I was lucky enough to get two full days both Saturday and Sunday this week due to Jacky's work commitments, so after dropping her off Saturday I headed down to Welford upon Avon to meet up with my mate Rob to have ago on the deep wide slow moving river above the weir. Rob had tipped me off that he had been pestered by eels when fishing meat for barbel and chub so I couldn't resist giving the eel point another go before the weather gets to bad and they shut up shop for winter.
After trying one fruitless swim up river we eventually found ourselves facing the lock that takes boat traffic around the weir, with a huge amount of seriously deep water in front of us. Why this bit of the Avon is so deep is beyond me, but right under our feet was between twelve and fourteen feet of water straight away. Though I was after eels I fished one rod with worms on and the other was cast out with a monstrous feeder full of halibut method mix and pellets to tenderly seek out any possible beards or chavin snooping around.
Of course my my first bite came from none of my intended species but instead from... Yes you've guessed it my old friend Mr Bream. I had already verbally predicated my first fish would be a bream to Rob moments before this just browning fish took my worm bait.
It was all in all a slow day even though the river looked in good condition from the previous days rains. When the cloud came over the smaller fish started plopping around and my tip once again trembled. After ages of waiting the tip finally went and a definite eel was hooked. Though it wasn't a monster and only weighed a pound I foolishly decided to record my capture of my first Avon eel this year with a photo and handed rob the camera to do the honours.
For your amusement Daniel Everitt will now try and hold a fresh caught Avon eel for a photo. Enjoy!
After three attempts and getting covered in slime the little bugger slipped out my hand and sulked back to the depths. No more eels turned up but a while later a similar sized bream to the first took my bait.
I was getting no real action to the feeder line that I was casting upstream of my eel rod so giving up on the pellet attack I swapped the hook link to a smaller lighter one to fish with maggots In the hope of doubling my chances for eels. After only five minutes in the water the bait runner sang its merry tune as something very serious charged of across the river with more force than I have felt this year at all. There was no stopping this fish in any way. The clutch on the reel was not set anywhere near well enough and I had no choice but to quickly flip the bait runner back on and try and brake the fast disappearing line myself. After surging unstoppably towards the snag filled area under the buoys that stop boats going over the weir I had no choice but to try and stem this daunting run. Applying the slightest resistance caused the line to fall slack... I had been turned over, around and royally spanked by whatever it was. The only thing missing was the fish jumping out the water a razzing me before diving back in. As I turned to Rob his face said it all, that was definitely the biggest most powerful fish I have encountered on the Avon to date.
Settling back down with my heart still thumping the discussion began to the possible identity of the culprit. The two top suspects were a big barbel or a big carp. Rob has had a few good barbel from this deep water stretch and confirmed that they tend to hang in the water for a moment before slowly powering off. The instant reaction to being hooked to me seemed like the shock a dozy carp gets when its munching down and suddenly finds a hook in its mouth. Ether way it was big, very big and it is my belief that it had probably been on the bait for a while. If it had taken the pellet on a stronger link I may of landed it but the introduction of a bunch of maggots on a light hook link more than likely fell under its radar.
These are the sort of things that make us anglers come back again and again for more punishment in the hope that one day we land that unseen line stripping monster.
Like Keith I to had seen the sacred word Ruffe in Andy's blog last week and after a text message to confirm the exact location of his capture I took the second shift fishing in the pissing rain at the canal off cathiron lane.
I wasn't sure I was going to get there at first as after pulling into a petrol station the fill up the car I had heard the metallic scraping of something hanging off the car. A detour to national tyre who had just changed the exhaust a few weeks ago confirmed that the heat shield between above the aforementioned exhaust and the car floor had snapped off it brackets and was now only inches off the floor and it was something that would need to be sorted on Monday elsewhere. This was not going to stop me getting out so I set off at the speed of a half blind pensioner driving home after Sunday lunch.
Finally I arrived after an unusual journey in which I never broke the speed limit once to a soaking car park.
I headed into the area Andy had pointed out and set up my stall.
Somewhere deep inside me is a match fisherman wearing some really gaudy clothing that I keep locked up in a secret place. Every so often when the need should arise for me to do some pole fishing I let him out.
So for the second time in two weeks it was a pole fishing session on the canal so I let him out. Unlike last week this time I had brought along half a kilo of dedrobinas and a a couple of pots of lob worms. Upon arriving I had collected a fresh mole hill or two to add to the chopped worm.
I focused on only one line on the edge of the shelf, away from the boat traffic which is horrendous on this bit of canal and cupped out a small pot of the chopped up mix. The float never even cocked before a small roach nabbed my single red maggot.
It wasn't long before the perch showed up and the first of many was landed which weighed 11oz.
Even though it was one of the worst days for weather I have fished on in ages the bites kept coming one after another for the next five hours as a string of good sized canal perch and a few other fish fell to ether a maggot or worm hook bait.
After only an hour I knew I was well on course for the perch point as just about every perch I landed was over 10oz, it only took eleven fish including a deep chunky monster of 1.9lb to make 6.3lb and secure the perch point.
After my second canal session in two weeks I have to say that I am astonished at how well the canals seem to be fishing for small fish. In my youth my local bit of canal would have loads of anglers racked up on its banks desperately trying to scratch a few fish out. But now they deserted by most anglers who prefer to spend there free time bagging grossly deformed carp at seven quid a day in one of the huge number of local commercials that litter the countryside. Sadly I find this a real shame as now more than ever the canals have so much to offer and hardly anyone is interested in this long forgotten part of our fishing heritage.