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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

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Frost,fish and toast in trees.....

A crispy Warwickshire Avon.

I arrived at the river Sunday morning to find it coated with thick frost and resembling something from the snow Queen's kingdom in  Narnia.

Cat ice lined the  slower flowing sections of the river and I felt that the session could be hard going. I dropped in to the end swim that I have grown to love and that is consistent with its production of fish. I cast my cheese and bread offering down tight to the margin and with in minutes the tip was away . On the strike I felt contact with the fish but the line fell slack . On reeling in and inspecting the line I could see I had been bitten off by a voracious fish. I tied on another size 10 hook and flicked another savory morsel to the same spot . Within two minutes the rod was away again and a good fish made off across the river towards the far margin. I dropped the rod to my right and brought the fish towards the surface it boiled and the line fell slack SHIT!!! . The line had parted under reasonable pressure and I could only think that it was because I had changed from my usual Drennnan double strength (3lb 6oz) to a Preston lower diameter version which was also 3lb 6oz B.S.

The line was stripped off and the old faithful double strength was tied on . The swim was dead and after half an hour I opted to feed some pieces of paste and head off upstream to 4 swims that I had pre baited on arrival. I went on to fish a total of seven swims through the morning without so much of a rattle on the tip . There are some real chub haunts up here but they are not producing . I believe it is due to the low clear water again and that the fish are shoaled up at the far end of the stretch.

Before returning to the car I dropped back in to the end swim and managed to winkle one out at 3lb 15oz's.
 . The fish was more than welcome on the cold morning and its timing was perfect.

My better half in full border Morris dress.

In the distance I could hear the faint thud of a drum . I new its was a drum as I new that there was a wassail taking place at the organic gardens, and that my better half and the border Morris group that she belonged to were dancing there . Speedily I made my way back to the car and shot around to the organic garden centre.

The scene that greeted me upon my arrival was one of much merriment and music .There were four groups of Morris dancers and they were taking turns to dance on the corner of the car park. After several dances we all made our way through to the orchards for the Wassail ceremony and to bless the apple tree.

After making lots of noise and banging pots and pans and making weird whooping noises we were satisfied that the evil spirits were gone!!! Then a mass dance went on around the tree and cider was poured in to a large pan . In to the pan along with cider was tipped several  pieces of toast. The dance finished and we were all invited to come forward and take some cider soaked toast and place it in to the branches as an offering to the tree spirits .

Then some bottled  cider was passed around and we drank it  and poured some on to the roots of the tree to anoint them and give the tree nourishment for this years crop.The cider was made from the apples produced by the tree we had just blessed I was reliably informed. The wassail made for a very lovely end to a lovely morning spent in the wilds of Warwickshire . I left for home and a roast chicken dinner along with one or two more ciders as an offering to the spirits of the apple trees and the earth.

Thanks for listening

Bazal Peck.

Friday, 13 January 2012

An Old boy of the Avon.

With swims like this to offer it was no wonder that after a short trip to Cheltenham I was making my way back to the upper Warwickshire Avon. Last night I had replenished my cheese paste freezer stock and purchased two small baguettes from Meriden Co Op . I made up my medium feeder rod with the light 2oz glass tip and this time opted to go with a lighter business end of 3lb 6oz Drennan double strength.  Having checked the Environment Agency river level site I could see that the river level was below par again after last week. I also opted for size 10 drennan specimen hook. The only weight on the line was a single SSG on a paternoster of fluro carbon.

My plan was to drop in to the end swim that I had caught from Saturday morning and try and put a fish on the bank. Once I had caught again I would be off up stream to pre bait some spots on the way . More importantly a fish in the net would give my confidence a boost as well.

Arriving in the swim the river looked painfully clear and there was very little flow .The Sun was bright and as high in the sky as a Winter sun can get which made me slightly apprehensive. Also the river was like a sheet of glass. The swim offered a lot of bankside cover and the water was out of the suns glare. I attached a small piece of the crust from the bread hooking it through the tough outer skin so that the flake side would be exposed to the water. On to the remaining length of the hooks shank I wrapped a small piece of cheese paste and molded it to the bread crust forming a bread cheese pyramid  .

My confidence was low due to the condition of the river but I intended to fish and sit on the bait for at least half an hour before making my way upstream. The bait was cast down stream  tight to the near margin and I sat back to take in the glory of the still winters day. It seems that the old dead tree in the meadow opposite is the haunt of a pair of buzzards.  I listened again to them calling to one another as one flew whilst the other perched in the withered branches of the trees corpse.

The rod tip gave the smallest of movements that could of so easily been a dace or minnow or even loose leaf cascading downstream. The movement was enough to get my adrenaline surging though and I sat forward clasping the rod with concentrated menace . Again the rod rattled, this time very chub like . Then it went around in a series of pulls and I lifted in to the fish . All hell broke loose and the creature charged in to the reed bed down the swim forcing me to give line or risk breaking the fine nylon. I turned it and drew the fish upstream watching in the clear water as a reasonable chub twisted and turned under the rod tip intent on ridding itself of my hook . Eventually she gave in and was drawn in to the net .

Camera, scales and return upstream, in that order.

2lb 15oz and I'm chuffed with my cheese paste.

After returning the fish I decided to have one more cast . Last week I managed two fish in short succession.
The bait and casting ritual was performed again with the offering dropping in close to the margin a good distance down stream. I was elated at catching a fish within five minutes of settling down and decided to quickly text my long suffering partner who was at work . I new she would be as pleased as punch that I was sat by the river as she chored  away (NOT). As I completed the text the rod shot away again . My expectation  of a bite so quickly was very small and so I mistimed   the strike and the fish was gone with out even a hint of contact being made.

The phone was placed in to a pocket and out of harms way not to be seen again  until home time!!!!
As I always do in this situation I recast a fresh bait . My theory is that if the fish got away with the bait then they may of not been spooked so it can be worth a gamble just in case one is still present. Out went the bait rod in the rest and my full attention focused on the rod's tip .

After some five minutes or more the rod pulled around stopped and then pulled again . I struck setting the hook . A slow heavy weight moved across the river down stream and I dropped the rod low to the water so that it bent in to a fighting arc. The fish came to the surface and a large boil appeared followed by bow waves making for the far bank. This was a better fish and I turned it to mid river only for it to bore deep down and thud under the rod . The fish felt heavy and slowly but surely I gained line until I caught sight of its latticed broad back . HOLY SHIT !!! I declared . This was a good fish and a proper warrior eye balling me defiantly through the clear water . Please don't come off was muttered and the fish wallowed in to my net .

As I pulled the net towards me I could feel its weight and peeling back the mesh I was astonished as it lay their. A proper old school battle scarred Avon chub. Placing her in to the carrier bag I was convinced that it was my five. The needle flew around to the 5lb mark and then settled at 4lb 13oz just 2oz's and 8 drams off my personal best.

I went on to fish seven more swims today and didn't get another touch right up to dark and to  be honest I didn't care a bit . As the sun dropped the birds began to gather over the flats of the fields and I was treated to a fabulous display by a huge group of lapwings . Canada geese flew noisily over head and were illuminated by the reds and oranges of the setting winter sun against the purples and baby blues of the sky.

The quest for the five continues and I'm very glad too as I get to do and see all this again another day.

Thanks for listening.

Bazal Peck

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The upper Avon at last!!!!!

On Saturday morning I had a few hours spare before watching my beloved Aston Villa in the FA cup . After my  little foray Friday afternoon on my local river Blythe I was very much in the Chub zone . So Friday night I began to conspire a plan and decided that the time may be right to venture on to a new stretch of water for which I had obtained a ticket this season.

I have spent a lot of the Summer watching and walking this river and to be honest not seen a lot of fish .The river has been so low and clear that it has been a huge drain on my confidence and likewise my wanting to wet a line on this particular stretch.

When making my way to Luton on Friday I took time to view the upper Avon and was enthralled to see it with some colour and even some movement  in it . I did not have the time to travel and fish Friday so opted to stay local and have a dabble in my local Blythe . I had an enjoyable couple of hours and it acted as a catalyst for the following morning and my first venture on to the new stretch.
I was out of bed for 6:00am and pleading with the clock to speed up so that I would have enough light to make my way to the river and get fishing. Eventually I was on the bank and set up in a peg at the far end of the stretch.The anticipation was absolutely electric and I was like the proverbial child on Christmas day . I had looked in to this stretches history and obtained some facts from a fellow member Danny Hale (Going with the flow ). The stretch held chub that went 5lb to 6lb for a fact, and in my scrap book at home I had a picture of a reputed 7lb fish from the river around that area. As I mentioned the river had colour and looked perfect for some action . I decided to go in first with the old faithful lobworm purely as a confidence thing as I believe that there is not a fish that swims that will not take a worm.

I cast far down the swim and let the bait swing around in to a deep eddy at the near bank. To say I was excited would be an understatement . The thought of would could happen if the tip went  round really got the fires burning . After another flick out due to some crap on the line the tip gave the wobble and twitch . I shot up and poised like a predatory animal over the rod . Chub are so obliging in the right conditions and even more so I feel with bite indication . In my experience there is always the warning twitch followed by the pull round, its as though you are being forewarned so as to prepare yourself for battle . I struck at the pull round and felt the kick of a hooked fish . My heart was in full flow now as I had hooked a fish of God knows what piportion. The fight didn't last long as I was using a 6lb hooklength not willing to pull any punches in the snaggy water should a big old dog chub fall foul to my bait. On the scales the fish went 2lb 12oz's, not huge as chub go but my first on the new stretch so more than welcome.

This small chub had succumbed fairly easily to my somewhat stout tackled and so I decided to stay in the swim for one more flick out. The swim was a long wide stretch and an end peg so I felt that one more cast was justified . For my second cast I opted try my new cheese paste along with a piece of crust to balance it out. The bottom of the river still has a lot of green coloured weed in place as light has been able to penetrate and keep it in reasonable health. I feel a very big flush through will benefit the angler and help give some swims a good clearing .
The savoury morsel was flicked down stream and I sat back feeling fantastic after catch my first chub on the new water. The air was mild and for the time being reasonably still as I listened to the shrills of a pair of Buzzards in the far off dead trees down the meadow  . I had found my Nirvana and the place was really starting to feel comfortable when again the 2oz glass tip rattled and pulled around to my left . Fantastic I was in again and on a bait my by my own fair hands making it even better. This fish felt heavier and held more in the current, moving upstream and in to my near bank it put up several lunges on my light feeder rod . Once on the surface I could see it was bigger fish, not particularly thick set but very long and empty looking . I slipped her in to the carrier bag and read the dial .3lb 6ozs and my second in half an hour. Also may I add the fish had the tail of a blue whale as the picture shows....

I headed upstream and was almost spoilt for choice as there were so many chubby looking swims to be had . However time was not on my side so I baited a few swims on the way up and then dropped in for fifteen minutes whilst making my way back to the car park end of the run.

I finished the day in one of the lovely pools at the lower end of the fishery and managed my best chub of the new year at 3lb 9oz's again to my home made paste and crust combination. I was really impressed with the new stretch and cannot wait to get back there when time see's fit for me to do so.

Thanks for listening.

Baz Peck

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Blythe

Friday morning found me up with the lark and thundering down the hateful M1 to the delightful town of Luton ??.

Once I'd completed the job I took half an hour to pop in to Leslie's of Luton . As tackles shops go Leslie's is my idea of paradise .I have been there four times all told and have yet to make it around the whole shop, you name it they have it .

3lb 4oz Chub my first of the day.

I was soon thankfully heading away from Luton and back up an unusually quiet M1. The plan was to pop into Kenilworth on the way back to get some vegetables, then head home and pop out for a few hours fishing . As time was at a premium I opted to head to my little free stretch of the River Blythe. Although not the most picturesque of swims I know the river well and I know that I can get some sport in quickish time.

Such was my confidence on this little pool that I set the camera up first. I really want to try and get some self take photos done this year as the obligatory fish and rod in landing net shots have become a bit bland .

A 2lb 10oz chub and a random dog!!!

On arrival the river was in perfect shape for a few  chub, there are some nice perch in this swim but with the water being coloured I felt they may not be first on the list. I set up my light feeder rod with a 2oz glass tip and a length of 3.6lb Preston hook length. I use a small length of fluro carbon attached to the hook length by 2 drennan float stops this enables me to adjust the length of line between shot and hook. The hook was a size ten drennan specimen and a lobworm with the head nipped off was the offering.

                                                                               The urban bridge pool at pack horse bridge.
After three quarters of an hour I had not received a touch which is very unusual for this stretch. To remedy this I decided to break the lobworm in to a small piece and drop it in to a big eddy in close to my bank. After a short while the tip rattled and then gently pulled forward .I struck and felt the jag jag of a non chub type fish . To my amazement I had connected with a roach of around 8oz's. This may seem over the top to some but in this stretch I catch predominantly chub and perch so to see a roach was a lovely start to my session.      
The bites dried up and so I decided to move ten yards down stream and cast under the arch of the bridge. Having settled in again I cast and watched the tip as the line looped around in the current and bounced the worm around in to a drop off at the end of the swim. The tip rattled and and then pulled around with great intent. I lifted in to the bite and  a powerful fish shot of under the bridge causing me to lower the rod in to a fighting angle whilst trying to gain line.

The fish held midstream in the current then steadily plodded up in front of me . Then as chub do it came in to the deep water in my near margin as if offering me a toe to toe fight . It went mad in the margin but eventually  a thick head crowned by a pair of white lips arose form the murk and graced my awaiting net. On the scales she went 3lb 4oz, a  nice fish for this stretch.

I went on to catch another chub of 2lb 10oz and then the rod shot round and I connected with a much more powerful fish . The fight was very chub like, heavy and deliberate lunges and it felt larger but then don't they all when left to the imagination . The line fell slack and the fish was away, on inspection the line had been bitten off some where near to the hook. Maybe a pike had taken a liking to my worm or maybe it was the throat of a big dog chub. I re tackled, this time with a 6lb hook length, the light was fading and that coupled with the loss gave me a spurt of inspiration that maybe the big old boys and girls of this suburban swim were out on the feed . After recasting and awaiting in the fast fading light the tip swung around again and another fish was on. This time a chub of 2lb 12oz was netted and weighed before being put in front of the awaiting camera.

As I prepared for the picture out of the gloom and betwix the trees materialised a shape . I was startled to say the least and very nearly followed through!!!! . Gently forward came the hairy snout of an old hound.She ambled towards me cautiously but not fearfully . As I held the fish for the photo she gently moved in to shot in a non intimidating way .My fear eased and I agreed that she could be in the photo and that she could gently sniff at the fish. Once the posing was complete and the fish returned she gently ambled ofF in to the trees leaving me in fits of laughter and asking myself if what had just happened was true.

I left in great spirits and chuckled to myself all the way home .

Thanks for listening.

Baz Peck

Friday, 6 January 2012

Warwickshire whacked

Well a rubbish end to an excellent Christmas for me as I managed to blank for three consecutive mornings on the Avon at Wasperton.

I have now stripped back my gear to fish specifically for chub and keep mobile. I baited several swims along the bend of the BAA stretch and moved stealthily from swim to swim hoping to try and catch a big old chub . Sadly the two blokes who pulled up in the Renault Cleo just slightly down stream did not . Pulling up behind the swims to my left. Radio on doors open and wandering up and down the bank chatting and generally pissing me off. That is the only down side in fishing this stretch in that you can pull your car up behind the swims which straight away creates a shadow on the skyline . I always leave my car at the grassy area by the gate and walk across to the river keeping well back from the bank edge .  Watercraft and general manners doesn't come naturally to everyone though.

Any way moan over and on in to 2012 and hopefully a new bloggers challenge.

Barry Peck