Sunday, 18 September 2016

Every Loaf has a Silver-lining

The feeling of being cocooned in a hot chammy leather is as conducive to good fishing as snow melt. The two extremes of pointless angling activity.

Thankfully the tench campaign ended in July, having eventually traversed the boredom threshold in the same swim with the same birds, and reaching the point at which the resident bank vole acquired a name..."Vikram". Time to move-on.

A target of ten fish from the most reluctant of stillwaters was set and slowly but surely over the month from the first bites on June 16th, via sightings of dog otter, small and large skippers, greenshank and hobbies the list grew. Only on two occasions did more than one of these beautiful fish lay on the well-worn bank, being the occasions of the first and last landings. Three on the first day, two on the last. The latter causing brief mental turmoil as it took the total to eleven. To fish on until 20? No,  boredom cannot be extended that long. Eleven would do fine.

So what next?

HonGenSec had been pushing for an answer but nothing had gripped the psyche. A new peg is all-but ready elsewhere on the Stillwater for a late summer/autumn bream campaign.

It's a funny time of year, late summer. Personally, without doubt, the least engaging fishing period.

But school holidays have now been and gone and the prospect of a canal campaign presented itself, but, being that hinting at autumnal time, an early start isn't so early as to encourage a couple more minutes sleep.

Small rivers appeal too but not high reaches as would remain akin to a bottle brush in a gutter, with reeds and rushes bank to bank. No, somewhere a touch less narrow with steady depth - that would do nicely.

So we've settled on the Upper Avon and 'middle' Leam combined with Oxford and Grand Union Canals and the challenges are:

Roach over 1lb
Chub 4lbs.
Plus and other good fish that come along be they chub, dace, etc

Roach - To add to the 1lb+ list (now totalling around 100 since rejoining the throng 4 or 5 years ago) but secretly looking for fish over 1lb 8ozs.
Silver bream over 1lb.
Plus, again, anything else tempted and of good size; bronze bream, perch, chub, zander.

So, with all that set, battle commenced...

Initially, it took well into the third trip before it really became engaging and pleasurable again after the obligatory summer break but sure enough with that early chill in the air the chase, spirit and sight of that first rutilus hitting the target did the trick and suddenly there aren't enough early mornings in a day, surely there should be at least three?!

The first of many, it is to be hoped

Having squeezed much of previous years' pursuit into the short North Oxford Canal this autumn the Grand Union locally is taking the brunt. After a couple of very promising fish last winter and genuine reports of fish pushing 1lbs 8ozs what size roach can the GUC offer?

One thing is for certain. The right technique will sort them out if they're there...and so the search has begun.

Finding target fish in the rivers will be a touch more hit & miss but slowly a picture will form, just the same.

Initial Grand Union roach findings are promising. The first target fish to grace the net being half an ounce over the mesmeric pound and, this very morning, on this first day after temperatures dropped from balmy 20+ degrees C., a first bite fish of 1.4.6 took centre stage in a mixed catch with some skimmers. It was landed to the call of a scarce Northants tree pipit.

Best of the short campaign yet at 1.4.6 thanks to tip-off from a long-lost friend

A nice net for 2 1/2 hours' fishing

On Wednesday however the silver lining illuminated wide-eyes and orange/pink fins when blikka bjoerkna came to the irresistible Warburton's blue feast laid out before it, at 1.11.8 this silver bream was probably the highest %age record weight of any species caught previously, made even more incredible by its canalised habitat. The record being just 3lbs 5ozs and canal record most likely Russell Hilton's 2.4.8 fish from the last Bloggers' Challenge.

Running the many photographs taken against various physical features for certainty became ever more exciting as the truth emerged from the fish i.d. mincer

Big-eyed silver bream dwarfing a perfect roach of 1.2.5

The catching of this fish however proved costly on the bite detection front with two of my 'best' lift-bite floats wrecked in the process. Ebay is being scoured but a suitable pattern for this technique on canals ain't that easy to uncover

Close at hand are numerous feature-filled stretches of all selected waters and so the prime spots could take some narrowing-down but it's mid-September and spring does not contemplate lubricating it's coils for 4 or 5 months yet. Time will be the angler's companion, for now and HonGenSec has his answer.

****STOP PRESS****
...and last night 8 degrees C with clear skies. We're on the cusp


  1. Good to see you back George. I walked to the river Sunday morning when it was 8 degrees with a heavy mist and I could see my breath, the change was lovely, I'm hoping it will continue.

    1. Thanks Mick.

      Just the best time of year.

      I see you're more prolific and bohemian than ever!

  2. Breath visible Saturday afternoon as well.Yes autumn is on it's way

    1. Saturday afternoon? I must've been asleep then Bb

      Sunday our local upper Warks Avon suffered a pollution incident of a 'non-organic' nature. Fish trying to get out into clean adjoining brooks, etc.
      Not good but thankfully EA were quickly there pumping oxygen in, etc., and tracing it upstream to the source of the spill. Hopefully no major long-term impact but that remains to be seen.