Sunday, 21 May 2017

Marching The Towpath.

 Having recently achieved my goal of a 6lb plus Orfe I turned my attentions to the daunting task of cracking my relatively local canal system in search of big Bream and Carp, for canal standards these species can grow to 10lb and 35lb respectively, now to some anglers a 10lb Bream isn't exactly big but in a canal neglected and poached to within an inch of it's life they are big and boy are they hard to find, should the location be found then getting them to feed is even more of a task, one that i've only achieved on roughly 25% of my visits in four years and if that doesn't put my task into perspective then the fact that I have seen only one angler in all the time speaks volumes.

 The Carp are even more difficult to locate as they seem to be extremely nomadic which makes my quest just that little bit trickier, but I love a challenge and this is one I've been looking forward to and I have only started now as only until the beginning of last week the canal system was like chocolate and zero visibility but with the drop of rain we have finally received it has cleared the water up and I can once again walk the many miles of towpath and stalk my quarry.

 Remaining mobile is absolutely imperative as if a bait and wait approach is adopted one would certainly blank, I'd hazard a guess that no fish would be caught unless said angler was donning a set of golden spherical objects in his strides. Waiting for fish to come to me on a water I can stalk is not an option, this is my type of angling and today my ability was to be tested, as it always is here.

 I left home around 6am this morning and arrived a little before 7am and was on the hunt straight away. As is often the case I walked for a couple of miles slowly scouring the water for any shapes, movement or feeding (bubbles). Probably a little after 830 I found a solitary Carp cruising the upper layer and it appeared to be looking for food on the surface, on certain areas of the canal near parks many people in the spring and summer feed the ducks, so bread is very much part of the staple diet to more than just the feathery kind, no doubt this Mirror that appeared to borderline 20lb was looking for any leftovers from yesterdays dinner.

 For nearly fifteen minutes I followed the carp until it reached an inlet where it decided to rest up and sat on a bed of silk weed, I gently lowered my slow sinking flake a couple of foot from it's snout and didn't hesitate to inhale it, I didn't wait for my little quill to register the bite, I struck and somehow I missed it !! I cursed my luck and swore quite a few times before I realised I hadn't actually spooked it and she was still close to where I screwed up my chance, on went another piece of flake and put it straight back where it was taken first time around but she was not to be fooled again, no matter how much I tried there was no budging.

 Having accepted my failing at a golden chance i ambled off with my tail between my legs.......would I get another chance??

 On the Carp front that unfortunately that was my lot but as the morning wore on and the sun got higher I continued to seek any signs of life when after half an hours walking I finally found three Bream feeding and cruising around, having found Bream I set the depth to around 5ft and watched the flake flutter through the column and then once it reached the desired depth I would lift it two or three foot up and left it flutter back down and repeated this method for about ten minutes when one Bream broke off from the shoal and headed straight for the flake, no mistake this time!

 My canal fishing was off to a positive start and on the scales she went 8lb 7oz which ranks that my 4th largest canal slab, I was chuffed with that as catching a fish is a huge achievement in itself. With that I continued to see if i could catch any of the others but there was no further interest.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Mission Accomplished: Golden Orfe.

 Leading on from my session a couple of weeks ago, my target of a "six pound" Golden Orfe still beckoned and I was on to my ninth visit to this picturesque venue sat in the middle of the idyllic Surrey Hills, my desire to crack this specific challenge was burning stronger every time I thought about it.

 So having thought about the Orfe fishing quite a bit I decided that I have not managed to stalk any of the big specimens in the lake, so my tactic had to be changed, with that I decided to go about the bait and wait approach. Following on from my mini rant a few days ago I only opted with a single rod but I knew that if my bait was presented properly and that the fish were feeding then I stood a chance.

 My rig was very simple but highly effective in other circumstances that I used it in, a short 10lb hooklength of very low diameter of maybe 3 inches in length tied with a small size 14 wide gape hook, the feeder was a 40g Guru (Korda) hybrid method feeder which I started to use and find it very good at what it's supposed to do, the bait? just a Drennan bouyant maggot dipped in a secret solution to give it a pungent smell which I hope the fish find if the lure of the red maggot doesn't attract the fish.

 I fed an area between two marks with a mix of hemp, Sonubaits supercrush green groundbait and red maggots which in hope would get passing fish to feed and eventually my plan worked, within an hour or so of starting up my rod bleeped and then tore off, fish on and it fought quite well which led me to believe that I'd hooked a Tench and when that last minute dash for reeds came about it was obvious, not a bad one either and more importantly I was clearly in an area where the fish were feeding.

Nice little start, 5.06
 The rod stayed a silent for a little and I employed a twenty minute recast to keep the bait going out and if fish were feeding around my area then it would keep them close with a chance of tricking them, maybe an hour after landing the Tench my rod melted as a fish made off with the fake maggot, as soon as I lifted into the fish I saw a big Orfe roll on the surface at distance and knew straight away it was a new PB so I played with caution all the way to the net but was it the "six" I craved?

The verdict....5lb 10oz
 So not quite the six pounder I was after but boy I was chuffed to bits! An amazing creature but the fights are so lazy, I near enough reeled it in the 40 yards to which I was fishing.

 But proceedings were to become very interesting as a couple of hours later my rod tore again, the take was very confident and could imagine it was a Tench as there was no large orange fish roll on the surface, but it fought hard just like the first and when it slipped into the net I could clearly see it was larger than the first, a seasons best of 6lb 2oz.

 Feeling quite content at catching a pair of good Tench and personal best Orfe I kept the feeder going out and regularly topping up the area I'd be preparing all day, I had to wait a while before my next enquiry but this one was to be the special one, the very fish I'd spent nearly nine trips for, a couple of double bleeps on the buzzer sounded and before I had the chance to strike the rod screamed off and a huge frame rolled out on the surface in the distance. Straight away I made sure that the fish was played very gently and as it approached the net I knew then I'd cracked it, but by how much?

I had smashed it, all 6lb 12oz of it !
 Target Achieved!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Toughing It Out For Tench.

 Tench, a species much associated with Spring, the problem is it doesn't feel like Spring as the temperature is reminiscent of winter. The cold NE wind that has remained for a good couple of weeks has affected the water temps which have had a knock on affect on the feeding of the Tench, however cool the weather has been the fingers were too itchy to ignore and planned a trip down south for an overnighter.

In position.


Even better cooked.

 24 hour trips and me don't go together, for one I'm far too fidgety to stay in one area and the other I'd feel too much like a Carp boy, but I gave it a bash anyway, I bought myself a JRC stealth x-lite shelter/bivvy for the trip and had great fun in buying the food for a stove which I bought months ago, it was going to happen. In preparation for the trip I boiled up 10 pints of hemp and packed stacks of bait with the hope that the Tench would be very obliging.

 Brian joined me for this trip, both of us were very optimistic and for days previous I was excited like a little child before Christmas. When we arrived after a lovely journey down through the beautiful South Downs the lake sat there glistening in the mottled sunlight as we pulled up, with only one other angler on the lake we had the choice of the entire place and having been here once before last season I had a very slight idea on what to do and wasted no time getting the rods set up and a bed of bait out.

 With the traps set it was time to get the camp organised and brand new bivvy stripped out of the box the fun began.....with no manual it was a right pain the bum and after an hour nearly it still wasn't erected properly but it did the business. The occasional bleep would sound as fish moved around the baited area but runs were not materialising. A couple of hours passed before I got a solid take, a one-toner is what I'd been waiting for and I wound down on a heavy fish, clearly I was in contact with a big Tench but I know the weed can be a pain and I was to feel the pain first hand as the fish went solid and after a few seconds the line went slack.

The maggot thief escaped, again.
 Lost Tench for me was to become the theme as over the next couple of hours up to dusk I lost another two Tench to the weed and it was starting to wear on me, regardless of areas that I was putting my feeders the patches were clear but the Tench were running straight for weed beds and I hadn't the time to get their heads up before they ploughed into the silk weed, then dusk came and the Eels moved in.......

A clear night under the stars was a joy. 

Just a mess around with my DSLR and picked up something
that looks like a "Milky Way" in the bottom half of the photo.

The panoramic views of the South Downs are amazing.

 My little setup was cosy and laying under the stars was something I've not done in years, I even had a faff around with my camera on manual settings and play around with the ISO settings, I didn't manage any brilliant photos but it was good fun and picked up what I can only think was the Milky Way. the Eel count got to 3 before I packed it in for the night and caught a couple of hours sleep before dawn in prep' for a mad rush, well I hoped for a mad rush. I was honest with myself experiencing how tough the first 12 hours was I wasn't holding my breath, the fishing was tough and the remaining hours of our trip drifted by with only one more dropped fish, the conditions were not conducive to catching Tench but at least we were in the right places with the right bait, a return is pencilled in for next week where the wind will be blowing from the SW and the sun will be a lot warmer. The experience of the whole camping/fishing lark was great fun along with the cooking, thoroughly enjoyed it even if I failed in catching a Tench.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Orfe-ly Crafty Creatures.

 My quest which is now into it's third year in searching for a specimen Orfe with a target weight of 6lb, only a few reside in this particular venue but are extremely weary fish, I just hope on one trip that I can catch one unaware and tempt it to feed and manage to slip my net under it.

Red Kite on the hunt for something.

 I have been to this venue a few times now and typically I'll adopt a stalking approach but with the wind blowing a hooley I decided after just a couple to go on the bottom and fish a flat-bed method with a short 4inch hooklength, the hookbait was a single Drennan bouyant maggot soaked in a sticky strawberry solution which in the murky water hoped could lure the marauding Orfe to my bait and in the feeder I used Sonubaits 50/50 green crush with the little pellets, which is excellent, just watch the oils leech out of it after a couple of minutes sitting on the bottom.

 I usually use one rod here as the owner is on bit of a money maker and charges nearly doubled to use the second rod which I personally feel is nothing short of disgusting and just money grabbing, that erks me alot and the owner of this particular fishery isn't alone in drawing this gripe from me as Bury Hill Fisheries is very much the same, if you've ever fished for the predators in the winter you'll know what I mean, three rods....yes then start to charge a bit more but there is nothing to suggest that smacking another £8 on top to use a 2nd rod is acceptable, alas I do not use a second, I think £10 is a lot for one rod but if I want to achieve one of my goals then I have to grin and bare it until I have achieved what I started out to do.

Another mid-3 
 Bites however were very slow on coming and I had to wait nearly two hours to get my first inquiry but it was a smaller specimen than intended but this told me that my target species was on my bait and feeding, the confidence level crept up and put a small amount of bait out just to keep it topped but not enough to put pressure on the fish still in the swim, at 3.8 it was about average and now I've had nearly two dozen Orfe out but most are this size. The occasional patch of bubbles would surface around my baited area but struggled to achieve more than single or double bleeps as fish passed through the area but not stopping to eat, the hours rolled by and the rigs fiddled with as much as possible to find a winning combination, this however never materialised.

They were showing.

 About six in the evening I spoke with Brian who was down with me and I suggested a match on another lake with a points based system put in place, as the action was so absent on the other lake we forgot about the specimen chasing for a couple of hours.

 Before we headed over to start our match I'd noticed something really beautiful in the woods which the lakes are set in.

Absolutely stunning.

 Crucian's were 2 points, Tench/Carp/Bream were 1 point and Golden Orfe were 3 points (Orfe in this lake tend not to surpass 5lb), Brian on the float and myself baiting and waiting a set of lily pads was the way we started. The float tactic seemed to work well as Brian raced into a lead of 6 Tench before I caught my first fish which was a Tench, then Brian managed another to take his lead to 7-1 then a minor miracle occurred as a shoal of Crucian's arrived in my swim, not before I had changed to the float myself and plummeted the depth to an inch off the bottom. The fish then kept coming and Brian's lead was being eaten into steadily and it was about twenty minutes before the hooter that I'd overtaken him and by 8pm I was the victor, no thanks to number of fish but the Crucin's were double points and that won it for me! A good bit of fun, as angling should be!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Chalkstream Trout.

 One thing I love about the river closed season for coarse fishing is the fly rod makes the odd appearance and I really enjoy casting a piece fluff around with the vein hope in fooling one or two Trout, to be honest I'd like to try a couple of lakes for some Trout as I feel I have done okay on the rivers for wild Brown Trout.

 I finished work nice and early on Tuesday and thought as I had a rod in the motor that I should pop on the waders, grab the camera and go for a wander. At first I struggled to find fish of any description but as I looked harder in the small depressions I began to spot the odd fish, this scenario played out for a couple of hours and was successful twice in getting a Trout to commit to my pheasant tail nymph along with a small rogue Chub weighed probably a few ounces.

 I must say the Trout here are in great condition and a joy to catch on such light tackle, I may give it another go sometime soon if the time presents itself.

Immaculate Brown just over 2lb

My second Trout around the 2lb mark, well spawned out.

Covert Carping Part Four.

 Another morning and another early trip out before work, maybe a week or so ago I fashioned roughly an hour before a trip into London and with the conditions behaving the fish were in an obliging mood with two twenty pound plussers nailed within 15 minutes of each other.

 Typically I had a look around before starting but very little showed to begin with, I suspect the cooler night put them down slightly but as the sun got up above the treeline the activity began, however the amount of sightings was drastically down on recent trips with only a few showing, out of those few two were intercepted and put on the bank.

 The first Carp was spotted feeding amongst some young lily pads with it's large paddle waving up in the water as it grazed at the stems of the pads, the slow sinking bread flake lasted no time at all. The scrap was pretty intense and put my tackle to the test which is always enjoyable, the second Carp however was even better, not the fact it was bigger but the fight was great fun.

 On the Rueben's this Mirror weighed in at 21.14 and had a random cluster of scales on a wholley leather body.

 The second fish was this stunning Common Carp which tipped the scales at 25.05 and is possibly one of the prettiest Carp I've ever caught, if they all looked like this then I'd fish for them more!

Covert Carping Part Three.

 I find on a lot of waters ( especially the ones I fish ) that Common Carp seem to be more prevalent, in some instances I feel the ratio could be as much as 10:1, even on the canals I find so many more Common's than Mirror's and personally I prefer to catch Mirror's as they just look more characterful and more variation, Linear's are by far my favourite and it's been a long time since I've caught one, but fully scaled Mirror's rarely feature in my catches, could I catch a Mirror on this trip?

 A typically early start for me as I usually get these sessions underway before work and then hit the road in time for my first client of the day, when the conditions are right then anything is possible and on a nice barmy sunny morning the surface was alive with hungry Carp searching out an easy meal, I could only oblige.

Hungry Carp.

 For Carp which are seldom targeted they seemed fairly sly in how they went about mopping up the bread, something I suspect they do a lot of but it took three half hearted attempts to get the first of the two Carp to commit....silly bugger, I could have told it that it was dangerous to eat, but that's all the fun!

 A sturdy battle ensued as it tore sixty yards on it's first run, I thought for a few minutes that I'd latched into a real lump and the weight behind it seemed decent enough to think along those lines, only until I got the fish closer in could I get a better idea on size and I was surprised it wasn't bigger than it's fight portrayed. At 17.06 it was a good fish and it was a fully scaled Mirror too, perfect timing to break up the Common Carp monotony.

 The fun didn't stop there either as another Carp slipped up on the surface and when the mouth opened up to slurp down the crust I thought again I was onto another big fish, the fight this time around wasn't particularly impressive and once I got the fish in the net I could see why, age probably the downfall of this Carp and again it was a Mirror, not what I expected but it was a very old fish and on it's way down in weight as the frame dictated that it should be alot bigger with a huge rudder to boot, I suppose everything has to go out at some point. Great sport though, forty minutes of fun then off to work.

Smallest of the two, 16lb

Monday, 24 April 2017

Covert Carping Part Two.

 Another morning and another short trip in search of my Spring Carp target, " a new personal best", which is 35lb 8oz, I have a couple of waters which have the potential to do this, however this particular challenge is not going to be easy, this has been made more difficult by the recent drop in temperature as the fish are moving around a little less and barely anything showing on the surface adds to the challenge.

 Sometimes just keeping very mobile can pay huge dividends and on a recent trip I spent forty minutes fishing and successfully stalked a short thick set Common at a range of twenty yards off the top, one of only four Carp I saw that day, all together but even at that distance I could clearly see that the one I banked was the largest as it's mouth looked like that of a trumpet, not to mention it's large silhouette, I believe the Carp were feeding high up in the water on water flea or Daphnia but my extremely cheap offering was too tempting.

 This Common was bit of a warrior but nice to see and certainly didn't hold back on the fight, very impressive, this Carp weighed 25.03 which is slowly creeping up towards my target weight.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Covert Carping Part One.

 Since my Crucian campaign has been put on hold and I await the warmer evening's to descend upon us for the Eels I have donned a stalking setup and take it everywhere with me, a loaf of old bread, bag of bits along with a 9ft Greys Outkast 2¼lb test curve rod ( for those snaggy areas ), most of the places I fish tend to be snag free but it helps having a rod this good in my arsenal, these never let me down and I've caught thousands of fish of them.

 Of late the weather has been a little up and down, the catches have reflected this and some mornings you think this is easy and others end up as blank sessions, so I'm glad I make the most of it when the going is good.

 Here is a Carp from my first trip:

First trip of the season 21.3

Covert Carping.

A Kestrel locking on to pray.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Enton, Candy From a Baby.....

 ........Or so you would think, constantly in the angling press, social media littered with images of the prizes that any visiting angler could catch, somehow I felt that there was a little more to it than pitch up and bag up on potential British Record Crucian Carp and Tench. Before I go any further I can certainly say it's not easy, those who have caught specimen Crucian's have been in an area that have held them and location over my three trips would prove to be paramount, being just 20 yards from the feeding grounds would be the difference between complete success and failure.

The view from my perch....just 15 yards from the next angler....

 The tactics I employed were fairly simple, with one rod loaded with a 30g method feeder and bouyant maggot with the second rod set up with a standard maggot feeder heli' rig, with Spring in full swing I felt that the maggot feeder would do quite well with the Tench and hopefully pick up the Crucian's as they passed by in their little shoals, but as the hours passed by on three different days my rods both lay dormant with very little else than single bleeps, even as minor as that seems it kept me alert just in case one of those miniature enquires led to a run.

All the gear, but have I an idea??

 Only on the third day did I get a little more than no action as I waited more than half a day to get a clear cut run, I was nagging to a friend of mine who coincidentally was amongst the very fish I wanted to catch when my left hand rod tore off, I scrambled from my neighbour's swim and lent into a heavy fish, the culprit which was almost certain to be a Carp continued to head out into open water when my line went completely slack and the rod off.

A new favourite of mine, drop one in a pint of water and see the results.

 Just the sort of rotten luck you need when indications of life were so few and far between, the hook just parted from the hook link but on a 3lb bottom it's likely to happen, when it doesn't it's a bonus. It was slightly annoying but you can only tackle up and get the bait back out where the fish may at some point find the tiny single caster, or maggot, or fake corn.

It's a lovely place to waste some hours.

 The plan was to stay as late as possible, this was to give the fish every chance in slipping up, then around 7pm my left hand rod finally gave off a gentle but consistent run, the buzzer was singing away and as I took up the slack the plodding fish on the other end really got my heart racing, this was a typical Crucian fight, slow and not going particularly far, in fact I only needed to retrieve as it made no attempts to swim, so much so I was convinced I'd finally caught my target and knowing the pedigree of the Crucian's in this nearly 20 acre lake it could be the very fish of my dreams.

 I continued to play the fish very gingerly as I did not want to lose it seeing how hard I had worked to get this opportunity, then as I readied the net and the fish approached the surface a Tench broke and I deflated like a hot air balloon, I'd never been so disappointed to see a 5lb Tench in my life....I almost put it back without a photo but as tough as the day was and how hard that sighting was to take I couldn't pass up a photo opp'......candy from a baby? most certainly is not! and for those reading this who have intentions of fishing it, do not go with the preconception that it's easy, believe if you are on the fish then yes, it's fairly straight forward but if your'e not on the shoals then it's a confidence knocker for certain. But in the famous words of Arnie, "I will be back".

One of the best reels I've used.

2016/17 Season Closing Records.

My Record of my biggest specimen of each species between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017.

Golden Orfe
5lb 2oz (PB)
11lb 7oz (PB)
11lb 2oz
Carp Common
25lb 6oz
Carp Mirror
27lb 12oz
Carp Koi
5lb 10oz
6lb 1oz
Crucian Carp
2lb 2oz
2oz 2dr
5lb 15oz
1lb 10oz
2lb 6oz
Roach/Bream Hybrid


13oz 1dr
8lb 6oz

2lb 7oz

Silver Bream

Rainbow Trout
3lb 8oz
Brown Trout
6lb 4oz
2lb 11oz (PB)
Sea Trout

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Large Orfe, Not All That Easy.

 For two seasons now the thought of catching a very big Golden Orfe has been on my "hitlist", at first I thought they would be easy to catch and my target of a 6lb+ specimen achieved in a fairly short time, two years on and six trips I have yet to get a successful shot at one of the known three specimen Orfe which all tip the scales past the six-pound mark. Just one of these fish and it'll be the cherry on the cake, I've had a couple of dozen to 5.02 using various tactics and although they can feed with complete abandon I find usually they're very timid feeders, only with alot of confidence do they start taking bait in such a way you can catch them.

 Like most species though when the timings are right anything is possible. A couple of weeks ago I headed back down with one of these specimen Orfe in mind, the conditions were probably as good as I've experienced on this particular lake as the wind always seems to blow a hooley, which as you could imagine makes stalking the ghosting orange shapes very difficult at ranges of 20-50 yards, with the lack of wind I felt confident that I'd get amongst them. A loaf of bread is my usual bait selection and not long after starting the tell-tale pin point bubbles of Tench started to appear close in to where the Orfe typically show.

A lovely Spring morning.

 As I hadn't seen any to begin with scooting around just under the surface I fancied setting up a waggler and plummeting the depth to 2inches off the bottom, once I had got the depth right it didn't take the fish long to start falling foul to my cheap bait, all 57 pence of it. Soon my float would remain still for no more than 20-30 seconds before the next fish decided to have a go, numerous Tench came to the net in an hours period then a sudden pull of the float resulted in a weighty fish hanging on the end but to keep in tune with their typical lacklustre demeanour an Orfe cruised to the surface and splashed about before slipping into my awaiting net.

Not a monster but on the digital's she went 4.12 and in fine condition, just the start I wanted as if one is feeding the rest will be too. A couple of photos snapped it was time to get back to it, the sun was starting to get up higher and with that the temperature also improved, usually with this the expectation of the Orfe to start patrolling higher in the water would mean I could track their movements and locate areas they will feed. The Tench however continued to feed hard.

 For the next few hours I was catching stacks of Tench from a pound up to the five pound mark and as the evening drew closer I managed a bigger Tench which gave me the run around but this wasn't before I lost a big one previously, thought to be well over six pound and possibly a seven. When the fish on the end of my 3lb bottom surfaced I could see it was half decent so I was pleased.

Long and lean early Spring Tinca, complete with leeches all over.

 6.03 and the best of my spring Tench so far, this was quickly followed by another Orfe but a bit smaller than the first. With time running out my chance of a 6lb specimen was ebbing away and destined to make me wait a little longer, won't be long before a return will be made, again they proved that they can be elusive no matter how shockingly bright they maybe !

Saturday, 8 April 2017

First Tench of Spring.

 This was my first proper session since the end of the coarse season, typically I spend my first few trips out with a fly rod, this year with the consistently milder weather I couldn't resist targeting Crucian's and Tench. At the turn of the year one of my club tickets obtained exchange ticket rights with Godalming AS, this obviously was great news as it granted me access to fish the premier Crucian water in the country, for those unsure the water is the holder of the British Record Crucian Carp and holds numerous specimen's over 4lbs, which are of course extremely rare.

 Of course I could have just bought a ticket for GAS but with a cost at £150+ to fish one water a couple of times a year seems an extreme expenditure, one of which I wasn't prepared to make. So with this additional venue at my disposal I thought I should try to open my Tench account, this of course being my first trip down and I had some learning to do. Johnson's lake is the home of this monster fish and the next cast could be a special fish, but the lake is also home to Tench in excess of ten pounds, something close to that would be great.

 Considering 95% of my fishing is done with a single rod it felt weird to be setting up two rods on bank sticks and buzzers....not what I call normal but needs must as the fish are from what I've been told patrol areas of 30-40 yards out so a float rod is certainly out of the question unfortunately, once I had arranged everything how I think it should be I got both rods out on an area baited, the ground bait I used was SonuBaits 50/50 green and also 6mm soft pellets, in the past I've found it's a good combo and depending on how heavy the fish fed determined how much I'd lump out.

 Rods were out before 9am and a hopeful day ahead began..........hopeful being the keyword here as it turned out to be a rather slow morning, anglers either side of me were struggling as was Brian, any sorts of indications including liners would have been great, but after three long hours I finally had a run after recasting only two minutes previously, only a small Tench but better than a blank and as was the lack of activity during the remaining 8 hours we packed up having learned that if your not on the fish then you might as well go home, one angler was bagging up on Tench throughout the day but Crucian's were not showing and none came out the entire day between possibly 25 anglers.

Small but welcome.

 It's fair to say though I will head back over there at some point in the Summer/Autumn but for now I'll hold off on the Crucian fishing as it seems to be a little sluggish.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

My Parting Gift.

 Winter is the season where my angling starts to come together, my target species are increasing in weight and holding up in areas you'd expect to find them. However this winter has been tougher than usual, the prospect of big Chub is far too much to pull away from even when it was fishing hard, which was most of the time, so for the last day of the season I fancied a jolly up in HMS Rudd.

 An early start was in order and after spending north of ½hour to get set Brian and I took to a Fenland river in search of Rudd, conditions as usual weren't perfect, 24 hours late yet again but that seems to be how I always cut it, never stops me catching but it would help. I bought along a new acquisition in the form of a 3.5hp 2-stroke engine to speed up journey times between fishing grounds, thankfully I had my electric engine on board too, as after an hour of trying I finally learnt that without 30:1 ratio of marine engine oil added to the petrol my engine would stall, which it did four or five times before I took the hint, can not believe I didn't realise it needed it. Live and learn as they say.

 Once I had conceded that the only power I had was my 2hp electric we headed to some grounds upstream first where I know they hold up but fishing was tough, we fed over two loaves of bread on a 100 yard section but nothing doing, not even a bite, so we had decided our better chances rested downstream. The wind seemed stronger the further we headed down, the land became flatter which gave us a lot less cover, there was one spot in the summer that I know held good heads of Rudd and didn't really get anything massive so I thought it would be a good idea to spend a couple of hours and heave in the bread.

 Thankfully, the Swans and Gulls were not around in the numbers that the summer normally boasts which makes feeding swims easier, nothing worse than getting Rudd feeding on the surface then a gaggle of Swans hoover up your crust before the Rudd get a chance. I kept my set-up simple with a 5lb mainline and 3lb bottom, 4g pellet waggler and size 8 hook, where I would alternate the depth to find where I would get the indications.

Not big but a photo opp! weren't many of them.

 A little after midday my day was about to be brightened up by something a little float had been out for a good five minutes, slowly trundling down the gentle current, briefly I lost sight of the top of the waggler when I then started to wind down and struck, I didn't see the initial disappearance of the float but reacted within a split second and I could feel a considerable weight on the end, certainly no Rudd though. At first I thought a really big Chub but even that was unlikely, all I could think of was how lite I was fishing - luckily I was in the boat and as the fish swam past us up stream the boat turned to follow it up, we let slip of the anchor and headed up with what we then found out was a big Carp when it porpoised, showing it's large flanks. On such lite tackle it was very good fun and in fairness it didn't fight very hard as I'd expect a wild river Carp too although I feel it's a good thing it didn't or I'd have stood practically no chance in slipping it into my very small net.....

 27lb 12oz, my largest river Carp for a few years now, a little special.

 The margins were a pain as the Carp was too big to land, first of all the netsmen did a sterling job to get it in my net, how I don't know but he did, the next issue was getting into shore, I had to take my trainers and socks off and get into the river so I could gently release my gift from the angling gods, before then we put a number to what was a magnificent creature and took a few photographs to show me when thing's are tough how good they can be. The fact I hadn't had a Rudd after five hours of fishing didn't bother me all of a sudden, all pressure of catching was well and truly dispelled, however we had made the journey up for Rudd so it would have been good to have left with at least a couple under our belts.

 And with that sunset the season was done, it had been a good one and some big fish caught along with many memorable trips.