Friday 15 March 2019

Wet and Wild in the South.

 The typical dilemmas of where to fish as the season draws to an end cropped up yet again, this time the weather had a part to play and most of the rivers I've angled this season were up and coloured beyond the point of enjoying a good days fishing. The rain that fell in the south-east of England had swollen just about every watercourse, thankfully for me and my local knowledge a couple of spots on one particular river remained fisherable. The target? Basically anything I could get to take a bait!

All set and ready to go.

 The going was tough to begin with as I started my day out in search of barbel, in the coloured water stalking wasn't an option and I relied upon where they were the last time I was out and that at this time of the year is rather flaky information to rely upon. The barbel move incredible distances at time of year as they continue to search out areas where large quantities of food exist and also to avoid angling pressure, which is a factor, even if it is the winter.

 I spent possibly an hour and half fishing hard before I came across my first barbel and it was fairly decent too as it fought hard in the extra water, around the 6lb mark it made for a welcome soaking of the net as I was fearing that things might not go so well. A dry net is always a barometer of success and although I waited half hour or so for the next enquiry the sport slowly improved as I landed two chub to 4lb 9oz and another barbel around 4lbs. In the conditions I wasn't complaining, then I found enquiries hard to come by so I decided to change species.

 This sudden change in quarry was prompted by a plume of silt coming from upstream in the flow, I crept up until I found the culprit which turned out to be a small common carp having lunch and out the corner of my eye sat mid river were another three carp, two more commons and a mirror, these were all a little bigger and that is what tempted me to have a go, armed and ready I began to roll little pieces of bait towards the carp to see their reactions and it seemed none of those were feeding. It was time to play detective!

 It was quite clear from the offset that they weren't feeding out in mid river so it was a case of waiting for the carp to venture back into the margins, this turn of event didn't take long either as one of the carp broke away from the main flow the rest followed and with a little watercraft I was already in position where I thought they'd come to, it was all now a matter of when, not if.

 The mirror dropped off behind the now three commons and came in closer to the near bank margins, just 10ft from where I was crouching, concealed by a small bush I flicked out my tiny free lined offering and awaited it to settle where I hoped the carp would find it, there was however no need to panic, within a few seconds of the bait hitting the deck the carp made up the ground and went straight down on the bait, hoovered up in a flash there was no need to wait for any indication, I lent into the carp with trusty mark vi split cane and then all hell broke loose. The remaining carp scarpered but I had certainly hooked the largest of the four fish.

In the mix! :-)

 Plenty of under the tip battling with the occasional run for mid river was enjoyed thoroughly and within a few minutes of getting in position I landed a boisterous river carp in fine fashion. Not bad really considering how tough it started out. A little opportunism was taken with both hands.

11lb 2oz and bit of a looker too!
The obligatory mat shot.
 I have to say I have caught many river carp over the years but this is definitely one of the easiest on the eye.

 After that I managed one more barbel to the tune of 7lb 3oz and that was that for me as I'd said to myself that I would only fish up to midday, three barbel, 2 chub and a carp in 4 hours in squalid conditions is good enough for me!

Friday 8 March 2019

Winter Predator Fishing Recap.

 I must confess that before this season started my predator fishing exploits were a little on the light side to tell the truth as I have mentioned in the past. Now being a father I find time to go fishing at all is rather difficult and having ramped up the amount of work I am also taking on, partially to offset what the better half isn't earning and that as we are entering the final throws of buying a house I have found much of my spare time is devoted at home.

 Most of my predator angling this winter has been focused on the rivers in the south of England. As my miniature campaign approached the hallway mark (around late December) I caught my third twenty pound river pike of my life and first of the season, the efforts for hard work were being rewarded and now we find ourselves in March I have ceased Pike fishing. Mainly owing to the fact most Pike down here spawn around mid-Feb onwards I don't want to be targeting knackered specimens when they should be left to recoup after their exertions.

 So to the recap now.

 I managed a total of 10 trips out, 9 on a river somewhere and the other on a ticket stillwater, where for the most part I was successful on all those adventures bar one. In those nine visits to flowing water I managed a total of seventeen fish with eight over the ten-pound mark and one over the magical twenty pound barrier. For me I couldn't have asked for much more.

 Then on to the Zander where I embarked on three trips, one a blank effort on the boat, the other two trips were a blazing success as I landed no fewer than 3 personal bests in 28 hours or so, I was chuffed like you wouldn't believe. One of those three was also over the magical ten pound mark which to begin with was a pipe dream. Awesome fun too.

 It has been a winter worthy of remembering and even if my two Perch exploits both ended in failure I still thoroughly enjoyed them as I continue to seek another three-pound plus specimen. Not as easy as some make out I tell you! I will continue to try, starting from tomorrow if I shake this stomach bug!

 These, the best of each species this winter.

A tidal Thames double. 11lbs 9ozs.

A Lea system twenty. 20lbs 8ozs.
 Let's hope for more next Winter, it was great fun.

8 Years in the Making.

   So we find ourselves finally able to get back on the rivers and thank god for it too. I don't mind stillwaters and canals now and aga...