Don't you just love alliteration?
As this stretch is much deeper than those I've been fishing upstream, I decided I'd give it a go as maybe the fish wouldn't be as difficult with more water over their heads. Also it's renowned for predators. Leaving home the temperature was minus 1 and the day was forecast to be bright sunshine. Coupled with the high pressure over us maybe it would be as hard going as recent trips this year.
Got to the car park about 8:30 after a detour into Evesham to feed my face with a bacon sarnie, yum yum yum! I was pleased to see that the river was a 1 minute walk over a small field.
After a short walk both up- and downstream I decided on a likely looking spot where the main stream came across to the nearside bank. Even then, the flow was pretty steady. I started with a maggot feeder on my quivertip with 2 red maggots on a size 14. I put my pike rod against the rushes about 5 yards downstream offering a nice chunky dead roach. As I thought, there was a good depth here, around 13' a couple of feet off the bank.
Nothing was interested in the maggots so I swapped to bread. Still nothing so a change to meat. Still nothing. Although the weather was super (for a walk, not necessarily for fishing) I started to think, "Oh no, another blank". Then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted some ripples around the pike float - not difficult as the surface was dead flat. I had to sit on my hands for a little while as the float imperceptibly moved out into the main flow. I wound down and was into something which just held station. It then decided to move about not sure if the pulling back was the roach or an angler, (at least that's what I like to think!). It didn't put up too much of a fight until it came near the net, but even then I had little difficulty in guiding it over the rim. Until now my best pike had been barely 9lbs, even when wet. This looked a little fatter in the tummy department. I was glad that I'd treated myself to a stainless steel mesh glove as this would be the first "proper" pike to be handled. As soon as I'd slipped my hand under its chin it nicely opened its mouth and I was able to remove the barbless hooks in a second. Was I pleased, because just as I was wrestling with this leviathan, a fellow angler walked up and offered to take a pic. So a new PB at 12Lbs 12oz. Not up to the heights of some of you guys but nevertheless very pleasing.
This was about 10:30 and despite ringing the changes on the quiver rod I had no more interest until 3:30. During the next hour I managed a "monster" perch on a size 10 with 5 maggots.
Then 3 nice roach around 1/2 - 3/4 lb, the first one of which had a terrible wound along its back. Cormorant damage? (I didn't see any today). Or predators? I'd be surprised if it lasted too many hours, but then again, we've all seen fish with pretty bad (old) scars. It swam away strongly anyway. When I cut myself in the kitchen I have to have a lay down, how I'd manage with such a wound heaven knows!
Finally I struck into what I at first thought was a foul hooked fish. When it came to the net I could see it was an old-looking warhorse of a bream. Not a monster but at 4lbs 2oz a very nice addition to the catch.
I don't think many of you have fished down here but I can certainly recommend it. The BAA seem to have put a lot of effort into making the swims comfortable (and safe). It's a scenic stretch of the Avon, the only downside is the time it takes to get there, about 1 hour for me from Banbury, but certainly worth it.