Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The striking fisherman

Well, today was the day of the big strike.... I had a last minute change of heart yeasterday afternoon and decided reluctantly that my students would have to take the hit, and that I would not disrespect my striking colleagues by crossing the picket line. They are of course right... the government has got this one wrong...the public sector have already renegotiated pension benefits downwards, and whichever way you look at it the cost of public sector pensions as a percentage of GDP will be much lower in future than it is today, so upping contributions ( by over £100 per month in my case) while reducing benefits is simply a goverment heist that they think they can get away with.
Anyway this left me with a choice, join the demo or take the opportunity to go fishing. if i went to the demo I just get even more wound up about the injustice of it all, so I decided that relaxing by the river would be best for my general health & wellbeing

Beeping encouragement to the Environment Agency picket at Lady Bay on my way to Matchman Supplies for a pint of maggots, I was soon south of Nottingham and pulled into the carpark near Kegworth top lock at around 1pm.
The long walk to the weir was rewarded by... minnows... once more hundreds of them. Standing knee deep in perfect trotting water the float could only travel a few metres before dipping, as yet another minnow ragged the maggots. I persevered, feeding regularly in the hope that something bigger would push the minnows out, but after 20 mins , and at least 50 minnows, admitted defeat and moved downstream, fishing the slack water alongside the near bank of the island. I took a handful of perch from the first peg, nothing large but still feisty.

Moving downstream the next peg had a shoal of baby chub in residence, I took half a dozen of these before things quietened down, and after ten biteless minutes I moved downstream again.

Next up were a couple of roach, just as I was thinking how segmented all the species were, the pattern broke down, as this swim produced a few small chub, another couple of perch  and some minnows. I found a few more bits from the remaining swims on the island before crossing deep lock and working my way  downstream towards the car park. I caught nothing for the rest of the afternoon, I had a couple of tentative bites about halfway down the section and what I'm fairly certain was a bullhead dropped off as lifted out. It was a reversal of Sundays experience, whereas all the fish were concentrated at the bottom of the section there, here they were concentrated at the top.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The place for dace

A change of river again today, as I headed down the A453 to Ratcliffe on Soar. After parking up by the church I hopped overthe stile and headed upstream towards the weir. I realised upon reaching the Deeps that without the far bank tree cover I would be fishing into a fierce headwind... not conducive to happy trotting. Retreating back to the weir I began running the float though, but after 10 minutes hadn't had a bite so began to work my way downstream. In the next peg I began to pick up the minnows which have plagued my trotting for the last month. The first minnow casualty became a hookbait, and for the rest of the session I alternated trotted maggot with trotted dead minnow in every swim. two hours later I had reached the bottom of the section , the minnow was still untouched and I'd got nothing bigger to show for my efforts.
Finally, in the last peg, fishing a patch of dead water below an overhanging tree the float dipped and a small perch was brought to my hand, this was followed by another and another, then a roach...

There was a large mixed shoal packed in into this slack and I was picking up small chub, perch or roach every minute or so. Every one gave a good account of itself as I had to steer them out into the fast riffle and move them upstream to avoid the branches of the tree.

After a while I tried running the chubber down the far edge of the slack, just running down the crease with the swift main flow and holding back gently. About 10 yards downstream of the tree, and on the first run through, the float dipped, and a succession of dace followed, all taken from the same line, and fighting extremely hard for their size as I brough the upstream against the swift flow. It has taken me a month to find them, and as the sun set and I released the final silvery bar back into the river I spoke my thoughts out loud... "What a great way to end the day..."

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Petite Pope

I was on my way to Toton to fish the 'wash again, but had a inexplicable last minute change of heart and hung a left at Beeston, intending to see if the canal roach were shoaled up against the lock. The weren't, and neither of the old boys fishing the canal had had a bite, so I hot footed it over to the river. It was suprisingly busy, I spoke to six other anglers while I roamed, three had caught,  small chub for two of them and three decent chub with the biggest knocking at the doors of five to a guy fishing near the bend, all taken on meat. I found that I was struggling, of course the now obligatory minnows put in an appearance, but I couldn't find any of the roach or dace I had hoped for.
I spent more time walking than fishing, and its possible that some swims might have been woken up with more concerted feeding, but the joy of roving is to go seeking the fish, rather than waiting for them to come to you. After three hours of wandering, and as the last light of the light faded I found myself back below the weir, paddling 50ft from the bank with the maggots in a 4ft deep hole. after a couple of timy perch I was happy to catch this seasons first Ruffe, a tiny one, but at least another species for my season tally. I tossed it on the scales, at 3.9g it would certainly be my smallest weighed of the species... so an achievement of sorts!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sturdy Stickleback

I returned to the Erewash, this time fishing the stretch from Stanton bridge downstream towards Sandiacre. There is a great looking pool just below the bridge, with my cut down waders I could paddle the shallows and run a float down tight to the far bank, along a great trot to overhanging bushes. Great looking, shame thats once more minnows were the only prize. It was the same story in almost every swim, every now and again a small perch or baby chub would break the minnowy monotony, but more often than not the float would dip withing a second or two of hitting the water, and another minnow would be swung to hand, ready to be shaken free of the size 16 barbless hook. I weighed a few to calibrate my estimates, generally smaller than further upstream, they averaged about 9g, with the best minnow weighing in at 12.6g
I also caught more sticklebacks, including a hefty 3.5g specimen

as I reached the railway bridge at the bottom end of the section a guy on the opposite bank called across to say he'd spotted a "huge" barbel beneath the far bank cover. I wasnt really tackled up to land one, but I made a few casts while he watched, just to be polite really. Once more darkness halted my progress after two and a half hours of maggot drowning. But a personal best (weighed) stickleback seemed like an appropriate reward for surviving the minnow onslaught...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Big minnows, little chub and tiny sticklebacks

Returned to the Erewash, this time fishing upstream of the M1 towards Trowell. After my abysmal failure using bread last week I had decided to switch to maggots, a change that the minnows seemed to relish. There seem to be two kinds of swim along this section, either full of nothing or full of minnows.

 in a minnowy swim it is possible to catch several a minute, enough to drive anybody nuts. I persevevered in minnowless swims longer than perhaps I should, it only paid off once with a baby chub the reward for my efforts. I also caught four sticklebacks, three of which were tiny young of the year and just hanging onto the maggot rather than hooked.

 The average size of the minnows was good, certainly doubles (over 10g) and I rued forgetting my micro scales. After a couple of hours roaming I was back on the outskirts of Stapleford, still catching minnows until the gloom concealed the float from view...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Struggling at Stapleford

tried breadflake on the 'wash again. This time failing to hook anything - I was out looking for grayling but found none.The bread was regularly cleared from the hook by minnows. There seemed to be nothing larger around