Like many anglers I’ve found the past season a bit of a struggle.
Like many anglers I’ve found the past season a bit of a struggle. A ridiculously cold winter certainly made the fishing difficult during the latter stages of 2009 and the early part of 2010 and yet as I write this, just a few days after the season has closed; it’s a balmy 15 degrees outside and the rivers look perfect.
Despite the difficult winter and my continued inability to even come close to getting to grips with the river Lea at Fishers Green, I managed some really memorable and enjoyable sessions. Highlights included a trip out on a boat off the Essex coast, fishing from the rocks in west Wales and freshwater adventures after chub on the Hampshire Avon and perch from a Lea valley pool.
My final two sessions of the season were on familiar venues. The Hampshire Avon at Britford is a glorious stretch of this famous river and after being introduced to the venue by a friend a couple of years ago, I usually mange to get down there a couple of times every season. A sunny day at the end of February saw me and said friend head down for the day. I hadn’t had much of a chance to have a go for pike this season, so I took my trusty 6 piece travel rod with me to have a go for a predator.
Second cast saw a cracking little chap of five and half pounds to a smelt dead-bait and as I landed him a larger female pike was visible underneath the little pike, perhaps even eyeing him up as dinner!
I cast again into the deep pool in search of a big one, but after losing what felt a better fish, reverted to fishing cheese paste under some snags. My final river fish of the season were a brace of lovely chub at dusk, both scrapping all the way to the net in the strong current.
I actually finished the year on the day-ticket lake I’ve been fishing for big perch. A very cold day saw me fluke a small bream pretty much straight away, then fish hard for few hours without a touch, before I connected with a succession of lovely, big perch at dusk. The penultimate fish was the one I’d been waiting for, an absolute beauty of 2lbs 3ozs. What a great end to the season.
As ever, I haven’t been out as much as I’d like over the past few weeks. A trip to Old Bury Hill at the beginning of October and a visit to my local river Lee being the only two sessions I’ve managed recently.
Arriving at Bury Hill at dawn on a mild, overcast October morning saw me and a friend heading out in a punt to the jungle area of the fishery. It was our first visit and we were really impressed by the place, great facilities and on a quiet weekday, not at all over busy. As we rowed out the anticipation was growing by the minute. A great day lay ahead, a day when we were sure to break various personal bests. Feeding bubbles were evident everywhere, carp and tench were mooching around, rolling on the surface and fry darted around us as the lakes predators went in search of an early morning snack.
Then the rain came. And didn’t stop. All day. After weeks of dry conditions, the heavens had opened and our one leaking umbrella was put into (not so good) use. I managed to hook a tench or bream early on which then found a snag and the hook pulled. Next, a great tussle with a decent carp that fancied a Source pellet ended with another hook pull under the rod tip, this time after I’d done the hard work of extracting the lump from the snags. It looked a good fish as well.
Lastly, my float fished roach deadbait was taken confidently, immediately after I’d re-cast it towards some dying pads. I waited a second, wound in and hit it hard… nothing. I suspect it was a pike by the way it sped off and lack of ‘fang’ marks.
Oh well, it simply wasn’t to be. My mate had a worse (or better?) time of it by not even managing a bite.
We did move to the Milton lake on the complex for an hour or two, hoping for a tench or crucian. We both managed a couple of small carp, but really the losses of the day were the overiding memory.
A short afternoon trip to the Lee at Fishers Green resulted in a blank. Quel suprise. I did take a photo of a very nice chub for one guy and had a good chat with him, discussing his approach to the water and came away having learnt something. You never stop learning, and it’s perhaps the days that don’t go as well as you hoped that you can really pick up on little things that will help you make the difference next time. Like taking a decent umbrella…