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Wednesday 28 March 2012

Now where was I ????

Probably fishing I expect ......

Well I have finally found time to tidy up the last couple of weeks and bring my blog up to date at last.
Firstly the closing of the river season saw me out trying for a late Barbel . The unseasonably mild weather presented me with a couple of opportunities both of which saw me blank but witness and photograph some very nice fish ( a common theme in my angling at present!!).

A final outing on the 13th March came up trumps though . I had decided to go down to the river and opt for a very mobile approach .Baiting several swims and moving back and forth every thirty minutes paid off and I finally got the bite I was looking for . Two sharp plucks resulted in the rod hooping around and a powerful fish literally tore off down stream hell bent on getting to a fallen tree. Such was the power exerted by the fish that at one point I clamped down hard on my reel and begged for forgiveness.In all honesty I expected the 10lb line to part company with the fish but it turned and I gradually pumped it upstream.

On the scales the fish weighed just 5lb 10oz's but was a very welcome end to the season and a lovely fresh looking young fish . A good sign for the river these days.

Well that was that for the rivers and to be honest I spent the next few days in a bit of a limbo . I kept crossing the many lovely looking stretches of water around the country and looking longingly at what I couldn't touch .I felt like a penny less tramp at a beer festiva!!
Some what reluctantly I packed down the barbel rods and transferred some bits and pieces of end tackle  across to my carp bag. I found some inspiration in reading that the pool was waking up in the very strange weather that were and still are experiencing . Some lovely looking Carp had been caught and so at least I had a distraction from losing a limb!!

As well as the news of the fish coming out of the pool I was also informed that the club had now secured a long term lease and that plans were afoot to improve the facilities and pegs . I headed down to the pool on what turned out to be the coldest day of the month so far, and in typical Bazal style got well and truly beaten up by the pool . A short warning to me, a shot across the bows that she was still the gaffer and still as moody and cold as she could be at times....I may change my blog name to Blanking Bazal it has a nice ring to it,  NOT!!

One of the newly developed pegs on the pool . The hard work of Mr Booth and Barry (the fly).

Always the bridesmaid.........

As I have mentioned previously, of late my time angling had seemed to be being spent behind the lense of some one else's camera and not my own rods . This trend was due to continue as will become evident later in great fashion . Add to the fact that in my last three Barbel sessions I had photographed three double figure barbel for other anglers....

The weekend of the 24th saw myself and Dan (The Lure of Angling - or is that The Lurid of Angling ) heading out in search of commercial perch. Several of the chaps were heading down to Hanningfield in Essex in search of a monster 4 or 5lber but both Dan and I were at the wrong end on the finances scale due to forthcoming holidays etc.

A venue was suggested by Dan and I went along with what was said and we formulated an all conquering plan. This would of course work and would empty the fishery of all of its largest stripey's.  We pulled in to the fishery car park and could barely see a thing as a thick blanket of mist draped across everything we cast our eye upon . It was at this point that the bearded one realised that he had come without his landing net .SHIT!!!! Was this an omen, a start to "one of those days". You know the ones, this follows that and slowly but surely the day reduces you to tears . Even to the point when you question going to the toilet as there is a chance you could break your chap as well!!!!!.

I decided to nip it in the bud there and then and made the positive decision to drive back to Dan's and assist in the recovery of the meshed instrument . Once we had this a swift return was made to the pool and calm and order were restored in good fashion.

I opted to fish a 15ft float rod with a pole float just down the inside of the marginal shelf. The float and rod offered me control and sensitivity and also minimal resistance to the fussy sergeants. I bait dropped some chopped worm and prawns and fed red maggot over the top, hookbait was half a lobworm. The morning was misty, and light levels remained low despite the silhouette of the sun remaining prominent behind the the dank grey sky.

After a few small skimmers the float was away and a decent fish was on and jagging around under the flexing carbon . A good perch surfaced angrily tossing its head form side to side . It was certainly 2lbs and a new pb for me, well it was.  With the minimum  of effort it flicked once more sending my float followed by my hook skywards ......Damn !! I was gutted but hearing what the pool was capable of and hooking a good perch so early on I felt that this was the start of a good day and another chance may come my way.

As I was swinging in the first Gudgeon I have caught for a good while, I heard Dan shout from the next peg. I looked around to see him walking to the side of his peg and placing his landing net some what gingerly in to the pool. "Is it a good un" I shouted across to him expectantly . The reply I got was one of gibberish to be honest, and as I walked towards him I could see that all of his rosey glow had now departed his whiskery visage. "Is it a big perch mate ? ". Again the reply was mumbled and blunt . Dan was now fumbling around his coat for what turned out to be rolling tobacco and cigarette papers in the hope that he may some how construct a fag of some sort and calm his shredded nerves.

He gestured me towards the deep pan of the net and removing his foot from the net handle lifted it from the cocoa coloured water . What I saw next was possibly one of the most awesome sights of my angling career . There lying motionless in the mesh was easily the biggest Perch I have ever seen and may ever see . Time went in too slow motion as we went through the motions of photographing and weighing the beast of a fish . We looked at it and touched it and then rested it and then looked at it and touched it some more. I then stepped aside and left Dan to have a private last moment with the fish before slowly watching it slide away ......Absolutely fantastic Dan and I enjoyed every second of it ... Thanks

A 4lb Perch !!!

The rest of the day just could not top that and I only managed to perch of 1lb and 1.8lb . We headed off to the pub at last light and enjoyed a nice pint and cigar whilst gazing at photos of the cracking perch and swapping stories of a missed spent youth.

Birthday Boy......
The following day was my 34th birthday and was a lovely end to a great weekend in all . As some may or may not know I collect ( or hoard ) angling books, literature and badges .....basically anything to do with fish or fishing . And this year I received some lovely stuff from the sixties as well as some lovely stamps........
I particularly liked the stamps as they were stamped with a very relevant post mark and one that brought back memories of a great days Grayling fishing with friends....

Now for Spring and tench, Bream and perhaps Crucian Carp .

Thanks for listening 

Tight lines 

Bazal Peck

Tuesday 13 March 2012


Saturday saw me heading down to my local stretch of the Warwickshire Avon in search of a large Dace. My plan was to fish waggler and maggots to the far bank and hope to get lots of bites as has been the case in the past . From there in it would be a process of elimination....

My theory was to feed little and often and catch as many fish as I could in the hope that one would be top quality.I started fishing but found that the fish were not quite having it, and were right down at the end of my swim . I fed more  often and hoped to draw them up whilst nicking one occasionally .

Despite my best efforts I could not seem to get in to a rythmn with the bites coming every 2/3 trots. The remedy would be to fish a stick float on my side of the centre of the river. I set up a 5 number six stick and strung out the shot shirt button style with two number 11's as my bottom shots . The depth was comfortable and my control over the float was giving me confidence .

One observation from the day was that several of the Dace I caught felt almost like coarse sandpaper and others looked really thick set (pictured above). I pressume that the thicker fish were females and the long rough skinned fish were males in all their spawning glory.

As well as plenty of Dace and the odd roach I also caught several of these defiant little blighters. A three spined stickleback!!!!

The day ended with several large Dace of 6,7,8 and 9ozs.

The best fish being a pair of 9's.......

Thanks for listening and all the best in the last few days on flowing water ......

Im off to catch a Barbel.....

Baz Peck

Monday 5 March 2012

Big effort little reward

Well after my heady trip to the Itchen its was down top earth with a bump on Sunday. I headed for a local section of the Warwickshire Avon in search of a double figure pike .I have caught pike here before and so felt confident . Needless to say I blanked !!!!

Thursday found me back on the river but this time in search of a late season Barbel. The days had been warm but the nights were not so good and water temperatures were dropping along with my confidence . The night was another blank without so much as a movement of the tips . I was off sharpish as a cold heavy fog came across the fields and the church bell in the village rang out eerily!!!!!


Not to be detered Friday saw me at it again. This time the more intimate upper Avon in search of a barbel. When I arrived at the river my heart sank as it was gin clear and the sun was high in a blue cloudless sky not ideal conditions . I set up in a known barbel peg and cast a good way down stream to a raft. I received to bangs on the rod all session and both times my barrel bait had been robbed from the hair . I decided to head for the pb and seek inspiration in a pint of Guiness.

Saturday I had the pleasure of a pike trip with Andy (piscatorial pastimes). We headed to the river which we heard had been producing some Pike action of late . Im fairly new to pike fishing and so wanted to iron out some of my tactics and had Andy there to give me some pointers on what I was doing wrong etc.(Thanks Andy).....I fished on rod on the float with a smelt and the other I fished sink and draw with a small dead roach. On my fourth cast the bait was snaffled by a small jack close to the bank . He flung his head around and threw my hooks . Andy said to chuck my bait back out asap and re trace the line and sure enough the pike took the bait again almost instantly .After a spirited fight I had a 5lb jack in the net and another box on the challenge ticked.The rest of the day was dead and I sat and watched as Andy put together a lovely bag of Dace with very little effort . There were hundreds of fish just off his rod tip.

Oh well Ive wasted time on alot less worthy causes and enjoyed my time on the bank. Only a few days of the rivers left now so I will be getting on them at every opportunity.

Tight lines

Baz Peck

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Gobsmacked by Grayling...

As a youngster I served my apprenticeship on the local canals and pools of Worcestershire. In time I progressed on to rivers such as the Severn, Teme and of course the Warwickshire Avon. The legendary rivers and chalk streams of the south were exactly that 'legendary'. May be I am small minded or may be I had built up some kind of mental block  that my feet would never grace the banks of such rivers and that they were purely for aristocrats and the select few. 

How wrong and blinkered I was and when the chance came to me I grasped it with both hands . Keith Jobling informed me that there was a bloggers trip down to the River Itchen and said he may be able to get me on to fish . The thought that I could finally get to fish a renowned Grayling river was fantastic and when I was informed I was in, the day could not come quick enough.

I picked Dan up at 4:45am and with all the grace and finesse of a turd disappearing down a waste pipe we made our way to Hampshire. The trip went very well, and in good time we were pulling in to the fishery car park where several of the chaps were gathered. A "good morning" and some chatter was done then I made my way across to look down in to the pool (above). Straight away I was humbled by this fantastic fishery . Every metre of water I set my eye on had so much character and so much to offer it just screamed fish.

My sole ambition for the day was to catch a Grayling, size and weight were not even on the agenda, just a Grayling would do. Having read about the fishery and having a quick discussion with Keith it was decided that we would head off to the very top of the beats and fish the shallow weedy runs over the chalky gravel bottoms. The river however was carrying a tinge of colour and Jeff remarked that it may not fish well for Grayling . Roach on the other hand should be well on the feed, the sky was over cast the temperature was remarkably mild and our optimism levels were going through the roof!!!

Driving up to the top beats I stared in amazement as we passed run after run of glorious water. A day would never be enough for any angler on this river.  I decided there and then that once I had been lucky enough to nick a Grayling that I would then drop down river after the pre arranged lunch and try some of the lower river.

Keith and I parked up and then made our way up stream . We chatted excitedly as we made our way through the meadows and Keith pointed out several very nice looking runs. One of the said runs was a slow sweeping bend that had a nice piece of steady dark water on the inside and looked very fishy.

 On Keith's advice (thank you old chap) I dropped in at the top of the run and set about getting my self comfortable . I wanted to enjoy every single moment of this sacred day and so made my preparation very slow and deliberate so as not to ruin any opportunities. 

The moment came to take my first trot through and the anticipation was high to say the least. I opted for a 6 swan loafer which I fished with a bulk consisting of an olivette with a number 4 dropper shot . The choice of float may seem a little excessive but the flow on the river was very powerful and I wanted to hold back hard and trickle the hook bait through down near where I thought the fish may be .

A few trots through and the depth was found and little creases in the current were explored. A great feeling of comfort was now acquired and even with out a fish or a proper bite I felt sure that they would come . On around my sixth trot down I held back hard and the float moved gently across the current towards the near bank . The float vanished in a very positive manner and and I struck gently keeping the rod low. The feeling of a fish pulsating through 13 feet of float rod was electrifying . 

Please be a Grayling !

The fight was ferocious and powerful in the flow and I came to the assumption that it must of been a trout . This was my way of settling my nerves as the fish felt good. I eventually got the rod over the top of the float and gained more line in a vain attempt to bring my prize up in the water where it would be visible. Peering down through the cloudy river I caught site of a huge Grayling idling in the flow, dorsal fully extended in sheer defiance . To say my legs buckled would be an understatement, this would be my first Grayling and it was a fish of specimen proportions . She graced the mesh of my awaiting net and I lifted victoriously although spell bound in pure disbelief as to what had just occurred . The weight that sagged my net told on my arms as I shipped the fish in to my lap for a further inspection of this majestic creature in her pure natural splendour .

"My God its huge" I declared somewhat loudly .......repeating around ten times !!!.
I staked the landing net head and pole very very securely to the bank and righted the fish pointing her up stream . For the next minute or two I did exactly what I planned to do and just sat there taking in the whole episode. The sounds and smells that surrounded my now crisp senses added to the pure enjoyment of the capture .Bliss!!

I set up the camera and placed the fish some what disrespectfully I felt, in to a carrier bag and placed her on the scales. The needle went round and passed the magic 2lb settling eventually on 2lb 2oz's .....2LBS 2OZ'S ...thank you, you gorgeous creature.

 After the numbers ceremony was completed I stared in disbelief for one last time at her and then held her in the current until she kicked and moved slowly away under a weed raft to sulk.
Next trot through the float was away almost instantly and another powerful fish was hooked . This time the fish just sat in midstream and was hard to move . Gradually the fish came across to me and I saw a long slender trout like shape holding in the flow . The shape came to the surface and went mental charging around the swim and creating a real din . I took the opportunity and scooped the fish first time in the manner of a time served ghillie . The fish was so long it bent in the net and sort of flopped in .

I had it down as a sea trout but on seeing Jeff's fish of the same build and colouration I have now concluded it is a young grilse Salmon (I am open to correction though).I slipped it back and decided a move was on the cards and had a lovely looking run upstream to explore.

I arrived in the swim and hooked a brown trout on my first cast . As I was returning the trout Keith was making his way downstream for a go in my Grayling swim. As I was returning the trout  I was rather un sportingly nudged towards the water by a now mentally contorted Mr Jobling, who as well as receiving a call from me telling him of my huge Grayling, had also received information that Dan had landed a very large chub .
Exclaiming that he was now in turmoil as to what his next move would be he  mooched of down stream and wished me good luck .

A couple more brownies were hooked and landed and lost then I hooked something less boisterous. After a spirited  tussle I slipped the net under my second Grayling of the day .
This one went 1lb 8oz and was another lovely Itchen fish .

I now felt complete and that the rest of the day I would wander around the length of the lower fishery and try and bag a chub or Roach. I bid Keith a fair well and headed off to meet the chaps for lunch and a chin wag. It transpired through our chat that the river wasn't fishing very well and that not many Grayling had been caught . That was it for me now, I would definatley be trying a lot of different spots and some larger baits .

The rest of the day from lunch was a bit of a non event for me . I hooked and lost 3 very powerful and heavy feeling fish in a variety of different swims but other than 3 Salmon par my net remained dry. The light gradually faded and I packed up to watch Dan trying to out wit some roach in a side pool . 

Eventually dark covered the river and we said our good byes to Sash and the other chaps before thundering our way back up to Warwickshire  . The day was wonderful but as I said earlier one day on there will never be enough and I long to return in October for my next Itchen adventure.

Thanks for listening.

Baz Peck

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Design your perfect swim.....

After finishing work at a reasonable time on Friday I decided to try a different stretch of my new stretch of the upper Avon . The day was very mild and for once the thermals were left in the house and  wooly hat kept in the bag.

The first swim I happened upon was this glorious little channel cut out by the current. It falls in to a hole under the tree on the inside to the left of the picture . A large lump of cheese paste was caressed through the various bits of over hanging trees and foliage and fell gently in to the water. I lifted the bait to the surface on a taught line and the current pushed it towards the over hanging tree stump. When I was happy with its position the rod was lowered swiftly allowing the bait to drop down.

There had to be a fish under the tree it screamed chub!!. After several trembles the rod shot around and a very powerful fish was hooked  bending my rod in to a painful arch . The force of the current through the narrow swim was too much for my line and we parted company .....BUGGER!!!...
I left mentally disturbed but on leaving lumped in 5 more large dollops of my cheese paste .

As I mentioned I had not fished the stretch before and still have several other whole meadows left to explore  next season . I fished several other chubby looking swims on my way up and baited them for my way back down . The last swim resembled a huge deep looking vortex and comes with something of a reputation in the area .

The swim took some working out as it is a huge eddy but on my third drop in I managed a chub of 3lb 2oz . A different approach will be used next time on this swim but it served its purpose for today and gave me a fish . I would of liked another try on the swim but my peace was some what disturbed by a soaking wet greyhound .He was hell bent on getting my cheese paste!!  Then the irate dog owner sky lining the swim whilst chastising the dog and apologising to me profusely sort of finished me off ....It was funny though ,if a little shocking . One minute I was watching the rod tip, then next wet greyhound ,arms, legs and a brawl over a bag of cheese paste ......pure comedy.

On the way back down I dropped back in to the hole where I started and exactly the same thing happened again. I only gave it one go as I felt the tackle I had, may of been a bit soft for the job . Hopefully I will have time to get up there for a few hours with a pokier out fit soon.

As always thanks for listening .

Baz Peck

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Chalk and cheesepaste

After Sundays dace debacle I was feeling a little lost for words as to what had gone wrong . So many good anglers on the bank and yet barely a bite between  them . If it wasn't for Andy's pike and the chaps smattering of bits I would of been suicidal . I truly believe that the poor fishing was down to the weather and not cormorants . There have been cormorants on the stretch for a couple of years now and the fishing has not been dented by them . The fish get pushed down in to the mill race by the birds and use it as a sanctuary as the amount of people around the stretch and the tree canopy puts the winged menace off.

As a hopeful remedy to the rock hard Sunday I decided a chub trip may help and went for my upper Avon banker swims . I decided to fish a size 2 hook with crust and a dollop of cheesepaste , it was shit or bust tactics and I hoped the big bait may snare a big fish ( rubbish theory I know ) but I wanted to do something  positive and see what happened.

I wont bore you with all the ins and outs of the session as I have given the same descriptions before form this stretch. I managed three fish all chub and had a great day !!!

First fish of the day 4lb 14oz 8drams and one I caught a couple of weeks ago at 4lb 13oz ....It has a red scar on its undercarriage !!

A 4lb on the nose chub from the next pool up from my banker and it very nearly pulled the rod in !!!!

Then lastly I had this one out of the very end of my banker swim from close in to a snag . I enjoyed it very much as it was real hit and hold close in . The fish went 3lb 15oz and had a peculiar orange blemish on its flank above the anal fin almost like a gold fish.

I may have one more go for my 5lb Avon chub before the gloomy 15th but for now I will be looking to develop my pike angling not to mention a little trip to the Itchen for some roach and grayling !!!1

Tight lines .

Bazal Peck

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Windswept Warwickshire.

I awoke Sunday morning to the sound of the cat going positively ape shite and tearing around the house. He extends his claws as he runs so that he gets a better grip on the carpet to speed him merrily around my flat .

The only time he gets like this unless I'm hunting him is when its windy, and my god was it . Feeling slightly the worse for wear from the previous evenings cider escapades I decided to have a other hour in bed and see if the wind petered out. It didn't !!! In fact it got worse as I sat eating my breakfast . I decided to go out and give it a go, maybe I could find somewhere out of the wind along the river .

As I walked to the river around the reserve the wind was pushing and pulling me to and fro and blowing the tears form my eyes. I'm no fan of wind it complicates things and makes me feel like I am not fishing correctly.Sitting in my peg it was hitting me full in the face and lifting my rod in the rests. The 2oz tip was bouncing around and generally I was getting jarred off. I managed 3 bites and 1 chub which fought like a demon, on its first two runs it managed to convince me it was an escaped carp . However when it broke surface it was a lovely thick chub and went 4lb 4oz's.

I had another fifteen minutes in the swim but just could not settle and tip fishing was proving impossible . I opted to return home for an afternoon of football ,food and some more cider . I was more then happy with having caught a 4lb plus chub in such a short time and also my cheese paste recipe seems to be well liked by the upper Avon fish.

The cat slept well in the afternoon.

Thanks for listening.

Barry Peck