Wednesday 29 February 2012

River Stour Roach and Chub - One Strike Wonderment

Day three of our southern excursion saw Keith and myself offloading gear from the boot of the car in a car park above a stretch of the Dorset Stour. It was much, much wider than I had expected it to be, three times the size I had in my head in fact, and from the bridge it looked fast, shallow and streamy. Downstream of the bridge the streamy runs petered out and then became a broad, even flow of slow moving water that looked to be quite deep, leading eventually to a weir. We chose a couple of adjacent swims about midway along, Keith on a high bank upstream, and myself on a fringe of marshy old reed beds that had died right back.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Stillwater Roach - Hand Forging a Guiding Principle

After the trip to the Itchen was over, Keith and I had decided to stay on for a couple of days to fish a couple more venues for big roach and chub. The first venue was what we shall call the 'Roach Pit' to protect its location and identity, and I shan't publish a single picture of it here lest I blow its cover for others, for it contains fish up to three pounds, and over, in its waters. After a whole day spent catching roach, after roach, after roach on the float, but not one on the hot method for the venue of helicopter style, bolt-rigged maggots, in fact my sleeper rod did exactly what its name suggests without my hearing even a single bleep all day long, we packed down and went back to the B&B. I'll probably never return there, big roach notwithstanding, and for two reasons ~

Monday 27 February 2012

River Itchen Salmon, Chub, Trout & Grayling (and a blue surprise!)

This being the fourth of my annual forays to the Itchen at the Lower Itchen Fishery and it becoming a familiar place now in want of further exploration and discovery, I started off as I meant to go on all day long, trying out swims and beats, nooks and crannies that I'd never tried before. First ports of call were a few swims downstream of the weir at Gaters Mill where I found a few bites but nothing worth striking at, the first being no deeper than a few feet at most at the tail of the run off from the weir, and the second, a far bank slack a little further down.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Of Roach, Trout, Perch, and Men - Forward Planning for Fishing Trips - River Itchen, Hanningfield Reservoir

With two big trips coming up in the next two months my mind is awash with dreams and plans about how to make those dreams come true. The first trip comes up Friday next when me and Keith, Danny and Baz toodle off South to that gem like wonderland of piscine promise, the Lower Itchen Fishery in Southampton. The second is a planned, though not as yet confirmed trip, with a bunch of Coventry bloggers to the inland sea that is Hanningfield Reservoir in my home county of Essex. Both venues promise big fish, the latter, record breakers.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Avon Roach and Dace - Madness, or Method?

The Warwickshire Avon is a moody river. An hour spent in last weeks 'barren' swim brought no bites, yet again. Though conditions once again seemed on the perfect side of ideal, it was a no show. I tried three or four alternative swims nearby but the result was the same, the river was sleeping. I thought about staying, and thought about going downstream below the millpool, where, in my prior experience of this place, the fishing is good when the upstream stretches fish poorly. In the end I thought I'd try the millpool itself before moving to known roach swims further down...

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Avon Roach and Dace - Methinks Methinks

Saturday may have been bitterly cold but Sunday would be a completely different prospect with the mercury expected to rocket overnight and top out at the balmy heights by noon, of five degrees above melting point, an ambient increase of seven or eight degrees. It would be overcast and later it might rain, with mists and fogs by evening, conditions that would seem perfect for roach, the best possible in fact, if only that is, conditions have been stable for some time.  Not surprisingly, with violent change on the way Saturday night, I'd expected very little from either Saturday's cold and expected even less from Sunday's warmth, despite the apparently perfect weather following on, and was to be proved (almost!) completely right.

Monday 13 February 2012

Avon Chub and Roach - Jacking the Stream

I rarely get the chance to fish twice in the same weekend and even less often on the same river, but Saturday and Sunday both threw up opportunities to get out and put in some serious swim caning. I knew it would be hard, expected the worst, but hadn't bargained on granite hard...

Saturday morning was preceded by a hard overnight frost and the daytime temperature would never climb above zero even in the sunnier spots under a clear blue sky, so I expected the fish to be somewhat sluggish, if not comatose, with perhaps a brief feeding spell some time in the afternoon, and for the roach I was hoping to find, if my prior experience fishing for them under these kinds of conditions is anything to go by, between two and four O'clock if it occurred at all.

Sunday 5 February 2012

River Chub - The Thick and Thin of it...

Forecast: snow by four. Action: there by one.

I love fishing in snow more than I do in any other kinds of weather, so I just had to get out to take advantage of it coming through, and the venue of choice, that was the River Blythe at Coleshill, a place familiar to me, or so I thought...

On route down the motorway, we passed over the river upstream of my destination but glancing out the window what I saw filled me with some trepidation. Not because a bit of ice covering a river puts me off fishing, but because I couldn't make out quite how extensive this covering was at 70mph.

Friday 3 February 2012

River Chub - Natural law

Saturday last, Martin and I fished what looked to be a choice stretch of the Warwickshire Avon. Locally famous for its big chub and double-figure barbel I had high hopes of contacting one of the former and it certainly looked every inch of the kind of river stretch that could turn out a real whopper of a chevin, what with its numerous holts and lairs, undercut banks, rafts, reeds and tangled scrub lined banks. Where the river passes through marshland, there the classic chub swims were so numerous that we were spoiled for choice, I imagined a bite or two in each and over the course of the day, a chance of a fish to finally break through the six pound barrier, a realistic target I have set my mind to achieving this coming year as my personal best for the species, a five-pound nine-ounce fish from the Severn caught three years ago now, is getting a bit long in the tooth. It has to go!