Sunday, 14 July 2019

Small Brook Fishing Pt.8 – Bobbleheads and Bone Boxes

The prehistoric looking fish the big headed bullhead has remained elusive over the last couple of trips to this small Warwickshire stream. I stumbled upon this tiny waterway by chance when I was chasing canal Zander and subsequently once I started to fish it, I realised there are some surprises to be had. Apart from catching bullheads for the first time in a while the dace certainly in the winter have been disproportionate to the size of the tiny forgotten brook they frequent.

Proper chunky fish, my best up till now 8 ounces, that’s bigger than the dace I catch on the Warwickshire Avon.

And trout, yes wild brownies in Bard’s country, who’d have thought it !!!!

So post sloppy burger made by my fair hands, me and Sam discussed tactics and bullhead were the intended quarry. They have been a little elusive of late but with the streams crystal clear and badly in need of some water, the shy bullhead probably want leave the sanctuary of it's rock till dusk or in to dark. When the water is coloured that's when we have faired better.

Now I know for a fact bullheads can be caught on rod and line because me and the tangelator Sam who was with me for this session have done exactly that.

My little wand rod with the finest of tips registers bites from this fascinating fish, and they even have enough power to submerge a small float which is how Sam caught his, and the biggest we have had up till now, 25% of the British record apparently.

They appear to like clear rocky swims, because after all, they spend most of their time hiding under them.

One swim progressed on to another discovery, then a little more, then a more again, then a whole different stretch altogether and there is still lots to explore, in-fact probably too much to go at.

Winter is obviously the best time because not only are the fish fatter and hungrier particularly the dace, but also it is easier to rove to likely holding spots because the stingers and the like have died back, allowing freedom of passage from one stretch to another. Not only that but with the water a little coloured the fish feel more confident to move around.

Before lunch with the Wife I managed a reccy to another small stream not far from me that looks like might offer some potential when there is more water in it. Ridiculously clear and only small minnow spotted in some characterful swims.

We'll be back to fish it though, potential for sure, I love these tiny waterways.

This session the plan was to start on the first swim I actually fished because it’s a holding area in low water conditions and also it is the swim I’d caught the most bullheads from.

There is probably a reason for that mind you as we have fished it more than any other spot. We’d also try another bit with easy access and then progress to the newly discovered section of it that not only a manmade weir, but also more wild brownies that frequent these unfished dribbles.

A pocket full of maggots a small float rod and an even daintier quiver wand rod, what could we winkle out?

It was quite a mild day and it was clear the bullheads were not up for feeding. Despite fishing some shady deeper swims all we managed to catch were minnow, dace, perch and a few trout. The dace though were getting bigger and despite the biggest falling off that looked 7 or 8 ounces, the biggest went nearly 5. Sam was gutted it dropped off, but then he is beginning to understand more about fishing, that is part and parcel of the pastime.

We roved around quite a bit but bites were a little harder to come by for this session.

So we need to fish it again when the levels have been topped up little. The bullheads particularly seem to prefer it and to be honest that is the target to try and register a score on the challenge scoreboard.

An enjoyable session though,  and again these forgotten waterways throw up to lovely fish, all in excellent condition too. The most productive swim was under a bridge, less than a foot deep and contained dace and the biggest trout that took the maggot on the drop.

We'll be back !!!!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Jogg-trots and Jockum Gages

Waders were donned for this short mornings sessions. With the water the way it is, shallow and clear I wanted to fish some moving baits to try and pick up a Barbel mooching in and around the streamer weed. The chub were up for feeding off the top here last time to I had a loaf of bread if there Barbel were not playing ball.

Slow sinking or off the top, both methods seems to pick up fish last time, slow sinking picking up the better fish that would easily go over 5lb come winter.

Simple tactics, a hook, some plasticine moulding around the line and some large pieces of meat. With the hook pulled through the bait with a needle, turn the hook 90 degrees and secure it along the side of the bait with the hook exposed. Everything is felt through the line using thumb and forefinger and you can work out what the bait is doing.

It's certainly a method I've used in the past in these sort of conditions and it usually works quite well. The method is also a rovers dream, the minimum of tackle, move from swim to swim. The step count heading the right direction.

When it gets hindered, maybe a rock or some streamer weed, give it a nudge and the bait will be on its way again. The theory being the fish are very wary at the minute, but a more natural presentation with the bait moving with the flow of the current, it can well trick the most wary of fish. Now I spotted my first Barbel of the season the last visit here, I was hoping there were around.

If I didn't get in the water, the swims wouldn't be fishable at all, kinda nice in these humid weather. Even the cheap waders worked well, no leaks, bone dry, just how I like it.

After a couple of swims fishing without any Chub coming up to take the bait and countless roll downs of the meat I decided to go to the swim where I spotted the Barbel last time. Sure enough peering over the edge of the foot deep swim I could see not just one Barbel but three or four. The biggest one easily a double was holding station in he flow behind a decent size rock.

There were a couple of nice chub here as well, now we're talking !!!!

Well that's what I thought, the Barbel were not interested whatsoever, no matter how the meat or bread was presented they actively ignored it. In clear view under the polarised sunglasses the biggest even came to inspect the meat and shot off at a rate of knots when something didn't look right maybe.

I thought the session couldn't get any worse but a huge chub probably the biggest I've ever seen hoovered up my slow sinking flake and it went from visible to down his gob within a split second.

I struck but could feel the hook hold and then come straight out of the fishes mouth. Damn, would have easily been a PB I would have imagined. Not good !!!!

Eventually I managed a few chub with the biggest going 3lb 15oz's. I love summer Chub though, dark tanned backs because of the clear water and they give a good fight as well. The Barbel well who knows they didn't appear to be spawning, but then then sometimes they are just not having it. I don't find them particularly hard to catch, but if they are just not interested, there is nothing you can do about it.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Adelphogamy and Addle-Plots

Some networking to be done first, a new long-term job I’ve won to be shared. A couple of well-kept light ales at country a pub, that despite the flagstone floors, battered dartboard and walls many stories to tell, offers the customer what they want. No not dancing girls and free Wi-Fi but indian food in a place people like me feel at home, feel part of the furniture.

Unpretentious and a place to feel at ease, what’s not to likes especially when the prices are so good as well….

Anyway mountains of poppadoms’ with all the pickles, piles of onion salad and sauces, a freshly cooked tiger prawn puri, and a well spiced and tender lamb dish to rival any of the good curry houses I frequent. A piping hot clay baked nan cooked and presented to perfection, and a mushroom basmati to share.

What it also has going for it for us maggot danglers is that not far off an onion bhaji throw away is an area where Barbel frequent. Dusk is the usual biting time for these creatures of habit so I’d dump ones gear off and try to winkle out a chub in one of the shallow oxygenated swims. They lay up in wait for food morsels to come their way but are cagey, very cagey indeed. These fish are fished for, the window of opportunity very small, very small indeed.

The problem is, the word on the ground is that, at the moment they could well be spawning, those that have more time than me who spend much of their time watching motionless tips, I said TIPS, have said they are very elusive at the moment. This is an area where over all the stretches I fish, if I wanted to catch a Barbel, here would be it.

Now Barbel spawn in wide ranging temperatures ranging from 14-20 degrees C, in late spring or early summer, between May and July after migrating upstream, often several miles, to their spawning grounds. Males will pursue the females that are ready to spawn to shallow riffles and splashing is common as the pursuit takes place.

From reading some boomph online males can exhibit interesting behaviour at the spawning sites. The courting males will follow a female to the spawning site and a single male will then swim with her and prior to her release eggs. The male will often court the female by swimming head to head with her at the spawning site, but when they start to release their eggs and milt.

Other males waiting at the spawning site will then swim upstream to join them and so release their milt in an attempt to fertilize her eggs, despite having played no part in the courtship at all !!! The females may spawn several times with approximately 14-days between each.

The females can produce 8-12,000 eggs/kg of body weight, depending upon their condition and health, the eggs themselves are a translucent yellow and are the largest eggs of the coarse fish in Britain. Apparently the roe of Barbel is poisonous to humans. As they develop into adults, the sexes reach sexual maturity at different times, with males first able to spawn at between 2-5 years and females at 5-8 years of age. Barbel are believed to live for up to 15 years.

I’ve said before I don’t fish for Barbel that often, I prefer to fish in the autumn and winter months when they are at their heaviest and hungriest. Times of flood when the water is coloured is another window of opportunity to catch these fantastic powerful fish, because it is about the only fish that bites in those conditions. They can venture out in to the murky waters without standing out like a sore thumb.

I was hoping they had now returned and were up for feeding, or would they spoil the party? !!!!

Anyway back to the session, where I’d hope to register some scores on the door for the Bloggers Challenge. A Krill wafter on one rod, a pungent meat boilie on the other, both with PVA bags of mixed pellets, an hour before dusk, wait for a proper bait. There are gluttonous chub here as well, meat can be snatched or dislodged from the hook and there is no time to check of the bait is still on,  a firmer boilie is more resistant to their persistence. ignore the pulls, plucks and knocks you will know exactly when a Barbel takes the bait.

Best laid plans and all that, the first part went very well indeed, with Chub in quite a few swims coming up to take the bread off the surface. One swim I could see a Barbel as well, certainly over 7lb by the look of it. Slow sinking bread took the biggest chub and when you're fishing water, not much more than a foot deep in pacey water, it gave a cracking account for itself. Maybe rolling meat might have tempted the Barbel but it looked very cagey indeed.

Three swims produced fish though, and I managed 5 Chub, the smallest around 3lb. Away from the pacey shallow swims though, the water looked dead. The water had dropped considerably so I didn't expect much action the last hour headed in to dusk.

The chub were still active though and there were quite a few chub rattles pulls here and there but no Barbel decided to bite. With rain not forecast I'm tempted to don the waders and fish not only floating bread, but maybe some rolling meat as I'm sure put a lump in the front of a Barbel it would take it.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Splenitives and Splodgenations

Rudd again were the target for this evening’s session headed in to dusk. On my terms though this time, I had the prise the rod away from little Sam’s clutches the last visit, not only that but I couldn’t get a word in edge-ways, not exactly relaxing let’s put it that way. Nic and Anastasia would be swim side as well for this session.

So slightly different tactics as well, this time some a few No 8’s to help the maggots down a little faster through the water column and I’d also have a sleeper out with a small maggot feeder and short hooklink, where I’d alternative between breadflake, corn and maggots.

Now the Rudd’s bottom jaw protrudes past the top, giving away the fact that it prefers to feed from above, be that on the water’s surface, or on food as it falls through the water. Its pelvic and anal fins are usually bright red but can be dull orange if living in coloured water, whilst the pectoral, dorsal and tail fins are sort of a muddy-red colour.

To the untrained eye Rudd are often mistaken for roach, the easiest way to distinguish between the two is to look out for the brilliant colouring of the Rudd’s fins and its bottom jaw which is set forward, unlike the roach which has its upper jaw set forward. I cannot see how you would misidentify them myself, maybe when they are really small but yet to a couple ounces and above, they are wildly different to me.

However because Bream, Roach and Rudd all spawn at roughly the same point in the year, hybrids between the species are not impossible and are in fact quite common. The Rudd-Roach hybrid causes the most confusion amongst anglers, as the two species are already quite tricky for some to distinguish between.

A Rudd-Roach hybrid will often look mostly like a true Rudd or Roach, but will have some confounding features, such as an extended bottom jaw, when everything else about the fish suggests it to be Roach, or vice versa. To be fair a couple of fish I caught the weekend appeared to show characteristics of these strange specimens! And could well have been hybrids.

Now I didn’t manage anything half decent last time, even a jack pike would have think twice over the mere toothpick, but there are much better fish here hence my return. You’ve got to fish for what is likely to be biting in these conditions and Rudd particularly in the summer months is a worthy quarry.

What else to target ? well chub off the top, eels, or trotting for whatever comes along, just maybe not wade in to the bleakakke (™ Russ Hilton ) seemingly going on at the minute, wrong in so many levels and target them specifically there will be casualties.

The river is full of them at the minute, for the Pike, Perch and Zander It’s like a conveyor of Haribo Tangtastics put in front of a kid in need of a sweet fix, after a while the gluttony wears off even Jack, Billy and Zedlet would be looking for the stop button.

After a swim was raked the bite were forthcoming with Nic managing a bite a chuck for the fits hour or so. Now I was fishing away from the raked swim but was fishing above the weed which is quite thick here, however I was still catching fish, bleak, small roach and my target the Rudd. Those fish were in the 1 to 2 oz range when out of the blue a much bigger Rudd turned up. Ok not big in the scheme of things but I rarely catch Rudd on the Warwickshire Avon.

All 6.2 Ounces of it. A lovely fish though, nice proportions and fat. After hooking a duck which took my maggots on the drop a couple of foot down, the bites dried up, not helped by a boat that churned the bottom up to be fair.  Anastasia was back catching the perch though and I lost count of the fish she caught by the end of the session.

As the light went I started to pack up as the bites were hard to come by but after a small bream out of the blue Nic's float buried under and a half decent fish was on. It was giving a good fight for his size and "A hybrid I reckon" said Nic. He was right, a roach bream hybrid, all 1.6oz's of it and a good scores on the board for the bloggers challenge. 

The sleeper rod remained untouched but there is too much weed here to fish it effectively. I will be back, this time for a dawn session and will fish and bait it a bit differently. I'm sure there are more surprises to be had.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Silk Snatchers and Simeonites

With the local rivers seemingly stuffed full of bait fish at the moment and the river being clear, what to fish for. Certainly the Barbel don't seem to be interested in a stretch where usually there are fish in numbers. Spawning who knows but after speaking with other anglers, they are wondering the same thing, where have they gone.

For this short morning session I decided to fish in and among the lily pads, an area that has not only thrown up carp in the past, but also tench believe it or not. Even with the river as low and clear as it is, the float stop need to adjusted time and time again, because it has some depth to it as well. 

Where the bait eventually settles away from the shoals of hungry bleak and dace, one would assume it would be a nice place for a Tench to hang out away from those that would prefer to partake in the rave.

I don't float fish enough because when I do, I really enjoy it, the concentration required is something a little different and when that static float eventually starts to move, visually as a fisherman there is nothing quite like it.

I fished lift style under a large crystal insert waggler and its a great method, the float lifting out the water and almost settling on the surface when the bulk shot is displaced off the bottom when the fish picks up the bait.

I used groundbait initially to get some bait on the bed, a mixture of dead maggots, hemp and small pellets. The fizz on the surface evident it was adding some attraction. Corn for bait because maggot would pick up unwanted small fish such the biomass at this time of year. There were a few pike hits when I was there, one jack even launched itself out of the water such the ferocity.

Sadly straight to the point, after half an hour the first bob of the float and then it sailed away, a small dace of three ounces decided that it would like a gob stopper. And that's as exciting as it got. Once the sun came up the amount of small fish I could see on the surface was ridiculous. The bigger fish seemingly not interested, even the bream.

But that's fishing for you, sometimes it's nice to be out, especially when you can watch a feeding kingfisher, a novice in a rowing boat flapping and flailing, a butterfly chasing a dragonfly. 

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Spice Islands and Spindle Shanks

250grams of decent lean beef mince, chopped red onion, half a teaspoon of coriander powder, half of ground cumin and lots and lots of salt and pepper makes the burger you see in the picture. I don't like to mess around when I comes to barbecuing, bigger the better.

Huge lumps of pork shoulder slow cooked on the Webber kettle being one of my favorites, no real finesse just meat, meat and more meat. In complete contrast though, for this session I had to go a bit more reserved, because Rudd were the target for this morning’s short session, you see an area I’d been told about by Nic (Avon Angling UK) was well known to him.

With the third series of Stranger Things on the TV,  I assembled it to pay hommage to the 'upside down'. Stuffed in the grilled bun, the thick hommade burger, large flat mushroom with baked egg within it, cheese slices, sliced tomato, red onion, some green leafy stuff and a mayo and sriracha chili sauce, the only thing missing was the bacon. I'll remember that for next time, a burger should be done properly or not at all, chicken and chorizo filled in the gaps.

Rudd and Roach shoals can be found in numbers here apparently, hence Sam in tow. If there are bites to be had, Sam is up for it, especially if it’s for a new species.

Now I caught Rudd from the Warwickshire Avon before, often providing sport during the summer months when nothing else seems to be biting and also on the Stour where again they are there in numbers. I wanted to see the lay of the land before maybe returning on my own to fish for them properly.

Some mad vibrant ones, almost ornamental
Rudd are most commonly associated with still waters, particularly those that are profusely overgrown with aquatic vegetation, although they do occur in slow-moving lowland rivers and sluggish backwaters.

They are well suited to life in nutrient-rich shallow farm ponds and pools where they will often form vast shoals that hugely overpopulate the pond.

In such situations they strip the naturally occurring invertebrates from the environment and consequently become stunted. Farm ponds are usually full of them, and get them feeding you can catch several hundred Rudd in a day, seemingly everlastingly hungry.

They are in the river to be caught though, come a warm evening those topping fish trying to infiltrate insects on the surface are usually small Rudd. Their mouths shaped to take food off the surface in relative ease. Here the tangleator could cast without hindrance, without appearing to try and cast in to every tree possible. To be fair he is getting better for sure, in-fact he can almost fish independently now which makes more of an enjoyable session.

So simple tactics for this potential point registering sortie, a loaded clear waggler between some grippa stops, a size 16 tied directly to the line and that’s it. I’d ping the maggots out and hopefully the slow sinking bait would be picked up by one of the Rudd shoal, if we’d manage to locate them that is. I’d also had a couple of slices of white bread if they would prefer a surface bait, they are surface feeders after all.

So me, being me, I’d also have a sleeper rod out for a bream that also frequent this relatively pedestrian area. So with a rod already made up I’d employ the same tactics I used when I fished for them recently. A small method feeder filled with small pellets, fishmeal and krill groundbait and a pellet on the hook.

Nic and Anastacia would join us as well and Sam could "meet a real life YouTube'r"

With the limited time I have to go fishing, planning is always at the forefront in almost all of my sessions, I need to get on and get dangling, no messing around once bankside, I need to keep the bait in the water as long as possible. That’s easier said than done with Sam as like his mother, he is a bit of a sleep monster,

“Hey Sam lets go fishing !!!!!”

“Can I have another ten minutes please” eyes close, back to snoring.”

I’d prefer to fish as the sun was going down but sadly a busy weekend put pay to that, if this morning was a struggle I’d give an evening a go instead if I got a chance. In-fact another stretch altogether there were topping shoal fish as the sun was setting, so there appear to be in pockets up and down the river. Maybe a roving approach might be the better way to winkle out something bigger than I expected to catch during this trip out.

Anyway back to the task in hand, for the first hour bites were forthcoming, with some Rudd, Dace, Roach and Bleak caught. The biggest Rudd only 1.4oz's but Sams first which he was excited about especially as some of them have the most vibrant colours. But the bites dried up for some reason so we had to get on the move. Nic was also struggling but when nothing much was doing Sam wanted to go to the stream we know about to try and catch bullhead.

So we left Nic and he updated me on his progress, he'd managed some bigger fish, 6 or 7 ounces in the end I think, again he had to move around to try and get bites. The stream provided the biggest trout Sam had ever caught, it took two maggots in one foot of water less than a metre wide. It shot off like a rocket as well, I've not seen a float so move so fast, he was smitten !!!!

Friday, 5 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Jitterbugs and Jobbernowls

In the world of cryptozoology, that is the search and study of unknown or unidentified animals, one of the things that is highly prized is photographic evidence.

In the absence of any sort of body or physical evidence of these mysterious creatures the next best thing we can hope for is pictures taken of our quarry, but the sad case is that this rarely goes far to really proving anything at all, and considering all of the hoaxes and fakers in this day and age such photographic “proof” is becoming of less and less use in our quest to get to the bottom of these mysteries.

For every promising picture there seem to be a dozen fakes, and it seems only natural that such photographs should generate plenty of discussion, scepticism, and controversy, no matter how clear the images may be.

Now the legendary Albuttbarbelbutt, Warwickshire Avon’s largest Barbel is known to me and one other (I think) it’s eluded me thus far but the conditions have to be right to even consider trying for it. My PB of 12lb 14oz’s came in conditions where I knew if I didn’t seize the opportunity it would pass me by and the next available weather window could be a while off. I fancied easing myself in to it though and get some practice in before hopefully getting a selfie with the lumbering lunker.

So let’s get fishing, a large open swim with some depth close in, a swim, where in the past I’ve caught Chub surface lures where other methods were fruitless.

Also like the barn owls here they Chevin seem to patrol this area and when the light starts to go, things big start to move. But Mr Barbus is here as well, in-fact this area provided me with the first fish with whiskers I’d even caught. Their fighting power experienced right down to the butt, and like many, I’ve appreciated them as a species ever since.

Only a short session this and again one of two parts, the first a spot of surface lure fishing and the second part two rods for Barbel headed in to dusk. Krill wafters on the hair and PVA bags of mixed pellets for feed.

One bite required, fingers and toes crossed to register one as a species for the challenge board. To be honest I rarely fish for Barbel, if I do it is usually in the winter where the banks are quieter, the fish a tad tubbier and when the rivers are coloured, the fish more likely to bite.

Twilight though at this time of year brings twitches, you see like carp actively feeding in the margins of their mud puddle post whistle, you know that time soon after the seat box frequenters have dumped in their leftover bait and emptying out their keepnets.

A clear river can be very much like that. Forget fishing during the day, just turn up an hour before dusk with the minimum of tackle, Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt.

Well lets just say it didn't quite go to plan, before I settled down for the Barbel I went roving to try and find some Chub. They were quite easy to find to be honest with the water as low and clear as it was.

Their dark shadows appearing and disappearing from among the thick streamer weed. They were as cautious as I'd ever seen them to be honest, not even bothering to come up to look at the lure.

A change to a tiny plug in an oxygenated swim I hooked a Perch that managed to get free of the hooks by launching itself high in to the air.

With the sun setting with it's kaleidoscope of colours it was just nice to be out bit now was the time. With the rods now out as expected the Chub started to move, a tentative pull then a more confident bite there was fish milling around. I use long hairs though because I'd rather a Barbel than a small chub and headed in to dusk that's all that seemed to be biting. Some proper whacking bites in the end before I left but I did't connect in to any fish, the Barbel as elusive as ever at this time of year.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Freeloaders and Famgrasps

So as a taxpayer I was prepared to join the orderly queue down at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Frogmore Cottage to try out their newly installed £5,000 William Holland copper bath. Part of the £2.4 million refurbishment the bath apparently takes around 120 man hours and hand beaten in to its unique shape. Now where do I sign, I’m good at wielding hammers and sounds a half decent hourly rate to me, and it means I can ditch the job that means sitting on one derriere for a stupid amount of time.

I used to suffer quite badly with sciatica you see, in-fact 6 mths of hell where I had to use a kneeling chair for work and experiment with all manner of drugs and treatments to keep the pain manageable. At the time in those dark days I certainly couldn’t have hopped in and out of Megan’s and Harry’s deep bath mind you.

I remembered one particular day where I’d managed to get in to my B&Q effort to try and get some relief. When I’d had enough, I carefully teased myself out and was headed to the bedroom when my nerve got trapped like I’d never felt pain like I’d never had before. I collapsed in to a heap on the floor and it took me a good half an hour to get up from it. Young James Denison is suffering with this ailment at the minute and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Luckily following a recommendation I discovered the wonderful hands, arms and elbows of a buxom Australian chiropractor. After a few sessions her rather physical manipulation, pulling, prodding and pain put me on the straight and narrow, and touch wood I’ve kept sciatica at bay ever since. But there is a reason for that, I’m far more active these days, fishing helps certainly because I prefer roving and I rarely take a seat for my fishing sessions.

This planned short session in to dusk was like that, some double dipping, in-fact three different set-ups where I’d try to increase my Gudgeon weight, try for Barbel in an area where I’d not seen one for ages but was once home to my PB, before I beat in recently, oh and also a Zander. Now Zander, you say, well yes, this was from a location I’d not even tried for them, but two different sources gave me the same information despite those hush hush words being shared at least 3 years apart.

The last conversation was in Martyn’s tackle shop just down the road. You see over a cup of coffee a local angler was sharing his best spots that could aid my species challenge after Martyn asked for his advice to help with the dilemma I was in. A river Tench ? where can I catch a decent Rudd ?.

“If you’re after Zander, you need to try ********* the second swim by the ________, always fish there, well there was last year, some good’un too”

“Errr, ok, yeah I’ve heard rumours of fish there before, thanks I’ll give it a go, ta”

So enough of the preamble how did it go ?

What an odd session it was, for the first part of the session I was roving to find some Gudgeon to try ad increase the weight recorded for the Bloggers challenge. That part of it went quite well with a whole variety of small fish caught. The gonks were obliging as well and I increased the weight for the chart of 0.84 ounces. 

The last swim before moving on is mainly shallow, not much more than a foot deep but there is a nice overhanging tree where it is a bit deeper and darker. The link ledger with a couple of red maggots went out and within seconds something was on to it.

After receiving a couple of plucks then a pull on the quiver tip I struck. I initially thought I had hooked a decent Chub because the drag was being tested, but then it was a weird fight and eventually I could see the fish, a Zander, a reasonable one as well, maybe 3lb or so, but it was foul hooked in the bottom of the dorsal fin.

Now I’d dumped my tackle off at the final peg before just taking bait and my rod so I didn’t have a landing net with me, damn. I teased the fish in and manged to get it to the margin but then as I went to grab it after holding the line, and it went on one last run and the hook pulled out from the fin. A bit of an eye opener though, an area that has Zander after albeit not where I told it was, just goes to show, I wasn’t being told porkies and yet I thought I knew this area intimately.

The last hour in to dusk was in the swim I’d been told about but sadly nothing doing, nothing took the deadbait and one quite powerful bite on the chunk of spam that took some line and the ratchet activated. It didn’t connect though, I assume it was a gluttonous bait snatching Chevin. 

Since the rain we’d had temporary boosted the levels the river here is now back to being summer levels, very shallow in most areas and also not much happening. The ground is also back to being bone dry again, encouraging signs for a healthy river though, its chock full of small fish. I’ll be back in the autumn no doubt, when the Zander start hunting properly.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Tiny River Alne – Spotties and Sockdolagers

Now the tangleator Sam is fast becoming a great little angler, he's not usually a good listener but ones interest in fishing is certainly knocking off on him, which is very encouraging. He can recognise and identify nearly all the fish species we catch, even the tiny fish which at that size, even I need a second glance.

The sight of a kingfisher, the hovering of a bird of prey, the owl on patrol, all part and parcel of the pastime he shares with me, not the novelty it used to be. Sessions were initially frustrating when I started to take him from when he 4 years old, 3 years on, apart from the unhooking I generally have to do,he can almost fish independently now.

He also can identify likely holding spots for fish but also what species could be in those swims, not only that but he appears to prefer the small diminutive rivers and streams I do. So for this short morning session we were going to visit the "bullhead" swim down the "Alne Brook" not the "Brook Brook". Sam caught the biggest bullhead I'd ever seen in the winter and it's always been on our radar ever since.

Simple tactics I had my tiny sensitive wand rod and Sam had his float rod. Double red maggot on size 18 hook.

Now recent floods the Alne back to being shallow again was looking a little out of sorts, the fish not in their usual spots so it took a while to catch the first one. A chublet that came to Sam fishing close to the bank on red maggot, then he caught a trout and perch from the same swim, "wow, we just need a Gonk now" not quite, but a chunky Gudgeon was caught soon after.

We had to move around but sadly no bullheads were caught, we managed 4 trout in the end, 4 or 5 chublets, perch, dace as well as 2 more small gudgeon it was a cracking little session. Sam couldn't wait to tell his mum and brother what he had caught when he got back, especially as he had caught more fish than me.

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