With the weather still playing havoc with the rivers James and I headed to The Farm in search of a 3lb crucian. To cut a long story short it was hard fishing.
I did manage a 1lb 7oz crucian (above) on float fished maggot fairly early on. And a 1lb 14½oz fish (below) on the lead towards the end of the day - how does something that bites so delicately on the float rip the rod round on the lead?
Discussing crucians on the way home we have decided to switch venues, there are three pounders here but they seem to be few and far between. And we're going to leave it a month or so, these fish are very hollow after spawning. Still, they are beautiful fish and always a pleasure to catch - I just want a three!
I also landed half a dozen or so tench to about 5lb, great fun on light line - so a good day despite not adding to the challenge. Trying to think what to target next, perhaps a big trout or possibly an eel...
Roach or bream? As most of my target species are at their lowest weight at the moment I thought I'd have a dress rehearsal on the roach, my target weight is 2lb but I'm going to have to travel for a chance of one of those - I decided to stay local with the aim of a pound plus fish.
Sneaking into my chosen swim I found a film crew and a Matt Hayes wannabe standing there - for every fish in the area to see - crap! I opted to have a blast at the barbel instead, wandering about I was soon into some fish landing 4 barbel to about 5lb and half a dozen chub to about 3lb - result!
I went back and spoke to the camera man - apparently there weren't any fish there and they were off. I gave it an hour or so to settle before chucking in some maggots and ledgering bread over the top. It didn't take long, second cast and the tip bounced over - a beautiful 1lb 4½oz roach was in the net (top photo). Mission accomplished.
I popped it back and I think I spooked the shoal, the bites became harder to hit - I had two more about 8oz before they had completely wised up to me. Note to self: bring a keepnet next time!
A quick roll on my way home produced a barbel about 6lb and week one was in the bag. 265 days left...
Stormy weather coupled with the fish running behind schedule have really hampered my opening week - although I can't complain, it's great to be back on the bank.
Yesterday it chucked it down with rain all morning so I settled for a couple of hours in the evening on a chuck it and chance it mission. Fishing bread on the stick and pin I had a couple of trout and a roach, I think I would have had more roach but I ran out of daylight.
So this afternoon I abandoned the rivers and headed for The Farm in search of a PB crucian - my target is a three pounder - but wandering around talking to people I soon found out the fish weren't really playing. I did manage a crucian, although not the monster I was after. And a 4lb 9oz tench and a couple of little perch.
I've got one more day off and half a pint of maggots to drown... So try and find a roach or go back and try to better my bream? I'll sleep on it...
Before travelling further afield chasing barbel I thought I'd hit a local river and check if they were feeding - last season I had 16 on the opening day. After a long lie in I was on the riverbank by midday, armed with the standard gear and bait I thought I'd give it a couple of hours as a test.
Well 2 hours turned into five, it was tough going and I covered more water than I originally intended. The result was 4 barbel, the best going 6lb 4oz and lost one of a similar size, the others were two and three pounders (too small to breed?).
Not a bad return but I really don't think they're on it just yet - I'll give it another test in a week or two before setting out to explore new rivers in search of a PB.
It was nice to get out on a familiar stomping ground and great to get a bend in the rod. And I also had a bonus chub about 3lb and a surprise trout about 2½lb on rolled luncheon meat. Photos to follow. Photos added.
To catch bream you need 2 rods, method feeders and a bait and wait approach. Or you can do it the hard way, stalking individual fish in a gin-clear stream using free-lined bread.
There was a slight chance of a double but my main target was to beat my 5lb 3oz personal best. These fish were very easily spooked and often spotted me before I saw them, coupled with the fact I'd pull it out of the way of a fish I thought was under 5 pounds and any carp (unless it might be a PB) it was tough going.
It was an hour or so later I watch my target suck in the bread, the briefest of fights and my prize was in the net. A new PB of 8lb 15oz, delighted - I did shake the scales but I couldn't make it a nine! A far more respectable PB and a big step towards a double.
I fished on hoping for another, briefly hooking one about 7lb but that was my only other chance. I did however spend a great few hours watching the bream, carp and some nice pike in the clear water, I'll be back for them!
I'm going to have to add the photo later, I'm having a technology problems at the moment, it's a really crappy self shot anyway (out of practice) that doesn't do a great fish any justice - I'm going to have to go out and catch a bigger one! Photos added.
The glorious sixteen, the Avon was the early morning venue and a PB chub was the target - I'm aiming for a six plus this season. James and I set about exploring, which was initially very confusing until we turned the map the right way up! Yes, really!!
It soon became clear that the barbel and chub didn't want to play - in the clear water I was watching them spook away from the bait and even the free samples. Still at least we've seen them, and we will be back. We walked a lot of miles and explored a lot of water, spotting perch, pike and roach on route. Pike swims are noted for October.
I knew when I set out on my PB challenge there was going to be less fish and far more blanks this season - but hopefully there will be the odd photo of a really big fish - hopefully!
Tomorrow's target is a PB bream, I'm aiming for a double, and I really think this is going to be my biggest challenge of them all - I really struggle with bream... Wish me luck...