Tuesday 22 September 2015

Canal Slabs, Another Cut PB.

 The "Blogger's Challenge" that started back in May has really given me the impetus to try other water's for I feel I have benefited handsomely through doing this, the chances are there to be taken but I hadn't really targeted them thoroughly enough to assume nothing existed, normally I love to fish miles from the nearest human, but here on what couldn't be called anything other than a sprawling urban landscape there are some lovely fish to be tracked down, I've already caught monster Carp and good size Bream for a canal but there is something else in there worth having if I could only find it.

 The application is right and the Zander will surely become unstuck at some point in the near future but the Bream have been at the forefront of my mind for quite sometime and the possibility of a double figure canal Bream has my angling mind working overtime, but can they be located??, the question has been asked before and certainly answered it with a resounding yes!, can I find more was the new question. So on a sunny and very pleasant Sunday afternoon I was joined by hoards of joggers, narrow boats, passer by's and annoying dog walkers for a stalking session for a leviathan Slab.

 I think I now know the best section for stalking and all falls within just 1.5miles of what is an enormous canal which makes the location part simpler, all I needed was the sun to stay high and find the black, ancient bodied Bream basking sub-surface whilst simultaneously scooting around for an opportunist bit of food, I hoped I'd find one in a feeding mood and get my piece of camouflaged duck food in ones path, the theory was great and after finding some Bream around halfway up I had executed the plan to absolute perfection, the crow quill float and 4lb line (invisible in water) was perfect for the job and a large Bream played the roll of a semi-conscious plastic bag out in the track, a crowd assembled itself in almost a heartbeat to witness a fish being played in what 99.9% of the population would class as dead water, I just hope that figure doesn't increase although I firmly believe the studying I have done to be successful on here won't be emulated by many, this stance isn't a one of ignorance or arrogance but the sheer fact that people just want easy fishing and on such a sparsely populated water time and patience would be needed by the spade full.

 As the old relic breached the surface on route to my net I enlisted the help of a photographer, who didn't do a bad job (can't be chossie) to take a couple of snaps of what's turned out to be a new PB canal Bream of 7lb 11oz which I was very chuffed with!. Bream aren't everyone's cup of tea but as an all rounder I seriously enjoy the way I've had to angle what I have caught so far from what isn't the best canal in the country but it's my canal and I love it.

A great fish for a canal.

 After releasing the fine specimen back to annonimity I continued with the hope of catching another, remaining mobile I followed and followed until they became very weary of me, with the game almost up as I was looking to call it an afternoon a rogue Bream came from some bankside vegetation and made a bee-line for my bread and nailed it for which I inexplicably missed - thus spooking the portly sized Bream away, I then called it a day with another canal best in the bag. Happy angler for sure, back for those Zeds too.

Monday 21 September 2015

Return to the Royalty.

 This last couple of weeks has been pretty tough going, I guess the reason for this is the constantly changing weather, although it has been up and down a few sessions have been made, so a quick catch up before the Royalty part.

The Zed float which indicated plenty of bites but nothing on the bank.
 A quick Zander session on a local canal was arranged with Brian in the vein hope of locating one, we have very little knowledge of these elusive creatures, so the trip was probably my 5th ever trip for this species, so I can't be expected to have caught loads or expect to catch but I will try starting with the trip last Tuesday. We arrived after both finishing work and arrived at the same which was good timing so we cracked straight on, a lure was whacked out whilst we both fished static and a schooley followed the lure to the surface but failed to commit, it didn't really happen after that so we moved down the canal to a creek where I know silvers do get caught. We dropped in and as soon as Brian's piece of roach hit the deck the float was on its bike but unfortunately was unable to make contact, that was the pattern that set in as I had various runs on the float but only managed to contact one albeit momentarily, we finally managed to drag ourselves away an hour later than planned as we had been gripped by the activity with the hope of landing one, next Tuesday weather permitting the journey will continue.

 Next up is the Royalty and I was joined by a old work colleague of mine, Warren and Brian who also ventured down to the fantastic fishery that is the Royalty fishery, it's never easy but I felt that we were in with a chance and a couple of weeks ago I came down I lost a big Barbel below the Pipes in a large weed bed, I wanted retribution and it still holds very fond memories for me, a place where more can be made too. The weather was due to be really sunny and warm, not particularly good for barbel but gave it a go, the day was hard.

Rolling, on the search for a Barbel or Chub.
 We worked the top end before making the leg aching trudge through the bog at the bottom end of the fishery to hopefully find one of the fisheries bigger specimens but through all the hard work we were rewarded with wet feet and boots, so after the failed attempt further down we returned to the upper reaches and went over the same glides as in the morning but this again didn't pay dividends so our last hope of saving a blank was continue the hard work as dusk settled, fourth roll through Fiddlers and the rod lurched over as a good fish nailed the meat, 15-20 seconds later and whatever I'd hooked tucked itself in one of the many weed runs, flashback of that big barbel a couple of weeks ago played on my mind and it didn't take long to realize that I had suffered the same fate, full of hope they were now feeding I baited back up and cast slightly downstream just ahead of a large clear patch.....the rod nearly got wrenched out of my hand on the first roll, a good fish darted upstream but it didn't take long to work out it was a Chub and not a big one but it turned out to be a blank saver too as me and Brian finished up in the House Pool on ledgered Cheese and meat but neither worked its magic. So a tough day for one Chub, but better than a blank for sure and with some water in it I'm sure I can catch some more of those Avon torpedoes.

My saviour, a warrior of a Chub.
Big Mullet ploughing the bottom, even these couldn't be caught.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Here, There and Everywhere.

 As this post's title suggest's I have been about like a two-bit brass, but there was a challenge set for each of these foray's with the ultimate outcome not always what I had planned. The little excursion's started off with a trip to a relatively local fishery in search of Tench and Orfe, having a fair bit of knowledge about the venue I offered my Dad a day out, one thing we didn't factor in was the typical English weather and the heavens opened on numerous occasions with which it dumped shed loads of cold rain and killed off the fishing every time they got going again, a wasted journey.

Trotting for Stour Chub.
 Next up was a trip to the Stour for a blast at their seemingly endless conveyor belt of big Chub, at times it seems like it does 6lb plus every week and although size isn't everything I have always wanted to fish the Throop fishery so whilst being on holiday I decided to give it a try, condition's were okay I suppose for early September, set in fairly picturesque scenery I attempted to catch Chub using two different techniques ( Rolling & Trotting ), both of these tactics are by far my favourite. The amount of trotting opportunity was drastically reduced due to the amount of weed and the fishing was pretty tough, I spotted various Chub to roughly 5lb in a couple of swims and also a few big Roach around the 2lb mark with one certainly an easy 2lber, big fish for sure but they weren't in a casting position, another time they will be targeted, I only managed to hook up with one Chub but lost it almost immediately as it rolled on the surface.

Looks great and the scene of the lost Chevin.
 At roughly 5pm I decided that it wasn't really happening so I decided to head over to the Royalty and do some rolling for the last couple of hours and after having a quick chat to a couple of anglers I got on with the fishing and as dusk gave way to night I had a vicious take and was locked into battle with a really weighty feeling Barbel just at the top of Greenbank's, I was in contact with the fish for over 5 minutes and as I thought I was overcoming it the line and fish went solid, I immediately knew what had happened and walked downstream to try and tease the fish out of the weed bed that she had ploughed through but unfortunately the damage had already been done as the hook had been transferred and the fish absconded, rather annoying and I was to leave Dorset without a fish to show for my efforts.

 Back to my local bits and Roach were on the agenda, after my 2lb plus beauty last week I really wanted to catch some more big fish and plenty of bait was ready-all I needed was the fish to feed, 9 hours later and no Roach showed up at all, plenty of silvers including a plump 11oz Dace and 2 river Carp, both around the 2lb mark made surprised appearances, a bag of nearly 20lb was managed in the end which was primarily Dace of an average weight of 6-7oz.

Just some of my Roach defying bag.
Monster Minnow's
 Today was my last day off and a trip to the River Itchen was planned but the weather put the mockers on that, so again I decided to stay fairly close to home, as the rivers at the moment are not really in perfect Roach condition's I sought after some big Dace on the upper reaches. I took my brother Rikki out for the day and we had a cracking day catching loads of Dace ( the largest I caught was 9oz 6dr ), stacks of Roach to around 3/4lb, a solitary Trout and river Rudd!, these are extremely rare and I only know of a couple caught in this river system in particular, certain section's were quiet too which just goes to highlight just how transient the shoals of Roach and Dace can be, being prepared to hunt them down is a must and never expect to find them in the same swim twice, fun fun fun.
Looking good.
Best of the day at 9oz 6dr.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Dawn Raid on the Barbel Front.

 Just a quick catch up on yesterday's session in search of Tench, it was rubbish and that was that, a waste of time and effort as nothing I or my father did could arouse a bite off of any unsuspecting fish, so I forgot that trip in a hurry (angling wise) and woke up pretty early this morning hoping to snare a good Barbel, travelling light as I usually do I set about working the river from the bottom of my first beat and heading up, the river was up and coloured which is just perfect for a Barbel session.

 Although I love sight fishing in gin-clear rivers the colour didn't bother me and within 10 minutes my arm was nearly wrenched from it's socket as a strong fish tore off downstream but the fight immediately felt that it would be short-lived as I could feel that the fish had gone through a snag on it's first charge and the line was grating on the snag constantly, with 6lb line straight through I didn't fancy my chances so I leant into the Barbel and gave it some serious side strain as if I was going to lose the fish I would at least like a fighting chance...(pardon the pun)...on landing it and by some miracle the fish responded to the return power that she headed upstream towards me at a pace for which struggled to keep up with, luckily for me the speed of the water helped keep tension and then all of a sudden the grating stopped and the fish started to fight harder, the shackles were certainly off as she tore of upstream again but not before flashing it's right-hand side to me as it careered through the oncoming flow, a double figure fish for sure was the verdict but after 5 or so minutes she still wasn't ready and my right arm was starting to struggle and a quick swap of arms was needed just to recuperate in preparation for the finale of the battle.

 Another 3 or 4 minutes had passed before I could actually get a shot at landing this deranged Barbel and after three abandoned attempts the fourth was successful, a double figure fish lay in the net reviving. Bloody brilliant, but I really need to start doing exercises before fishing if it's going to be this hard everytime!. At 10lb 5oz on the scales she was big but plenty of room to grow into, three doubles already and I'm not fishing hard for them either, right place - right time.

Not bad eh!
 I contemplated finishing there but I headed upstream to a few other spots where I thought a fish or two may be holding up and an opportunity to catch a second double of the session came but I contrived to miss the take and cast my tackle into the tree behind me, but if that wasn't bad enough I got a second bite of the cherry and tried not emulate my previous failure of a hook-up but I was obviously in a wasteful mood as the same fish came back for seconds and I bumped the fish which did annoy it no-end. These things happen and apart from foul-hooking another of around 5-6lbs that was my session over, but I was very happy with that fish, a good morning out and grabbed a breakfast roll for the journey home.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Large Floodwater Roach.

 A couple of weeks spent on holiday and then a stag do I had a somewhat hectic schedule but having returned from Brussels I'm now into my last week off, this evening the rain was still coming down but I really wanted to get out on the bank.

 The conditions for Roach upon arrival were almost perfect, the river was up maybe 1.5ft and was running very cloudy, from what I understand it's rained for a whole week so I wasn't too surprised to find it in flood, with the water running cold I thought it would be hard work to find some feeding fish but the target was a Roach and the larger ones were what I really wanted. At 6pm it was 11c at the end of August, madness that this is supposed to be summer.

 To begin with I trotted sweetcorn along a far bank crease at roughly 6ft deep which was slightly overdepth, to overcome the stronger than usual current I bulked a 5AA avon float down to try and keep the bait tight and slow where I thought the Roach may be, it didn't take long for a swift pull of the float and a decent fish hung deep in the flow, at first I thought it was a Roach but the fish was fighting dirty which is the way Chub scrap, it wasn't long either before a Chevin surfaced and approached the net, a sturdy fish of 4lb or so was quickly unhooked and released, this happened 3 times in seven casts, all the Chub were of good sizes but then it went very quiet before a surprise surfaced in the shape of a baby near Linear Mirror Carp, a massive surprise given the conditions and pace of the river, obviously wasn't deterred though.

How very pretty!!
 After that little Carp it was very slow going again and thought of changing to the feeder, I stalled on that decision for a while as dusk was still a while away, the very next trot through my float slid under confidently, immediately I thought it was a Roach and a very good one at that, after you've had a few the fight can be a dead give away and the tell-tale "jag jag jag" followed by a sharp dive down again towards what I think was a weed bed as the line and fish went solid for a moment, my heart skipped a beat before it became loose again, within seconds a big red dorsal fin cut through the murky depths, with the strength of the current I couldn't play the fish any harder with the fear of loosing it but having seen what was a certain 2lb Roach on the business end I wanted to slip my net under it asap, she still had one last attempt at freedom but I guided it through the pacey water to safety on my net, a rest was required as the redfin had given me a good scrap.

Another 2lb Roach at 2.3, which was very long.
 On the Rueben's this beauty settled on 2lb 3oz and in fantastic condition barring a nick out of it's back, probably from childhood by a heron or cormorant, but in fine fighting condition she had a few piccy's then back to the torrent. I continued to fish on but bites were hard to come by and even a change over to the feeder yielded only a few little knocks which were probably small Chub, a brilliant Roach was enough and I packed up. 

 Tackle used today was a:

 Maver 12ft trotting rod, Greys Centrepin loaded with 4lb "Cameleon", fished in conjunction with a Drennan 5AA avon trotter and a size 10 wide gape barbless hook.

8 Years in the Making.

   So we find ourselves finally able to get back on the rivers and thank god for it too. I don't mind stillwaters and canals now and aga...