Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Vampires of the Lake.


 Before I started this season my predator personal bests were not what I'd call impressive but I have wanted to achieve some targets that I set at the beginning of 2015, this season has been made by some impressive captures on the predator front, three-pound Perch for some angler's are average but a fish of 3lb 6oz is massive to me, I also made abundantly clear in my last post the achievement of another angling goal by catching a 20lb+ Pike, from a river it was all the more impressive, this was all on top of my PB Zander caught earlier in the month which nudged 7lb on the scales where I was tackling the much maligned Bury Hill complex to put myself in with a chance of a double figure fish.

 I had finally learnt how to catch them along with Brian Roberts, we set our sights of the ultimate prize in the Zander world.

 So for one last hoorah we made our way back down into the Surrey Hills for one last blast, I stuck to my usual tactic of one float rod slightly off the bottom (Roach section) and the other an ounce lead (Roach section) cast out to a feature that we had previously located, we get there usually with enough time to faff around before casting out around ten minutes before dusk, speaking to all of the departing angler's we learnt that one Zander had came out all day between maybe fifteen angler's targeting them, thing's we thought would be tough then, ten minutes later the ledgered Roach section went for a wander out into the open water, "fish on" and out the corner of my eye the float vanished, slipping the first rod between my legs with the fish attached I bent into the second rod, which by the way felt heavier so I enlisted Brian's help to bring the smaller one in where I concentrated on not losing the larger of the two. Not bad for a lake that struggled for everyone, a double hook up in less than 10 minutes, I was feeling rather smug, but I knew as the wind speed crept up as Storm Frank was starting to get a grip thing's would get tougher.

My opening brace of 6.0 & 3.15.
Six on the nose.
 Not a bad start by any standard's, the fish were definitely feeding but getting them to commit was proving difficult, the wind was just getting stronger and stronger as every minute went by, around 7pm it was probably notching up to 25mph if not stronger, between the brace and 7pm I did manage another fish of 5.08 which fought quite well but it wasn't the start of a feeding frenzy as we have found in the recent past, had the stiff wind put them off slightly or are they simply not feeding as hard as they'd been doing on other trips, the sport was so slow that I spent most of the evening being sociable, nagging with Brian we were trying to work out why the sport was not what it has been, so many things to bear in mind we ended up just sticking to what we know.

A chunky mid-five. A month or so ago that was a PB, mad how perspectives change.
 The lead was totally ignored for the rest of the night and my only action was coming on the float, I managed to conjure up one more toothy critter of 5.09 and that was my lot, one lost fish was added to the evening's action along with 3 dropped runs, Brian did avoid a thumping when I slipped the net under a cracking winter Zed of 7.14, not too bad for someone who had two bites in five hours, tough going it was.

Second biggest of the evening at 5.09.

 Total Runs: 8
 Total Hooked: 5
 Total Landed: 4
 Total Bumped: 3
 Weights: 6.0, 5.9, 5.8, 3.15.

 A total of 26 Zander in four trips is not a bad return but that double will have to wait a little while longer and with the skills starting to look a little sharper it's time to locate a River Thames monster and a canal Zed, both are not going to be easy I'll tell you.

Monday, 28 December 2015

If Carlsberg Did Pike Trips....


 Between my brother "Richard" and I there has always been a slight angling rivalry around Pike, he rarely fishes and catches some pretty awesome specimen's, although he hasn't been out of late as he is expecting his first "pitter patter of feet". I don't have any tykes yet but the day will come I'm certain in the not to distant future, until that day comes I will endeavour to find some time on the bank as I always do, recently I had a long wander on a river system in search of Pike, or Pike looking swims, these I did find and some specimen fish, staring at me as if I was their next meal, I could assure them though I was more threatening as my 9ft Chub Outkast rod and 20lb line would tell 'em.

 That was over a week ago now, how on earth I didn't get back down sooner beggar's belief. Well the time came to revisit and I had a plan that I wanted to execute and cut a short story, short, the plan was full-proof with maximum devastation, armed with 45lb armor trace and a single size six treble (semi-barbed) I set off with those tight cut-outs in mind where the "Big Girls" were spotted, making my way there I thought that the trip could be futile as in that time they could have moved for miles, so my plan was littered with holes and all depended on whether they were lazy or simply found their holding area, so many variable's but within ten minutes all those elements of doubt were banished as the float stopped and then a flash of a Pike's mouth followed by a very powerful run.

 Mad how we question our logic but seems to work out for the better more often than not, I could feel a decent weight on the end but it was far too erratic to be a large one, then out of the depth came a beautifully marked Esox of maybe ten-pound or so. As the Pike slipped into the net the treble flew out and just missed my head which was lucky for two reason's, I got a beating on the bank too as this double figure Esox didn't want to keep still.

10.09, a good start but I want the Grandmother.....
 This season has been absolutely brilliant, but it has been missing something big on the Pike front so I thought I'd put that right with this enormous Esox Lucius. The take was something else, the fight was simply mind-blowing and the netting situation was very difficult but upon the third attempt I got to taste my first success at a twenty pound plus specimen, the sheer size of her in my arms was un-nerving, everything about it was stunning, spell-binding, in my opinion it's just what being a Piscator is all about, a special moment and this was the coming together of nearly a decade's work, New Year's Eve will be celebrated well. Here she is in all her glory.

At 21.07 she represents a new Personal Best.

What a stunning specimen, I feel honoured to have caught her.

37 inches of sheer river monster.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Just Simply Brilliant.


 This season has been special for quite a few reasons, but none more so than the capture of two pound plus Roach and I have been blessed with the opportunity on multiple occasions this last three months, fish of (2.03, 2.05 & 2.10 ) have graced my net and thankful for the chance to witness one of anglings wonders. So when I head out in search of Roach there is never expectation of specimen fish at all, just happy to be on the bank and in with a chance, so with that a few days ago I set out my stall to trot for Roach using maggot and caster with the sporadic use of bread just to see if the change sparks a fish into taking should the grubs fail.

 The plan was to fish roughly the last hour of light until I could no longer see the tip of the float, I find if the redfin's are feeding that this is the time to get trotting, a couple of decent Chub put in an appearance very early on and when this happens it usually means the Roach are either not around or that the Chub are simply hungrier, never a good omen but carried on I did, at around half-three the magic wand was waved again as the float sailed away and was met by a sturdy fish hanging in the current, immediately I thought "big Roach", from the off I played the fish carefully and was met by a large red dorsal fin cut through the surface of the river towards me, special sight that is and even more so when the entire of the fish was revealed, I scrambled for the net and she cruised straight in, when you do your water-craft and put the hard work into finding these special fish, it all depends on the Roach from there on, this fish was testament to legwork put in and boy I'll tell you it felt special. Another Fish of a Lifetime ( Mark 27 ). On the scales this stunner weighed a handsome 2lb 6oz.

 I simply can not get enough of these impressive creatures. If I was only this good at Pike fishing, I may get the taste of my first twenty. But that put aside, my holy grail of a three-pound Roach is still very much there to dream about, but with the belief growing every time I get a "two" I hope one day that the dream is played out for real and that the magical barrier that is seldom surpassed can be achieved, until that day.....I shall continue to dream!

2lb 6oz of sheer angling beauty. Magical. Mystical.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

In Search of a Personal Best Chub (Part Three).


 "Jean eating bollocks".

 This lark of loitering around rivers in search of a fat old Chub is good fun, never knowing what your going to find is exciting, but blanking is always a fear, especially when it's on a section of river or indeed a new river, blanking though is par for the course although I try to avoid that big fat zero as much as possible. This afternoon I simply set my stall out to get some bites going and went about this by feeding roughly two-dozen maggot/casters before every run through, at this time of year I shouldn't be feeding this hard but it took ages to get the fish feeding.

 Nearly 45 minutes had lapsed before I hooked a proper Chub and not one of those see-throw variety sorts, a serious puller which isn't what they are known for but this fish in particular had a flea up it's chuff, nice to have them pull back to be honest and when I finally got it into a nettable position I realised it was a decent fish with first guesses around "5.4-5.8", not a long fish but extremely well fed, I was looking for a "fat old Chevin" and I got one, bites were tough to come by but they must have come on the feed, six casts resulted in a further four Chub of various sizes then as if a switch was flipped the swim went dead, I plugged away for a further 30-40mins to see if I could get them going again but only resulted in three Dace to 7ozs, not bad either.

At 5.09 she has space to get larger, great fish.
 I do love the brassey flanks of a big Chub, this one fought well and it's no surprise seeing that it was proportioned perfectly, can only hope to see this fatty in a couple years time when she will be over the six-pound barrier.

 Also the shot below of the Chub that fell to the caster/maggot potion in that spell of trotting, I did manage another Chub of 4.03 further upstream to add to my mini haul for the day. The day didn't finish there either as I went upstream further in search of specimen Roach, the quest for a three-pound "Holy Grail" was to be resumed.
Not to bad for less than ten trots.
 Just an after thought though, is any body interested in buying these very well worn pair of jeans before I put them on eBay, just a little head's up though as they are missing the crotch area as I believe my bollocks have eaten it away, well they will be great for summer wearing ( plenty of ventilation ) ;)
Think I need a new pair.....

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Itchen and Avon Grayling.


 It had been a while since I visited the Avon for Grayling, although catching a fish of two-pounds or more is unlikely I just wanted to get down there and have a good day out, Dace were also a possibility with the odd monster thrown in for good measure. My last visit to Salisbury yielded many Grayling but it was the Dace that got my attention with the best a smidgen off one pound, a return to that venue was never to catch large fish but to fill my boots and although the weather wasn't perfect for trotting as the wind was very stiff I still had a good bash at it.

Avon at dawn, magical times. How many monster Roach are here I wonder?.

 For this trip I travelled down with my father and we met up with Russell Hilton and his father for day's trotting, unfortunately when trotting it's hardly the type of fishing that allows you to be sociable as there was plenty of water to search through, the Dace were very forthcoming but only one of noticeable size which went 11.03oz, the silver darts just kept coming and with the mild weather they were in a ravenous mood which I'm sure prevented the Grayling from getting to the bait, I only managed a few Grayling all day with the best two going 1.11 & 1.07. I trotted various swims and holes to try sift through the hoards of Dace but I couldn't get away from them, with dusk approaching I went off in search of Roach but the swim I wanted to fish was occupied and that spelt the end of my trip there and my father managed plenty of Trout and Dace but we were both unlucky to lose a very good Grayling each, mine was clearly over two-pound and Dad's looked as close as.

Avon lady.
 Off now to the Itchen with a fairly early start I met Tom for a day's trotting for Grayling and maybe a shot at a Roach later on towards dusk, arriving at the river it looked absolutely spot on for some big finned beaut's, finding some deeper runs we both trotted a mix of maggot/caster and corn, the sport was very steady and at times I was bagging a fish a trot with some approaching the pound mark with the largest at 1.07 which was in mint condition, such a stunning species to catch and even the younger ones were mint, the driving wind and rain did make centre-pin fishing slightly difficult but we soldiered on through it and glad we did as the sport got better.

Itchen powerhouse.
I was happier than I looked. 1.08 of pure fighting machine.
 We both ventured onwards to find more fish with maybe a chance of some larger fish and I lost a really good one within a couple of trots in one specific swim which looked bang on for a large Grayling but she escaped quickly, it felt much larger than anything else that I'd connected with all day and I knew I wouldn't get too many opportunities like that, although later on I did have a 1.08 which put up a stout scrap in the pacey water, the rest of daylight was spent having a look around some more runs and having a trot for some Roach where I managed a few to 1.03 which again were pristine, I would love a return soon as some of those trots were a dream to work, the stocks of fish were good and the chance of a special fish lurking around the creases and slacks are pretty good.

It look's awesome.
I'll be back.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Worth Getting Wet For.


 My Zander campaign was kicked off again with another trip to Bury Hill planned, my last trip was a success and I dearly wanted to find out that it wasn't a fluke along with the fact that I had worked out how to catch them, I touched on it briefly in my last post in regards to hooks, rigs and that I wanted to improve hook-up and landing rates, as the colder weather arrives bites will become harder to come by and conversion of bites will be very important as to not make the effort and blank.

 Blanking on this fishery isn't something I've done before and for the price I certainly don't want to either, it's no wonder why the banks are empty as you have to earn a tidy mint just to fish for the predator's, I have had this conversation in regards to the running of the fishery and I'd go as far as saying it is poorly managed, reason's why may seem trivial but silly things like the website, hasn't been updated in five years nearly and a lot of anglers presume that those fish are still there, also the cost of tickets are astronomical, to fish the night (until 9pm) you have to buy an afternoon ticket too even though you aren't fishing the afternoon at all, money grabbing is the only way I can describe it, if they lowered the ticket prices slightly it would go a long way to bringing more anglers to the bank and more money in their coffers, at the moment the management of the fishery is alienating maybe 95% of potential anglers because of the inflexibility and price of the ticket's available.

 I don't normally rant on here but it doesn't make sense to me as a money savvy person in business to make such poor decision's surely a change in policy would double if not triple daily taking's? I believe I'm right.........

 Am I?

 Business is business, there to make money not lose it.


 Anyhow, the Zed fishing wasn't as easy tonight as it was during last Saturday's session, the bites took a lot longer to materialize, but when they did it was more clear cut with the ledgered Roach section went off for the first 3 runs and all resulted in Zander, there were between 2.12 to 3.14 as the larger ones still managed to elude me, then things went very quiet. When it goes quiet it's usually become the shoal have moved and await my chance when they come back through.

A good "Four".
 The next time the fish came back around over an hour had gone by without a touch, things weren't easy and an unwelcome appearance of a Crayfish was the only event that kept me from dozing off, then the float came alive and struck into a solid fish, immediately I knew it was better than anything I've had yet, then the hook slipped and come hurtling out the water - yet again I had lost a big Zander a matter of a rod length out from the net, so damn annoying that I lose the big fish and land all the small ones with consummate ease. It wasn't long before the rod came alive again and a (4.04) Zed lay on the bank taking me up to four for the evening, shortly after number five came in (2.08) a sixth fish was connected with and it was a heavy fish like the two that I've lost over the two session's, I made sure the tension wasn't released but this fish was fighting back and causing me a couple of issues with it's lunges but with all Zander the fight's don't last forever and I slipped a cracking Zed over the rim of the net.

A cracking fish and I'm amazed how large they are compared to weight.
 Brian done the honours with some great photo's who also managed five fish on what was a tough evening but this new personal best of 7lb exactly made the remaining time spent on the bank very pleasant as the Owls were very vocal and watched pieces of space rock burn up as they entered the atmosphere before disintegrating, a very peaceful last hour of the evening and that capture of the "seven" made the journey well worth it.

Horrid thing's!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

In Search of a Personal Best Chub (Part Two)


 "Washed out" is always my fear when I go on a detour and on Sunday I set off from London to a section of the Stour that has been churning out monster Chub like they are going out of fashion, my Chub personal best fish of 6.10 is going to be very difficult to beat on most of my local rivers, so where best than probably the country's best Chub river.

 All I needed was a river that was fishable....

Hmmmmm.........

A regular occurrence on the Stour.
 The colour was like chocolate and although the river was within it's banks I knew from the beginning it was going to be tough, Chub would have switched off, not completely but they would wait to feed properly as the colour dropped out of it, unfortunately I didn't have a couple of days to wait so I had to get on with it, I travelled down and met up with a couple of anglers who were after the same quarry Matt and Rob, I started off in a swim that had a main glide with a near-side obstruction and far-bank vegetation which looked perfect for a Chevin or two.

 I ran maggots through for well over two hours I couldn't manage more than the occasional half-hearted pull which came to nothing, then I switched over to rolling cheese and static cheese in the slacks and glides but again this proved futile, a quick change of venue also proved as hard with a couple of line bites as fish moved around my swim but nothing committed. The only real positive to come from the day was in the shape of a couple of Roach but nothing big, just watching the float bury itself was good stuff and as dusk approached we all switched to static bottom baits, again this didn't provide any joy, that is the reality of fishing sometimes, blanking isn't something I do much but it teaches you alot when you do, search for those answers that will make me succeed come further down the line.

 "Home Comforts" are loved by all whether it's in the fishing world or not, I know the fisheries very well that I have spent time on, plenty of time has been taken to work out patterns of feeding and what condition's are best for certain species, what bait's to use and so on, so yesterday I took my father out for a day's guided Barbelling, take him around areas where I know that Barbel hold up and feed, we spent the day roving on a single rod each approach, this for Barbel and Chub too is the best way to fish in my opinion, sight fishing is even better.

 One of the most exhilarating thing's in fishing is watching a Barbel scoot over to your bait as it heads down stream before hoovering it up and quickly trying to wrench the rod out of your hand!, my father and I did some recon first before casting for the first time and when we did start I didn't expect a take on the first cast, James Snr's bait was slammed as a Barbus made off downstream at speed, first blood to the "old boy" :), I wanted him to catch before I had a go myself.

Speedy little soul, around the 4-4.8 mark.

 He was happy with that but a double figure fish was possible and enough of them are present to there be a chance, just had to find them!, we continued searching and it didn't take long for me to get involved as I had a staunch take but I lost her on the take, this was quickly followed by another hook-up which lasted for nearly half a minute before coming off, I must admit I cursed alot even though I was damn sure more opportunities would come, then in a swim which I love to fish was kind to me again in the shape of this stunningly immaculate Barbel of 10lb 3oz, the fight was brilliant and a couple of heart in mouth moments as it snagged up on an unseen snag twice but came free fairly easy both times.

One the best looking Barbel I've ever caught, perfect.
I do miss not fishing for these as much.
 The day continued as it started as my father and I managed quite a few more enquiries but we just couldn't get the hook set but that is the way it goes sometimes, other times and I'd probably land four out of five hits. So today my father headed out by himself to try and add to yesterday's total but struggled to connect to anything and I didn't fair as well but a blank wasn't on the cards as a pocket rocket around 4lbs saved me, but my Dad unfortunately didn't add to his tally, but that's fishing!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Enigma Code That is Zander.


 For years Zander have been a species that I just can't seem to catch and when faced with the opportunity I come unstuck spectacularly, over the last few seasons I have threatened to actually go after them, so yesterday evening I ventured out to put an end to a wretched run. I arrived at my chosen venue at a little before dark so I could set up and plumb the depth in the swim I decided to plot in.

New best fishing buddies :)

 The idea was to fish two rods, one on a half ounce lead and the other on the float, hook patterns have been a huge talking point of late and many experiments are going on in the angling world in regards to what is the best for hooking and holding these seemingly difficult species, I haven't had much of an issue myself as I've only caught four Zander in my lifetime, so it's not something I can comment on with any real clout. But that was all about to change.....

Not bad at all, I started to bag up on some of these "elusive" creatures.

 I cast out at around 3:40pm and within seconds the float laid flat on the surface and then buried itself, I hadn't even cast my second rod!, sometimes when you get a quick take like that it can feel like a false start but this certainly wasn't, proceeding's were crazy to say the least, the Zander were on the feed and ravenously too. First blood was a Zed of 3lb 5oz and was very quickly joined by a 3lb Pike, then a slightly larger Zed then came to the net, the fight's weren't great but the bigger fish put up a slightly better scrap though.

Happy that I was catching, another one around 3-4lb.

My new PB of 5lb 6oz.

 For over two hours the sport was non stop and amongst the hoards of bites and runs I managed two new personal bests, both of which fought quite well. I really got it right and maybe that proverbial monkey is well and truly off my back. As time pushed on towards 7pm the runs dropped off and went from a rate of one every 3-5minutes to maybe one every 30-40 minutes, it was clear that the fish either moved or stopped feeding as the action noticeably deteriorated.

 I aimed to leave at 9 and I think I had six takes in as many minutes as the pack moved back through the swim which resulted in two more Zed's. I had finally cracked my "Enigma Code", been a long time coming, can't wait to get back and catch that big girl that I lost at the net.

 This is how it finished up: 

 Runs: 24
 Hook-ups: 13
 Fish Banked: 10 ( 9 Zander, 1 Pike )
 Missed/Dropped runs: 11
 Lost Fish: 3

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Drennan Cup on the Horizon?.


 Ever since I was a child learning to fish with my father I have always had a relatively competitive outlook to my fishing, this was natural owing to two brother's who also fish and we are very similar age, we used to try to better each others PB's over most species that were available and although this was good banter between us at an early age I soon became detached from the competitive side of angling and have adopted a more nomadic style of fishing and spending many hours just thinking on how to improve my catches and indeed sometimes just to catch.

 It may seem I catch just about every time I go out and invariably that does happen but it's not without having to tough out times when it seems the waters are devoid of fish although I know it's not the case. But of late I have struck gold with the capture of some magnificent wild river Roach, my all time favourite species and to catch such rare specimen's is testament to what our rivers can produce should the condition's and many other variables be in your favour on the day, I will always maintain that location is half the battle won with large Roach.

 Having caught these specimen redfin's I thought why not send them to the AT and see if I could win a little something, last month I won my first Drennan Cup award and £80 richer, snazzy baseball cap and pin I thought "that's good init", so upon catching my season best of 2.10 the other week I thought I'd send the photo in and see if I could get in the rag again, low and behold I got a text from a mate last night saying congrats on another award, I thought "oh shit", I honestly hold no expectations at all about anything like this but to now have 2 awards this season and it's only December the ever competitive drive that I've quelled over the years is threatening to breach it's walls, I don't want it to be a campaign to try and get more but I intend to fish the waters that I want to fish and if it happen's then absolutely brilliant, I would be elated beyond description but I will enjoy my time on the bank regardless as to whether I'm catching or not, that's always been my outlook and will never change.

This week's issue. Boom.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

In Search of a Personal Best Chub. (Part One)


 It's been quite a few years now since I experienced a special moment on the Chub front, I have had red letter days on a few occasions, the stand out one of course for me was a short session on the Thames which was almost 5 years ago to the day when I managed to catch a brace of 6lb Chub (6.10 & 6.4) on bread link-ledgered over a large bed of liquidized bread, I remember landing the first and was in disbelief by the sheer size of it and not twenty minutes later I hooked and landed the second six, what a day that was and the brace shot was amazing. A few months down the line my computer crashed and it corrupted the HDD and I lost absolutely everything including the photo's of my 2.15 Roach which was also caught on the Thames.

 That was a very painful scenario but over time you realize that the photo's can be erased but you will always remember the catches and I do remember them like they were yesterday and still very fresh in the memory, so since that shitty incident I back everything up on a secondary HDD to prevent a total catastrophe again. It has been quite a long time since I have had what I regard as a Chub red letter day and these don't seem to come by too often. So on to the fishing and with about four hours to utilize I decided on heading out for Roach seeing as I am in a self confessed purple patch but I quickly found out the condition's were not favorable and the wind was absolutely atrocious in the swims I wanted to fish, so I quickly bailed out on that idea and headed on up around a mile or so to Chub grounds where the wind wasn't so keen.

 At 20mph or so at times things were still far from easy but the sight of a bent rod very early on, in fact the second trot at around 25 yrds soon made it all look a little brighter, the float buried itself very confidently which was a good sign they were feeding, for Chub standards it was a very strong fight on the pin and gave a great account of itself in the turbulent water between myself and the shoal, a large set of lips broke the surface and it was clearly a good fish and it didn't look far off 6lbs, what a start I thought but then I quickly descended into a panic as I realized I let my net up by the keepnet another ten yards upstream so I ended up guiding it through the snaggy inside edge to my starting point, thankfully the hook-hold was solid, trying to lift it up with one hand was never going to happen as the girth was simply too much for my decent sized mits, the Avon's were pulled straight out of the bag and put a number to a beautiful looking winter Chub.

Lovely rubber lips at 5lb 12oz.
  Not bad for a first fish from the swim, very nice indeed and it didn't take long either for another fish to show up and put another great fight up, a far side submerged snag did cause a couple of heart in mouth moments as the line went solid but quickly came free, a short fight from there resulted in yet another Chub that looked comfortably over 5lb!, during casts I was cursing something rotten but by the end of the trot I was happy as a pig in sh*t, I was hoping it would continue as the second Chub weighed 5lb 9oz and what do you know, the next four trots resulted in another two fish of 4lb 14oz & 4lb 10oz.

Chunky old chevin.
 I had found a good stamp of fish and was hoping that a six or a seven was in amongst this shoal somewhere and that I may be lucky enough to catch one, the wind whipped up really strong and changed direction slightly which did not help me at all as the line now kept going around the pin and got to a point where I could only cast once the wind died down enough for me to present a bait, this meant I could only cast once every four or five minutes which was bloody stupid but simply couldn't cast across the river to the holding spot where the shoal was and when I did make it the wind would put a wicked bow in the line and drag it into the inside edge which was no good for me.

 The wind after a little while did allow some more fishing and whilst I wasn't fishing I was introducing caster and maggot into the swim to stimulate the remaining Chub in the shoal to continue to feed and run a generous flake of bread through and the next two trots through bought another two Chub one of which was another five-pounder at 5.04 with the other around 3lbs, by the time I had finished nine Chub came to the net in total which was fantastic fishing, a six didn't show but I'm sure they reside here, somewhere. I photographed the largest three of the bag and then released them all fighting fit and hopefully coax that grandmother of their's that I'm interested in meeting her soonish...

What a pair Chevin's, 
Another good Chub gives up.
 It was a very tough day's fishing, the condition's made proceeding's very awkward but this will certainly be classed as a red-letter-day, I've never done three 5lb Chub in one sitting so that was to be up there with the best of my Chub catches, question is will I get a bigger one this season?, I certainly hope so. Until then tight lines and be lucky.

Cutting My Teeth.


 It's been a very long time coming but after so many years of reading reports, seeing images and hearing many good thing's about the River Itchen I had finally got the opportunity to "cut my teeth" on this historic waterway. About time too aswell, I have been lucky enough to fish a few of this countries many chalk streams with many successes on various fronts, all I wanted for this visit was to enjoy myself, catch many fish with the view of also targeting the Roach population that reside there.

An early start.


 For the trip down I was joined by Brian and met up with Mick and Jeff for a day's trotting and quiver tipping, for Mick this was his first stab at a chalk stream and I'm sure he would enjoy it, who wouldn't. I started off at the free stretch before the fishery opened but I never managed to connect with the only bite I had, then once we had made our way up the track to the top of the beat our sights were set firmly at trotting for Grayling.

What a looker....and a Grayling.
Beautiful fish.
 Thing's were bit of a slow burner apart from the dirge of small Grayling and Trout but when the better fish were located the fun began, a couple of pound-plus Grayling came to the net with the largest at 1.06, with the Trout coming in at around 3lbs which were fighting very well but in doing so were ruining run after run, on game fisheries that is to be expected, I did learn a couple of good thing's for my long trotting as I was adjusting on my 20-40 yard trots, if you've never been to the Itchen it's wider than most chalkstreams, most importantly wider than I'm used to so I had to adjust angles and trot technique so the bait would run the creases where a majority of fish would be.

It looks very good but this swim didn't produce.
A lovely place to fish.
Mick doing a spot of posing.....
Some of my friends.
 For the remainder of the day I continued to fish likely areas and a plenty more fish came by the net but nothing of note with half-a-dozen Grayling to a little under 1.06 but nothing large showed up and as dusk settled the constant flow of Grayling in a swim that looked very Roach like, certainly a swim I would have thought they'd exist but they were a no-show, conditions were okay and the tackle was right, just the bigger fish were not interested in feeding, but the company was great and would like to do it again but a change of venue I feel would be more productive and can't help but think this fishery in particular is living on it's reputation as opposed to current catches, but these things happen. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

It's Been a Good Month.


 Recently the Roach fishing has been on another planet with three specimen's over the 2lb barrier banked, many many hours of fishing has gone into my quest for large Roach this season alone and I feel the hard work has paid off, although I don't want it to end there I am certainly chuffed with the results, the best time of the year for Roach is now upon us and a trip on Friday is booked to cut my teeth on another of England's beautiful chalk-stream's for Roach, a small gathering of blogger's will also be present for what will be a lovely day out in the countryside in great company.

Happy moments...
 Earlier in the month I received a lovely surprise as I submitted my photo of the 2.05 Redfin that I caught, which won me my first Drennan Cup award of the season and in fact ever, I feel I may have won a couple previously with certain fish I have caught but never gave it a thought and part of me didn't really bother as I was just happy to be catching such clonking fish of various species, nevertheless I sent my photo off with a little spill and I duly saw this in the next weeks edition, £80 richer and a cap to keep my bonce warm come the cooler months, not too bad eh!. With another entry currently with the guys at Drennan for the 2.10 monster I had the other weekend, although I don't think it will win an award even though it was a real tank and it weighed every ounce of what it looked.

 I did slip out for a couple of brief session's over the weekend to target Bream and Carp on the Saturday morning which saw another canal Bream slide into the net which weighed a Shade over 5lb, where as the Sunday morning was spent searching out Pike in the post-industrial landscape of London, targeting a double figure Pike is always a nice target but I didn't manage it although I had two young Jack's smash my already battered diver, a theory I have is if the lure looks battered it's probably because the Pike actually like it, the pattern seems to do the business and a replacement may be needed soon as the teeth marks and chunks missing out of it are starting to break up the colours, but it was great fun, I did however have a couple of bailouts as another three Pike turned at the last moment before striking the lure, one of which was probably around the 14lb mark which would have done just nicely indeed.



Not so impossible are they now, worked them out I believe.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

No Zander in the Cov'.


 I'm joining the party fairly late here but better late than never I suppose, after Saturday's fantastic trotting session I was buzzing and I woke up on Sunday at 6am still buzzing, the freezing cold certainly didn't put me off as I was to meet Ricki and Brian at Euston for a jolly up in Coventry on the Cov' canal in search of our usual quarry, Zander.

Such a stunning fish, made up for sure!!.
 Now I have been here twice so far and traveled back home with my tail firmly between my legs wondering what went wrong, I was determined to improve on my poor track record for Zed's by using a two-pronged attack.

 Once arriving in the town centre we decided to chuck some lures about for a few small jack's but I only managed to watch on, my lures got a couple of little knocks but nothing clear cut, so after casting an hour away or so we hopped into a taxi and joined the angling collective for Jeff Hatt's birthday Zander bash, don't really know what a collective of fishermen is called so I'll go with "Madmen", the condition's weren't ideal but we were there and I wanted to make the most of it, it was great to catch up with some of the guys I haven't seen since last year's meet and fish, but also great to meet up with the likes of Lee, Ben and Keith who I haven't met before but felt I knew them through reading their blogs as they probably felt by meeting myself and the other angler's who they'd yet to meet.


 For a majority of the time I spent nattering away to fellow bloggers/anglers about recent ventures and taking plenty of plaudits for this enormous Roach that fell to my trotted maggot/caster combination but I did come down to also banish my canal duck for Zander and I was determined I'd do it on this trip, my sleeper rod was chucked about to try and coax a fish to feed whilst I fished a small 5g jig with various bodies and colour's, the fishing was hard but as dusk was approaching I had a subtle bang which I struck into and a fairly dainty fight played out in the track of the canal, I knew it was a Zander so I really wanted to land it, it wasn't long either before it got mugged and I punched the air which delighted me no end as it was my first Zander on an artificial too.

A very welcome Zed getting "Papped".
 The rest of the evening was spent trying to bag myself another but a couple of half hearted runs from the Zed's proved to be it and we all retired to the pub for a drink or two.....