Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The game has changed.

I have been out a few times in the last few days and on all occasions the fish have been rather finicky due to the drop in temperature.

Last weekend myself and Jeff visited the Avon early. As we crossed the river in the dark the water surface steamed where it contacted with the cold night air. I would be lying if  I didn't say that I for one thought it was going to be a real special session. But I was very wrong! Nothing fancied it at all. No babs, no zeds, Jeffs roach made a slight attempt at feeding but they never really got into to it.
I was lucky to land one solitary bream a short while after first light which helped me avoid the blank but honestly this not what I was after. All morning Jeff gave a running commentary on the water and air temperature which is where my thoughts on the current fishing situation have come from. With air temp of around 3c and water temp of 10c+ to begin with, both dropped as the sun rose and as it did so did our hopes of catching.
By 9am I had given up on Barbel and Zander and now chanced lobbies into slack clear water for perch. It seemed the drop in temp had affected them too. As the best I managed was a few trembles of the tip. Only a month ago that same worm wouldn't last two seconds on the bottom in the same area before it would have been engulfed by one of  hundreds of tiny perch.

Although last Sunday on the Avon hadn't been a resounding success I wasn't that down about it. We all knew this was coming and so now the game is changing so must we players. For there is no point trying to catch Crucians on frosty mornings. With that in mind I thought carefully about what to do on my impromptu mid week foray. I had hoped the liberal downpour we had on Monday may have added a hint of colour to the river. Then I would have gone after barbel, but it never touched it! My back up was to go down to the land of the giant perch and bag a few two's.

Turned out they too were suffering from early winter lethargy. I moved five times before I got a bite and had been through the whole repertoire just to get that. All our normal spots felt very exposed to me and I wondered if the fish felt the same? so around dinner time I settled snugly behind a tree and fished tight to a rusting old narrow boat.

It took an age for the bites to materialize and the first one looked suspiciously like a crayfish making off with my bait. My slight strike intended to pull my bait from it's nippy claws was met by solid resistance. Not that 'holy shit this is big' resistance but that 'ah crap I've hooked the earth' resistance.  
I hate pulling for breaks but I had no choice. But as I did, what ever I was connected to began to move. I pulled it right into the edge before it stopped when the trace hit the tip ring, then I grabbed the line with my hands. I didn't notice the group of walkers standing close by until one said "what is it?" thinking it was a fish. I knew what I thought it was, but no one wants to hear 'it's a bin bag full of dead puppies'  or 'it's a severed head wrapped in clingfilm' do they? Turned out it was neither when a handle slowly rose through the water.
I had to laugh as I pulled a dripping golf umbrella from the canal and politely asked it belonged to any of them.

Strangely the removal of the brolly didn't ruin the swim, as it's hard to ruin a swim that ain't fishing. Turned out that recovery the stinking silt covered brolly was a sign. When rain began to dapple the surface I thought this is all I need. But things took a strange turn... The rain actually brought bites. The first run on my dead rod resulted in a bait sized Zander and the second yielded a nice plump canal schoolie of 3-4lb which went berserk once hooked.

After this the perch showed, if only for a short while. I landed a couple of pound plus fish in the tail end of the rain. But once the rain stopped the bites to dried up.
This made me wonder. How often do you think you are sitting there not getting any bites when under the surface there are unseen fish within millimetres of your bait that are not prepared to consume it because of some external factor like the weather.

My third trip of this tale was one that has been brewing for a while. I have what can only be termed as a strained relationship with this moody ancient estate lake. Coombe fishery is literally only minutes from my front door and it really has potential to throw up some very special fish... if only you can get one out.
I have seen carp over thirty pounds under my feet, I know for a fact that Zander inhabit this water that are so close to the British record, that one good meal could push them over it and there is so much water that monsters of any species that reside in it may have never seen a hook.

BUT! as I explained to Andy before we went. It is a brutal water that nine and a half days out of ten will do you over and on that half day she tempts you to come back for another nine days of spanking.
The amount of times I have done that sorrowful walk back to the car park and sworn I will never return is unbelievable but here I was again pike rods in hand and a pocket full of hope.

It's not hard to see what attracts me back! She is as beautiful as she is hard.

We did locate some feeding pike close to the slipway that trickles out into smite brook. Their slashing at the prey fish was enough to keep us entrenched for a while but once again coombe gave up nothing of what it had to offer.
My time to bang my head against the brick wall that is coombe was limited today, as I had a prior appointment to attend. One I was in no uncertain terms to be late for! And yet I was late. And yes, I did incur Jacky's wrath for being late.

About three years ago myself and Jacky decided we would like a pet and as we both work long hours it would have been unfair for us to get a dog or cat when we knew it would spend most of it's days locked up in our house. So we got a ourselves a pair of guinea pigs of which Jacky had lots of experience and I had none. Over time I have really grown to love these hilarious little animals which have as bigger characters as they do appetites (very large) Unfortunately one of our pigs called Bubble suddenly passed away a short while ago and I have no qualms in admitting that I for one was heart broken. After a short while, where we let her housemate Squeak settle down, we began to look for a suitable partner for her.

Three year old female Dutch Cavy 
with First floor luxury apartment,
country retreat on lawn and condo in shed 
seeks similar female Cavy or 
youngish neutered male for munchies and friendship
Stinkers may not apply!

It took a while but finally we found one that suited at http://www.rspca-coventry.org.uk/ re-homing centre and after passing the home check we took our little piggy to meet her potential new friend. After a very successful meet we got to bring him home, and here he his:


And he loves ripping the Angling Times to shreds.


  1. Fear not Danny. I've had a word with the Big Man and he says every blank hour you spend at Coombe is doubled and added on to the end of your life.

    So we might both yet live to one hundred.

    Nice pig BTW. I have a pair of boy-pigs with their bollocks intact and who spend most of their waking life trying to kill each other - whilst separated by a wire grill.

  2. I reckon that groundbait is the way with Coombe. A load of well past sell date trout liquidised along with a trade sized bag of bran, made into big balls, frozen, and then lobbed out on a windy day to create a big oily slick.

    As they say at sea, 'no chum, no shark'...

  3. I would say you had a point Jeff if I hadn't already thrown just about every thinkable type of bait into that dammed lake.
    The only thing I haven't ever thrown in there has skull and cross bones printed on the label!
    and I think that may change coombes SSSI status for sure.
    As far as I can tell there is only one thing that gets fish out, TIME and lots of it. The current ratio according to the regulars is 1 x run to 48 hours of fishing....