Sunday, 18 October 2020

Pastures New, Tales of Lost Creatures in the Night.

Having spent many years trawling through what were local rivers to me I am now starting to target something a little different and have set myself something of a marathon target, that I shall touch on later in the blog.

 Given my proximity to a few rivers that may provide something of a different challenge to me I have decided to give them a go and see if I can catch some of the larger specimens that inhabit these rivers. The target for me is of course Barbel and my hope is that I can locate and catch double figure fish. With limited access and knowledge of these rivers it really is a work in progress and first up was a freezing cold night two Friday' back as I set about trying to bag up a fish on my first go.

 Under the stars and a murky river my hope was pinned on a very smelly bait with a small PVA bag glugged in some very potent stuff to do the work as locating fish in the pitch black was not an option. Nearly seven hours had passed before calling it a night and headed back home without a touch.

 So with that I decided to get back out as soon as I could, but given the good conditions dwindling I had to get back out sooner rather than later and chose another river, again in the pitch black I wasn't giving myself much of a chance to learn anything, only relying on basic watercraft and hope that there might be something local and feeding. After setting up, using a 18'' 15lb hooklength, size 8 hook and 2oz lead I flicked a single Garlic Nimrod boilee into the flow and hoped for the best.

 Twenty five minutes drifted by fairly quickly and got a little peckish, so as I reached into my bag to grab a bag of Wotsits my centrepin absolutely raged off! the rod thumped around and the nightlight was perpendicular to me to begin with, by the time hit the fish the nightlight was way downstream obviously attached to the rod, I nearly lost the rod! even with a pin.

 A big fish clearly from the outset and I was trying to remain calm as much as possible, no other fish was capable of such vigour that was present, so I knew I was hooked into what was possibly my target, so I played it as carefully as possible, but not knowing my surroundings this was counter intuitive. Plenty of rod tip in the air, plenty of side strain at times to as it kept powering off to the far bank margins and on the third attempt of the fish trying to get there my worse fears were realised when the tension just went. 

 As I tried to retrieve my hooklength a branch came along with it across the surface, the fish, clearly not wanting to come in transferred my hook to the branch and vanished, I was obviously gutted and didn't get to see what it was owing to the coloured water, so my mind is still, as I write this playing tricks on me and how could I have changed the outcome.

 Changing my hooklength and resetting I got a bait, back out in the same spot, this time I was even less optimistic given the battle I had just experienced, anything within 50 yards was probably long gone.....just over an hour had passed and I had carbon copy take! Another brutal take had me in full panic mode, my headtorch went straight on to try and see the culprit, but again, in the murk I could see nothing!

 Knowing what had happened just an hour before I really put the breaks on this fish, 1.75 Tc rod was bent hard, palm on the spool of the pin and the fish was still giving it hard! twice I managed to turn it and as the fish headed downstream I began to breath a sigh of relief it came back upstream so fast I couldn't keep up and it went straight over to the far bank and done me on the same sunken branches as the first one and on that powerful run, it proved to be the last, just when it was probably just a minute from netting, the line, once again went slack and the fish was gone. There was literally nothing I could do, to lose two fish in my first hour and hour on a new river to me and both felt really big, this particular river does fish over 17lb and who knows, I could have contacted one of them. Gut wrenchingly difficult to accept and never have I experienced such extreme shows of power from Barbel before last Tuesday. 

 I was so compelled to break my duck given those two lost fish I got my gear in the car the next evening and shot straight back down, unfortunately for me, I didn't receive a touch for 4 hours, I called it a night at 2330. I will certainly be back!

 As I mentioned at the top of the blog, I am setting myself a challenge which I know will be over the course of a few years and not something that'll be achieved overnight. That challenge is to catch double figure Barbel from 40 different rivers across England, something of a marathon and not a sprint, very early doors at the moment, but will hopefully gain some traction once I can get some time on the bank.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Chasing Chevins Part 4.


 I should give up on the title...

 ...although I am actually targeting Chub the Barbel seem very happy at my presentation and at times not giving the Chub a chance! Not often that happens I'll tell you. 

 Recently I have found myself heading down with a couple of hours to use, the trotting gear was however revamped for this visit and although I was using the rod the centrepin was respooled with low diameter 8lb line to continue trotting, which would hopefully give me a fighting chance at landing Barbel should I tempt them. 

 So I think it was obvious how this visit went! Nothing big landed, given the loss of those two big ones recently it is bit of a kick in the plums that I now can't contact anything much over 7lb. The above Barbel came on my second trot, on the first through I saw a Barbel flash on the gravels that I was targeting, the fish I see roll wasn't the one I'd hooked. This one a low-six pounder.

 A nice photo opportunity with the float setup in view. It took a good hour to see another Barbel or Chub and after a small Chub of 3lb or so I moved upstream and as I was wading upstream a good shape eased up off the bottom and moved upstream about 10ft, luckily for me I could see it, just tucked along side some ribbon weed and as I got into a casting position the heavens began to open, completely out of the blue and the timing could not have been worse, as now I was fishing blind, right in front of me. 

 I very quickly got soaked through and the thought of giving up now on this opportunity was not in my mind, eight trots of around 10ft culminated in a Barbel sucking my flake off the bottom as I was fishing about 10inch overdepth to get the bread to bounce over the bottom and work the small depressions, this lovely Barbel slipped into the net as the rain began to ease off. 7lb 1oz.

 That for the afternoon was that, not bad, but no decent Chub, another day I suppose it may be very different.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Chasing Chevins Part 3.


 ***More Chasing Barbel, but they aren't necessarily the target.***

 Building a head of steam on this one, the heat of the summer is slowly but surely being dominated by a distinct autumnal feel and as the late summer floods have thinned out the thick weed beds its now time to dust off the trotting gear.

  A few days back as the high water pushed through and colour began to filter out I headed off to a southern chalk stream for a blast at a Chub, armed with a few loaves of bread I set about "crumbing the runs" and trotting through any area that looked worthwhile. 4.4lb line certainly sounds light but have had numerous big Chub fishing lite and often found big Chub shy away from thicker lines and more cruder approaches, with limited time I wanted to make the visit count.

 With my first couple of trots through my first peg a small Chub fell to my trotted flake, but at only 2lb not the size I was after, however nice to get one on board quickly. A move upstream provided a bite almost instantly. A firm strike was met with a solid fish and a darn sight heavier than any Chub I could have wished from, by that I knew it was a Barbel and it didn't take long to get eyes on it as she powered upstream past me (a good 25 yards) a certain double, long, thick set and very strong. I tried to keep calm knowing I had very lite gear on for such a fish and about two minutes the fish was level with me and in the blink of an eye the let go of its grip and the float/shot and hook came flying back at me, I was totally dejected and could still see the Barbel holding bottom level with me.

 Tough one to take that was! Coupled with what happened next really got under my skin as on the very next trot, two hundreds yards upstream. I got into the cutout and shallowed up my float probably six-inches as it was a slightly shallower run. I must admit I approached this run with slightly more caution owing to the numerous banks of ranunculus and ribbon weed but that still didn't help me when my rod hooped over once striking into a very good tug on the float, the resulting Barbel rolled on the surface immediately and looked colossal ( not one to exaggerate either ) certainly bigger than the one I lost just ten minutes previously possibly 12/13lb, the fish then powered upstream towards after initially heading downstream, it came up so fast I could not keep up with it and by the time I regained complete control she dived into one of the weedbeds I hoped I'd avoid, that mistake on such lite line spelt disaster, a few seconds of solid tension began to ease and out came the fish.

 Danger averted! Enough pressure had been kept on her to slowly ease her out, now the fish was into open water and clear of most of the weed, I was beginning to breath a sigh of relief and my mate Stu was starting to get excited as was I, then, out of nothing my float came flying out the water and a giant tail pattern broke the surface as the Barbel stormed off. 

 On inspection it appeared that the fish must have passed across something sharp on the bottom and cut through the line, the barbless hook will be gone in no time but the memory of losing two massive Barbel on the float stills hurts now, 2 weeks later! 

 My resolve almost broken and the rod tossed in the bushes following that crushing blow I seriously thought about sacking off the rest of the trip, dejection of the highest order and it would take something very very very special to even paper over the cracks.

 I tried my best to remain positive however and within half an hour I had finally managed to build a swim and get some enquiries without being smashed up by a big Barbel. Second fish to make it to the net was another Chub of 4lb 14oz and a good looking fish, then the float slipped away with what turned out to be another Chub a little bigger but over five pound barrier @5lb 3ozs (pictured), quickly followed by another barn-storming tug on the float which turned out to be a nice Barbel, just a little over five pounds.

 The Chub averages on this river are doing so well and it will hopefully be just a matter of time, yet another five pound specimen and catches like this give me a great feeling. 

 The rest of the afternoon drifted by with very little action until the evening when I slipped the net under another Barbel @6lb 1oz

Monday, 17 August 2020

Chasing Chevins Part 2

 Who'd have thought that by the 16th August that I would have only visited a river five times! it astounds me I'll tell you. However, going by what I have seen and heard in terms of rivers not producing hasn't given me any added impetus to get out. Now, as we enter late Summer and Autumn isn't too far away now I can start to make provisions to target some of my favourite species as it gets cooler and given the cold rain and boost in oxygen coursing through the veins of the river I have decided to give it a go a little earlier than I would normally.

 Friday just gone I decided to give it a couple of hours and start my baiting campaign, hopefully one I actually stick with, as normally I run out of steam as I lose concentration when conditions improve for fishing for species such as; Pike, Zander and Grayling.

 As dusk approached I set about cutting hopping, hoping to get a bite or two and I did manage a couple of raps (likely to be Chub) and a few indecisive taps as smaller Chub were looking to whittle down my 15mm boilie ( Garlic Nimrod - HookBait Co ) which I am going to use for this campaign when I get the chance to get down, but on this occasion I ended up with a blank, which is quite often what I have come to expect as the numbers in this particular section are low.

 Fast forward to yesterday afternoon when I got a few hours down on the river to pick up where I left off. 

 Conditions again looked good, storms brewing all around me, the level up around 6 inches and heavily coloured, it was ideal for Barbel and Chub. All I needed was a fish to find my bait!

 I spent roughly an hour in my first cutout and although I felt confident all I got was the odd little tap-tap on the tip, so I packed away and moved downstream and it was an inspired decision. I quickly leaded around to find a clear run of gravel amongst the weed, I popped the rod down on the tree trunk and turned to grab a handful of 6mm pellet and the rod tip slammed around and the pin roared into action. Talk about right place - right time.

 Not a biggie but a fish.

 So I moved again further downstream and spent a further hour and a half sat on my hands as small Chub attempted at whittling my bait down. As the storm got overhead and the lightning was flashing at such a rate I felt like I was on the red carpet at a Leicester Sq premier!

 But that didn't stop this thick set Chub taking a bait and doing its absolute best to lodge me in a large weed bed that ran parallel to me, not that she looks it but she weighed 5lb 1oz and was quite surprised by it so I weighed it a second time before getting a shot and releasing. 

 Then as 2100 approached and the storm was dumping loads of rain on me I had another take which resulted in a 5lb 5oz which I didn't get a good photo of owing to the rain and did lose a fish just beforehand in another large bank of weed which was almost certainly a Barbel. 

 I really hope thats the last of little Barbel as I'm not really here for them, big Chub & Barbel is the target.

Friday, 31 July 2020

H'Wrassing the Population.

 After many years of procrastination I finally got my arse in gear and hit the coast! The list of potential species to aim at was endless but I only had one target this time around, the stunning and aggressive Balon Wrasse. What was great too is that I was scrambling the cliffs with fellow madman, Nathan Edgell. For a few years now I've mentioned coming down for a blast at the Wrasse but simply didn't make the time, that was yesterday.

 Fair weather, a pouch of jigs and lures, a tank full of diesel and gear packed I set off at 3am. Nearly three hours on the road and 166 miles westwards I was in Wrasse territory, by 0620 I was following Nathan' lead down 500ft of coastal cliff face in order to get to prime fishing spots. Crazy I know but essential (often nothing worth having is easy). 

 By 8am I had caught my target species and a fine fish indeed, complete with amazing colours and even more impressive dentures! 

 Then as the morning wore on I got a savage take which lunged for the rocks below and with a tight clutch my rod tip arched alarmingly quick and in a flash it was gone, I could do absolutely nothing with it and it felt big.

Not long afterwards I got a couple of half-hearted taps and nips on the sand eel replica jig which then went quiet, so a move across some rocks was made and proved to be a good shout as Nath' and myself got a few fish on the shore with this my best of the day out of five! 

 With time slowly drifting away we decided to finish up as I had a 3hr return drive ahead and didn't want to leave too late, however, I will certainly be back as it was a pukka trip and in great company! If you read this, cheers! 

 The views were fantastic and in truth, I've fished in worse places :) 

A Neolithic Ammonite.

An awesome panoramic of our days playground.

Not a bad view behind my sofa!

Friday, 24 July 2020

Canal Bream...Glimpses of Glory.

 Since 2015 big canal Bream have featured sporadically in a typical calender year, the mileage often put in makes these; and indeed Carp, Pike etc something of a treat to myself, but also if I have gained a few pounds then marching 10-20 miles in a day can often aide the removal of said weight.

 Stalking is the only way I target the canals given the nomadic lifestyles the fish live, so efforts must be matched to give myself a chance. My best two "Cut Slabs" have weighed 10lb 1oz and 10lb 3oz, both really big fish, however with the average canal bream weighing no more than a pound or two, these fish and others that I've caught between 7-9lb are colossal and represent a very tiny proportion of the systems populations. Catching one of these is of course a proper treat and an experience that you can't get blasie about, every capture is remembered fondly.

 The other afternoon I finished work at a fairly decent time so I grabbed the stalking gear and met Brian on the towpath, in search of something special and it didn't take long either. We stumbled upon a shoal of Bream cruising on the top, so I got readied and launched out a bait in the mix, the bait dropped a couple of inches under the surface and a big Bream sucked in the flake, I struck and missed it!. Damn!

 With no time to dwell on the miss, I got the bait back out and hoped for a similar response and what do you know! I did, another big Bream sauntered up to the slowly sinking bait and sucked it in, this time I got a hook hold and the fight began, albeit not very hard. A fairly laid back approach to setting up see me playing the fish between my legs whilst I got the arms in the spreader block, once I got the net in the water I then eased the fish into the net and it was a pretty good one!.

 BOSH!!!! another big'o bream'o for the records. 8lb 14oz puts this fish at number 6 in my canal Bream specimen list! Quite impressive.

 Once that fish had been photographed and slipped back we aimed at getting more, unluckily for us the boat traffic seemed to come out of nowhere and coupled with the spooked shoal meant that no more were caught from that shoal. So we began the march....

.....that went on for hours, mile after mile of baron towpath started to leave us both feeling a little dejected in some ways. No Bream, No Carp or anything else for that matter were on show, it left me thinking what has happened to the stocks of the above fish. Never struggled to see the fish, just not caught many of them.

 As we headed back towards the starting point of the afternoon we spotted two carp, that unfortunately slipped through without getting tracked (wrong light to see through the water) and that was our lot, not a soul spotted after that. The time had come to put an end to the trip.

 My second cast of the day was all I needed. Could have gone home after that in hindsight.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Chasing Chevins Part I

 A fair few years back I used to open the season up with Chub in mind. Many hours spent hauling mediocre fish in the 2-4lb range, one after another on various tactics, but the prospect of a big fish back then was practically non-existent and even playing the numbers game, a 5lb+ specimen was something you achieved maybe once every other season amongst season long hauls.

 Some bags could exceed 50lbs, especially back in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Unfortunately as the local areas began to play host to a large influx of people from the East of Europe, those fishing had very different intentions which meant stocks were declining rapidly and areas where I could have a great days sport were now empty, literally an hour of building swims would result in nothing more than the odd little fish, those 2,3&4lb fish were no more. As table fodder the Chub and in fact, any fish big enough to eat (typically anything over 3oz) were being taken and no matter how much the beats were policed the sheer numbers and tenacity of the thieves at work, the damage simply couldn't be stopped.

 So naturally my attentions turned elsewhere. Fast forward twenty odd years and I find myself still dropping in on these same areas, a lot wiser, a lot more cunning with my approaches and with the majority of "the dregs" now gone (possibly owing to the fact they ate just about everything and it got too hard for them and they left) I can get on with trying to get amongst some big fish that have now managed to grow on unmolested.

 Opening day I was on the Fens somewhere so my first trip on my childhood stomping grounds was a few days later. Barbel and chub fully spawned out sometime ago and with the warm spring the fish should have had time to pig out and recover some weight.

 My first trip was only going to be short as I was on my way to work, so a spare hour or so was all I had to find a fish.

 A bright sunny morning, crystal clear water and my polaroids on I got to work. My first two peeping gaps amongst the nettles were not fruitful, third gap was unfishable owing to a load of snags that had probably moved in during the 6 months of rain we had over the winter! I crept into the fourth swim and straight away I could see a large dark shape over the gravels, roughly halfway across and I knew exactly what it was.

 I spent a couple of minutes watching the fish which appeared to be unaccompanied before deciding to go with the tactic I had employed in the other gaps in the nettles. Well upstream I cast the meat and proceeded to roll it downstream, right in the path of the chub and within seconds it was right next to it in the swift flow and the chub gently sidled up to it and watched the luncheon meat vanish, the anticipation of the strike was incredible and with one stern strike a powerful chub headed straight downstream, stripping twenty yards of line with no hesitation, the fish knew it was hooked.

 Thumbing the pin the chub was halted before making a mad dash back upstream, hugging the far side treeline, typical by chub standards and the remaining fight was either played out against the far-side or near-side treeline before easing into the awaiting net...this was a bloody good fish for the river, in fact up there in the top 1% for certain.

 But the moment of truth would reveal it was the biggest fish I've ever had off this particular river by an ounce and not a fish either myself or partner in crime recognise which is even better news, three different sixes present, its getting interesting now!.

My best off this river, weighing in at 6lb 4oz!

MEGA! start to the river campaign.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Fenland Escapades Part I

 This part of my fishing is probably what I have missed the most, those drives into the Suffolk and Norfolk fens in search of the most beautiful of all our summer targets, it can only be the Rudd. Large bars of gold, that glisten in the summer sun and watching those crimson fins cut through the surface of the water as they charge down the crust, what else could you possibly want to catch when these are available, if you can find them.

 Elusive at times it can takes hours to find them, but with a boat to hand and pretty good knowledge of the waterways where I have dabbled in I do feel confident in finding some fish. So having picked Brian for this trip we left London at 0230 and headed north-east..ish some 96 miles to a location I'll refer to a base camp. Unfortunately it was where I'd learn that a large puncture would deem the boat out of service and HMS Rudd would have to watch from the sidelines as we both conceded to the fact we would spend the next two days on foot.

 Not a great start. Knowing that we would be walking a lot we kept the gear to a minimum and did our best to find fish to begin with and once a couple of small fish were tempted I set about looking for something that would pull back a bit. Finding that something a bit bigger however was not proving to be an easy task. The lack of access to open water really limited us as to where we could target fish and even if we saw something decent the problem of landing potential fish was then assessed and often thought better of it, even with a 3m reach plus the net!

Get me on the scoresheet.

 By 10am I'd only seen one decent fish that I reckon was over 2lb and the sort of fish we were both eagerly searching for. A decent helping of crust went out to try and get the fish to feed confidently but all I could see smashing the bait was tiny Rudd up to 6oz or so, then out of nowhere after ten minutes or so a decent bow wave headed for a piece crust, about the size of a £2 coin and it vanished, just what I wanted to see. I knew at this point I could be in business.

 Using a loaded fat top float I launched it to the other side of the drain and drew the bait into position, roughly centre of the track where the Rudd last appeared and hoped that the big Rudd would feed again. Not even a minute went by and a cheeky little Rudd started nobbling the edges of the crust when all of a sudden the crust just vanished, a large swirl was then followed by the float vanishing too, the take from heaven. On the light gear ( 12ft Greys float rod, Shimano 3000 exage FS reel loaded with 5lb straight through to a size 8 wide gape hook ) the fight was brilliant until it darted into a weed bed under my feet and was trying its very best to get into the reeds to shed the hook.

 With my heart pounding and polaroids steaming up I did my best to stay in control as I was getting beaten up by a determined Rudd. By this point Brian was neck deep in nettles with an outstretched arm and full length net, ready to gently coax the fish in as it finally came free of the weed bed! I can honestly say it's been sometime that I last experienced a battle that close, it could have easily gone the other way.

 This was the sight I was met with when I put the rod down and composed myself.

That 22'' landing net has seen some fish!
  Composed and ready to go we weighed her and got a few snaps before having the pleasure of watching her waddle back out into the unknown world, to which she may not possibly see a hook again.

A big drain Rudd at 2lb 5oz. BOLM!
 That is what I like to see. Those Fenland Rudd are just a different gravy all together, if I lived out there, I couldn't see myself targeting another species. Nevertheless, it was great to see it on the bank, but, the task I felt now was to help Brian find a new PB to cherish on the journey home, with a day and a half to go the odds looked good at the point of releasing my prize. Big Rudd often stick together and if packs of small hungry Rudd are around its quite often a good idea to move and by judging the size of the ripples coming off the bait it would suggest the remaining big fish moved off.

 Back to the drawing board again.

 For around six hours I ended up walking a 3mile section backwards and forwards, armed with my bucket of bread and catapult loading up areas that looked good for a big fish and would watch the water to see what responded and it took most of the afternoon to find another good Rudd and this time Brian was on it, the presentation spot on, the timing just perfect and the Rudd could not resist, 1lb 14ozs of pure fenland drain gold was his and a new PB too.

 Conditions however then began to dictate the direction our trip was heading and with storms skirting us for some three hours we finally came in the direct firing line of a fierce front where the pressure plummeted instantly and rumbling sheet of torrential rain headed straight for us, lightning and thunder filling the air we beat a hasty retreat to the car some half a mile away and we timed it almost to perfection as my back just started to get the first drops on it and Brian closed the boot and dived in the car as the heavens absolutely opened. At this point we had already decided to cut the trip short, A: The lack of boat was a severe disadvantage ( even given the fact we both caught good fish ) and B: The weather forecast was to predict heavy rain throughout the day in spells and in truth, that would take the shine off what was a very tough, but rewarding day on the drains.

 We will be back soon, with a non-leaking boat.

Oi! my prize, one last time :) 

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Baptism of Slime.

 For some time now I have known about the ever increasing capacity of waters in their catfish stocks, catfish being a species I have had no interest in, at all!. BUT! I am one to try my hand at just about anything and if I fail first time around I'll often get straight back on the horse and try again.

 Thankfully, the lake I visited is quite well known ( Charlie's Lake, in Ashford ) for its obscenely healthy population of slugs ( a term often used for catfish ). With lockdown still in place I made a booking a week or so in advance to put myself in with the chance of catching one.

 Fast forward 1905 on the Saturday evening....I had already banked two. That wasn't too hard was it now.

 Within ten minutes I got a one-toner on my LH rod and proceeded to land a 20lb 9oz specimen which was backed up by a 19lb 8oz catfish. With both catfish in great nick I admired them both before gently cradling them into the lake to roam free once again.

A twenty to ease me in with. 20lb 9oz.

 Sport then did ease up as it took me an hour and a half to register a third fish, this being my first thirty pounder ( 30lb 12oz ) and boy those larger specimens are a different gravy, longer more drawn out battles and more forceful lunges/runs to bankside vegetation and treelines, which in turn did give another dynamic to the battles which I can happily say I endured more of.

 As the night closed in on us we were in for an interesting night as the bigger fish seemed to come on the feed. Between 2247 and 0145 I had four fish with three over thirty pounds with the biggest just missing out on the forty pound mark ( 39lb 9oz ). That was interesting holding it up for a photo! Not quite a chub or roach.

The benchmark has been set.

 After a ( 33lb 5oz ) cat I took the opportunity to have a kip and woke up around 0615, twenty minutes later the LH rod yet again tore off and locked into battle with the second smallest of the trip ( 17lb 10oz ), but then I did suffer a proper lull in action as my next bite didn't come until just after midday ( 17lb 12oz ). By this point I was already very happy, I do have to confess mind you that having come so close to "forty", I now wanted to achieve that.

 Every take I had from then on I was willing for it to be a lunker and although I had had some very good fish already I wanted more. Not unusual for me it has to be said.

Finish it off with a thirty, why not. 30lb 10oz

 Then as we approached the final sector of the trip a few more fish came my way and as the gong went a ( 30lb 10oz ) slug slipped over the cord to give me a final total of an astonishing 337lb 1oz bag of cats. Not bad for about 16hrs fishing if you factor in the shuteye.

 20lb 9oz   1901
 19lb 8oz   1905
 30lb 12oz  2036
 28lb 1oz   2247
 32lb 2oz   0005
 39lb 9oz   0045
 33lb 5oz   0145
 17lb 10oz 0635
 17lb 12oz 1206
 21lb 13oz 1305
 22lb 6oz   1358
 16lb 2oz   1615
 20lb 4oz   1640
 30lb 10oz 1818

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Curtain Raiser.

 I finally got the desire to go out for a days fishing a week or so ago, Tench were about all I could think of, what with Carp, Bream etc spawning I didn't want to bother them. I know a small deep lake where the Tench tend to spawn later than most places and thought this would be a good shout at a bit of action.

 Joined by Brian for our first trip out since March 13th we set out to catch whatever we could, personally I'd set a target of beating my long standing PB of 8lb 3oz, on this particular venue its a possibility and quite soon we were watching big Tench ghosting around the margins, some were certainly over eight, most likely in the nine pound bracket.

 That was the fuel to get my tench head on and really give it a go. One set-up fished using the lift method and the other a flatbed feeder 42g with a short 5lb hooklink to a lump of breadflake. In my experience here, bread is far superior to any other baits in terms of catch rates, which I do find fairly strange as the natural life in the lake is plentiful, but I won't question the approach, it works!.

 It didn't take long either for the quiver tip to spring into action as an arm wrenching take nearly removed the rod from the rest, sat on top of it I was in no danger to losing it, however I could envisage it happening to someone! The quivertip rod I use is a Maver Reactorlite with a lite tip, which it comes with (3 in total) and yes, it is quite expensive, retailing at somewhere around the £170-200 mark but the action is second to none and tamed a fair few decent fish on it and always felt in control.

 Fishing tight to lily pads I use 6lb mainline and always a free-running approach should the worst happen, along with a size 14 barbless wide gape hook I feel all precautions are taken. The pull of a good Tench is always nice but even better when you haven't been fishing properly for basically two months.

 Mornings and evenings are two distinct periods of feeding, everything in between is usually spent fiddling with rigs or having a catch up. For me I went for a little drive to see the Wood White butterfly that is getting rarer and rarer every year that goes by.

 My first Tench of day tipped the scales at 5lb 8oz, what is a rather modest fish the bigger ones could be seen drifting on and off the area where I had baited. Puffs of sediment climbing the water column would often be my cue to get close to the rod and quite often within a minute or so the tip would slam around, or float dip if I chose to go on the float rod. Chopping and changing I find really does keep it fresh and also keeps your mind from wondering. The float rod I use is a Greys Toreon 15ft 3-piece, used with a centrepin loaded with 5lb line straight through, on the lift method, which is a deadly tactic for catching sometimes quite weary Tench.

Any bait will do, bread and casters for me are great baits for Tench.
My second tench of the day at 6lb 7oz.
 From the morning session I managed five bites, four on the feeder, one on the float. 

 Weights; 5lb 8oz (0745), 6lb 7oz (0820), 5lb 7oz (0902), 7lb 2oz (0936) and 5lb 3oz (1037) great sport.

 Having taken a 3-hour break from the fishing as I knew it would be poor I went on the hunt for this butterfly and after an hour or so of searching I came across a few, floating amongst the track.

  Upon my return I had asked Brian what he had managed and the answer both justified my break from the fishing and also backed up the detail that I have learned of the venue, six hours of no action, thankfully for me my return was perfectly timed and within 20 minutes of getting a rod back out the float sailed under with a fighting fit Tench of 6lb 0oz. 

 About half an hour later though a much better fish stormed off and what turned out to be the best of the trip at a pleasing 7lb 12oz, my joint best Tench from the venue and the big fish still elude me, not that I was complaining of course.

7lb 12oz

6lb 12oz 

  The evening played out in a similar fashion as a steady stream of bites came, with a total of 12 Tench coming to the net, it was a good day.

A good Tinca ready to go.

On it's way in a hurry.
 Evening session consisted of seven Tench: 6lb 0oz (1640), 7lb 12oz (1708), 6lb 7oz (1756), 5lb 10oz (1856), 6lb 12oz (1911), 5lb 4oz (1931) and 6lb 4oz (1946). The evening rush always tends to bare more fruit than the morning session and gives you the day to prepare.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Borderlands Pit, Part One.

 If anyone is familiar with the game "Borderlands" then the title of this will give you a good idea of what idyllic surroundings this small disused clay pit is set in and feels like. A scent of danger does permeate the air, what with the various foreign objects littering the margins and indeed the middle, along with the obligatory disposable barbeque scorch marks!

 My number one task here however is to see what fish call it home, never to turn a good opportunity down I walked it one morning to get a feel for what morning conditions may throw up and to my excitement a few carp seemed to show themselves in a sheltered bay and in the teeth of the wind on the surface which I found to be quite unusual but carp can't be second guessed as to what they may do or where they will do it.

 That morning I saw a white and black bird on the far bank margin and when a couple of Mallards spooked it she came over my head and it dawned on me what it was! An Avocet! to say I was shocked would be an understatement. Never seen one before and its not a place I thought I'd see my first. You never know what will happen next.

Look closely and the upturned bill can be clearly seen.

 I was champing at the bit to get back down and a couple of days later I slipped down at first light and started where I saw numerous fish and threw out a few dog biscuits ( larger ones on this occasion owing to the wind strength as the small ones were drifting far too quickly into the windward bank ), for this I use these.

 These are a decent size and stay on the hook fairly well or banded even better, plus they let off a nice little oil slick which fished in windy conditions has the same effect as when fishing oily pike baits and the ripple seems to not effect the baited area giving you a clear sight of your hookbait (however, any windier and the effect is lost). I had another errand to run in the morning so I had about an hour or so before shooting off. 

 An hour it would seem is all I needed. Carp started to find my biscuits within 20 minutes and as each biscuit went I got even more excited. Given the gusto within which the biscuits were going I flicked mine out with a size 6 Korda Mixa hook, side hooking the biscuit as I forgot to pack mixer bands and drew it back to the feeding area. Just a few minutes past and as a procession of common carp drifted in and out and in again a carp eased up behind my mixer and slurped it in without hesitation. With no line in the water whilst they got confident really helped.

 I watched the carp close its mouth and I struck firmly to pull the hook through the mixer and set the hook, it was on! Not to tempt fate I didn't set up the net so I ended up playing the carp with the rod jammed between my legs on a light clutch, done it many times before so it wasn't a problem and within a couple of minutes a lovely dark mirror carp eased over the cord. For possibly ten to fifteen fish that went through my swim I didn't see a single mirror so it was actually a nice surprise. 

 Not a monster, weighing 14lb 4oz and probably older than myself, built like a mini torpedo. 

 I didn't get any further enquiries and that for the morning was that. But a success all the same and back to it soon I hope for round two.

Pastures New, Tales of Lost Creatures in the Night.

  Having spent many years trawling through what were local rivers to me I am now starting to target something a little different and have se...