Monday 20th August, I set off for the Warks Avon as I’d planned, fishing on one of my clubs’ stretches (KF-A/WG) with the intention of hopefully bettering the size of my PB bream….
Setting off from home at 0600 I managed to avoid the worst of the M5 traffic and arrived at the waterside at around 0645 … and the intended swim was only 50 yards or so from my parking location… and so the transport of tackle between car and swim was quick and easy…
The modus operandi for the day was to ledger with a 20g cage feeder on 8lb main line and a size 10 hook on a 6” 8lb braid … fished on a 12’ feeder rod with a light quiver tip. The lengthy rod is a bonus on this river, well this stretch anyway, as the waters along the edge are lined with reeds and lily pads although the water depth does drop off very quickly to 12’-15’ or so within a couple of yards and the length allows more control of the fish to keep them away from these snags when netting them … also a long landing net handle is almost a ‘must have’ as the banks are very steep and usually you are fishing from 4’-6’, possibly more, above the water surface with little chance of getting closer….
Bait for the day was worm, a bait that always performs well for all species although I did add maggot and bread to the hook at times… and the fill for the feeder was made up of my usual base crumb mix (*1*) to which was added particles in the form of hemp/maize and a strawberry flavoured rice/wheat mix along with 150ml of hemp infused oil (*2*) and 150ml molasses (a sweetener that is reputedly a bream attractor).
First cast was made at 0740 – and surprisingly, given the venue and bait, I didn’t get a single nudge until the third cast at 0815 resulted in a missed bite. Normally at this venue, and especially using worm, I’d expect nudges within 5 minutes on every cast.
Next take wasn’t then until 0845 when I hooked into a fish and played it to the side where it gained sanctuary in the reeds/lily stems and when I eventually retrieved hook it was embedded in a piece of plastic refuse sack or similar. I didn’t see the fish at all but from the fight it was very similar to the feel of the next two fish landed and I reckon it was of that species…
So, I re-baited with worm tipped with a couple of maggots and re-cast – and at 0905 the next bite – and a fish was hooked and landed…. a jack pike of 1lb 10oz hooked fairly in the scissors….
Meanwhile over the time I’d been fishing I’d also been putting out small handfuls of maggots just out from the reeds/lilies so as I had no further action by 0930 I thought to try that line with my other 10’ feeder rod to try to possibly pick up a bonus perch – size 16 hook, 8lb line, 7g square pear sinker. Despite continuing to feed that line (and I did over the rest of the day too with occasional dropping of my bait there) by 1000 I’d not had a single nudge and so I went back to my original plan…. and 1040 … another take … and another pike, again on worm and fairly hooked, but a bit bigger – 4lb 10oz.
This was followed at 1200 by the next bite – and a 4lb 6oz bream was landed. Right species but unfortunately 1lb 7oz short of what I was hoping for… a new PB of 5lb 13oz or more … although was well accepted on what was, and continued to be, a very slow day for the venue…
… and final fish for the day was a chub of around 4oz taken at 1250 … and between then and my packing up at 1530 I had not a single nudge.
Usually too, when feeding maggots, there would be swirls made by the roach, etc as the bait hit the surface but even this was missing on the day, best was that a couple of the maggots could be seen to be intercepted as they sank each time.
The day itself had been quite mild with a couple of light passing showers that didn’t warrant setting up the brolly but around 1400 there was one of those really heavy ones that soaks you in the time before you can get the brolly up but then stops as soon as you get under its shelter … Boat traffic was lighter than expected – in the ca 8 hours I was there probably only 12 boats passed but they aren’t a problem anyway – most are canal boats with a draught of 2’-3’ and with 15’ of water beneath them the fish aren’t adversely affected by their passage and the line from rod tip to feeder slopes down so much that really for them to affect/catch it would require them to pass within about 10’ of the bank so there’s no need to wind in or even for use of back leads.
Plans – Friday, 24th, think I’ll head to one of my clubs carp pools although possibly not actually in search of carp … although the Adam Penning talk of last Friday may have triggered something in that line… :) … and looking ahead, Friday 7th September, we’re going on weekend break so I’ll not be able to fish that day … however, I’m thinking of heading to a local canal on the preceding Thursday for a few hours on the morning, fishing from around 0600-1100 or similar as I’ve been meaning to have a canal trip out but always in the end decided on elsewhere – and as Liz works 1330-1730 on Thursdays it means I can fish and then get the car back to her for going to work and everybody will be happy!
(*1*) BASE CRUMB MIX
Basically, a mix to a a personally derived recipe, of standard bread crumb to which I add porridge oats, Vitalin (dog muesli), strong white flour, blood/bone/fishmeal, chicken layers mash. This produces a mix that is much of a ‘method’ mix and holds well in open cage feeders (flowing water) or on frame feeders (still water) – and I also hand feed, or introduce with a dog-ball-launcher if extra distance is needed, extra loose balls if needed. Also I add to this base, at the waterside in the wetting stage, other materials that I may require for that particular occasion such as oils, flavours, colours or extra particles such as sweetcorn/hemp/maize/maggots.
(*2*) HEMP INFUSED OIL
I like adding oil to my groundbait – basically I just like the sheen and the smooth surface it gives to rippled water as it rises BUT it also indicates the breaking up and location to some extent of the groundbait balls/feeder contents on the bottom. For some time I used hemp oil for this but its quite expensive (£6 for a 500ml bottle in Sainsbury – with the occasional promotion of £4 a bottle – but this is generally at least 50% cheaper than ‘angling’ versions sold in tackle shops) … Also you’re never too sure how the manufacturers ‘processing’ affects the final product. SO… I devised my own ‘hemp oil’… which I call ‘hemp infused oil’ which is, I’m sure, at least as good as ‘hemp oil’ in attraction by the scent and cheaper too. Easy to create… I take about 6oz (180g) of raw hemp seed (I buy bulk 10-15Kg sacks for creating my own stewed hemp so always have plenty at hand), crush/grind them and put into a saucepan into which I add a 1 litre bottle full of cooking oil which can be rapeseed/sunflower/vegetable/etc (don’t think it would really make that much difference as its just a carrier/solvent really). I then heat up to around 70-75’C and hold at that temp for about an hour with regular stirring and then let cool and bottle the whole contents so that the effusing can continue whilst in storage. When I need the oil I just shake the stock bottle to mix and then pour the needed into a smaller bottle – I generally take a 250ml bottle out with me and use about 1/2 of it in the groundbait mix but if I need to add more or to make an extra g’bait mix up then I have enough to do that – and if any is unused then the bottle is just topped up for the next trip out.