Monday 26 June 2017

Sneaking Carp in the Urban Jungle.

 A nice short post, the afternoon trip started off out in search off canal Bream and Carp but neither were to be spotted in the miles of canal searched, tough to take but I'm well versed in how difficult it can be and maybe they were just down in the water column hiding, another day may yield a completely different result but the trip didn't stop there as on our way home I popped into a local dock where I know big Tench live and good Carp to mid 30's.

 Opportunistic fishing at its windswept corner of the deep dock had a small head of Tench showing and I felt confident that they were feeding as the paddle tails were waving up the water as they grazed, I flicked out a lump of bread and awaited the peacock quill to lift or shoot under.

 Twenty minutes or so of stalking and i was in, but it was no Tench, but a small Mirror Carp instead had fell for the trick, not a monster but it was very pretty!

Fenland Rudd 2017 Part One.

 Who needs an excuse to head up to the Fens? I most certainly don't, I can't think of many better places in the country to be fishing than in the flats of Norfolk / Cambridgeshire. As always it means an early start to beat the dreadful traffic that builds up on the A13 and M11 but with the anticipation building to a deafening crescendo the pre-dawn drive flashes by, having been down there a few times now there is a pukka little order that everything goes in so it makes launching for the day a breeze.

 But just before we get to the fishing myself and Brian were blessed with the sight of a Barn Owl hunting in the brush not 50 yards from us, for me these are my favourite animal, not even a species of fish beats these personally, the hunting supremo and extremely pretty too, just watching one for 15 minutes felt so calming, I even managed at distance to get some photos.

 I could watch them all morning, incredible creatures but we did have the small task of catching some river Rudd, not just any Rudd either, with fish surpassing the 3lb mark these were serious fish and plenty of fishing had to be done to get through the smaller fish.

 Conditions were almost perfect as the sun was high and hot, the wind was typical for the fens ( blowing varying speeds and directions ) so stalking wasn't too bad but the river we fished was very coloured and that was something we did not expect, but as the day went on the Rudd fed fairly well. However when using bread on these waterways the Swans and Gulls know exactly what the game is and trying to outsmart them is not a mean feat!

 Luckily enough with the boat at times we could escape their attention and seek feeding fish elsewhere, how I'd like a shogun I can not remember how many times these blasted birds have ruined great feeding spells. Thankfully we started to get amongst some decent fish around the 1.08 mark and by midday I had bagged a fish just shy of 2lbs, almost immaculate which is something thats unusual for the Fenland rivers as they seem to all have a nick or two, no doubt running the gauntlet of predators and yes even 2lb Rudd will disappear down the throat of some of the Pike present, not even an issue.

1.14, seasons best.

 By the time lunchtime came up we were debating on what to do as the sun was really high and the heat was really felt, we thought we'd discuss over a big juicy burger/chips and a pint what the plans were and finally decided that the fishing was going to be tough until dusk which unfortunately on this occasion we didn't have that option so a quick drive elsewhere to check up on some other water we haven't fished was in order and with a great looking section earmarked for further investigation we headed back to London.

 Another sighting a beautiful Barn Owl heading into the distance as we fished.

Back in the Angling Media.

 Just a little snippet from the Angling Times recently with my PB Golden Orfe that was taken during a day trip to Newdigate Fishery in the Surrey Hills.

Sunday 25 June 2017

In Search of Monster Chub: Opening Day Successes.

 So the glorious 16th of June approached fairly quickly after my arrival back in the U.K and this season I had decided to give Chub a go for the first couple of days. My venue was the D.Stour and with this being my third campaign on the river I was certainly feeling more optimistic about my chances of catching some of the rivers huge inhabitants, I know I was fishing some of the best water in the country so I know I have to bide my time and continue to learn the waters, it will come.

 Myself and Brian made the long journey down at the crack of dawn with the view to stalking the fish throughout the day and static fish for the Chub during the night, once we had arrived the temperature was already at 24c with prospects of a max around 31c, that's pretty hot when in amongst towering stinging nettles and balsam, not very pleasant and if you can imagine sat in a sauna fully clothed then you get the picture. But the river season was open and we couldn't care a single bit, lovely to be on running water.

 I set up a short stalking rod (9ft) and a (12ft) trotting rod for different swims to make sure I didn't alienate myself from potential targets, as the sun got higher during the morning we could see Chub moving around but to our surprise they were still spawning on the shallows and this presented us with an early problem, just like us humans, we don't think of eating whilst doing the deed so I wasn't expecting the Chub to oblige, things were going to be tough from the outset.....

 Around midday I trotted a big lump of meat downstream to a tree line and the float stormed off downstream and was met by some very strong resistance, the fish began to come upstream and I could see a large frame (probably 6-7lb) heading for the top of my swim and as I bent down to pick up my net it lunged downstream and buried itself in a huge weedbed, not what I wanted and the line was solid straight away, I was gutted as I could still feel the subtle tapping on the rod, so I knew it was still on the other end, I let the slack off to see if she'd back off down still attached but before I could formulate a plan the line went completely slack as I took up the tension, she was gone.....not the start to the season I wanted.

 With very little since that lost fish but the occasional knock unfortunately nothing could be hit on the float or on the rolling method and as 4-5pm approached I decided to completely change tact and find a shaded area to fish a static, I had to try something else as my desired approach was proving useless, I flicked out my 15mm source boilie and sat patiently in the heat of the mid afternoon sun, tan top up time.

 Roughly two hours in my tip on my outside rod nodded and then absolutely went berserk, the sort of brutal take you'd expect from a Barbel, I made sure this time I put plenty of pressure on the fish the entire way in, thankfully the fight wasn't very hard and she came in fairly smoothly, back of the net for my first Chub of the season, not a bad one either!

5lb 6oz
 First of the season weighed 5lb 6oz and considering how hard it had been I was very chuffed with that, the evening hadn't even arrived and I felt that would be my best time, so having released that brassy beaut the successful rod went back out and the wait began again.

 That wait was not as long as I thought it would have been, maybe an hour or so later my outside rod again sprang to life with a vicious lurch towards the river and on a tight clutch I made sure that the fish couldn't make its way back into the branches I was fishing but the weight of the fish made it quite difficult and I wasn't expecting to see a big frame of a Chub surface, I had thought it was either a small Carp or small Barbel by simply how strong the fight was, not just a small Chub either, easily my biggest D.Stour chevin to date.

 Understandably I was over the moon when she slipped over the rim of the net, an easy 6 and maybe bigger I thought, only to keen to know the Rueben's came out to put a number on it.

6lb 8oz, only three ounces off a new PB.
 It had been a long time coming but I feel that it will get even better but now two Chub in the bag things were looking rosy and at 4pm I thought a blank was nailed on, funny how one decision and little knowledge of the water can help, this was no doubt a culmination of luck and hard work that has been put in over the previous two seasons.

A still evening of the tips.

Deer in the field at dusk.

 The rest of the evening unfortunately went by with little action but it was good to just be back on a river, night came and went without a hitch and we were ready for day two.

  Day two started with myself and Brian walking the banks in search of surface feeding Chub and as the sun got higher we could see more moving around but very few were actively searching for food, it must have been 6am and the mercury was already sat around the 27c mark, it was the precursor to a roasting hot day, one that I felt would not do us much good unless we found shade and equally knew the Chub would wait until the cooler latter part of the day to start feeding.

 We walked a fair few miles to search out fish but we were unsuccessful in catching, by around midday we decided to call it a day and fished a little closer to home for the remainder of the day, we knew we'd have to wait until 6pm onwards for some action, we can wait and do it all another day, the two Chub during the first day were brilliant and the trip was a success for sure.

Monday 19 June 2017

Down the Farm.

 Crucians are to say the least not the easiest species to catch, method fishing for them has provided me with good sport in the past but fishing very fine on the float is great fun, in fact it's very satisfying when it comes off. Now, a few days previous I went down with the same mindset but failed miserably on the Crucian front.

 On my most recent visit I decided to change a couple of things around and headed to a part of Harris Lake that I've not fished before, with over 40 pegs it's a fairly decent sized lake and I know it's stuffed with fish, I just can't compute how I haven't managed to really get amongst the "bars of gold" in any meaningful numbers, maybe a slight match background would serve me well on a fishery like Marsh Farm but as I don't it's all crash course and work it out as I go along.

 With my decisions made I set about balling in some 50/50 Sonubaits Greencrush with my pellets (6mm) to build a patch on the outside of some pads, which I anticipated would be shelter to a few fish being that the sunshine was due to hit upwards of 30c and I knew by say 10-11am that it would probably be 24-26c and most humans wouldn't be sat in it.

 My set up was a pre-made Drennan hook length and float setup, and a Greys Prodigy 12ft 1 T/C rod and the bait was 6mm soft hookable pellets (Krill flavour) and once I was happy with my plumbed depth I got my bait into position, within seconds I registered my first bites but they even on light tackle were practically impossible to connect with and I had to just sit on my hands to see if the bites evolved into something that I could strike at.......45 minutes later......

2lb 4oz, first Crucian of the day.
 It simply looked stunning on the mat, due to the heat I just took a mat shot as I didn't have my camera and tripod setup and didn't want to faff around, only issue was that if that was my only Cru'y then I'd miss out on a trophy shot. Thankfully after a couple of Tench decided to go crazy in my swim I did then have a spate of very small dips on the float where only two were hittable but both resulted in Crucian's weighing 2.06 and 2.09 which equalled my best bar of gold for some years!

My best at 2lb 9oz.
  By the time I had got the swim going and started to catch fish the sun was getting higher and was starting to cast strong sunlight across the whole of my swim and I knew that it would be game over for the fishing until the sun moved across the sky so that the pads would be back in shade, unfortunately I would have to wait until dusk for that and I enjoyed the morning session a lot so I called a day after a quick faff around on the little pond for half an hour on my way back.

 9 Tench to 4lb+ and 3 Crucians to 2lb 9oz wasn't bad going I felt, i'll be back but it'll be on Johnson's for their resident monsters!

PB Chub on the Fly.

 For roughly five years now I have adopted a light roving approach for wild Brown Trout on a range of flies, this season has been tough and although I haven't been much over the closed season I thought I'd fair slightly better than I have, I think it could be down to a few factors, some of which I can control and others I can't. One thing I have noticed is that there are more fly anglers now than ever before, so competition is stronger for areas to fish and the fish themselves.

 On the other hand I have found Chub being a little more obliging on the fly and the other day I managed to tempt my best yet weighing in at 5lb 1oz. The fish was taken on a fluffy brown surface fly and I noticed the Chub sat fairly close to the inside bank and lowered the fly into position where the water erupted as the fly vanished from sight, the fight itself was fairly poor but when I landed it I was surprised to see how immaculate it was considering they've all spawned.

Monday 12 June 2017

Tench on the Float.

 What could be more serene than watching the pin-prick bubbles popping around your finely balanced tackle as a shoal of Tench feed with abandon, not much it has to be said, I still get excited as the anticipation increases before the float slips under or lifts. A couple of weeks ago I spent a while fishing for them on the float and ended up with a lovely bag of Tench, the best going 5.01, not monsters but I swear they fight so hard you'd be forgiven for thinking you've hooked a Carp!

Marching the Towpath Part Two.

 I know this is a little delayed on writing this piece but having spent a lovely and a well needed break in the sun to recharge I am now back with the new river season just a couple of days ahead. I feel I'm almost ready but there was some scores to settle in regards to the canal. A big Carp this year has managed to still evade me but I have located a couple which would smash my canal best of 25.03 set a couple of seasons ago.

 Along with the desire to catch another big Carp from the canals I also had designs on some big Bream too, I know they live in these particular sections in a fair number but also surpassing the 10lb barrier which is quite incredible, not something you'd expect, however, I soon enough realised they had just either spawned or were in the process of doing so. I watched them for a while to work out what was happening, when so enough I concluded that they were in the final throws and were back on the feed.

 Que the stampede, I was following a few Bream around with the view of winching a bait into ones path close enough that it would spark a reaction, after a dozen attempts my plan worked as a large frame charged my flake and within 30 seconds the job was done.....9lb 0oz ! not bad at all as thus far it is my second largest canal Bream.

 It was astonishing how selective a species like the Bream can be but their greedy nature always lets them down, within half an hour I had finally got a chance at a Carp and not just a small one, I suspect it weighs in excess 28lb but without catching I wouldn't know, finally putting a bait in the right area I hoped it wouldn't take long.....

 A 8lb 4oz Bream decided it would eat my offering before the Carp could commit, the smile said it all, I wasn't complaining. So after slipping that black Bream back to the swirly depths I stuck it out for the Carp but they did not appear again. 

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 ...