As any of my facebook friends will already know, last week I suffered a bereavement. My favourite rod bit the proverbial dust in the worst possible way, meaning it did not break as all rods should deserve to, under the pressure of some unexpected leviathan; instead it went quietly and unnoticed until I spotted the already rather diminished and only remaining quiver tip shattered beyond repair.
With the appropriate amount of sulking and mourning observed I pondered whether, with only days of the fishing season remaining I should replace it, or wait until autumn to do so. Having given up smoking earlier this year I felt a little reward for my efforts would be justified considering my small financial gains.
I have for ages been denying myself a new rod purchase, as frankly I did not need one. Up until now. For a good long time I have been tempted by one these http://www.anglingdirect.co.uk/store/masterline-rovex-john-wilson-avon-quiver-deluxe-length-ft-11-13ft from Angling direct. So after checking the price against my local tackle emporium and finding they wanted a hefty £30 more for an older version I made my purchase.
Wow! I think is the only way to describe the service. Hand picked and checked over before being sent out this rod was in my hands in, I s*** you not, 22 hrs. I was like a kid in a candy shop unable to wait to open it and I was not disappointed because it really looked nice.
On my way home Friday I stopped off to get me ears lowered before going home for a shower and a shave. I had a date with a brand spanking new bit of carbon this weekend and the only thing I needed was a bend, and what better place than my favourite chub hole on the Upper Warks Avon to get one.
Late in the afternoon Saturday I arrived at a calm river as the sun's probing light became obscured by intermittent cloud. The river although clear looked like spring was having its effect and small fish dimpled the margins.
As well as treating myself to the new rod I also invested in a kilo of dendrobenas to use over the coming three days. So my first action before casting out was to chop up an entire bait tub worth and bait dropper it in mixed with a generous helping of red maggots just on the edge of a crease emanating off my own bank.
Finally I made my first cast with the new rod before settling it lovingly on the rest where upon I began to ponder the white tip...
I have never owned a rod with the entire quiver tip section painted white before. Though instantly I understand the advantages of why it should WHAM! the tip arched round as a chub found my two half's of a lob worm in the mess of chop in the crease. Unusually for me I had brought a keep net along, and once I had the culprit in hand, I made my way upstream to put out the net to keep this character from returning back to the shoal I hoped to continue plundering.
On the way to stake out the net I came across a distressing but surprisingly familiar site lying amongst the dead reeds. I have in my angling life seen absolutely loads of dead sheep in rivers all over the country which can only lead to one conclusion. Sheep can't swim very well.
Although it did not smell I did make a mental note not to put anything that may have been in contact with river water in my mouth, as I did not fancy a mild dose of anthrax screwing up my weekend.
Not long after this Andy dropped by for a chat in the now falling light and around the same time I began to get some bites that were very un chub like. The slight taps and savage rattles seemed more like roach or like something desperate to have a go at the bait, but unwilling to leave the shadows. After three strikes into nothing I finally connected with a perfect pound perch.
Although they kept moving in and out of the swim I constantly got harassed by this determined shoal who were intent and quite successful may I say at nabbing as many of my worms without getting hooked as possible. I did land one more but all to soon the sun set and it was time for a few pictures.
Another perfect Warwickshire Avon chub
Pristine perch that I seriously doubt have ever been landed before
My next plan was to head to a totally different section of the Avon for Sunday's jaunt, but with a appointment for Sunday lunch with Jacky's mother, going too far seemed senseless. So I refilled my worm tub and headed back to the swim I had left less than twelve hours before to take advantage of all that worm I lobbed in.
On the way across the meadow I walked a purposely large detour so as to avoid showing myself on the sky line and spooking anything in residence. On the way I spotted this. I have seem mole hills all over but nothing like this. The only explanation can be that this mole be heavily influenced by the loony tunes as this was some old school acme burrowing which lead to some nice fresh mole hills that I bagged for later use in conjunction with my worms.
It was a real 'get out and get some done' before the sun grew too bright to be fishing such clear water. This reverse session went exactly as I suspected it might - lots of interest straight away after more chopped worm was deposited.
Again I hadn't been cast out long when a bigger chub crashed the party and tore up the swim.
The new rod performed great in subduing this brute as it dived into every reed bed within reach and every time the rod had enough power to ether stop it or pull it out still on the hook.
Other than this four pound plus chub the only other interest I seemed to get diminished as the sun rose higher in the azure sky. It got to that point where I knew with the gin clear water clarity there was little chance of any more bites so I left my gear amongst the reeds and wandered off to have one last look into the depths. Then I walked away from the river for the off season with a nice fish and a smile on my face to finish it.
My third trip of the weekend could not be more of a opposite to the previous two, for it was my first foray in the seedy world of commercial perching. I knew it would be a shock even though I had timed it specifically to be on a Monday when the thronging hordes were hopefully back at work or at least signing on.
Even with the chosen lake as quiet as it was, I did get the distinct feeling I had swapped Crabtree for NASCAR. But there is a reason way I was here. Last year along with Andy I targeted a prolific section of canal where I personally bagged no less than twenty four perch over 2lb. Only problem was that my best was 2.8lb and for all the hours and money I put in driving the long miles to the canal I felt that I could have probably done better going over to the dark side where three pound fish seem to have become very common, living neglected as the apex predator in the world of pellets and sweetcorn.
Only the day before I had heard along the grapevine that this small lake had no less than seventeen bivvies round it and all the residents having two rods nailed tight to one of two islands. Today however there was only me, Keith, and one hardcore carp angler leftover from the day before. So I opted to fish my third of the lake in quiet area under the breeze where I'd seen a few silvers topping.
It was not a good choice as for all my worms and effort I only had two slimy skimmers to my name as lunch approached. So I made the decision to move to the exact opposite swim right at the end of the lake where the wind was blowing and the scum was collecting.
I had been thinking that sooner or later my liberal depositing of chopped worm would attract the unwanted attention of one the many carp in the lake. And I was right as first cast in the new swim my float slid away and I struck into a solid lump which turned out to be foul hooked after my hook retuned with a few scales threaded onto it.
A few casts later I hooked one for real and the new rod with it's Avon top performed beautifully subduing a nice looking common of 11lb in a very sporting manner. Even though I was pleased with the performance of the rod I did not look too impressed when it came to the piccy.
The day had been perfect in my opinion for the perch to feed and Keith had dug in and landed a few small ones for his efforts. I on the other hand thought I had missed my chance when the sun finally burnt of the hazy clouds and the sun illuminated the water.
Luckily for me me I noticed one of the few bits of fauna on the lake was casting a shadow over the water and intersected my baited area. If you're not catching, a change in any way can bring a bite even if it goes against all hard rules of fishing law. So with that in mind I drew my worm bait towards the shadow one turn of the reel handle at a time which pulled the worm off the bottom before it sank slowly. Once it got to close in I recast it and repeated the same process again.
On my forth go the float got just to the shadow before the it bobbed nervously then slid away. This time the fish felt the right size and then I saw that stripy flank and my blood began pumping. Of all the fish bar the zander, big perch get me nervous when I am playing them. Bony mouths and erratic fights are a recipe for loss so undeniably I rushed this one to the net.
It wasn't three three I wanted or the four that I dreamed of, but at 2.10lb it was bigger than anything I caught on the cut last year and also validated my change of venue type on my very first outing.
I did stick around for another hour or so and did get a few more shy perchish bite but nothing came of them.
But now I have seen for myself what is on offer on these pike and zander free waters where perch grow big at the top of the food chain I find myself thinking where else might hold an as yet uncaught monster...
Oh and as for the new rod... What can I say? Not only did it look good but it performed in every situation in which I put it. Yoking spring chub from dead reed beds, taming savage carp runs and being forgiving enough to land my first decent commercial perch.
So the only thing left to say are that if you are considering a new quiver /avon I highly recommend the Masterline Rovex John Wilson Avon quiver deulux as it actually does everthing it says it does and probably a bit more too.