Thursday, 28 July 2011

Summer Chubbing

Hi folks,
Sorry been a way for a while, our lives were turned upside down for a while  -  and it remains to be on  on it's side as we speak, see the link below.(

I digress, a little time has been freed up to get out on the bank again, and I'm looking forward to resuming the 'The School of Fish' for all you just getting started anglers out there.... or getting back to angling anglers!

The rivers are currently very low due to the very warm dry late spring early summer.  The continuing dry spell doesn't help.  The rivers around Oxfordshire are looking murky and empty, but there are fish to be had.
Yesterday I grabbed my Drennan Series 7 Quivertip Rod, and headed out onto the Cherwell in search of chub during the afternoon, and barbel as the light faded.  I spent two hours walking upstream of a stretch on the Banbury side of Oxford.  I slowly crept up to likely looking swims, on my knees on most occassions so as not to give my presence away against the skyline.  Treading and moving as gently as possible, all the while dodging the well spread cow pats which adourned the field.  Each time I'd tear a few lumps of bread crust from the loaf I was carrying, and flick them under any overhanging trees shadowing the water - then I'd sit and watch.  Sometimes a shadow would appear from the murk, investigate from a few inches away, the drop back down, other times the shadow may get bigger, until you could see the unmistakeable form of our white mouthed friend the chub.  On one or two occassions the bread was met with a vicious attack from below, throwing a spray of water into the air.  Like a great white shark hitting a seal.  Personally I think this was a bit of overkill from Mr Chub, and on most occassions the bread remained floating, allowed to continue it's very slow journey downstream in the almost currentless water of the Cherwell.
By the time it had reached 6pm and I'd covered all the swims I'd wanted to investigate, I decided to work my way back downstream to where I'd spotted fish.
The first swim, I decided to fish, flowed slowly under an overhanging canopy of leaf filled branches.  They didn't quite touch the surface, so I planned to squish a lump of bread onto a large size 6 Kamasan Specimen Hook.  I wanted the 'bread flake' to sink very slowly under it's own weight.  I left a small amount fluffy, to ensure it sank very slowly.  Plop, the freelined bread landed right under the canopy, I watched it sink slowly out of sight, then waited.  Rod in right hand, a loop of line in my left hand.  No weight was needed due to the lack of flow.  I was still able to remain in contact (feel the resistance) with my bait on the bottom.  If this had not been possible, I'd have needed to squeeze a couple of 'shot' onto the line.  If you can't feel tension in your line, you cannot register a bite.  This means you risk deep hooking a fish, and doing it some real damage, which is the last thing you want to do.  After a minute of so a tiny bump up the line registered at my finger tips.  A kingfisher whistled it's way do stream, lighting up the dark canopy with it's electric blue back.  Another plink on the line, the thin quiver tip section began to bend round..... 'Strike!', the rod bounced, as the chub lunged into the near bank under my feet.  They always seem to do this on tiny rivers, where snags are ever present.  It's very difficult to keep a fish out from under your feet.  After a few seconds in the oxygen depleted water the fish rolled on the surface.  I slipped the net underneath and lifted my prize onto the bank.  A lovely chub, if not a little on the slim side.  This is something quite characteristic of chub this time of year.

I continued to fish the other swims and settled into a deeper run way downstream near some more overhanging trees as dusk came in.  After 20 minutes the tip bounced then moved round...... I struck.... this was not what I expected.  A bream just in excess of 5lb. 
It was 10pm and time for me to head home. 

Even though the rivers are at their Summer lows don't neglect them.  Fishing into dark could well provide the biggest (heaviest!) rewards, when the fish move out from cover to feed.
Get out and make some footprints in the morning dew on a river near you!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The End of The Season...... Sigh....

Well folks, there she goes.  The river season came to an end on Monday.... the weather was mild, and most rivers were in perfect condition.  Due to my lovely wife being very ill, I left the river to meander it's way peacefully through the countryside. 

The penultimate day was a different matter, the running water was whispering to me, and who am I to ignore the call of Mother Nature, she is a force much bigger than me, and I hate arguing with women.  The last thing I want is Mother Nature holding a grudge.  I kissed my wife, and headed to the banks of the Cherwell for a 3 hour later afternoon/evening session.  It was beautiful.  Huge flocks or redwings were dilly dallying on their imminent departure to Scandinavia?  They filled the trees in the field behind me.  Robins, finches and tits filled the bushes, chirping and darting from branch to branch, a bee bumbled it's way around my fishing bag.  Spring had arrived!  The temperature was 12 degrees, it felt balmy.

As I opened my rod carrier, I realised in my haste, I'd forgotten my quiver tip section.  This was annoying, but just being on the river righted this in no time.  I now intended to touch ledger for chub, but with my only reel being loaded with Drennan's 6lb Feeder Braid, it wasn't going to be easy.  This fishing is close quarters stuff, and the braid simply isn't the right tool.  I missed bite after bite, assuming the chub could feel the the bangs back up the braid.  Though I knew I would catch eventually.  I was using a paternostered ledger set up.  A small cage feeder, a Grippa Stop, and a size 6 Kamasan Specimen Hook, three items of terminal tackle.  If they got snagged up, it took two minutes to set up again.  Ideal for snaggy little rivers.  As the sun slowly dropped behind the naked trees, shafts of golden light bounced off the river bank and the huge dead tree that I'd chosen to fish downstream from was lit up beautifully, shadows and highlights along it's old horizontal trunk detailed every notch and crack. 

I felt a tap back up my line, and another, there was a pull, and I struck.  A chub had sucked in a huge chunk of crust, that had been balanced with a big chunk of blue cheese and dumpling paste.  Close quarter battles on braided line is hair raising stuff.  The line has no stretch whatsoever, therefore when a fish takes up even the tiniest amount of slack with a flick of it's big head, the braid can snap.  This fish took it fairly easy on me, and in no time was in my net.  A lovely way to end the season.  A pristine Cherwell chub of over 4lb.

There is still time for me to catch my monster perch on a stillwater, and that's the next plan of attack!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Has Winter Gone?

It was very tough to say the least over December, with snow, frozen still waters and freezing rivers, but there were still fish caught. Chub were the main target, but even they were difficult to tempt. I have a feeling the bait had to almost drift into their mouths for them to be bothered eating! Big chunks of crust with a cheesepaste mix was the order of the day on most sessions. Fished with a small link ledger set up and light Drennan Series 7 Avon Rod, combined with light quiver tip section. Due to using such hefty baits, the hooks (Kamasan B982) were fairly hefty too, going up to size 6. This not only ensured good hooking, but that the bait remained on the hook as it bumped around in the gentle freezing flow.

When bites did eventually occur, they started with tiny movements, but generally the tip was pulled right round, and the bites were easy to hit, if you weren't trying to drink hot soup from a flask, or taking a pee!

Here is one of the frozen bars of gold I managed to tempt..... Looking at the picture makes me shiver! Brrrrrrrrrrr!