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.


  1. I now share an office with machine gun typers and noisy yoghurt pot scrapers. I have bought a tiny DAB radio and earphones.

    1. Yeap, bluetooth headphones and mixcloud, works for me too.


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