Well it looks as if I have escaped the long journey to Monks lakes in deepest Kent! No word from the captain and I bumped into Andy Power at Thatchers who told me all about the arrangements. Good news for me as I'm a bit skint at the moment, with a 4 day week and a few expensive things on the house going on!
I saw that last weeks K&A semi final practice frame was dominated by Bathampton anglers... NOT! I might help out on this semi, would be good to watch some canal experts, like Shakespeare and Image. But I won't be going to the pub used for the draw (used to be the Beefeater, under the weir by the toll road) as Eddie Wynne has tipped me off that the place is a rip off! Eddie lost his rag at the £1.75 for a cup of tea, and so would have I, best go to Matty's cafe for brekkie Ed!
Valentines day, and I made breakfast for the beloved and then sorted the gear for a river session. I had a pint of caster, the same of hemp and half a pint of maggots, this would be more than enough I thought for a days float fishing. The Crane was my destination and I thought the bay in the Little ashtip would be best, but as I forgot my trolley that was to far! I settled on two pegs above the gantry (on the concrete block) where the water was pacey but even. I set up my old and trusted Titan 2000 with a stick float that took 8 no 6, 2 no 8 and 2 no 10. A 20 B611 to 0.9mm powerline was my starting terminal tackle. The peg was about 9ft deep, and just right for the stick (one of the reasons why I picked the peg plus I was too knackered to walk any further!).
I started by feeding just 6 casters and a pinch of hemp, I had been throwing in this amount of bait as soon as I arrived, to try to get the fish going as soon as possible, but it still took me 20 mins to get my first bite from a 4oz roach. Next chuck and 1.5lb chub gave my 0.9mm line a good test, a few cast later and a 6oz roach was bagged. All these fish had come to a single red maggot, and so I put on a caster, but this produced not a bite. Back on the red maggot I could could make a bite about every 10 runs through, hard going, but the roach were all 4oz plus. I took another chub of 1lb and a couple of 8oz roach and a 12oz fish, and was glad that Mr Pike had not showed!
The light was a nightmare and in certain parts of the peg I could not see the float despite trying different colour float rubbers on top of the float as a sight aid. Black was the best colour, especially for the bites 2 pegs down!
I had changed depth a number of times and was casting on the line of feed and past it, these tricks would bring the odd fish but nothing consistent, I also caught a few roach 30 to 40 metres down the peg! It was getting harder, and I decided to up the feed and hope the chub would show, feeding about 30 casters and just a smidge of hemp. Within 10 mins I was into roach again, and as the session went on they were averaging 6oz..... and I was swinging them in! It wasn't a bite a chuck, but real hard work stick float fishing, two fish in two chucks from the same spot was the best I got, then I'd have to change something or trot way down the peg. A couple more chub of 12oz showed and more roach, but I lost what was definitely a big roach, you can feel them shaking their heads and this one lost the hook!
After 4 1/2 hours I packed up, the swim had died on me, and pulled out a near 20lb bag, 4 chub and everything else pristine roach, most looked as though they had never been caught. It was strange that I had some fish up the top of the peg, some bang on where I expected bites and them some way downstream, as there were no pike around I assume it was the clear water that kept the fish moving around. For me, Heaven would be fishing a stick float on the river, it gives me more satisfaction then any other method, I absolutely effing love it!
Walking back I saw two anglers fishing the feeder for bream, they were both blanking, who had the more interesting day... YOU DECIDE!
I suppose with no matches on the river (everyone is up the canal chucking in Russian joker to wind up Tony Rixon) I'll have to look to a commercial again next weekend. Well at least I got one river session in before the stupid close season.