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!