Sunday 29 December 2019

Breaking the Hoodoo.

 The Perch, is arguably my bogey species, but I guess we all have to have one. I just wish I didn't suck at it so bad. I see photos and hear of amazing catches of soldiers, a few of which have come out to friends of mine who have given me nuggets of information, nuggets that haven't materialised in my favour. Yet.

 Today was my second trip out of the season in search of Perch and decided with the rivers largely out of action, a stillwater would be my best shout of success.

 Conditions as I made the drive northwards looked perfect for perch, however the forecast was to completely change throughout the morning with low overcast skies giving way to bright sunlight, along with a strengthening of wind from the east that made fishing uncomfortable.

  Very bright actually, so much so that fairly early on I consigned myself to a blank before even casting a bait, luckily for me I dropped on to a peg that had fish in, within an hour I had four bites, hooking two of them. With that relatively swift action I thought I was in for a bumper session.

Back of the net :) 

 Second of the two stripeys, shame I couldn't get the others.

 Bumper day.....? chance! the sun continued to light up everything and the wind just got stronger and stronger, by 3pm the wind chill felt as if it might give me frost bite, that's no exaggeration, it wasn't pleasant. Thankfully I had those two early doors.

 The sunset however was pretty spectacular and was treated to the chorus of a pair of Kingfishers and a Barn Owl scouring the fields for an evening snack. Being an angler really does give you this sense of closeness to nature. Witnessing nature at it's best, we certainly are privileged.


No doubt the bigger specimens love a crayfish.

All over for another day.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

A Carpy Post.

 With my sights set firmly on Carp next year it prompted me to have a look through a collection of photos that have been accrued over many years. For a large portion of that time physical images of past captures were lost, but with the rise of digital media it is almost impossible to lose such images and thankfully so!

 Yes all those captures will live in the memory for many years, however having the ability to scan over so many images just makes you remember so much more, some that have been marginalised by other catches, but by no means not worth remembering. My back ruled me out of action for half of this year but just before that happened I was slipping into my groove on the carp front and catching some corkers, some of which were from very tough venues, venues that many seldom catch from, regardless of approach/tactics employed.

 For me, right place and right time coupled with a persistence I've not felt for quite a few years and that includes my more recent ventures into multi-species specimen fishing. The buzz of achieving mini milestones always gives you that impetus to continue and looking back at these images it has reaffirmed my initial idea of a Carp year, which to tell the truth would have been this year if it wasn't for the set back.

 Here are a few images I selected from the Spring/Early Summer spell I had on various watercourses.


20lb 5oz

23lb & 18lb brace for my brother Richard.

Mid twenty in the net.

21lb 9oz

A canal 15lb 10oz mirror

Low twenty

Badass ghostie.


My only canal Linear Mirror 19lb 9oz

25lb 10oz

Little torpedo.


2oz shy of twenty pounds.

An almost perfect common, 15+

Chunky canal common 16lbs 8oz


17lb 12oz


23lb+ scaley badness :) 

A stocky powerhouse of a common 17lb+

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Winter Piking & Low Pressure Challenges.

 With the arrival of Storm Atiyah banging on the door the pressure dropped right out and midweek we were sat nicely around 1005mb -1010mb and fishing for Pike would have been easier than embarking on a trip in 990mb-995mb as with most species they tend to head for the bottom.

 Without having the opportunity to go sooner my only chance was on Sunday, I take what I can these days and with christmas approaching rapidly my fishing time will be reigned in furthermore. With a couple of baits knocking about I hopped in the car before sunrise and set about targeting a Pike before the storm really took hold.

 Running low on terminal tackle for predators I spent the other evening splashing the cash on various trace making stuff on the internet. Thankfully I had a few little bits left, just enough to make two traces. After a couple of hours driving my destination was finally in sight, the river unfortunately was shrouded in a fierce chop as the wind buffeted the open and fairly flat land. My only saving grace was a small treeline that had a few hedgerows that shielded a little of the wind, so naturally thats where I headed.

 Setting up the previous evening meant I could get a bait straight out and it didn't take long for the excitement to begin. The float laid dormant for around five minutes before bobbing and then slipping under, a few seconds later I wound down and was met by a decent resistance, one that I love to feel. Powerful surging runs up river had me dreaming of a real monster, however, not before long those runs became weaker and weaker as the sting was taken out of the fight. Sure enough a couple of minutes later a mid double Esox lay in the net.

 Not to be disappointed I did really think it was a lot bigger but I could not complain. Forty minutes later the float was back in action, this time however the float stopped in the back eddy I was fishing then started to head upstream but it didn't go under, a hunch that my small livebait had been picked up I slowly wound down to the float and struck, to my amazement a Pike tore off down stream and a huge vortex displaced so much water I thought this time it could be a much bigger fish.

 Once again I was faced with some pretty strong runs, with everyone aimed at a far bank treeline, not the sort of place you want a big fish heading for, thankfully with the 20lb line and stout end tackle it gave me the leverage I required to ease her away from danger. I haven't been that happy on seeing a fish slide into the net (and only just) for quite sometime. The conditions coupled with the effort of getting there in the first place, so this for me given how busy work and family life has been it was a brilliant distraction!.


 On the scales she weighed a little over eighteen pounds and in fine condition barring the dozen or so leeches that I picked off. I thoroughly enjoyed that battle and as I watched her disappear I wondered whether I'd get another chance. Sadly after another two hours of fishing I had to pack up as the winds were getting too strong and on numerous occasions nearly went into the river or narrowly dodged branches that were being torn from the trees all over the place, that was enough danger for me and a few years ago I came very close to dying in similar conditions so I drew on previous experiences and left.

 Two doubles in a day is not a bad return! 

Sunday 8 December 2019

45 Minutes....Two Barbel Please.

 Who needs all day to catch Barbel? not me! Six clients seen by two something and my last at 4pm prompted me to fill the void, but with what? There was only one thing for it, a spot of Barbel fishing!

 With my stalking gear in the van I marched down the river to find the second best maestro of chalkstream Barbel angling, because without Brian I had no bait, camera, terminal tackle barring a hook and 1x AAA shot and most importantly no net and yes I know many who tread these banks don't own one, but I actually give a crap!

 Having met up with Brian he mentioned that he had found some feeding Barbel and I cheekily asked him to lead me there so I could plunder the stocks and within four passes through I did just that.

 The first was this 6lb 10oz fighting fit winter Barbus and the second individual was around the 3-4lb mark which went back swiftly. What a far cry winter releasing is to the summer, these fish were ready to go immediately where as in the summer most spend 5-10 minutes in the net to get themselves ready for safe release.

 I like it like that :)


 A couple of days previous I did also manage a short morning targeting a Barbel or a Chub. The conditions were very challenging as temperatures dipped well below freezing and remained that way well into daylight as the thermometer registered -3c at 9am. Not going into too much detail it was not easy so when I finally got a chance at a Barbel I took it. 

It was so cold it hurt breathing in deep!

 An old warrior of a Barbel which had huge barbules that I thought looked like a moustache!

An old warrior of 6.02

Breaming of a Slime Fest.

   As the weather begins to warm so does the water and slowly but surely the Bream will come to a point where they will go off and spawn, en...