Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Review of the year

With 2009 drawing to a close I thought I would do a round up of some of my favourite catches of the year.

'Ryton Carp' this blog was initially going to be an online diary of my Carp catches at Ryton Pool but you never know where fishing will take you next, different species, different waters and different styles of fishing not suited to Ryton have all seen me drift away from the place and return, I always keep an eye on what's happening there and as soon as the ice melts I'll be back on the lake fishing for the Pike but with one eye on the water looking for any early signs of Carpy activity. My first post was back in March this year, I'd just had one of those really good days at Ryton, (Rare, but they do happen!) it was a surprisingly warm day for the time of year considering we'd had a very cold winter and I managed to bag four good Carp as well as five Tench. The biggest Carp of the day was a Common of 22lb, this was to be my biggest Carp from Ryton Pool this year.

There have been rumours of a big Carp being caught at Ryton this year and from the descriptions I've heard, short and round like a beach ball, I believe it to be 'Melissa' the Common Carp I caught a couple of years ago when she was 27lb 13ozs, she now weighs in at 32lb! One to go for next year!!

'Melissa' at 27lb 13oz back in 2007

Carp on the fly.
I spent a lot of time at Jubilee Pools this year pursuing the Carp with fly tackle, something I'm not able to do at Ryton because of the lack of space for a cast. I find catching Carp on the fly as a really exciting branch of the sport and would highly recommend giving it a go if you have some old fly tackle at home. I get a lot of satisfaction from making the biscuit shaped flies and then see a Carp take one off the surface, the scrap you get even from the smaller fish is something else, the bigger fish, wow!!.

I lost count of how many Carp I caught on the fly this year but the largest was a Mirror of 15lb 12 oz, a real pretty fish.

Sea Fishing. On my Holidays this year in Devon and North Wales, the rods were taken and fish were caught but the weather did have an affect on the sport. At Westward Ho!, the change in wind direction made it unsafe to fish the nearby rock marks so a trip up the local estuary helped me find some small Bass. After a few days I got back onto the rock marks and caught some more Dogfish, I'd heard of a few Smoothhounds coming out from these marks but I wasn't able to gather enough of the correct bait, peeler crab, to catch any. I'm at the same place next summer so fingers crossed this time for a Smoothy.
North Wales was my annual camping jolly to Shell Island with more small Bass and Flounders. I've caught Bass to 6lb here on previous holidays but not this year, the one plus point about this years trip was that I caught my first ever Bass on a fly which was magic. I'm tying some new saltwater flies ready for next years trip, I hope the Bass like them!

Zander. I'd seen Zander being caught but never realised they were as prolific as they are in the canal and river systems in the midlands area. I caught my first Zed in the autumn of this year after being introduced to a stretch of canal that holds a good population, it's after fishing this stretch that I decided to try and catch a Zed from the local canal in Coventry this was the start of my 'Quest for an urban Zed' series of posts, most of these Zander were not monsters and only weighed a few pounds but I did get one very lucky catch of a fish weighing 9lb 11oz, caught on one of my first trips fishing into darkness for these predators.

Winter. The colder weather has either seen me at Ryton Pike fishing or on the Avon chasing Chub. The Pike have been very shy on deadbaits and I have done much better with spinning tactics on previous years but all these fish have been the smaller jacks and not any of the lakes larger ladies. I have had been told that the best time for them is at the beginning of the year so fingers crossed for a new PB Pike in 2010.
When Ryton and the canals have been frozen solid I've spent some time on a stretch of river I've not been to for a few years, the Avon at Coventry and it has produced some rather nice Chub over the past week when most places weren't fishable. I know there are good Chub in this stretch to over 5lb so fingers crossed for some better fish from this stretch of river for next year.

To all the anglers who have casually stumbled across these pages or who subscribe to my blog, may I wish you all the best for the new year and tight lines for 2010.

The luck of the Fly

Today was going to be another day on the river at Barford with Barry, our last trip to Barford just happened to be on a match day, usually a Saturday, which spoilt our choice of pegs so with today being a Wednesday we thought we would have had the river to ourselves. We called in at Baileys in Warwick to purchase my ticket for the day and luckily/unluckily we found out there was a match on today, mid week. I'd prepared myself for a day of Barbel and Chub fishing but also brought a few frozen Roach to have a go for the Zander, the plans were now out of the window. Barry suggested a few places and we settled on the pound at Kingswood Junction, Lapworth, he'd heard of a good Pike coming out of there recently through a hole in the ice so it was worth a go. I've not fished there before so anywhere new is worth having a look at and on arrival it looked promising, the canal was free of ice along that section and the pound was clear up the centre. I was not prepared for Pike fishing having only my Avon rods with me but I put a small Roach on each rod and out they went.
After about ten minutes one of the yellow washing up liquid bottle top indicators on Barry's rod rose slowly and the line tightening as a Pike made off with his Sardine, after a short scrap a nice jack of around eight pound lay nicely lip hooked in the bottom of the net, it looked to be a good start.

A few hours later and after a move around to the mouth of the pound the only thing that touched my bait was a gull that grabbed one of my Roach when I cast it out, nothing else sniffed at our baits, so, with the wind getting colder, we called it a day.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Chub - Another cold one!

I had thought of fishing at Ryton today but after a drive past this morning I could see it was still in a frozen state so it was to be another afternoon on the Avon. I walked a bit further than my previous two trips and fished another stretch that I haven't seen for several years, it looked pretty much as it did then with just a few extra fallen tree's adding some more features to fish to, there were a few larger tree's missing from a couple of swims, these had been cut down and from what I can recall they weren't too safe when I was last there!. The rivers pace was the same as yesterday although the level had dropped a couple of inches, the colour was still very milky so I wasn't too concerned about staying out of sight, I just kept very quiet. The sun was bright and gave a little welcome warmth but the walking kept the body temperature up, it was freezing, frost still lay on the ground in the shadows of the tree's and in areas the sun couldn't reach. It took a while to find a fish and I was on the return leg of my trip after walking about a mile and a half, this particular spot held fish a few years ago so it was worth a try. After trying a piece of flake close to the bank I flicked another bait into the edge of the flow and within minutes it was taken by a hungry Chub, a good start even though I'd just spent the past few hours walking the banks and trying loads of promising swims. I tried a second cast but any other fish would have melted away as they do in the summer months, it's a bit hit and run this Chub fishing, catch a fish then move on.
The second Chub came from the edge of the flow on a large bend, I'd tried a couple of baits in here on my walk up the river and it looked too good not to give it another go on the way back, it used to be one of my 'Guaranteed a fish' spots a few years ago but there used to be a large willow over the river at this spot back then and the Chub used to live under it. I flicked another piece of bread flake out into the flow and let it settle and within a couple of minutes I had a tap on the tip signalling the bait had been picked up,

Chub two was soon in the net.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Not such a cold one!

River Avon again, Chub the target and the weather was a little milder. There was a good couple of inches of extra water in the river and the pace was a little quicker than last Wednesday. I was only out for a few hours to wet a line but it took nearly that long to find my target, I think the extra few inches of water must be the salty run off from the local roads, the extra salt in the water could have put the fish off, still, I did manage catch the one fish.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Chub and Brass Monkey's

All the shopping is done, everything is wrapped so I'm ready for Christmas. To have the Wednesday as a day for fishing was planned a few weeks ago the only thing not planned was the 'Brass Monkey' weather. The original plan was to fish for Carp at Ryton using fish baits but a thick layer of ice forced me to scrap that idea, I had thought about Zander on the canal as an alternative plan but they are also frozen solid. The solution was to find some moving water and the Avon near to the Middlemarch Business Park was the chosen stretch, I haven't fished this part of the river for some time so it was nice to be back on a familiar stretch.
It was minus two degree's and I was doubting my sanity when getting ready to go but we're all mad, if we weren't, we wouldn't go fishing. The sun was out and helped along with the thermal layers to give a little warmth as I crunched through the frozen grass to my first swim. The method was simple, a hook on the end of the line with a lump of bread as bait, the same method I have always used along this stretch as I move from swim to swim searching for Chub.

The first fish came within a couple of casts and it was nice to see a good plump Chub on the bank, the last one I saw was the one at Ryton a couple of years ago! I kept moving and trying swims as I made my way through the first field. Most of this stretch has a heavy growth of bull rushes which during the summer months limits where you can fish, however, being winter all but the roots have died back revealing loads of far bank swims.

Casting into these runs along the far bank helped me bank another three fish through the afternoon, most of them having to be bullied over the roots to the waiting landing net.

The final fish of the day was a lovely looking fish of 4lb.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Ryton Pike - Part 3

The weekend before last, before the big freeze, I fished an early session at Ryton. Arriving just before eight meant I had the place to myself with the choice of swims, I opted for the sand bank and it wasn't too long before I had a couple of dead baits out onto spots that had produced runs on previous trips.
To cut a long story short, it was another one of those long sessions that suddenly burst into life right at the end. I'd tried a few casts all around the sandbank area through the morning without a touch and decided to have one last cast into the area that had seen the first cast of the day. I was due to pack up at midday for an afternoon of festive shopping so had kind of got everything all packed up ready to go, I had a couple of twitches on my free lined bait which developed into coils of line slowly being pulled from the reel, I picked up the rod and allowed the fish to take some more line before closing the bale arm and arching the rod back into a satisfying curve with a resistance to match, at last a Pike. I was hoping for a good scrap and have one of the lakes 'big girls' roll into the landing net, the scrap was very dull and the small Pike gave up fairly easily.

At 8lb 8oz, it's not big but at least it's a fish on the bank.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Carpy thoughts - Part 1

I've been doing a bit of thinking about my Carp fishing lately, with all the shopping and visiting people prior to the seasons festivities commencing, it's all I'm able to do. Looking at my diaries and notes of observations I've made I have a plan that might have to be actioned over the Christmas break.

Fish baits - we all use fish meal boilies to catch Carp so why not chunks of fish?

I think I mentioned a few blogs back about seeing lots of fry leaping from the lake as if being chased and after looking at my maps of the lake, it was happening in an area of the lake where Carp regularly feed, could they have been chased by Carp? I've heard stories of Carp being seen chasing fry and I've read stories of Pike anglers catching Carp on deadbaits so it is possible. This has lead me to think about scaling my pike approach down to Carp size and hair rig a section of frozen fish to try and tempt a bite from a Carp.
I've already come up with a hooklength based around a thin coated Pike trace, I've used wire to combat the teeth of a toothy critter should one pick up before a Carp. To this I'll add a PVA bag of flaked fish mixed with groundbait, the hook will be hair rigged with a chunk of frozen herring, the slick from all this should be enough to draw in any hungry fish, fingers crossed it works.

If I don't get a Carp then I would be happy with one of the lakes bigger Perch.

Mind you, with the luck I've been having on recent trips, any fish would do!