An angler's journal

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Season Review

With another season passing, it's certainly been one of ups and downs for me. After a cold winter coupled with floods, the season of 2013 started with relatively warm and normal conditions. A sunny May saw me surface fishing for carp with the highlight being a PB carp as the river season approached.

Following an opening day blank on the lower Severn, the opening week soon took a turn for the better with a double figure barbel from the Warks Avon. With a 'double' in the bag so early in the season, I thought this would be the pre-cursor to a profitable season.
This double proved to be a false dawn
However, the next few weeks proved hard work as warm weather meant low, clear river conditions which are never ideal for fishing. Rather than struggle for fish in difficult conditions I decided a change in tactics was the order of the day. I had heard of quite a few zander coming off the lower Severn and having not caught one before decided it had to be worth a try. With slightly refined pike rigs, my first attempt saw me land a zander of around 6lb. To be honest, zander proved a god send as they were the only fish I could seem to tempt from the stretch as the season wore on.
It also meant I had new method under my belt. Variety is the spice of life and this new experience started a real interest in predator fishing which I would revisit in the autumn. Meanwhile, with my local Warks Avon at its lowest and clearest there were blanks a plenty judging by conversations with fellow anglers and the bailiff. With traditional static tactics resulting in little joy I decided moving baits could provide the fish with something different. The plan was rolling meat and it turned out to be pretty useful too, netting a string of average sized barbel when all around couldn't muster a twitch. 

A typical barbel taken on rolling meat
Another one bites the dust
With autumn almost upon on us, I was determined to get some predator sessions under my belt. It had always been my intention that pike would dominate my winter's fishing so I started a little early with lures and dead baits my main line of attack. Although none of the fish were huge, the clear water led to some exciting sport with perch and pike rewarding my efforts.




However, my enjoyment and winter plans were left in disarray as the rain fell and fell some more. With the rivers now in a permanent state of flood it meant that predator fishing became ineffective. With a few mixed bags to keep things ticking over, the final few months of the season proved hard work with just one barbel. The final week saw two lower Severn blanks with an Avon chub just under the 5lb mark sandwiched between them.

A decent way to finish the season
I started by stating it had been a season of ups and downs. Whilst there were some decent fish along the way, it was also a hard slog at times. I certainly managed fewer barbel than in recent seasons begging the question of whether a decline is in motion. Similar stories have been shared on other rivers across the nation so there has certainly been issues at play. Certainly, the weather of the last year or so has been erratic at best. A cold spring delayed spawning. This was then followed by a long, hot summer with little rain and a winter of almost permanent flooding. Prolonged conditions like the ones we have seen have to affect the river's species. Fish move on becoming localised, holding spots are moved in heavy flow and add to this the other well documented pressures such as predators and it's no surprise that some anglers have struggled. Hopefully, our current seasonal conditions will stay with us and a normal spring might see some return to what we have become accustomed to in readiness for June 16th. In the meantime, drop shotting for perch, a few tench sessions and some surface caught carp will occupy my thoughts. With a bit of luck I'll be able to share a few fishing stories with you over the coming months. All the best, Lee.

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