Thursday 25 November 2021

Return to the R.Wylye.


 I must admit I was super excited about this trip and having enjoyed a great day last time around I hoped for something similar or even better. Following on from a baron day and night on the R.Severn and a rough 4hrs kip in the car I had a day's fishing once again on the beautiful R.Wylye. It was cold, crunchy under-foot and very bright which is excellent Grayling weather, myself and Mike who once again invited me down hoped the Grayling were feeding well and it didn't take long to clock on to a big fish that Mike had previously seen the week before.

 As it cruised across the lighter patches of gravel, hoovering up maggots my heart kept racing as ( what turned out to be a he ) everytime I thought my float would bomb under. After a good thirty minutes of working the pool I finally got that all important tug of the float and away it went. In six feet of water he powered around with the typical head shaking and rubbing on the bottom (trying to dislodge my hook), I could see the entire fight even at depth in the crystal clear water, all I wanted was to slip my net under it, thankfully for me I got the chance. 

Best of the Autumn so far, 2lb 6oz.

 Thankfully for me, my day continued to get even better, gravel run after gravel run I managed to get bites as the red maggots were definitely the order of the day, with just 7hrs of fishing available myself and Mike looked to get as many fish on the bank before we lost light around 1615. 

 So without further ado, here is how my day went, oh and Mike had two crackers too!

2lb 2oz. One of 5 2lb+ specimens caught.

Mike with a 2lb 2oz Grayling -

- where are the grayling?....-

- then this happened! 2lb 12ozs!!

...And if my day wasn't already superb, as sunset had came and went, with just a little bit of the float now visible I had two bites, I landed both....2lb 3oz and this one below at a new seasons best of 2lb 7ozs.

 By the time I headed back to the car it was pitch black, I eeked every bit out of the day that I could and finishing the day on 24 Grayling with my best fish as follows: 

2x 1lb 12ozs
3x 1lb 14ozs
1x 1lb 15ozs
2x 2lb 2ozs
1x 2lb 3ozs
1x 2lb 4ozs
1x 2lb 6ozs
1x 2lb 7ozs

 Most of the remainder were a pound or over, simply amazing stamp of fish and I know there is a chance of a three-pound fish which is up there in my lifetime angling goals, here, there is a good chance and seeing two big fish that weren't caught and the capture of Mike' 2.12 is confirmation of what I feel.

 Oh, and I lost a nice Salmon too on the trotting gear, two or three minutes of thrashing and powering around ruined my peg before the size 16 hook slipped, a fish of maybe 6lb then dropped away downstream.

Friday 19 November 2021

Back on the R.ColnBrook


 It's been a while since I've been able to manufacture any time on this wonderful river, plenty of hours spent walking it but haven't seen an awful lot, plenty of Chub and some really big ones, however I feel maybe there isn't as many Barbel in it as I'd hoped, or is it just me? 

 I had the gear in the van as I quite often do and got a bait out in the first likely looking spot, a nice deep gully on the far bank under a willow, just the spot for a Barbel. Forty five minutes later I was moving, as is so often case, spots that look like they should produce fish, simply aren't and along with the endless rubbish on the bottom like metal and plastic the leaves were causing me grief, millions of the things coming through.

 Because of the added issue with leaves I found myself fishing under the rod tip and keeping as much line out the water as possible. My second spot looked just as good, with a large elderberry bush on the inside it created a nice upstream crease that diverted most of the leaves away from the gravel run I was fishing, ten minutes after settling in I had a deft little tap on the quivertip and hovered over the rod, just hoping it would go. And it did! A savage pull on the tip and line peeling off the spool I thought I had finally made contact with a ColnBrook Barbel, very quickly (15 seconds or so) it was established that a Chub had indeed taken a liking to my hookbait.   

 Down in the water column I couldn't quite make out how big it was, once in the net and hoisted up on to the mat I finally got a good look at it, yes it wasn't a Barbel but I could not be disappointed with such a wonderful looking Chevin. 6lb 6oz on the scales and my first Chub off the river is a "Six", not bad at all considering I haven't had more than the odd liner and that most of the Chub I've seen have been 3-4lb.

Big Squid munching barrel of a Chub.

 A couple of photos taken for the album I slipped her back downstream and tried my luck for another half an hour into darkness, but nothing else happened. One last peg was tried a hundred yards downstream but again, the quivertip remained motionless. A quick / traffic free drive around the M25 was as welcome as the Chub! Happy Days indeed, but where....have.....the......Barbel gone???

Saturday 13 November 2021

Grayling Fishing on the R.Wylye.


 Recently I was very kindly invited to fish a wonderful section of the beautiful R.Wylye set deep in the Wiltshire countryside, the offer was far too good to refuse and Mike who would be my host and I organised a day on the banks amongst my incredibly busy work schedule, just the tonic! 

 The previous day I was guiding on a picturesque R.Test tributary where my client for the day targeted the Grayling, once we had had our day, I packed up and drove down to the R.Itchen via the kebab house in Eastleigh - Large Kofte with salad, chilli sauce and chip :) - as I looked to continue my quest for an Itchen double, a fish that so far has eluded me and by 3am the decision was made to pull the plug so I could grab some shut-eye before driving up to Amesbury after a biteless 6hrs, yet again. 

 It is incredibly frustrating fishing on the Barbel front, seems its either feast or famine as between mid July to the end of September I'd managed to chalk off FIVE target rivers with lets face it pretty limited time what with my busy life at the moment. 29hrs so far on the Itchen (overnighters between work usually) for not even a bite! but I know they are there, albeit not in great numbers, so I will continue as I have no back-up area to target where a double is a possibility should I get a bite.

 Alas, we move on to the Grayling and having met with Mike at a leisurely 0830 we headed to a couple of lovely looking beats where I was assured the Lady of the Stream resided, so I began to trot white maggots down a wide sweeping bend around 4ft and feeding roughly ten maggots per trot to build the swim. It took just one trot to get a solid pull on the float and it felt like a big Grayling, twisting in the flow as expected, a minute later a Brown Trout surfaced and slipped into the net. Not what I expected given the fight.

 The next bite didn't disappoint as a Grayling around 1lb 8oz came to the net which was quickly followed by the loss of what looked and felt like a big Grayling, with Mike peering in he suggested it was a good "2lb" which further asserted what I thought! Not great and I'd have to wait for a decent amount of trots to pass by before I did get another shot at a Grayling and this one didn't come off.

A decent fish to kick off proceedings, properly. 1lb 12oz.

 Then the bites began to dry up, so having plenty of experience with Grayling I know just a change up can work wonders in eeking more out of each peg/run/swim, so I changed over to red maggots and deepened up 2'' and began to feed in the same manner, bites didn't take long to come again and within twenty minutes I had another four Grayling and two Trout but one Grayling was in that bracket I really wanted to first "two pounder" of the day.

A raggedy 2lb 4oz specimen, thick as anything!

 Then by the time I had had nine Grayling out of the first peg it went dead and decided to move on up and find a fish or two amongst the gravel and weed runs, but a brief pause to take a couple of photos was needed, be a shame to not show how lovely it is here!

Conditions really were absolutely superb.

 Mike decided on fishing downstream and I moved on up to see what was lurking around, but apart from two smaller Grayling around a pound and a very cautious Otter it didn't pay off so I moved downstream after lunch and a natter with Mike to see what else lye in wait.

 After lunch I decided to work the top of the next beat and work my way down until I ran out of light, this time of year thats a lot earlier than perhaps we'd all like. First peg down looked lovely and 2.8" in depth and pretty steady I opted to fish straight away and feed from the get go and within twenty seconds of my first beginning a large Grayling took my double reds and fought hard in the pacy flow, wearing my polaroids I could see the fish clearly and knew I need to get this beauty in! 

I need not have worried, 2lb 5oz and my best of the day.

 A tense battle under the rod tip was pretty nerve jangling, along with a great hook hold behind the scissor plate my long landing net handle bridged the gap and a quick couple of snaps was followed by the typical batter me on the bank then play dead, a minute later she cruised off after some gentle holding in the current, no sooner did I get my next trot going my float sailed under exactly where it went down the trot before and the hook set into another big Grayling, another long fish twisted and turned in the current, making a bid to escape, yet again I was fortunate with the hook hold as this time the hook was in the folds of net when I began to look for it, fine margins and all that, this beauty was yet another "two pounder" but weighing less than she looked, but thats fish for you.

My third "2lber" of the day, excellent, 2lb 0oz
 As I opted to move down again as the previous peg dried up I began to hook Grayling pretty quickly and after three fish around 1lb 8oz a bigger fish took two whites and made off downstream in the flow, sail up and broadside I knew this was the doing of a better fish and within thirty seconds the hooked slipped and a powerful tail slap was its final goodbye, I wasn't going to land that looked bigger than any I'd caught up to then, such a shame, we can't win them all.

 But my day didn't finish there, as I made my way further down on my first trot a nice Grayling came up in the water column and intercepted my two whites before they hit the trotting line, a good fish and once in the net I weighed her and another 2lb 0oz fish, this one I opted to just slip back straight away, a lovely fish, which was number 16 for the day and my last three fish were again of a smaller stamp around the 1-1.08 mark and a couple of Trout to finish up on what was a great day on a river I'd never fished before and must confess I have read much about the Wylye and it's sister rivers, which I am yet to have step foot on, but who knows that may change in the future. 

 I thoroughly enjoyed it and the elusive "three pound" specimen will have to wait a bit longer :) 

Wednesday 10 November 2021

My First Guiding Day.


 Last Wednesday and Thursday I unusually found myself fishing! with work pacing along and family life all consuming I had the pleasure of two days Grayling fishing! 

 My first day out actually wasn't myself wetting a line but a client who had won a days fishing on a premier chalk stream beat that holds some wonderful fish in a wonderful setting. Of course the winner of the charity lot had the unfortunate fact that he'd be fishing with me! But what I will say is I know the river pretty well and if anyone stands half a chance of doing well then it might as well be with me!!! (Not that I'm blowing my own trumpet of course!)

 My client for the day was a young man named Dom and having never caught a Grayling before I thought we should set our sights at one to begin with and then work our way towards the target of a two-pound specimen that do exist, if you can find them of course.

 Over the course of the day Dom became more familiar with the centrepin which wasn't easy at times with the odd cross wind causing the line to back around the spool, but he persevered and coupled with my guidance he finished the day on ten Grayling with a PB of 1lb 10oz which is a superb fish in anyones book and one that I'm sure he is chuffed with. Here are a couple of shots from the day.

 I can only suggest it was a success and that given the fact we saw "twos" loitering around it was unfortunate that one of the bigger fish were not caught, incremental steps after all is a nice way to up your PB rather than going the whole hog from the get go!

A great start!

1lb 9oz

1lb 10oz

Dom trotting one of the many excellent pools.

Sunday 7 November 2021

Barbel...Where Have They Gone.


 I have really struggled of late on the Barbel front, I am currently dividing my time between the Kentish Stour, Lea, Itchen, ColnBrook and the Nene, all of which have provided me with little or no sport what so ever, not even a small Chub which would normally really annoy me but now it would simply be an indication that I  am fishing effectively. 

 Since my last Barbel, which came off the R.Ivel I have embarked on eight sessions ranging from short 2hr after work visits or all nighters on the Itchen and K.Stour. Numerous areas tried and various baits tried, from rolling meat to sat behind a rod or two where possible and still absolutely nothing happening, its been bloody hard, so much so unless conditions do not improve markedly then that'll be it for me until February at least, with that the Grayling gear will come out of retirement!


 Since my last Barbel here is my list of blanks up to the beginning of November.

 Lea - 3hrs

 Nene - 13hrs

 K.Stour - 3.5hrs

 Itchen - 9hrs

 K.Stour - 3hrs

 K.Stour - 7hrs

 ColnBrook - 2hrs

 Itchen - 6hrs

 It's been tough!!!

Saturday 6 November 2021

Media Whore!

 A few weeks back yours truly featured on the front cover of the 'Angling Times' which was a fantastic surprise after agreeing to do a feature on a technique used primarily for Barbel, however other species can be fooled too when conditions dictate, below is a few photo' of the article.

 This front cover is my second as I first featured on the front cover of 'Coarse Angling Today' which unfortunately like many angling publications is now defunct, the AT cover shot is certainly my favourite for two reasons, firstly it was a perfect self take that really captured the mood but secondly the sheer fact that it is my new personal best Chub, what could be better! 

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 ...