Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Warwickshire Avon – Trotting like flies

I love these midweek evening sessions, the sun retracting, the gnats at their most active and the river surface comes alive. I had to be on the move so roving and trotting was the order of the day, sciatica that had laid largely dormant for a few years had been creeping back in over the last couple of weeks, the usual symptoms, lower back pain, numbness and pins and needles. After 6 mths of excruciating pain, physio and the use of private chiropractors, it finally it sorted itself out. I need to keep it at bay, being as active as possible works so sitting on ones posterior looking at a quivertip just won’t cut it, to be honest with the river so clear trotting was probably the best way to tackle it anyway.

Got to love the humble earthworm....

such a primitive hermaphroditic life form that hasn’t evolved since its existence on earth 120million years ago, getting on with its day job of enriching and aerating the soil and generally keeping itself to itself. For us anglers though it’s up there as one of the best baits. A hooked or chopped worm literally oozes amino acids that attract fish from a great distance. It’s a visual bait too, so in clear rivers like it was today, a bit fat wriggling lobworm on the hook is hard for a fish to refuse.

I’ve caught all manner of decent fish from this stretch, one being the King of the river, the Perch. This was my target for this trip, if they were absent in the October banker swim, I had to find them. With the river clear many fish such as Barbel and Chub will be seeking sanctuary so a moving bait is ideal as it can bring them out from their cover. I don’t mess around when trotting, a big buoyant float secure between a couple of Drennan grippa stops, a wide gape hook tied direct to the line and the bulk shot a few inches away. The Centrepin features in much of my fishing these days, and especially when catching a Barbel it just feels right when playing a fish, I find the control infinitely better than a fixed spool just takes a little time to get used to. 

Not ideal conditions low and clear but after roving around to 5 or 6 swims I still managed plenty of fish, perch a plenty albeit nothing big, 8 or 9 chublets and also a nice Chub of around 3.5lb. The float is secured by a silicon sleeve so as the light was fading I removed the float and put a piece of meat on the hook. Within a few minutes a Chub gave it a good pull but the bite didn’t develop. I left it for half an hour and decided to head back home, it was only upon retrieval that I realised it had nabbed the bait and I’d fished half an hour with bugger all on the hook, dooohhhhh.

Monday 29 June 2015

Warwickshire Avon – The fleeting flowing piscator

For the first six weeks or so of the new season the banks are notably busier with anglers, it’s usually those fisherman who fish their favorite carp puddle and goldfish bowl and switch to the rivers as ‘it’s what everyone does’ and then they quickly realise it isn’t easy, especially when you have to find fish and heaven forbid, use ones legs.

You want to fish one of the notable Barbel hotspots, forget it….IT will be occupied…..

They leave as quick as they turn up though, so be patient. So for me as an angler that seeks solitude this time of the year it’s an ideal time to visit stretches well off the beaten track.

The area in question is a bit of a trek, well for the modern angler. Even hardened ramblers would need a backpack, trekking pole and Ray Mears in attendance just to attempt it. In reality it isn’t that far to walk but because of the distance involved, the boscage and forna it’s an area that’s largely devoid of anglers. What gets me returning every year though, is the Carp that frequent this thick lily pad sanctuary. They seem to love it here, the problem is it appears to be a short-lived holiday as one minute they are sunning themselves, the next they have packed their bags and buggered off.

They are also crafty and difficult to catch, and as the cover is so thick it would be suicidal to hook one amongst the nymphaeaceae so they rarely venture away from the confides of their self-catering accommodation. I’ve found early morning is best when you can often find them feeding off the top away from the cover but even then the window of opportunity is very small indeed. My approach is simple, a surface set-up with bread or dog biscuit and a safety clip sleeper set-up with a boilie, lobworm or pellet as hookbait and a PVA bag of small pellets just on the edge of the lilies. They are not that easy to spot either, in the past I’ve often spent a couple of hours looking through the polarised cocoons without even wetting a line. It took 15 fishing hours for one fish; I’m hoping my knowledge would reduce that.

So to the session, this is the second weekend where the weather reporters have got it completely wrong, it was like a winters day and also raining. With my float fishing mate Simon in tow a carp was spotted as soon as we got to the first swim, not the biggest and wouldn’t have made double figures, it was also stupidly clear as I could see the lobworm bait on the bottom being attacked by all manner of things. I didn’t want to catch small Perch all day so I switched to a plastic corn topped cell boilie. Every break in the rain I went to try and spot them but it clearly evident they were happy amongst the thicket. After a consolation 4lb Chub The same common was spotted again but it didn’t seem interested in feeding at all. The decision was made to pack up early and upon returning to the car I watched a load of Chub and Barbel feeding in the shallows. I was half tempted to cast a line over the bridge. The Barbel was easily double figures.

With the Wife on a Hen Do the weekend, two trotting sessions are planned....the carp can wait.

Talking of Barbel, nice one Keith, a lovely fish.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Warwickshire Avon - Been there, done Bat

The Warwickshire Avon can be funny at times, not much interest in the bait prior to dusk and then as the bats start coming out to feed on the huge number of gnats and the like the fish start waking up.I only had a 2.5 hour session so I rocked up at the 'black hole' swim fed a few bait droppers of mixed pellet and hemp and gave it a rest whilst fishing a couple of the other swims with lobworm.For each evening session apart from the main rod I've also rigged up a simple JS Eel rig to try and catch an Eel of any size, this will be fished sleeper style. I'm going to try a few baits, chopped lobs, roach head and maybe some King Prawns.I used a simple ledger stem with memory free mono, a swivel, beefy Kryston Quicksilver and a size 6 Raptor.

The river was up but still pretty clear so bait and wait was probably the way to go, If I was fishing a day session I'd have brought my beefed up trotting gear.

The 2nd swim produced a small cublet which took the lobworm on the drop and a few perch later I returned to the 'black hole' set the traps and sat back and relaxed. About 9.30pm, 10 minutes in, and still light I'd missed a take on the Eel rod. I re-baited with another Roach head and whilst doing that noticed the main rod was getting sharp Chub pulls. I fish with a really long hair when I want to try and avoid the Chub as they can knacker a swim once caught, I wanted a Barbel to take my piece of meat.

The roach head hadn't really settled when the bobbin was rising, I struck and felt solid resistance, yeap an Eel. The short carp rod was bent double but was soon under control. Not the biggest at 1lb 4oz but certainly most welcome. I'm lucky is was only a small one as having forgotten my new Gardner spoon net would have been more appropriate.Come on Mr Barbel, at 10.30pm again the main rod was being knocked all over the shop, kamikaze bats, fish in the swim brushing the line, chub bangs, the lot. 10.45pm I was packing in the sleeper when a small bite developed in to a proper pull round, was this a Barbel ? it felt weighty as first and give an initial lunge but it soon came to the surface.Nope a Chub, darn, and sods law looking back at my pics it was the same Chub I'd caught twice last week, this time an ounce less at 4.2oz . The distinctive colouring, pike wound on it's flank and tail pattern was easy to spot.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Warwickshire Avon – As black as Newgate’s knocker

I’d discovered this deep dark hole on the Warwickshire Avon sometime ago. It what one of those days when the light was right the river was stupidly low and the water gin clear. The expansive vivid gravel bed was visually interrupted by a huge dark shadow that looked entirely out of place. It was cave-like in appearance and seemed bottomless. What really did surprise me was without those perfect conditions you won’t know it was here; no change is pace, no rippling, nothing. It walked past it many a time and was none the wiser. It couldn’t really be plumbed either as a small marginal shelf drops away and changes to a considerable undercut, it would be like throwing a sausage up an alleyway. (the hole btw, not the Wife)

It HAD to be a fish holding area…and yet up until the session despite catching a few Barbel in the area I’d not fished it….

The day I discovered the black hole I also spotted a whacker of a Barbel that was disturbed when I’d hooked a Chub, it broke its nearside cover, swam upstream and disappeared amongst the thick streamer weed. I was shocked, my heart rate rose to dangerous levels, wow, what a fish. My PB stands at 11lb 11oz, this was its Dad. I usually fish for Barbel in the Autumn as I find early season they can be out of condition and underweight. However due to the decent water temperatures and mild’ish spring they appear to have got the spawning out the way and want to refill their trousers. The conditions didn’t really suit so I doubt if they were biting but I’d geared up for them.

In the warmer months with the river clear unless you’re fishing moving baits amongst the steamer weed in the faster, shallower areas this river can be a bugger to get bites, when it’s up and coloured, not an issue, a chunky piece of garlic spam is king.

I had taken my time over rig preparation for this session as there was no need to rush to get to the bank as I only intended to fish for a couple of hours. I’d lost big fish before because of my lackadaisical approach so I’ve become a bit more methodical of late. The swim is nice and flat and two rods can be fished with tips to butt 180 Degrees apart. There isn’t really any science involved with this type of fishing, for those that haven’t experienced a barbel bite; you sure ain’t going to miss it, they are savage and unmissable so sit back, ignore the taps, the small knocks and wait for all hell to break loose.

With baits positioned both rods were getting attention right from the off with taps and knocks a plenty. I only fished for a few hours but I ended up with 7 Chub to 4lb 5oz, 1 a repeat capture and also a nice bream of 5lb 2oz on a cell boilie. I’m sure something took the bait-tech hybrid barbel hookbait on the drop too so, another Chub or even a predator, who knows. This weekend is out of action due to family commitments so the next session will likely be on Monday evening. It’s good to be back.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Warwickshire Avon – Up, Up and Ebay

For the first session of the new 2015 river season I wanted to go and have a look at my favourite stretch of the Warwickshire Avon to see if I could spot any decent fish and also to see which swims were accessible for some future trips I had planned. For this short evening reccy simple tactics were to be employed a link ledgered worm or a couple of maggots on a new rod and reel set-up. Ebay and alcohol doesn’t really mix well does it, ones trigger finger cannot consciously be controlled and you tend to bid for things you wouldn’t ordinarily do if you were nonindulgent. One evening in the closed season after a Zander trip and with the Wife out ,the kids safely tucked up in bed and a couple of cask strength Finlaggan’s consumed , I bypassed xhampster, logged in to Ebay and got browsing. Half an hour later, I’d bought a new JW Young Centrepin and an 11ft TFG River and Stream rod, certainly an expensive evening especially when I’d also managed to bid on a car.

Come morning, a private message and a white lie sorted the seller of the classic mini, pesky kids….

It’s a lovely dainty piece of carbon, very very nice indeed and ideal from me as a roving angler who handles his rod so much (no, not an euphemism) …. To be honest, I’m glad the grain kicked in, it’s one of my better intoxicated purchases as it looked like it hadn’t even been used. The rod consists of one butt section and two top sections, one being a 1lb 2 oz test curve standard tip that will accept screw in swing tip, the other a spliced in quiver section that feels about 2oz or so. Despite being TFG, it looks like a Freespirit blank to me. This is my third TFG rod and I’ve always been a fan of them, good value for money and perform very well. Ok I’ve a smilar’ish Drennan Avon Quiver Rod but a fisherman cannot have too many rods can he.

I got it delivered to work too; the Wife was none the wiser…for some reason she thinks they are breeding….

I’ve my eye on some river carp for the next few weekend sessions as I don’t usually target the Barbel till later in the season I was just glad to be out fishing on flowing water. I’d not got a species in mind but to christen the new rod a dace, roach or perch would be nice.

When I arrived bankside the river was far clearer than I thought it would be, the first swim was my autumn Perch banker swim, it’s an area of slack water which is a bit deeper than the norm. I loose fed some hemp and maggot and positioned the worm. The worm probably didn’t even hit the bottom when the rod hooped over. A fish was on, it felt half decent too and after getting it under control I saw it’s flanks, it was a half decent Chub. It didn’t put up a particularly good fight and when landed it wasn’t in the best condition, a pike mark on Its side and rather hollow. Other than that it was a decent fish for this particular area of the avon and come wintertime it will be well over 5lb. It weighed 4lb 7oz and 1oz off my PB.

I fished 4 other swims and caught fish out of everyone, only small cublets and perch though. I bumped in to another angler who had caught Perch and also some small Barbel which is encouraging. There are big Barbel here but as I was underguned if I hooked one I called it a day as 9.30pm. So nice to be back on the flowing water, it’s certainly been missed.

Monday 15 June 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.19 – Balls Deep, Bladderation, & Baragnosis

For this 19th and (possible) final Zander Quest session of the closed season I was at a stretch of the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal I’m going to revisit again if ever the river is over its banks. Before the boats start churning up the bottom it is by far clearer than any stretch I’d fished before, there was some decent bank cover too which gave the area some much needed interest. I’d overlooked this area to be honest, accessibility isn’t the easiest and the boat traffic can be a bit of a nightmare. However due to the improved clarity and the likelihood of more bait fish for the Zander to feed on, I’m thinking an evening session or two might be worthwhile which will ultimately start the Quest all over again. I started it, so at some stage whenever that is, it must be concluded. I’m crossing my fingers for a welcome surprise.

Talking of surprises, blimey, you do see some odd things down the cut, don’t that let it put you off from fishing it though, it can be an eye-opener, it all adds to the appeal.

‘That’s a bit odd an attractive lady dressed up to the nines with full slap on and in a flowery dress, meandering past with a suited and booted male ‘friend’ walking the same undulated dog poo tainted canal towpath as I, in the middle of bleeding nowhere. Hmmmm, ok 

Hang on a minute; look at that clearly in view, they’re both clambering over that gate, opposite the bridge, very unladylike. What’s over there then, well not a fat lot, nice and secluded though if you’re actively seeking some privacy. Sure enough, 15 minutes later, they are returning from where they came (ask them, not me), she looking a bit dishevelled and flustered, he with a beaming smile and jacketless.’

The Jammy Git…, then again he ain’t fishing for Zander like me, he clearly doesn’t know what he is missing…

I had was aimed to get another session in Monday evening before the new river season is with us but it depended on my restraint over the weekend, the 20th Zander session would be a reasonable achievement but I’ve an issue. These days the after-effects of a night on the pop and subsequent bladderation my recovery time (age probably) is debilitating. Gone are the days when I could drink for 2 weeks solid, mix my drinks, drink countless shots and still be reasonably compos-mentis the following day. It now takes me a good few hours in the morning or even the entire day to feel good enough to go fishing. I don’t like not drinking when others are though, it just doesn’t feel right; so this could well be my final session for sometime on the cut.

Changing subject a tad, I does amaze me some of the pictures you see in the angling press where clearly the fish is nowhere near the stated weight, maybe they didn’t have any scales so decided to guess and add on a 50% safety factor, but some of the pictures and weights do make me chuckle, what’s the point? You’re only kidding yourself. Last weekend a couple of camo’d up elderly chaps who were fishing the cut from within a local hostelry beer garden caught a half Perch on a small deadbait. I’d have put it at no more than a 1lb and half, and yet it was apparently well over 2lb, getting on for 2 and half.

Now those that have caught and weighed a Perch over 2lb, they really are impressive fish in the flesh, they look huge. Maybe this is possibly a problem with Zander fishing, word of mouth, a twisting of the story and Chinese whispers you have a canal system with plenty of double figure fish, is there really? you only have to look at the amount of towpath trampling over the years the Midland bloggers have given in the Quest for cut double to see that they’re as rare as rocking horse poo. I’m planning to continue on with the challenge though albeit without the dedication and single-mindedness as those that I trust have say they do exist, and that’s good enough for me. I always take scales with me, why make a guess? there is no need.

A classic case happened a couple of years ago where a supposed 18lb Ashby canal Zander featured heavily in the angling press because the fish was killed and eaten by the captures, all very embarrassing and a tragic story, please hold your heads in shame. What were they thinking FFS…? Then again as a match angler caught it, sadly it was on borrowed time but you would have thought they would have put the 9lb specimen back for specialist anglers like me to catch, I still cannot fathom why they did it.

There is another species of fish I intend to target here but for this session it was the much loved Zander, I wanted to cover as much towpath as possible so I travelled light for this session, net, lure rod and small waist bag.

Was this an area I’d overlooked ?

What I’ve started to do now is when walking from one area to another is drop the lure into the margins and walk slowly, especially when it’s clearer than the norm. It didn’t take long for the first fish either. You can tend to tell a Zander and Pike bite because of the feel through the braid, this was no sharp bang but a lazy progressive take. The fish was slugging it out not going on a mental run and sure enough a Pike took a liking to the firetiger shad, a half decent fight and the fat 5lber was in the landing net. It was as slimy as Danny’s Eel for some reason, and had distinct colouring, the net is overdue a much needed jet wash. The eel slime is something else.

No further fish for another 3 hours or so but then a tasty looking lock with oxygenated water produced a couple of small Zander on the cannibal coloured shad. Not a hugely productive session and due to weekend excesses, yes I don’t feel the best I’ve now concluded this Zander Quest. I’m going to give the same dedication in the next closed season though as I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’ve certainly gained a huge amount of knowledge from it and hopefully will put me a better position to catch that elusive double next season.

Now I just need to catch a river Zander....anyone fancy an evening session at the Mill ?

Saturday 13 June 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.18 – It's no laughing Badger...!!!!

I'm hoping that's my lot, the week leading up till Thursday's short evening session on the Grand Union the local wildlife seemed to have suicidal tendencies, every journey in my new car met with near missies with birds, muntjac and rabbits. Tuesday was the first death when a raven decided he would like a better look at my windscreen, Wednesday a magpie took a liking to my nearside headlamp and it sure enough the third incident concluded with a huge kamikaze Badger on a mission who succeeded in causing considerable damage to the front bumper, grille and under-tray. Luckily the huge radar sensor and mounting bracket and modern cars pedestrian impact legislation meant it stopped short of the radiator so the car was still drivable and I managed to nurse it home.

The bonnet to grille gap also highlighted the bonnet has had a bit of a bump too. The car is in to be fixed now, so I've now got a bright red steel wheeled Nissan Micra spam chariot with less than 4 times the power, at least I'm mobile I suppose and can still go fishing.

The incident happened when I was returning from the area where I'd lost a big Zander a couple of sessions previously, it was by far the biggest fish I'd managed to hook and the shear size of it's mouth when it was shaking it back and fourth was something to behold. The resulting hook pub was one of those moments in fishing that everyone has, I just seem to get the brunt of them. This would fish would have beaten my 5lb 4oz PB by a very long way and also highlighted Zander really do can put up a bit of a scrap as it certainly put a proper bend in the rod and an ache in to my forearm.

I'd made a slight change to the set-up for this all out headless Roach attack, the Ultimate Bass hook was replaced with a Raptor. I've only used a Raptor a few times now but it does have similar hook up rates as the bass hook, I made the change as I wanted to use a thicker gauge hook to hopefully prevent a similar hook pull if I'd manage to hook up to it again. The Zanders boney mouth plate once penetrated gives good hook retention but I'm sure the lost fish was due to the hook pulling out because of the reaction against the broom handle, sorry Carp rod.I have tried small trebles in the past but especially with the smaller Zander who are reluctant to open their mouths I find barbless single hooks far easier to remove, especially when 95% of the hook holds are firmly in the scissors. I also swopped rods so now the terminal tackle was rigged to a 2lb TC Fox Barbel rod.

It was a bright sunny evening and when I rocked up at the swim it was 22 degrees and pleasant to feel some sun on my back. The oxygenated area I intended to fish had a large film of surface scum and debrit but I known from past sessions this won't trouble the Zander, in-fact I've caught fish from the most of unlikely of places. They like it dirty. Within 15 minutes I had a near 3lber on the bank which was an encoraging start but then for some reason I was missing bites. I'm sure it might have been a Eel having a go but strikes didn't result in a hook-up. This is unusual as as soon as the rod gets attention if you strike early a Zander would be on the end. 5 further Zander later as a photographer was chatting to me I hooked in to another decent fish again, it was only only for a few seconds to maybe it was just mouthing the bait, damn another decent fish lost.

The last fish, which you see below I just had to photograph as despite not even making 3lb it punched far above his weight. It was on of the fights where I'd played it for a decent amount of time to then end in big disappoint when the fish surfaced. Then can fight well this smaller Zander, this one could anyway, I was well impressed. Another quest session down with probably only one remaining, the river season is here Tuesday and that's where my attention will be. I've loved every minute of my canal time though, even cancelled planned Crucian and Roach sessions for them. The Quest is not over either, I'll be carrying out Zander sessions from time to time throughout this season and then I maybe even be as dedicated again in the next closed season, there is loads of areas I want to try to try and capture a double.

Monday 8 June 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.17 – Partner in Grime

For this short morning session at the local cut I joined fellow Midland blogger, Danny of The Lure of Angling. Now Danny has been far more successful than me on canals where predators are concerned catching big Perch, Pike and Zander, and he recently caught a superb 9lb 14oz clonker. Ironically it was caught on deadbait and not on his favoured method, the lure. I’ve had more success with deadbait than lures had but I can only dream of a Zander that size. The more I fish canals for Zander, I’ve realised specimens like that are very rare indeed.

A new theory (one of many) I have is that the bigger fish may live where they have an abundance of fish to feast on and they have an appetite to match, a lone fish suffering with Prader-Willi syndrome if you will, . I’ve caught well over a hundred now for a mediocre PB of 5lb 4oz, I’ve a long way to go. Finding where the tubby ones frequent however is a herculean task. I rarely see another angler on the towpath during my quest so any potential leads are few and far between; there is a huge expanse of water to go at, bank time and luck is the order of the day.

A bit late now considering the quest is coming to an end but I’m now wondering if I’m concentrating too much in areas of canal that are too coloured, ok I’ve caught plenty of fish but nothing big, are the clearer and less gloomy stretches the areas now to target ? the Zander has fantastic sight better than it’s fellow residents but maybe being clearer means, the fog is lifted and the entire dinner table is revealed ? I’m not taking gin clear I’m talking a foot of clarity. Where I fish most of the time it looks like the strong cuppa your Gran made but she forgot to remove the tea bag.

I’d not fished this area before, but know it reasonably well as I’d cycled it in the past so I saw it as bit of a reccy to possible target the Zander in the future. Danny caught a few Perch and Zander on the lure and the deadbait and I blanked on the lure after only having a couple of nibbles. Any info shared is most welcome though and tucking in to a roast dinner I’ve a couple of ideas I want to put in to practice after a bit of an eye opener. I didn't expect to witness what I did on the canal that's for sure.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.16 – No Laughing Snapper

“Wow !!!, did you catch that here” said the Aussie towpath cyclist who just happened to be passing as I was returning a small Zander to its home.

Errr no it’s the family pet and I’m just giving it a bit of exercise.…!!! FFS

Returning a Zander, you heard me say, well yes, as a non-native species Zander can certainly be an emotive subject and divide opinion…I've returned nearly all the fish I've caught, on the rare occasion I’ve had one deeply hooked, I’ve put it out of his misery to try and prevent any further suffering but as a specialist angler I return them as I want to catch them in a couple of years when they have put on some extra timber. So what’s the latest stance, this week (02.06.15) I tried to clarify the situation with the Canal and Rivers Trust and the Environmental Agency…..

The Canal and Rivers Trust said, “Zander once caught must not be returned to the water, dispose of them as you wish” the Environmental Agency said “Current UK Legislation states, it is an offence to introduce Zander in to any water without an ILFA licence (licence to keep or introduce / non-native freshwater fish)” I specifically asked about Zander that are already established and they replied “technically Zander should not be returned to the river but in some areas they are considered to be naturalised“  

I did get a much more comprehensive response from the Canal and Rivers Trust Fisheries and Angling Manager, however I will not publish it all on here, but after all the relevant communication and responses the gist of it is, as they are established and ‘naturalised’ I can return them if I so wish, however, although technically under current legislation I will be breaking the law, the reality is I can do so without fear of fine or prosecution. There appears to be some common sense over the situation, especially when you see this extract from a response by the Canal and Rivers Trust. 

"It is impossible to remove invasive and non-native fish from any riverine system and Zander are well established in the Severn and Avon now. Some of our canals like the Grand Union, Oxford and Stratford canals have a direct connection to these rivers and if it was possible to completely drain them all and remove the Zander, Zander would still be able to populate these waters again in time. It’s fair to say that these fish are here to stay."

One issue I see though is as they are still considered non-native, so there are effectively no removal limits and the relevant bylaws confirm that .So it seems those looking to take one or more for the pot are rubbing their hands, especially as they are good eating and a good commercial value.To be fair, the communication I have received has been appreciated, and within a timely response too. Apparently the Environment Agency are looking at ways to clarify it for certain waters so hopefully they can get their heads together with those concerned to make it more black and white for us anglers.At the moment it seems it's very much a grey area....

You do see some strange going's on at the cut.... luckily it my mate Simon who popped over for a natter.

Anyway back to the fishing, the Grand Union was the destination for this short evening session, it was lovely warm day with plenty of blue sky. A Headless roach on both rods, one in the deeper boat channel the other slap bang in the middle of some oxygenated water.This swim is an area of major frustration as today was the third or fourth time I've lost a big fish, the same one ? who knows but within 15 minutes of catching the first fish I had a bite and connected to a proper'un.

I'd swapped my usual 6ft rod for a 10 footer for the oxygenated swim as because of the swims elevation , the rod was bent double and it was taking some line, it started to shake it's head clear of the water and I witnessed it's huge mouth, maybe loosening the drag mid-fight wasn't a good idea as a few seconds after that, the fish was off. Replaying it back in my mind it was easily a PB beater. If I fish this swim again I might swap the bass hook for a beefier Raptor, I'm also going to bring a different landing net as half the problem is getting the fish to the smallish landing net and short handle, the swim suits a longer set-up. Was the rod too stiff and the thin gauge hook pulled under the pressure ?, it's always the questions I'm going to ask myself.

It was one of those sessions, 3 further small fish caught, 2 further lost fish that seemed to be mouthing the bait rather than taking it fully. I left as the sun went down with my tail firmly between my legs.

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