Sunday 28 July 2013

Out With The New and In With The Old.

 Recently I have acquired a great looking split cane rod and after quite a bit of research I believe it's a Sealey 10ft, 3 piece rod and I've had it since last Saturday, at work all week, itching like mad to get on the river with it, it probably hasn't been used in one maybe two decades, so I wanted to give it a go and I thought the perfect species to go after would be the Chub.

 Today's trip for Chub I choose to go to a river I haven't been to in quite a long time and by the looks of things it hasn't seen anyone else, (picture above), it took about half an hour to get to the river, the combination of sun and the occasional rain has allowed the vegetation to explode, with the shrubbery growing to double my height of 6.1, I felt as if I was on jungle trekking expedition.

 With the rod set up with my new centre pin that I was also gagging to try out, I cast out with a lump of trotted sausage meat and the bait barely touched the surface of the water when the rod hooped over, I struck in to the fish immediately and the old cane rod came alive, the fight was totally different from what I usually experienced on a normal carbon fibre rod, every single jerk and dive was amplified through the rod but on the other hand the rod certainly had some strength too. A good few minutes of battling and I had a good Chub in the net.

 A large Chub of 4lb 13oz, just the test I hoped that the rod would get, a proper thick set fish and come the winter it will be a certain five pounder, next cast after releasing that Chub I had another one of about 3.8 yet again it gave a good account of itself, I gave it 20 minutes and then moved down river where I did catch a couple more Chub to the three pound mark and another good Roach of 1.3 also being caught on the cane rod.

 As the day wore on I changed venue and headed off over to one of my ticket lakes in search of Carp, my target was to catch one of the resident Carp on my cane rod, really give it a stern test as most of the Carp are Common's and they are crazy fish so I will get to see how good it is.

 After two hours of stalking I managed to get catch a couple of Common's both off the top using crust, both of which provided me with the test that I craved and it passed with flying colours, the relic that was hidden away from the world in a basement finally got it's new lease of life and breathed once again, just a pleasure to use such a fantastic rod.

First of the two at 7.7 (above), the smaller at 6.3.

Monday 22 July 2013

Little Piece of Heaven.

 This morning I headed out for a short session in search of Carp, the lake I headed off to doesn't hold any large Carp, maybe running to 15lb tops but they are very well marked fish and the colours are stunning at any time of the year, the lake isn't large but is quite deep towards the middle, but today I just took a small stalking set-up and tracked down some fish, but it wasn't long after I set up at around 5;30am, when the sound of thunder rolling in the distance started to get a little bit louder and more consistent, Lightning is always a concern when your fishing and the concern was increasing as the morning progressed.

 But not allowing the potential bad weather affect play I carried on walking around the lake and spotted a few fish bubbling, their identity unknown as they were buried entirely in the dense weed that has consumed some of the water, but in the early morning the lake did look so peaceful and I could just relax and wait for a Carp to come and find me.

 Time started pressing on and I had to pack up around 8, so I had time to get home and then head off to work, the Carp were feeding and occasionally taking pieces of flake off the surface but they seemed quite weary for reasons unknown, but for another hour I carried on but to no avail, but it wasn't time that was to curtail my trip but the bilious grey cloud that looked as bad as it sounded, now streaks of lightning were visible across the brightly lit sky and the claps of thunder were almost instant, I wasn't going to hang around in it, but funnily enough I didn't see any rain at all, just lots of pent up electricity, I shall be back for these little guys and who knows I might get a surprise in a form of an elusive Tench or Bream.

Without the dodgy thunderstorm, it was all in all a lovely morning's fishing even if I didn't catch anything, just being there makes it worth while.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Redfin Riot.

 Well not quite but the day as you could probably gather was myself in search of some more red fins, my quest for a river 3lb Roach is my ultimate angling goal, not a target for the faint hearted as it is a target that could quite possibly never be achieved but I'll try everything possible to make it happen all I need is for that one fish, that one chance then it is up to me. But let's leave the world of fiction behind and enter the present world that doesn't involve 3lb Roach although I wish it did, maybe a 2lb Roach today will be great and that is achievable although again not guaranteed.

One of the runs I fished for the Roach, just downstream it widens and deepens.

 It was a roasting hot day that without shade would have been quite unconformable, so had to find some shade, my tactic for the afternoon was to use a Drennan stick float 3BB and 3lb line with my trusty 10ft trotting match rod, the ideal Roach fishing tackle, travel light and fish light.

 The first hour brought about a few Chub to 3lb and a few small species, Gudgeon, Minnow and a solitary Dace, but I hadn't had the one species that I wanted so I came off the maggots and went on to the bread and within five minutes I got my wish when the float slid away and I was met with a stronger than normal fight, a nice Roach was on and darting through the runs of weed, navigating the floating weed was the difficult part it had already bumped off three fish, but after a couple of minutes a pound + Roach was sat in my net, 1lb 4oz on the Avon's, it has been a good start to the season, all my Roach have been over a pound since the season started.

  A lovely dumpy Roach, it took just over an hour to get my first one, then two casts later and I was to get a fish I did not expect, I know they are in here but very rare and over a pound even rarer, that fish was the Rudd, the fight just as good as the Roach before maybe even a little stronger, the fish took the same path as the Roach to the landing net, which happily slipped it over, another English species caught, the list is starting to take shape now.

My biggest and only Rudd so far this season at 1lb 7ozs, absolutely pukka!

The previous 1.4 Roach ( top ) and the Rudd at 1.7  ( bottom ).
 Brilliant to catch a Rudd, on rivers they seem to be so rare I only catch a couple a season, that's including a fair amount of time fishing the tactics that do pick them up, about 30 mins after that capture I did finally get another bite, something that didn't seem very forthcoming during the whole session, it's usually bite a chuck or two but today the heat on Sunday kept a lot of fish from wanting to feed so I was picking off the odd one, hardly any Chub much to my delight as they can ruin swims single handily, that bite though was off of another Roach which seemed to bit a little larger than the fish prior and after a couple of minutes of it ducking and diving through the vast beds of weed it too ended up on the bank.
1lb 9oz Redfin largest of the day.
 Another good Roach, this stamp of Roach is fantastic, such a pleasure to find a shoal of fish like this, I had searched for years with my dad just to find a holding spot for Roach and now as the years go by we find more and more stretches that hold good fish, the river Mole is going to be my next target as there are some good places for big Roach there too, with a 3.13 Roach coming off of there last season, which was in the angling press but the youngster who put it in there said he caught off of a different river, to protect the fishery he fishes which is fair enough and I know where he caught it but that will remain mine and his secret.
 Will I ever catch a 3lb Roach who knows what the future holds.

Monday 15 July 2013

The One That Got Away.

 On Friday morning I got up early, 4am to be precise and grabbed the Carp stalking gear for a couple of hours fishing before work, owing to the lovely warm weather the Carp are on the feed big time, so my plan was to find out where the scum lines were and if everything went to plan that's where I'd find the Carp.

 With only a couple of hours of to spare I didn't have a long time to hunt them down, but I didn't have to wait long and the first few Carp I saw were only small to medium fish up to 15lb or so, not large but great fun on the centre pin, but my efforts were reserved for a lump and after about half an hour, one big Common came from underneath the raft of floating seeds and leaves, sucking everything up it could find but using the centre pin it was proving very difficult to cast to, my range probably gets to around 20 -25 yards and this fish was patrolling a line of debris around 35 yards out, it's huge mouth hoovering everything in sight, oh how I wanted it to be my lump of float crust and after an hour of trying to fashion a decent chance at getting close it finally decided to head closer in, so I cast about 6 foot to left of it and the slight sound of the light peacock quill float and couple of shot hitting the surface seemed to had caught it's attention.

 Within 20 seconds it's mouth opened up and Whack!!! my float rod bent double when a massive Common stormed off with me in tow, I had hooked a proper lump, first estimates I put it at around the 25lb mark, just what I was looking for, 5:30am and I'm already having a workout that would banish the need for a gym and I only had it on for around 3 minutes, then the fight turned sour, as the fish started to get it's bearings the fish all of a sudden created a master plan and headed straight for a tree-line, you could see where this was going, but with the relatively light gear I was almost powerless to stop it and 30 seconds later, it was gone........ my chance had come and gone, diligently watching it for my time to pounce and it was the tackle selection they maybe let me down, but you live and you learn, after all these years of fishing for Carp, 6lb line was probably never a good idea!, but the 20 the other day was landed on the same gear, if that tree line wasn't there I would have bet a wad of cash that would have been landed, clever sod.

 Maybe next time I will land my quarry.

A Little Off Topic.

 Between my work and my fishing and the other half Lucie, I do also play football for a club, but last Sunday I travelled up to Burton to the St.George's  FA HQ to play a final of a tournament that we have been in since August last year and we finally got the dates released last month, so for nearly four weeks all the team were buzzing, I for one couldn't wait and after a 4 hour coach journey through the English countryside we reached the complex, by now everybody realizing that the time had come, a day for all of us to savour, but after having team photo's and then our coach giving us the formation and team sheet, I was to start in my favoured right wing position, the nerves started to creep up on me but then it was time to get the game face on, the rest was history.

 Unfortunately the game didn't go to plan and at half time we were 2-0 down, at half time a few of us vented our frustrations at the way some of the team were playing, we hadn't travelled all that way up and work so hard to get here to go home and lose and by the 65 minute we were level, the choice words at HT seemed to have paid dividends but come the end of the final we unfortunately conceded a third goal and we were unable to get an equalizer, losing the game 3-2 we were all gutted and I was extremely miffed at the result, never had I felt so upset at losing, bearing in mind I only ever do something to win it, needless to say the journey home wasn't as good as we hoped, everyone in a state of disappointment.

 But apart from the result the day was brilliant and something I won't forget in a hurry, got changed in Paul Gascoigne's changing room and had a tour of the complex and we played the final in the England squad's indoor training pitch in a state of the art dome with the new 5th gen artificial turf, a dream to play on, plus everything was laid on by Beko, Toshiba and the FA, a truly great day.

 I wore my usual number 9 shirt for the match, below are a few pictures of the final.

Warm up.
Me playing the ball out from defence.

Myself tucking away a penalty to make it 2-2.
A dejected team, all of us looking annoyed at the result.
Standing next to David Beckham's England shirt.
The team hotel at the ground.
One of the outdoor pitches that the national squad train on.

Monday 8 July 2013

Summer Carping Part One

 When the sun is out this warm and for the period that it has, it has to be said there isn't many more species better than the Carp to target, as they all start to cruise the surface in search of daphnia and other surface and water born creatures, stalking for Carp is great fun and finding them whilst they are feeding between times that they aren't basking in the sun, location of the fish is key, bait selection is often the good old Pedigree chum mixers soaked for 24 hours to soften them up, to fish for them I prefer to free line but that does have it's limitation especially if they are at range and on some of the lakes I fish, margin fishing for Carp isn't possible.

 But I sometimes use a controller float to get my range, the gear of choice I vary between fixed spool reel when I'm fishing at distance and a centre pin when at ranges of 0 - 35yrds as the fight on the pin is brilliant for Carp.

 The tactic of a float and the centre pin was deployed and I was joined for an evening session of stalking by my dad James Snr, who isn't shy on catching Carp through stalking and I have learnt much about Carping from him since the ripe age of 6 when my first ever Carp was a 16lb 10ozs fully scaled Mirror Carp and had my first 20lb + Carp at the age of 7, I owe a lot to him for many aspects of my angling style of today but it was the tutor of old being taught how to do it with 3 Common Carp being landed and a 4th missed when my float buried itself but unfortunately I didn't connect to it.

 My first Carp of the evening was a chunky Common of 14lb 15oz which put up a good fight on the light 6lb line and pin, after a battle of around 7 minutes she lay rested up in the margins, after weighing the fish I slipped it back without any pictures, for I was focused to try and get a second, but a second didn't come for a long time.    2 hours to be precise and plenty of stalking until I did get a shot at another fish when my bait must have sunk below the surface because I didn't realise I had a take until my float slid away confidently and hooked into a fish and it didn't seem large at all, it came up to the surface slowly and didn't fight strongly at all for about 3 mins, when it approached the net it came to within 4 foot of the awaiting net when the fight changed drastically, all of a sudden it felt like scrapping and charged off on a 80-100yrd stretch, all I could do was place my thumb on the pin and apply what pressure I could, a supposed little Carp turned out to be a decent one but how big I could not tell.

 10 minutes had now elapsed and the Carp was still hammering it's way across the bay in front of me stripping line and was by this time collecting a lot of weed on the line which was making the fish heavier all the time but the pressure on the line and the hook hold wasn't good but the weed did also start to cover up the fishes head so the fight became more of a plod, a couple more minutes passed when I had finally got it back to the net and she slid in first time, bearing in mind it was pitch black by this time I didn't see the fish until I tried to lift it out the water, when I realised I had banked a big double maybe even a 20.

 As soon as I got her on the mat, we both said a twenty, it was plainly obvious, a real thick fish with a width of around a foot, with an almighty paddle at the business end, 20lb 7oz my best Carp of the season so far, but I do fancy some bigger than this fish as I know in London the are waters available to me that hold Carp over 45lb +, what a tale that would be eh?!

 The night didn't finish there either with a further capture of a 16lb 8oz Common right at the end of the session but the night belonged to the twenty for it's fight of two halves, what a contrast, I hope for some more of that but I would love a couple of twenty pound Mirrors, maybe even a thirty.

 Tight Lines until next time........

Friday 5 July 2013

It's A Jungle Out There.

 Today's session was supposed to be for reservoir Bream but after having a look at today's weather forecast I thought I'd leave it for another day, just grab my roving gear and head off out to a river to relax in the sunshine.

 Any species today was on the agenda as I was having a day off from my challenge that I have set myself ( catch every indigenous species of fish in England ), after a good 6-7 miles of walking I did have a good day but the fishing is still very patchy with a few fish spotted but not many committing themselves and a lot of swims that you'd expect to see or catch in were empty or it seemed the case.

 A couple of obligatory Chub ( 3.2 and 4.0 ) came to the net and also my biggest Barbel of the season so far at 8lbs 1oz which had a large frame and could have sworn it looked a 9 but post spawning every single Barbel are currently at bottom weights, so to catch a double now is a good achievement.

 Lastly I did have a surprise in the form of a very pretty Mirror Carp caught on my rolling technique, my first Carp doing that.

At 5lbs 8ozs not a big fish but a nice fish.

Monday 1 July 2013

Mixed Bag Part Two.

 Well with Friday's write up done, let's get straight down to Sunday's outing in the lovely sunshine that London basked in, a far cry from the weather we've had recently. Fridays session turned up some quality sized fish and today was no exception.

 I was at first to target some of the species I hadn't already caught, like Roach, Perch, Rudd, Bream and Carp, the Roach and Rudd have been very difficult to locate and today unfortunately it was business as usual, for 3 hours I trotted incessantly, changing the depth, the bait, the float and moving shot, everything in the angling manual could not tempt one, swim after swim. But I did catch a couple of other species of fish, a couple of which were not what you call a big fish, but for the species they were very big.

This Minnow was enormous, never seen a Minnow this big, a specimen miniature species.

Also I did catch a couple of Gudgeon one of which was enormous aswell and weighed anything between 3 and 4ozs with out any extremely precise scales to weigh it on, a British record beckons at some point in the near future for this species, it can sense something special is possible.

  The day was to get even better as well as all my hard work and toiling away to catch a Roach, my chance came when I started to get a bit of cloud cover, the bites started to appear more regular and after a couple of minutes my float sailed away and when I struck I was met with a powerful lunge into the weedy runs and I only just managed to stop it but it did go through some weed and it covered its head and with that a big Roach just skidded over the weed banks and into my awaiting net, oh how good that moment felt.

 Nearly a 2lb Roach, only one ounce in it, 1 lb 15 ozs, lovely summer colour to it and good condition, not many Redfins in this river and at this size I was extremely happy, what a way to kick off my Roach fishing season!

A beautiful, dare I say it, summers day? don't want to jinx it.

Hello, Deer.

 As dusk was starting to fall I headed off over to one of my ticket waters to do some stalking for an evening Carp and with most of the other anglers blanking around the lake sat behind rods, I can't work out why no one here stalks, I was fishing for 10 minutes and I was hooked into this lovely long and lean Common Carp below.

At 16lb 2oz this is large for this lake but on the bigger lake it's small fry.

 Then after releasing that powerful and spawned out Common Carp I changed tactic and scoped the larger lake for a snotty, the scourge of the Carp angler, but for me I honestly don't mind especially if I'm targeting them.

 And I got my Bream, a 6lb 2oz snotty, not very large but very thick set, but nowhere near big for these lakes as they hold Bream over 16lb and I'll surely be back to locate some of those bin lids.

 Sunday's total of species caught that I didn't catch on Friday was 4, plus the 6 from Friday, so a quick bit of addition meant I had hit my target, mean while catching some large specimens of different species.

 Great fun indeed.

Mixed Bag Part One.

 This weekend I decided to have a change in tact and set myself a little challenge for the 2 days I had planned, the weather was suspect on the Friday with showers on and off then prolonged sunshine followed by more rain but the weather on Sunday was beautiful at around 25c, fishing and tanning weather, just the tonic to top up my colour from Cyprus.

 The weekends target was to get 10 different species from wherever possible, lakes, rivers and canals.

 Friday turned out to be a great day with 6 different species caught, here are the winners.

1st on the list was this fat three-spined Stickleback, one of the largest I've ever caught on rod and line.

Then this amazing specimen of a Brown Trout was banked after a very tough fight on the light tackle, at 4lb 14ozs it is the biggest of the season and absolutely pristine, a truly fine specimen probably the best condition Trout I've ever caught and at nearly 5lb a massive brownie.

A typical section of one of my Trout beats, you'd be excused for thinking this was in the lake district somewhere.
Next up was the ever present Chub, I had a hat full of these up to the 4lb mark, this one taken from a small back stream on a single red maggot, I did also catch a Dace but was extremely camera shy.
 In order to build on my tally I headed down to target Barbel, Roach and Rudd, but after a few hours of trotting I couldn't find either of the two silver species and the Barbel were visible but not in the mood to feed.
A pristine Minnow, in spawning colours complete with tubicals.
 And with the night drawing to a close, I did manage to catch a Barbel too on my favourite rolling technique, at 6lb 9oz it was spawned out and now looking to fill out the void towards the back end of the fish, not to mention it certainly gave a brilliant fight in the fast water and I got the rod wrenching take to match the fight. That was it for Friday now for Sunday's trip.
 Total species caught on Friday was 6.

Six Foot.

   Well, winter still hasn't arrived and the rivers are in a constant state of flood, now for Barbel that isn't the end of the world...