Sunday, 29 August 2010

Blanking at the moon

A clear and cold night was forecast for the sunday night before the bank holiday, I had planned to just fish the evening, but had taken the bivvy to keep the option of stopping out open. I fished the weirpool, with boilies over a couple of kilos of groundbait, eventually a carp has to succumb. Not tonight though. as the last light faded from the sky a bright white moon rose directy behind my rodtips, ruining my night vision but lighting up the rat that ran back and forth along the shoreline at regular intervals. I have often found that high pressure, clear skies and a bright moon combine to be bad news for fishing, the temperature dropping to a chilly 7 degrees can't have helped. I cut my losses at 1:30am, packing up without having a bite, my first total blank for a while.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Night with John and Pete

Marie was away in York for a hen-do on saturday night, so I jumped at the offer of joining John, and his mate Pete on the middle river stretch they had been fishing (and baiting) all season. It had certainly produced the goods for them and John seemed keen to help me break my river carp blank. It was a later start than I had planned, The morning was warm and sunny & I needed a replacement landing net and some meths for the trangia as well as some nosh to see me through the night so a shopping trip was required. By the time this was done was showing a serious downpour on the way, so I loaded the car and knocked up some lunch while the rain passed.  I timed my arrival to prefection, as I phoned John the rain had just about stopped. He met me at the gate, escorted me to a prime peg and even carried some of my stuff, I was on the riverbank at about 14:30.

As soon as I had erected the bivvy the heavens opened again, setting the pattern for the heavy showers which would punctuate the rest of the day. In terms of the fishing it remained typical of my luck with river carp this year. The rods went all afternoon without a peep... The night was warm and damp, I had earlier said to John that it "smelled like a night for eels" so at midnight, with the carp not playing ball for any of us a switched one rod to a bunch of four redworms on a size 12 hook with a 1oz running ledger. With the baitrunner on its lightest setting to minimise resistance I could drop the bait no more than about 1 metre from the bank, the current was too strong to go any further. Again it was quiet all night... At first light I replaced the worms, the river had dropped a couple of inches and the flow had dropped enough for the eel rod to hold bottom another couple of feet out in about 6ft of water.
I had just finished my first cup of tea of the day when, at about 5:45 the alarm sounded a confident and steady run and I struck into a fish. As it reached the surface I was pleased to see the eel that I had forecast. The deep margin and early morning light gave me a great view of the eel, particularly its backward swimming ability as I played it out with a gentle to and fro tug of war beneath my feet to make it more compliant once it was on the bank. My new net was christened with a liberal coating of eel slime but the snake was fairly well behaved for weighing and photos. At 2lb 5oz it was a New PB.  The morning was warm and sunny, a sharp contrast to the previous day, but it made no difference to the fish no carp showed for any of us... it would appear my jinx is contagious.

Friday, 20 August 2010

I'll be back!

I couldn't let that big predator off without at least half an attempt to snare it so I returned to the river this evening equipped with my 12ft heavy spinning rod and a box of lures. I had been planning this anyway as part of an investigation over why there seem to be few small fish around this stretch, thick with predators perhaps? well if it is they weren't very peckish this evening. The conditions were far from pleasurable, I was casting intoa strong and gusty headwind, though at least the rain which had plagued the afternoon had now passed over - the river hadn't coloured up though.
  I did have one incident at the downstream end of the pads when a 3lb pike jumped 2ft clear of the water just a few feet from where i stood, whether i just startled it or whether it just missed the plug i'm not totally sure, and if he was startled i'm not sure who had the biggest shock, me or the pike! I fished up and down the stretch without further incident before reaching the weirpool where I picked up a small perch on a mepps. The low point of the evening was spotting the corpse of a large headless eel thrown up the bank - not only an unneccessary waste, but also now illegal. I wonder if the criminal knew they were killing an endangered species?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Some fish have it Ruffe

I got back on the pads for a few hours this evening. I started off fishing boilies on one rod just short of the wall about 25metres out, the other cast over the wall into midriver. At about 20:00 I figured an hour and a half  without a bite was long enough and switched the bacon grill for a bunch of 6 or 7 redworms, all broken in half before threading onto the hook to maximise flavour leak off. I stayed with the size10 as I was hoping for an eel. I fished these a few feet beyoond the wall and had a bite first cast, stripping the worms but no hook up. I rebaited and once more mistimed the strike, but third time lucky saw me hook up a fish which came in fairly easily... for the first few turns of the handle... Suddenly the rod doubled over and the clutch squealed as a MASSIVE fish swirled in the pads which topped the wall. whatever it was held on for maybe 15 or 20 seconds, before the pressure released and a 10oz badly wounded perch was cranked in. The fish was marked with 4 5-7mm long but deep gashes on each side, two pairs perhaps.. a big zander maybe?. I toyed with quickly tying a trace on but decided that there was no way my rods would cast the perch back to the wall, and anyway, I'm supposed to be targeting carp. Another small perch managed to sqeeze the size 10 hook into its mouth about 15 minutes later and wasn't grabbed on its way over the wall. I missed another couple of bites before, after sundown I hooked into what I thought was another small perch. as soon as I swung the fish to hand I noted its odd colouring and lifted the dorsal to confirm the identity. With a pair of joined dorsal fins it was a Ruffe, another rarity. I cut the line as the size10 was deep out of sight and weighed it at .06 kg, so somewhere between 55 and 64grams. The real irritation was that the cameraphone refused to play ball - "Battery low!". Thing is, like the bullhead, the A-Z list doesn't have ruffe on it because i thought they would be too difficult to locate and target. Now i've gone and caught one I maybe need to rethink that decision.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The key to catching a Bullhead

After missing out on the weirpool on sunday, I dropped in to the club committee meeting at 7pm to pick up a key to the gate. I wasn't going to get his close to the river without wetting a line, and checking the key worked, so i got down to the weirpool by about 19:30  -  there were two lads in the swim I would have chosen so i was nudged a few yards upstream and put a boilie out for one  of the carp that sometimes show here. the other rod was set up with a single redworm on a size 18, straight running leger on 6lb mainline, and at different stages, 1, 2 and 3 oz leads as the flow was so variable. My technique was to make each cast to a different location, searching out every bit of the pool, giving it 5 mins touch legering, before recasting to a different spot. my logic was that the swim was full of rocks & stones with hidey holes for bullhead - but that the fish wouldn't venture far from home so I had to hope I got lucky and dropped the tiny worm on his nose.
How lucky was I!!! I was so suprised that it actually worked that I almost did a little dance. Bullhead wasn't actually on the original T&T A-Z as I though it would be too difficult to pull off. If a carp had arrived on cue I wouldnt have even tried to pick one up. Could I repeat the capture, I very much doubt it, but you never know, maybe one day I'll try again...
You might have noted the relatively heavy hooklength - a sign that I thought a decent perch might put in an appearance, it didn't... before the bullhead I picked up a two small roach and two small perch.  Of course the bolie didn't get a touch, but I packed up at about 21:30 a very happy man

Sunday, 15 August 2010

silver bream & a 2lb perch - not bad for an evenings work

my plan to fish the gravel shallows below Beeston weir fell at the first hurdle when I discovered that the footpath was closed, blocked by substantial  building work, presumably improving the flood defences. Rather than trek the footpath diversion I headed upstream past the marina, taking a recce at some of the gravel pits in the half hope that i might see some carp moving.No carp said hello, but a shoal of bronzy red finned fishes kept periodically breaking the surface in pursut of the emerging flies of the evening hatch. almost certainly rudd, I may be back for those chaps later in the season.
 I arrived at a nice looking peg with a steady flow and a large overhanging tree to my left. plumbing around revealed a fairly steady gradient reaching about 6ft at one rod length and 9ft at two rod lengths. the bottom was clay and without any significant features, though further out there was some gravel. It was to the gravel that 3 ragged pieces of lunchen meat on a size 4 hook were hurled with the assistance of a 2oz lead, and followed by half a dozen loose pieces of meat. The other rod was set up with a maggot feeder, and a 8inch hooklength of 3lb line - again a size 18 spade end held a single red maggot as the feeder was swing underarm just beyond the overhanging tree. The first five casts went out at 1 minute intervals before settling into a rythm of recasting every 2 to 3 minutes. Within 15 minutes the bites started, fast roach tugs that I missed most of, but with each feederload the bites become more confident and i begin hitting at least half of the bites. the roach began to alternate with small perch, a skimmer or two and the odd hybrid, and swapping between single maggot, red worm and double maggot established a definate preference for double maggot. Then a bigger fish took the bait, It certainly looked like a silver bream, and the lateral scale count of 44 and anal fin ray count of 21 confirmed it. Ok so its not in sequence & I'll need to capture another later in the season, but at least i know where to start.
I carried on picking up perch and roach, noting that if i dropped the feeder just 1 ft short of the sweet spot bites would be much slower coming than on target or up to 3 ft too long. eventually on one of the longer casts the line parted at the hook on the strike, a new hook was quickly tied on and recast and was taken within seconds, within seconds the same result though as the line parted once more. i threw out a handful of maggots to try and keep these biggies busy while i upped to a size 16 straight to the 6lb mainline. On the recast at about 8:30pm  I was into a better fish which stayed on this time.

 Tipping the scales to exactly 2lb it was a great way to finish my weekend, and the watery gods seemed to agree, the only bites i was to have in reward for persevering into full darkness were 48 mosquito bites, marie counted as she applied the antihistamine cream!

another go at the carp

I could feel the pressure of time weighing upon me and as the nights began to draw in I knew that I needed to make a more determined effort to capture a carp... Marie was off to Longleat for the weekend, and after a major clearout of the garage I was free to go fishing  I returned to the same swim i had fished weeks earlier, at the downstream end of the pads. my plain this time was to fish over a bed of groundbait, and half a bucket of vitalin along with half a kilo of tutti boilies and the same of halibut pellets went it the river at about 4pm on saturday afternoon to commence the session. I had the whole stretch to myself, the carp have pretty much failed to show so far this season and with no fish there are no anglers, of course this is a vicious circle and a circle that i was planning to break...
unfortunately the story was to be a familiar one, the evening passed into night and then morning without a peep from the alarms. In order to pass the time I periodically I switched the halibut baited rod for a lighter outfit with a single redworm on a size 18 hook. this was used to search out all areas of the river - my hope was that by some freak chance it would end up under the nose of a bullhead, more realistically a roach or perch would at least pass the time and minnows, ruffe or silver bream would be useful location info for later in the season. If I wasn't suprised at the lack of action from the carp, i was amazed at how few bites the worm raised, by 11am just two bites had produced two small perch,. This peg is like noahs ark, with the fishes coming two by two... two bream, two chub, now two perch but not even 1 carp.
I decided to pack up and move to the weir for the rest of the day, unfortunately the padlock was back on the middle gate and i didnt have a key. Instead I headed to the embankment below Wilford bridge. There was still the outside chance of a carp here, and there are usually decent shoals of roach to tempt onto maggot. It wasn't to be - it was one of those afternoons when aparrently nothing was feeding - the cheers from the forest supporters would have made an entertaing backdrop if anything did take the bait. By 2pm I was home to drop off the overnight kit and grab some lunch. This evening I'll be off to Beeston to see if i can find gudgeon (or maybe an elusive bullhead) lurking in the rocky crevaces and shallow gravels of the weirpool, in between the vast shoals of carp that will be crawling up the rod that is!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

canoes, campfires and chevins

This weekend I returned to Herefordshie, the county I grew up in, to join my brother and some of his friends for a paddling weekend on the Wye. We set up camp on the friday night on the riverbank and at about 6pm I began setting up my rods. It was not going to be a particularly easy swim to fish, but the location was dictated by a decent camping area and the location of a pre - existing fire pit. The alarms were positioned at the top of a high bank, and the route to the waterside would be trecherous to say the least. A chub must have quickly moved to investigate the splash of the ledger, because less than a minute after the first cast went in the big lump of meat loaf was taken. the hook found a hold, I safely got to the waters edge and lifted out a manky chub of about 3LB's
The rest of the evening passed with intermittent single bleeps form the alarms, typical of the quick "raps" you get from chub. I didnt fish too hard, content to wait for a decent run while the campfire turned the whole chicken i had spadgecocked to golden brown.

After many beers had been consumed and the chicken consumed I retired to the tent. Sleep was interupted by the single/double bleeps which had been going on all evening, but eventually at about 1:30 the left hand alarm sprang into life, I sprang into action and banked a bigger chub of more like 4 1/2 lbs. I didnt try and recast the rod in the darkness, but left the right hand rod, with the bait sitting in less than a foot of water in midstream. at 2:45 that rod also also woke up - and I landed another chub of about the same size. I left the rods out of the water until morning, but the next day there was no interest in the baits at all. That changed on sunday morning when Phill arrived, while I was making tea and sorting breakfast there were three takes in short succession, phill handled the rods but didnt mange to land any of them, one didnt hook up, another shed the hook after a fast run into the undergrowth at our feet and a third slipped the hook just after we had managed to have a good look at him. Just as it was when i was a kid, the wye is certainly packed full of chub!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

wanye's world of fun

I've been telling my mate wanye that i'd take him fishing for a year or two now, but as blokes do, we never got around to actually sorting out a time. Eventually a day came around that we had both booked as holiday, and the settled sunny weather of early august seemed to promise a comfortable and pleasant session.  Wanye had fished quite a bit as a kid, he had been a member of soldiers and sailors ac and had previously done his maggot dangling on the canal and river near Trent Lock. That was nearly two decades ago however, so it was down to me to make sure that rather than just going fishing we needed to go catching...hopefully he would get the bug back...
  The first thing to go wrong was the weather... I awoke to leaden skies with accompanying downpour. An examination of the radar, cross referenced with the BBC forecast seemes to suggest that it would clear up after lunch, and I had to pick up some maggots in the morning anyway.  I had decided that returning to my bleak bashing swim should guarantee a few bites so by 14:30 we were making out way along London road towards the bend.
  The second thing to go wrong was the weather forecast - as it continued to rain - not just a bit - it F'in hammered down at times, however there were plenty of bright spells in between the torrential showers and at least it was warm.
  The third thing to go wrong was the brolly - which had clearly decided that we needed as a wash is it began to do a moderately good impression of a shower, there is something quite funny about needing to wear a waterproof jacket while under a brolly!.

However at least the fish came out to play, Wanye picked up roach, perch and a couple of bleak - and the float would dip under on almost every cast - though nine times out of ten the strike would produce nothing. I think that tiny fish were grabbing the maggot tip so a strike just pulled it out of their mouth, or pulled the maggot off the size 22 hook. It was only when i got home I remembered that in those circumstances hooking the maggot sideways rather then end on often started to produce fish (in the distant past when I used to do this kind of match stye fishing more often)
I was returning waynes fish to the water via a heavy braid trace coupled with a size 4 single hook. the rig was on a fixed paternoster so it would fish in mid water, a couple of feet from the edge of the canal. The lip hooked baitfish escaped with some regularity, and I did get one single take, but the strike just brought back the unmarked roach, perch I guess, though there are some good chub around here.
I was also tending a groundbait feeder rod which produced the biggest fish of the session, a small skimmer. But the objective of the day was achieved - wanye is back on board the fishy bus - all he has to do now is get himself some kit!