Tuesday 30 September 2014

Predators Part Three. Stillwater.

 A hectic start to the week was rewarded with a short session this evening after some Perch and of late I have found some cracking stripey's and a couple of which have been over 2lb, for me these are very good Perch and I feel that a 3lb Perch isn't far away, so the more I can get out with the spinning rod the better chance I have in catching one.

2lbs 8oz Perch, spot on.


 It wasn't long before I started catching Perch but the first 5 that I had were small guys up to around 5ozs but as dusk drew nearer I had a smashing hit on a 7g Abu gold-black spinner the sort of take I relish, a proper Perch was ducking and diving whilst stripping line for short spells of time, as it closed in on the net a pound or so fish got remarkably larger and as I pulled back the mesh this fantastic looking specimen lay proud before being weighed and photo'd before slipping it back, my sixth 2lb + Perch this season and I hope for many more.

Sunday 28 September 2014

One Last Fluff Chuck.

 As the fly season comes to a close I thought I would have one last fling after some spritely Brown Trout, the fight never gets boring and how clever they can be when trying to deceive them with flies, sometimes it is so easy and others annoying difficult but on the whole I feel I do quite well and today I managed to catch two more pristine reason's as to why they can not be ignored for long.

2lb 6oz taken on a Daddy-long-legs.
Also this belter of Brownie at 4lb 4oz was taken on a rapid piece of water on a cat's whisker with a bit of orange tinsel wrapped around the fly, they can be stupid, sometimes.

Rudd top and Roach bottom.

Also I did have other species on the fly too, with a couple of smaller Rudd and Roach around 3-4oz and also a quality Chub of 4lb 2oz taken on a gold flashy thing that I don't the name of so I just named it "Chub fly" to rid the confusion, all in all I didn't catch bags of fish but I arguably could have had four or five Brownies but didn't wait it out to find the fly they would take.
Next up is a trip down to Dorset in search of Pike and I'm hoping I can get amongst them. 

Catching Carp Part Four.

 After my recent travels for Perch and Pike I decided to break it up with an early morning's Carp fishing, up and ready a shade after 5am the plan was to be on the bank before sunrise which unfortunately at this time of the year is nearly 7am but there was enough light to just see through the water and find out where the Carp where patrolling. A week or so ago I did have a quick look with a rod in the morning and a lot of Carp were showing with one certainly over 30lb and plenty over 20lb which I did manage to get amongst, one of about 24-25lbs which hammered out of the shallows and straight into a thick weed bed, when I cast out for that fish I knew it was a possibility so when it happened I was a shade disappointed but the hook pulled out when the tension was taken off and about an hour later the same thing again with a Mirror of 20lb or so.

Stunning colours. 12.4

 With that trip in mind last week I stepped up the gear a shade and was rewarded with a Common of 12lb 4oz which was beautifully marked, very dark and had a hint of Koi about it with flex of orange throughout the scales and also on the belly, not a big Carp at all but glad to have caught one as on this lake in particular it can be extremely difficult but was typical that I didn't get the chance to cast at many now that I had the tackle to deal with it as last week my intention was the specimen Bream and 6lb probably wasn't a great idea but the 2nd Carp was all but beaten, all the weed dodged until the very last when it made one last dash and found a small bed of weed which inevitably was my downfall, I will bank a couple of these bigger Carp before the autumn is out and hopefully find some of these big Bream again, the purple patch I hit was obviously short lived.

Thursday 25 September 2014

On the Trot for Specimen Gudgeon.

 Targeting large Gudgeon is difficult work especially when they are hard on the feed because the numbers of fish are usually quite high so finding the bigger specimen's can prove tough, last Saturday I fished for a couple of hours and I was successful on the Gudgeon front, but also came a few other species too and one of which was one I did not expect, a brown goldfish...this was obviously someone's unwanted pet which seems to have established itself adequately along with a nice orange one, something's you find in this system almost leave you wondering what next might I catch, bearing in mind during the fly season I caught an orange goldfish on the fly, strange but true.

 The gudgeon that I caught was the sort I wanted to catch, for all the Gobio's present in this particular weir pool only the one was caught which seemed strange but good in a way because usually I would have to plunder through maybe 20 before the larger ones appeared and at probably around the 2.5 to 3oz mark it was a belter which measured at 7.2 inches in length and fairly well fed too.

Bigger exist in that pool, only time will tell.

 An obligatory Barbel was joined by a few other silvers and also a cracking Chub graced the net which weighed just over five pounds, although it lacked depth it certainly made up for it in length and thickness, the average weight is getting bigger quicker, a six should come out this winter and I hope I catch it too.

 Below are some pictures of some Buzzards playing up in the thermals which were wreaking havoc on the Pigeon population but were a joy to hear and see.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Predators Part Two. Stillwater.

 During my trip to Wye I was lucky enough to have caught some large Perch, two of which were over 2lb and bearing in mind before this season had started I had only caught two fish over the 2lb barrier in my entire fishing years, now I have managed to get a few under my belt I feel that I could certainly attempt to catch some more and maybe some larger specimen's over the 3lb mark.

 Over the last week I have managed to scrape a couple of very short sessions together in search of soldier's, both sessions weren't particularly long but they were very productive with my first session providing me with some fun on the spinner as no less than 21 Perch came to the net but were of a small stamp as the largest was no more than 12oz, but I know larger ones do exist in this quaint lake, so the gauntlet has been laid down to try and find them.

Small but very colourful.

 The second session was looking a lot tougher as hits on the spinner came at a premium and when they did the size of the Perch again were 4-6oz in weight after only 3 in an hour's fishing I thought that the day's bright sunlight must have put them down in the weed so I stuck around and waited for the sun to start cooling off and when it did things improved drastically, once I had found a shoal of fish I stuck around to try and get through the pecking order to finally hook up with a good Perch.

1.14.....just the size I wanted to catch.

 After my third Perch from the shoal I connected to another small one but this one got about 6ft from the bank and a large Perch chased it nearly nailing it, this was exactly what I wanted to see - my confidence soared seeing that, the very next cast my 6ft spinning rod slammed over, one of those bigger fish that had hoped to have found was charging around, it wasn't long before I'd slipped into the net. Normally where one larger soldier is more will be very close by and with that 1st decent fish located I was sure that I would at least get a shot, one thing I was not counting on is that the very next cast was hit solidly as a chunky stripey slammed my 7g Abu gold spinner that next big Perch was on and although it fought very well my Dad was on hand to dip the net under what was a definite 2lb plus fish.

Another 2lb plus Perch, starting to get good at this! ( 2lb 3oz )
 Next post will be a catch up from Saturday's short trip out. Tight lines until then.


Thursday 18 September 2014

Predators Part One. River Wye.

 For many years I have dreamt of visiting the River Wye with the view to having a go at some Pike, for this trip I was joined by Brian the man behind "Pike Blog", we travelled up together to his home patch and spent the long weekend in great company with his parents ( never been looked after so well ), for month's we had spoken about this trip and it got to a point where as I couldn't wait to get on the bank and we certainly wasted no time in doing so.

 Day 1:

 When we did get on the bank we were to learn very quickly that things would be very difficult, the water is at it's lowest level in many years and it has been the driest first part of September on record and one thing with the Wye is that it needs water in order to produce fish, without the water what fish we were to catch was either pure luck in finding a rogue feeding fish or finding a swim where they held up and wait for them to feed. Both of us lure fished and live/dead baited for hours until we could no longer see our floats in the pitch black, the day did finish with a couple of fish caught and although our target species was caught on the first day it was not the size we travelled 3 1/2 hours for, maybe tomorrow.....

My first Wye Esox. Chuffed.

Day 2:

 With the first day already a distant memory we rose before the sun started to break the horizon in search of a double-figure Pike, this was the expectation rather than hope simply based on the pedigree of the river and the stocks it holds, the sunrise was something straight out of a Crabtree scene.....

......all it missed was a chorus of Owl's working the field behind, the morning did provide some sport as well with a couple of Jack Pike coming to net but again nothing substantial but I did manage stumble over a magnificent Perch looking swim and it proved to hold a few Perch too, my trotted Bleak made it's way down the inside bank towards some sunken tree's and as it got about 20ft down the Pike float bobbed and the started to go under and head out into the flow, I leant into the take pretty quickly as Perch tend to be very greedy and swallow the bait, straight away I knew it was a good Perch and when it finished with the frolicking an easy 2lb plus soldier lay in the net.

A belter of a Perch at 2lb 8oz.
 Catching Perch like that is enough to please any angler, this wasn't the only Perch either from the Perchy swim as 2 more came to the net 1.4 & 12oz which were in immaculate condition too, I also had another small Pike of about 3lb with Brian also getting on the act. As 10am came and went the low thick cloud was burnt off and we ended up basking in 20 odd degree weather - not the weather you want whilst Pike fishing. So with the sun blazing across the Wye valley I changed species and broke out the meat as rolling for Chub and Barbel seemed a slightly better proposition, needless to say Brian struggled with the Pike but I did manage a few Chub to roughly 3.8, although I've had many millions of Chub this size they seldom look as colourful as these guys.

 As the sun began to start setting we decided to find a couple of likely looking spots/haunts and await the feeding frenzy that we hoped would begin as the temperature dropped, much to our disappointment it was a dead as a do-do. Maybe tomorrow......

 Day 3:

 Sunday was the day that we hoped all would start to come together as we had done as much as 20 miles walking already, plenty of water investigated and plenty of seemliness empty water our task was not one for the faint hearted, Brian was starting to feel the pressure as he was the host on his home beat of the Wye, but one thing we angler's know about fishing is that you have to expect the unexpected, this being the total lack of movement over two days - an explosion erupted upstream of a fallen tree in the water as a decent sized Pike broke the surface in pursuit of food, I didn't waste anytime in getting my Rapala lure out into the swim and on my 2nd retrieve my relatively stout tackle was to be put to the test as my lure was smashed, the hunting Esox was hooked but I didn't see it for a while but I knew it was a good fish, then she rolled and that's when I played her a little more cautiously, Brian did the honours in securing me with my first decent Wye Pike, belter!.

At 14.12 she was light, the frame suggesting in condition it may go 18lb plus.

 But was I bothered by that??, I certainly was not, this was exactly what I came up here for and on the morning of the third day I had caught my target, I could relax just that little bit more now that had been landed, the lure used was a Rapala minnow about 6 inches long worked a touch above the bottom, a great Christmas present from the better half and that's why she is, I may employ her to buy all my lures.

 More Chub were caught to 4lb 5oz and a couple more Perch also taken on spinners but the highlight of the remainder of the day was the capture of a 7.3 Pike which was caught by Brian on a surface fished Jitterbug and I witnessed the entire scenario unfold, the pure savagery of the take was breath taking, I wish I'd caught it on film, I could watch it back a thousand times and never get bored of it.

Not very skinny, eh Stu?? 

Lovely colours.

Very picturesque.
 Day 4:

 Our last day on this fantastic river in the middle of Herefordshire, it was the day where Brian was to try and catch a decent Pike for himself but the day was to be dominated by a predator of a different form, cue the Perch. Fishing under a bridge for a number of hours produced absolutely no joy and out of nowhere my float-fished small Bleak was snaffled and the float took off like an express train, first of all I thought it was a Pike but the fight was all wrong to be that so I had a hunch it was a Perch but it felt good, as I cranked it up to the surface a cracking soldier broke the surface and was ready for the net, a long story short, Brian ran to get net, he got it and I told him get a bait out, another 2 big Perch are following the hooked one, so I delayed my fish to aid Brian to catch what turned out to be a personal best for the species!.

Different shapes but both weighed in at 2lb 4oz. 
 For Brian it was a coup, many years fished on the Wye growing up and has managed them to 2.1 this was the start of maybe something special.

A stunning specimen.
 But we never did catch that third Perch that was chasing the other two around but we weren't going to be greedy and more small Pike came out too, some smaller than others but fun all the same, with the day quickly coming to a close and the end to the trip nigh we tried to squeeze every last cast out of the time available but nothing else of note was tempted into the net and our little jaunt into the countryside was done, but we will surely return for the winter if Brian wouldn't mind being a ghillie again - but hopefully this time it will be a twenty pounder and the Pike man will hopefully catch a large Esox too.

Saturday 6 September 2014

In Search of Monster Roach.

 It is no secret that Roach are a species I am very fond of, especially large Roach. Over my angling career I have been extremely fortunate to have caught many quality redfin's from a range of different rivers, but my ultimate piscatorial goal is a 3lb plus specimen, this is as I have said previously my "Holy Grail" of all the species of fish in our waterway's, I could join a syndicate or travel to some far flung lakes to try and maybe succeed but I will certainly feel a much larger sense of satisfaction if I was to catch a wild specimen from a river. So with that said before this season I have had a very good run on the large Roach, large being 2lbs and above.

 Every Roach over that 2lb barrier is another fish of a lifetime, many people may have never caught a 2lb Roach so I keep that in mind when I do catch them, a sense of prospective which just allows you to enjoy the moment when the time comes which inevitably does. This Autumn and Winter I will spend some time fishing southern England's chalk stream's for more big Roach but the Pike and Perch campaign will certainly be the main challenge. Large Roach are present in a few big rivers like the Thames and Avon but also some more intimate streams like the Bourne, Frome and some more bigger rivers like the Wey, Stour just to name a few but I also know decent Roach reside in the Lea and Severn both of which aren't a million miles away.

 Time before Christmas is going to be an issue but when I do get the chance the Roach will get a fair crack of whip, a big one is in the offing, just when is the question! as is with any specimen fish, I have a couple of rivers that I will fish for them but although these are further than I usually travel it should be worth it, but now I will catch up on a few trips that I have made over the last two weeks, a couple of whole dayers and the other three sessions were relatively short in search of large Roach.

 I have found over these sessions that during the day I get plagued by Chub and not 5lb plus Chub, the sort that just thrash the water to a foam and piss all the Roach off who in turn end up not feeding for hours after that, so I have learnt quite a bit from this instead of spending 10 hours on the bank I have reduced it down to 1 to 3 hours, depending on how long I had available, if it was only a flying visit then I would free-bee some bait and trot along the creases or if I was going to be sticking around a while then I would build the swim and fish the cage feeder on a very soft top, probably no more than 1.5oz.

 The first two trips I made out I was plagued by Chub and it turned out to be the only thing I got besides one random Eel of about 2lb which put me in a right twist, so I had accumulated roughly 14 hours fishing and not even a little Roach to show for my efforts but that is how it goes, I have done enough of targeting specimen Roach especially over the last 4 seasons to know that when the conditions are right and you have enough bait to provide them with then you can catch as many as you can, so a keepnet is a must because a few times I have caught Roach and when you release them back into the swim the remaining fish tend to switch off, but I did catch it good on a couple of evening's, here is how the other sessions went.

 After the second trip out I had started to work out the feeding patterns and when you spend that amount of time on a bank without catching you really think hard as to why your not catching, so on the third trip all of that thought had finally provided me with Roach and some very good ones too, the early part of the third trip was mainly dominated by hungry Chub but fortunately not many were caught and they got the picture and disappeared, that was when the Roach started to feed - the typical Roach knocks started to arrive and then the time between knocks shortened as they grew in confidence for it wasn't long before the first was too confident and ended up ripping my soft top around and I was in, a typical short but spirited fight played out in front of me and only had to avoid losing tension and the ribbon weed which went smoothly and a large red dorsal fin cut through the surface of the water and swiftly into my net, 2 and a bit days with no Redfins and this was my reward, a 1lb 13oz Roach.


 This fish was long-overdue and it wasn't long before I was re-paid further with another lovely fish of 1lb 6oz, things were starting to look perky and for a while the swim did go quiet but 15 or so minutes had passed since putting the 2nd in the net the rod started to bounce and then another assertive pull of the rod was followed by me hooking into a large Roach, a stronger more dogged fight followed for roughly three or four minutes and then it rolled on the surface, a very big Roach of roughly 2.8 - 2.12 flashed itself and then for some inexplicable reason the hook just slipped and the Roach made a dive back down for the bottom, it was gone, not sure when the last time I cursed so much, every thing I could think of was aired. I was gutted for sure and briefly thought about packing up there and then but it couldn't bring myself to doing it, I had to stay as they were feeding and it wasn't long before I was repaid for patience and persistence, a carbon copy take followed and another big Roach was on the end, I made sure that this one did not slip the hook by being very careful, two minutes down the line a large silvery golden flank cruised over the lip of the net, relief and joy were my over-riding feelings when that went in, it wasn't all a disaster then!!.

An immaculate 2lb 1oz, proper brilliant.
 With the photo's done and weighing I allowed it to get it's breath back and then released her back to the deep, not my Holy Grail but I can not get enough of 2lb plus Roach, they are a magnificent fish to see and hold, a pleasure for sure and a few days later I headed off out and was met by a slightly more coloured river at dusk, my thinking was to do maybe an hour or two at the most after a long days work, so I didn't waste any time setting up and getting some ground-bait out leaving it 10 minutes, then put a bait out at the head of the swim and the rod tip started to bang around before I had put the rod down, I thought it was some crap or weed coming down stream that had caught it so I picked up the rod and started to wind in and immediately it started to jerk back down stream, by which time I had bent into what ever it was and started to then fight, the rod tip was zig-zagging across the surface and fighting quite hard in the current I thought straight away it was a Roach and it felt quite heavy but was pitch black by this time so I could see nothing, I just trusted that it was a good hook hold - at night it's slightly more nervy because you can't actually see anything, it could be a 3lb Roach and you wouldn't know until you had it the net and pull back the mesh, I think it adds to the experience so with that in mind when it did cruise over the edge of the net I quickly got it onto the mat and there was another big Roach, on my very first cast of the evening a beautiful but certain 2lb Roach lay on the mat, but there was one annoying aspect of the night and that was my absent mind forgetting the shoe to my DSLR's tripod so I could not do any self takes so a mat shot of a stunning 2lb 5oz Roach had to do, I haven't done that before!.

A solid lump of 2lb 5oz.

 A couple of snaps on the mat after I weighed her before it went back before I sat back and texted a couple of fellow angler's and my Dad of the capture before sitting back and relaxing, pressure off after the first cast??, not sure for 2lb Roach I have ever done that, I fed the swim for another 5 minutes after that but the bites were that of just Minnnow's and small Dace / Chub nibbling at the bait, the Roach didn't show anymore that night, did I care??, not a single bit. It was tough few sessions but I had got out of it what I desired, I will be heading down to Wareham some point this winter for some truly monster Roach and will also show my face down on Salisbury Avon along with the Frome and Dorset Stour, anyone else know of some rivers that hold monster Roach I am all ears.

 A great couple of sessions with two 2lb Roach banked @ 2lb 5oz and 2lb 1oz, my first two of the season and takes me up to 23 Roach over the magical mark, long may it last.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Bigger Torpedo's

 As I picked up on from my last post I was aiming to get out and give the Barbel another go, time is always an issue but today it was relatively quiet so I got off work earlier and headed off to the river for a couple of hours rolling, my Dad also came along for the journey hoping to get locked into a fight or two. Only recently the Barbel have been feeding and becoming more easier to find, which for me is the ideal circumstance.

 Pods of Barbel have been popping up everywhere so where to fish isn't an issue but the task is to find the fish when they are feeding, rolling meat is a great way to sort out the feeders and the tactic worked yet again, another fantastic fight on the cane & pin carried on and on as between my father and I we failed to net the fish on the first 5 attempts, every time it came close to a marginal bar where the net was waiting it would bolt back out into the deeper water and carry on the scrap, but we finally got it in, a good fish, my initial guess was a 9 but after we weighed her at 8lb 4oz we were both surprised, she was empty and has a great deal of filling out to do come the winter.

A big frame but hollow, come Feb it will go close to 10lb.

 As dusk approached my Dad did get a couple of bangs whilst rolling but he didn't manage to connect one, with the "ol man" doing that I had decided to go trotting for some silvers and had some success with a few Dace and Chub with a decent Roach coming off almost immediately, then dusk had come and gone it was time we did the same, 6 trips for Barbel and 6 caught, 100% so far I wonder how long that will last?.

 This week I also won the Korum Specimen Cup in the anglers mail for a 15oz Dace and a 2lb 1oz Roach, both of which are very big fish, but a quest for a 3lb Roach is always on my mind, one day.........one day I will have the privilege of clutching one. 

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 ...