Monday, 31 January 2011

One down, eleven to go!

I had a nice chat with Phil Smith on Saturday morning which gave my fishing confidence  for the day ahead a boost and I was really looking forward to an afternoon on the river. By the time the light began to fade I'd scared four cormorants off the stretch I was fishing, compared to recent weeks the water was pretty much crystal clear but I'd left my Polaroids at home, I was chilled to the bone, I'd run out of ideas and was fishless, all excuses of course but we're all good at dreaming them up to explain the dry landing net.

Sunday started off as a hunt for a Pike at Ryton but it takes more than one fairly mild night to defrost a pool that size and with only a small area free of ice at the back of the island I headed home for a quick change of tackle, I didn't fancy another cold one on the river so headed to Long Itchington to fish the Stockton pounds, I caught a few small Zed's there this time last year so the thought of one of these to get another species on the board gave me a little confidence. 

It was rather pleasant having a warm sun in my face but the ice on the pounds reminded me that it was too cold to strip off the top layer even though I was tempted. I was fishing two methods, my standard deadbait for a Zander and maggot feeder on the second rod to use up the leftovers from Saturday with the hope of bagging a better Perch than the one I've caught so far, I still can't believe I weighed a Perch that big small minute!

It took a while to find a bite and I almost missed it as it was such a gentle pluck on the bobbin which made it bounce before it pulled up a couple of inches, I left it a while and it slowly dropped back so I hit it. A Zed graced the mesh as I prepared the weigh sling ready to give this monster a number and put another one on the board for the challenge. 
I did have a good look around before lifting the scales as I didn't want an audience whilst I attempted to weigh such an excuse for a Zander.

Twelve ounces (4%)
One thing to note in the picture, I've resorted to using my small weight scales now.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Shopping for baby.

I managed to fit a couple of sessions in this weekend between the shopping trips for baby stuff, just over a month to go now.
Friday's short session on the Avon ended up as a blank, I completely missed the only take of the evening and it was bloody cold down there, it felt colder than it did over Christmas.
Sunday was only ever so slightly better with one fish on the bank. I visited Ryton to try and improve my Pike score on the challenge board but the only fish of the day ended up being smaller than my best effort so far at just over five pounds.

This Pike had a special pectoral fin on one side or rather a lack of one, I dare say it's been caught before, anyone recognise it?

Anybody caught this one before?

Something different I did try on this trip was popping up my deadbaits and it seemed to work quite well as the hooks were coming in clear of bottom debris, when left to sit on the bottom they usually come in choked with weed. The half a herring standing up off the bottom must have looked irresistible to this Pike, it tore off with the bait at some speed and I was convinced it was bigger.

I might try popping up the Zander baits on my next Zed hunt.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

This Perch doesn't count.

Saturday, on the Oxford canal with Barry trying for a Zander. It was very windy where we set out ready to fish into dark, we've had a few Zed's along this stretch and I was hoping for one for the challenge. I had half a pint of reds with me and put a maggot feeder out on one of the rods in the hope of attracting a Perch or two, drawing a few smaller fish into our swims should attract a few predators as well. Barry had three dropped takes and I had one plus a five ounce Roach on maggot so at least I had something to put on the list.

Tricky to weigh at this size.
Sunday, with rain forecast for the afternoon I headed out mid morning for a short session exploring a couple of new pools, I've heard a few fishy tales about the place and there's a few pictures on Google Earth which make the place look interesting so I thought I'd have a go just to see if anything lived in there and if it didn't work out the canal was nearby as back up. I was expecting the pools to be full of rubbish and shopping trolleys but was very surprised, it all looked very clean and tidy and both pools have seen angling activity. I wasn't sure what to expect and was armed with a deadbait rod as I've heard tales of Pike as well as the left over maggots from Saturday.
I concentrated my efforts on the smaller of the two pools as it looked the fishiest but was disappointed in the lack of depth, however, I was soon rewarded with a Perch on the maggot rod, when I say Perch it was more of a Perchlet or Perchling that barely pulled the scales round to two ounces,  it's so small that I'm not sure if I should count it in the challenge, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I weighed it!

This Perch doesn't count!

I went on to catch another seven stripey's, all the same size, hoping that wading through the smaller fish would eventually catch me a bigger specimen and I thought I'd cracked it when I struck into something that gave a much better account for itself, I was convinced it was a good Perch until it reached the net, it was a Rudd.

A bit out of focus.
Twelve ounce bar of Gold.

It pulled the scales to twelve ounces which I was very pleased with, it's a shame that I ran out of maggots, I would have liked to have caught a few more of these.

I think this pool will be seeing a bit more of me this year.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Forget planning, get a lucky leprechaun!

Plan A quickly turned into Plan B on Friday after I found that the stretch of canal I fancied having a bash for Zander on was still under a thick layer of Ice. Plan B was very slow, however, I did have a couple of gentle inquiries that lifted the bobbin and my spirits but they didn't result in any positive takes. Plan B turned into B for Blank.

The same went for Saturday afternoon along the Coventry canal between Hawksbury and Bedworth,  there was a fair amount of ice drifting around and plenty of boat activity. I tried a couple of spots that I caught from last year but nothing was in the mood for feeding, I ended up at one of Jeff's spots for the last hour into darkness but still no takes.

Sunday, time for a change, after having a quick look at Ryton on Saturday and finding it almost  clear of Ice, I decided on a session with a Pike in mind. I had two rods set up with floats for deadbaits, I took a third rod with a standard float set up and half a tub of maggots to try and tempt a Perch. The Perch thing was a waste of time as the float remained stationary for nearly two hours so I made the decision to knock it on the head and put both deadbait rods out. Things were really slow without any runs and I did have a move around to try and find the fish but it was only when Barry turned up for a chat and a look around the pool that my luck turned. A couple of taps on one of the floats turned into a very slow run, something had definitely picked up the herring and was making off with it so I struck and felt a reasonable resistance on the end. The fight was pretty uneventful though and after a very short tussle a small Pike drifted into the net. 

At 7lb 12ozs (17%) it's not big but at least I've managed to get another species on the board and it's a weight I can now work on increasing through the year.

Sharon thinks I might have a lucky leprechaun!!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

First one and on the board!

January the first, a new year and a new fishing season for me. The Avon had been given a rest for a few days so I was hoping to have a good session after Chub but the water level was up again with plenty of colour. As well as the weather, there's some added pressure with this years challenge between a few other local angling bloggers, I must admit to spending some time preparing things ready for the first day, like making sure that I'd not forgotten either the scales or sling and that my camera batteries were fully charged.
The first Chub on the bank weighed in at 2lb 11ozs which I thought wasn't bad for the first fish of the year, it had a rather nasty looking gash in it's side but I wasn't sure if it was from a Pike, there are a few in the stretch I was fishing today, or possibly a Cormorant. 

Cormorant or Pike?

After a quick move to another stretch I settled in on a swim that has recently seen multiple Chub catches in a single session for me and fed some maggot and bread mash before presenting a flake into the flow that pushed across the swim towards some reeds.

The first bite came fairly quickly and the fish gave a good account of itself in the heavy flow and was a little bigger than the first fish at 3lb 2ozs.

It took a little longer to get the next fish and it also took a little longer to land as it stayed very deep and kept pulling back through the flow kiting all over the swim. When it hit the mesh it looked a good fish compared to the previous one and it was fingers crossed that it would pull past four pound, it didn't by one ounce.

One ounce under four.

It came in at 3lb 15ozs and here's a shot of the scales. 

The needle isn't quite on four

At least I caught on the first day of the year and I'm on the board with the challenge.