I arrived around 6ish which gave me a couple of hours on the bank. Unfortunately for me, there were no fish to be had but the sunrise was absolutely stunning!
Having stripped my gear down to the bare minimum I think there maybe room for the DSLR in the kit bag now so the next trip out will be a combined fishing and photography session ;)
The fish counter at my local Tesco here in Bristol had done me proud bait wise: I'd picked up mackerel, sardines and a great looking herring.
As it turns out, the herring got me a fish on the bank!
Saturday 30 January 2016
Well it's been a long time coming...
To be honest, I was beginning to get a bit down about my recent attempts at pike fishing... With the 1st two sessions being so prolific, I thought I had it nailed! But after suffering a string of 3 blanks it was starting to feel like I may never put another croc on the bank...
A very quick fight and one angry looking pike was in the net. To say I was overjoyed was an understatement! Not a massive fish but a fish at last. Too good.
After that excitement, I decided to stick to my original plan and head onto the cut for the last hour or so of light. Although I had a couple of knocks after casting out, there were no takers and I decided to call it a day.
So with a bit of luck, that's the end of the river blanks?!
But I was determined to give it another go and with a week of frosts and then a sunny day predicted for Saturday, I decided to throw everything I had at it. The plan was simple, keep the session short (only 4 hours), travel very light (I've managed to get it down to a small rucksack, rods, landing net and unhooking mat) and move through as many swims as I possible could.
The swim I'd had such success in on the 2nd trip out was pretty much unfishable due to the speed of the flow. We'd suffered some heavy rain overnight on the Friday and it'd pushed the water level up a foot or so from normal meaning a test cast to the far bank ended up with the bait either in the middle of the river or the nearside margin. Not ideal. So I used this swim to get set up and then moved on within 10 minutes.
The 2nd swim was one I'd lost a pike in on a previous session and although the water was hacking through, I figured it was worth a go. Unfortunately for me, within minutes of getting the rods positioned one of the boat people decided to go upstream in his dingy... and then within five minutes, he decided to come back again! This pretty much killed the swim... the outboard motor caused waves to come splashing up the bankside and I figured any fish within a mile radius had probably headed for cover?! So after 10 minutes it was time for another move.
My next target swim was on the corner opposite what I've found out is an old soap works. But by the time I'd wandered to it, I'd got it into my head to push on and see what other swims the river had to offer, my thinking being to use this swim as my last spot on the way back.
As it turned out, there wasn't much else that looked 'pikey' in the next two fields! If we ever do get a succession of hard frosts and the water level and flow drops to a fishable level there maybe a spot or two but with the conditions as they were, there wasn't anything that screamed pike. I did try one swim that looked worth a go, with a fallen tree to the left and a line of reads to the right. But the right rod got snagged and I had to pull for a break which was really annoying! So I called it and headed back to the corner soapworks swim.
Having trashed one set of tackle in previous swim I decided to rig up that rod with a float and leave the other rod with a ledger. I like the idea of drifting a bait along in the current and as the corner swim has a back eddy running through it, it seemed an ideal spot to give it a go.
I had a good chat with a couple of anglers who were out walking their dogs while I waited for a bite. They told me about the huge carp that patrol the marina and river.... I'm looking forward to having a go for them over the summer! They were both surprised that I'd not had anything out of the swim as they both commented it was a banker in the past...
But after 20 minutes, there were no takers. With another blank looming I was beginning to get very despondent and as a last gasp, the decision was made to reel in and head back to the cut for an hour before calling it day...
I was just reeling in the float rod when a quick succession of beeps sounded from the ledger rod out towards the snaggy tree to the right of the swim! It was a cracking bite and I took no time in leaping across the swim and hitting the fish with a sharp strike to the left. There was a strong resistance on the end of the braid and it was fish on! At last!
Sunday 24 January 2016
I've not been to a lake for months now due to my latest obsession with pike fishing on the River Avon. But having suffered a succession of blanks, I thought it was time to put a bend in the rod at my go to winter venue - the ever dependable Lower Kilcott Farm.
There were two targets for the day: the first was to get the float rod out and get into some of the quality roach the lake has to offer and the second was to put a couple of feisty carp on the bank. Having had some monsters on the last trip, I was eager to have another go.
Kilcott is a very small venue, only an acre or so in size and with very limited swims so it's a good idea to arrive early to have the pick of the bunch. Having said that, pulling into the car park at 7am on the nose in the pitch black may have been a tad over enthusiastic... But the early bird catches the worm right?!
As it turned out, I had the place to myself for all but a couple of hours when two fellas arrived and fished the far bank over lunch time. As expected, the lake didn't fail to deliver and I had loads of carp on the bottom bait rod and some prime roach on the float.
Every so often the lake does throw up a surprise or two and this trip was no exception. The bottom bait rod had gone quiet and I'd repositioned it in a different swim with a small white popup on the hair. It'd been in the water for 15 minutes (a long time for Kilcott!) when it ripped off and a nice size scaly mirror came in. Not a monster by any means but a tip-top fish for this lake.
And the day wouldn't be complete without some surface fishing (yup, in January!) and I spent the last hours of the session plucking carp after carp out of the margins by my feet on bread and dog mixers.
It was a great session, one that restored my faith in fishing after having spent so many hours on the river.
I'll be back on the Avon next week, croc hunting again but for now, it feels great to have spent the day hauling them in!
My 1st two sessions out on the River Avon (My 1st Session On The River Avon And My 1st River Pike! and A Pre Christmas Pike Session On The Bristol Avon) went incredibly well, with multiple pike being caught (and lost) and my Dad also bagging up on silvers and a monster perch.
But the last three sessions have resulted in a frustrating mix of finicky bites and not a single fish gracing the bank. It's been so slow that I've only recorded one video...
I've been giving a great deal of thought to the recent change in luck. The first thing is that the weather has been very unseasonable recently, with mild days and a lot of rain. So much rain that on the 2nd blank session out, the river had flooded most of the previous swims we'd fished and the flow was so fast that finding any areas of slack was virtually impossible...
In the video above, I managed to hook and loose a small jack pike but went to on to be plagued with nips and pulls on the line. This has also happened on the 2nd and 3rd trips and based on the amount of eels my Dad pulled out during the flood session, I've a feeling that these slimy snakes maybe the cause of all the missed bites rather than pike...
Having given the water a week or so to subside, I decided to take my daughter Lilly-Grace out this Sunday just gone for a 3 hour afternoon session. There was a feeling of pike in the air with a hard frost on the Saturday and no rain forecast (although it did end up drizzling all morning...).
But despite moving swims every 20 minutes, covering a lot of water and investigating every snaggy, pikey looking stretch of water, the best we could muster was a string of bites on one rod which again I'm going to put down to the dreaded eels...
We also bumped into 4 other anglers all of which hadn't had any interest all day!
So something is up! I'm resisting going down the route of changing bait, tactics etc. etc. as I know what I've used in the past has worked and I'm reluctant to over complicate it (a common mistake in carp fishing...).
So we've decided to give the river fishing a break for a week or so and the next session will be up at Lower Kilcott Farm to bag up on energetic carp and silvers on the method and float rod. I need a bend in the rod and if you can't catch at Kilcott, it's time to take up knitting!
But be warned River Avon Pike, I will be back...