Monday, 23 August 2010

The barbel jinx is over

I had spent the rest of the week since my last barbel blow-out obsessing over tackle, tactics and possible new baits to try and help me break my barbel jinx. By Friday the sheer amount of info I had going through my head was beginning to become a little confusing; but a phone call from Pete to tell me he'd had a 9lb fish from a stretch below the one I was planning to target on Sunday, and that the river was 2ft up and coloured, boosted my confidence no end as did my secret new wonder bait...

Old reliable!
Stepping out into the darkness early on Sunday morning I felt like Odysseus wondering what kind of shenanigans the river gods may have in store for me this morning. After seeing Andy get turned inside out by an unseen monster on Tuesday evening I had taken a heavier rod with me as my Shimano barbel classic had begun to feel a little inadequate for my liking, as had my 10lb fluro hook links. The rod was replaced with a 2lb specimen rod and the hook links with 12lb mono and 15lb sink braid. I know this may seem a little heavy but the swim I intended to fish is tight and snaggy.

As I entered the field I was pretty excited as every thing just felt right this morning. My rods were all set up and once in position all I had to do was bait up and cast out. It was just getting light when I swung my first cast into the swim. With the rod on the rest and the tight set bait runner on I sat back to await my fate.

Five minutes later the bait runner sang as the rod jerked violently over. The sheer power of this fish was amazing as it motored under the over hanging trees. Once in the open water I slid down the six foot bank knee deep into the Avon, net in hand. After cutting out half the weed in the swim a very welcome jinx breaking barbel was in the net. Only problem now was how to get myself, the rod and a landing net full of beautiful barbel back up the slippy bank. After unhooking the fish I threw the rod back up then intended to try and lift the fish in the net up and hopefully scrabble out myself. It went quite well until I tried to push the net up a little further onto the grass only to hear *snap*! Once back on dry land I discovered the source of the sound - the spreader on my fox predator spoon net head was no longer attached to my landing net pole.

Forgetting about that I turned my attention to what now looked like a much bigger fish than I had previously thought. In the sling and on the scales I was amazed to find find that not only had I broken the jinx I had also bagged my first double and beat my PB with this 10.3lb beauty.

After releasing the fish in a shallow swim down stream and spending some time ripping off the old spreader and replacing it with a spare one from my carp net and botching in place, I cast out again thinking it may be a while till I got another bite, if I got one at all. Again I settled down to relax. About the same amount of time had past as before when the same happened again. If the first fish was powerful this one was on steroids. After a desperate battle it finally came into the open and rather than going back in the river again I managed to perch on top of the bank and stretch out enough to slip the net under another good barbel.

This one took the scales round to 8.9lb and brought the barbel challenge point within my grasp. Shortly after Keith replied to my missed call which had originally been to ask him for the lone of a net head as I knew he was coming this was on his way to the work party, but instead he got a rather excited angler babbling down the phone about barbel .

I'd had two out in an hour so another cast could well produce another so in it went again. After two liners and a good spell of nothing, I had thought that was it for this swim when low and behold off it went again. this time the culprit was a fish of 5lb the point was in the bag.

With three barbel, a new PB and point in the bag I was done fishing for the day and slowly packed up with a seriously cheesy grin on my face. By now the early morning dank had been replaced by glorious sun and the river looked absolutely stunning, though after the session I had just had I might have been a little biased.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Barbel jinx part whatever

As I drove home in the dark after another unsuccessful barbel fishing session I pondered on what had just happened and what I should write for this blog entry. The first thing that came to me is that this jinx may not actually be a jinx at all, but instead may be a curse. Then after this revelation it didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that typing this one up would be a frivolous waste of precious keyboard letter paint and instead decided to spend my time researching possible ways to lift the afore mentioned curse.

Here are some links to websites I found should any readers have a similar curses, hexes or examples of fishing damnation that need some attention.

I hope this may help you should you have perch problem, carp curse or if your just having a game with gudgeon.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Crafty grassies.

I am currently at a real loss of where to try and get the grass carp point for the challenge from. The only venue I fish that contains them is Snitterfeild reservoir and like any other Leamington members know there is a very small number of these fish in a rather decent size lake. So with this tiny number of grassies in a large lake the chances of putting forty odd pounds of fish on the bank seems almost impossible. The only saving grace is that when the weather hots up they begin to move round on the surface. Conveniently they make a much different bow wave to the king carp varieties which also inhabit this lake, probably due to there longer flatter profile. 
I had been waiting for what seems like weeks for a bit of warm sunny weather to get down to Snit for a crack at them and whilst waiting I had stored up enough dog biscuits to feed battersea dogs home for at least one day.

Sunday the weather looked great but I was in no rush as the morning was cool and misty. By 10am the sun  was out and I was on the bank with three 5 litre buckets of pellets and dog kibbles ready to go. The only draw back was that the work party were at snit clearing the banks. I won't moan about them as they do a vital job for the club of keeping our many banks fishable, of which I am very grateful for and probably should give them a bit of my free time as I become more attached to the club. But sadly the throbbing of the two stroke strimmers engine was doing little for the fishing on Sunday morning and I did not see a single fish on the top till they finished for the day.

Putting my plan into action I set up one rod with a bottom bait and cast it over a bed of pellets. Then began my grand plan to use a zig rig with one of the new zig floats to get my bait within a few feet of the surface and regularly fire mixers over the top to attract the hoards of ducks which would hopefully in turn attract the patrolling carp. Problem was that I could not get my zig rig to work at all. Every time it was cast into the very deep water half way across the lake the rig tangled or never came up. After ten casts and four modifications I had little choice but to give up and go over to a surface controller and run the avian gauntlet.

With all the crappy weather we have had it was a proper task to get any carp at all on the top and feeding. But after three hours of persistence I began to see some good swirls and the occasional lips. But every time a fish came up they would take two out of ten freebies then sink back to the depths. The wind was no help ether as it blew in ever changing directions on and off for the whole session.

With nothing more than a 1lb skimmer who'd taken a shining to my 20mm boilie to show for the four hours of fishing I was getting despondent. Until I noticed three definite grass carp moving far off to my left. After one almighty hoyk of a cast I managed to drop my bait right in front of them. I thought I was in when one immediately came to investigate. Instigate it did, take the bait it did not. This went on for a good hour as I went through every possible floating bait I had at my disposal. The wind was getting up and causing a ripple that prevented me from seeing my controller at distance, so I never saw the bait go, but Soon enough I got the message as the line zipped tight and the rod buckled over. With line ripping of the reel as the fish tore off I was convinced I had finally nailed one. This fish had some real power and at one point I got that feeling I haven't felt in years, the one that makes you think this rod ain't gonna take this. But it did and after a while I got a glimpse of a golden flank in the water. I tried not to curse to loud as a common carp slipped into the net. My disappointment only lasted for a minute before the joy of  landing what I will say it the most powerful pound for pound carp I have ever caught in my life came over me. To say it was mint would be the understatement of the year as it was fin perfect with not a single mark in it's mouth.

After this the ducks became rather aware of where my bait was landing and every time it hit the water they quite literally took off and landed to try and get the bait. With time ticking till I had to pick up Jacky the grassies would have to wait till another day.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Beep Beep I love it.

When the chance of a few hours off work on Wednesday afternoon arose this week I snapped up the opportunity to get out for a session. Being without the car I organised a drop off in the works van from my boss and for Jacky to pick me up later in the evening. This seriously limited my range for the session so I decided to head to ryton pool to see what was going on there since my last visit  two months ago.

I could have pursued the perch point for the challenge but instead I went for a bit of self indulgence and went after the carp and tench using modern carp tactics. I don't know why but alot of anglers I have spoken to seem to think that fishing with bite alarms is in some way less skill full than other methods and frown on it. But me I love it! they are like vibrators for the adrenaline gland. Having the ability to fish two or more rods whilst either making up PVA bags or fish spotting, then being snapped away from what you're doing by an odd bleep that may be the precursor of a run, or screaming one toner, really gets your blood pumping. Admittedly I am not one of those anglers who just wangs out kilos of bait and hunkers down for a 48 hour session waiting for a carp to come along, instead I try to locate fish and by keeping light move to them if needs be. The other thing is that this type of fishing is so often just associated with carp fishing. But by scaling down rigs and using different set ups nearly all species can be fished for and caught using the much loved and much maligned buzzer.

The other technique I intended to use on this session. which I personally believe to be one of the greatest assets to angling of modern times is the humble PVA bag, combining this with another great product the korda krusha to make small bags full of chopped white boilie and liquidised bread.

Before I got within site of the pool I knew where I would start and upon arriving found the information desk swim to be free. Both rods were set up ready to go the night before and it was just a case of baiting them up and getting the baits out.
On one rod I went with my standard in line rig but for the carp rod I went for a helicopter rig as I wanted to achieve a instant hook up once the fish picked up the bait.

The first slow run came from a small tench on the carp line, of which I never got a picture. This was followed by a run on the other rod which resulted in a better sized male of about four pounds.

The tench kept feeding intermittently all afternoon and I landed another nice 3-4lb female and lost another as it found a weed bed, but strangely around 6pm all the fizzing stopped and it would seem they went to bed.

After an hour of total inactivity I was standing next to the rods having a squizz around the lake looking for a possible move when my right hand rod went mental, hooping round before I even picked it up as the fish tore off. The bait had been sitting in some shallow water so when I lent into the fish the water erupted as a bow wave shot out into open water. After a interesting fight where I tried to keep the fish out of just about every weed bed in the lake, I landed a stunning little common of 12.6lb.

After this I was sure I was in for a few more fish, but the next time the buzzer went a rather odd thing happened . I had got three individual bleeps as the already slack line had dropped back more then tightened up. After watching the line go up and down for at least five minutes thinking sooner or later it will go off I picked up the rod to check and see if something was just mouthing the bait. Upon reeling in I could not make contact with the lead for ages and when I finally did low and behold there was a gentle thumping on the rod tip. Only for seconds was the fish connected before it came off. When I got the rig in with a huge heap of weed tangled in it I found a six foot loop knotted behind the rig. Now I know for sure that I landed the rig in line in shallow water, so as far as I can figure some cunning little fish picked up the bait and was swimming round with it in it's gob so delicately that it never even registered on the slack line. Judging from the slime on the line a tench may well have been the culprit.

The only other bite came just a darkness fell and another tentative run produced what I now suspect to be a decent Rudd or roach which also found freedom before it found the bottom of my landing net.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Wasting precious time.

Towards the end of the week news had reached my ever listening ears that some decent barbel had come out of the wasperton top meadow, the site of my last disastrous barbel session, so I manned up and made the decision to give it an early morning look half with barbel in mind and the dace point as a good back up.

I chose to fish a totally overgrown willow swim thinking that the barbel would be keeping well out of the gin clear open water during the day. After setting up well back from the bank I snuck into position and plopped a spicy chunk of special sausage under the thick willow.
Needless to say I never got a sniff from anything bigger than a overzealous dace, though an angler who I had spoken to as I arrived managed to bag a small barbel of around 4-5lb from the next fish able swim down. So they were in there somewhere.

After four hours of keeping low watching a motionless rod tip I opted to make a move down stream with Rob who had turned up a short while ago. Again the clear weedy Avon looked barren as the kosher section of the Auschwitz cafeteria. So we jumped in the cars and moved down to the mid section of the wasperton stretch.

What a waste of time this turned out to be! I really should have known better than to bother going down into this area. For some reason these deep slow areas of the Avon around here, though they look resplendent in there summer finery, are absolutely useless during the daylight hours. I suspect it is due to most of the resident fishing feeling rather nervous in the gin clear water filled with hungry predators wishing to eat them.

Anyway this was the sum total of nearly six hours of fishing on Sunday morning.

One tiny chulet!

As I drove home disappointed I was pretty pissed off with myself to be honest. At the moment I have developed a real sense of urgency regarding the challenge, as time is running out for some species still left to catch; once the summer months are gone these particular points will be out of reach, so spending time chasing fish or points that will still be attainable two months away in the autumn is a serious waste of precious summertime.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

mighty buttheads.

Standing looking at a mass of tackle on Wednesday night I was blank on what I should pick out for a decisive strike on an unknown river after the mighty bullhead. After perusing several rods varying from 3lb to 1.75lb test curve I shook myself back to reality and searched out my 6lb test curve beach caster. Sorry I mean my huckleberry Finn signature bamboo cane which should be more than adequate for the job in hand.

The next issue re this unusual trip was what bait to take. After deciding to wait and see what they had at Lanes on the day I found myself confusing the poor chap who served me by asking for half a pint of mainly natural pinkies with a few large maggots, a few fluro pinkies, a pinch of red squats and the same of white squats. The look I got back was priceless to say the least but after a simpering smile he went off and returned with only could be described as a half pint mini mix.

With Jacky out for the night at the works quiz I had the car to myself for a spot of adventuring. It did turn out to be a real adventure trying to find my secret spot as I had never seen it before. I found out about this spot from Andy, who every time I said the word bullhead insisted I should go here instead of following someone else's lead. And yes Andy you were spot on mate.

Upon arriving three kids were throwing stones into the little river but a scowl from an rough looking angler had them back on there bikes and off up the lane. My first view of the babbling water did not really inspire me but after a little wading around I spotted a deep rocky hole near the bridge and low and behold it was full of minnows, but underneath in between the rocks I could see the odd little fish pop out.

It was on...

With only the top metre of the Huck s and three feet of 1lb line attached, a size 22 hook and a BB shot to get the bait down I crawled a tiny path worn bare by a million kids carrying a million nets. Only problem was that not one of those million kids were over three feet tall or any wider than breeze block, whereas I am both so it was a bit of a squeeze. It was just like being a kid again hiding in the bushes poking my rod out.(Mm that does not read as well as it sounded in my head as I typed it..!) After throwing in a few freebies, half the minnow population of  the western hemisphere shot out from under a bush next to me. But as they followed the wrigglers off down stream I was given a free shot at the fellas below and bagged one first cast.

Here's a tip for any budding bullhead hunters. I noticed that they seem to be very territorial sticking to their own little area and defending it venomously. So you have to locate one catch it then move your bait to his neighbours territory and so and so forth.

After previous unsuccessful attempts I really thought it could take all night. But after fifty minutes I had caught twelve bullheads for between 2-3oz. Including two whoppers which added up to over one ounce between them, making them definite specimens.

                                                         Goliath and Hercules

Turns out trying to take a picture of twelve writhing bull heads is al lot harder to do than taking a picture of any other fish I have ever caught. It took me nine attempts to get this one decent picture and it aint that good.

Any way with a challenge point I never expected to get in the bag I hopped back in the car rather smug and with a few hours till I needed to go and pick up Jacky I headed off to do some barbel watching on a bit of river I fished many moons ago to waste some time.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Sunday morning quicky.

As a avid angler I sometimes forget that weekends are not just for fishing and that my beloved other half might like to do something on Sunday other than wait at home for me to return stinking like a fish wives apron.

So rather than spending Sunday morning into afternoon selfishly disappearing I offered to spend the day with Jacky, though an early morning should give me enough time to nip to the closest bit of river for a couple of hours fishing and still be back before 10am. That's what I said to her before she gave me that look we all know so well. You know the one that says I'll believe that when I see it!

When I arrived as always before entering a field I always have a good check to see what cloven footed beast may be residing in it before I enter. If anyone is interested in my reasons why message me and if enough are interested I may do a blog on my reasons why. With the coast clear I made my way across the field towards what I suspected would be a rather weedy upper Avon.

To say there was a lot of weed would be and understatement of the century, as it was practically bulging out of the water in places. I don't know whether its due to the cold winter but the weed seems worse than ever on the Avon. I did find one reasonably clear hole that I know usually holds a few chub. But throwing a ledger bait into the unknown would ultimately find a weedy bottom, so I instead opted to set up a chubber float and run a small bit of flake around and in between the patches of weed.

It worked a treat and second run through the float sinks and the rod bends. A fish almost first cast from a clear summer river and it made it to the net without any major hassle. It was all going a bit too well...
With the well behaved chub unhooked and put back in the net lying in a small pool of water water behind the reeds I got the camera ready for a little bloggy piccy. Taking pictures of myself is still a skill I am working on and as I am sure we all know it aint an easy task. With the camera on a higher bit of bank on my trusted mini tripod I was ready to pick up the calm occupant of the net. It turned out to be rather comical as every time I picked up the slippery chub it would stay perfectly still until my camera began to bleep as the auto timer counted down where upon Mr chavin would flip just as the camera went off. Giving me a funny film reel leading up to the one one decent shot I got.

I knew full and well that this would be a one fish deal and it turned out exactly that way, any chub that were shoaled with that one would have slunk under the weed never to be seen until the evening after seeing it's pal fall foul to that crude trick. A change of bait to a lob worm found me a couple of small perch but nothing dared venture out after a pike swirled after the last perch.

I have to say that sometimes I find it more satisfying to go and catch one fish in almost improbable situations rather than baggin loads in perfectly plausible situations. 

When I arrived home with five minutes to spare the front door was opened by a shocked Jacky who I honestly believed never thought I'd be back on time.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Be strong Danny and ignore the tench

Thursday Afternoon I arranged to meet up with Andy at Napton for an into-the-evening session. I was solely intent on perch and Andy was more interested in crucians and tench; the latter he was sure to encounter.After admitting by text to Keith that I was returning for a third session on the trot I discovered he too was returning, and like me he was hell bent on some fluviatilis action.

I am convinced that Napton holds some very good perch and even more convinced that the large dividing stone jetty between the two lakes is a perfect place to taget these fish. Initally I set up on the rocks facing into the small sqaure half of the lake but after plunbing around the swim found a mixture of several types of weed up to two feet deep in places. I made the quick decision to move over onto the other side of the bridge opposite the swim where I bagged all those tench four days ago, which was now occupied by Keith. Andy was a little down the bank where he had been since earlier in the day which left a neat rack of bloggers to assault the reservoir.

Determined to resist and ignore the tench I set up a highly buoyant pole float to enable me to present a lob worm well off the bottom above the feeding tench. Once entrenched a constant stream of red maggots would attract the attention of any tench, which in turn should attract some nice perch in with their intent grubbing around.

For the first few hours my plan seemed to be working as my float remained as still as the bridge that shadowed it, but persistence paid off when I began to get a few knocks. When the float did bury I was convinced the savage head shaking would be from a big perch. then it woke up and powered off in a very tench like way. With a nice female of 3-4lb out the way I went back to business, flicking out a massive lob worm this time surely to be for a delicate feeding tench to bother with...

Another bite surged off but this time it felt very different. Just before it snapped me off I caught a glimpse of a pike as it made off back to the depths. Two more lost tench later it all went very quiet and stayed that way for another hour or so, though the constant chatter regarding Andy's secret sausage bait and all the possible double entendrees that could possibly relate to such a subject kept us amused.

Over the channel Keith was suffering a similar run as I was with slight bites here and there a few tench and even a run in with a suspected pike, though he had managed to nab a couple of small perch as well as one bigger example.

My next bite I was convinced that a good perch was attached but once again a small tench rolling on the surface put pay to that theory.

As the light went I did bag my only perch of the session of 8oz which I sadly neglected to photograph before returning. Our quid each bet on the biggest perch of the night I believe went to Keith though I still owe him my nugget, I am sure he'll take a double or nothing offer next time we both target the same species.

With the light all but gone we all packed up then eagerly convened to see Andy's bulging net pulled from the water. Twenty nine tench and a decent sprinkling of perch proved to heavy a weight to be pulled up onto the rocky bank, so instead a considerate Andy perched on the edge of the water in the darkness counting back the tench as the they were returned whilst myself and Keith took a few photos.

Piscatorus Andyus and Tinica tinica

Though it had been a bit of a let down regarding the perch fishing, as we left mother nature treated us with a cracking sunset complete with huge amount of fish topping all over the part of the lake we weren't fishing on.