31 July 2012

First time on the Wasperton Avon (for another meeting with my newest friend)

A few weeks ago I found an hour or so for a brief recce of the River Avon at Wasperton. Now, with a completely free weekend at my disposal, it was time to throw a line.

Now it has to be said that I know next to nothing about big river fishing, and although this stretch of the Avon is hardly huge, it is way out of my established comfort zone. All the more reason to get stuck in then...

Easy-to-fish swims seem to be at a bit of a premium on the lower LAA stretch, but I eventually found a tight-ish spot which allowed me to cast beyond a downstream line of weed with a simple feeder rig.

To be honest I was really there to get a feel for the place, rather than catch anything. No point missing the opportunity completely though, and I figured either meat or worm would be my best bet for a decent fish or two.

Nothing much happened on worms, but I started getting little plucks and indications as soon as I hair-rigged a ragged chunk of luncheon meat. None of them came to anything much so, after striking at thin air a couple of times to check I wasn't missing anything, I sat back to admire the view and wait for something more decisive.

When it came, it was hard to miss - a strong and sustained pull that I'd have had to be pretty clumsy to miss (but oh how many times that's happened before). I struck into something heavy and quickly scrambled to a vantage point which would allow me to steer it out and away from the mid-water line of weeds and the reed-clad bank to my left.

As my avon river rod took on a very welcome curve, and based very much on instinct rather than experience, I quickly ruled out the possibility of barbel. But I was still trying to decide whether it was a good chub or an excellent perch when I finally caught a glimpse of my catch - and I couldn't have been much more surprised. After years and years without any at all, I had caught my third eel in two days, and all from different waters.

This one was a different proposition to the other two though - bigger and able to fight much more strongly thanks to both the lively flow of the river and the heavy weed I was trying to draw it across. I was grateful I hadn't tried anything particularly delicate with my my rig, which meant that after a few minutes of steady pressure I was finally able to scoop the landing net under a 1lb 9oz eel, a new personal best.

All in all, not a bad introduction to a new and potentially very exciting stretch of water. There's plenty more in store for me here I'm sure, although I am tempted to get a Birmingham AA ticket just for the easier-to-fish pegs a little further upstream. Either way I'll be back on the Avon very soon.

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