Tuesday, 27 July 2010

River Cherwell Monday 26th July

Had a few hours in the evening on the same stretch as last week. I was tackled up by 5ish and started at the bottom of the meadow intending to roam up to the weir end. This approach was dictated by the fact that I'd just had a new stalking belt from eBay on Saturday! Is it just me or do we all load far too much gear in our rucksacks/bags when we set out? I managed to get a few floats, some hooks, disgorger, foreceps, baiting needle, little knife and some hair stops easily in the pockets of my new toy with lots of room to spare. (OK, I did take a bait bucket with a sliced loaf and a tin of luncheon meat as well.)
See how easily the belt camouflages into the slabs!

My set up was an 11' Fox Duo-Lite 1.5lbs barbel rod - double figure fish have been reported - with 10lbs mono and 6lbs hook link to a size 10. Due to the crayfish problems I decided against a rolling ledger and instead went for a 4 AAA crystal avon set at about 6 " off bottom. I began with a nice big piece of flake but in the first few swims all I had were tiny bobs of the float as the small chub etc nipped at the bread. I switched to a hair rigged lump of meat about 1" square. Again just a few tentative dips which may have been those bloody crays sensing the stinky meat and wafting up to nip it. By the way, don't undo your tin of meat before you set out and put it in the bait bucket. All you get when you arrive at the river is a greasy stinky slime on the inside of the bucket as it sweated on the way!

About halfway up the stretch there are a few nice long glides where the Cherwell picks up a bit of pace. I had some fun trotting bread/meat down these. An upstream wind helped my presentation but no luck. Was this going to be a repeat of last week's efforts? I crept up by a willow where there was a good undercut to its' roots and an eddy swinging past some reeds. I poked the rod tip about 2' out and dropped the bait where the eddy would take it right up against the exposed roots before pushing it upstream.

It had only been in a minute and the float had just brushed against the roots when it bobbed once and then sunk slowly away. A strike brought the fish out from the safety of the roots and then it woke up. At about 2.5lbs the chub couldn't put up much of a fight on the gear I was using so I scooped it into the net after a short struggle during which it managed to surprise me by diving under my bank a couple of times.  It was the only fish of the session but nonetheless I was very pleased with my first roving of this season.

I finished up at the top just below the weir. Managed to hook a huge log and lost the hook so called it a day.  The only other bit of fun was I came across a red (sorry, native!) American type of teepee tent. Lots of empty beer bottles and some basic fishing gear was outside with a pair of boots attached to a body inside.  While walking back along the canal towpath - the Oxford cut runs along side much of the Cherwell around here - I came across 2 more (big) blokes, one lying down and the other bending over him. I asked if he was OK but they couldn't speak English - surprise, surprise - but with a bit of German I found out that the one taking a rest was blind drunk. Phoned the EA but no interest!!! Apparently I should have "challenged" them to show me their licenses. 3 hulking great Easter Europeans? No chance.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

River Cherwell 21.7.10

Thank God the BBC weather service cock up their forecasts so regularly! It appeared that here in the Banbury area we would have rain, rain and more rain for most of this week.  Well, guess what, it's been lovely!
So at the last moment I decided to get down to the Cherwell south of Banbury - about 15 minutes drive. I'd fished the river quite a bit up until last year when the Reggies and the cormorants finally put me off. A shame really as it's a very picturesque river for much of its course.
I got there about 3:30 and fished until dusk. Starting off at the bottom of this stretch I settled in a nice looking spot where a fallen willow - one of many - made an eddy which had the advantage of being shaded from the sun for most of the day.

The stream came quite fast between the willow and the far bank but I chose to fish just off it where the depth was about 3 feet. I fed a few handfulls of 6mm pellets and set up a small, 1", cage feeder on my 11' quivertip. I really could have done with a shorter rod due to the confined space but don't have one!
After a bout 40 minutes all I'd had was a few tentative twitches. Little chublets nosing the feeder maybe or the dreaded Reggies!

(These camera/rod rest adapters ARE very useful!)

I tried a few other likely swims, pushing the rod through the odd bit of clear vegetation but nothing doing.

By now it was getting on for 6ish and I'd got nowt. Still, a kingfisher had flashed up and down the river a few times and a buzzard was riding the warm air above the field opposite. The only excitement on my side of the river was a duck which drifted around a bend, saw me, flew up into the air with screeches to wake the dead before landing back in the water about 15 yards below me.

I decided to walk up to the top of this stretch where someone I know who had fished here regularly had taken barbel to over 10lbs over the last 2 years. BUT even he was finding it tough now.

Halibut pellet on the hook, a size 12, and a smattering of mixed pellets scattered in likely spots saw me settling with a confident feeling. How stupid was that! Eventually I had a steady but small pull. Out came the thief, REGGIE!

 Only one thing for it.

Another angler I spoke to before I packed up told me that he had seen a couple of blokes last summer with about 300 crays which they'd taken in 2 days from the river a bit upstream from here.

So a great few hours of wandering the bank, spotting some wildlife and doing a bit of reggiecide. But no fish. Still as we all know it's not about catching all the time, is it?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

College Pool 6.7.10

Not as early a start as I'd planned but still got there about 7:45. I'd decided to target the bream and as I'd got the free half round method feeder with last week's AT thought I'd give this a go. I bought a Preston Innovations method mould and bags of 2mm and 6mm pellets. I thought if I only took gear for 1 method I would't be tempted to chop and change during the session. So I packed my Greys feeder rod with a 1oz glass tip, a Stratos loaded with 6lb line and a few 4" hook links (also 6lbs) to size 10s which I'd tied up the night before. When I got there, one chap was already set up by the lillies so I went about a third of the way down the lake, even though I fancied the area near the lillies  - I hate it when someone sets up in the next swim if there's loads of room elsewhere!

Having soaked the pellets for the time suggested on the bags, I hair rigged a Sonubaits soft hooker 8mm pellet and had my first go at moulding the damp pellets around the feeder. Amazingly (to me) they stayed on OK!

The wind was blowing up the lake towards my bank and the lillies so I felt reasonably confident when I cast out.  It only took about 5 casts at 5 minute intervals - to build up a bit of bait as suggested by articles I'd read - for the tip to start twiching. Line bites, so at least there were fish in the swim.

Then it pulled round so no doubt it was a bite! After a little bit of head-nodding - the fish not me - it came up to the surface and I could see staight away that it was a decent fish. Unfortunately it didn't want to give me a hard time and allowed itself to be guided into my net. Looked a fair weight, at least for me, so I decided to weigh it. 6 3/4lbs, beat my previous best by about 1/2lb. Result.

Over the next 4 hours I had a total of 8 bream, smallest 6lbs and the best 7.25lbs, another PB. Well chuffed.

Who said this method was only for catching little stocked carp in holes in the ground? Not me now. So damped pellets on these small feeders will definately stay in my armoury from now. What surprised me a little was the similarity of size of the fish. I think there's a reasonable head if bream in the pool but was surprised not to catch some smaller ones. I'm not complaining mind you.

The majority of the fish were still showing signs of spawning (I assume), they had abrasions and knocks on their flanks. I used some anti-septic liquid on the worst bits but they all swam away strongly. In fact a couple were giving it large in my landing net, if only they'd have used their strength in the fight!

All in all a very satisfactory expedition. I'm trying to be more selective in the species I target and not get carried away with loads of methods during a trip.

I met a mate who bayliffs Wasperton and we're arranging a day on the lower reaches of the river for next week. It might screw up my ambition of going for a particular species as I know there's carp as well as bream down there with also a chance of a barbel. My method will probably appeal to all 3 of them. Still, I know how this bit of the river can dissapoint.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Wasperton 30.6.10

Another reasonably early start. Set up and fishing by 5.30. Decided to concentrate on the Barbel so an inline lead with a 10mm Marine Halibut boilie and a PVA bag of MH stick mix and some matching 3mm pellets and some coarsely ground boilies.

The weather wasn't as hot and sunny as recently, overcast and not so hot until 10 ish. First fish about 6.00 was a chunky chub of 5 1/4lbs.

Nice but not the intended target. Moved swim after chucking in some pellets and cut up boilies as I thought it needed resting after the commotion. Nothing doing further down so after about and hour went back to the first swim.
A couple of chub but smaller than the first soon followed. THEN. The highlight of the day. Not a barbel but a 3" gudgeon, fairly hooked through the top lip. It looked strange on a size 8 hook!

Finally packed up about 10.00 pleased with the chub but disappointed not to find any barbel. Maybe an earlier start's called for. Or try last knockings.

Snitterfield 23.6.10

Had a reasonably early start arriving at about 5 in the morning. It was going to be a hot one so lots of sun cream on. Carefully washed off hands - not sure if the fish can sense it on bait I've handled but best to be sure.

After an hour or so a couple of hot air ballons appeared from Stratford ish direction. They looked fantastic in the morning sky. I always wonder where they finish up.

Tried a method feeder out between the lillies (water hyacinths??) with well soaked vitalin and some corn with corn on the hook but other than 2 bream the carp who were crashing about turned their noses up.

Went back to the float and although I was picking up some roach, the crucians I'd enjoyed catching last year didn't seem to be about. That is until Danny turned up and pointed out that just off the rod tip rather than 2 rod lengths out was the line. Cheers Danny! I finished up with about 2 dozen roach and 12 nice crucians, the majority around the 2lb mark. Fought well on a 1 1/2lbs hook link. All on corn, I couldn't tempt them on pellet but then again it was corn I'd been feeding for a few hours.

Unlike Danny, I got back in time for the England game having picked up some beer and a curry from Sainsburys.

New Season 2010

A little background.

I’ve been fishing – on and off- since I was about 10. My 2 uncles were keen fishermen; both were members of Clubs (Dunlop and the Sherwood – a pub in Hall Green, Birmingham). In those days it was a family “thing”, many Sundays saw Mom and Dad and me join my 2 uncles’ families on the banks of various rivers and canals. The women, of course, providing sandwiches or stews, depending on the time of the year, for us hungry chaps. The return journey back home would always have a short stop at some handy pub, the Fleur de Lys in Lowsenford being the favourite. I can still taste their Chicken and Mushroom pies!

Mostly, we fished the Warwickshire Avon where Dunlop had a stretch at Defford just below Pershore. This was a deep and slow-flowing stretch with the usual mix of species. I remember finding it difficult to fish a float due to the depth so resorted to ledgering. My first encounter with our slimy friends, abramis brama came here. Over the years the size I’ve managed to catch stopped me becoming too enamoured with bream but now they’ve grown fat on all the boilies fired into our lakes I’m starting to think of them in a different light.

On a couple of occasions, when the rivers were in flood, we’d go to one of the canals. Never to a local (Birmingham) one, but to one out in the country. One of my enduring memories is watching the red-topped “canal” float on the Oxford Canal near Aynho in Oxfordshire. (Coincidentally I’m now living about 15 mins from that very spot!). That float, catching my first tench at The Pretty Pigs water near Tamworth and blanking in my first contest – a BAA Junior match on the canal at Tardebigge – are some things that have stayed with me over all these years.

In my teens I joined the BAA and enjoyed the Midlands’ rivers, fishing the middle Severn, the Avon, and some of the smaller ones such as Mease near Tamworth. In those days there weren’t many “holes in the ground”, the stillwaters of interest were Earlswood Lakes and one at Bodymoor Heath (which has now become Kingsbury Water Park).

I moved around the country due to work and when I lived in and around London and the South East managed to fish the Thames, the Kentish Stour and lots of gravel pits in Surrey and Hampshire (now many of them Cemex). By my 40s I wasn’t getting as much fishing in but managed to return when I moved back to the Midlands. I remember catching my first carp at a mature lake near Knowle (now Blyth Waters). The owner had just started digging a couple of new ponds and told me that any large fish were to be transferred to one of these. No chance! To think of them swimming in some muddy man-made stew pond! Any way, catching that first carp, a common about 8 lbs got me hooked. I spent the next few years seeking out lakes around the Midlands where bigger ones were possible. It was several years until I broke into double figure fish.

When I took early retirement and moved to Oxfordshire I was able to give more time to my fishing. So for the last few years I’ve tried several local Club tickets and have settled on just 2 at the moment. I try not to be too focussed on 1 or 2 species or even styles. I enjoy rivers, lakes and canals, even if the rivers are proving a bit slow for me!

So I hope to update this blog as regularly as possible and share both low- as well as high-lights with you. (Or most probably share with just me!!!)