Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Year in Provence...

.. well not quite, but I may as well have been considering the number of times I've been out this last year!

Hot air

Work issues put paid to any sort of autumnal campaign and the usual winter chub foray on my local was a bit of a non event with the ridiculously fluctuating levels, which, also made trips further afield a lot less viable than normal. So apart from a few sessions with the pest, I pretty much decided to vote with my feet and stay put. 

Into the new year and a dabble into the world of ultralight fishing gave me something a little different and I managed to scrape a few perch out of the canal in Stoke. On the rivers, aside from one decent severn chub of 5.2 there was next to nothing to write home about. 

March, April and May were virtual non events angling wise, indeed it became nigh on unbearable, what with the media love in of a certain team who were apparently entitled to win the league and thus celebrated their achievements for months beforehand! 

Thankfully the "This does not ****ing slip" comment became something of a prophecy, as whilst someone was indeed slipping, I was pole fishing on a local stillwater where I happened to hook a lump on a 4 elastic.  A 10 minute battle saw a lump of a common carp hit the net at precisely the same time as my text messages started flooding in from fellow blues! It was a sign.

This does not ***ing slip
Aside from the odd dabble on that small club water, the rods by and large stayed put and I couldn't really muster much enthusiasm.

So, into June, new season, new beginnings and all that, a trip to a large Shropshire stillwater gave me my first proper angling session in quite some time, and my first dabble for tench for nigh on 12 months. 

I'd love to say I put in all sorts of effort and planning into practice and got a just reward, but I didn't. I cobbled some gear together, arrived on the bank, spread it out as far and in as a disorganised fashion as I could, fed the swim, raked the swim, and landed a 4 pounder early in the afternoon. 

Come tea time I fed some more, raked some more, then somehow managed to nail a float caught PB, in the shape a 6.12 which was taken early evening.

A float caught 6.12
And that was my year!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Roll on Autumn

I’ve just remembered I have a blog. The problem is I’ve not got too much to say when I’m not particularly catching much, and I haven't been....

Yay Springtime.

Spring was positively ‘meh’. The planned assault on reservoir perch immediately after the rivers closed never got off the ground, mainly thanks to the snowy and cold weather we enjoyed. The worms I purchased for said assault, despite a few months tender loving care, have long since liquidised. So a self enforced lay off was the order of the day and aside from a mess about on the canal I didn’t do an awful lot of fishing through March.

Mid-April arrived and I started fishing one of the local meres. I was still greeted by temperatures in the single figures and dressed for winter but fishing a groundbait feeder at least gave me some bites and a few hours one evening gave me nigh on 20lb of bream, which was total hauling in comparison with much else around that time.


May arrived and I persevered with the mere, though single figure temps, seemingly day after day quelled my enthusiasm for tench fishing. A few dawn sessions gave me little but one bright afternoon I caught a 3lb’er, which was a start but nothing in comparison to previous years.


Into June and a tench fishers dawn. The early start on float fished corn gave me my first decent tench in the form of a scraper 5, this after raking, my first ‘5’ of the year and a week or so later a dusk session which saw me spend an hour removing someone else’s line gave me a 5.13 on the ‘new’ boilie.

Camera shy scraper 5

Either side were 2 totally biteless sessions, one on a former quarry where 8 chilly hours from dawn gave me nothing, and another mere where my endurance lasted for14 hours without a bite and a night fishing session where despite hitting a bream just before midnight I was ‘kept alert’ from 0230 onwards by a reed warbler and the freezing cold.  

A change of scenery to the Dove gave me a grayling that was supposed to be a perch and nothing else of note bar being frozen (once again) at 830pm....and that pretty much sums up my spring and summer so far. Autumnal.

So, roll on Autumn, at least it generally does what it’s supposed to! It rains a bit, gets windy a bit and gets a bit chilly at night, just like Summer really! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Surprise in the snow

A day on the river during or just after snow is always special, if the chub show up it's even better still. This time they didn't, but something else did...

I arrived at the river to find the above scene, real picture postcard stuff. 

Searching for a chub I dropped in a few small handfuls of mash in a few swims, however the first swim gave me zip. A half hour later I was in the second swim I missed a bite first cast, a little too eager perhaps, I gave it a half hour then moved on to swim number 3.

It was a really lovely day, dead still, a few fresh tiny flakes falling now and then but by and large, the snow in many areas hadn't been disturbed. Anyway, things were just about to get interesting, sat in 'the 4lb chub swim' (my first 4lb chub from this river came from this swim).. it is/was a chub banker if ever there was one.


Anyway, after about half an hour I struck, reeled in, and there's a fish on. It felt like a lump too but as there was no 'bite' I thought I'd foul hooked a chub. I kept a constant pressure but didn't try to bully it, thinking it would eventually give up, as chub do... but it sort of woke up and started going some. I mean the rod was doubled, I tightened the clutch as much as I dare and this foul hooked chub wouldn't budge... it dived down the edge and I heaved it out of the remnants of marginal weed and near bank foliage. 

Finally, after going up and down the swim a few more times I managed to get on top of it, and into the pan it went, well **** me with a rag mans trumpet.. it was indeed hooked in the mouth..and was a lovely little mirror carp of 5lb 8oz.. get in. 


Anyway.. the next swim gave me some more unhittable roach/dace type bites, as the light went, which I will talk about at a later date but no chub!

Offski at 515, Buffet Island for 630. Star of the show chicken, onions, rice noodles and peppers in plum sauce cooked 'live' on the teppanyaki grill.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Up and Down

According to the EA river level site, the local river has been in the ‘flooding is possible’ zone four times in the last three weeks. In between these peaks, the same site has also shown several other smaller spikes which have taken the level to the very extreme (high) end of what the EA call ‘typical range’ but which to the angler is still a very high level.


So by my reckoning we have had the level rising sharply something like 7 times in the last 3 weeks. I think from Monday to Friday this last week has seen it at its most steady for a while, however as I type it’s up the banks once again.

Anyway, the levels didn’t do me much good last weekend, when true to form I had 3 short sessions of about 3 hours apiece. Session 1 was on Saturday afternoon when I had 3 hours on the Weaver, which as described, was in a state of flood. I fished a backwater with worms in the hope of a perch or big roach. I didn’t catch a perch but I did nail one net roach.

Session 2 on Sunday afternoon, I went to the Llangollen Canal. Again the target was a decent perch or a decent roach with worms and bread as hook baits. The temperature gauge in the car said plus 7 degrees Celsius however I arrived to find a real cutting wind blowing down the canal which made it feel much colder. I was well wrapped up but it was very hard going, as such, said roach or perch did not show for me!

Session 3 was back on the Weaver. Monday morning, bright, frosty and a beautiful day to be out on the bank! I trotted worms along the margins hoping for perch, sadly I think the level was still a bit high and all I could muster was the obligatory 1 pound chub.

Work finishes for me this Thursday, and if conditions and commitments allow I shall be out on Friday. Lets hope for something approaching consistent where the levels are concerned prior to that.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Meff Tea

A little late with the write up but I managed to get back to the Dove last Saturday.


EA river levels said it was somewhere in the middle of what we would deem normal, so off I set arriving at the river 12.30 midday-ish.

First thing, the entrance to the car park was a state. Mud, and fairly deep water covered in ice, the grass has been torn up a little too, so a bit of nifty driving gets the car to the ‘solid’ area. Great, well until I have to get out, but we worry about that later don’t we? The fields had large areas that were still underwater, thankfully though the ground had been frozen so the mud/wet wasn't as bad as it could have been.

The river although ‘normal’ was much higher than I’d have liked, and the swims I’d caught from a few weeks previous seemed to be flowing far too quickly for my liking.

I chose about 4 marginal crease swims somewhere near half way down the length, baited them all with a handful of mash periodically and fished each in turn over the course of the day.

There was not a lot doing it had to be said. It was cold too, very cold late afternoon in fact, not helped by the fact I had my summer bib and brace on, instead of the heavier winter version. So for the large part of the day all I had to keep me going were a few ‘possible’ plucks each of which turned into precisely nowt.

However as is often the case, when the light level started to drop around 4pm I had a definite pull round which resulted in a hooked fish. A good scrap and I netted what looked like a very decent lump. A five plus looked to be on the cards however the scales said 4.15. No matter, a great result on a cold day.

Walking off to the car park was a hoot as well. I decided to cut across the fields, got totally disorientated in the darkness and found myself walking about 120 degrees the wrong direction. I had to stop, gather my thoughts, go back to my swim and start again. Fantastic scenes.

Arriving home I had the ultimate Saturday night meff tea courtesy of 'Dee Aldee'! Aldi spare ribs, Aldi chilli flavoured doritos, Aldi St Etienne lager followed by Aldi almond chocolate, a taste sensation!

The following day I decided to spend a few hours on the local. Arriving at 2.30pm the first cast produced a 12oz'er on flake, things looked promising so I stuck at that swim for another hour, sadly nothing else came my way so I then moved into one of my so called ‘banker’ swims going into dark, now renamed to something else as I never got a bite here either.

There was still plenty of water in the river despite being back in the EA 'normal' range. A bit gutted nothing else showed up however the resident Rolands turned up in their droves to keep my on my toes after dark. I called it a day about 5pm. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

First in a while.

I decided to brave it today and with the predicted crappy weather took the easy option i.e. I fished locally with the gear which I already had to hand, so it was to be an effort to target chub with the cheese paste. I went for a run this morning and scoped a few potential swims and although the river was well up there were a few of areas of steady water, which I’d fished and caught from, in high conditions before.

The predicted rain arrived as I was leaving so I took a brolly and decided to stay in one spot effectively putting all my eggs in one basket. I picked the same area I fished with our Pest last week as conditions weren't that different in terms of level and colour.

A few handfuls of smelly mash at the off and I started to search various areas along the swim. There were a few leaves and branches but most had come down with the main pulse of water on Friday. Despite varying the lead size and varying the distance fished along the crease I perhaps had one 'pluck' so all in all a disappointing day and my first chub blank for a while.

On the plus side I've blitzed the garage this week and it now resembles something like what it should. Only a few trays of tackle and assorted junk to sort out and we should be approaching something that is reasonably efficient.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Three PBs in 24 hours

A planned trip to the Dove saw me and Hannibal arrive at 10.30. 
A Fingeo

The plan was to bounce around a few swims near the car park, eat at the car and then make our way downstream for the afternoon, it being some considerable hike to the extreme downstream limit. The session started as planned, we fished a few car park swims for nil bites (not planned) then after a few butties made our way downstream to get a feel for the whole stretch and visit a few swims Hannibal had never seen before. 

We settled into a nice glide which gave me a nice grayling on bread and at 2lb dead a new pb as well. Not truly deserved as I was after chub, but a fish is a fish. Thereafter we bounced around a few more swims to the extreme downstream end for little else. 

Just before dark then settled into a big bay right on a sharp bend for the last hour or so. We gave it a few casts but it just didn't feel quite right so after a little recce we hopped upstream a few hundred metres or so to another nice long glide. After 30 minutes or so I nailed a 4lb'er on bread flake,
 Hannibal had a result also latching into a 5lb 4oz fish, his second biggest chub and a river pb.After that we headed off,  negotiated the fields in the dark and got back to the car without too much mither, all good.

Hannibal 5.4
Saturday. I'd been promising my daughter (aka Pest) a trip to the local, and despite her having a bit of a cold nothing was getting in her way so we toddled over the river at 3pm. She's a left hander so we couldn't really share a rod, so today was about her fishing with me being the ghillie and giving her the best chance to nail a chub.

I was a bit gutted to see the river quite heavily coloured after the previous night's rain but nonetheless we chose a comfortable swim relatively free of bankside cover to make life a bit easier for her reeling in and started off with bread and cheesepaste on the hook and liquidised bread through a feeder.

There were plenty of taps and plucks and a bit of striking practice was needed as she missed a few bites, albeit tentative ones but at least there were a few fish knocking about. Anyway at about 4pm she strikes and hooks into a decent fish and we managed by hook or by crook to get it into the pan, with rapturous applause from a gathering of passers by on the footpath opposite. 

Pest .. PB no 3
A fish of about a pound and a half was the result and the 3rd PB I witnessed this weekend.