Bits and Bobs - 26/02/2011

Work, a funeral and a trip down to Wales at half term put paid to any fishing last week. Did manage to get out and fly the birds with the brother-in-law though, including the new Lanner Falcon that soon acquired the name of "Orville" (as in Keith Harris's annoying, green sidekick) on account of him arriving from the breeder's in Ireland a bit on the weedy side and unable to fly to his full potential. Nothing that a bit of beef heart and plenty of exercise can't put right!

"I wish I could fly right up to the sky....."

Took two of the Harris Hawks out to recce a new venue and do a bit of opportunist hunting. Saw a few rabbits, but didn't manage to bag one. Luckily there as many excuses in hawking as there are in fishing, i.e. the sun was too bright, the wind was too strong, the wind was in the wrong direction, the birds were too high, the rabbits were too close to cover, etc, etc! The birds got to have a good fly out anyway and both enjoyed a bath when they got back, with Zephyr going for full submersion and ending up looking more vulture than hawk.

Drowned rat!

Got back to Nottingham on Sunday to find all the local rivers rising and temperatures dropping. Let's hope we don't get a typical end to the river season.....

11/02/2011 - River Dove

River Dove, part two. Enthusiasm kindled by the pike I had yesterday, I decided to return with the proper gear. A look on the Environment Agency website showed that the river had risen slightly after yesterday's rain, but was already dropping back down again. A quick trip to the tackle shop on the way for a couple of packs of deadbaits saw little change out of £10, which left me thinking about all those silver fish I caught in the summer! At the venue, I soon had two paternostered roach deadbaits fluttering nicely out on the crease. Was first outing for the "Billy's Backbiters" (Christmas present to myself) and they looked damn fine set up in the sunshine, which was a nice change to yesterday's gloom.

Traps set, anybody home?

Unfortunately, in spite of me staring at them for the best part of two hours willing them to drop off, there was no pike action to be had. Sod's Law! Packed the pike rods away with about an hour of daylight left and got the float rod out again. Whilst the minnows did their best to pull the lobs off the hook, giving me several heart attacks in the process, the perch didn't want to play either. Wasn't the only one fishing. Two Little grebes and a female Merganser were working along the far bank. Hope they did better than me...

10/02/2011 - River Dove

Trip to the "perch swim" on the Dove near Tutbury. Went armed with a tub full of lobs and some red maggots. Usual tactic is to float-fish lobworms slightly overdepth and bump them along close to the bank down to the remains of the bush in the picture below.

Unfortunately I know from experience that the Dove pike also like lobworms. Had three up to 12lb in one session last season, so I wasn't really suprised when a green, spotty flank rolled on the surface where the float had been a second before. Wound down and didn't immediately get bitten off, so it was game on! Understandably with a 13 foot float rod and 4lb line I couldn't really bully it around. It wasn't until after about 20 minutes give and take that it finally buried its head in the reeds at my feet and let me scoop it up in the net. Hook was right in the point of the lower jaw, well away from any teeth. Scales went 10lb 1oz
Lean and good looking!
Moved slightly downstream after the disturbance of the pike, bur Mr Perch failed to put in an appearance. Tried the quiver tip as it got dark, but just got pestered by minnows.

01/02/2011 - River Soar

Had a meeting down in Rothley in the morning. Therefore arranged to have the afternoon off so I could drop in on the Soar again on the way back to Nottingham. This was despite the fact that the Law of Diminishing Returns suggested that this was going to be a blank. And so it turned out! River was low and clear, which looked ideal for fishing bread. However, couldn't buy a bite in any of the usual spots despite fishing them hard for about three hours. River was possibly too low and clear if anything and the bright sunshine probably didn't help. Have yet to have one of those perfect days when the river has that green tinge that screams chub. What was slightly suprising and disappointing was that somebody in their wisdom (British Waterways?) had installed "No Fishing" signs along a section of bank where power lines run parallel to the river.

A**e covering?

The signs effectively take out a 100 metre section of bank, including two of my chub swims and access to a tasty section of overhanging trees on the far bank that looked good for a summer barbel. The signs at the upstream and downstream limits of this section are 45 - 50 metres away from the nearest power cable, which is 20 feet up in the air. There's also a public footpath which puts walkers directly underneath and at a higher elevation than anybody sat next to the river. Work that out then! I await the response from the powers that be........