- Venue: The Main Lake, Avon Tyrrell
- Swim: The Island Swim on the car park bank
- Time: 09:45 to 11:30
- Weather: Daytime temperatures reaching 27C
The full title should perhaps be ‘Mad Dogs, Claret Bumbler and Sidestream Bob ….’ because the temperatures have reached the point where even an angler based in the west of Ireland is thinking about what species might feed in this heat. Until this heat-wave breaks we have both hit upon rudd as our most likely quarry and you can find Mr. Bumbler’s blog here; https://claretbumbler.com/. I think it is a blog well worth looking out for as Mr. Bumbler has set himself the target of catching a fish from all 32 Irish counties, which makes a fascinating saga to follow. Admittedly I am slightly biased as Mrs Sidestream was born in Dublin to a family whose long established roots are in Co. Donegal. Therefore articles about Ireland are always likely to appeal to me, but I would expect most anglers will find this quest interesting.
Anyway, plug over and my plan was to accept that I’m too lazy to get up sufficiently early to fish at dawn, as previously mentioned I have filled most upcoming evenings with other activities, so if fishing during the day was the only option then rudd had to be the target. As to venue, local wisdom states Avon Tyrrell has larger than average silver fish and back in 2019 I picked up two roach-rudd hybrids in a session that both went over the pound. With the school summer holidays not yet in full swing and it being highly unlikely there would be any school residential parties there this week it seemed a safe and sensible bet. As it turned out there were very few tents pitched in the camp site field, only two other anglers were on the bank (post-Covid angling numbers are capped at six pre-booked anglers per day). Overall it was quieter than normal and I headed to my favourite swim, the last one along on the car park bank, just opposite the island.
I used the same quill as I had used on the Stour on Monday, mainly because it had proved itself sensitive in giving bite indications on the drop and I knew that two AAA shots locking the float and two number sixes down the line would cock it. The more you use the same floats the easier shotting patterns become! My chosen hook size was on the small side but I was really not expecting anything overly large:
- Tackle: The short carp margin rod, 4lb line to a size 18 hook to nylon
- Method: Fishing on the drop with a SB large quill
- Bait: Casters and pearl barley
- Ground bait: just loose fed casters, pearl barley and hemp
From the off I caught rudd on the drop and If you set out to catch rudd you cannot complain if you catch rudd. So, catch rudd I did along with some stunted roach, but unfortunately they were all on the small side. I had shelled out (geddit?) on a bag of casters, a bait I rarely use, in the hope these would be more selective than maggots. As it turned out casters and pearl barley both performed equally as well and neither picked out anything of any size. With the casters I found the usual approach of burying the hook in the shell was less effective than nicking the hook through two shells and fishing double caster.
It reached the point where I really didn’t think any larger rudd were going to move in. As I’ve said before, unless you are a direct descendant of Earl Haig, it is difficult to convince yourself that endlessly repeating a tactic will suddenly produce a different result. Consequently I called it a day at eleven thirty as by that point the loose feed had sparked an element of competition in the midget rudd. This meant it was becoming increasingly difficult to avoid deep hooking the little chaps and I was aware the fishing had been sufficiently active that I hadn’t taken on enough liquid. Given it is race four of the Upton Summer Series this evening I especially wanted to avoid dehydration setting in!
Lessons learnt; on my way back to the car I spoke to the other two anglers and they were sitting it out for carp and had caught a 3lb bream between them. Not too shabby a fish, but probably not what either of them was after. My catch might have been quantity over quality, but perhaps for once, I had taken the right option, although some more thought on a more productive venue is needed! That said on a quiet day Avon Tyrrell is a delight with a kingfisher diving around and an abundance of dragon flies flitting around. Whilst I’m on the nature notes theme, on last Friday ‘s cycle out to Burley we saw two white deer in the Forest, fittingly we weren’t that far from the White Buck at the time. Then as we were cycling back towards the coastal conurbation I thought I saw an owl quartering in a field. Embarrassingly it turned out to be a solitary gull acting oddly, but just as Nigel said “you numpty [and yes let’s assume he said numpty] it is just a gull …. hang on that isn’t though” We would have missed it if I hadn’t mistaken the gull for an owl, but as we watched the gull a tawny owl flew into the field and started methodically hunting and then a second owl flew out of a tree near to the path we were on. Fear not, I’m not about to start alerting the world wide web every time a blue tit flits into the garden, but two white deer and two owls in an evening is surely noteworthy. The previous week we had a more dubious count, when Nigel wanted to claim the rabbit we saw in a foxes mouth. Nigel’s rationale was that “it was still alive, so it counts” -… Chris Packham watch and learn mate, watch and learn!
A few posts back I was interested in the advice that https://stevetheangler.com/ and https://wheatnotcasters.blog/ both gave me, in that their view is that time of day (I.e the traditional fish at dawn and dusk mantra) and not as critical we are led to believe. However, I’m inclined to leave today’s session out from my mini-sense check of their counsel as it was just too hot for today to be used as a guide.
Next steps; short term I would like to get out again Friday, but it may depend upon what the weather does. Beyond that I have the house to myself most of the weekend as Mrs. Sidestream will be in London and on Saturday my son will be donning the keeper’s pads for the first time in over ten years and will also be playing in his more usual all rounder role on Sunday. Whether I want to fight it out with the weekend crowds is another question, but I should get out at some point over the two days.