31 October 2011

And the answer is...

... a single bronze maggot on a size 20 and ultra fine hook length. Pretty much what the answer always was really.

Sorry, I've run ahead of myself a bit there. That answer relates of course to the question that's been driving me mad for the best part of a month - how the hell do I catch anything in the Leam?

Well, I was half way through my third attempt at Welches Meadow when it dawned on me. In fact Inspiration came from an unlikely source - a large branch that I'd snagged and dragged out. It was alive with tiny worms / larvae, which kind of made me realise (durr) that my array of bread, corn, soft pellets and pastes might not be the normal menu on this under fished and 100% natural waterway. Too much of my fishing since I started again last year has been spent on commercials - hence the heavy lines, biggish hooks and man made baits.

So, with the inspiration that naturals might be the way forward here, I fined everything down, dug out the maggots I had leftover from Wednesday on the Avon and lo! we had fish.

I swear no one in the history of fishing has ever been more pleased to see a 3oz roach. It was beautiful, as was the 5oz roach that followed it, a similarly sized perch and the stream of tiny chublet that rallied to the cause. Not much to show for three long mornings on the Leam perhaps, but the 'duck' was broken. The bigger fish are surely now there for the taking.

16 October 2011

'My' River Leam

The River Leam has been part of my life for 20 years or so. I've lived near it (hard not to in Leamington of course), I've walked its length from Leamington to Offchurch on many many occasions, I've birdwatched around it, and all in all I've grown rather fond of it.

The only thing I hadn't done with the river was fished it, something I resolved a couple of months ago to put right.

The first step was a couple of early morning sessions before work in August, trotting bread punch or maggot down a slow moving stretch up near the Grand Union Canal. These two sessions were very enjoyable indeed - the bread produced pristine hand-sized roach, and the maggot generally some scrappy little perch. But I suspected that autumn might be the the time to really tackle the Leam, so I put it to one side until October.

My view while lying on the
bank of the River Leam - a
completely inanimate tip rod.
A bit of rain, I thought. A bit of flow. Perfect for fishing the sections that I know best, down through Newbold Comyn and Welches Meadow. Hmmm.

So, early October has arrived, it's nice and warm and there's been no rain at all. The Leam through Welches Meadow, far from being in 'full flow' (it never exactly races by) is completely static. In fact, thanks to a slight westerly breeze, the float was actually running slowly upstream for most of the morning.

This was my second of two consecutive Sunday's on the river, similar in terms of weather and conditions, identical in terms of results - zip, zilch, nothing at all. A nice opportunity to practice with a slider float (not something I've used seriously before), a pleasant place to sit (or even lie down) and birdwatch (several kingfisher fly-bys, grey wagtails, and today my first fieldfares of the year), but just one twitchy un-hittable bite on the tip to show for nearly 10 hours fishing.

There are plenty of reports of decent bream, roach, tench, eels and even carp in this stretch of river, plus the predators. And I will find them - eventually.

7 October 2011

Harbingers of winter

I heard them as soon as I got out of the car in Henley-in-Arden this morning - the high seep, seep of redwings.

Sure enough, there they were: two of them struggling south / south-west against a blustery wind.

Always a joy to see, of course, but a sobering reminder that the best of the year is very definitely behind us now (Indian Summer not withstanding). I'm fishing a big exposed lake in Hertfordshire tomorrow morning (Stanborough), so time to dig the thermals out I think.