So far this season I have made very efficient use of my time I think. Not only do my captures reflect as much but my standing in the current fishing challenge does as well. In the latter case I find myself slipstreaming the leading group with an eye to challenge the top three over the colder months when the sport moves towards advantageous species for me. And considering I can't get out fishing nearly as much as the people ahead of me, then I think I am doing well really.
Retaining this efficient vibe I needed to do some reccy work on a section of the Warks Avon that I'd specifically joined a club to fish, and what better way of clocking out a venue than to actually lure fish it, which I was itching to get back at anyway. You see a lot of people just see lure fishing as a great way to catch predatory fish, which it is... But I like to treat it as leading around (as carp anglers do) as well as trying to catch predators. I've said this before but it's worth saying again that you can figure out loads of information about a venue by slinging out lures; by throwing jigs depth, type of bottom, weed bed location and snags are all discovered. Whilst throwing lures around I always keep my eyes open for fishy activity and this not only helps locate predators but other target fish too.
I actually went to this section of river to have a lure session very early in the summer but on that occasion the temperature was so high that it felt like I was in a sauna outside. On that occasion I abandoned my attempts to fish that section and instead sought the deep shade of a lower section where I found a few jack pike lingering amongst the summer rushes, and filled my brain with information about the section that has produced some nice barbel last month for me.
On this session the summer seemed a distant memory with heavily over cast skies and impending rain soon to arrive. The river though looked slightly coloured in the deep weir pool I began on. Looking into the margins revealed the truth though, that the Avon's waters were very clear indeed with three or four feet of visibility. I felt sure this would actually work in my favour so as any predators couldn't fail to see my lures. I began by targeting the slower parts of the weir pool using a natural coloured shad style baits on a ten gram jig heads to send it quickly down to the bottom. Quickly I was building a picture in my mind of where the gravelly areas were and location of any snags. My first bit of interest came when I bounced the lure through a large eddy on the opposite side of the weir and the rod buckled over as something snatched the falling lure. It felt like a very good fish as it kept low down in the foaming water. Unfortunately the hook let go of its hold as the fish fought away on the depths. As the line fell slack and reeled to get back control the lure the fish actually hit it again shaking its head before letting go again. An inspection of the rubber lure showed slashes along its side which more than likely meant a nice pike had just got away.
After moving above the weir I concluded to actually walk along the stretch as far as I felt I could before working my way back down fishing alternative pegs as I went. I like to do this as when I cast lures on these pegged out sections of water as I find myself casting quite far upstream and downstream, therefore large areas of water get covered from adjoining swims and because of it being a big stretch of water I can cover more water than if I was fishing every swim. Saying all this though, if there's something that perks my interest I will just go into that swim and fish anyway. Which was exactly the case with the swim I began in.
How could I resist a close to fifty foot long stretch of willows hanging right out over the water. From what it looked like the water under them was deep, dark and the perfect resting or ambush point. The lure went in and dropped easily fifteen feet on a soft bottom. I systematically worked the lure back before firing it back close to the overhanging leaves. I'd covered maybe a third of the feature when I got hit hard as the lure crossed the centre of the river. I don't know if the fish had followed the lure out of the cover or if it had crossed its path in the main flow, but whichever way, it wanted it and was now connected to my rod. It shot down stream as I reeled down on it and tried to keep it from diving straight into the pads in the margins of my bank. The fish did get into those weeds but softening autumn weed and braid aren't good bedfellows and soon the round pads were off downstream and I had a nice looking zander bundled into my net.
The colouration of the fish indicated the light was getting down to the bottom but surprisingly they were still up for a feed. Maybe the depth was a factor here and it inclines them to feed even though the water was clear. This definitely seemed the case when I got a second hit from further down in the same swim. This one though got off from either a bad hook set or maybe it just let go. A few swims later the same thing happened, I got a hard thump and a quick head shake before the fish was gone. I am sure both lost fish were zander that had grabbed the lure beyond the hook and I was also sure that all the fish were picked up as the lure crossed their path mid river where I suspect they might have been laying on the bottom.
I had to work through what seemed like a prime area as I went down stream. It had cover on both banks and lots of pads and weed in the margins to conceal any predators. Honestly I thought it was going to be pike city but it turned out to be pretty barren no matter what lures I threw at it. Things didn't change until I moved into a section with a long clean cut reed bed along the opposite bank. Here the river dropped off at the bank into ten feet of water and once again this depth seemed to be a factor as straight away I hooked another zander lingering around the middle of the river. This was smaller than the first one I landed but still fought hard and was reluctant to come up and when it did just gave up rolling into the net.
The pike though were conspicuous by their absence on this session and it wasn't until the river started to shallow up towards the weir that a tiny one shot out and grabbed my falling lure. Though very cleanly hooked, this miniature monster bit the tail off of a brand new that I'd only cast once. Having unhooked it the tail of the lure was hooked up in though band new needle-like teeth. I only tugged at it gently and the tail of the shad was gone, leaving me with useless rubber ornament on my hook.
The river and my time soon ran out and I left it alone not long after that little pike swam away. I did give the weir one last go and covered the water where I'd lost that big fish first thing but that was no avail. I had been a good session on both the fish and the reccy front. I'd figured quite decent overview of the depth of the stretch, I'd found some interesting features in which to target later in the year and also got a few hints that there could be a very good population of good averaged sized zander in the area which I will definitely be targeting once the water is up and coloured and their after an easy meal.