The first spot to try was the ever reliable Weston Lock over near bath and it didn't disappoint, producing a fine jack after a good 30 minutes of fishing. The water lever was really up and with such a chop on the water I was amazed to get any action, but targeting the slack water and bouncing a bigger lure off the bottom managed to tempt a fish so it was definitely worth the hike over to Bath.
After bath I tried the shallows at Saltford (which was flooded) and then the lock at Keynsham (which was flooded) before heading to Swineford which was, you guessed it... flooded! I've never seen so much water, it was almost up to the top of the wall where the inflow pipe flows into the river in the first swim.
Rather than risk the lethal banks I decided to call it a day and head for home.
Which means that's it for the river season and Jim's Lure Challenge is now at a close. It's been a lot of fun and a massive change for me as I've spent the last 4 or so years deadbaiting for pike on the river. So thank you Jim, it's been a blast!
But today I decided to throw caution to the wind and head over to Weston Lock in Bath to see if the pike were shoaled up in the slack water.
The water was really, really choppy and to add to the challenge there were two massive tree trunks eddying around in the current. There also seemed to be a whole host of new snags that had washed into the cut and I lost two lures in quick succession...
But amazingly I did manage two fish! They both took me completely by surprise, the first coming from the inflow pipe on the far wall while I was watching some circling birds and the second after a miss cast round the corner into the main flow of the river.
As with previous sessions, nothing massive but it was amazing to even get a bite in such terrible conditions.
I did head onto Keynsham to try the lock there but with the walkway submerged and the rain pushing in I decided to call it quits and head for home.
We only had an hour or so early in the morning and although the action wasn't nearly as frantic as the day before I did manage this fine looking jack after 10 minutes or so of casting around. Unusually, Jim blanked - a bit of a first, he always catches!
The weather had completely changed, going back to cold and grey and although it wasn't raining the day felt very different. After spending some time at the lock I headed onto Saltford where I spied a huge otter fishing under the bridge which may have explained the lack of bites... I also headed onto Conham River Park for a looksee but it was dead as a doornail...
It was always going to be tough following on from yesterday's epic session but today I couldn't help feel a little deflated, even though I bagged a jack. Praps it was the weather than got me down?! That hit of vitamin D sure did seem to make all the difference, both to the fishing and my mental state ;)
Jim (of Jim's Lure Challenge fame) and I have been hitting the Bristol River Avon at Keynsham and Saltford pretty hard over the last couple of months trying to get pike on lures. While Jim has been doing very well, netting a pike on pretty much every session, I've really struggled with only one follow and a lost hook up to show for my efforts (although I had snagged a couple on deadbaits along the way!).
The weather has been really bad recently with a couple of days of snow followed by some heavy rain and although there'd been a run of clear days we knew that the river near Bristol was either going to be flooded or a chocolatey soup. I dropped in at Keynsham for a while but the lock was such a mess so I headed up river. The flow was super fast and with bright, bright sunlight burning off the mist over the fields I knew I was wasting my time...
The next spot was over at Saltford but I could see from the car park that there were two chaps under the bridge and with the water still hacking through it wasn't really worth casting out in the shallows. Jim arrived at around 11ish though and mentioned that he'd spied a stretch of canal over in Bath whilst he'd been working on a job. It was really a 'cut' with a lock gate at the end but he had a feeling it would be worth a shot as the water would at least be calmer.
So we headed to the 'Western Cut' and spent 30 minutes or so casting around the canal and lock but there wasn't a sniff of interest. However our luck really changed when we headed down the steep steps onto the mooring walkway below the lock gates...
And within 5 minutes Jim had a fish on the bank!
I quickly joined him on the walkway and over the next hour or so we managed 6 bites - amazing! Somehow we'd managed to locate some fish and they were very, very hungry. Unluckily for me, only 1 of the 4 bites I had resulted in a fish on the bank but Jim got 3 hungry jacks in the net before we decided to call it a day.
On paper, the day should've been terrible: high coloured water, bright sunlight, really warm for the time of year... It should've been a blank. But luckily for us we managed to find a slack area just off the main flow of the river where a group of pike had decided to hold up until the river level dropped.
So that's it, challenge complete! I've well and truly got the lure bug now and I've a feeling we'll be heading back to Weston Lock for another go in the not to distant future...
Tuesday 29 January 2019
So... I found myself at a loose end after the school run this morning and seeing the gear was still in the back of the car I sneaked an hour or two on the river...
The weather looked spot on so I decided to try the lock at Keynsham, mainly as I wanted to try the float out as I was convinced there was a resident pike...
Turns out there was!
I'd seen some swirls while casting the lure around on previous sessions but just couldn't get the lure to area of water due to a moored barge and an overhanging tree...
My plan was to try a single treble on a trace, with a sprat hooked through the dorsal fin suspended 3 or so foot deep which I could then cast and drift into the spot.
It didn't take long! I'd been casting the lure rod around with a micro fry when the float jumped in the air and then shot under... The pike must've hit the sprat from below which was exactly what I wanted it to do - happy days!
Not surprisingly the perch nibbles dried up after landing the fish and although I did try saltford for a while, the water was pretty coloured and pushing through and as the drizzle set in I decided to call it a day.
So I feel like I've slightly cheated deadbaiting...
...but I was lure fishing at the same time and all my instincts have been telling me to try the floated sprat rig for the last couple of sessions so I'll cut myself some slack this time ;)