Monday, 20 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Mavericks and Microorganisms

I had planned to fish with Sam for some Chub but he woke up Saturday morning having overnight had been properly been hit by a virus. His temperature over 40 degrees that wasn’t coming down with Calpol, heart rate racing. He was knocked for six.

The Wife had a chat with 111, next minute he is in Warwick hospital for 5 hours. Eventually they were happy with him to go home, so back late straight to bed.

So I didn’t know what to do Sunday morning with the partner in crime out of action so with some decent Perch turning up a one of my clubs waters it was lure in hand to try and find one or two.

Now the river is low, very low, clear, very clear so I didn’t expect much, a small tiny Jack was about the only action and that dropped off the hook, but you know what, sometimes it’s just nice to be out when everyone else is tucked up in bed.

Sam after 12 hours kip, was back to normal, so all well for next weekend hopefully, the search for big Chub must continue.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon - Psychosoma's and Philistines

I’ve never been able to properly absorb myself in a book, not sure why, maybe I just haven’t got one of those brains. To be honest, I find it a pain in the backside because the Wife is the total opposite and sometimes she is that captivated and engrossed she just cannot put the book down.

I really can see the appeal….

You see as a must needed solitude seeker, it could we be another addition to my armoury. As I’ve said many time before, with rod in hand my mind ends up elsewhere,

as my thoughts switch to fish not to today….

Music rather than print is very very different for me, in-fact sometimes especially some of ambient stuff I listen to, I’m that in to it, I sort of have an out-of-body experience, basically I’m that away from it sometimes it’s acting like a sleep substitute .

However, a case can be made for “no music”, where silence would be your best companion. Music is a physical stimulus after all, so listening to it means a constant input from one of your physical senses. For most, music could help in the initial relaxation, it can also be a constant pull bringing your attention to the physical dimension and as a consequence making your astral body or psychosoma take off harder.

Energies are the mechanism to evoke and interact with extraphysical entities. So the music will tend to create a matching extraphysical energy environment. This process is usually unconscious, but it can affect the quality of your out-of-body experience. I don’t have that problem, hence probably why I’ve been a lover, producer and DJ of electronic music ever since I discovered it nudges my neurons.

Decent cosseting and comfortable wireless and noise cancelling headphones are the key (I use Plantronics BackBeat Pro’s), you really do need the right hardware as it can lead to success or failure.

Give it a bash, I’ve never looked back….

Now talking of solitude seeking, here the river appears asleep, so feeble is the current, species here many, sanctuary in abundance. For the fisherman it’s a case of double dipping, so for this dawn short session it was meat on one rod, dead or worm on the other,

Sit back and wait as it’s a guess what will turn up and that’s what keeps me coming back….

I couldn't believe how bad the river looked mind you, ridiculously low and a little bb float could have happily sat there holding station, it was static. Loads of leaves sat on the surface too, hmmm, not good.

After an hour and a bit of motionless everything bar a tiny perch I decided to upticks and venture to an area with a little more oxygen and it was a move worth making. With a few minutes of deadbait out a fish picked it up and was taking line.

Felt a reasonable fish too and after a couple of abated runs it was in the net.

A nice Zander of 7lb 6oz and a few more points to the tally.

A proper nice dark fish with a pretty big head, it's certainly got a lot of growing to do.

Another hour, without even a nibble and with the rain coming down I called it a day.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Otters and Oneirocriticism

The race had started, the hill mimicked Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, but in this race an out of control horse box and Labrador nudging a field mouse were neck and neck, until a mole hill upset the house boxes chassis, causing it to overturn.

The dog the victor...

Yeap I’d been at the Stilton again courtesy of some good friends of ours who laid on another fantastic Sunday roast.

Now as someone who experiences some very vivid dreams from time to time, usually curiously of the blue veined stuff, I do like to do some research to try and interpret my subconscious mind.

To dream that you are climbing a hill signifies your struggles in achieving a goal. You need to focus your energies on the prize. To dream that you are standing on top of a hill suggests that you have succeeded in your endeavours and that you have the necessary resources to complete the task at hand.

Dreaming that you are going down a hill means that things are not going your way. You are experiencing some setbacks. Alternatively, the dream signifies regression or repressed thoughts.

To see a hill in your dream symbolizes challenges or obstacles that you will confront in the near future. Alternatively, the hill may represent your desire to escape from your current situation. Dreaming of rolling hills refer to life's ups and downs.

But then there’s the mouse which apparently indicates that you are spending too much time dwelling on minor problems and insignificant matters.

Hmmmm, to be honest, not far off a couple of things that have happened this week that did fit the interpretation. I even relayed the dream to the Wife who’d been tossing and turning because of the ridiculously huge winter duvet that was preventing her from sleeping.

Yeap, it’s coming, hopefully as quickly as it was put on….

So I need to start looking up the hill rather than down it and reach that peak, that for me, fishing related anyway is a Warwickshire Avon, 5lb Chub.

Up till now they have eluded me, and despite catching numerous 4lber’s up to but not exceeding 4lb 13oz I’ve still not got that monkey off my back.

Winter on the way though and the Chub are getting fat so I’m going to give them another bash, I’ve an area in mind where I know they reside (They’ve come out in matches) but before I fish there it’s down to pastures well known to me.

You see this part of the Warwickshire Avon is feature filled and has a good chub population, one memorable session I’d had four bites and banked 4, 4lbers.

I got to the banker swim and as I was baiting up (lobworms as there are some clonking Perch here too) I heard and saw a disturbance in the margins, then the wake moves from left to right and an otter pops his head out

Bold as brass….

Half an hour on in had thought about moving on, but the tip whacked over and a Chub was on. I like using balanced tackle for Chub and it was giving the 1.2TC TFG River and Stream rod a decent work out. It’s a lovely light blank so from roving from swim to swim it’s ideal.

It tried and failed to get under some far bank cover and it was landed.

3lb 6oz’s….

Working my way down the available swims a couple of chublets were caught and then on to a swim that usually has visibly feeding Barbel. It’s quite elevated and bites are quick from Chub as they are usually just off the flow in an area of slack picking over the food stuffs that come their way.

No sooner as the lobs settle the rod whoops over. This was a much smaller fish that obviously had been having a tough life with it all as it was missing a huge portion of its flanks right down to the bone. It looked quite a recent wound by the looks of it too, probably escaping the clutches of said otter.

For this time of year it was underweight, so will it see out the depths of the winter, maybe not.

As soon as the sun came up the clear water was evident the fishing was much tougher, a couple more chublets, a few small Perch and a few missed bites it was time to head home.

My exposed pinkies and the biting wind, it was becoming a little unpleasant.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Panjandrums and Pollywogs

It did make me laugh the other day a teacher quit his job after he couldn’t cope even after the first term, you see the 4 years at University didn’t tell him that possibly he would have to work till 6.30pm sometimes, yes,

6.30pm I tell you !!!!, madness…

Eddie Ledsham left teaching in tears after just one term in the classroom, blaming 'impossible hours' and unrealistic targets. The 22 year-old, from Wallasey, Merseyside, filmed himself moaning and said it had become 'damaging to his emotional and psychological well-being'. It all came as a shock to him apparently….wow, what a generation we’re in,

first world problems and all that....

I’d love to know what his parents thought about his toys out the pram and the huge dept he’s left them with. The thing is there is no doubt teaching ain’t an easy profession but welcome to the real world, it’s tough out there, he has received obscene amount of press coverage to be honest, but then any sort of rant especially one that goes ‘viral’ does get lots of attention.

My Dad passed the work ethic on to me and many of my generation are of the same mind, so where did it go wrong I wonder because an easy life seems to be very much the norm for many millennials.

I hate the term 'Generation Snowflake' but it certainly fits....

We as a family up sticks and emigrated to South Africa in to the unknown for two and a half years when I was eight because of the work situation in the UK, that’s in a time of no internet, emails and mobile phones, in fact most of communication was done by airmail such was the cost of making phone calls, and it was out first time ever out of the country.

I actually still remember when we got to Heathrow, all our belongings on two trolleys, the passports and some dosh seemingly left behind in a briefcase by accident, luckily all recovered as my panic stricken Dad looked like he was heading towards a heart attack.

From my own point of view I reckon it’s the demise of conkers in schools and the banning of British Bulldog, too much mollycoddling going on you see, just imagine playing rugby in the snow these days, wouldn’t happen, forgot ones PE kit, vest and pants please, hmm yeah things definitely different in my day.

Maybe ‘Eddie’ wouldn’t have been such a tart over it all, if he was conditioned a little better....

I’ve been watching series 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix where I’m on the Pollywog episode where Dustin finds and unusual creature in his garbage and decides to look after it and after sneaking it in the house in his homemade Ghostbusters trap. Watching the series really brought back the 1980’s to me, the movies, the music, the Bmx’s, break dancing on bits of cardboard, and the simpler life especially for kids where it’s now dominated by having to conform to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Looking back over ones childhood years where I went through a phase of making dens, setting fire to stuff, messing around with CB radios and illegal amplifiers, riding my BMX like a loon and also fishing. You see I used to ride with all the tackle strapped to my bike down to Packington Somers most weekends to try and catch some fish. Usually catapults were involved because of the lack of fish action and climbing trees to retrieve lost floats, and yes I did fall in, just don’t mention the quarry trespassing, even I don’t know how I manage to escape from that in one piece.

All good stuff, what being a kid is all about, sometimes you just need to get dirt under your fingernails and do what kids are meant to do.

I had to move out before I turned 23, stand on my own two feet, like the old man did. It’s something I’ll try and instil in to my kids, Ok Ben has special needs but even he knows that Dad goes out to work during the week to put the food on the table and keep the fridge full and even he has his choirs to do. That’s why it’s encouraging to see Sam properly taking to fishing and he doesn’t mind getting mucky and stung by nettles as a side effect of the pastime of hours.

The other day, wellies full of sea water, socks soaking wet, he just got on with it….

It makes me happy, it really does….

So this session was down at the deep bit on the Warwickshire Avon where I’d lost a decent Zander the other day, Sam was with me this time though and wanted to catch a Pike, so with two rods on alarms doing their thing on the next peg, Sam was using a lure rod, not only to practice his casting but to try and tempt a Pike on a replicant.

When we got there the river looked up a little but still very clear, umbrella out, rods up and out, cup of tea then it was to the adjacent swim with the lure.

Within the first cast we had a small Pike that took it on the drop and Sam landed it for himself, not much doing there for a little while but then a run on the deadbait.

At first I thought it was a Zander the way its head was nodding but then it was coming towards me and staying low. A lean Pike around 5lb or so was quick landed, bait back out.

Soon after another bite and a similar looking fish, this was a much chunkier Pike, small in length but it had be feeding nicely looking at his stomach. Nothing else on the lure and one more Pike banked before a missed run called time on the session. Certainly a well worth while exercise as I showed him how to handle Pike and how to unhook them.

"Wow, look at all those teeth, that's why they are such a great predator"

Weirdly no Zander today, but they just might not be in the area at all.

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Lower Severn – Cormorants and Carpolcolypse

I reached the grand old age of 45 the 3rd of November and towards the tail end of the last couple of weeks with time demanding holiday and work I was nearly ready to step in to William Fosters shoes and partake in a 2017 remake of the 1993 film Falling Down.

I wasn’t quite ready to get involved in some violence, make sardonic observations on life and commandeer some guns, but after being stuck in yet another traffic jam coming back from North Devon I did think about ditching the car, getting the lure rod from out the boot and see what I could catch in the Bristol Channel.

Ok the tide was out, but that didn’t matter, I’d be away from it all….

The return to one of my clients didn’t help where within seconds of the walking in the office, there wasn’t any time to get a well needed cup of Lava Java, within minutes I had to fire up Catia and get some CAD models over to the overpaid digital modelling surface tweakers who were starved of information.

Support when I was away, Pfffffftttttt…..

I’m not used to traffic you see, being an early starter a mile a minute is the norm and the return journey not far off because the route I use which is mostly quiet A and B roads.

Ok Honda Jazz drivers are always going to be a hindrance, like they are to all road users but they can be quickly dispatched with 310 horses under ones right foot.

With the SAD kicking in too because of the clocks going back and the reality that not only would I be arriving at work in the dark, I’d be leaving in it to.

Then, THEN, I was stuck in a meeting with someone not only heavy breathing spitting distance away Roy Hattersley esk but in my peripheral vision chewing his finger nails down to the bone like something possessed, and the other attendee the annoying Bevis and Butthead laugh.

Yes you know who you are, get it sorted, then again it's probably just me.

Luckily I’m mostly mild mannered, but even I have limits.

Traffic, traffic, more traffic....

“Dad,Dad, Dad, DAD”

“Mick, you got five ?”

“Mick, one sec ?”

"Mick, send me that again"

"DAD !!"

I needed a break away from it all, otherwise I’d be looking for hedgehogs to squash and even more Whisky to quash….

Luckily I’d booked Bank Cottage again on the Lower Severn for a weekend and this time without the family but with a mate Simon a fellow worm whisperer and peace seeker.

Targets, well….

I planned to lay lots of hemp the time we were there, fish well in to dark and try and gear up for Zander, Barbel and also catch an eel by design. During the day I had a bucket load of lobworms that would be used on a simple running ledger rig on a small feeder rod to try and pick up something of note. There were Perch nailing bleak shoals here last time, and they would likely be quite fat at the minute.

Pubs, real ale, a slap up Sunday lunch, Clives fruit farm with brekky, cider, sausage rolls, pies and proper homemade faggots it wasn't just about fishing this trip, I had to recharge ones batteries for the push on to and past Christmas where demands on ones time, money and sanity would be ever increasing.

As I've said before, fishing keeps me in check....

I got there before Simon and set my stall out and had some baits out for Zander before dusk fell, I also whacked some hemp down to fish a smelly bait over the top with a PVA bag of extra attraction.

Now to the right a large tree maybe one hundred and fifty feet away maybe a little more but as the light was going the first cormorant arrived, then the next, then the next, until as one stage I counted 22 of the bleeding things.

Hmmmm, with the water being clear these vivacious feeders wouldn't give the fish any let up. I didn't notice then here when I was here before, maybe it was a seasonal thing.

I managed a small Perch on lobworm whilst resting the intended Barbel swim but nothing much else doing.

A Godfather
A couple of hours in to dusk, without as much as a tap on the Barbel and Zander rod it was off to Upton for a pint and a curry then back to the accommodation for a few infamous Godfather's and a keg of ale.

So Saturday morning it was out for Brekky then a full days fishing with a pie and mash intermission. Again the fishing was tough.

Simon managed a few mint condition Chub on boilie but even the maggot feeder or a float didn't get much interest.

I had two deadbaits out and a lobworm from time to time and after I was premature on a Zander bite and subsequently the fish that was on for a bit came off.

Hmmmm, total contrast to a year ago where they were crawling up the line.

So in to dusk and beyond, Simon stuck with the boilie approach and  I stuck with deadbaits....

Again nothing much doing, at least the moon was bright and the fireworks kept us entertained.

Incidentally the fish weighed 5lb 7oz if I recall and is easily the biggest Bream he'd caught, so at least he had something to shout about.

Another bream later and hardly an interest on the deadbaits we called it a night and continued on the catching up and the drinking.

No whiskey was involved for this one so we were less fuzzy headed when we were both bankside at dawn.

Sunday was even stranger than the Saturday, literally nothing much was going on at all. Apart from the minnows sucking the maggots dry the smaller fish, well to be honest any fish were hard to come by.

Then out of the blue....

A big splash under the platform and some bubbles that moved from left to right, something bigger was in the area and soon after the surface disturbance something had taken the roach deadbait.

Yeah a fish was on, now I could tell straight away it was a Pike and when it came up in the water a little bigger than I thought too, to be honest it didn't give a fight to befit it's size but I was happy all the same.

A blank saver but as I rarely fish properly for Pike it was a PB at 11lb 8oz

Sadly after that the highlight of a quiet day was a pumpkin floating past, and well in to dusk again was very motionless indeed.

All very odd, I know the cormorants wouldn't help but I thought at least a Zander would turn up come dark.

We gave it out best, but after the temperature plummeted and the super moon illuminating what was a dull day on the most part the break was done and dusted.

I gave it another go in the morning for an hour, but after a heavy frost and the water temperature now 9 degrees as expected nothing was caught.

All in all disappointed, maybe if I come back again, it will be in July again or maybe August. As fellow blogger Lee has said on many occasions, the Lower Severn ain't easy the best of times.

What does amaze me though is that after measuring the depth to 14ft in the middle with a pretty strong, witnessing various water craft on the Severn from barges to boats, rowers to cruisers the only people that appeared to be wearing life jackets who were actually on the water were anglers.

Madness if you ask me especially with the water so cold....

So with the trip at an end the only saving grace, well apart from a PB, the batteries are refreshed and sanity levels back to normal.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Canal Zander – Music to my Ears

With the river out of sorts and Sam eager for a fishing session I did offer the ‘joys’ sat at a mud puddle to catch some ten a penny lipless mud sifters but no, he asked.

“I want to catch a Zander on the canal”

Couldn’t have Zed it better….

Now luckily for us there is plenty to go at in the locality and as someone who fishes for them exclusively in the closed season I’m a dab hand at catching them too.

And some bigger ones have graced my net 7, 8 and 9 lbers.

My standard method I leapfrogging areas of cover with two rods till the fish are found.

In the winter they tend to be laid up and then that’s when the bigger fish usually reveal themselves and in the summer and autumn months they move around in packs and pockets where multiple captures and runs can be achieved.

The float set-up goes like this from top to bottom, float stop, white bead, small inline pike float (Drennan Zeppler being my favourite) drilled bullet, quick change bead, 18lb fluorocarbon and then a offset Sakuma Manta size 1. It’s been perfected over many a trip, by fishing over-depth the float sits angled or dead flat on the surface and any interest on the Roach deadbait is easy to see.

When the fish picks up the bait the runs are brilliant to see, they can go from left to right in stages, can go from static to quick in a split second and then in an entirely random fashion.

But staring at floats ain’t for little Sam at the minute, he needs to be a little more active.

So I was behind the floats he had a lure rod equipped with a Berkley Havoc white worm to work the margins.

After an hour or so without much happening in a couple of usual hotspots Sam had a little Zander drop off the lure.

Gutted he was….

But then the left hand float goes off and he’s witnessed his first Zander run….

It was only a small schoolie which is the norm but it had engulfed the bait so well it was acting like a gobstopper.

Hook removed, baits back out, nothing doing.

On to the next swim, this time Sam casting rather than working the margins a Zander took a liking to the lure. His first canal Zander was on, he is quite confident now playing fish and with him shouting

“Oh my God, oh my God !!!”

The fish was quickly landed, rod down

“High Five Dad” jumping in the process, “My first canal Zander”

He was well chuffed.

So with time against is it was on to the last swim. One bait tight to the lock overflow, the other in the middle of the channel, the lure working the edge.

Within minutes the roach deadbait tight to the brick was on the move but this time Sam wanted to strike and play the fish on the bigger rod.

And a good job of it, he did too.

A passer-by expecting him to be playing a small Perch not a 2lb Zander.

He went away happy, I well, I'm hoping he will become a fellow Zed head.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Warwickshire Avon – Cockamamies and Crocodiles

Back in 2005 Richard Lacy a bridgekeeper at ‘Sellers Bridge on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal spurred cryptozoological interest and raised the un-manicured eyebrows of the member of the Centre for Fortean Zoology to conduct a field trip of Lilliput proportions to try and find….

“a fully airborne, caiman-like animal" lunging from the water at a mallard”

A crocodile monitor from the CFR (yes you heard), Andy Stephens, who followed up the sighting, said: "The ecosystem supports more than adequate numbers of food species to keep a single crocodilian, or indeed a small colony, well fed, as long as they could survive the rigours of the English winter." Possible warmer water influxes into the canal are being investigated.

A lovely dawn over Warwickshire 
The conclusion from the CFR was that no crocodilian could, in all likelihood, thrive in a UK climate without there being a source of heat to maintain its body temperature throughout the winter months. However what do the culverts drain, could they be the source of any flow into the river during winter, which might raise water temperature? The ecosystem supports more than adequate numbers of food species to keep a single crocodilian, or indeed a small colony, well fed. Clearly the terrapins manage, demonstrably, they have been here for a number of years.

The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal is a 15 1/2 mile long canal starting a mile north of the city of Gloucester and running south and west until it terminates at Sharpness docks, on the banks of the river Severn, some 1 3/4 miles north of the nuclear power station at Berkeley.

Some other unusual sightings on the national species database. Osprey, seals, dolphins, porpoises and who could forget the Chinese mitten crabs, not just crocs.

Now for the intriguing bit….

The Canal is on average 100 feet wide, 14 feet deep in the middle, tapering to 3 or 4 feet in the margins, and it contains some very bigger Zander hence why as a double figure canal Zed chaser it's appeared on my radar.

Hmmm, I know a stretch of the Warwickshire Avon like that, and it is largely untapped, well with big baits and me anyway.

God knows what’s lurking amongst its depths…

It’s not quite uncharted as I’ve had the deeper out up here, and some rods to be fair, but up till this session results have been a little, how can I put, it…

Well, very patchy….

For a big fish that didn’t want the neighbours to see it naked when it swam from the bathroom to the bedroom, it is an ideal place for sanctuary seeking. In-fact it would be that dark down there a big Zander, Carp or even a Barbel could run around stark bollock naked without even a twitch from the curtains, a peak between a gap in the blinds.

So for this morning session in the gin clear waters of the Warwickshire Avon it was out with two deadbaits rods.

With the deeper out most of the section was between 9 and 12 ft but a couple of swims were notably deeper at 14ft. Now the Avon is low at the minute, very low to 14ft would easily be 15 or 16 or even more when levels are up to winter levels.

All encouraging signs, I must admit....

I cast both rods to some far side cover and the left hand rod within minutes goes off and the bobbin is jumping and the bait runner is going off.

I've found that with Zander I've never really had an issues with drop takes because of resistance, they give the bait a proper doing over most of the time.

So the fish is on, and it's keeping low, it's going to my left and putting quite a considerable bend in the rod. It's a powerful fish and is trying to get in to some marginal snags. I've applied more pressure now and managed to turn the fish. I can now see it in the clear water.

Oh my God !!!

Good be a PB beater, it certainly looks like it.

Net ready....

I never felt fully happy with the fight though, and sure enough if you've caught enough Zander like I have they are tricky customers.

Yeap, the first tail walk and shake of it's head, the fish is off and it goes back to it's lair.

FFS !!!!!!!!

There must have been quite a few Zander now in the swim. A run on the drop, two missed takes eventually I manged to bank a 4lber.

A couple more runs from small fish probably and then a Jack caught it was time to pack up.

Encouraging signs for the winter, oh yes !!!!

The first frost this morning too....

Friday, 27 October 2017

Appledore – Poppers and Ponses

I had to get my head down at work prior to this holiday, you see a cup holder had to be designed quick sharpish for a buck property for a client I am providing studio engineering support for. From the sketch from the mind of a madman, in to CAD in two days. It was a relatively complex design to, with articulating flaps, rotary dampers and buttons. I'd not designed one for ages so was quite nice getting ones head down.

Not a bad effort either, me thinks, ok the modelling wasn't parametric but hey, needs must, just needed to get a CAD model out quick for quote. Good thing is the design is divorced from the part it has to ultimately assembly to.

So if if it didn't work straight off once the rapid prototypes had arrived and it was assembled there was some fettling time to get it to work properly, if there were still problems then it wouldn't be shown, end of.

Nothing lost, nothing gained....

So headphones on, head down, Mixcloud and the Wifi battered.

The best mix out of the many,

Geju's from the 2017 Burning Man Festival,  my sort of repetitive beats....

Jobs a good'un, work complete....

The weather looked like it couldn’t be more different for this family trip down to North Devon, you see August last year we ventured down to Tamarisk Esturary View and it was a week of shorts donned, sun cream and cold beer.

This lovely bungalow backs onto the tidal Estuary of the Rivers Taw and Torridge and has some great views, particularly when the tide is going out and the sun is setting. The accommodation has privacy and has direct access from the garden to the coastal path and foreshore, even has its own look out at the bottom of the garden. (Shed)

We enjoyed the trip so much we booked up again…

The outlook you see was meant to be very mixed bag indeed, a big storm was rolling in on the Saturday because of a low pressure system from the Atlantic and rain, well lots if it apparently….

Waves, swells and wakes, well, they would be as big as houses….

So less sand would be likely be less trodden but with some nice scenic walking planned at the Tarr Steps clapper bridge and the River Barle in Exmoor and to Heddons’s Mouth I was looking forward to this trip.

But then as Danny put it, Michael Fish Syndrome seems to taint many intended trips out, you see with Metcheck, BBC weather, the Met Office and Accuweather, all seems to have different levels of inaccurate weather, nothing really can be planned properly these days.

Just got to pack for most eventualities such the uselessness of the meteorologists….

It’s October for God’s sake, the Daily Mail reported the day before we went

‘Surf's up! Waves up to 34 FEET high set to smash into Britain this weekend as Atlantic storm brings 50mph winds, heavy rain, flooding and even power cuts

Forecasters warn of flooding to homes, power cuts and delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport, Intense low pressure system will bring a swathe of strong winds over southern areas on Saturday with wave swells approaching 35ft that could strike the South West coast of England at 9am on Saturday.

Bunch of tarts these media lot are, then again anything to sell papers or to get the websites hits up to increase the advertising revenue….

For this holiday, obviously I brought a rod, (stupid question). You see last time on the last day of the holiday before I snapped my lure rod, I caught a bass on a popping frog and I loved the method so much, I decided to properly gear up for it.

So it was out with the Savage Gear lure rod, and proper popping lure I’d bought, got to spend my money on something haven’t I.

I’d hopefully cram a few short sessions in, I couldn’t be closer to the water, well when the tide was high anyway.

I was avidly looking at the tide times when we arrived….

Ok it was windy, very windy in fact, but storm Brian disappeared as soon as it arrived. The problem was for a few days the water was very coloured indeed, so maybe bait would have been the better option. But me and Sam stuck to the task in hand and went about trying to winkle out a bass.

I used the pop queen on the most past which is 105mm and 28 grams, it's a kind of bullet shape which made it a cracking casting lure. The slow erratic retrieve creates plenty of surface disturbance whilst a faster retrieve will make it dive just below the surface. When allowed to rest the pop queen sits its tale down and when given a sharp pull the cupped face will 'pop' when it dives in to the water.

Cast after cast, for a few mornings, nothing was doing at all, the bass were either not that, or not feeding. It was still coloured with visibility poor throughout the week.

Sam got bored, "Dad are we ACTUALLY going to catch anything"

"That's fishing for you Son"

"Fancy a carp lake the weekend"

"No Dad, can we go to the river"

A pub crawl in Appledore with my brother with two of the pubs having an open Mike night, it finished off a cracking week, lots of sea air, good food and a belly busting copious amount of the local beer.

My favourite, well, probably the dark 'Beast of Exmoor" that was 6.6% ( I think)

The fishing well, all a bit Mehhhhhhh !!!
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