Monday, 5 October 2009

Jeff Needs to Try Harder!

I've been neglecting the blog a bit of late so it's time for a bit of a round up I think.

The canal has switched on again, well the perch never stopped after they woke up in spring, but the roach are back. I have been out after them on a few occasions and have had fish up to three quarters of a pound and they are coming regularly enough to make the fishing worth my while.
The perch are still rampant and any maggots laid down will get found by them and the roach muscled out, so I am keeping my feed to a bare minimum, and this policy has had the unexpected effect of upping the size of the perch that have found the bait. What I am looking forward to is Winter, and the coldest part of it, for my roach fishing. Whoever said that the worst weather is the best weather for roach, was right in my short experience of roach. It may not be that the big roach feed hard in winter, but that the small fish do not? Last winter I had hardly any fish under a pound till spring came and after that the roach average catch size dropped sharply. I always wondered why committed roach anglers never bothered till the frosts came, and now I know.

Me and Kev went to Anchor Meadow on the Avon last weekend. Actually it was the weekend before! Told you I was getting a bit tardy...

I was after a bit of float fishing through the day, and then barbel in the evening. We started off in a couple of pegs next to each other, the water was slow and low but I had a perch almost first trot through and then another a little later. I thought the trickle of loose feed was building the swim but I was very wrong for I had hardly a bite in the next hour or so. Kev, eventually had a dace, but I think it was his only bite in the same time. Hmmm...

We moved on. We ended up back in the swim at the point on the end of the island where we'd fished last time out to this place and proceeded to feed maggots as before. The result was a little better, and I mean a little. The float dipped occasionally, I had a bleak and Kev a few small fish if I remember correctly - and it was so slow and events so unmemorable that I really can't. I eventually got very bored with this and went to long trot the next peg down, where its possible to get a run through of probably seventy yards.

I was using the pin teamed to a thirteen foot float rod that I have never got on with. It is one of those rod buys that has never found a place for itself, an ugly duckling of a rod, and therefore my opinion of it has sunken lower and lower as time has gone by. The only reason I have used it lately is because my favourite float rod was stolen some time back and I have not found a suitable replacement since. Today however, the rod found itself a place in my heart!

I was Wallis casting to a line about fifteen yards out and found that I wanted, because the swim starts near the end of a bend and the angles are a bit wrong starting that close in, to start off much further out, twenty yards at least and thirty or more if possible so that the float would travel nicely and not arc in toward the bank. Besides, long trotting that far away gives you many chances of failed strikes before you get too close to the near bank.

I found that the rod was allowing me to really kick the light float out further and further and further. It was only a 4xNo4 float, and that's not much weight at all for such a tricky cast, but I found myself able to get the float two thirds across the river and then three quarters across before I reached the limit, and I carried on casting perfectly time and time again, no tangles, no trouble. Someone should have been behind me shooting a video it was that good!

The only thing wrong with the rod now is the horrid black plastic handle stuff that it was born with, but I really might chop that off and replace it with cork and a winch fitting to replace the naff old fashioned friction rings that were custom designed for the losing of centrepin reels in deep river swims - not a problem on a canal with its shallow marginal shelf but on a deep river you can wave bye bye to an expensive reel without any form of anti reverse!

After an hour of this pleasant casting I realised I was not going to catch a thing, the fish obviously not wanting to move and intercept passing baits, so I headed back to the point to nail a couple of baits to the ground. Kev had reached the same point by this time, certain that only that one approach could work. Before setting up the barbel gear I went around the island and asked after the experiences of others and guess what, no-one else had had a touch all morning, not a single fish of any species between perhaps fifteen anglers! Not good at all...\

We both put out a couple of rods, mine on corn and Kev's fishing of corn on one and a maggot feeder on the other. I trust sweetcorn when the river is low, it seems to scrape a bite or two, and sure enough after a short time my rod top rattled and bent around. In came a bream of a couple of pounds. Soon after, Kev had the same on corn, followed by another on the maggots. We proceeded to catch a steady trickle of these bream all day long, but they were the only fish interested in anything, there never seemed the possibility of a barbel or a chub.

But when nothing else is doing, skimmers will just have to do, so we got right into it, trying all kinds of bait/tackle combinations to get more bream on the bank.

The evening came and then we thought a barbel might show, but it was not to be. Too slow, too low, too no.

It was the sort of day when boy anglers throw bricks in just to liven things up!

Grown men just arse about for the trophy shots!

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