Friday, 31 December 2010

Last fish of 2010.

I said 'no chance' earlier this week but I've persevered with fishing the Sowe trying another stretch today and only a few minutes walk from the house. I entered the park alongside the river off the London road and followed the river down to the back of the Jaguar plant and the stretches I fished earlier in the week. I was shocked at the depth of the water available, next to the first footbridge there's a wheelie bin standing upright in the river with the water level only a few inches down from the lid, there's plenty of other rubbish scattered in clumps along the banks where they've been deposited by flood water, I lost count how many times I stood on plastic bottles buried in the bank side overgrowth whilst trying to sneak up on my quarry and if anyone is thinking of opening a used football shop this is the place to collect them, there's hundreds down there.

With the water starting to clear after the thaw I could just make out the bottom in some stretches but at points this just seemed to drop away into holes and I did pop a bait into most of them. I found loads of swims that are going to have to see some serious angling attention next June and I'm looking forward to doing some fish spotting along here during the close season. I did manage to find this good size Chub on my travels which came as a shock as I wasn't expecting one quite this big where I was fishing.

I'm looking forward to my traditional fishing trip tomorrow, first one of the year and see if I can get something on the board.

Happy new year everyone.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Good old St Nick!

Thursday, Barry picked me up for a session on the Avon at St Nicholas Park,Warwick. It was a very misty start, very mild and the river level was up with plenty of colour. I went armed with both Avon rods, quiver tip and feeder on one and standard tip with a deadbait on the other, Barry was angling for a Pike with two rods. The only rod to see action all day was my feeder rod, I was using maggot and liquidised bread in the feeder and maggot on the hook and had to use a thirty gram feeder to hold station in the strong flow. 

The first fish to hang itself was a Bream with a lovely drop back bite.

This was followed by a series of 'tappy' bites from a couple of Roach.

I then had a gudgeon which I never knew was on quickly followed by a Chublet.

This was all in the first couple of hours but I did have another three Roach before we finished at three. All the deadbait rods remained 'dead' all day.

I've never fished the Avon from the St Nicholas bank before but after today I will be doing it again. I also heard a few tales of big Carp from a few passers by.

There's always a chance - even a small one!

Sharon was back at work today (Wednesday) so I was left to my own devises. I didn't fancy plonking myself in front of the TV watching the same nothing that's been on for the past few weeks, the weather wasn't looking too bad so I prescribed myself a few hours on the bank. I didn't fancy the Avon, I want to give the place a rest ready for the first session of the new year, only a few days away, so I opted for a few hours on the Sowe. After seeing the extra water on the Avon yesterday I thought I'd see if the first corner by the bridge was free of ice and it was. I had both maggots and bread with me and alternated between them casting to various features to try and tempt a bite.

The swims down here look so promising

The only pull of the day came from a cast tight to an overhanging bush, the micro helicopter rig was flicked in as close as I could get it and just out of the main flow with three maggots squeezed onto a size sixteen hook. It had been there for about five minutes when I had a rattle on the tip which caught me by surprise so I waited a bit longer but nothing happened, when I pulled the line in to check I felt a vibration in the rod and I couldn't believe that I'd hooked something that small, a Minnow.

Greedy bugger!

I would love to find a pocket of Roach along this stretch but with all the natural angling pressure that I've witnessed so far I'm not sure that there will be any.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Not a chance!

After a large dinner on Christmas day I went for a walk to check out another stretch of river near my new home, the river Sowe. I've heard from a reliable sources that this stretch contains Roach, Perch and small Pike as well as plenty of Crayfish so I thought it would be worth a look. I walked the one and a half miles from my house, down the A45 to Sowe Bridge, the stretch runs from this bridge to the back of the Old Mill Hotel at Bagington. It isn't a long a stretch but there are plenty of good looking spots and seeing as I had a half box of maggots left over from Friday, I thought it would be worth giving it a go on Boxing day.

Some nice looking spots, shame about the wildlife!

On arrival the first thing I disturbed was a Cormorant, 'not good' I thought but I proceeded to the first spot, I crept up to this swim but still managed to disturb two Heron's, ok, I'll try the next swim. Things went fine for a couple of spots but no fish, I headed down to a corner swim that I really liked the look of the day before and disturbed two more Cormorant's, now this wasn't looking good at all. I tried the swim anyway, the flow came in at one corner into a deep pool this shelved up to a gravel and sand bar on the far side, there was a clump of dead reeds at the head of the pool, lovely. I trotted through a couple of times then saw something floating down with the flow, I turned only to see an Otter swim into my pool, I kept as still as I could but it caught a glimpse of me and stopped by the old reed bed it then swam right up in front of me before realising I was a human and made a bolt downstream. 

The Otter swim.

Three Cormorant's, two Heron's and an Otter, no chance of catching anything in that stretch, I did try a couple of other spots just in case but I blanked.

After the Boxing day blank I headed down to the Avon today with a fresh batch of maggots. It was good to see an extra six to eight inches of water flowing through complete with chunks of ice and other debris, I concentrated on a couple of swims using a feeder to get the germs to the bottom quickly. Things were slow and bites didn't start till late in the afternoon, when they did start I kept missing and loosing fish but did eventually bank a nice Chub at around four thirty just as it got dark.

It didn't seem that dark.
With the orange glow from the estate behind it didn't seem to be as dark as it was, might have to look into this one.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Trotting germs!

Down the Avon again, this time with half a pint of germs to have a go at trotting through some of the swims I found last weekend. The water level has dropped again, a good few inches down from when I was last here and I'm not sure if this was putting the Chub off, It's probably just the cold, any maggot's that had fallen out of the box into my bait bag were rigid within a few minutes. 
I eventually found a couple of small Chublets but after the couple of trots through it took to catch them, all went quiet in that swim. 

Nicely hooked

I continued around the meadow trying a few other spots but I had no more takes, I might have to wait till it warms up a tad.

Have a good Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

An old friend - Part 1

My favourite float rod was bought whilst at University in Liverpool, it was found on a stall at Kensington Market on Prescot Road, I used to have a poke around this stall every weekend looking for a bargain, it was mostly second hand coarse fishing gear but at one end of the stall there was a box of rod blanks, they were mostly the old 'Fibatube' blanks as thick as a broom stick, one day whilst digging around in the box I found a plastic bag containing a three piece carbon float rod blank, I think I only paid twelve quid for it at the time, being a student with no money and new to course fishing, the thought of having a twelve foot carbon rod to target the local parks with was great.
Before building this rod I was using an old ten foot float rod that I used to use for mullet back home, I think it originally came from Woolworth's, this was teamed up with a centre pin reel that I'd bought from the same market stall only a few months before for eight quid (Another bargain), this set up was used to target Newsham, Sefton and Princes park lakes around Liverpool (Now you know why I have no fear fishing the canal in Cov city centre) the quarry was mostly Tench, Rudd and Roach with the odd Carp thrown in.

The old rings
I furnished the new blank with a full duplon handle and sliding winch fittings, I couldn't afford cork at the time and the duplon was a quick fix, chrome plated stand off float rings were the easiest to get hold of and I made sure the butt and tip rings were lined, they were whipped on in black and when finished it looked the business and at a fraction of the cost of a similar rod off the shelf. It saw plenty of action around Liverpool with loads of hard fighting Tench with a few Carp testing the blank, after a move to Birmingham, Crucians and Bream were targeted at Kingshurst lake (That was in 1993, I wonder how big the Crucians are now?) as well as Chub from the river Blythe at Coleshill and then the Avon at Cov before my obsession with the Carp at Ryton shelved that style of fishing.

Changing my style of fishing and having Carp and Avon rods with plenty of backbone meant that my old friend has seen little use over the past few years, I started to refurbish the rod a couple of seasons back replacing the full duplon handle with a split version similar to a Carp rod, not happy with the look I changed it again last year to a full cork with a Fuji reel seat, much nicer. 

The old Trudex should see lots of action soon

At the time I couldn't decide on how to ring the rod so shelved the whole thing as an ongoing project till something suitable could be found. I've settled for a set of Fuji float rings and even though they are only taped into place they look good.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Chubbi'n eck - it's cold!

It's not the right time of year to buy a ticket for a stretch of river and with the current weather we're having it's not really the best time to be on the bank fishing that stretch of river. I was Chubbing again on Sunday but this time on a stretch of the Avon I've been wanting to fish for ages, I spoke to someone on the bank last week about the fishing in this area and casually asked about the opposite bank and who ran the section, he gave me a contact name for someone who could help me out and within 48 hours I had the ticket for that bank.

After a short fifteen minute walk from the house I arrived at the river, there was a good couple of inches of virgin snow on the bank and the water was still liquid although there was some ice in the slack water on a few of the bends. The first pool looked too good not to have a go and it only took a couple of chucks with a lump of flake to get a Chub interested in paying a visit to my landing net.

Maybe I should wear white in all the snow!

This new bank I was fishing gave me a much better angle on some of the swims  I normally fish and it's much more comfortable not having to negotiate the barbed wire fences that run along the opposite bank. Some stretches I'd not seen before because of the dense reed beds that usually block my view, they looked good and I was getting plenty of knocks and rattles from something so I'm going to have to try trotting germs and worms through some of these swims to see if these bites and knocks were Roach or Dace.

Talking of trotting, I'm resurrecting an old friend for next year, my favourite float rod, but this is another story.

I was a bit disappointed when I got to a swim at the end of one of the meadows, I'd caught a Chub there, must be nine years ago now, it weighed 5lb 3ozs, sadly, the tree it lived under was long gone along with all it's friends and this section now looks completely different, however, there were a few knocks from something so might be worth a trot.
On my way back, I found another one of those swims that looked too good not to have a go, I did and caught another two small Chublets that were in absolutely mint condition.

Looking forward to getting down there again, I finish work on Tuesday for a two week break, now where did I put that bivvy when we moved?

Monday, 13 December 2010


I had my parents down from Anglesey for the weekend so couldn't get on the bank till Sunday afternoon.
Everywhere is still iced over so I popped down the Avon again, despite my efforts I only managed the one Chub of 3lb 10ozs but this got me thinking about next years challenge and the quickest way of working out a percentage. Now, I wasn't top of the class at maths but got the grasp of enough to get me an 'O' level and this is how I'm working it out.

Fish Record weight: (Chub) 9lb 5ozs
Record weight in ounces: 149ozs
Divide this by 100 gives you 1% of the record weight = 1.49 ounces

Today's Chub weighed 3lb 10ozs
Weight in ounces: 58ozs
Divide this by 1.49 (1% of Chub record weight)

This Chub would be 38.9% of the record weight.

I tried this formula out with a few other species on our list and it seems to work fine so I made a version in Excel ready for the new year.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Birthday Bonanza

Is there a collective noun for a gathering of Bloggers?

I woke up fairly fresh after last nights 'drinking and shouting' as Sharon put it, It was good to catch up on angling exploits and meet a few faces behind the blogs, I even put my name down for next years challenge but how I'm going to get a chance to do any fishing after the baby arrives, I don't know.

After a nice relaxed breakfast I headed off down the Avon for a couple of hours Chubbing. Travelling light, rod, net, loaf of bread and a small rucksack I headed off across the fields towards Bubbenhall, the spots I like to fish are a bit of a trek but I think it's worth the effort. It was nice to feel the warmth of the Sun after all the freezing weather we'd had and I was hoping that this break in the weather might stir the fish, however, I was concerned that the bit of rain we had on Saturday might have washed the salt off the roads and into the rivers putting the fish off feeding.

I tried a few spots without any luck but kept on the move till I eventually found the fish.

After catching a Chub of around two to three pounds I tried my luck and cast out to the same spot again to see if there were any other fish still in the area and was quickly rewarded with a second, slightly smaller fish.

I tried another cast to the same spot and couldn't believe my luck, within seconds of the flake touching bottom a third Chub picked up the bait, this fish felt much better and stayed deep trying to get into any snag it could find but it soon found it's way into my landing net, a nice fish of around three and a half maybe touching four pounds.

There was a lull of around half an hour and I thought I'd pushed things too far and started to gather my stuff ready for a move to another swim, I changed my mind when out of the corner of my eye I saw the rod tip lurch forward as a fourth fish took the flake.

Normally, I would have moved from this spot after the first fish but they just kept coming, "One more cast" I thought and I was soon rewarded with the fifth Chub of the day.

I lost a fish after this one and that finally switched the fish off,  instead of moving to another spot I decided to pack up and head for home, I'd had a good birthday session with five Chub on the bank all from the same swim.