Friday, 23 June 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Big Guggs and Camel Toes

The Zander challenge disappointments and its inevitable motivation bollock kicking ability I’m now back fishing and well up for it. A recent family Holiday in (not) much sunnier climes, what with work and the busy family life, I've struggled to get out on the bank so three bleeding weeks without dangling ones maggot, hmmm not good.

Hopefully I’ll try and increase my session frequency especially as for this season I have an option of fishing in to dark if need be.

That's when hopefully the proper monsters will appear....



The kids can be full on sometimes and I’ve said before without a little solitude and a little time for myself I’d probably go off one’s rocker.

Usually I would try and fish the 16th but to be honest I’m not sure about anyone else but usually the first few months on the return to the rivers are usually quiet rod wise so I wasn’t really that bothered to be fair. Anyway, the Wife bless her cotton socks was on a Hen Do for the weekend dolled up as Su Pollard from Hi-de-Hi in yellowcoats leaving me to entertain 2 young monkeys determined to cause havoc.

Yes don't worry I didn’t forget to mention the Sunday was Father Day too....



It's been uncomfortably hot over the last week so to be honest I haven't really had the motivation to go fishing and drag me away from feet dangling in the paddling pool and the inevitable gin and tonic.

Apart from the canal where I fish for Zander in the closed season and the odd friendly match here and there on stillwaters the rivers are where my heart is. I took part in the bloggers challenge last year where a last gasp capture of either a decent Zander or a Carp on the last day of the river season would have bumped me up in to second place behind fish machine James Dension and a nadger above Sean Dowling on the river leaderboard.

It went far better than expected too, with a 20lb river carp caught with no skill whatsoever, it was a mere underarm chuck of a boilie bait in to the margins to try and trap a patrolling carp.


Angling is lots of luck after all…

The Bleak British record is only 4oz’s so some drug dealers scales are required, these Salter Precision Digital Micro Digital Scales where about the best I could muster up.

Metric and Imperial, job’s a good’un….

Now the other species I plan to target the river and locations have already been mapped out more or less, so it is a matter of getting on with it, get those species crossed off and the points totting up.

Sam wanted to catch his first Gudgeon, so I also planned to try for them on the diminutive river Stour where I know some Ruffe could be caught too, maggots catch anything that swims after all so they will feature quite a lot in this season’s campaign.



So for this short evening session to get some initial points on the challenge board, starting off small and get bigger, I wanted to fish amongst the swims at an area I refer to as the Camel Toe. This unusual area of the Avon I fish mainly in the winter for Chub as it feature filled, but there is one swim that bleak are in residence from the season off and in numbers too, and another swim that usually has some clonking Gonks, so with a trotting set-up for the Bleak and a light link set-up for the bottom feeding Gudgeon what would be the biggest I could manage.

They might not even be there, the rivers change so much….So anyway, back on to the session.



Exactly as planned the target species were in the swims. What was nice to see was the state of the river, the amount of fish was incredible, I should have come with my keepnet. The Kingfishers were as active as ever, the river looking alive.

Fish caught, Bleak, Gudgeon, Dace, Chub, Minnows....

So as usual the fish started small and got bigger.

Biggest Bleak, 1.06oz a battle scared warrior and the biggest Gudgeon a nice gonk at 1.26oz's that came at dusk.


Now I know there are much bigger Bleak to be had on the Lower Severn, so my quest isn't over for them yet, but the Gonk is about the biggest I've had and I doubt the Stour will throw up something bigger so that will have to be the scores on the doors.

So, so nice to be back on flowing water....

Friday, 16 June 2017

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

At my local B&M store, and only a quid a tin....


Looking forward to trying it out when I get a chance :-(

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT66 – Shaggers, Shysters and Shoalers

So this was the final session of my closed season Zander quest, sadly despite making some significant progress the previous year where some near double fish were caught, this season couldn’t have been any different.

A massive disappointment on the whole but I’ve decided to continue on the quest and give it another bash again in 2018.

I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong either, as there just hasn’t been any big fish banked and hardly any signs some were lurking either.


I’ve travelled around a little too and also fished extensively a two mile stretch that was home to my PB of 9lb another good fish at 8lb 10oz and also a 7 lber. There are nice fish to be had on the stretch that’s for sure and the only saving grave I suppose was witnessing a large fish come up in the water on the retrieval of a deadbait and it came to enquire.

So they are there that’s for sure….

Thing is I’ve found with this Zander fishing lark, schoolies really are ten a penny, the large fish, very rare indeed. They are the proverbial needle in a haystack.

With so much water to cover the haystack just seems to get bigger and BIGer and BIGGER.

The more time I spend on canals though it just makes me appreciate them more and more. Certainly my neck of the woods anglers really are very rare indeed, so I more or less have the local stretches to fish exclusively which is nice. Also if I eventually bag a double I might switch to trying to capture a canal 20lb carp as the more time I spend on the cut I’ve realised stay mobile, find the fish and some big ones could we grace ones net.


The problem is I felt this season I’d do it and yet it was polar opposite, I’ve gone backwards.

Whilst the floats have remained motionless some of the highlights have been a women jogger with a backside to rival Kylies, some great twitching and wildlife spotting opportunities, spawning Zander ,a party boat that crashed in to a tree in spectacular fashion and last week a group of carp without a care in the world parading right in front of me.

Now another thing I’ve grown to appreciate is the way these Zander move around in obviously large shoals, an hour float static and then the turn up, switch on and multiple runs are had, multiple fish caught. Not the biggest fish usually but some cracking sport from turbid waters most people think wouldn’t even contain any fish.


But that’s how I like it, solitude is the key for my fishing and canals offer that on the most part. Sometimes boats on certain sections can be frequent but usually I can go a full 4 or 5 hour session without seeing a single one.

Now this last session I wanted to see if the carp were back in residence so a sleeper rod was in the margins over a load of dead maggots and floats tight to some cover. 2 hours in I was due for a move but then the right hand float goes and a pack had turned up.

Multiple runs, multiple fish, 8 or 9 fish banked in an hour and no bites missed.

Biggest, a waspers dream, a rod bending 2lb 8oz'er. Carp rod, not a bleep.


I use size 1 Sakuma Manta offset hooks with the barb crushed and despite Zander often doing a perch trick of properly swallowing the bait this season I’ve not had to put any out of their misery.

The set-up I use is so tried and trusted too, no point dabbling in anything else. The overdepth float set-up registering any interest with superb amplification.

Now talking about amplification, I’m not talking about many anglers who like to overegg their fish but I’ve now using larger baits than ever and certainly my catch rates have improved, albeit not the size of the fish I’m after.


So what will I do different next season to reverse the trend, well a few things really.

Apart from fishing the familiar because I know I’ve been unlucky not banking other than the humdrum there is another area that has been on my radar for some time that I’ve never fished in angler despite knowing it has potential.

Heck I might even make the trip to the Gloucester and Sharpness, anyone up for joining me ?


Also when the river is in flood particularly in the winter months I’d continue the quest as certainly the colder for better if I’m to back a double figure fish. I just find the colder weather more productive. Maybe the big Zander are holdings station and drop a bait in its locality it will find it.

It’s those likely holding areas that I’m now starting to work out, I’m sure as I’ve said before, I’m sure I’ve just been unlucky.

So, till the next time, the quest continues….

Monday, 29 May 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT66 – Blimey O'Slimey

A bit of break from the cut for this session and it was on a secret lake with Danny that apparently held some good eels. 

Not only that but there maybe some hidden gems judging by how the morning panned out.It was a reccy session for both of us and I’m sure we will be back again this time with some knowledge gained.


I managed to bank one at 1lb 1oz on lobworm for a few challenge points but also gave me a little time to contemplate how I am going to tackle my last Zander session of the closed season.


Rig was a JS style, with a couple of lobworms. Another angler who was present lost a couple of eels so certainly encouraging signs.


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