Izaak Walton Angling
2019 NEWS AND PICTURES
The reports are presented in reverse date order so that the latest reports are presented first.
3 December Newmill Bridge and Tenbury
Richard had informed me that the fence round our car park at Newmill Bridge had collapsed so I thought I would make a trip there combined with a trip to Tenbury. This would give me an opportunity to see what needed to be done at Newmill and to take some more photos at Tenbury at a lower water level, the better to assess what needed to be done in the way of bank clearance. Also to get a couple of hours fishing !!
I started at Peg 5 where the river has a channel through the bedrock starting about 4 or 5 feet from the bank. When the river is high the main force of the current goes through the channel and the fish move into the steadier water over the bedrock near the bank. (That's the theory). Dropped a lobworm in and almost immediately had a bite, pricked the fish but didn't get a proper hook-hold. Fished around there for another hour but not a touch. Typical chub behavoir.
Moved down to Peg 6 which I had given a miss because it seemed to be boilng up all over the place. First cast I had a nice bream going 4-13-00. I didn't have much time left as the sun had gone down but was disappointed not to get another.
I'm adding the set of photos of the Tenbury water ( 1.20m on the Tenbury monitoring site) to the other sets on the "High Water at Tenbury" page. I will put the Newmill Bridge car park set on a separate page in case anyone is interested. (It saves me emailing them to Richard as well and is easier to share.)
24 November Christmas Contest at Wickens Pool
I sneaked over to Wickens Pool on the previous Monday (18th) and had a cover story ready if anyone saw me in the area by taking some photos at Tenbury (see them at "High Water at Tenbury"). My cover was blown when I found Ian fishing at the pool. What I did find out was that the fish seemed to be well out from the side so on the Contest day I started well out to begin with and didn't have a bite for an hour and a half ! How can you fish with pinkies on a mild day in November at Wickens Pool for and hour and a half and not have a bite?
Ian had a carp in his keepnet before I started but Lady Luck can be very cruel and neither of us would have guessed that it would be his only carp of the day.
I came close in and promptly caught a little perch - that's more like it - after another quarter of an hour without a bite I slid the float back up the line and fished well out. I soon had another bite which resulted in a carp in the net and the odd few bubbles were popping up. I ended up with six or seven small carp which was more than my wildest dreams could have hoped for at noon.
I was using a 2 x AA waggler with a 10 Stotz about a foot from the hook with a No 6 shot about 18 inches above that starting with a double fluoescent orange pinkie on a size 20 to 2.5 oz hooklength. I catapulted in the same colour pinkies and a mixture of equal quantities 2mm "Coarse and Carp" and 2mm Halibut pellets. I didn't have a bite in the last three quarters of an hour although there were still a few bubbles coming up. In restrospect I think I should have only fed pinkies once I started catching as I'm sure they had become preoccupied with the pellets particularly the Halibut pellets.
I'm puzzled about the lack of roach. I had set up the tackle to give it a fairly slow drop but never had a bite until everything had settled.The water had cleared dramatically since Monday so that when you played a fish you could see the "smoke trails" in the water. The forecast was for 10 Degrees but when the breeze crept in about lunchtime it had everyone reaching for their coats It was a very dark day which should have favoured roach and indeed Peter Mountford caught one or two cracking roach but they certainly didn't feed much at all.
Congratulations to Connor for leading the way home - to be fishing next to Dave Hemming amd Peter Mountford and still leading the way home shows a touch of class.
Happy Christmas to everyone.
5 November High water at Tenbury
The Environment Agency produces graphs which are updated several times a day showing the height of the water at every one of their monitoring stations throughout the country. I am interested to learn how the recorded water level at Tenbury relates to the fishing height at our new water at Tenbury. It had risen to 2.40 metres on Sunday (3rd)morning and had fallen to 1.64 metres today (Tuesday 5th). I would think that it was about top level for catching today but you would have to put in some time to fisn out where they are at that height. I did have some worms nibbled in the couple of hours that I fished so I was getting close. To see the photos go to High Water at Tenbury
31 October Report just in of catches by Tony Quarterman at Tenbury
2nd October Tenbury Following on from our competition at Tenbury (Saturday 28th Sept. when we caught Bream, Eels and Chub) Tony decided to have a go himself. He had liked the look of the "Bream Hole" (Peg 6) where I had fished and no doubt thought he could do a lot better than me - and he did! A bit more rain had coloured it nicely and he had some lobworms. 8lb hooklength to 10lb main - ready for anything - nice big lobworm - tap, tap, tap,tap, must be a bream - the fight wasn't very long before a 1lb grayling graced the net. Put on another snake - WHANG - that's more like it! - a barbel. He could only fish for three hours but managed 6 more barbel and a bream.
6th October Tenbury The following Sunday he decided to see what he could get from Peg 9 where he had caught four big bream in the competition. He hadn't had time to do any gardening so made do with luncheon meat. His three hour session yielded an eel, a barbel and a chub - but what a chub! He has caught a lot of chub fishing competitions on the Severn and the Wye but he said he had never seen a chub as big as that one. He reckoned it was well over six pounds.
9th October Tenbury The following Wednesday he was on Peg 9 again with the water well up and coloured. Armed with luncheon meat and three hours to fish he only managed one bite but that resulted in the biggest barbel he had ever caught. He guessed it was about 12lbs and had taken him about 35 yards downstream and forever to get it back up again.
If we get the rain that is forecast then my Czech Nymph rod will be put to one side and I will be away to Tenbury. I'll let you know how I get on.
Newbridge on Wye 24 October 2019
With the threat of the next two days having a yellow warning for rain we were slightly alarmed at an early sharp shower but that was the last we saw of the rain and it turned into a lovely Autumn day. The river was up about a foot but running clear after the high water which wasn't ideal for dry fly and the leaves made wetfly fishing frustrating.
It was a good height for nymph fishing however so I was quietly confident when I volunteered to help Darren catch a grayling. (I am amazed at myself that after all the times I have been proven wrong I can still be confident - old age makes me dafter!) Darren had already dabbled at modern river nymphing and was ideally equipped with a 10 foot 3 weight rod and a fly reel loaded with 20lb monofilament ending in a nine inch bite indicator section. We added a leader with two droppers about 20 inches apart with a heavy fly on the tail and small tungstern beads on the dropper flies. Darren proved a very apt pupil, soon overcoming the disbelief that fish will take the fly so close to the angler.
You have to manipulate the angle of the cast upstream, the lift of the rod once the flies have landed on the water to take up the slack line, move the rod downstream so that the line precedes the flies downstream, then lower the rod tip to allow the flies to drift further. Oh and when a fish takes strike downstream and towards your own bank. Nothing to it!
How can you do so many things at once? Conciously you can't! You have to get the picture of what you are trying to do and then do it. Once you have the mental picture of what you are trying to do all your experience as an angler rushes to your aid. Chuck the flies upstream then control them so that they drift downstream with the end fly just touching the bottom. You have all been lectured about the water near the bed of the stream moving slower than near the surface. Well it is true and nothing demonstrates it more than nymph fishing - when the flies are in the right zone the leaves and froth on the surface goes whipping past the leader even if the endfly isn't catching on the bottom.
Most of the fish feed in that slow zone but some will move up to intercept higher up, even grabbing it just below the surface attracted by the plop of landing so strike at anything suspicious. The flies are moving quicker than the rest of the things in the water even when you have got them into the slow lane but when the end fly hesitates on a pebble the others jerk enticingly.
Some situations don't suit heavy nymphs and the situation just below where the Ithon enters the Wye was one such situation on the day. There is a central channel here between 10 and 15 feet at the junction shallowing up to between 4 to 5 feet lower down with almost flat bedrock at the sides which is mainly exposed at dead low water. On the day there was about a foot of water on the slabs and the high water from the Ithon was pushing the surface water and all its leaves to the edge of the channel and over the slabs. There were fish rising amongst the leaves but the leaves were very frustrating for the dry-fly men. Equally the heavy nymphs were frustrated by the shape of the channel and the concentration of leaves.
Dave is as good as they get at trotting a maggot but found the grayling surprisingly unresponsive. They see so few maggots on that beat that they do not appear to be switched onto them but worm fishing (which I'm sure would have been very successful) is banned during the month of October on the Wye. He says he is going to take up nymph fishing and I'm sure he will be very successful at it. I remember him trying it many years ago, before I tried it, and he caught quite a few then although he wasn'y really kitted out for it.
A glorious Autumn day to finish of the season at Newbridge leaving us all hungry for more.
Newbridge on Wye 17 October 2019
Cancelled - River too high
Newbridge on Wye 3 October 2019
Cancelled - River too high
Tenbury 28 September 2019
At last we had good water conditions for fishing and the stretch showed some of its potential. I rarely coarse-fish rivers these days and was totally disorganised. Before I started fishing a young chap came along and introduced himself as Kevin Tanders, a new member. He lived in Tenbury and had fish the area all his life and was delighted to have joined the Club. he had fished a few days previously and caught three barbel from peg 2 before the sun broke through and put the fish off. We had a long chat and I was encouraged to learn that my proposed technique of hair-rigged luncheon meat met with his approval. I was fishing peg 6 which Peter Mountford dubbed "The Bream Hole".
My first cast produced a nice chub which initiated another crisis as my landing net and keepnet only just reached the water from my airy perch. I realised that if I caught a barbel there was no way I could put it into the keepnet without damage so when I went to the car for a longer landing net handle and collected another keepnet. I took this up to the next peg which was near the water line and set it up so that if the need arose it was ready to receive an occupant - it wasn't needed of course!
I decided that I would have to extend the platform I had dug further back into the bank as the broken pallet which formed the lip was crumbling away so spent yet more time excavating. The weather forecast was for <5% chance of rain so I had left my unbrella in the car and was experimenting with using PVA bags to carry my groundbait of chopped up luncheon meat to the bottom of the swim. When it started to rain the PVA experiment was put on hold, the decision to wear waterproof leggings instead of trousers was regretted and the newly dug earth achieved a degree of slipperyness unique to eels and the banks of the Teme. Time to try something new, so choosing a large Dendrobaena I speared it with the quickstop on the hair rig and swung it out.I was fishing over an eddy so when I gently took up the slack I wasn't surprised when the line drift in towards me, but when it continued to drift towards me as I took up the slack I decided to investigate and found that there was a heavy fish on the end - a nice bream and the swim had lived up to it name. I had some more bites but no more fish before it was time to weigh up. If I had not wasted so much time I would have changed to much lighter tackle to catch the biters which I think could well have been bream.
Tony Quarterman fishing on peg 9 said he had a shoal of bream topping just above him. He is used to catching bream on the Severn and guessed the weight of the best bream of the 4 he caught at about 6 pounds. It weighed 5-14-00 so when he said that there were some massive bream in the shoal I'm prepared to believe him and look forward to catching them someday. He caught 4 eels as well but two escaped as we transferred them to the weighing net. Tony Q put on a fine show of slipping , sliding and grabbing as he re-captured one but Tony Bromley wisely refused to join a pas de deux on the slippery, muddy bank and confined himself to remarking that the eel had gone down the bank !
Tony B had caught an eel himself but had returned it in the belief that we didn't weigh them in. His chub of 14 ounces made sure that we all weighed-in for the record.
I was absolutely thrilled that the stretch that we had recently acquired and had caused us so much work should finally turn up trumps. It is evident that it has a good head of fish and that as we get the swims sorted out we should catch loads of fish. I have done most of my Teme fishing in the Ham Bridge area which on high water gets very thick and red and doesn't seem to fish well but I get the impression that in the Tenbury area the fish will still feed well on high water. It certainly drops quicker and thins out quicker so I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about it especially on a dry day.
Newbridge on Wye 19 September 2019
A very warm day with very low and clear water and a brght sun all day made for extremely challenging conditions. (I had cried off to earn some brownie points by seeing the grandchildren and receiving a birthday present of "An evening with Aggers" at Newbury theatre. Jonathan Agnew aka Aggers is a commentator on Test Match Special - a cricketing program on the radio.)
The grayling like all the other fish tend to siesta when conditions are like that and feed early and late. Being constrained to fish 10 'til 6 makes it very hard and the great reduction in insect life in the environment these days means that stray terrrestial food items are few and far between. Having said all the excuses I wish I had been there to have a go.
Maggot fishing will be permitted during the rest of the season which may swell the catch - weather permitting.
Junior Competition Wickens Pool 15 Sept 2019
I had not had the pleasure of attending the Junior Competition before so was pleased to discover I was not mobbed by cheering fans. It was a lovely late Summer day. Shirley and Ian had been hard at work mowing, strimming, and trimming overhead branches which gave it the feel of fishing in a stately park.
Jane and Richard Stowe provided refreshments from their barbeque which is a feature of the Junior competition. I shall not bother with a packed lunch mext time.
Ian Wilson had a polished team of his twin grandchildren Tarlia and Pascale, one of whom (Tarlia) hooked and played the fish while Pascale netted them. Feeder tactics worked very well for them and was the method for the day. Dave Hemming and Connor floatfished maggots and sweetcorn and were beginning to get more carp activity towards the end of the match but Chloe and Hannah struggled on the near-shelf with maggots as the fish never moved in. Adam helped by Grandad Tony Quarterman struggled in the same way as the better fish never came within range in the bright conditions.
September 5 Newbridge on Wye
I looked at the river at Brynwern at lunchtime on the day before the outing and it was way too high and at 6 pm it was still too high but had fallen very quickly. I phoned around but could only contact Dave Evason so left text messages on the phones of the others. Apparently neither Richard nor Roger look at their phones before 9 am so at that time Roger text me to ask if it was cancelled
so I replied that if he was on his way heh could come if he wanted to but I thought it would be too high. He said he was on his way so I relayed the message to Richard and Stephen, threw some tackle into the car, and went to meet them. (I was already in my chest waders of course because as you all know I sleep in them).
The river had fallen dramatically overnight and was a bit on the high side but fishable. Gordon found that the fish were very pleased to take his worms and had a great time, which made me feel dreadful because Dave Evason would have had a field day if I hadn't cancelled the trip for him!
I was very surprised to find that the fish did not seem interested in my nymphs under the conditions pertaining. I caught a nice trout on a big heavy nymph which landed close to him but had very little interest until the last half hour. Then I had several tugs and hooked a big grayling which I played for a while before it came to the surface, said "hello", rolled over and unhooked itself ....." O what a shame" I said.
Richard fished the top stretch above the bridge in the morning and had plenty of exercise but no fish on the fly. He and Richard both had some sport on the fly just below the Ithon confluence in the afternoon.
Sorry Dave, I will buy you a drink at the AGM.
August 31 Ham Bridge
When I had carried my brush hook and spade down to the bottom of the beat and then up to the top of the beat and then decided to fish in the middle of the beat I spent an hour cutting back the vegetation and making some steps. I took the tools back to the car and had my lunch and thought about that nurse who asked me about my lifestyle and dismissed fishing out of hand as a form of exercise. If she only knew!
Dave Evason and Peter Mountford turned up while I was labouring (they didn't offer to help with the delivery). Peter said he would go to the Telegraph Pole and Dave croaked. By that I mean that he displayed the symptoms of severe laryngitis not a colloquial expression indicating that he had become deceased. Eventually he took Nannies advice and went home to bed.
Tony Quarterman turned up a bit later armed with brush hook and spade and dug out a pitch for himself and Dave in the bottom field then found he had left his bait behind so he went home - but he came back again later.
Peter and Tony caught a stack of little fish on maggot mainly little dace and chublings many of which were below the six inch size limit. Tony caught three little barbel about seven inches long which was a real surprise and always prompts the question - have they been stocked. Tony had a jack pike of about three pounds attack a dace as he was retrieving it. They were fishing several hundred yards apart so it shows that there plenty of small fish in the river and makes you realise that if only the predators were thinned out we would soon have a river with a good head of sizeable fish.
Tony and Peter agreed that when the Teme is low and clear then maggots are the treatments of choice and luncheon meat should be left in the tin until there is a bit of height on the river and a bit of colour as well. Richard and I heartily agreed with that opinion but only wished that we had heard it before we had started fishing in the morning - with luncheon meat!
August 22 2019
I checked the height of the monitoring stations on the rivers which can affect the Wye where we fish at Brywern, just below Newbridge, the night before our visit. I use the NRW website which shows information from all the monitoring stations in Wales. (The EA website shows all the monitoring stations in England which I use for the Teme). All were falling slowly apart from the River Elan (which reflects the amount of water being released from the dams) which had fallen 5 inches that afternoon and produced a fall of about 4 inches at Brynwern. This not only affects the flow of the river but also its temperature as the water from the dams is very cold.The decrease in the amount of dam water results in a sudden rise in temperature of the water at Brynwern. Whether this is good or bad I don't know but in the short term I think that any sudden change is not good.
For whatever reason the fishing was poor. It was a very windy day which made fly-fishing difficult and there were Goosander present at two of the pools during the day. The fish I caught averaged about a pound which is higher than usual. It may reflect less panic and quicker recovery time among bigger fish than smaller ones once the Goosanders leave.. Or maybe with the wind thrashing the line about I never detected the take from the small fish.
I have never fished before when we have had a sudden fall in the amount of water from the dam so maybe that was the cause of all our troubles. I'm hoping that next time we have more stable water and weather conditions and the fish can't wait to url themselves at our bait.
August 17 2019
For me it was one of those days where every decision I made about where to fish and how to fish was the wrong one. Ian showed his knowledge of the pool and caught a lot of fish on a pellet feeder. Dave Evason caught about 80 small fish for under 4 lbs but then fished his second line with an hour to go and found that the carp appreciated his maggots as much as the tiny roach and perch. Richard caught the best fish of the day at 5lbs 3oz which is an excellent fish for the water.Tony showed his talent by giving us all a few hours start and still produced a hefty bag of fish on float fished meat.
My school report on the day would have summed it up -"Could do better".
It was a very windy day which made it a bit chilly out of the sun but the rain held off to make up for falling in the night preventing most of us from driving up to the pool. The various little bridges that Ian and Shirley have installed over the wet patches have all worked brilliantly so that circumnavigating the pool, even after a full night's rain doesn't mean wellies and mud up to your knees. Thanks once more to them for all their hard work
August 9 2019
When we had our last competition at Wickens Pool (18 July) we were all struck by how wonderful it was to have such a venue surrounded by such beautifully mown and trimmed grass. It really is a pleasure to be able to drop something and immediately be able to find it again and to be able to see clearly where the edge of the bank finishes. However Ian brought to everyone attention that he and Shirley had found some considerable lengths of discarded nylon around the Pool and around the strimmer.
It goes without saying that you shouldn't discard nylon but accidents can happen so please keep your eyes out for discarded nylon and if you do spot any please collect it up.
Our thanks once more to Shirley and Ian for all the work they do around the pool - it really adds so much to the enjoyment.
August 8 2019 Newbridge on Wye
Mixed weather recently with not enough rain to affect the river but a storm is forecast for tonight. River low and clear but no fly life until about 5.00 pm. The puzzle of the fish making a welcome return to the run-ins to the pools may have been solved. I started the morning at the head of the Aber Pool, where a fortight previously Gordon had caught a stack of fish, then worked my way up Grimwood's and never had a touch anywhere. Then I moved up to the bridge and had four grayling in ten minutes before stopping to have some lunch.Dave Evason fished Hoival for two hours without a bite then moved up to Cornwall and hooked three grayling in three casts. I went down to Hoival after talking to Dave and didn't have a touch either. There just did not seem to be any fish there where a fortnight previously I had caught plenty.
So what can have caused this sudden dearth of fish. Well Dave reported that when he arrived at Hoival in the morning four cormorants flew off.! I'm convinced that predation by otters, goosander and/or cormorants simply drives the fish out of the shallower water into the depest part of the pool. Why should the run-in to Cornwall have escaped so far I do not know but the Bridge Pool always suffers least because of the traffic and pedestrians disturbing the predators.
I have been impressed by the success of the nymph fishing to which I have only recently become proficient. I have spent some of the last two trips helping Roger to get to grips with it and nothing really makes you stiudy something more deeply than attempting to teach someone else how to do it. There are many styles of nymph fishing but the one which I'm using at the moment may be termed "Mono rig - European style" which substitutes the fly line with 20 lb Maxima (the "Mono"filament in the title). This allows the line to be lifted off the water so that the leader may drift downstream without the weight of a fly line dragging it back to the angler. Casting is a cross between lobbing the very heavy nyphs as used in Czech Nymph style and fly casting with a heavy fly line. The mono has enough mass combined with the weight of the nymphs (weighted but much less than Czech nymphs) to allow the rig to be cast but with a modified action. They are flicked back and paused to let the nymphs straighten out before flicking them forward. If the forward drive is started too soon you get a horrible jangley feeling.
As with all these things once you get the timing it doesn't take much effort but it is a struggle to begin with - particularly if you are casting across your body because some idiot insists that you fish from the right hand side of the river looking upstream trying to see the indicator in the bright reflection of the setting sun with said idiotic shouting "Yes.Yes" into your ear at every miniscule dip of the indicator. But it was great fun and we hooked ten fish or more between us in the last hour with Roger hooking the best fish of the day, a near 2 pound brownie, which leapt clear of the water before racing nearly to the far side of the river before unhooking itself.
July 25 2019 Newbridge on Wye
River low and clear with what we recognise as the normal summer flow from the dams. The cool water was a welcome relief from the very hot day. Very little rising because the aquatic insects were sensibly having a siesta but the fish were feeding sub-surface very well. Gordon Davidson showed us what coarse fishing tactics could do by catching plenty of grayling and trout on sweetcorn and worms. He came as a guest of Roger Onions on out last visit, which was our Fly-only contest, and managed to catch one nice grayling despite fly fishing not being his forte. We welcome him as a new member of the Society.
The river never ceases to throw up puzzles. For several years now the grayling do not seem to have moved up into the heads of the pools on low water. The run-in to Cornwall where Dave MacCowan always used to fish and where I have caught fish for decades seems to have held less and less fish this last 5 or 6 years. The same applies to Upper Hoival, where Dave Evason aften fishes, would see the fish congregate right at the top but have seen less of late. Yet on the Fly-only contest I caught several fish in those places and Gordon said the run-in to Cornwall was heaving with fish on this contest and he showed how many there were in the run-in to the Aber Pool. A welcome recovery indeed!
Wickens Pool 18 July 2019 3.00 pm - 8.00 pm
Water warm and conditions overcast and a little cooler than recently meant that the carp were not right at the surface but not feeding avidly on the bottom; this rendered feeders a little less effective than usual. I had some success on my local pool with large roach and rudd recently by heavily feeding with maggots and fishing double maggot on a slow sinking rig, so I thought I would give it a go at Wickens. I soon had the pirahna swirls of feeding fish but after an hour it became obvious that there were too many tiny roach present so I tried expander pellets to try to sort out something bigger but the little roach still won.
Roach can make surprisingly big swirls but I was sure that some of the swirls were made by carp so I threw in some floating expander pellets - immediately my fat friends were revealed gently slurping. The rig was was a Drennan size16 Wide Gape Pellet hook to 6" 3.8lb Supplex to a yard of 4.75 Power line to the reel line. Two BB shot locked the float about 30 inches from the hook with a No 11 Stotz mid way. Some of the bites were nice and steady and some were of the rocket variety with the odd small roach thrown in to make me appreciate the carp even more. I was using 6mm pellets on the hook and feeding with a mixture of 6mm and 4mm pellets
Many brands of expander pellet will float if they are allowed to soak in water without being pumped but be aware that Sonyu Bait's expanders are designed to sink without being pumped (also be aware that they take about two hours to fully soften).
Another interesting day at the office!
July 4 2019 Newbridge on Wye Fly-only Competition
River dead low and unusually warm with only the legal minimum compensation flow from the dams. This in itself is an unusual situation as normally by the time the water level at Newbridge falls to dead low so has the rest of the river triggering an increased flow from the dams. (The release is triggered by the height of the water over a weir near Mommouth). At the moment the water entering the river in the lower catchment from rainstorms on the tributaries is maintaining the flow above the trigger height.
We welcomed Gordon Davidson, a guest of Roger Onions, and then Tony Whitney and Darren Bore decided to tackle the water upstream of the bridge while the rest of us went downstream. Roger and Gordon dropped off just below the Ithon, Richard stopped at Cornwall and I went to the near the bottom of the beat at the head of Upper Hoival. The conditions cried out for dry-fly so I put one on the tail of the Klink and Dink set-up I already had on the 3 weight and set to work. Soon hooked a nice grayling which got off and then they would only rise at the indicator fly but refused to hook themselves. An hour of frenzied fly changing with nothing hooked called for lunch and a change of tactics.
Tony and Darren were at the mouth of the Ithon and told me that Roger hadn't changed his stance for about 5 minutes - his rod was bent over and Gordon correctly diagnosed a chub of about three pounds. The scales proved his guess to be spot on. Tony said that he had had a very firm pull just above the bridge but only the odd little nip elsewhere.
I called in on Richard, on my way back to Upper Hoival, and although he had seen quite a few chub they were very wary and had soon disappeared and the grayling were proving unco-operative.
The grayling approved of the weighted nymphs that I had changed to and I ended the day having weighed twelve with only two under a foot which were not weighed. Congratulations to Gordon for catching a nice grayling of about a pound on a difficult day for the dry fly.
A very interesting day which illustrated the effect the temperature has on the fish. The trout hate warm water and will only feed if there is a lot of food about such as a fall of ants. The rest of the time they sulk until there is a drop in temperature in the evening or at night. The grayling will feed but are a little more lethargic and not quite so willing to rise to the surface. When they are caught they take noticably longer to recover - not just the playing dead act where they float upside down but when they swim down to the bottom and rest behind a stone. We are so used to catching them when the water is cooled by water from the dam that it was particularly noticeable on Thursday.
June 29 2019 (Saturday) Tenbury competition
Extremely hot day (31 degrees C). I had been there bank clearing the upper field on Thursday and was surprised at how coloured it was - due to a heavy storm a few days previously. In view of the colour of the water and the extreme temperature forecast I left the maggots in the fridge and took luncheon meat and sweetcorn. When I arrived at the swim I had earmarked after clearing it on Thursday I was disappointed to see how much it had cleared and how shallow the swim. I eventually I settled on a swim in the bottom field having walked up and down like the Grand Old Duke of York. You can imagine my joy when we came to weigh-up to find that Peter who had arrived at lunch time had settled into the swim which I had originally chosen and caught more than anyone else. C'est la vie as they say in Worcester.
June 22 2019 Newmill Bridge/ Wicken's Pool
The Teme was fishable but the banks were horrible. Four feet of oxtail soup had flattened and coated six feet of vegetation into a horrible barrier above the waterline so we did an about turn and went to Wicken's.
The pool was nicely topped up but the water had not warmed up to the temperature that carp really appreciate. In the afternoon I put some expander pellets in water and kept throwing them in but not one carp came to the surface. I ended up fishing with a whip to catch quite a few small fish on maggots.
Ian caught 4 carp in the afternoon on a method feeder and Shirly had one on the same method. He would probably have had two but I was talking to him when he had his first bite of the day. Everybody loves me!
Peter had arrived after lunch and had his river tackle with him and a tin of luncheon meat. He had three roach which put my sardines in the shade and a small carp. He seems to like to give himself a handicap/challenge and it he fishes all day invariable ends up with a bigger weight than me. Very exasperating! I shudder to think what he would do if he really tried.
June 20 2019 Newbridge on Wye
Cancelled. Several days of heavy rain filled the Elan Valley dams so they started to overflow a week before the contest day and helped to maintain too much height in the river for effective fishing. Fortunately all the rain we had did not produce a really damaging flood perhaps because a couple of months of dry weather had made the ground like blotting paper. ("What's blotting paper mummy?" "I don't know. Ask your Grandpa?").
I'm hoping that conditions will be good for the Fly-only competition on the 4th of July. Certainly the river bed should be very clear for nymph fishing and last year's nine inch fish, which seemed to dominate catches, should be over 12 inches and worth weighing. They are very fast growing fish and tend to have seasons where one age group predominates.
An interesting comment came my way the other day in relation to the balance of nature. Apparently otters are turning their attention to Goosanders (as well as other wildfowl).
May 11 Wicken's Pool Competition
I was looking forward to hauling them out but couldn't quite get the fish to co-operate. The cold-night bright-sun day combination continues to frustrate. The carp started to cruise in the top layer and Ian caught some on floaters before the ducks decided to help the carp. Connor seemed to have found the carp's dormitory and caught one almost immediately and at interval throughout the day but couldn't match Ian's late dash.
Fate plays some amusing games at times and no doubt smiled when I was picked to read the scales at the weigh-in as the only person in the assembled company to have suffered brain damage to their visual cortex. As neither Dave Evason nor Tony Quarterman had the foresight to slip me a couple of bob they both ended up with 5lbs 11ounces and no drams - honestly!
I had a lucky carp to lift my score above Dave Hemming and Shirley packed up early when that lucky couple of carp in the last 20 minutes was the result to aim for. Richard stuck to it and got one in the last few minutes to lift himself above Dave and myself
When the wind dropped I turned my hearing aids up to full power and I'm sure I could hear Peter Mountford whispering "Wolves. Wolves." Not in fear and panic but deep, deep sorrow. Something to do with another sport - namely football.
April 27 Wicken's Pool Competition.
Storm Anna crashed the party with near-gale force winds all day. This tempered my distress at having to miss the competition as the wind at the first competition caused me to throw all my toys out of the pram and go home.
Richard of course remains unruffled so his report to me reads :-
"Weather: very strong winds all day. Mostly dry. Cloudy with quickly changing bright intervals.
Fishing: I Wilson caught four carp and R. Stowe three. Other contestants had mixed catches with some good roach and the odd carp."
That doesn't sound too bad does it but I'll bet it was toy-throwing-go-home-early-windy-day. I was grandparenting which involves much unaccustomed exercise digging, weeding, barrowing bales of bark, hedge cutting, etc. and taking the resultant ton-bags full of debris to the tip. On Saturday, having taken two ton-bags to the tip, my next task was to cut up a bush which the snow had broken down and then dig it up. My son arrived to help and when we had done the one side we moved down the terrace to access the other side. I commented that it was less windy there and when we had almost filled the ton-bag a mighty gust blew it down the path spinning over and over hurling out cut off bits of branch as it went. As a lesson in how to throw things out of the pram I couldn't have had a better example.
The next competition is also at Wicken's on the 11th May and I'm really looking forward to hauling them out.
April 21 Easter Sunday at Wickens Pool
Pleasure fishing. A hot sun offset by a cool east breeze. I wanted to try attracting the fish with micro pellets and fishing with small cubes of meat. Some of the micro pellets dried out in the sun and a 4lb carp and a cream coloured Koi carp arrived to suck them down.
I spent the rest of the session sliding the float up and down to surface fish and then back again to fish on the bottom. How daft can you get - I should have set another rod up. I put some expander pellets in water without pumping them so that they would float. (Don't try this with Sonubaits expanders as they are designed not to need pumping and sink!). When they had soaked a bit I threw some in and the Koi can along and ate one pellet and indicated that he preferred the micro pellets by ignoring the other floaters. The 4 pounder did just the same so take the bag of Bait Tech expanders back to the battle wagon and return with a bag of 6mm Ringers and 6mm Angling Bait expanders. The Koi had wandered off by the time I had soaked the floaters but the 4 pounder soon returned and accepted the Ringers, so I gave him some Anglers Bait ones and he gobbled those down as well.
Slide the floar down to about a foot above the hook, hook on a pellet and swing it out. There were three pellets in a line and he took the first one, then the next and then mine ......... I waited for the float to go down .............and I waited for the float to go down.......... and then three pellets floated to the surface. Oooooooooohhh rrrrrrright. So that is why people strike as soon as they think a carp has taken the floater !
The 4 pounder disappeared and the wind got up and I took the float off and put on a light ledger and cast out and the 4 pounder appeared under my feet gobbling the pellets that had all blown into my bank. Wind in the ledger, take off the meat, hook on a pellet and dabbled it on the water under my feet. This is exactly as Izaak Walton describes it with the ledger weight holding the line in place. Mr 4 pounder thought it was a great idea and gobbled my pellet and this time I didn't wait. He weighed 4-03-00 and was the best of my fish for the day.
I have caught stacks of fish on Bait Tech expander pellets before so why they were ignored I don't know, but I will certainly experiment again to see what I can find out.
An interesting days fishing.
April 13 Wicken's Competition
Frost first thing, bright sun and a cold east wind following a warm spell - not good. Peter Mountford picked it right and fished the deepest part of the pool by the outlet feeding maggots sparingly, Dave Hemming plugged away in the downwind corner and Connor and myself both had a lucky large fish to boost our catches - mine was a carp and Connor had a nice perch of 1-10-00.
For several hours mid-session I don't think that anyone had a bite and Richard and Shirley suffered that fate for the whole day. I did my best to upset Peter by talking to him. While he was distracted he had the first bite he had seen for two hours - the float twitched and he waited - the float twitched again and again he waited - I kept talking - Peter put the rod down and the float promptly buried itself ! Of course when he picked the rod up there was nothing there. I laughed and laughed. Peter reckoned it was a carp from the way it fiddled around and a few minutes later caught it - without my "assistance". Why does everyone hate me?
It is amazing how completely the fish shut down when they are not in the mood to feed. I ledgered a single maggot a short distance out where I had fed a few maggots and didn't get a twitch. I think if we had been "pleasure" fishing we would have fished the last hour and a half and hoped that the wind died down.
Next time it will all be different.
March 16 Wicken's Pool Competition.
Happy New Year. A mild overcast day with heavy rain forecast for 5 o'clock greeted us and promised feeding fish aplenty. The only drawback was the breeze that also greeted us To celebrate the approach of the Spring equinox the Meteorological Office had covered the map of the country with a Yellow storm warning and the breeze that greeted us would not have been out of place in the roaring forties. I would certainly have reefed the top gallants if I had known what they were and how to do it!
I don't like fishing in the wind. I remember as a child trying to dig some worms with some willling helpers in the shape of half a dozen Ayesbury ducks. If I was quick enough to get to the worm first we had a tug o'war and when I took the top off the tub they were in it like a flash. This wind was like that. If you put anything down it blew away. If you took the top off anything half the contents would be blown every which way. I didn't know until last Saturday that unopened tins of sweetcorn float. My chair blew over and so did my box.
As we were not a group of Members of Parliament we could make a decision. As it was blowing a gale and the forecast was heavy rain moving in at 5 o'clock we decided to finish at 4.30. At 2.00 pm I decided if it blew one more piece of my gear into the lake I was going home, so at 2.04 pm I retrieved my net bag and one wet net from the lake, emptied 2 small fish from the other net and went home.
My congratulations to those who carried on but I had become Mr Grumpy and couldn't settle down to fish.
Next time it will all be different.!!