Monday, 24 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Gypsy Kings and Gutturniforms

With mild temperatures overnight I was back on the Barbel chasing again. 10 degrees or so with heavy cloud meant that the water had jumped a degree to an unseasonable 8 degrees. Certainly in my experience if you can find the Barbel, they will be up for a feed.

Now I didn't want any old Barbus though, oh no !!!, there was a good'un here that showed me the door like Tyson Fury did to Deontay Wilder. 

To be honest I did wonder why I was bankside during this awful weather, the strong gusts of wind enough to dislodge the rods of their rests and when the rain came, combined with the wind it was horizontal.

But I'm not a fair weather fisherman like the matchmen that fish these rivers, in-fact I'm all for these turbulent times, three sessions in so many days, three different stretches, not another angler in sight.

We haven't really had a winter yet though have we, bombarded with rain and more rain, my favourite season largely a damp squib. If any fish is going to feed in these conditions though it's the Barbel. But as I said before, they need to be there for starters, but you also need to time your session with their short feeding spell.

Simple tactics again, a lump of spam on the downstream rod, the upstream rod a boilie with a groundbait feeder full of freebies to try and get a fish grubbing around.

The river had dropped considerably over 48 hours and the colour was starting to drop out of it, albeit slowly. The banks showing the signs of where it had been, these fish haven't had a good time of late, having to shelter from the waters rising, then then falling, then rising again.

It's a relatively shallow section this and come summer you could why the Barbel would like it here. Gravel under their whiskers and streamer weed among their fins.

Where the river bends round though and eats in to the bank this area is much deeper, perfect for big fish to seek some sanctuary and even a predator to hide out. The cover downstream also a good place for a big fish to hold up where it could ride out the conditions.

In this flow though those swims are not fishable, even with a big heavy lead the flow dislodging it within seconds even with rods high with line off the water.

Fanimal wasn't enjoying the conditions and gave me his disapproval quite early in to the session. But after giving it some shelter sat in a tree, I gave it another couple of hours. The weather very wild indeed, the wind blowing straight in my face dislodging the cobwebs. Sam would have hated it.

The rods though resisting the wind to the best of their ability were sadly motionless, in-fact apart from a couple of small fish topping not even a chub pull or pluck.

A huge chunk of Spam is my go to bait for big Barbel, I pull a long shank hook through with a baiting needle, turn it 90 degrees and hug the side of the meat exposing the point. Bites are ridiculous when the fish picks up the bait and makes off downstream, but sadly that never happened.

But this is a big river, for all I know the Barbel that frequent this area could well be a mile downstream in a completely different area.

A blank !!!!

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Sacricolists and Snobographers

The morning started brightly, a huge piece of cake unravelled from its foil wrapper made by her indoors, by yes, her own fair hands, which let me tell you is a rare event indeed. She ain't a baker, she never has been, but when she gives it a go, my God, she does a good'un.

It consumed quick smart and washed down with a mug of tea to elevate the energy levels to do battle with a Warwickshire Avon barbel or two.

A change of venue this, a bite required and this area of the Warwickshire Avon has Barbel in numbers.

The problem is when the water temperature is as cold as it was today, at a mere 6.9 degrees the fish won't be feeding for any long periods of time, why waste energy in these conditions, when they can be tucked up out the way. The water was still well up and motoring through and with debris still coming down despite the river dropping considerably even one bite would be welcome.

The river was still chocolate brown but slowly starting to lose its colour. Just I settled down with the rods out the rain started and with the wind gusting up to 40 miles an hour, the surface from still to choppy, it wasn't exactly pleasant.

Hat off Hood up !!!!

But if any fish is to bite in these testing conditions it would be a Barbel.

A Hot Fish and GLM boilie on one rod, a lump of spam on the other, I fished the same swim where I banked 3 barbel last time although the staging was visible this time, last time it was buried under another couple of feet of water.

Both rods again with a cage feeder and full of pungent groundbait.

Now what I didn't expect was a bite when the cake had just reached ones stomach. A violent pull on the boilie rod turned in to a bite only a barbel can give. I knew straight away it was a small fish but hey, in these turbulent times where the river is out of sorts, any Barbel, whatever the size is more than welcome.

To be fair it gave a good fight and despite probably not even making 5lb it still made my arm ache even on a 1.75 TC rod.

When you're battling with flow like they have been for a while, these fish are fit things and when you're packed with muscle like a barbus is, every time I hook one their power still amazes me. Now I thought I was on for a good session but sadly it couldn't be further from the truth.

Over the next 4 hours or so that was the only bite I had. I moved swims three times and in the last swim even put on a smelt to try and catch a Zander in a slack. The reports from others that fish in and around here I was lucky to catch a fish, blanks and more blanks seemed to be the norm.

Another session for Barbel in the morning hopefully, the air temperature in double figures the water still on the drop. But where to go ? the fish I lost still troubling me, I may have already made a decision

Friday, 21 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Rantiploe's and Rackaback's

Everyone needs a bait fridge of their own, you see Scott Gill a fellow WBAS member has had to make a compromise on, something as an angler shouldn't be compromised and sadly has had to resort to freezing, yes you heard right, freezing his cheesepaste used for winter Chub.

The family fridge out of bounds to things fishy related. Now my batch of cheesepaste on the other hand I've been adding to over the years and some of it must be 4 or 5 years old. It's a good batch I tell thee, Warwickshire Avon chub of 5lb and over have now succumbed to this offering.

The pungency of the mouldy paste so strong, it's like hitting a massive wall of festering stilton, the air so thick it could be cut with a knife.

There are also other benefits as well, the Wife won't go near it, so that big bag of pork scratching you'd rather not share, yeap, put it in the bait fridge.

That chocolate bar that doesn't fit in with the healthy eating you're both partaking in, yeap, a 4 pack of Wispa Gold tucked behind the maggots.

Even a Christmas present you want to hide from the beloved, time to make some space in the bait fridge.

Anyway enough of the that, back to the fishing.

This piece of water has been good to me in the past, some clonking Chub to over 5lb, Barbel to nearly 12lb and some clonking Gudgeon.

What has eluded me thus far though is Albuttbarbelbutt, now Albuttbarbelbutt aptly named by Sam the tangleator, is bar far the biggest Barbel I've seen frequenting these parts, a fish so huge if it was diagnosed with flesh eating bacteria the doctor would give it 86 years to live.

Now I don't fish for Barbel that often but having somehow caught quite a few doubles, the biggest 12lb 14oz's, I can tell you that this fish was bigger, much bigger in-fact. That's why despite not fishing here that often now, it's always stayed on ones radar, a fish this bigger needs some attention it really does.

The problem is blanks can become tiresome, and having fished it quite a few times now the 'Big'un' has eluded me thus far.

Heck Jeremy Wade may well be interested !!!!

Is it still here ?

Has the resident Otter given it, it's marching orders ?

Could my eyes have been deceiving me ?

I've caught some nice Barbel here to be fair. in-fact the fish I registered for this years Bloggers Challenge was caught in these special waters, a lovely torpedo shaped fish of 10lb and 11 ounces.

The next trip here, another fish of around 9lb. The stamp of fish does seem to be a little higher here than other areas I fish but as I said before, more often that not you'd blank.

One swim in particular has been kind to me and for this short after work session this is the only swim I'd fish. With the river up and carrying a colour more suited for a dunking by Augustus Gloop I'd fish a lump of spam on one rod and a Hot Fish & GLM boilie on the other. Both rods fitted with a large cage feeder filled with pungent chunky fish groundbait and a few small pellets to try and get a fish grubbing around in these turbulent waters.

It's a nice swim this, even when the river is carry a lot of extra water just off the crease of the river there is a relatively large swim that not only has decent depth, but there is an undercut bank that often the fish lay up.

You don't even need a large lead to hold bottom, the swim is static more or less so the rod tops stay motionless with only the wind to contend with.

As I said before, this is swim where often you blank, but if you do get a bite from a Barbel it's a biggy. The theory here is that if there is a fish holding up eventually it will venture out to mop up the layer of goodies it can smell before tucking himself back up for the evening.

The fish has to be there though, and 2 hours in without even a chub pull I scaled down a little a switched one the rods to maggots. There are clonking Gudgeon here so one of those would have been nice to save a blank, but after another hour without even a tap I decided I was wasting my time.

A blank, yes, another blank !!! there is always the next time.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Kickie-Wickie and Kakorrhaphiophobia

With storm Dennis taking a firm grip later on in the afternoon there was a luckily a relaxing of his clutches before he got properly going. I twiddled ones thumbs for all of five minutes and whilst the storm wasn't at its strongest as he was getting himself sorted after waking from his slumber, there was only one thing for it, yes try for a Barbel again.

The venue a few miles down the road has really got to me after losing a big fish on my bream gear, there was nothing I could do despite having caught decent fish on the set-up it before, this was a lump for sure.

 I could have revisited the same stretch as the session the day before where 3 barbel were banked but it was a big fish I was after not a splasher, despite the encouraging signs for the future a capture inevitably brings.

A slight change for this trip out, a boilie and paste wrap on one of the rods and I'd stick with worm and maggot on the other.

The wind was already picking up, so much so the chair I brought with me was left folded as as soon as ones backside left it, the wind when it did pick up, took the chair over on its side and in one particular strong gust took it towards the river.

Still, with the poncho donned as now the rain was now starting in anger it was quite pleasant to be bankside. It helped that the temperature was mild but wrapped up like I was for this session, if it wasn't for the diary markers involvement with the days events.

I could have stayed for most of the day given the opportunity. The area I fish is a large open bay that even when the river is bombing through like it was for this session only a small amount of lead is needed to hold bottom.

Both rods I fished with large cage feeders so I could pack in a large amount of pungent groundbait. The barbel rods though we being battered left right and centre, but when a barbel bites there is no second guess whether or not it's a bite or not. As the norm, when the swim allows it, one rod a centrepin, the other rod a baitrunner reel.

An hour and a half in to the session out of the blue the left hand rod which had the boilie and paste wrap jumps in to life and as soon as I lifted the rod I knew it was a Barbel. It powered off downstream to where there is some trees and cover so I had to give it some decent side strain to keep it heading to where I wanted it.

In the flow the fish felt decent in-fact I thought it was a proper barbel at first but then a slight disappointment when I first caught a glimpse of the fish, yeap another scrapper, similar size fish to the ones caught during the session 24 hours before.

I love catching Barbel though, whatever the size, but I thought here, in relatively new waters, I'd stumbled upon an area where big lumps reside. This fish put pay to that, but it was welcome all the same. Rested and safely returned I thought there might be others in the swim, but another 45 minutes without a bite and now the rain coming down heavily I decided to leave it as that.

George Burton braving the conditions as well, where he was fishing, a surfboard wouldn't have looked out of place.

With the rain not letting up throughout the day as I type this, the Alne at the highest I've seen it for a while I don't know when I'll get out to get fishing again, then again, I've been wanting to try a swim I've been told about that should just about be fishable, fingers crossed anyway.

Lets just hope we have some fishable days before the season end, I've still some species to tick off, the head of the river leaderboard to maintain, fail in my mission, lets hope not.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Bibliophagists and Bumposophers

With storm Dennis on the way and with mild temperatures I needed to get out to at least try and catch a fish. The rivers were up too and motoring through so there was only really one fish on my mind and that was the Barbel.

Now Boris is about the only fish that likes to feed in these conditions, they just seem to get their heads down and on with their business. If the weather reports are anything to go by we could well be on for another bumpy ride and hatches might well have to be battened down.

I'd some maggots and lobworms for this session and that combined with a cage feeder full of fishy groundbait this combination would surely get them grubbing around. The chosen area is always good for a bite because out of all the sections of the Warwickshire Avon I fish, you are more likely to catch one here than any of the other areas.

When I got to the river I couldn't believe just how high it was, in-fact it was on the rise when I was there, but it meant the area I wanted to fish wasn't available to me, so I went upstream to about the only place that looked fishable.

I had a predator sleeper rod just out in the margins where I'd fish a smelt because there are zander and pike here as well, although the zander seem a little elusive of late, but you never know. As per the norm I had the banks to myself, so I got set-up, and was looking forward to chilling out as I'd finished what was quite a busy week.

An interesting one mind you, as it involved a 1000hp Hypercar amongst some other interesting cars.

So anyway back to the session, and what a session it was. Within an hour or so I had the first bite and a barbel was hooked. The quiver tip moving violently as the fish bolted off downstream. A pretty good fight in the flow but the first fish was probably not even 4lb. As soon as the feeder was cast out again, BANG, another bite !!!!

This one bigger but still probably not even 5lb but still it was taking line off the clutch and was giving a cracking account for itself. One lost fish to a hook pull that looked about 7lb or so and then another fish of similar statue to the first fish, a shoal must of moved in.

Then as quickly as they turned up, they disappeared. This coincided with a friend Dave turning up who fished the swim just up from me and was blanking when I left. Then weirdly despite fishing the same area in the swim I got snagged up three times and lost gear, the third time was too much, time to go home.

An enjoyable session though, it really was, I can count on one hand the sessions I've had where I've banked 3 barbel in less than an hour. For their size, they really do put on a good show. I'm watching the weather like a hawk, because I might try and squeeze in a session in the morning. As much I like reading a good fishing book, there is nothing like feeling the power of the barbel through the carbon, what a species.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Hercotectonic and Honorificabilitudinity

With an interest in wildlife and the money to indulge it, in 1820 Charles Waterton returned from his travels in South America where, having encountered such exotica as chameleons, lemurs, sunbirds and alligators, he conceived a plan to create what was perhaps the world's first ever nature reserve.

Waterton didn't call it that.of course, but having 'suffered and learnt mercy' whilst recovering from yellow fever he had firmly opposed to the destruction of any wildlife.

This itself was something of an eccentricity in an age when hunting, shooting and fishing were meat and drink to country squires such as he, but returning to Yorkshire and keen to keep the wildlife in and the poachers out, Waterton spent a fortune building three miles of high stone wall around his Walton estate.

The cost of this, some £9,000 or two or three million pounds in our own debased currency, Waterton claimed to have saved by giving up wine, and by eating little more than dry toast and watercress.

 Keen to encourage wildlife to thrive, he installed artificial nesting boxes, a world first and his own innovation, as well as importing rare owls from Italy in the hope they would breed.

His collection of household pets including an albino hedgehog, a three toed sloth and a vampire bat. Whenever one of his are pets died he would have it stuffed mounted and put on display.

Once he even dissected a gorilla on the dining room table before the port came round, and occasionally, if he felt the resulting pieces of taxidermy were insufficiently exotic, he would mix and match parts from many different animals in order to make up something of his own.

Example of this included the 'Noctifier', which reportedly combined bits of an eagle owl with those of a bittern, the 'Nondecript' a dried howler monkey which disturbingly like an Eskimo mummy, a vaguely human face applied to the body of a porcupine and half-concealed beneath the shell of a tortoise.

Now talking of eating dried toast and watercress, the impending kick in the balls for me and fellow jobbers by the tax man in the new financial year could well mean these foodstuffs could well features on ones staple diet.

In-fact last weekend a brief introduction in to a healthy watercress soup to Sam the tangleator, he despite hating any food that is green, took the plunge reluctantly I might add and lapped it up, and finished up by licking the bowl.  The belt tightening might be easier than I thought, a couple of pints of maggots or food for the kids ?, decisions decisions.

Heck I might have to be a bit of moonlighting for some extra dosh, might have to get on the bandwagon, making Youtube videos, sat in ones bivi, wrapping line round my distance sticks with drum and bass playing in the background, whilst meddling with a yellow pop-up.

Lobworms are certainly a staple diet for many a fish that swims in our waters and for this short afterwork session I'd fish some lobworms in a swim where a fish recently did me over good and proper. Yes I was back again to try and find exactly what gave me the middle finger and a kick in the balls to finish me off. Here despite the river being over its banks in many places, the 'pool swim' as I like to call it, is much lower than the banks it flows within.

If you think about it, when the rivers are up, the swell and the levels rising up the bank brings more natural food the fishes away as there is more area of bank that will be affected.

The water temp low at the minute but I was hoping here in this swim where the sanctuary can be sought that a short feeding spell may well happen at dusk when I'd stupidly be bankside.

So anyway, a method in ones madness ?

Well no actually, a big fat blank again. Not even a tap or tickle on he rod tip and yet the river looked in perfect condition for a Barbel bite. I didn't fish it for long mind you and whilst I was bankside an incident on the road meant the road above and below me was closed for a while.

Police, ambulances and fire-engines in attendance for an incident I'm still unsure of. I didn't hear a collision anyway, but I'll be hunting around the local press to find out what it was for. When I left it was still closed and I could only go one way home, yes the long way.

I'm running out of time to fill my species quota, with more on the way, it's going to be a struggle that's for sure.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Operation Brazzers Breach - Deep Dive

The pacey water at enemy lines a consistent level for a while, the weather cold proceeding this session these hardy sigh feeders if they were there, surely up for a feed. The problem was you see with the season end not that far off I was worried I'd not be able to try for let alone locate these rare species in these forgotton local waters.

The initial reccy the river was up, bombing through in water Barbel would like, not the Grayling but it showed just why they would like it here having fishing in chalk streams that contain them as residents.

The access though was ideal for a smash and grab session, and I'd try and catch one before they have even worked out what the hell was going on. I cannot imagine anyone fishes it for starters because waters like this are often overlooked by the masses. Anglers like me and the tangleator, this is our domain.

Anyway with a small window off opportunity for a proper reconnaissance before the rain was due to hit big time again, a plan of attack was hatched in all of 5 minutes. Maggots were to be distributed via a small feeder, bite indication a quiver-tip, bait worm or a red maggot. I did think about some trotting but roving and dropping in to a few swims I was hoping would bring a few bites.

Now this was the second trip behind enemy lines to try and see if indeed there is a pocket of Grayling that have established themselves in the heart or Warwickshire.

Sam was with me for this session where we'd try and winkle out firstly a fish, and secondly fingers crossed it was a Grayling. The sun was likely to be shining so he wanted to join me, after all this could well be another species to add to is already extensive list.

Like his Dad, most certainly, the love of small waters really has rubbed off on him, he was gutted when the tiny stream we'd been fishing was out of bounds due to us effectively poaching after the fly chucker who lined the farmers hands with a ridiculous amount of money to have it as his own had a word so to speak.

Maybe spending some money on a sign might help because the farmer never bat an eyelid when we were there, just used to wave whilst checking on his sheep.

It was the 'bullhead banker swim" he was most gutted about because we stumbled upon an area where bullheads were literally fighting to get at the maggot at the end of the float that was drifted down a shallow swim, an eyeopener for sure, in-fact one of the most bizarre things I'd ever seen when dangling the maggot.

So enough of the preamble, let's get down to business....

The river looked in fine fettle when we made our way up to the river, but the first swim I wanted to fish had a couple of dog enjoying themselves with a paddle. Here it's a little deeper but below past the really shallow and oxygenated area there is some nice swims where you could trot a float, if I'd had one with me that is.

We dropped in to a couple of these swims which were only a maybe a foot or so deep, there were a few deeper holes though as you could see the change in water colour. It wasn't as clear as I'd like for Grayling fishing but having caught them from the Itchen in brown water I thought if a fish was in the area it would fine the maggots or worm bait.

A good fifteen or twenty minutes in the first two swims not even a dace, chublet or gudgeon. In-fact the river seemed very devoid of life indeed, nothing topping, nothing moving, very odd for a river like this.

We moved upstream fished just above the pacey water and again not even a nibble.

Up stream there are some chubby looking swims so I thought I'd at least try and winkle one of those out. But after fishing two deeper swims with snags and rafts, again not even a nibble.

The last swim I kept a trickle of maggots going in, a nice crease where you would think fish would hold up because of the food naturally drifting their way. Again not even a tiny nibble on the tip.

There must be fish here though and with Sam getting bored I'm going to wait for perfect conditions.

A frosty morning and clear water. Fingers crossed that will happen before the season end. Bizarre so much promise and so little for reward.

"Dad, I might bring a book next time, that was rubbish, is there actually any fish in there ?"

Friday, 7 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Slipslop and Schmegeggy

The Silver Bream chase continues with this extended session down at the Warwickshire Avon. The last trip down here I had a great session catching chub using a waggler and bread as bait where I managed 5 chunky Chevin all over 4lb. So slightly different tactics for this session, some fishmeal groundbait with some liquidised bread and some red maggots and chopped worm in the cage feeder and wriggly small worms tipped with a red maggot as bait.

A double dipping session as well because as the water is cold at the minute I'd have a sleeper rod out in the margins with smelt as bait to hopefully pick up a Zander or Pike. Oddly despite me knowing that there are decent predators to be caught here, the last time I tried despite fishing a few tasty looking swims the float remained motionless.

There are few better natural baits than a worm, and they will catch every fish that swims, on all venues. We all know bream love worms and that a dendra is a good bait, but they really love redworms too. These tiny worms don’t look much but they have great pulling power, even for the biggest of fish as they wriggle more than their bigger brothers hence the attraction is increased.

Now after hooking in to a big fish the other day on a half a lobworm, I've this mad idea of using lobworms exclusively come the 16th of June just to see how many PB's I could beat in a whole season. Ok the yearly fishing budget might well go out the window but for another challenge to add to ones collection it might well be worth it to get the enjoyment back in ones again.

Variety is the key in my fishing, it always has been, from tiny stream, tributaries, to smaller rivers and big turbulent chocolate brown ones so fishing with a couple or three rods, JUST with lobworms might be a challenge but there isn't a fish that swims that doesn't like the look of a Lob so already I've convinced myself there could well be some method in ones madness.

If only could get hold of the Mongolian death worm, so named for its ability to slay enemies by spewing acid, is a bright red worm said to reside in the most desolate parts of the Gobi Desert. Some Mongolians claim the worm, measuring two to five feet in length, can also kill by emitting lethal jolts of electricity.

Westerners first learned of the terrifying creature in Roy Chapman Andrews’s book On the Trail of Ancient Man (1926). Chapman, an American palaeontologist, didn’t believe the bizarre tales he heard from Mongolian officials, but claimed the men seemed convinced of the worm’s existence, despite never seeing it for themselves.

There is no smoke without fire !!!!

Anyway real or not, the death worm continues to fascinate the Western public. The beast even served as inspiration for 1990’s Tremors. Unfortunately, expeditions in 2005, 2006, and 2007 including one featured on Syfy’s Destination Truth turned up no proof of the worm.

Then again it might be too easy fishing a worm that could stun it's prey rendering it incapable of fighting back, it would be like fishing at Tunnel Barn Farm for their wet lettuce F1's a little too easy me thinks. 

I like roving the river banks for biteless sessions and experience blanks like the best of them. Fishing shouldn't be easy, if it is, I'd find another pastime. 

Any ideas for the title of the challenge let me know ?

Operation Brazzers Breach was the title of the last Challenge which was a quest to try and catch a Warwickshire Grayling. I'm still waiting for the water to clear and a few hard frosts before maybe trying for one, well we will see. I'm hoping sooner rather than later. In-fact could well be this weekend as there is heavy rain on the way again which may well put a kibosh on proceedings. In-fact might have to rope in Sam for some moral support.

Anyway, back to the session, I started later than anticipated but hotfooted it bankside to another area I've yet to fish. This the nearest to the area where Dave had stumbled upon fish of specimen size. But there are other nice fish here to be caught as well, in-fact after getting a bed of groundbait down chucking the feeder out every 5 or 10 minutes the roach bites started. Only small ones for a good hour or so but then out of the blue a cracking fish turned up.

At first I thought I'd hooked a bream because it fought like one to start but then when it surfaced it was in-fact a decent Roach. Certainly a weigher because up till this point on the bloggers challenge I think I've only managed one a little over a pound. Really plump with really vibrant red fins, it appeared in mint condition as well. So I placed it in the large spoon landing net and rested it in the margin.

Scales sorted, camera sorted, net lifted....

...."Errrrr where is the fish then ? it's vanished"

Then it dawned on me this was a new net I got to replace the one that Sam got snagged and the only way to free it was to rip it. The problem was I also snagged up the new one and left a hole in it a couple of inches diameter, just big enough for a decent roach to get through, damn !!!!.

It reminded me of the time I netted a massive grass carp for Keith Jobling and that did exactly the same, it saw it's escape route and properly went for it. If it was a 10lb canal Zander I'd be crying as I type this, luckily it wasn't, it brought a smile to my face mind you.

The bites seemed to dry up but then out of the blue the pike floats starts to bob and move from left to right. I waited till the float went under and then reeled in and stuck in to a solid fish. Initially it was hugging the bottom and it felt a decent fish but as it came towards me I was unsure as all went light.

As I tightened up the fish bolted off from more or less right under my feet and carted towards a snag, it was this surge of power that sadly the hook hold wasn't as good as I thought and the smelt pulled out of its mouth.

Damn !!!!

Not going well this now is it, anyway not long after after putting another smelt on a couple of Sean Dowling nudges a fish grabbed the bait. Another confident bite with the float bobbing and going under a fish was on. To be honest it felt heavy but wasn't giving a fight that pike do so I thought it was a Zander till it surfaced, where it turned out to be a half decent pike.

Not quite a double but a nice looking fish with lovely markings, 9lb 14ounces. I rested it in the net to see if it's fatter sister was still mooching about sure enough a bite came quite quick, this time I struck in to nothing an a smelt came back with just its head. I was running out of bait now with just two left , again the float went back quick smart and within 5 minutes I had another bite.

Wow, they are certainly up for a feed today. A sleeper rod and lure would have worked great today I reckon.

Instantly I knew this one was a jack though and with a quick photo and both returned safely I thought that might have been it on the pike front, but it wasn't, because within 10 minutes after recasting I had another 9lber in the net, this one 9lb 8 ounces. With one bait left I left it out for 20 minutes before returning it to the water where it remained unhindered.

The quiver-tip rod headed in to dusk wasn't as active as I thought either, the choppy water changed to dead calm and that seemed to put a kibosh on proceedings. All very odd, and what it odd, is that having fish a few swims now I'm yet to catch a bream of any type, let alone a silver bream. I think a change of venue is on order, answers on a postcard please.
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