whatever. Was it the larger fish - bass or whatever herding the tidlers inshore or just the big sea? If I'd had some bait maybe a chuck of about 1 - 2 yards may have brought something.

On Monday I tried a different spot, again suggested by the helpful people at the tackle shop. This time north of the pier.

Similar tactics brought 2 school bass, both returned of course, and several small whiting. I snagged both rods in successive casts and lost both sets of leaders and terminal gear. Went home!

I decided to try the early HT on Tuesday and was on the beach about 6:30am, 1hr before HT. Beautiful sunrise AND a mug of steaming coffee brought down at 7 by my long-suffering wife Chris. Our flat was literally 50 yards from where I was fishing.

After tucking in to some dark chocolate digestives I lost another set of terminal gear from one rod so went back for a healthy fry-up breakfast.

It seemed that the evening high tides were more successful than the morning ones - I suppose because of the darkness - so on Wednesday I tried the third recommended spot which was nearer to the harbour mouth.

HT was about 9:30pm so I got to the beach around 6. (BTW, no signs of Danny's stones. They must all be now in the Tate Modern!) Nothing until darkness. Then I had taps and knocks every cast, a dozen or so whiting around 7 - 9 inches taking lug the same length.

Although the sea looked no different to earlier, I noticed that it was taking both rigs about 30 yards to the right by the time I was reeling in. There was also a lot more weed about.

My last day for fishing was Thursday and I tried the morning HT. It was VERY calm, I had 1 tug (whoops, sorry) and no fish. I spent 30 minutes watching a seal swim between 2 groynes keeping me company. At times he poked his head out only a yard or 2 from the shore.

So a super holiday and considering my lack of expertise in the salt plus the oddly-assorted tackle, I was very pleased. Also, I managed a day in Beccles where I spent an hour or more in Angling Direct and stocked up with some coarse bits and bobs while Chris did the tour of the shops!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

BAA Stretch at Wasperton 28.9.10

Met up with a mate at the usual lay-by Michelin Starred eatery. After a bacon and egg bap wolfed down at exactly 7 am we drove down to the propellers. I only had a half day due to other things needed to be done before our holiday in Southwold so decided a barbel line plus a nice trot with the 'pin would do me.

Despite ellipse pellets, super smelly boilies and eventually my guaranteed standby, meat, the barbel decided not to play. However, I really enjoyed a hectic time with the float. I used a slightly heavier than usual chubber rather than a stick in order to fully understand the workings of my new centre pin. Maggots regularly fed about 1 and a half rod lengths out was the idea and I caught almost one a chuck. Small chublets, roach, bleak and the occasional perch - nothing bigger than 8 oz - came regularly to hand. The good news with this is that I don't have to wash my landing net tonight!

So that's it for sweet water fishing for this week, from Friday I'll be going a bit more salty. Hopefully I'll be reporting some success off the beach in about 10 days time - or not!. (I won't mention the wonderful Adnams and the HUGE fish and chip suppers we'll be having.)

Good luck to you guys.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wormery Update

I posted in August about starting a (small) wormery and promised to update. I've spent a few hours sorting out my gear in the garage and thought I'd check on the lobs. They seem to have gone through some of the peelings etc but not all so I empted the container out and found either the same number, or possibly, fewer worms. They all look in fantastic condition, too good to let fish eat - only kidding. Has anyone else found this? Is it just lobs and do red worms get on with it better?

Avon at Twyford, Evesham. 21.9.10

Met up with a couple of mates at Evesham Country Park (used to be Twyford CP) to fish the day ticket water. It rankles having to pay when I've got 3 books! Still I'd been told that Bidford down to Evesham had been fishing well (The Bait Box in Evesham) and the bailiff told me there had been an unsubstantiated 17lb barbel in the spinney there. But he would, wouldn't he?

My mates think that a full English is the best way to start a session so it wasn't until 9:00 that we met in the Cafe in the Garden Centre. 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 saus, beans, mushrooms, fried bread and toast later we drove down to the pegs. Time for a nap maybe? The heavy mist was just lifting as we set up. I picked a swim with a couple of trees on the opposite bank to shade the soon to be rising sun and a nice inside glide, or so I thought, down to an overhanging tree.

I soon discovered that the flow was on the far bank and only really came into play about 1/3rd of the way across so this ruled out a trot on my bank. Still, I started off with the same rig as usual, a running 2oz lead with a 3' flouro hook length to a size 10. My super glue had decided that it didn't want to play (anyone recommend a brand that doesn't stick itself together after just a couple of uses? I know, it's probably operator error.) So gluing elipses was out of the question.  I started with a 10mm Source boilie which had been glugged in Halibut oil and left to soak in hemp and hali crush - found that in a magazine, it makes a lovely looking mess! Coupled with a mesh bag of pellets and crushed boilies it was cast to the far bank under a tree. 2 or 3 hours later the bailiff came for the money and told me that the boat channel was the place and to use BIG baits. I thought I'd leave that idea till later, and tried under the near bank tree.

Of course the bailiff knows best! So, having tried boilies, soft oily hookers (now, now Jeff) larger drilled pellets and even maggots, I brought out the secret weapon. Luncheon meat. I always try to take some as it's often saved my day. A ragged piece, roughly about 2", was hair rigged with a slightly longer than usual gap between bait and hook. I thought that as I was using such a big piece of meat with a size 10, I wanted a reasonable gap so that the hook didn't get mixed up with the meat once in the mouth. I chopped up some more meat and made a good sausage length mesh bag of it and cast right into the middle of the boat channel.

I spent another hour watching a spotted woodpecker investigating a dead tree just upstream.

No, you can't see him as just as I took the photo the little bugger flew off.  After just a couple of re-casts, still with a lump of meat, the tip was dragged round and although the bait runner was on I was pleased that I wasn't too far away from the handle.  After some dogged hugging of the bottom and exploring most of the swim, a spirited 8lb 4oz came to the net. Nicely hooked in the corner of the mouth, so maybe lengthening the distance between the hook and bait was the right idea?

At that pont my mates decided to call it a day. Just 1 gudgeon, fairly hooked, was their sum total. I was intending to stay until the gates were closed at the Country Park entrance but hunger (I know, after that breakfast) called so I packed up after giving it a couple of more hours.

So I am no longer an Avon barbel virgin.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Manor Farm Wasperton, 15.9.10

Having re-joined the BAA I went up to their stretch at Wasperton. Arriving at about 6:00am I had the pleasure of driving alongside the river to chose a peg. I had forgotton that many of their water's have this facility - a boon to us "senior citizens". I'd settled on a straight which had a very inviting bay opposite formed by a fallen willow.  As I was tackling up the sun started to rise over the far trees.

I started off with a 10lbs 3' flourocarbon hook length with two 8mm ellipse pellets hair rigged to a size 10. I fished a sliding 2oz lead and attatched a small bag of the pellets to the hook. Initially I was casting just to the left of the willow's branches, hopefull that a barbel would find the smell of the halibuts irresistable. (After all, when I got home I scrubbed my hands AND had a shower and still couldn't get rid of the smell!)

Alas, despite my perfect casting, all I got was weed and branches from the bay. Bugger.

A regular, walking past,  told me that "there's big bream in that bay mate". Not for me.

Switching to a shorter line to the left of the bay I managed a couple of small chub - good news for the future - and that was all.  I reeled in and went for a walk. Telephoning a mate I was told that I was in completely the wrong place, I needed to be further upstream where the river was shallower with some nice runs between streamer weed. I saw a likely looking spot and decided to move.

By now I'd finished my "healthy" fruit and seeds bars but was still feeling peckish. A change of swim was called for and I was convinced I could smell sizzling bacon from the chuck waggon on the nearby layby. I'm sure you regulars have enjoyed from time to time their wonderful bacon or sausage or egg or everything sarnies. Well, the convenience of being able to drive the length of the stretch coupled with the knowledge that in 5 mins maximum I could get a sandwich, made up my mind. Quickly putting my tackle in the back of the car I drove to the breakfast van and was soon back in my new chosen swim. I decided a contemplative approach was called for here so I put up my chair and enjoyed the biggest bacon and egg doorstep I'd had in ages while scanning the river.

This had to be a productive swim. No. I switched to a feeder filled with a selection of pellets and held in with a little groundbait.  I laid down a bed of hemp cooked with chilli powder and laced with sea salt on an inside track alonside some reeds ready for later but that too failed to interest them.

So at the end of an enjoyable but virtually fishless day, what had I learned? The Avon is a cruel mistress at times for sure. Both swims looked really good if not bankers. Maybe more alternative baits on the day would have made the difference?  Maybe I should have done the 6pm till dark approach instead of the dawn one? Who knows? Hope to get to the Severn or the Wye next week for a change. That or lower down the Avon. (That bloody sarnie was wonderfull though!)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

River Cherwell 9.9.10

I had a few late afternoon hours to fill (!) so I decided to get down to the stretch of Banbury & District water nearest me. It only takes 10mins and I'm in the layby. I'd already tackled up with my Fox Duolite Barbel rod and my Okuma centre pin. I decided on a simple link ledger with a couple of swan shot pinched on. I thought I could vary the weight according to the swim.

This stretch has a number of features varying from straight glides to some very snaggy margins.

I'd just bought some pots of SonuBaits Barbel and Carp range of oily hookers. (Mmm, maybe I should re-write that last bit).  So with just a net and my bait-and-bits belt I set off to walk the meadow. The first "peg" has a very deep hole where a back stream enters the main river, but sod's law, someone was already there sitting under an umbrella. I thought about telling him that the pool was next door. Sitting under a brolly on this sort of venue!?? Still, it's free country.

I looked into every clear bit of the undergrowth where it was possible to poke a rod and had a few small chublets about 1lb apiece. My pin was still loaded with 4.4lbs Beyer Perlon so there was never any danger in them getting off although for the first few seconds they put up lively fights.

Towards the end of this meadow a local wildlife group has the land and it was like walking though a tropical rainforest - well, maybe that's a little exaggeration - with armpit high cow parsley and other native "weeds" trying to wrestle my stuff from me.

Nothing of any size took any interest in the pellets but I'd spent about 3 hours enjoying the river and its' wildlife. Halfway down I watched a mink poke its face out of the far bank reeds for a full minute before ducking back. Also as I was manoeuvring into position in one swim something made really quite a loud splash as it entered the water. Couldn't see any bubbles or other sign of what it was despite remaining crouched down for what seemed an eternity. Had to take a diclofenac when I got home!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

BAA Card

Just been browsing the waters. I'm excited at the thought of re-visiting so many of the stretches I used to fish, even though it will take me more miles to get there. HOWEVER, my first trip will definately be to a more local one - Wasperton.

BAA Stretch at Wasperton

I've now joined the BAA and wondered if anyone has fished their stretch? Any advice or tips would be gratefully received and repaid with a half (!?) at the Christmas get-together.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Horseshoe, Jubilee 1.9.10

After quite a few days NOT getting out, I finally managed some water time yesterday. As the weather was back to "proper" summer weather I decided on a few hours at Jubilee. I've found that, in my experience at least, the carp don't get going until mid/late afternoon so I only got there about midday.

Island Lake was quite busy and not much action (although Ros told me later that a 28lbs had come out that morning). Some nice bloke pointed out that we can now drive down to the land between the 2 lakes so it saved barrowing my stuff. So much for my moan about too many disabled (not!) anglers parking there.

I set up on peg 8 and watched loads of carp cruising just under the surface for the first few hours. I couldn't tempt them with zigs so I put both rods out with bottom baits on heli rigs.  One went about halfway towards the far bank and the other to my right about a rod's lenth out from a tempting looking bush. I catapulted about 20 boilies around the "long" rod and a couple of handfulls on the "short".

By now I was burning, the sun was right on me and I'd forgotten the sun cream. Easily done considering the crap weather we've been having recently. I moved my chair behind a sheltering bush which also helped, or so I hoped, with concelement from any carp visiting the margins.

I managed to get a couple of high single commons from the deeper water and then it all went quiet again until the hanger smashed up against the buzzer. As with most of the commons here it fought over its weight. Just on 11lbs and for a change it had the start of a carpy belly on it.

Thanks to the young man who was fishing just around the corner who came over when he saw I was in for taking the pic. Note to self: Cut down on the pies.

Again I had a quiet spell until, just having decided that the evening rush hour wasn't going to materialise, the "long" rod went off again. I was using 1 oz weights and after hooking itself the lightness of weight seemed to convince the fish that nothing was the matter. To begin with I thought I'd hooked a bream due to the distinct lack of fight. However when it got within 15 yards it woke up and gave a really good account of itself. This time it was one of the more usual residents, long and torpedo-shaped. Also it was a much darker fish, not as golden as the first few.Took the scales to a smidgin over 13lbs. So a satisfying end to the day and I packed up just before locking up time.

Once again I have to say how impressed I am with the condition of the fish at Jubilee, Horseshoe in particular. Mouth, fin and scale perfect!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Snitterfield 27.8.10

Well, finally got my new centre pin. I had reserved an Okuma Aventa Pro with Lanes but they couldn't tell me when they expected a delivery. However, they had some Sheffields in and did me a good price so I went up and got one. Spent Thursday afternoon looking at it and playing with it!  I spooled on 100m of Beyer Perlon 8lbs (thanks for the advice Keith) and connected a further 100 of 4.4lbs. I plan to use various breaking strains on top of the 8lbs depending on what I'm after. It seems relatively easy to unspool one lot back to its original spool and replace it. At least that's the plan!

Wanted to try it out at Wasperton top meadow but Keith told me that it was ripping through, probably not ideal trotting conditions. Change of plans. So Friday afternoon saw me fiddling with the padlock at Snitterfield. There were only 2 other anglers there which surprised me considering it was i) school hols and ii) Bank Holiday weekend. The afternoon was more of a "getting used to" trip rather than a serious attempt at emptying the reservoir - or that's my excuse.

I must admit I enjoyed the experience and managed to bank 3 crucians and 6 roach in the 4 hours I was there. On one occasion I looked down at the reel and saw that there were several turns not on the spool but wrapped around the handles. Ah well, I am still getting used to it! I'm looking forward to trotting with it soon.

An added bonus is that I picked up a pair of Daiwa neoprene chest waders at a car boot this morning (Saturday) for £10. The guy said he only wore them a couple of times last winter. The condition suggested he was telling the truth. It must have looked a right sight, this old git trying on a pair of chest waders in the middle of a packed car boot! Still, for such a bargain, do I care?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A New Centre Pin (Still to be bought!)

Some advice please from anyone out there.

I've decided to treat myself to a new centre pin. Not from the rareified atmosphere of J W Young, Hardy etc, I'm not made of money, but a more affordable make. I've looked on t'internet and have thought about, from the most expensive, Okuma Aventa Pro, Okuma Sheffield, Ikonix.

I'll part fund it by eBaying my Bob Church Arthur Cove 9.5 ft Nymph fly rod and a few fly fishing bits, a Daiwa Harrier 120M and possibly some other rods and reels I've had for YEARS which I couldn't bring myself to get rid of earlier.

A question, how important is it to have a ratchet? I think some reels don't have one. (?)

Mostly I think I'll use it for trotting but I notice that some pictures show anglers fishing on rests and they mention that the "sound of the drag" has a wonderful call. Should I cover all, or most, bases on this? I imagine, when trotting, I don't need a ratchet.

Isn't it exciting when we boys make plans for some new purchase!

Friday, 13 August 2010


Reading a recent post by Jeff on Angler's Post I bought a smaller set of scales than my normal dial set. I've never been too happy about lighter weights - say 5lbs and below. So looking on eBay I got a set of Berkley Classics, a digital set reading up to 15lbs. Following Jeff's experiment I first of all measured 16 fluid ounces of water into a large glass jug, making sure I took the bottom of the two lines as the reading. I zeroed the scales with a medium freezer bag from Sainsburys (plug) and weighed the 16 oz. The scales read 1lb 1.5oz. I re-checked the measurement in the jug but it seemed OK. Then I poured the water into 2 smaller Pyrex jugs and found that this amount of water was nearly 18oz. So much for measuring jugs from an unknown manufacturer!
I reduced the water to 16oz in one of the Pyrex jugs and re-weighed. The scales read 1 lb exactly. Happy days.

All I've got to do now is get out and catch some fish.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

First Attempt at a Wormery

Reading a post by Sean on "Off the Oche" persuaded me to finally get into having my own wormery. I'd bought a tub of lobworms for a (failed) perch attempt at Jubilee Lakes so I thought to begin with I'd try a smallish wormery to house the remaining worms. If this is a success, I'll progress to making a larger one.

At a car boot last weekend I bought a plastic kitchen cereal or similar container about 18" x 12" for the princely sum of 20p. I'd checked a few wormery sites via Google and followed these steps. This is the one I've used.
Drill some air holes in the lid.

Put shredded newspaper, slightly wetted in the bottom followed by a layer of sand. Then a layer of well rotted farmyard manure and scatter the worms on this. Top with another layer of compost and then your kitchen veg waste, again slightly wetted. I chopped it all up rather than leaving the bits too big (except for a tangerine peel which you can see!). Then another layer of compost.

At the moment it's in the garage but will be transferred to a shaded greenhouse (posh name for a bit of green plastic and poles bought from Aldi!!)

Hope it's a success so I can bring my O -Level woodwork skills to bear.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Jubilee Pools 6.8.10

Went down for my first session of the season and decided on Horseshoe as Island was rammed along the bank where the wind was blowing. (Also when I got to the walk through to Horseshoe I thought they must have changed the rules about car parking. There must have been about a dozen cars parked up against the hedge. Found out that the rules hadn't been changed but I didn't notice any angler struggling to carry his gear back to the car!!!)

Anyway, moan over. I settled in with the brisk, but warm, wind blowing into my face on the corner of the bay. While walking down to Horseshoe I spoke with a couple of guys who told me that it had been hard work lately and that there only a few had caught - I got there at about 4 ish. I must admit I used to go early but other than the occasional carp I didn't get much action until mid-late afternoon anyway.

I asked Ros if she'd seen any decent perch coming out this year and she told me that there definitely was a decent head of them but she hadn't heard of any decent-sized ones so far. I had already decided on a dual approach. A float-fished lob close to a suitably perchy-looking spot and a carp rod out to try to pick up a showing fish. For this reason I wasn't intending spodding, particularly as I would only have a few hours.

As I was tackling up, a couple of fish threw themselves out of the water about 35 yards in front of me and this continued throughout my stay. Obviously they didn't just stick to the same spot, but I plotted their course around the bay. I catapulted about a two dozen 15mm boilies on the 35 yard line about 15 yards along the supposed path, losing a couple to the inevitable ducks. Off topic, do you find that 'pulting them up high means that they shoot through the surface and sink too quickly for the ducks to dive on to them? While waiting for the carps' next cruise around I made up a waggler with a nice juicy lob on a size 10. I'd brought along some maggots to feed the perch line to hopefully pull in some of the smaller silvers to temp the perch. This rig was swung under some overhanging branches.

Either me or the perch got it wrong! I think I know who it was.

Any road up, after about an hour I had a steady take on my carp rod. Striking, the fish decided that the bay wasn't for it and set off towards the open water. I held on for a minute or so and then realised it was no beast so soon had it in the net. As with a lot of Jubilee's carp I've caught, this was a lovely long common Looked a high single.

Bit of a parrot face but no noticeable damage to its' mouth.  After another couple of hours I gave up on the perch idea and wound in.  Towards 8 ish I had another take but this time with much less resistance. I thought I'd lost it or maybe a bream. It came almost to the bank without much of a fight but when it saw the net it definitely had other ideas. When it went over the net I saw that it was smaller than the first but again more barbel-like, long and lean.

My in-line lead had slid about 8' up the line so maybe that confused the fish a bit hence the lack of real fight until the end?  Anyway, it was a pleasant few hours and I'll be back to concentrate on the carp next time.

Sorry for the pics but I forgot my camera and had to use the phone.