Saturday, 26 February 2011

I'm Chubbing in the rain.

All week I though about having a couple of hours on the bank on Friday afternoon, that was providing the baby didn't put in an appearance. Friday arrived and as soon as I got home from work I got changed and readied the gear, as soon as I stepped out of the house it started spitting with rain which is typical, I had seen the forecast so knew it was going to be a rather damp session and as I was travelling light, no brolly. 

It only takes fifteen minutes to reach the river from the house and I had the first Chub on the bank by three thirty albeit a small Chublet.

After catching one fish I would normally move to another swim and return later but I took a chance and lobbed in another lump of Kingsmill. The flow was quite strong with a good few inches of extra water pushing through and lots of colour, I was hoping that the large piece of bread would tempt one of the bigger Chub that live under the tree I was fishing to and it wasn't long before a tremble in the quiver tip turned into a full blown take, the fish pulled well in the extra flow but I coaxed it up stream before dropping it back into the waiting net.

3lb 3oz

It took a while to find the next fish but I arrived at a spot that normally holds a fish or two, after a couple of chucks I had to start changing shot to allow the bait to 'go with the flow' and find the fish, they were much further down the swim than normal. I should have used a float really and trotted the flake down to them but I managed to get the balance of shot just right to allow the bait to trundle along the bottom to the waiting Chub. A couple of taps on the tip and I struck into another fish which stayed deep and almost buried itself under my own bank, it was a good Chub and I recognised it by it's chewed up tail, I'd had this fish at the beginning of the year but on this occasion it only went three pound and twelve ounces, it had lost weight rather than put it on.

3lb 12ozs (3lb 15ozs last time)

I went for a walk today to see if the overnight rain had put a few more inches of water on the river, it was very close to the top of the bank so the inches were more like feet. 

Baby permitting, I was thinking about having a short session on the Avon tomorrow as I'd found a fair few worms whilst out on my travels earlier but if the water level is in the field in the morning then the plans may change.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Weather for worms.

Saturday and a spot of Zedding on the canal again. With the babies birth being imminent my sessions are down to one a week so I'm trying to make them count and after loosing a good zed last week I thought I'd try the spot again to see if it was still in the area. Barry had been to this spot in the week and I was half expecting a phone call to say he'd recovered my trace with a double figure Zander attached to the end but he only managed the one small Zed after an eight hour stint. The weather at the start of our session was a little on the damp side but the forecast was dry for the afternoon.

After an hour Barry had the first take, we both thought it was a Zander but it turned out to be a Jack. I assisted in the netting and there started the confusion, I'd seen the Pike go over the cord but I couldn't work out what was going on, the fish wasn't in there, it had escaped through a hole, after another go it was on the bank. Barry's holy net just happened to have been the subject of conversation only moments before the Pike snaffled his bait, time for a new net me thinks.

Their not that clear in this picture but the scars on the Jack's flanks shows that there must be some good sized Pike in the area.

I missed an earlier take my bobbin startling me as it unexpectedly slammed against the bank and the baitrunner started to give line, there was nothing there when I struck! The bait was back in the water and it wasn't too long before I had the first Zander on the bank albeit a small one of around a pound, it was a start.

The rain eased off which was nice and it turned into a fairly mild day, very still and the water in the canal was the clearest I had ever seen it, I don't think there had been any boat traffic for a few days but typically the only boat of the day chugged passed and spoilt the water clarity. The earlier rain had made the towpath very sticky and I think we must have both grown by a couple of inches with the layer of mud on our boots, it was in this mud that we found a few worms trying to escape the water logged gloop of a path and I decided to chuck on of the larger snakes out to see if it would attract any interest, the presentation looked a tad crude, the worm impaled on a size two hook and fine wire trace but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. After casting out I was setting the rod on its rest and adjusting the bobbin when I started to receive a series of knocks and quivers in my rod, something had liked the look of the worm and had picked it up, I struck and was met with a headshake that gave away the fishes identity and a fairly good scrap ensued from a smallish Zed.

Yeee Haaa!

Two pound and four ounce of Zander was soon in the net and in front of the camera.

We continued to scratch around for a few more worms but the supply dried up and so had the bites, we stayed until it got dark but everything remained quiet..

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Check those rings.

Saturday was bright, sunny and fairly mild for February, my original plan was a spot of Piking at Ryton but the bright light and lack of shelter could put the Pike off feeding and that put me off so rather than sit all day for a blank I opted for a session on the canal. The spot I was fishing had full sun on the south facing towpath but the tree's along the far bank cast a lovely dark shadow over the swims I'd chosen to fish for Zander. The fine weather had brought out the boat owners who chugged up and down all day but there weren't as many as in the summer so it was bearable and after the first cast things were looking good, I had a take within minutes of the bait settling but when I failed to connect I though I was in for a repeat of last week.
I had a few dropped takes before the hook point found it's target on a slow gentle run, I struck half expecting to feel the bait being dropped but felt a very satisfying resistance and as soon as the fish hit the surface and gave a headshake I could see it was a very good Zed. It made several attempts to bury itself in the reeds but I managed to steer it away and when it was in clear water in front of me I reached for the landing net at which point everything went slack, at first I thought the Zed had thrown the hook but as I looked up at a now straight rod all I could do was watch in disbelief as line spilled through the rings and coiled on the floor in front of me, the line had parted somewhere between me and the fish. I was a tad pissed off but felt worse about letting a good sized Zander swim around with a trace still in it's mouth, being barbless it should fall out.
I checked the line for rough spots and it was a clean break, so I threaded the line back through the rings ready to have another go and that's when I noticed the tip ring was minus it's lining, the probable cause of the line break and the lost fish?

I gave the broken ring a polish with a hook sharpener and checked to see if line would break before I carried on fishing. The rod with the damaged ring was cast out to the quieter far margin and the other in front of the reeds, typically the far margin rod received the next bit of attention. After another gentle take I lifted into a headshake then gingerly steered the fish towards the net and soon had a small Zed of 1lb 11oz on the bank.

Although a few ounces bigger than the fish I had last week I kept thinking about the one I'd hooked and lost earlier, that would have put some proper percentage on the board.

I carried on between boats and continued to receive dropped takes throughout the afternoon, I eventually connected with another Zed which instantly felt better than the previous fish as it tried to reach sanctuary in the reed bed, I steered it clear and and after a lot of head thrashing it slid into the waiting net. 

Still looking a tad pissed off!
A lovely pose from a 2lb 9oz (12%) Zander.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ditch the circle.

I fished a quarter mile stretch of the oxford canal on Sunday, it doesn't sound far but took a while as I was leapfrogging from feature to feature in search of a Zed or two. I wasn't having much luck until I reached a spot that I'd caught from before and I had my first take.

On one of the rods I was trying a circle hook pattern to expand on the single hook traces I was playing around with last autumn, this rod just happened to be the one to receive all the runs that were to come.

Soon to be ditched.

I lost the first fish, as I lifted into the take I felt something kick on the end for a split second before the bait was spat out without the hook catching hold. After checking the bait and hook point I flicked it back out into the same spot and within a few minutes it was off again, this time I left the bite a little longer hoping for the fish to hook itself, the same thing to happened again. After missing a third run the decision was made to ditch the circle hook trace and revert back to the trusty size two Drennan. This was a big improvement as the hook instantly found a secure hold on the fourth run. Not a big fish at a pound and six ounces (Six percent) but a slight improvement on the one I had last week.

Focus error on the camera forced me to use my phone.

Typically, all the bites stopped after I caught this fish, it must have been the only one there.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Jammy Git!

Saturday morning and the first time fishing on the Leam at Mill Gardens. The park keeper was just unlocking the gates as we arrived for a session on the river. Barry was after one of the Pike he was familiar with along this stretch, I was fishing both feeder and deadbait and would be happy with anything that swam.
Both rods were already set up and ready to go and the feeder was first out, the popped up mackerel was a bit fiddly and took a few minutes to prepare before being positioned mid stream it was then that I heard my name being called, Barry was in already! The fish put up a good scrap staying out of sight, when we saw a pale belly we both thought 'good Zed', it wasn't, it was a good Pike though and pulled the scales round to 13lb 2ozs.

Jammy Git!

After an hour I had a run on my deadbait rod and pulled into what seemed a good weight though the Avon's do give a bit. It was a pike and it put up a reasonable scrap for a smallish fish, at just over seven pounds it wasn't going to improve the scores on the doors but it was nice to get a fish on the bank in front of the small audience that had stopped to watch.

Smile for the audience!

The feeder rod remained still all morning without the slightest of quivers, there were a few other anglers along this stretch and they all remained biteless, I did get a second run on the deadbait rod but whatever picked up the bait can't have liked the taste of Herring and dropped it after a few yards.