Thursday 27 February 2014

Traditional Against Modern.

 Carp fishing is always good fun whether you are stalking them out on a quaint lake where a possibility of a 30lb plus is always just potentially a cast away, or you could be sat behind two rods in a bivvy whilst waiting for them to find your bait, I myself will deploy whatever tactic is best for the conditions, but waggler fishing for Carp is great fun and that was my chosen tactic for my 1 on 1 match with my brother Richard who challenged me and I accepted, anything for a bit of fun.

 The session wasn't in search of a monster but to catch as many as possible, Rich fished the modern way with boilies and all the modern Carp gear, I fished with a cane rod and centre-pin on the waggler with bits of bread. My float didn't stay still for long and with in twenty minutes I was in, 7.14 Common Carp was the first on the bank and on the next cast the bait didn't have time to hit the deck and the float was off again, Rich looked on in shock while his rod laid dormant and another Carp on the bank.

1st blood at 7lb 14, the biggest of the three Carp.

Pretty but bloody noisy.
 By the end of the session I had ended up with 3 Common Carp and a small Bream, Richard finished on......well nout, he drew a blank and made the age old mistake and follow everybody else in regards to bait, tackle and not moving around, if it isn't happening, move. I think the bait selection today was what made the difference, always great fun battling Carp on light tackle and I can't get bored of using cane rods, are you a traditional angler or modern?, traditional certainly won today, quite comfortably.

 After we finished we had a walk down the Thames and bumped into a family friend of ours who owns a couple of boats that he fishes from and showed us a picture of a 27lb Pike he had last week during some of the awful river conditions and had just released a 15lb Pike before we got there, so they are feeding, I may get involved in that, we shall see. Tight Lines Guys.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Royalty Barbel.

 On Saturday I made the journey down to the Avon at Christchurch, to have another go at the Pike but the conditions were set to be very bright with little or no cloud and exactly that happened, not ideal for the Esox but I packed a couple of tins of meat knowing that I could switch to rolling meat if the predator hunt was not fruitful.

Dawn over the flooded Avon at Christchurch.

 My Dad ( James ) also joined me for the day out and his first time down to the Royalty in 25 years plus, so it bought back a lot of memories of very good angling days, his first session on the fishery was when he was 15, all the way back to 1968, when he used to catch massive bags of Barbel during the 70's and early 80's, along with specimen Roach and Perch by even today's standards, this was when the fishing was nowhere near as tough as it is now, these Barbel are probably the most targeted in the country.

Big James ledgering in The Piles.

 Dad was rolling meat for the day and occasionally ledgering where the current would allow, my tactic was both rods tackled up with 15lb line to a 18'' trace and allowed to drift around the swims under Pike bungs, one baited with Smelt, the other Sprat, again occasionally ledgered where I could due to the extra water that is still thundering through the valley.

The Pike baits in the Piles remaining static.

 A few hours had passed and we were both remaining bite-less, we had walked up through a number of great swims, House Pool to The Trammels, Railway Pool to Harrigan's, not to mention that to gain access to all these swims we had to wade through upwards of 2ft of excess flood water that was engulfed the entire landscape surrounding the fishery, by around 1pm we had started fishing the west bank and as there was a Pike angler already fishing at Water's Meet, I then decided to put the Pike gear away for abit and put on the centre-pin and roll meat along the Pipes, through Greenbanks and down to the Railway Pool.

My first chance at rolling the railway pool.

 We both rolled through the long glide together at about 20meters apart and on my first roll past the tree-line at the Greenbanks I got the typical rod wrenching tug that you expect off of a Barbel and no second invite needed for that one, it certainly fought well in the fast water and on light line you could feel every move, 5 minutes had passed and the bronze torpedo was resting up in the net, a good sized Barbel landed and caught on the tactic of choice for the Royalty. At 8lbs 10ozs I was very chuffed with that fish, my first Royalty Barbel caught rolling, result.

Absolutely pristine, typical Royalty condition.

Ready to fight another day.

 Now that I had caught one it filled us with confidence that we would have more joy, but we found it quite difficult to muster anymore interest as the Barbel were still present in the glide between the runs of remaining weed and the fact we were watching them roll on the surface on a number of occasions, but we could neither hook up again and we finished the day just after dark as the twice round trip of the fishery was very tiring for James Snr and on my return to the Avon I returned to London with something to savour again and the day was very pleasant weather and all, not to mention my Dad enjoyed the day out immensely which was more important but he happily took over netting duties and being the photographer.

We know how he felt, but worth the effort.

 Maybe one last trip down before the end of the season on the Royalty, maybe target just Barbel. Another result on the Royalty, Tight Lines Guys.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Lovely Chubly.

 Ever had a dilemma where you have a day off work? and you know your going to utilise that day fishing but just had no concrete plans and couldn't decide where to go or what species to target. Today was one of those days and after much deliberation before breakfast I choose Chub, the great thing with Chub is they feed in almost any condition, I packed a tin of meat, block of cheese and a loaf of Warburton's, off I went.

 I picked probably the best day of the year so far to go fishing weather wise, I packed light so I could cover a decent amount of river. The first swim I fished in didn't yield any fish or bites but I knew that it would take time to locate the shoals of Chub that exist and maybe even a Carp or Barbel in the deeper stretches, it took 6 swims in total to find a fish, first take took a long time to come but I had little enquiries on the float with nout clear cut, my first hittable bite was a cracking take and a very sturdy fight followed, the fight was probably the longest I've encountered off of the species and then the Chub came to the surface out of the murky water, straight into the net. A good one bagged.

 A good 5lb plus Chub, which was swiftly followed by a another Chub of 4.7, the Chub were really starting to feed in earnest and with in ten casts I had a further 4 Chub and two of those were also 4lb + fish, 4.3 and 4.15, it was a good head of fish in that swim and it wasn't done either. The swim went quiet for 20-30 minutes but I stuck to it and carried on trotting with just one more take, another cracking Chub of 5lb 5oz, two 5lbers in a day is good going, great fun too on the centre-pin.

The two 5's, 5.9 and 5.5, both in immaculate nick.

A good batch of Chub, 4's and 3's, plus a little one.


The Chub swim, Chub aplenty, 9 from this swim in the end.
 Near the end of the session I put some bread on as the cheese and meat bites dried up, within a few trots I struck into a bite that looked very Roach like and the fight, the same, but maybe because it was a Roach, after that I fished on for around an hour but not another touch towards darkness, packed up and headed home, another good day out and plenty of my target species caught, including to five pluser's and one an ounce shy of five too.

A pristine specimen of around 10ozs.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Hurricane Force Chub.

 This morning Roach were on the agenda and my Dad decided to come and join me in pursuit of a good Roach and I am still searching for my Holy Grail, a 3lb Roach. Having looked at the weather forecast all week and this morning I didn't feel over confident but there's always a chance of a surprise, the country was issued with a Red warning for the 100mph plus winds and in Surrey we were expecting winds of up to 80 mph, but we were both hoping that we would escape the wrath of Mother Nature for a few hours.

 Cue...... the river...... my exact words were to my Dad was, "erm I don't think we are going to catch any Roach today", the river was up so high and coloured as I was expecting a little but after having no rain for over 24 hours we thought the river would have emptied most of it and fined down, but we were wrong, so in these conditions the only species that is mad enough to feed is a Chub, it wasn't long until Dad took one on the trot, a good scrap but it was never causing any issues.

Dad's 3lb 15oz Chub

 It was only his second cast into that swim in particular and that was the only take in that swim, not alot happening we folded away and headed off up river and the wind was already battering us and the rain started to come down and it wasn't pretty, we were both soaked through to the bone and I had suggested we couldn't get any wetter, so I stuck it out for a fish of my own and it took around 25 minutes until I finally got a belter of a take, two minutes later I had a good sized Chub in the net, an easy 4lber.

My 4lb 9oz Chub in the torrential rain, should have been a six for the effort.
 That was it for the session, we had had enough of the weather and retired home to get dried off, will the rivers return to normality before March 14th, somehow I doubt it, such a shame, anyone for a bet on a hosepipe ban this Summer !. 

Artificial Bait Heaven For Pike.

 Since the extremely wet and unsettled weather has hit us I have been busy in buying lures and anything else artificial that may grab the attention of a dormant or feeding predator, a range of brands including Savage Gear, Rapala, Mepps and Abu Garcia, plus also some lures from Decathlon online which do good lures which will hopefully get some usage.

 One of the Rapala F-9 Fire tiger divers have already had a Pike of 4.10 and no doubt will catch more.

Saturday 8 February 2014

The Lure of Pike Part Two.

 After a long week at work, Saturday was looked forward to with much anticipation, the incessant rain has meant the rivers are still rising or maintaining there levels so it was down to targeting a Reservoir or a lake for a Pike or two, the forecast was not looking to clever but I really wanted to get out and after a bit of thinking I went down to one of my ticket waters in search of an Esox.

 Recently I had purchased some more Rapala lures and today I used them to try and tempt some predators, Pike on this venue go in excess of 20lbs but are seldom caught due to the lack of anglers chasing them which is where I come in, there is a possibility of something more special than that, it is somewhat an unknown entity, but it isn't an easy water as I have found out over the last half dozen trips or so.

 The rain throughout the morning was whipped in by fierce winds, but you can't catch them sat at home, with in 20 minutes I had a solid take off of a Pike I would have thought but the hooks didn't set and it took another 40mins before I got another opportunity, the take caught me totally by surprise as the Pike charged out from under the bank I was standing on, most exhilarating it has to be said, the fight didn't last long but it was great fun, a good little jack of 4lb 10oz.

Small but welcome.

One snaffled Rapala.

 I stayed for about half-an-hour after that Pike and did have two more takes, another of which was a Pike that I bumped which was quite a bit bigger maybe 7-8lb and the other being a Perch that was hooked on the chin, whether it was hooked properly at first and a set of hooks came free who knows. Unfortunate, but at least I did not draw a blank, another Esox towards my target, am I going to reach it? It's not looking straightforward as I thought it would be in September.

Sunday 2 February 2014

Wet, Wet and Wet.

 In fact more like sodden beyond recognition, this was my conclusion of the Britford stretch of the River Avon, the target was to catch my first ever Grayling, one of any size would have been great, a total success but we were met in Salisbury by a raging torrent, 3 foot of extra water and it had dropped 8inches from two days before, "oh damn", I thought.

Dawn at the Salisbury Avon.

The three musketeers, Myself, Brian and Richy.

 Joined by Brian and my younger brother Richard we were all very confident in catching a Grayling, buoyed by the history of the fishery for what it provides we thought we couldn't go wrong, well we couldn't be anymore wrong, the old river is where the Grayling shoal up but that was totally unfishable due to the ridiculous amount of excess water travelling through the Avon valley.

My only chance of a wet hand.

 After around 4 hours of finding our way to the fishery we finally got to our port of call and tackled up with the excitement of what could happen on the next cast, but that excitement didn't last too long as the 35mph gusts took some of the shine off and the absolute lack of fish activity, for me it was a glum day with only a couple of baby Brown Trout caught and a take on a jig off of a sturdy looking Perch of maybe 2lb +, which disappointed a lot but it was the way that the day had gone, up at 5am, started fishing at noon and packed up by half four to catch our return train home which we missed. Summed it all up.

Salisbury Cathedral in the distance.

Almost unfishable, such a shame.

More than 3 foot up and pouring into the adjacent fields.

 It was all in all a disaster for me but Brian caught a small jack and Rich caught a jack of his own and a baby Grayling, although it was no longer than my index finger it was a Grayling, congrats although I would like one just a little bigger, needless to say I will go back and I will catch one, but not until this constant deluge ceases to batter us, my local Thames is still hammering through and in awful condition, it had been since around the 23rd of December, fishable by the end of the season I hope so but not holding my breath.

 I deserve a red letter day after that effort, fish gods are you listening. Until next time tight lines.

What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...