Saturday, 25 June 2011

Teme at Cotheridge

Met up with a mate at the bridge at Bransford for a bacon sarnie. It was a "soft" day and we decided to drive up to Cotheridge where you didn't need the mountaineering skills of Joe Brown (showing my age?) to reach the swims. The last time I fished this beautiful river was when I was still living in Birmingham. I'm afraid the price of petrol now makes me look at the mileage as much as the location. Still, some time back on the Teme was too much of a pull to resist.

We got to the car park to find it completely empty. Early result. Deciding to go upstream we found several likely-looking spots and we settled just above and just below some shallows.  On my opposite bank there were some fallen trees with the branches looking particularly inviting - too inviting as it turned out.

I bait-droppered 5 or 6 helpings of small pellets and hemp across to the far bank before setting up a 1.5lbs TC Fox Duo Lite.

Initially I had a 2.5ft soft mono hooklength to a size 12 baited with 4 small elipse pellets superglued to the hairs. There were a few plucks on the tip which I put down to small chub, but with hindsight could have been larger fish mouthing the bait before dropping it. By about 9 ish I hadn't had a decent bite and was starting to get a bit concerned as the sun was almost coming over the far bank. The "killing zone" was still in shade however. I experimented with fewer and then more pellets on the hair and eventually had a real animal hoop-over of the rod. Although I was on it within a millisecond (liar, it was more like 2 seconds), I failed to wind down quickly enough and the fish fled into the safety of the tree branches. Now I regretted not having a braid hooklength. I held the fish with the rod having a bend I'd never witnessed before, not only due to the branches but the pulling of the fish. Through the grating of the line I was still having a fight with the fish. When I gave a little line it took more, when I wound back to stalemate it just sulked. 4 or 5 minutes of this pulling back/sulking got me nowhere. I walked down the shallows and pulled at different angles but to no avail.
I decided to give a few yards of line and pour a coffee, last resort. I think the chub - must have been, the way it went straight for the branches/roots - decided it had had enough fun and managed to place my hook nicely in a very thick branch. To say I was pissed off was an understatement. I had no control over the bloody thing and would have enjoyed seeing and weighing it.
The flora and fauna kept me sane during the middle of the day.
I watched a lovely green dragonfly take a smaller flying insect just in front of my face and settle on my left happily muching it.

During this time I managed a few chub up to 3 or 4 lbs and then, just before deciding to pack up, did the only thing I could do having just bought a camera "safe to 5 metres depth".  I chucked it in the river at my feet! Actually I placed it gingerly, not knowing if it was capable of taking a whole 4" of river without blowing up. Unfortunately by then the sun was over my head and this is the resulting photo.
I lovingly wiped it down and took a couple of normal shots just to make sure. And when I got home. Happy to report it's still working, as it should with all the sales hype.
Definately going back to this river soon, or as soon as I save up the petrol money!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New Camera

As some will know I buggered up my trusty Sony Cybershot by leaving it underneath soaking wet waterproofs and nets in the car a few weeks ago. I corresponded with out techno guru and photographer extraordinaire aka Jeff but decided against his advice -will it come back and bite me in the bum later?- and opted for one of the new(ish) Fuji XP 20s.

Not in a one of their blingy colours but "sensible" black. Waterproof to 5m (essential for me!) although if I dropped it into that depth I'd never find it, Shockproof up to 1.5m, freezerproof down to -10 and dust and sandproof. So far I've just used it for eBay pics and I'm happy with it. There seems to be lots of improvements over my 4 or 5 year old Sony, only to be expected. A useful feature is that it senses what type of photo you're taking so, for example, if you take a photo at 5 or 6 ft away and then get up close for an arty-type close up, the camera puts itself into macro mode.

The only thing I'm waiting for is a volunteer to go underwater with it to take some pics when I'm landing a big barbel later this week on the Teme. Any offers?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Highs and Lows of Car Boot Bargains

So, last weekend I picked up a 16' Browning float rod for the princely sum of £8 (knocked down from £10). I thought it would be nice to have for the canal or down the side at some little pond, particularly as I'd already sold my last similar one on eBay last year.
Having read Joe's last post about catching a few silver bream I decided to give his secret location a go. Arriving about 8 this morning I mooched about the site checking out the 3 lakes/ponds on offer. First of all I chatted to Bob who apparently comes down from Lancashire every year for a week or two in his camper van - must be good then! Then the owner turned up. I mentioned that someone had posted on the internet about catching silver bream last week with his daughter. I was quite surprised when both of them said, "Oh, you mean Joe?". The element of stealth and secrecy had obviously gone out the window. So much in fact that while I was setting up another angler turned up and said "Oh, are you in this silver bream contest then?" Apparently the other two had told him about my dastardly attempt.  I explained that it's not a contest, rather just a few people trying to catch various species. Anyway, he showed me photos of some of his catches including a nice chub.
Back to the actual fishing. I set up on the Silver Pool where the target fish were caught by Joe. Using 6mm pellets I had fun catching crucians, baby carp and one lovely bright red and white koi. None bigger than 1/2lb but welcome anyway. No silver bream. Around midday I moved up to one of the larger pools which apparently contain a mixture of species including good size carp and perch. Here I put out a light carp rod with a method feeder (God, this Spicy Sausage method mix is REVOLTING!) and continued with my new float rod. A 2 lb hook link with a size 14 barbless hook went out against the near reeds. I had some small roach on pellet but no interest from the larger fish so changed over to prawns. I started to catch a better size of roach, only up to 3/4lb but in lovely condition. This was a first for me, picking up roach on prawn. The carp rod remained particularly motionless. During one of the many showers my float dipped down and stayed so. Tightening up I realised I was into a carp. The 2lb hook link made me be particularly careful but the centre pin kept me company with beautifull music. The 16 footer hooped round into a lovely arc and luckilly the carp didn't seem to want the tree roots and kept out in open water.After what seemed like ages but probably was only 10 minutes I managed to bring it close to the net. During all the fight I was proud of my light touch but literally as I slid it over the net....CRACK, the top section snapped. At that moment a rhyme from my junior school days came into my head:
"I'm a boy scout, I don't swear
shit a bugger arsehole I don't care"
The carp was a smashing torpedo-shaped common of 9lbs 5oz. I almost forgave it for the fight it put up. You can just see the snapped section by the reel.

So, no silver bream, an enjoyable morning catching small interesting bits and an afternoon of mixed fortunes. Finally, I reeled in the method rod only to find a 1oz roach hooked fairly having gone for a 10mm pellet!

Friday, 3 June 2011

1.6.11 Jubilee

Gradually getting back to banks after a layoff. While I'm waiting for the rivers to open up (can't believe it's only a couple of weeks to go!) I thought I'd try Jubilee as I've not fished there for quite a while. From September last year until the Close in March I'd been happy getting my bum kicked by the upper reaches of the Avon.

I was sure Jubilee opens at 7am so, on the dot, I pulled up by the gate to realise it's 6am. First mistake. Still, I could only see 3 or 4 cars parked so I shouldn't have too much difficulty in swim choice. Island or Horseshoe? I'd spent a lot of my time at Jubilee fishing on Horseshoe and always fancied a peg on Island which was either taken, or more recently, dangerous-looking. I have to applaud the working parties over the closure weeks, they have repaired or replaced a number of platforms as well as tidying up (not shock-and-aweing) the bankside in general. The peg I wanted was the one in the corner between the 2 lakes. It has the point to its left as you sit. I'd noticed fish cruising very close in on previous trips. Also I was facing the island if I fancied its margins.

 The point swim was occupied by a couple of chaps in their early 20s (?) who were obviously trying to outdo each other in the "who speaks loudest" competition. Also they were getting rid of an over-optimistic amount of spod mix - very acurately I must admit - to the island margin. However, they weren't too happy with where their leads were landing as they continued casting and re-casting. Added to this they managed to thrash the water under their feet with god-knows-what. (I didn't see them land anything while I was there. Mmnnn, wonder why?) To finish this Victor Meldrew rant, the cherry on the cake came later in the afternoon when a 4oz (poetic license) lead landed just next to the willow on my left. I politely asked if they weren't satisfied with their half of the lake and did they feel that a cast into my bit of the swim would increase their chances of a fish. Or words to that effect. At least the one who cast it/was bored/was showing off his skills apologised and went back to doing his Danny Fairbrass impersonations.

I'd tied up some sexy-looking chod rigs so was looking forward to trying them out. I re-read the "manuals" and carefully lassoed on pineapple pop ups. I had a few short sharp dinks on the buzzers and thought "must be working". Reeled in after 30 minutes just to check. No boiles! Re-attatched new pop ups making sure that the floss was really tight and cast back. Same thing happened again! After the third attempt I decided that these chod rigs aren't all they're cracked up to be. Nothing to do with my cack-handed attemts to attach pop ups.

So both rods had normal bottom baits now, one with a piece of sinking maize tipped with floating corn, nicely balanced - and the other with a Source boilie again tipped with corn. Each had a PVA stick of a mixture of crushed halibut pellet and source boile. The boile rod had absolutely no interest but the yellow-peril combination attracted the resident bream population. I finished with 8 up to about 5lbs all of which were unhooked in the net so I came home relatively stink-free.

A very pleasant day out in the sunshine. I shared my food with the duck families and was rewarded with a lovely couple of sandy-coloured ducklings playing around my rod tips, ducking (sorry) under them seeing who could knock them without the Delkims sounding off. Eventually when the larger of the two managed to disturb the buzzers it went back past the tip pecking at it as if to say "stop it".

So I left "Danny" and his mate to that end of the lake and drove home.