Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Friday 28 March 2014

Missing in Action !!!!!

Readers of my blog will know I’ve fished Centre Parcs at Elveden a couple of times in the past, the first time I fished it a chance capture of a specimen Perch on sweetcorn caused me to specifically target them for subsequent visits. I had plenty of 2lber’s in November and on the final day I lost a right clonker of a Perch when it violently shook its head and bumped the hook. It would have smashed my 2lb 11oz PB.

The main lake is approximately 20 acres in size and sits within the middle of the 400 acre woodland setting, the majority of anglers that fish the lake from what I can see fish for the scum suckers, there are plenty of them too, apparently the lake was netted and the bigger fish removed but you only have to go over to the beach peninsula where you can feed them with bread and more or less stroke them to know there are still some big fish in residence. Tactics are to dump a load of pellets in the margins during the evening and fish over the top, in that respect no different than lots of Carp venues.

You can fish more or less anywhere on the main lake but from 10am till around 5pm the water sports activities kick in to life so during that time only the designated fishing platforms at the hotel end can be used. Our accommodation was a short stroll from the lake so within 5 minutes I can be fishing so the good thing for me as an early riser (my body clock is knackered) is I get to fish every morning for a few hours before the Wife and kids wake up and it doesn’t spoil the day.

Anyway back to the Perch, a 2 rod attack was planned. At the business end a Korum running rig is fitted with small two-thirds of an ounce lead. The hooklink is 2ft of 6lb 12oz Preston Power line and at the end a size 6 Kamasan B983 hook. Made from high carbon fine steel wire with a ground and chemically etched needle point it’s a large enough pattern for a couple of air-injected lobworms or a small deadbait. It’s also a lightweight hook and damn strong, which adds to the fairly light set-up but if need be, it’s still man enough to stand-up to a double figure carp. A small shot is pinched on to the line to counteract the buoyant hook bait.

Zandavan roll-overs provide more or less resistance free bite indication; they also allow the bail-arm to be left open. When a fish takes the bait and the indicator flips-over I lift the rod, close the bail-arm and strike when my thumb and forefinger feel the resistance, it’s such an effective method my catch rate has improved significantly.

I don’t usually use groundbait for catching Perch but for such a big lake I felt it might help with keeping the bait fish and therefore the predators within the swim I was fishing. It consisted of Red fishmeal groundbait, chopped worm, dead maggots and liquid worm. I threw in a couple of orange sized balls at the start of each session. Red maggots were also catapulted in to the swim every 10 minutes or so.

Anyway, how did it go ?

Err not very well, I managed a Perch of 2lb 9oz's on the first morning on deadbait but then that was it.  My Tenkera fishing rod provided some entertainment though, I fitted it with a pole rig and used maggot as hookbait and fished a couple of meters out I caught well every morning. The Roach were half decent up to a pound and a half and I also managed a few small carp.  I tried 3 different swims but the big Perch were Missing in Action.

Maybe a drop-shot approach would have been better as I could cover the large expanse of water to try and locate the Perch. Oh well you live and learn, 5 enjoyable mornings though. The next time and all that. !!!

Monday 17 March 2014

Flour Power !!

Friday has always been precious for me, why you ask, well as an early riser my working week stops at noon, and it always has done. Stuck in-front of a CAD screen on ones backside for hours on end is enough to send anyone barmy so a Friday afternoon off to do what I want keeps me sane. Usually it’s spent with the Wife to make the most of our childfree time, but not today as I was told to go fishing whilst she goes shopping for a new coat, result!!!! .

After whinging about the cancellation of our date day and having the proverb ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ flashing before my eyes I agreed. Within minutes and with the Wife’s eyes glazed over I was planning where I was going to fish.

The previous day I managed to pick-up some fresh Warburton’s Blue for a quid so that sorted of dictated the species I was after and with the river close season a sunset away and red fins on my mind I decided to do some roving on the Warwickshire Stour. The various areas of the Stour I fish have plenty of character, surprisingly deep in places, with fast gravel runs, holes and gullies. It’s no Warwickshire Avon where specimen fish are concerned but one thing it has got though is half decent Roach. You need to find them though as they tend to be in tiny pockets throughout the river.

I want the bait to be on the bottom when the water is still cold and the Stour depth can change so much over a small stretch it’s not ideal for trotting. When the levels are low the flow is painfully pedestrian and when in flood far too fast to trot a float. Parts of the Stour are regularly match fished and that’s where the pole comes in to its own as you can hold position. I’m not a match fisherman, I don’t own a pole and the last thing I want to be doing after sitting on my numb backside all week is to add to the numbness.

As a past sufferer of sciatica and an exercise avoider, roving around is made for me as it gets my joint moving. I rarely use a chair for my fishing sessions so that allow me to travel light and cover more ground. If I avoid the match days on the Sunday and due to the popularity of pigs with fins, apart from sheep and birds it’s a few miles of river all to myself.

The rig used is simple, a link swivel is tied to the main line and covered by a buffer bead. A size 14 Korum 15” quickstop hair rig is baited with a couple of 12mm dried punched bread discs and a small shot is placed a couple of inches from the hook so the naturally buoyant bait wafts enticingly just off the bottom. To suit the rivers flow a few AAA shot are pinched on to the link ledger loop. The beauty of fitting a link swivel is if the bread isn’t doing it’s thing it allows me to quickly change to a larger hook and lobworm tail for example.

Loose feed was a scopex flavoured walnut sized ball of liquidised bread, any more than that the fish seem to do a fat legger, follow the bait downstream and then take forever to return to the swim. You can practically jump from one side of the river to the other so I use one of my trusty centrepins, which features in nearly all my fishing these days.

I alternated between worm and bread and had a great day, lost a big Chub to a snag too. Gudgeon, Ruffe, Perch and Roach succumbed to the worm and the Roach and Chub the bread.

Certainly is a healthy river because I caught in all of the 8 or so swims I tried, the biggest Roach was only 11oz's but there are bigger to be had. Same the season is over, I'll be back.

Monday 10 March 2014

Sucker Punch...

I’ve never fished deadbaits for Chub, I’ve never had to as I’ve caught hundreds on the traditional baits. Usually if I want to specifically target them then I use cheesepaste, it’s a great winter bait especially when the water is coloured. As the chub gets older and bigger I’m sure their predatory instinct kicks in and they change their feeding behaviour. I’ve caught them on lures and small deadbaits when I’ve been targeting other species so for my last session before the close season I thought I’d try some Lamprey. They are certainly equipped for it as they have a decent set of pharyngeal teeth, scientific studies of stomach contents show that crayfish and eel are part of their staple diet, to be honest a bit like my eldest son, they are greedy beggars.

Those that fish the Warwickshire Avon regularly know that a 5lb’er is a specimen and a 6lb’er a rarity. As far as I know the biggest Chub caught on the river is 8lb 1oz in 2004 by Tom McLoughlin. In the summer when the river was low and clear I spotted a shoal of Chub where a couple must have been well over 6lb, they were right clonkers. I’ve never managed to get near one though; I’ve had countless 3 and 4 pounders with my biggest 4lb 7oz. I could venture further afield than Warwickshire to rivers where bigger Chub are resident but I like fishing on my home patch and to be honest it’s difficult enough trying to find time to fish with a young family to entertain so travelling more will just reduce my fishing time.

I use two rigs for Chub, a link ledger and an inline feeder, with both set-ups I’ve found mounting the bait directly on the hook or via a hair gives similar hook-up results. I allow the bite to develop so ignore the knocks and rattles until the rod properly hoops over.

I never get bored of catching Chub where there are floating weed rafts, overhanging trees, undercut banks, areas of streamer weed or submerged roots that's where you'll find them. When hooked keeping them out of those snags is a right battle, where there is a snag they will find it. They are certainly up there for one of the best fighting coarse fish.

Last week I caught 3 decent Chub all from the same swim so a creature of habit maybe but I returned to the same swim as I knew there should be Chub in residence, this time though I decided to stay put rather than fish my usual roving approach. Being conscious it was likely to be my last session before the river close season the plan was to maximise the time the bait was in the water. I fed the swim with some Lamprey pieces and added a bait dropper full of red maggot, pellet and hemp, whilst the swim rested and trying to reduce my hangover symptoms after the previous night’s revelries in Warwick of real ale and Godfathers, I tucked in to a locally made game pie and a mug of Bovril.

The method for this morning session down the Brook was a section of Lamprey mounted directly to a size 8 Korum Xpert specimen hook tied to 5lb main line, a Preston jumbo locking shot was attached to a link-ledger secured to the line via a Drennan float stop. Rod is a 11ft 1.25lb/tc Drennan Avon Specialist series 7 with a budget but excellent Dunlop centre-pin reel. It’s a set-up that’s just right for Chub and the action of the Avon rod is ideal, you don’t want to over gun it and fish too heavy for Chub as you’re missing out on the pleasure of the characteristic fight.

So best laid plans and all that, ignore the above because the only fish I caught was a 8.5lb Pike :)

Monday 3 March 2014

Choose one or the Otter...another PB

The bad bit....

It was definitely a tale of two halves over the weekend, Saturday I ventured out to the River Arrow to do some roving around and to try and explore the river a bit more. The large corn field has been flattened so that made it easier to make progress along the bank, there was a frost overnight so not much chance of a Barbel but I had 3 baits with me, lobworms, stinky cheese paste and garlic spam. The first swim I settled in there was a big splash to my right, I thought it might be from a fish but no, it was from two otters patrolling up and down margins. I managed to get a picture albeit a poor attempt. It brightened up and was a lovely morning but despite trying 6 or 7 likely looking swims I didn’t even have a rattle. 

I’m planning on buying a Warwick book for the 2014/2015 season so with even more water available to me less than ten minutes away, I think the Arrow may have to go. Ok its close enough but I haven’t quite gelled with it, not sure why. The stretch I fish is wider than I thought it would be and not as intimate as I’d like. It’s rarely fished which is in its favour but road noise from the adjacent main road is another reason why I’m not going to renew. I might look in to other parts of the Arrow to fish as there are nicer stretches that would probably suit me better.

Now the good bit...........

I was planning to go to the Ricoh fishing show on the Sunday morning but having blanked on the Arrow the Warwickshire Avon Brook was far too tempting. My trusty Drennan 11ft Avon rod and Centrepin was fitted with a inline map cage feeder that was to be filled with liquidised bread and some stinking cheese paste was wrapped around a large Korum paste cage. It’s a set-up that works brilliantly for Chub. Wait for the bite to develop and you will hook up 100% of the time.

The river was up and had some pace too it but my Chub banker swim is a haven from the flow and sure enough within 5 minutes I had a 3.5lb Chub on the bank. I don’t use a keepnet for Chub, maybe I should and my capture rate might increase I usually just release them downstream. It seemed to work today as within 20 minutes I caught another Chub of 3lb 11oz’s. There are snags on either side of the swim and it gave a proper good account of itself so with the swim left alone to settle I tried a few more swims downstream without success. 

Back to the same swim again and within 10 minutes I had one of the most violent takes I’ve ever had, and in to another Chub again. This one felt far more powerful though and took a while to get it under control. A long and lean fish and for me a PB, not a huge Chub in most people books but at 4lb 9oz’s it was my best ever. 

I decided to call it a day, and finish on a high. 2.5 hours and 3 decent Chub, certainly an enjoyable session.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...