Wednesday 23 July 2014

Trotting For Surprises.

 My last day off of work for the week and with the weather being very pleasant too I could not resist the temptation of going fishing for a part of the day, with most of my recent sessions being used to target specimen lake Bream I thought a brief change of emphasis would do me well, so I packed very light and went trotting for a couple of hours and let's say one thing.........just when you think a river could not throw up another surprise, another curve-ball is hurled into my face.

 On today's agenda was pretty much anything that swims of any size, but I had a particular feeling for the Gudgeon, a species of which that I am fairly fond of and not for fighting qualities as you could imagine, my local rivers were once paved with them, a time when you could almost do what Chris Yates and Bob James illustrated on Redmire, a 100 Gudgeon could easily have been done and some would be heading for British Record proportions and I'm convinced that there were or still are potential record breakers here, but today's session was simply to catch some.  My swim of choice was a lovely deep pool at the foot of a small weir and towards the tail end of the pool is a sandy/gravel bed that stretches for about 20 foot, this was to be where I would do most of the trotting and first blood was a spirited little Roach of 5oz or so in great nick.

The little redfin.
 I had spent around 20 mins trotting after the Roach before I got another take but this was certainly larger than a Gudgeon or Roach unless it was a monster, but the identity of the fish became apparent fairly quickly, a nice Trout continued to squirm about in the strong current and it took a couple of attempts to net it, when I got a surprise, what I first thought was a Brown Trout turned out to be a Sea Trout, a species of fish I have only ever once caught before, this was far bigger than the one I caught on the Royalty last season, I didn't waste time getting a couple of snaps and weigh it before slipping it back into the swirling cauldron from whence it came.

2lb 2oz, my first PB of the day.
 I sat there on the bank wondering when it arrived as it was still perfectly silver and sporting a couple of fresh nicks with not an ounce of fat on it, but if the first one had me stumped then you guessed it I caught another one and even bigger than the first, both of which were taken on a small piece of bread-flake, the larger one was much more powerful and you could tell it was bigger, a quick flash in the deep water was enough for me to reach for the net and be prepared for when it did give up, on a size 12 barbless I hoped I had a good hook hold, after a short time later another Sea Trout lay in my net, I'd caught a PB just 10 minutes earlier and now I had another PB.

 This fish in particular still had sea lice on it which were duly flicked off, unbelievable to think that this fish has probably only been in the system a matter of a day or two, extremely happy to have caught these, the second one was also a personal best at 3lb 5oz, unreal what these rivers can throw up, I was certainly surprised.

 After the second Sea Trout the weir pool went strangely quiet and it took me an hour to take heed, later on in the afternoon I carried on trotting and lost a couple of Dace, but did get in connection with a small Barbel which gave a good account of itself.

Immaculate little Barbel of a couple of pounds.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Terrapins.

Countryside Slabs Part Two.

 This specimen Bream lark is starting to get fairly addictive, the real possibility of another personal best fish is there for the taking if I can learn the fishery, I must admit that the previous two visits have provided me with some fantastic fish, fish that 2 weeks ago never thought I would locate let or lone catch.

 But before I get on to today's session I'll do the catch up from yesterday evening when I embarked on a brief wander after work rolling meat and it was a success as I fished a couple of spots where I know Barbel frequent this time of the season, after probably 15mins I had a typical wrench on the rod as my luncheon meat was taken for a swim, it's been a long time since I felt that power and it felt good.

 Second fling for a Barbel and this 8lb 14oz specimen was the result of that great 5 minute scrap, happy days, good to have caught a decent Barbel after god knows how many months, well......back to today I suppose, this being my third session here after big Bream I was almost expecting to not catch a fish and after 9 hours of fishing through the roasting hot weather I ended up with the blank that I knew would come, I would be most naive if I thought I would come here every time and catch but for my brother Richard who accompanied me in search of Bream too ended the day with a new personal best fish of 9lb 1oz which is still a very good fish and he was understandably happy and backed that snotty up with a good Eel of 2.8 to 3.0lb, so at least one person left with a new pb but my time will come or maybe I've already had it.......

Bream of 9.1, well done Richy.

That's not too bad either.

Monday 21 July 2014

Countryside Slabs Part One.

 Well this post is a leading on from the last post "Enchant Me", where I targeted a water out in Surrey for monster Bream with the view to banking a new personal best, I've only spent one session for these Bream and had three, 2 of which were double figure fish ( 10.11 & 10.7 ), although I believe these fish aren't easy to catch I did have the best possible start and after a busy weekend I saw a window of opportunity to go for an evening's trip out for a Bream or two and knowing the stamp of fish here an enquiry could quite possibly be a PB.

Very unpleasant but thankfully didn't get any closer.
 When I arrived at the fishery I had to postpone my setting up and casting out as a vicious storm raged on in the adjacent fields, with constant lightning and thunder rumbling on I wasn't to risk getting struck so I waited for it to pass, I arrived around 7pm and I had to be out the gate by 9:30 so my time was severely shaved down but as I waited I humped out a kilo of white crump and about half-a-kilo of sweetcorn, when the storm passed and my focus was re-trained back to fishing from the lightning it was good to go, but dusk approached so quickly and 9pm was almost upon me and I was planning on packing everything away......then my 1.5oz quiver tip started to come to life, then I had a drop back which I missed, quickly followed by another, I had the two drop backs on consecutive casts so I thought that the hook length was too long so I shortened it by about 4 inches, out the bait went and within 3 minutes I got the take I wanted, a solid bend of the tip and it kept going as the Bream inched across the bottom with my quad-corn in it's gob.

 A good weight on the end of the rod my heart started to thump a little harder, but one thing about Bream is once you have thwarted their initial run or runs you tend to have them beat and this was the case, I had packed away most of the gear already by this time so I had scrambled to get my net resembled as I played the slab at the same time, another double I thought to myself and it looked bigger than the other two last time out, could it be a PB, it certainly looked it.

It was a new personal best too, 11 lbs 4 ozs, get in!!
 The fish I came out for under a lovely purple sky at dusk 11.4 on the Ruben Heaton's, very very happy with that and literally just as I put this fine specimen back two Bream porpoised together in front of me both of which were larger than the one I had just banked!!, food for thought as I packed up and headed back off home, another PB set but I don't think this one will stand as long as the previous did.

A pretty sunset on another great quick-fire session.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Enchant Me.

A beautiful summer's dawn through a polarized lens.
 Just the tonic for a 3:40am alarm, feeling like a zombie with a couple of hours sleep, only the fact that I felt confident I would catch my target species was the reason that I didn't impersonate a homeless person sleeping under a tree whilst I caught up with a few winks, but needless to say I carried on with my plan and that plan was to catch a Bream.........not just any Bream either.

 For a long time I have been itching to catch some very large slabs and I know a couple of places where they are present but by no means easy as most specimen sized fish seldom are, after an hour last night spent preparing my ground-bait and mix which consisted of 4 loaves of white bread and 2 kilo's of sweetcorn, it sounds a lot but if there is one thing that must be known about Bream is if you get a hungry shoal of them in front of you feeding the more bait you have the better to keep them around and get through the shoal as best as possible, if you lack the bed of feed they will move on until they find another food source.

 I planned to fish the morning and probably leave around mid-day as the Bream will probably chill out for the hotter hours and come on the feed during the evening, by 6:45am I had my first enquiry as my float lay flat on the surface after being properly cocked, with out waiting for the float to go back down again I hit it, fish on....a good fish too, the fish stayed fairly low whilst heading for the weed but it wasn't a Carp, so I was sure it were a Bream then a big black shape came up to the surface and surrendered, I thought to myself immediately that it was a new PB it was massive, first take of the session and it was exactly what I came for, a 42'' Carp net and this Bream did it's level best to fill.

 A big Bream was exactly what I set out in the morning so it was a great feeling to have caught one on my first trip after Bream at this venue, but was it a new PB?, unfortunately not as it weighed 10lb 11oz, so it was shy by 3oz to equal or 4oz to set a new record, but a great snotty.

 Then 6 and a half hours passed before I managed to convert my next chance, bites were few and far between but a change on to a fine quiver tip on a lighter setup proved to be successful as I had got connected to a strong fish, then the clutch started to scream as whatever it was made off at pace, this was no Bream, so a Carp it must have been but for a submerged weed bed to aide the fishes escape I will never know, then the session took another twist as I had another good take on the feeder which was a Bream and a monster of a bin-lid at that, an easy double I estimate about 13lb, then about 20ft out the hook inexplicably popped out.  I felt rather annoyed at that happening and a bad taste in my mouth.

 20 minutes later the loss of the monster slab was softened as I bent into another big Bream, as soon as I got it to the surface I knew this was a double figure fish, whilst playing the Bream into the awaiting net I was thinking that I have had 2 double figure Bream in all my years of fishing and now I have had 2 in 7 hours!

10lb 7oz, another lump.
 The session after that tailed off and the bites dried up considerably with just one more Bream caught but it wasn't a lump like the other two fish, at around 6lbs it is probably one of the smallest fish present, with some small Perch thrown in for good measure just before leaving, all of which were taken on a 7g Mepps Gold Flash spinner. 2 double figure Bream in a day, I left there one happy man indeed now for a much bigger I know they are here just where?

Little guy?? at 6lb it was on this occasion.
Immaculate condition stripey.

Saturday 12 July 2014

Specimen Dace and Pesky Chub.

 Big Dace have long since been of a massive interest to me, one of my first ever was of 11oz which is big for the species, fast forward 16 years and I have improved on that a few times and have currently caught 3 over the magical 1lb mark, only recently I have started to find shoals of Dace but targeting them specifically has its difficulties as they share the same territories as the Chub and today was a perfect example, but before I go any further though today was not in search of a Dace, but Roach and Rudd were my intended quarry, although they were totally elusive and I only saw two Roach all day.

 The one and only Dace I had today though was well worth catching, I caught it roughly an hour into the session amongst the scores of Chub. A majority of the Chub were 4lb plus, so they were of a good stamp but when your targeting redfins the Chub can ruin your swims and I believe on this occasion this did happen, however catching such a big Dace the no-show of reddy's were banished fairly quickly.

14ozs of an immaculate Dace.
My biggest Dace in years.
Lovely and clear for all to see.
Thames Bream, snotty buggers but I want mid-double!
Oh Deer, what's that in the distance.

 Lovely sunset over one of my ticket lakes.

 A fin perfect chalk stream Chub of 4.6.

 On very long Chub but struggled to reach the 4lb mark.
 During the evening I was treated to a sight of some very large Bream, some of which were well in excess of my target weight of 13lbs, I will plan a trip very soon in search of one of these enormous dustbin lids and hopefully bank one, I believe it's possible, we will see shortly whether I can. Tight Lines until then.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Limited Time....

.......Varying success, it has been a crazy last week or so and even though it has been hectic I have managed to get in a couple of extremely short sessions which have been used in search of some large Carp, a 20 on the agenda at first and as I locate the bigger Carp I will certainly be tuned in to snare one or two on my normal stalking tactics, unfortunately over the last two months I have lost 2 very nice Carp, both of which were over twenty pounds, but on 6lb line I do run the risk at losing fish with the heavy weed present at the moment, 6lb line under normal circumstances can overcome large Carp and with the 35.8 Mirror I had last season was banked using that breaking strain, but certain lakes may be too snaggy or weedy to get away with such an approach.

 The first morning's trip I was on the bank at around 5am and although I had a number of good fish showing interest in my free offerings, my hook-bait remained untouched by some extremely clever Carp and the Tench began to also move around but were as smart if not more so, every piece of free-bee bread that went out they ate, the piece that had a hook in was avoided like the plague. But the next quick-fire session proved to be more fruitful, an hour of stalking a shoal of Carp just before dusk proved to be a better time to plan my perfect cast, slightly dipping my free-line to add a bit of weight and then aiming my offering just past the shoal and then slowly drawing the bait into the feeding zone, one cast one chance, a pair of big lips appeared out of nowhere to suck in the bait, in the failing light I still made out the outline of the bread vanish, gently bending into the rod I was connected to a decent Carp, but with the failing light it was difficult to know how big it was but I could feel a weight on the end, so after some careful wangling within 6 or 7 minutes I had a nice fish in the net.

 As I pulled back the net on the mat, I revealed a nice Mirror Carp heading for 20lb, but without wasting anytime James Snr and I weighed her at 19lb 9oz, not too far off and we noticed a couple of defects with her which I believe were from birth but has certainly not been hindered by it, the mouth was stumped and looked quiet unsightly and a fairly weird scale pattern which looked patchy, but 2 trips and 1 Carp for me and one for my father at 12lb it was a success, time to find some time and head off out again, summer Rudd still on the agenda, time wise it's looking like very hard work.

More of the same hopefully, maybe a little bigger next time.

Saturday 5 July 2014

Fun With the Silvers.

 Fishing in and around London does not always support good fishing in regards to silver fish, ie: Roach, Rudd, Dace and smaller species like Gudgeon and Bleak, over the last 10 years a lot of these fish have disappeared through a number of different ways but on Thursday I managed to locate a swim where there could be a shoal of fish and during my fly fishing throughout April and May I had done that hard work , so after some fishing for Trout upstream which I was successful with I then headed down to this secluded weir pool that I knew held fish but what did it hold, I was to find out over the course 5 hours which it took to build a decent bag just how many there were, a good afternoon's angling for sure and the first time in a very long time that I bagged up on silvers.

A typical chalk stream Brown Trout.

Trot to your hearts content.
 During the time I spent in the swim I bagged up in I had half a dozen Rudd to 12oz, 10 Roach no bigger than 6oz, the bag though mainly consisted of Dace for which I had 27 of and 3 Gudgeon to 2oz, a total of 47 silvers for me is very good fishing been a long time since I last done that.

Dace territory but no takers here.
My bag of silvers, plenty of fish, some went back earlier on due to being slippery.

 Later on in the evening I finished up rolling meat on some gravel runs and whilst briefly locating the deeper runs amongst the gravel I had a ripping take on maybe the fifth roll through which tore off up river and then straight into a snag, as the fish bore deeper into the snag I could feel my 6lb line grating on the trees it ploughed through but after a couple of minutes the fish backed out and back into open water, all this time I thought it was a sizeable Barbel, so you could imagine my surprise when a decent Chub broke the surface and slipped into the net, job done.

First Chub of the season. a 5lb 4oz chalk stream Chevin.

Not bad for 5 minutes rolling.

Good Barbel in this pool but no takers that evening.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Up & Running.

 Start of the river season for me this season has been somewhat delayed, in fact it started on the 2nd of July for me this year and it was only for an hour after work, I was kind of prepared with just a tin of meat on the centre-pin, but after a good 9 hours at work I was half asleep but the Barbel that I hooked certainly woke me up, weirdly enough it wasn't the sort of scrap I would expect but I feel the reason for it's relatively poor showing was due to the recent spawning and it certainly looked like it once Stu had banked it for me.

First of the season at 5.7

Rudd-y Fish.

 I arrived back from Turkey on Sunday morning and got into Gatwick about 5am, there was no point sleeping so I headed home to grab my gear together and turn around back to the train station, my destination: Marsh Farm, my target was one of our most aesthetic species in British waters, that fish the is the Rudd.

 I got there before Brian and I set up my stall on Harris lake but the first couple of hours were extremely hard work and the swim just didn't provide the sport I hoped, so I moved around the lake where it narrowed a bit and I found a ledge where there was a steep-ish drop and finally found fish that were feeding, the float started to dance around as the fish moved in on to the ever growing mountain of maggots that I was using to build the swim.

 Tench had moved in but some of the bites once I had got my eye in were certainly crucian's but I could not get close to them, even with my well balanced set-up, it wasn't delicate enough for them but for the Rudd it was perfect if I could get them to feed.

Not big but the species I wanted.

Lovely aren't they.

 Then the shoal of Rudd came in but weren't feeding as well as I had hoped and the shoal became quiet dis-interested, in the end they buggered off and the Tench moved back in, 4 Tench in an hour came to the net 4.14 being the biggest, also a couple of small Roach, Roach/Bream hybrid appeared amongst the masses of time that went by totally devoid of action. I will try again but the weather seems to be playing around at the moment, I will await some even more steady weather and try for the Rudd again, with hopefully a big Crucian chucked in for good measure.



Immaculate for a Marsh Farm Tench.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Fishing in Turkey.

 Since mid-June I have been abroad and after a few years absence for Turkey my partner Lucie and I decided to head back to a country we have been quiet a few times and whilst we were over there I managed to get some fishing done and Lucie even joined me for a day's boat fishing out in the Mediterranean but we were unfortunately fish-less for our efforts but caught plenty of bait fish and saw a shoal of Barracuda.

 Throughout our holiday I headed off out to sea in a single man Kayak armed with a loaf of bread and a telescopic rod, often heading out into deep water whilst fishing off of rock faces which line the coast, a range of different fish were caught but nothing substantial with the biggest fish being a Mullet about a 1lb 8oz, most of the fish were fairly small though which averaged 6-8ozs, but good fun all the same, during the trip we also experienced some fantastic parts of nature which included Squid, a type of Eagle in the mountains, a pod of Dolphins out in one of the bays one evening which were visible from the shore as we ate dinner, but the best has been saved till last, throughout the holiday we were extremely lucky to have bumped into a small family of Loggerhead Turtles ( Caretta Caretta ), two adults and two youngsters, we saw them about 7 days out of the 14, so we were very lucky but even more so to have swam with 2 of them and even managed to gentle touch one whilst it circled me in 300ft plus of water, with Lucie also managing to gather the courage to overcome her fear of deep water, the 2nd time I swam with a Turtle I had my goggles on and went underwater with it and got a real good look at it before it dived into the dark blue water and totally vanished out of sight.

Fethiye harbour at dusk.

Out in the open sea, game fish on the agenda.


Sardine. Bait.

Baby Snapper.

Colourful Squid.

My first sight of a Caretta Caretta ( Loggerhead Turtle ).

Naughty storm which produced a tornado just on the coast line.

Little Sea Bream.

Baby Whiting.

Muller, not the biggest one.

The better half and me.

A stunningly marked Blue Crab.

Turtle's love these!!!


Horse riding was great fun, another first.

Stunning photos's, speechless.

Adult Turtle complete with a Ramora fish.

Turtle in one of the bays off the open sea.

Taking a breath, a matter of 10ft away.

A lovely few shots of it close up to the Kayak.


This one was spotted in 300 ft of water, which was very calm around us.

Very calm in fact, Lucie having a brief swim in the sea.

Miniature fish.

Pretty miniature fish.

8 Years in the Making.

   So we find ourselves finally able to get back on the rivers and thank god for it too. I don't mind stillwaters and canals now and aga...