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Sea Trout and Dace fishing from a punt on the Hampshire Avon Royalty - 08/09/16

A little while ago, I purchased a day’s fishing on the Hampshire Avon Royalty from the punt in the tidal water at a charity auction raising money for the Avon Roach Project. Shortly afterwards the punt had a leak so I deferred it to September and chose a glorious day in an idyllic location beside the abbey ruins.

The sport was constant all day as a shoal of dace of up to half a pound stationed themselves just below the punt. Every time we threw in a handful of maggots as loose feed, they were snaffled up by the dace before sinking 6". During the day we used a gallon between us, but there were as many dace in the shoal at the start as at the end although they were fatter as the day progressed.

I can understand why Davis Tackle suggested using four gallons. It is a truly wonderful sight to see a shoal of silver fish in such good condition, but even I can long to catch something else. We managed a few bleak, roach and chub of similar size but were overwhelmed by dace.

Reg said he would switch tactics after the first 100 dace but that didn't take him long. I can't catch at his rate - he is an experienced match angler - so we switched to worm which proved too big for the dace and they ignored them, but the sport stopped.

I wanted to catch a sea trout and Reg started catching several on the worm but they eluded me, I even had one jump and crash into my rod but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get one to bite.  Then I realised what was wrong..... I had taken a banana on a boat. In the Caribbean that is nearly as bringing bad luck almost as much as taking a woman on a boat so I quickly ate it and disposed of the skin. I am not superstitious, but this brought a dramatic change as I caught a succession of sea trout to around the pound mark and a solitary eel. Every time a small shoal of sea trout headed up, and they do seem to arrive in waves, I would catch one as the frustration eased.

It was one of those days where the sun is bright and hot, with just enough breeze to stop you overheating, a picturesque setting adjacent to the ruins with a steady flow of fish with good company and only minor micky taking from Reg about my inability to catch sea trout at the start of the day, laughing every time one jumped in front of me. It was even more enjoyable knowing the money for the punt had been donated to such a worthwhile cause.