Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Another Quick-un

Wednesday 29th December
Ok, i know i said id wait for the snowmelt to flush through before heading back to the rivers but with all this holiday time on my hands i couldnt help myself but get back out there and I awoke this morning with a mind to go and pester some Chub. The daytime temperatures are now well up on what they have been so even with the melted snow in the water i figured i would be in with a chance.
The EA river levels site told me that the river hadnt risen any further than what it was yesterday nor had it dropped. With the prospect of visiting relatives this afternoon i only had a couple of hours of fishing time but as weve already seen from my past blog entries, thats more than enough time. I love short trips as i find i fish much better through being forced to make the most of what limited bank time i have.
I arrived at the river and carried out my usual routine of baiting a couple of spots before settling down to fish. The water was slightly more coloured than yesterday and although there wasnt as much debris coming down it still felt bloody cold! After around 30-40 minutes i had my first bite which i connected with but the fish found a snag and all was lost unfortunately.
A quick move to my other baited swim and i missed a bite virtually straight away. This repeated itself on my next cast exept that i bumped the culprit and thought my chance had gone. The weather had closed in a little by now and it was starting to drizzle so i decided to stay put for half an hour rather than heading back to my first spot which i felt hadnt rested enough anyway.
About 30 minutes later I was just thinking about that move when the tip jabbed around a couple of times and i connected with a fish. After a short tussle i slid the net under a very pale looking Chub of about 3lb, at least id finally caught something! After returning it the drizzle got heavier so i headed for home happy to have a few more winter bites under my belt.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Toughing it out in the Tundra

Sunday 19th December
Theres been a serious lack of updates on here over the last couple of weeks what with Christmas and all that so heres a brief update on what ive been up to of late.
As you will be well aware, the seriously cold weather returned with a vengeance just prior to Christmas and during all this, in my wisdom i thought a days Piking would be worthwhile if only to get me out of the house. Ill tell you now, it wasnt!
The day didnt start very well with the temperature in the car reading minus 10. Undeterred, Phil, my fishing partner for the day and i headed to our favourite livebait catching spot. After wrestling with the line freezing in the rod rings and much swearing we actually managed some bites, unfortunately though they were from Chub in the 1-2lb class. After catching 2 of them and losing a nice bait sized Roach as i swung it in we couldnt get another bite so deadbaits it was!
It really was bitterly cold and the margins in our chosen Piking area were well frozen, despite this though, the river looked pretty good as long as you ignored the mini icebergs floating downstream!
After a few chilly hours the sun made an appearance which made things a little more bearable and Phil had a half-hearted pickup on a Smelt. The rod hooped over on the strike then sprung straight, the fish was bumped. Sadly that was to be the only action we saw on a day that had me questioning my sanity by the end of it, still, i got a nice shot of a wintery sunset as we packed up though.
Tuesday 28th December
After a chaotic Christmas full of screaming kids, visiting relatives and serious over-indulgence (not to mention the wife crashing my car and buggering the front wheel) i was desperate to get out on the bank again. The weather had decided to warm up a bit and the snow which appeared last week was now in major thaw mode. With pretty much every lake in the area still frozen it had to be a river we would be heading for so me and Phil decided to revisit the scene of last weeks Piking tragedy. With ground underneath the thawing snow still frozen there would be a lot of snowmelt going into the river which wouldnt improve our chances but at least the air temperature was (only just) above freezing which was a bonus.
The river was indeed carrying a little when we arrived but it wasnt coloured up. It soon became apparent that fishing to the far bank was a non-starter because the river was rising quicker than we first thought and aswell as the increasing flow there also a lot of debris coming down too. We placed our baits along the margins and sat back to wait.
After about an hour my right hander signalled a positive take and i struck into a Jack of around 4-5lb which surprised me a bit as it had picked up a rather large Sardine which would have been more suited to a much larger Pike. Not that im complaining of course!
The fish had some impressive bite marks on it which shows there might be one or two decent fish in the area for future visits.

That was the only action we had between us for the rest of the day but the river conditions were getting worse and worse as the session went on. Might have to wait till the snowmelt has flushed through before my next trip out.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christening my new 'Pin'

Sunday 12th December

After yesterdays delivery of my new centrepin and a trip to the tackle shop to get some line to load it with i was gagging to get out and try it out . I had been thinking about getting one for ages especially after watching Martin Bowler use one to deadly effect in 'catching the impossible. Last week i thought sod it and went and ordered a cheap one to try out. It would be another string to my angling bow i reasoned.
Up until now i had never even used one let alone owned one so all week ive been watching videos on youtube and reading articles in a bid to try and demystify the dark art of centrepin usage. This afternoon, armed with all my newly learned knowledge, i got the chance to put it to the test.

Once i got to the river I tackled up and decided to have a few practice casts in an unfancied area well away from my hotspots. After about 20 minutes of birdsnests, swearing and general aggro i found i was actually getting somewhere near mid-river fairly consistently albeit quite untidily. I couldnt wait any longer, i had to go and use it in anger!
The river was carrying quite a bit more water than yesterday so i headed for a quiet area i know which was just off the main flow and an easy short range put-in . After walking along the bank and making a surprisingly graceful cast i clicked the ratchet on and sat back to await some action. The tip nodded gently in the current for a few minutes before pulling around sharply enabling me to connect with a fish. The ratchet screamed as the fish took off downstream, i gained some line back and the fish changed direction and headed back upstream past me forcing me to wind like mad to keep in contact with it. After some more screaming clutch and frantic winding i soon had it in the net, a fish in the 3-4lb bracket same as yesterday.

My first fish on a 'pin', i was over the moon and whats more i now realised why the centrepin has such a huge following these days. Playing that fish was an absolute joy, that direct connection is something ive never had with a fixed spool. Hopefully as i get better aquainted with the reel and the techniques it requires, that fish will be the first of many!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Classic Chubbing

Saturday 11th December
A break in the icy weather was forecast for this weekend and sure enough by the time friday came around, daytime temperatures had reached a heady 6degrees! With this in mind saturday morning, i headed to a local stretch of the Soar with Chub in mind.
The river looked good and i quickly set about baiting a couple of likely spots with some liquidised bread and leaving them to settle before tackling up a light link leger setup. I cast out and sat back in anticipation. After about 20minutes the tip pulled over very slightly in a fashion that couldve easily been mistaken for weed brushing the line but intuition told me to strike and i found myself connected to a lively fish of about 4lb.
Now i was tuned into what kind of bites to expect i was more than ready for the next one when it happened after i moved swim. Unfortunately the fish found a hidden snag and made good its escape. Normally id move swims after losing one lke that but something told me to make another cast. It turned out to be a good call cos a 3lb fish was soon banked after some hefty bullying to keep it away from the snag.

I moved to my last baited spot in a bid to wrap up the mornings sport with a hat-trick. After missing a couple of bites i hit into another Chub which put up a great account of itself on the light gear i was using. At around 4lb it brought my short session to a nice close and i headed for home and the dreaded x-mas shopping happy with my fishing 'fix' for the day.
Once i got home i found the postie had delivered My brand new centre-pin reel and a totally unexpected £150 refund cheque from my power supplier. What a great morning!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Childhood revisited in the white stuff

Sunday 5th December
Well, what can i say? the weather over the last week has been horrendous to say the least! Heavy snow and temperatures down to minus 20 in some parts of the country, around here the lowest i personally recorded was minus 9 so its been positively balmy! As anyone that fishes will tell you, these conditions arnt exactly great for a good days sport, however, there are always a few bites to be had if you know where to look.

I havent been out for a couple of weeks for various reasons beyond my control (the weather!) so i was determined to get out at the first oportunity. All i wanted to do was to go out and get a few bites and get my string pulled and with this in mind i decided to spend a morning revisiting my childhood on a brook which runs through a housing estate where i used to live.
As a kid i used to spend hours down there attempting to catch sticklebacks and stoneloach. Every so often, as i walked up the brook with my trousers rolled up and net in hand, some much bigger fish would frantically shoot past me often bumping my legs as they made their escape. At the time i had no idea what they were but i knew i had to catch one and i guess it was here that the early seed of becoming an angler was well and truly sown.

As i got a little bit older and my uncle introduced me to the art of catching fish on a rod and line, i began fishing down there proper and was amazed to catch Chub, Dace, Roach, Gudgeon and even the odd Trout! All this from a brook that wasnt much deeper than a couple of feet and resembled nothing more than a drainage ditch.
Fast forward 25years and the brook is still very much there albiet somewhat narrower and shallower but the fish are still there to be caught. With this in mind i tackled up an avon rod with a light stickfloat setup and headed forth onto the tundra . The brook was running very low and clear despite the snow beginning to thaw and with the banks being high with no cover, long trotting was to be the order of the day to save spooking every fish in there. I had worms, maggots and luncheon meat with me and after trying a couple of spots without success i eventually managed to catch a small Chub on a worm.
As i made my way along the brook i saw several decent Chub in the 3-4lb class swim past but they werent remotely interested in anything i put in . After trying some more spots and catching just one more Chub it was apparent that they werent overly keen on the bigger baits so i scaled my gear down and went with the maggot only approach in a bid to get some more bites.
The change brought an instant response and i started getting amongst some lovely Dace, really pretty little things and fat as butter, a Perch even made an appearance but the Roach were conspicuous by theie absence. I worked my way back downstream catching one or two from each spot i tried and before long i was back at the car. It was only then that i realised just how much id enjoyed myself.

Id only been out 3 hours and had a load of bites in subzero temperatures. The fish were all perfect and i highly doubt theyve even seen a hook before, what more could any true angler ask for? Size is irrelavent on days like this.