Friday, 28 July 2017
A few weeks back I noted that I had the fortunate moment of hooking a monster canal Carp, within minutes I had the unfortunate challenge of not turning the air blue as I lost the very fish I had spent three years tracking down, now I am generally a very patient man/angler, the amount of hours walking banks just to find one fish is no problem for me, the issue for me recently though is I can't even find one Carp to aim at, where they are hiding is becoming a mystery and now six trips have been embarked on without as much as a whiff of a canal beast.
Seems as if they are MIA, or am I losing my touch?, the conditions for stalking in truth have been dire due to the constant winds and persistent rain at times, even with this I can still spot Bream in the upper layers of the canal so it isn't that bad, I know to keep at it though, back in November 2015 I had a stunning mid-twenty pound Common so even that late in the year the opportunities will come, just being there prepared is part of the battle though as my last run-in with a Carp proved, it doesn't always go right!
On to the Bream however, these use to drive me absolutely crazy as I could not catch them for toffee, now it seems to be nailed on to at least bank one, the average weight is insane at well over 7lb with two doubles, a 9lb+, 7 over 8lb+ with all the others between 7.2 to 7.13, I've not heard of a canal to produce such high average sized fish but one or two from the shoal and that's it for the day, during this most recent trip on the canal was no different either as I spent two hours stalking for two more ancient looking slabs weighing at 8.03 and 8.07, the sight of all that snot is a welcome one, blanking on those canals is almost a given, thankfully I have found that little niche where wet nets are commonplace, the stench afterwards isn't as nice.......
|Best of the day at 8.07.|
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Now this may not warm the cockles of many specimen anglers, however for me this little species represents it's own challenges in catching a specimen, equally as fun minus the arm wrenching battles that maybe the Barbel and Carp may inflict upon you or I. Knowing where to catch big Gudgeon is tough and once location is rounded down to small dustbin lid sized holes in the gravel then you have to wade through the tiny versions of the little fish you seek, as I said before, it's all fun, believe me.
Over the years I have caught enormous Gudgeon well over the 3oz mark, infact approaching the 4oz barrier, this is a specimen seldom seen on even the most prolific of Gudgeon territories, the River Nadder being the most prominent to my mind. I know a couple of little rivers where big ones do frequent but over the last few years they have become much harder to find. Having joined in the fun of the Blogger's Challenge one target is the "Gonk", from rivers, lakes and canal, so with this added incentive I have managed to get out for a few very short trips touch ledgering bread flake and maggots plus trotting which is my preferred method.
Although I haven't caught anything to set the miniature world alight there have been some very pretty specimens being caught, my best so far, 1oz 3dr.....love it.
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Whenever I plan a little trip to the Royalty I spend the days leading up to it feeling like a little child with Christmas on the horizon, the history, the prestige it's all very consuming and I still feel that even though it isn't the easiest fishery but it has looked after me well with Barbel to nearly 15lb, Pike a shade under 20lb and quality stamps of Dace too.
The journey from Surrey to the fishery takes a little over 2hrs but before we knew it we had arrived in the car park to find a tiny tinge of colour, maybe not enough for the Barbel to feed their tits off but we stood a chance, with the right tactic and application theres always a chance of success, I started the day rolling meat and continued throughout the day to hopefully find feeding fish on my travels up and down the fishery on both sides.
The first few hours produced nothing but a couple of half-hearted taps on the meat as tentative Barbel knew it wasn't any good for them but their instinct nearly got the better of them, alas I had to wait until around half ten before I got my first real hit, just above the telegraphs I spotted two tails hanging out the back-end of a long run of weed, my bait went out above the raft and rolled it down on the blind side, not 5 metres down the run my finger nearly got sliced off as a Barbel shot out from under the weed and charged upstream, taking nearly 30 yards of line with it.
The fight is exactly what I expect off of an Avon Barbel of any size, the depth multiplied by the current makes them very enjoyable, it took what seemed as much as 6 or 7 minutes to finally land it and once in the net I allowed it a few minutes just to recoup, then a couple of photos to savour the moment before she was slipped back to make someone else's day.
|Typical of an Avon Barbel.|
As I played that Barbel I noticed on a set of shallows below a couple of Chub spook off so I wondered if one of them wanted to play ball.....three casts later and this lovely brassy Chub was connected and causing havoc amongst the weed beds, but no match for my determination to get it in, two fish in ten minutes....Sweet!
As the sun was really high and the heat made it all the more exhausting I took a more laid back approach throughout the afternoon to just try and find fish with one eye firmly on the evening. About 100 yards up from Harrigan's I found a shoal of Chub, a couple of which were big fish and more than likely over the 6lb mark, my Avon best is 5.09 so there was a potential river PB in front of me. The waiting began whilst I worked out a way to catch them, for ages I catapulted out pieces of crust and after a little while I got them taking it off the top, having fed them for twenty I went out with my own piece of crust but the wind blowing into my face made it almost impossible to get it on the spot, with the 'pult I could get out but the bait and line was just too lite, having tried for nearly an hour I gave up with the intention of coming back at dusk, so that's what I did.
No bread this time but just a healthy introduction of Barbel and Chub crack (aka The Source) on an ounce lead and a foot long hook length at 10lb breaking strain as there was a couple of thick weed beds between me and the fish, knowing Chub they would head straight for them! I let the broken bits settle down and then put my first cast out after twenty minutes or so, no sooner did I put the rod down it slammed over and was into number one, 4lb on those, then it must have been 2 minutes after getting my bait back out when it tore off again, slightly bigger this time at 4.14.
All day I wondered if it would go off in the evening, it was clear my question had been answered, I had to tie a new rig as the 4.14 had ruined the rig on the way in coming through the weed bed, so I kept little bits of bait going in whilst doing that and by the time I was ready the swim got a little rest, I flicked my bait straight out on the spot and held on to the rod, I didn't even get the chance to set the clutch and sit back in my chair before it savagely slammed over again, couldn't believe how easy this was becoming and as the Chub rolled on the surface before diving for the weed I could see it was a very big fish, probably the biggest I saw in the shoal earlier on in the day, knowing I'd only get one shot I put some power into it and luckily the Chub didn't get properly stuck in the weed and started to come free, once over that main bulk of weed I could breath easy and paid out the net as she cruised in, not two minutes from bite to bank, not bad and it was exactly what I'd hoped for, had to be a 6+.
|My new Avon best, 6lb 4oz.|
Even for a summer fish she was big, very long and in the depths of the winter it may be a 7lb fish and one that I'd love to cross paths with again, I enjoyed the moment and with a couple of snaps she was gone. The commotion didn't put the remaining fish off as I had another of 4.06 out fairly quickly afterwards by which point I decided to try and find a Barbel before the light failed but all I could find was enormous Salmon gliding across various gravels, in truth I had had a brilliant days fishing and yet again the Royalty turned up again for me.
Sunday, 16 July 2017
With only an hour after work available I needed to quench my flowing fix, with my Mark IV in the back I loaded it up with a pin and was ready to go, only a little bait too meant that if it went off like it can at times then my trip would be very quick.
I dropped into a couple of small spots that I often have success in proved fruitless which can be the case during the summer, I find Chub and Barbel tend not to stay in certain places for long so staying mobile and only giving each swim ten to fifteen minutes affords me the little luxury of fishing more areas, upon arriving in my third swim which does hold fish up until the first heavy floods was a success as on my third trot down my cane slammed over with a Chub in tow, from what I could see downstream it was half decent, a typical scrap played out in the main flow before giving up, 4.02 on the scales just to get my eye in as I hoped more would come to the bank.
That confidence soon wore off though as I ran baits through another six swims without a single enquiry, I found that quite strange in truth but maybe with the pressure the river is currently seeing I wonder if a majority of the fish are feeding at night to avoid the attentions of us anglers?.
It's an answer I'm not 100% certain of but all I know is that with the effort put in to catch the one Chub turned out to be crucial, nine swims, one take, one fish. Not often it's that tough but I'll take that.
Wednesday, 5 July 2017
Recently I've been a bit behind in the blogging, so I am hoping to catch up and what better way to start than with the canals elusive big Bream and Carp, the Bream probably wouldn't be many anglers first port of call but I really like how dark they are in the gin clear water, they look simply prehistoric, catching them isn't easy as I have touched on in the past where I've had varying levels of success.
About 9am..ish after finishing with an early morning client a gap in my schedule of 3 hours was going begging, that meant only one thing, it was fishing time! Oh when a plan comes together its great, all I needed was to find fish and feeding ones at that, the conditions for stalking weren't perfect but in the past I have caught in worse.
Just a small loaf of Warburton's for the walk and a stalking rod loaded with 8lb line just in case I came across a nomadic Carp on my travels. I spotted a shoal (5 or 6) of Bream cruising the far bank margin which was a sight for sore eyes, nearly three miles walked before these appeared, as soon as I spotted them the bread was flicked just in front of the advancing pod, no sooner did the bait hit the water one of the Bream arched up and sucked the bait in, a Bream off the top! I was a little shocked to tell the truth but I've seen some crazy things in my years of angling, this was just another to add to that growing collection.
The fight was non-existent as I have come to expect but it's the stealth and patience required to catch these extremely clever creatures, the most un-natural approach seems to work most of the time I've caught, on the scales she weighed 8lb 6oz and was very chuffed......but only for about twenty minutes. In that small shoal I did see a big big Bream in the middle and if I was a betting man I'd suggest it were a double, as the little shoal came back around minus the one I'd caught I cast out another piece of bread past the shoal and dragged it back into their path, as it fluttered down to about a foot under the surface the largest of the shoal (the big big fish I eluded to earlier) went straight for the flake and made no mistake in sucking it down.
The patience had paid off again, however this time I knew I was in for a treat, last season I managed a 10lb 1oz specimen but this looked bigger, but just how much?? 3oz much! boy was I happy, but in truth I did think it was a high 10, can only imagine it has dumped most of it's spawn or maybe all.
A net covered in slime, jumper covered in it, work trousers snotted up and spent the following five minutes de-snotting the line, did I care? did I hell. What a fish and what a way to achieve it, 10lb 4oz of pure wild canal slab and what a beautiful looking creature too.
|Like a breeze block, possibly never seen a hook before.|
There's not many anglers who get excited about such a fish, but I'm one of them.
Unfortunately the day did end with a sour note, after the joy of landing two magnificent Bream I finally tracked down two Carp, both Common's and both very big, the bigger of the two would have surely been pushing 30lb and it's been a target of mine for a few years now, for nearly 2 hours I watched them and put baits in front of them with nothing but the occasional flinch of fleeting interest, at one point I crushed up some crust and put it in the margins, after 30-40 minutes a Bream appeared and started to hoover up the crumb, this seemed to annoy the Carp and they swam out from under some weed and headed straight for the bait, I sent a piece of flake down straight in front of the Carp and the big Common nailed it, I struck and my rod buckled with line pissing from the spool as she made off I struggled to keep in control such was the power, my tackle wasn't light either.
A few minutes into the battle I thought I was gaining the upper hand as I had the chunk just twenty or so feet from the net, then with one huge lunge she went back up the canal and buried itself deep into a large silkweed bed and I knew straight away that I was not going to win this one, a couple of heart stopping minutes passed with me trying to ease back out but it wasn't to be, the tension dropped off and using a barbless hook it just fell out and the Carp righted herself and cruised off, I couldn't believe how unlucky I was. The Angler Strikes Back will be the next instalment.
Sunday, 2 July 2017
I have a confession to make, I have really missed targeting Barbel. After spending many hours sat behind rods awaiting various fish to find my bait on a pond/lake or reservoir the art of stalking on a river has made me realise just why I love to target them.
Having already done one short session and banking two Barbel to 6lb 5oz I fancied my chances to get amongst some bigger fish, a double the target. I know where they will be roughly so it was simply a case of getting myself into a catching position, now with the vegetation this time of year being so thick that wasn't particularly easy, but after a short spell of being stung to high heaven by the nettles I got the chance and they fell with confident regulatory which was much to my delight.
Although the Barbel that were showing themselves were of the smaller kind they still pose a challenge with their erratic fighting but it certainly adds to the enjoyment. Three hours later and FIVE Barbel on the bank I decided to call it a day. Another few points to add to the "Bloggers Challenge".
|Solid scrap to dust off the Mark IV!|
|A long lean chalk stream devil.|
|7.7 best so far but I suspect it won't be for long.|
|A stocky 7lber.|