Sunday, 3 June 2018

In Search of Big Tench & the Future of the Species.


Did I say, "Ye Gods!"?

Well, the world still has that "Ready Brek" glow about it

While it's never on the tip of the tongue there were a couple of highlights in a twenty-five year match fishing period, of course there had to be one or two, but very few of them matched this

Tougher than the worst canal; tougher than the coldest river; tougher than chewing leather; The Stillwater is all those things and more

Were it not for those encounters with The Blackstone 2 a couple of years ago nothing other than the odd perch, pike or fluked fish would have been possible, as, while the water holds specimen fish, in some instances so large as to be beyond belief; so large as might cause the silence of reverence to decend on any scene; they are so, so difficult to catch

For a start the venue is huge: secondly it's barely fished other than by a dozen or so obsessively committed souls; a pint of bait is but a drop in the ocean; natural food levels are exceptionally high; the depth points to certain swims but they too regularly disappoint; predation is very high and weed growth can be so extensive as to limit fishing to a minimal percentage of the total perimeter

The number of blanks far outweigh the successful days and the latter is measured in number of bites; even line bites are discussed with interest

So far in the current campaign the FF&F landing nets have been graced by no fewer than eleven fish that would have been p.b's before access was gained to the site. These out of just 14 fish caught in the two month period.

The first bite took 14 days from starting feeding. The next? Eleven days, and it has only been in the past fortnights' trips that blanks have been outweighed by fish.

A recent dawn start was a typical example, now that fish are more regularly over the feed. A bite at 08.20, lost in weed; a bite at 09.10 and a male tench of 4.15 is landed. Two further liners concluded and drew a monofilament line under proceedings.


This was not the case in 2016 when a similar campaign took only two days to produce regular bites.

So why was this year so different?

Initially it was started in the hope of a Challenge fish or two, knowing that if successful the fish was highly likely to be worth good points with a 10pt bonus for being the largest caught. This was far too early with the water still quite cold at just below 8°C and it was not until this factor increased to a consistent 17°C that bites were forthcoming and a pattern became established.

Now, having baited the swim for 2 months, it has reached a point at which bites can now be expected rather than the announcement by alarm being a shock to the system. Water temperature is consistently 18°C+ and although that water is quite clear a bank of weed between 'us and them' helps fish to feed confidently.

----

So, just a few mornings ago at 5.30am, a bite met with solid resistance and the ploddy battle put up by your average female tench ensued, no screaming runs here, but a lump of a fish for certain.

She took me kiting into some weed but, varying slack line with reasonable pressure and the chest waders, she came through into the light and when laid on the mat she looked quite huge.

It was two years since my p.b., an eight & a half pounder, and so my experience estimating fish of this size was lacking. I told myself that she was a good seven pounds but when she bottomed the scales at 9lbs 8ozs a comforting smirk started to establish and remained insitu for some hours, returning at each fleeting thought for a few days in fact.

Not the finest of pictures but an indication indeed of the scale of the matter

----

'Consensus is the The Stillwater could produce a double figure fish this year but, sitting with the life-giving sun now set over my right shoulder, Tinca tinca's procreative instincts have been to the fore as individuals aqua-scurried through the reeds and blanket weed allbut under the rod tip in pursuit of the key to future of their species.

Long may it continue.





Thursday, 17 May 2018

So Now What?


The Challenge now behind us, the future unfurling like mist gently drifting across a meadow. No specific direction, nor apparent purpose.

For me The Challenge has become such an engaging event that I am consumed by it for the whole 12 months of its existence.

Consumed by its capacity to include all possibilities; its ability to make one target species ordinarily overlooked or put back without a glance beyond perhaps initial i.d.; it's pitting of skills and wits between anglers who are capable of anything at anytime; its handed-down drive to need to break p.b's; it's breadth of interest and perhaps, most importantly, the inate need be comfortable enough to fish all venue types with a least a modicum of competence.

On that latter point I ain't no Dick Walker or Kevin Ashurst but the pleasure to be gained in learning new methods and techniques, then applying them to ever different situations, is huge and certainly it has been a source of amazement to me that those delicate, finely tuned approaches of my match angling past can actually be less effective than a heavy duty set-up to regularly tempt those big fish.

So currently, as I write infact, with the swim baited (as it has been this past month) the alarms set, landing net poised and camera at the ready, we wait again. And again...

...and again.

After numerous baiting sessions, too many to be precise about the number, out of the blue a proper bite and just a small hybrid comes to the net but it's a start and pretty much the 'species' I was looking then [for this was before the challenge ended and a specimen of such a fish would score maximum points (110: 100 for % of 'record' size plus 10 for biggest caught overall)].

Then as the challenge fizzled-out via a simply horrendous last weekends' weather one or two big bream started to be caught and in one early session I managed a four pounder (claimed to be the smallest in the lake!) at 06.30hrs.

An hour passed and at 07.30, the alarm blipped to confirm another fish and a second bream which proved all waters p.b. blitzer of 11lbs 14ozs, beating the 7lb plus from the Warks Avon last year by a 4lbs margin that didn't even touch the sides. Now that is how to raise a p.b! It does however make most, if not all, future bream less significant.


I guess I can now see that is the curse of the true specimen hunter I've just fallen foul of - hit the target...and then what?

So the baiting continued, having sourced a supply of consistently large maggots.

One thing I always have done in prebaited swims, and this includes bonus fish areas when match fishing, is not to feed it before having an exploratory cast. Many's the time when baiting over the heads of feeding fish has caused them to scurry away.

Sunday morning was no different in this respect, although the heavy, rape pollen inundated mist hanging over The (millpond-like) Stillwater was a bonus; shrouding the sky from the fish and the angler in expectant mystery.

First cast made over three rods, 2 set-up for tench, 1 for bream, and an instant indication saw a bobbin banging it's head against the alarm, but the strike met with only fleeting resistance.

Often this can be the only bite of the day as demonstrated by a torrent of cussing and blinding immediately thereafter.

The recast met with a similar event however, this time no mistake, but equally a surprising lack of resistance from the foe. Winding-in, in clear water, a perch of just over a pound came into view.

A recast and further action. This time to strike met brief solid resistance before going slack.

Thus far, not so good, the redeeming thought being that they were clearly 'having it' and it was only a question of time.

Soon a hard fighting, clearly male, tench was on and as I played it well away from the other lines on what had been the middle rod the left alarm burst into techno song, the bobbin dropping-back to the ground as the feeder slipped. This fish went 4.9.

Soon enough though two further tench were banked. 5.6 and 5lbs dead (when I say "dead"...).



I started to wonder where this would end? Four tench and maybe another perch or two? I wasn't being greedy but wanted to make the most of what was undoubtedly goung to be a brief and rare opportunity.

The three rods sat, poised.

Left and middle 1.25tc but the right hand rod, a classic old 2.25tc and rigged for a rather different species, was next to feel the tension. A really solid fish, nodding slowly as they do, and kiting right, towards submerged rushes, but with suitable angles and pressure it was eased to the top, held there and slowly drawn to inescapability.

At first glimpse underwater it had looked around seven pounds but with the challenge of having to carefully lift the net over the other two, still expectant, lines it became clear this was a touch more special.

Having had that demolition job of an 11.14 p.b. a few days ago however I knew it wasn't quite in that bracket but on the mat it looked a 'double figure' fish, to these somewhat inexperienced eyes at least.

Sure enough it weighed in at a "get rough, get tough, 10.10" (as Heaven 17 would have had it, apologies to Messrs Ware and Gregory).

10.10 'Fight in Progress'
On return, this fish shot off in a very unbreamlike fashion as though it enjoyed the whole experience so much it had an urgent need to find some more bait...it didn't.

A further tench ensued of 4.14 together with a decent lost fish when a second alarm distracted me and the clutch wasn't adjusted quickly enough as a consequence.


Something then catches the corner of my eye.

Something tern-like but simultaneously something 'un-tern-like', both in size and in not being white.

But no, wait a second, it was a tern.

An individual black tern.

The first of the year and always an outstanding experience, such wonderful creatures that they are.

No sooner had the migrant gone out of sight than another monster bream was on the hook. Straight for the emergent rushes it headed but again it was eased up and slid across them without only the slightest twitch of anxiety.

On the scales, this second of the day's brace, registered 9lbs 15ozs (if only it had succumbed an ounce later in it's growth!).


That signalled the end of the string of bites and, totting time and total, the eight fish rolled up at forty seven and a half pounds; the bites spanning only three hours' or so of fishing and not a carp in sight.

By far the best fishing since match fishing ended and way beyond my current, and most likely future, wildest dreams.

Roll on next weekend. Ye Gods!









Thursday, 3 May 2018

THE 2017-18 BLOGGER'S CHALLENGE CONCLUDES


At midnight on Monday the biennial Blogger's Challenge came to a close with the conclusion of the 2017/18 competition.

Challengers had generally been seeking as many species, to as great a percentage of the British Record as possible, across all three water types; river, stillwater, canal.

That's not to say everyone had the same plan. Far from it. The 16 competitors, as it happens, drawn from all over the southern half of England had their own ideas on what appealed to them.

Some sought everything, everywhere. Some just the rivers. Some everything except the venue type they didn't like and some simply wanted to catch the biggest of certain species; barbel or carp perhaps. Then there was the more complex tactic of attacking a certain type of water but also achieving preferred species sizes, or trying to; followed by contestants who entered their fish as a by-product of their everyday fishing without changing anything.

The rules were very much similar to 2015/16 but with added smaller species - gudgeon, ruffe, etc., and anglers had to post pictures of the fish before claiming the catch. The small fish however proved more difficult to track down for the more northerly of us than one might have anticipated.

The early months and through to Christmas proved very productive for most but the continuously unsettled winter and early spring weather made the latter half of the active year very hardwork. I can't recall a more difficult winter's fishing simply due to the fact that fish respond to steady weather and water temperatures but we barely experienced any such circumstances.

So the pre-race favourite at unbackable odds was James Denison, based in South London, and, as previously, his skill and venue knowledge proved decisive in the quality and regularity with which he was able to tempt big points scoring fish. If it wasn't a 6lb river chub it was a 25lb canal carp.

James proved a runaway winner of the river competition by quite a margin and this proved the difference in the end taking that and then the overall title by over 200 points.

Brian Roberts, unusually for him, being a pike nut, took the year rather seriously and really went for it with a variety of methods and species he wasn't used to. Travelling with James from time to time, he emerged in a very much worthy overall third place, but also won the Stillwater category and came second behind James on rivers. To my mind, the performance of the past year.

Other performances such as Mick Newey doing his level best to get 2nd in the river category behind James but getting pipped at the post by Brian, and Dave Williams seeking out and landing the biggest carp and barbel of the whole competition stand-out as other highlights.

The fish of the year though will surely be James' 10lb 4oz canal bream. I would not have believed such things existed, but it seems they do, or, at the very least, it does!


So there we are, no prizes, no competition this coming year and certainly less communication...the WhatsApp group a small bunch of us joined certainly took a battering, at times I feared my phone would melt!

Personally I look forward as positively to the year off between challenges as the competition itself, as it makes for a perfect contrast, and, along the way, seeds of ideas for maximising opportunities for 2019/20 will be sewn.

Well done all and thank you for a great challenge, and I very much look forward to a purely amateur locking of horns next time around.

[Final scoreboard takes a few seconds to.load]



Friday, 13 April 2018

A Good Day by the Water

The angling winter has been peppered with blank sessions; the birding equivalent however punctuated by just the odd sparkling find - a garden brambling and two lesser redpoll just a couple of weeks ago; the Hawfinch at Draycote Water and such like.

Now that the river season has emitted it last feeble lung of air The Stillwater has become home. Prebaiting for nearly 2 weeks now eventually the fish will become active (with the water temperature have breached ten degrees centigrade today) and find the bait when loaded hookbaits are included with a bonanza to ensue but, until then, a recent barren angling excursion littered with birding highlights will keep us warm with its memory.

An hour after dawn, the plaintive call of the curlew from the north. Drifting on the barely perceptible breeze it flew, gently, as curlew do, as if the air itself could counter gravity and support them aloft without muscular propulsion, perhaps a male with less extravagant bill, directly overhead and disappeared South across the water. A pair had completed the same journey a week ago at a similar time of day.

That would have sufficed as a highlight, we're not greedy, but at 10.15am a returning osprey gently cruised along the north bank. It's flap, flap, glide flight combined with its size, obvious white areas and wing profile made it unmistakable as it likely headed in the direction of nesting areas in deepest Rutland.

By this point the fact we were biteless was but an insignificant midge bite compared to the emerging imago from a pupa of excitement that was unfolding.

This morning would yet get better still.

Unseen the "choo-lu-lu" of the greenshank overhead and a nice early record too.

As I shared this information via the ether I caught a glimpse of a heavy white bird. In no way the jaunty flight of a common or arctic tern but a steady 'gait'. The view too fleeting to achieve a positive i.d. but Norman (my gut, he's had a name since I suddenly put on two trouser sizes and took on a life of his own) said, "Sandwich tern".

I lost the bird from view as it headed east but it came back from a second circuit and the unmistakable whiteness, steady flight and close-up of the yellow-tipped black bill confirmed that it was indeed a sandwich tern.

A first ever F, F&F inland record to complete a rare old treat of a birdwatching day; the only slight irritation the lack of camera, as I'd tried to travel as light as possible given a long walk and boggy terrain.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Bloggers Challenge Run-in


Onset of April marks the start of the final month of the Bloggers Challenge 2017/18.

One or two anglers have been able to put some good points on the scales since the New Year but most of us have struggled. However, today is the turning point in the weather with temperatures set to rise over the next fortnight to fifteen centigrade in the day but more importantly five degrees plus overnight, enabling the stillwaters and canals to boost the possibilities of some late 'summer fish'

Brian had a tremendous burst of quality fish toward the end of the river season which cemented his place in third for the time being, a hundred points behind my dear old self, sat 200 behind runaway leader James.

Scorecard

So, in the knowledge that 100 points is just three cracking fish for Brian to overtake me, I've set myself the challenge within a challenge of adding as many points in the next four weeks as I can glean and really give it a go; almost as if it had only just commenced.

It can be a fizzling last few weeks of the competition and so the prospect of some excitement in it is not to be sniffed at.

Scouring the potential identified a few species that slipped through the gaping holes in the ramshackle landing net, some of which (say it quietly) should be quite easy to catch. Others not so.

This past weekend The Canon took me to a pond known to contain ide. Thinking of it as a day-ticket fishery it still appeared to be one as I arrived, if a little full to overflowing across the path in places. On closer inspection however it was clear that under that increased water level sat platforms seemingly inches apart; a sure sign that this was a commercial fishery.

I immediately felt quite queasy but found putting my fingers in my ears and repeating, "La la la la", helped, as I stemmed the flow of blood, quite neatly actually, with sticks of pop-up foam in each nostril.

Now I had never seen an ide and had to Google it so that I could recognise one and apparently it's just a naturally coloured orfe. If a zander is a 'pike-perch' (it isn't) then an ide is a chub-roach.

A bit more research suggested the most likely method, keeping it simple, would be float fishing on the drop with regular maggot feed. I knew it could rain all morning and so rod and line was preferred to the pole.

The Canon left me to it and wandered off to find a suitable bread punch swim peg (commercial after all) less affected by the high water having advised the water was 18"-2' up on normal...and it was coloured. Well, I knew such fisheries were often coloured due simply to the action of their inhabitants and, looking at it, I felt if it had been a river I would be rubbing my hands. I set sail therefore with some self-promoted confidence.

At this point there was no one else there but, slowly, a trickle of vans bounced and splashed through the water-filled potholes just behind me and as the first one passed, a bite, a strike and the devil incarnate was hooked...a commercial carp.


Clearly there would be some risks taken here; I was after ide in a venue the population of which was generally unknown to me so I set up with a 16 hook to a 3.5lbs fluorocarbon hooklength and 4.4lbs reel line. A 4BB insert waggler with 3no.8's down the line would act as the middleman. This set-up would give me some chance of landing Satan should he bite without too much affecting the ide prospects, or so I thought.

So this carp is hooked but the hook pulls out soon thereafter. Minutes later the same event precisely. Then I hook one that doesn't seem to be in danger of coming-off and my light match rod suddenly seemed incredibly under-gunned making the fight long and, toward the end arm-achingly long-winded. Upon inspection of this 6lbs 8oz common carp the reason for the lost fish became evident. No lips. Let's call him "Marchello".

At this point a little flurry of estates and vans pass and pull-up 100 yards to my left, the occupants of which then disembark and proceed to shout to each other about the conditions.

"He's catching down there", floats down wind into the shell-like. Well, why wouldn't you? It's coloured and clearly stuffed with fish.

Soon after, a 7.4 version was dragged to the net like an unwieldy channel swimmer...with horns. This one, hooked on the outside of the orifice formerly known as a mouth, was never slipping the hook.

The maggots continued to be drizzled in. 10 at a time and constant, rather like scaled-up squatt fishing. In fact it took me back about 30 years.

So, here I am on my lightweight chair, under the gamp with my trusty centrepin offering encouragement to the blinkered pole fishing masses who decide to stay, unlike previous visitors who turned straight round and headed for breakfast.

I think there's five in this mass and they're having a 'match' albeit they seem to choose their pegs but I simply may have missed the drawer for numbers. They shout at each other while moving their gear.

"He's got another" accompanied the second fish as a water vole, yes a water vole, swam between banks. Apart from the ide the highlight of the morning.

On the drop - a smaller fish. It could be a roach, rudd, hybrid...or...the target. On the retieve it became roach or ide alternately two or three times before I swung it to hand and my first ide was banked at 8ozs. Unfortunately, in the rain and excitement, I forgot to photograph it and then dropped it back in anyway but thankfully the Challenge guys agreed the six points could count.

"You had a bite yet?"

"No mate"

"You on pellet?"

I hook and lose, after a long battle, a third sack of evil.

"You got one?"

"Yeah"

...."You lost it?"

"Yeah it's come off"

At which point the rest of the competitors shout and laugh at him. Inwardly I'm thinking, "Really?!.

The Grumpy Old Man in me is tempted to comment that, in my day, open matches started at thirty anglers and went up to 200 plus. On the odd occasion something went wrong and only a handful turned-up we'd go pleasure fishing. This wasn't a match, it was at best a knock-up and at worst a practice session. Let's face it, you'd only get Matchman of the Year points if there were a minimum of 60 competitors.

It gets harder now. I try chopped worm and hook a fourth of these dark satanic ills that again pulls-out.

The float rig gets an even more risky 18 hook in the hope of a further ide but the only other bite comes from a bream of 3.1

So I've had seventeen pounds odd of fish and lost (taking an average carp size as six pounds) 24lbs = circa 41lbs of fish due to the light tackle. The two matchmen in my 'section' are blanking.

I pack the stuff in the car and visit the Canon, who slips in that he has started catching bream...on bread punch. No pellets here either? How odd.

Approach the venue; assess the situation; fish to the conditions. It's not, as they say, rocket science, but then it's the match angler's job to know that, not mine.


With apologies to the memory of William Blake







Sunday, 25 March 2018

A Reflective Surface


The fields rolling and falling though marsh to the rush-lined margins, bleached and wrung-out by winter.

A consuming stillness save for the calling raven, finches and thrushes. Artificial yet real, but isn't it all?

Three moorhen career through the pasture's edge headlong as if to fall in a chestward heap, legs in cartoon motion to the rear. How many are they, these ever-present canal rails? Thankfully more than sufficient to gladden the heart on all-but every gongoozling excursion, without doubt.

Here a manor chunk of F, F & F history would be recalled. Negotiation, advertisement, commitment, engagement and satisfaction in the pursuit.

This was a stretch of the most picturesque Midlands canal snaking, as it still does, from dark tunnel to complex locks; through ancient parkland with its mature oaks and chestnuts; cutting through sheep pasture like a chisel to linocut. The result the same. A work of human art.



A change had come. Rush beds extended, reedmace beds established. A wide, now narrowed, bend and whereas, in decades past, the plate glass surface would be punctuated by the innumerable concentric rings of myriad small roach. Now- nothing.

Here, one imagined barn owl and drifting hen harrier slipping over rough grassland untouched by beast or harrow from decent to recent times.

There, a badger sett high and deep in the clay bank.

Then otter-marked brick paving. "Private, trespassers will be persecuted", it said to anything capable of interpreting it.

Today so different.

In years gone, sixty brethren would gather in the dawn-time mist. A fleece and nylon clump of pink-eyed expectation and laughter. "That's a posh shirt you're wearing there George. Are you trying to raise the standard of match angling attire?"

Of those a handful would remain to be showered as they coveted; the clump dissolved to all corners; glitter cast on the worthy.

Perhaps a shoal of bream, a 'juicy' tench or carp, a hard-won net of sparkling roach would attain the jewels, and otherwise perhaps just a handful of tiddlers as winter set in.

The crinkle-cut towpath edge, a straightened pastry cutter, still beats out those reminders with a numerical rhythm.

Twenty-three, the first; through thirties, a favourite 52 and up to 74, a narrower tiddler-filled straight.

Today though it was the teens and in pursuit of that toothiest of adversaries, pike. They had always been here. A slowly raking, shallow near shelf overhung by branches but the turbidity would prove to work against us and only the nuthatch, dunnock and siskin would keep us from sliding into tedium.

The historic stone wall, consumed by ivy yet still partly intact beside the massive oak and, more distant, fresh lamb; twins and triplets in red and blue. How closely the ewes knit their lanolin-infiltrated wool to the reins of their excitable young.


March violets quietly bloom, a modesty instilled by evolution, on woodbanks and in the lee of hawthorn hedges. Hints of green among the marginal rushes and young rabbits, all dewy-eyed twinkles and bobbing white tails, conscious of the soaring threat of these cloudy skies.

Spring, and the sweet shop is again open.




Sunday, 11 March 2018

Another Back-end to Die from.


This back-end of the traditional coarse fishing season has been, like so many others, a time of luck and opportunity.

One seeks to glean what one can from our rivers but dear old Jack Frost and John Snow(?) tend to intervene more often than not. Indeed when these two characters are not at large it's probably raining heavily anyway.

The albatross shot on the way back from Wiltshire a month or so ago hangs like a necklace of increasing pungency.

----

The Bloggers Challenge has proven a tremendous boost to the season. The careful planning of the pursuit of each species across all three platforms has been incredibly engaging and not a trip has gone by that wasn't influenced by the competition, the format of which I find completely enthralling.

I confess I had been targeting the overall leader board this time but of course in the knowledge that James would be way out in front by now; and such has been the case.

As a canal angler who has not spent any significant portion of his life fishing stillwaters (until the past three years or so) and whose regular river experience was in the distant past some thirty years back this has been an entertaining challenge and never has research been so thoroughly undertaken.

Despite this however the points-scoring fish caught to date were all duped within thirty minutes of home apart from the Hants Avon chub.

Some of the fishing has been incredible, the run of five Warks Avon barbel, smallest 9.12, for instance and the all round capacity to achieve that is Napton Reservoir.

In fact, if it were analysed, a good proportion of the fish will have come from the excellent waters of Leamington A A where much of the period has been spent.

For most participants though the challenge has been more of precisely that since Christmas. River pike had been a main target to get up above the measly 6lber extracted from the side of the keepnet in Summer 2017 but a mixture of lack of experience, the species seemingly going off the feed in general and plain bad luck conspired such that this would fail but, with a decent plan in place for the March 15th to May 1st period, the numerous hours spent in their pursuit would not, fingers crossed, prove too detrimental overall.

Chief mover over the past few days though has been Brian Roberts (no, not my local villager and former Cov City full back but of Pike Blog) with a quick burst of very impressive fish...2oz gudgeon, 8.4 bream, 1.9 roach, etc., etc.

Bloggers Challenge top 5's:

Overall:
James Denison 1089
George Burton 871
Brian Roberts 795
Russell Hilton 680
Danny Everitt 601

Rivers/drains:
James Denison 583
Brian Roberts 449
Mick Newey 376
Sean Dowling 316
George Burton 295

Stillwaters:
Brian Roberts 301
James Denison 296
George Burton 283
Danny Everitt 255
Russell Hilton 150

Canals:
George Burton 293
Russell Hilton 246
James Denison 209
Ben Hennessy 133
Danny Everitt 128

----

So thoughts have turned to next season ('always will think this way, close season or not) and I've started enquiring and negotiating access to as much of the River Leam as possible. Currently at least another four more meadows have been added to the LAA stretches, our private meadow and the Godiva length, which may well come into play again.

I'm enchanted by the challenge of the river. A bit like a child with a pond net. It doesn't have to be the biggest, longest, most overfed capture but, given it is less than 10 minutes away at its closest, is hugely varied and contains a natural range & balance of species, a concerted effort for them is a great prospect.

Each water has its ceiling on sizes. A 5.11 Hants Avon Chub might equate to a 3.6 Leam fish and therefore, despite what the national angling press might seek to sensationalise, the fact is they are as worthy as each other in their relative ways.

A quick recce on two of the new lengths highlighted the obvious - that it will be difficult to find fishable holes in summer - but autumn and winter fishing with water on should prove fruitful.

Points scoring dace from new stretch of Leam on first visit

An updated list of River Leam p.b's will probably follow by way of targets and interest moving forward.

Currently main Leam p.b's are:
Chub 3.13
Roach 1.4
Dace 0.4.6
Perch 1.12
These from very limited opportunities given the length of the river that is theoretically fishable.

Certainly pike go to double figures, perch to 2.8 min., roach to 1.14, chub must go over 4lbs somewhere and the dace potential has not been met by the waters I have fished but I suspect fish over 8ozs are present in suitable places.

----

Since the Hants Avon trip the only noteworthy catch has been a nice bream of 4.5 from the Warks Avon, on a bread feeder sleeper rod while deadbaiting with hideously oversized mackerel parts, so with the final river weekend upon us, rod licences renewed, temperatures suddenly soaring into double figures but heavy rain causing local rivers to burst the season is highly likely to end on a river fishing wash-out and leave us wishing it had occurred either a touch sooner, or much later.

To repeat then; "A time of luck and opportunity"; enough time and too little opportunity, for this angler at least...but there's life in us yet!