Friday, 28 June 2013

Bit Better on the River

I took the boat out on Wednesday with a mate of mine, Gerry Todd, back to the river Avon. We set off and fished several areas for only a foul hooked bleak and a small pike for Gerry. Thoughts wondered if the fishing was going to be as slow as last week but when we reached the favourite spot things started to pick up a little. I missed a couple of takes on the surface frogs then over the next few hours managed 9 pike. None of them were over 6 or 7lb but they were fighting fit in the oxygenated water and put up a great scrap on the medium and light outfits we were using. It is interesting that most of the pike are still sporting spawning marks so it would seem that they spawned very late this year.

We spent an hour jigging for zander but that proved fruitless so decided to make our way to the other end of the stretch. Along the way I picked up another 4 jacks and Gerry managed one on trolled crankbaits but the weir at the downstream end is a long way so we decided to just motor down there.

When we arrived it looked good. There is a branch to a lock gate which opens out into a pool and it looked like it would hold a few fish. Gerry was first in with a perch around the 14oz-1lb mark but no matter what I did I couldn't find a pike. I eventually found one but yet again it was only about 5lb. Time was now getting on so off we set back upstream to the launch. On the way we trolled crankbaits and I managed a few more jacks but they were small. One fish which was a bit bigger decided to tailwalk and actually jumped in the boat!

Overall a nice day out with the final tally coming to 11 pike for me and 6 to Gerry, plus a perch but the bigger fish just don't seem to be putting in an appearance for some reason which is disappointing as doubles are usually on the cards from this stretch. I get the feeling the rivers need a bit of a flush through.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A Slow Start to the River Season

The long awaited 16th June finally arrived and I decided to fish a couple of stretches I've not fished before. The alarm clock went off at 4am and I arrived at the first stretch at 6.30am. A quick chat with another angler and off I set with a big softbait hanging from my Dave Lumb Prowler Plus X with an Abu Revo Toro Winch and 100lb braid. I fished a few open swims close to where I'd parked with nothing apart from a small knock, which was probably a jack grabbing the tail of the big lure. I continued downstream for a mile or two but only found about 5 more swims that were even remotely accessible. This stretch was never going to be easy to fish but it was disappointing that nothing was even following the lures.

After 3 hours I decided to move to another stretch which has more bank access; unfortunately this meant that most swims were taken by coarse anglers! A passing chat with a few of them revealed that they weren't catching anything which didn't bode well. Although the river was a little low it seemed in good condition but everyone was struggling. Finally found an empty swim and climbed down to the water. It looked a classic swim with a fallen tree at the downstream end that had every chance of holding a pike or two. A few casts later I cast the lure level with the fallen tree and let it swing in towards the bank when a pike came flying out and whacked it in full view, but I could see it only hit the tail. The fish followed my lure several more times without taking then disappeared. A change to a jerkbait bought her out but again she only took a half hearted swipe at the lure. Another change of lure and she came out yet again but wouldn't take! Not a monster but a low double that would have started the season off nicely.

I carried on downstream fishing wherever I could get in with only a tiny jack not much bigger than the lure showing any interest. Back on the way upstream I got in a swim that I hadn't fished and even though it looked perfect I couldn't find a fish. I noticed a small hole in the undergrowth to the right of the swim with an overhanging tree and although it was almost unfishable decided that I was desperate enough to give it a go. The swim was so overgrown that I couldn't even get an underarm swing with the lure so only managed to get it about 5ft out. Without reeling the lure swung in on a tight line and came to rest directly underneath me about 4ft down to the water when there was a huge splash as a good fish came up over the shelf and nailed it. I struck best I could but the hooks just didn't set and the fish powered off along the shelf. I'd guestimate it at a high double but knowing the build of the fish in the river it could have made 20! Gutted! I've had this happen on this river a few times before and I'm pretty sure I know why it didn't hook up.. the high banks mean that the lures come over the shelf and rest head first on the waterline directly underneath where you're stood and not having a top hook on the lure means that the strike pulls the top of the lure across it's top jaw while the hanging hooks come out of the open mouth. I could use other lures but this particular lure is deadly on this river and a top hook tends to unbalance the bait making it keel over on its side.

I fished on but it started raining and never really stopped for the rest of the day. After 12 hours of climbing up and down banks, slipping over in the mud, getting stung by nettles and eaten by insects I was exhausted so called it a day. I'd fished every swim at least once by this time so the decision wasn't a hard one.

A couple of days later decided to get the boat out and head for a stretch on a different river. It's a lovely stretch which holds plenty of pike, perch and zander. The first launch of the season often takes longer than usual and this day was no different. No matter as there weren't any other cars/trailers at the slipway so it looked as though we had free reign for the day. We slowly made our way upstream having a few casts at different spots that I've caught from before but only had one small jack to show for it, with a couple of fish missed/lost. We arrived at the top of the stretch in a dead arm which isn't a good description as it has a lot of flow coming over the sluice gates.. it's more like a weirpool and usually holds a lot of fish. Started casting surface frogs around as they love them up there in the pads but not a single take! This wasn't going to be an easy day either by the looks of it and it proved to be the case. We fished several areas, dead arms, weirpools and the open river with not much to show for it. I missed what seemed like a decent fish and lost one about 9lb or so but we only ended up with 7 jacks. It was nice to be back on the river though and summer is more about fun fishing for me rather than hunting down the big girls.... most of the time! ;-)   It was nice to get one on a frog anyway.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Short Session

My Suzuki DF6 outboard was due a service which meant a trip to Derbyshire so instead of driving home and back again to pick it up decided to find somewhere to wet a few lures whilst it was being done. A dig around on Google identified a few venues within easy reach and after speaking to one of the LAS lads who lives nearby a venue was decided on.

I dropped the motor off and off we went to the lake. On arrival I was pleasantly surprised to find a lovely looking lake and a few club members were telling me how it was full of pike.. I've heard that before so took it with a pinch of salt but after half a dozen casts the first pike was landed. We continued around the first half of the lake fishing each available swim quickly to cover some water. By the time we'd finished the circuit of the first half we'd landed 6 pike.. nothing big but good sport all the same as they were hitting everything we chucked at them, apart from topwaters!. We then fished the other half of the lake which is much shallower and silty and only managed one more. Time was now pressing on so decided to fish part of the first half again for the last half hour. This turned out to be a good move as 3 more were landed and also about the same lost.

All in all quite a productive few hours with the total coming to 10 pike.. the easiest pike fishing i've had in months!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

LAS Canal Club

Popped out for a few hours down the LAS Canal Club stretch on Tuesday, which for those that don't know is an 11 mile stretch of canal that is leased primarily as a predator fishery. It contains pike and perch but the predominant species is zander.

Fishing was quite hard with just a couple of zeds lost and a couple landed but on the way back to the car in the twilight I saw a fish topping next to some weeds. A quick cast with a 3" shad and it got walloped; the rod got wrenched down, a big vortex of water and line ripping off the spool before the hook pulled! Pretty sure it was a carp. It's not the first carp out of the stretch on a lure as a couple of 18lb'ers have come to similar tactics. Oh well, it was quite exciting for about 5 seconds!

A Couple of Days in Wales

At the end of May I went to Wales to visit family and took the opportunity to fish for a couple of half days with a mate of mine on one of the big lakes that we both fish occassionally.

Met up with Jono at the lake on Thursday morning and after launching his boat off we set. The first bay looked good but after half an hour of casting topwaters and jerkbaits it seemed devoid of life; no insects, no fry and no trout meant no pike. We were in the wrong place so on with a trolling lure and off we set looking for a few fish. Not long after Jono had a hit on one of my borrowed crankbaits and landed this strange looking pike about 11lb or so...

As the water is gin clear on this lake every fish we've caught from there before is vividly marked and dark as you'd expect so it was a surprise to see a fish so pale and with pink stripes either side. I've never seen a pike coloured like this and it was a beauty in a strange sort of way.

We carried on trolling for a while with nothing to show for it so drifted back along the bank we'd just fished casting jerkbaits into the shallows. I had a jack and a follow from a slightly bigger fish but it was slow going. At the end of the treeline we stopped on the bank casting lures into one of Jono's favourite spots but after fishing the stretch with nothing doing it was back to the trolling.

After 40 yards of starting my lure was hit hard and a big head eventually came to the surface. For a minute I thought it might have been a twenty but as it turned we could see it was skinny... nice fish though at 15.04lb...

This fish came from the area we just covered from the bank so it seemed they wanted lures down deep.

Back round to where we started the troll and off we set again.. this time we got about 100 yards before another hit on my rod. It seemed a decent fish but once in the net it didn't look so big. We didn't weigh it and it might have made a scraper double but for the sake of argument called it 9lb+.

It went very quiet after that so decided to retire for food and beer for the day.

The Friday was a very different day; blazing sunshine and heat, flies hatching, trout rising.. that is, until we stripped down to summer clothes! Not long after that it went very dark, windy and cold and stayed like that for the rest of the day. Jono managed a nice scraper double before the sun disappeared then had a few more jacks but the fish were hard to come by so once again we retired for beer and food.

It was a chilly evening so Jono got dressed for the occassion in his new onesey! It was funny how people went out of their way to avoid him when we went for a short walk.

The following lunchtime saw me leave to fish a new venue for a few hours to see if there was any potential but after 4 hours of clambering through overgrown banks, down 45° slopes and over boulders I hadn't even had a follow. Not given up on it just yet though as there is surely pike in there.

Overall a great couple of days, even if the fishing was a bit slow, but the water was still a bit cold and things haven't really kickstarted yet. Fishing takes you to some fantastic places though and it was just nice being on a big wild water..

Won't be too long before I'm back again for another go, this time with some bass fishing thrown in.