Monday, 30 May 2022

Catfish Slaying Time.

 

 My bi-annual visit for Catfish was booked, plenty of discussion had about tactics etc which once all played out was pretty mute, they eat anything, on the surface, on the bottom and anywhere in between!, If re-incarnation was a thing, the humble slug would be my next life form, we do share that trait.

 Nothing special, only fish to 60lbs floating about in small numbers which were most likely guarding nests by this point, so we knew the size of the fish would be impacted by this but did we care? not one bit! my good chum Brian unfortunately received some terrible news recently and saw this trip as a blow-out before he is relegated to the sidelines as he takes on his battle with the dreaded C! 

 A friendly competition as always is good but when we do this catfish fishing we build a joint tally and try to reach certain targets but this time around it was fairly clear from the off that we didn't have massive numbers of fish in front us and that other pegs on the other side of the lake were fairing far better than us, but what can you do! We set out our stall and stuck to the game plan. 

First of 6 twenties.

 36hours was booked and hoped we would see at least PB fall whilst there. Brian' best is 30lb 3ozs, Richard (Bro's) 33lb 10ozs, Richard B 35lbs and finally mine at 39lb 9ozs. All fairly respectable weights without really fishing anywhere (barring a blank at Swallow Pool two years back) where monster fish are present. Knowing Charlie's in Ashford does hold fish over 60lb meant we do stand a chance of adding a fair chunk to our PB's, if we could find one. 

 That however in the blaring sun was not easy and found sport very slow, in-fact combined it took us well over 12hrs to get over 10 fish combined, that really was slow and fish weren't of decent sizes either, I lost a big fish that gave me the slip in some pads and Brian lost an equally decent fish to a hook-pull, not what we wanted but part and parcel with fishing. Meat was clearly the bait of choice and all but the odd fish falling to boilee and paste, it helped bolster our takings.

Upper 20.

 When these fish do go it is great fun and fights often last 5-10 minutes, especially when the battle isn't nipped in early and they get a second wind, it can be good fun with the added jeopardy of being given the slip as they know where the snags are and found them often charging 50-70 yards to far margins in search of cover, thankfully fishing decent gear they often didn't get close enough, but the battles are good fun.

 Over the 30 hours that we fished the scores were in and as we wrapped things up Brian slipped in to first with fish of the trip....written in the stars some might say! I shall let Brian fill you in with the details through his blog here: Pike Blog Nicely done mate!

 The scores were as follows:

 Brian - ******* fish - best *******.

 Rich (bro) - 6 fish - best 23lb 14ozs

 Rich ( Bentley ) - 4 fish - best 27lbs

 Yours truly - 10 fish - best 2x @28lb 6ozs.

 All in all, good craic and must do it again, but maybe go for something a little bit more serious once Brian has come out the other side! 


Best of the bunch for me 28lbs 6ozs.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

PB Bream, Walthamstow Reservoirs 2022.

 

 For many years the thought of a campaign for specimen Bream has always appealed, however the choice to go with it has never been taken. Finally, after plenty of deliberation the decision has been made, this spring my targets are going to be Bream and Eels. Not the pairing that many would feel comfortable with, nevertheless I don't mind and find targeting species like this very intriguing. A slime fest if you will.

 The thought of big Bream is one that I find exciting, I don't know how big they really go to in the reservoirs, because when they do come out it is often to disgruntled Carp anglers who tend to unhook them in the water, so there is no real detail on numbers and weights of the fish that get caught, this is where I hope to come in. Having decided to take on Walthamstow Reservoirs for my Bream campaign I hope to get amongst numbers of fish with the ultimate goals being: To thrash my personal best, B: Get a good idea on exactly what is knocking about and C: What other surprises there maybe, for example potentially put some meat on the bones of a British Record fish knocking about. How true that is, it's hard to tell but it all adds to the mystery and I quite like that.

 With a night available on the complex last weekend I decided to make the effort to get over there. I dug my gear out, made up a few rigs, loaded up the bucket with feed and made sure my camera batteries were charged! On Saturday morning I made my way leisurely up to E17 hoping that it wasn't too busy and to my surprise there was only ten on the gate for 0730, that I was surprised by, I thought given the fact its a great time of the year to target both Carp and Bream that it would be chocker. 

 With no barrow it was a long slog to the peg I had chosen, two journeys, carrying upwards of 100kg of gear isn't something I want to do too often and think it maybe time to bite the bullet and buy a barrow because it damn near killed me, not to mention rubbed my neck raw with the various handles turning on my skin, I just hoped it was all worth it! 

 The plan was simple, fishing two rods both with helicopter rigs. The setup I was using for this trip was the Korum all-rounder 1.5 TC rods, with Ultegra 5500's loaded with 12lb line ( Daiwa Hypersensor ), terminal gear was 10lb fox illusion flourocarbon, size 8 wide gape hook to a hair with 4 real grains of corn and 1 bouyant piece of corn to top it off. The feeder I used were cage feeder 80g loaded with Sensas 3000 brown crumb with corn, 4mm & 6mm pellet and broken scopex squid boilees to finish off. Plenty of sweetness, just what Bream like and with an hour of starting I did get the odd liner, so it was encouraging.

 For that first hour and a half I was on the phone to Brian and we had come to the end of our conversation when I was thinking about refilling the feeders and getting them back out, plus to also check that the rigs hadn't spun around the mainline. Within five minutes of hanging up my right hand rod bleeped a few times and the bobbin pulled up tight to the buzzer, without hesitation I picked up the rod and bent into the fish, hoping it was a Bream a fairly heavy fish immediately kited to my left and probably going a good 50 yards, not something I was expecting off of a Bream, the fish stayed down close to the bottom and occasionally skimming the bottom and releasing trails of gas from the bed of the reservoir, so I knew roughly where she was at times. After about four or five minutes the fish was coming in close, I took longer with this fish as I suspected it was a big Bream and it was my first fish of the trip so I didn't want to put any undue pressure on it and potentially lose it.

 I didn't expect to see a Bream this big though.....shocked was an understatement, I couldn't ship the net out fast enough! a new personal best had just slipped over the cord and I was in dreamland or Carp angler hell ;O)

 This is what greeted me when I got the fish out the water on to the mat!

I've never seen a Bream that big in the flesh.
 

 I was so pent up with excitement I nearly forgot to check the other rod that bleeped whilst I was attending to this fish, a couple of glances back at the other rod to see if would materialise, which it didn't so I continued with the lump in net. On the scales then a few photos were run off before I let her go back home.

Obscene, 14lb 6ozs, new PB, thank you!

 ***Click link here to watch YouTube video -------> Release video of PB Bream <--------***

 The sheer size of it had me wondering just how big is a twenty? which, one day will be a target as I hopefully inch my way through the Bream on this famous venue, I could not have asked for a better start at all and knew I had the best part of 22hrs to go. The stage was set.

 The thought of more fish that size coming to the net excited me so much and even the look of disdain from carp anglers who I spoke with about my desires on the Bream front didn't wain. Who could honestly not find that impressive, even if I say so myself. The rods were back out and I sat back patiently waiting for the next bite.

 Unbeknownst to me and is so common in angling, the wait would be a lot longer than I thought it would be and to cut a 20hr story short that fish was actually my last bite, the liners stopped not long after that fish was landed and spods of bait were launched out to keep the swim rocking but one of two things were clear to me, either there was only a couple of fish were in the area feeding, or it was simply me catching the end of their feeding spell and I got lucky, which I am leaning toward.
 
 I spent the evening, night and early morning ringing the changes to try and eek out another bite but it simply didn't come along and as the sun rose I could see Bream just under the surface cruising around, might they have just not been feeding at all? I don't really know, but what I do know is on my first outing I smashed my PB by nearly 2lbs, that is a right result in my book and will look to get down soon for another go! 

Sunset on a great day.


Tuesday, 10 May 2022

R"eel"y Good Start.

 

 I can't remember the last time I caught an Eel by design, let's just say I have forgotten a lot and needed to brush up. That said on various platforms there is a wealth of knowledge and tutorials etc to help blow the cobwebs out of ones mind to remind you of past experiences and teach you new things and how to implement that into your angling. 

 I spent a few hours setting up my gear and watching said videos so that by Wednesday evening ( a few weeks back ) I would be primed and ready to tackle the seemingly baron canals on East London. Given the fact Eels aren't liked by many means they are largely an unknown and having only seen a couple of dead ones floating against lock gates or in rafts held up by canal boats at mooring it intrigued me. Also given the fact the specimens I had found dead were very big, one I estimated to be between five and six pounders when alive, it looked bigger still, but with bloating and decomposition beginning some of the size had to be taken into account.

 Coupled with the cormorant predation on the canals I can't imagine there are many bootlaces around so that would potentially mean if I were to get a run it would be a good fish, a 2lb specimen to begin with was my target and once I've achieved that weight bracket then I'd move on to the next with a 4lb fish an ideal fish to really get my campaign going and a six pound specimen my ultimate canal goal.

 I arrived at the canal and headed straight to one of the lock basins as I would have thought these areas would be a natural place for food stuffs to settle thus a good place to start, only concern was that the sun was still bright and thought I may have to wait for dusk. 3 hours later and still bite-less ( as I thoroughly expected ) the sun had dropped beyond the built up horizon of the London skyline.

 Using the "Twig Rig" which I will go into more detail on another post was deployed, one baited with a small cube of meat, the other a fresh Roach head. The reason for using the head first is the head contains quite a lot of blood and juices, this being the attractive part of the fish and hoped to speed up the process of catching an Eel.

Bingo!

 Just twenty minutes into night and the meat rod bleeped a couple of times and then the line started to peel off the spool where I then picked up the rod and struck, but oddly, nothing. It was clear upon retrieval of the meat that it was indeed an Eel that had been eating the bait with the tell tale triangular nips out the sides. I quickly got the bait back out and within 5 mins the rod was away again and this time I made no mistake with the setting of the hook. 

 And as much as the Eel tried to evade the net it was ultimately in vein. I had got my first Eel of the campaign on the bank and it wasn't a bad one either. This fish was swiftly followed up by another around 1lb 8oz and was good to know I was in the mix. 

 I stayed until around 10pm when I decided to call time on the session but was a very good start and truly believe that there are bigger fish there, just need to get the time to target them and do the deed!

 The photo of the biggest one below at 2lb 5ozs. 

Tricky to hold....

29.5 inch length, 5.5 inch girth.

Wash Out Wye.

   Brian and I had a trip earmarked for the R.Wye to target the Barbel, ultimately the plan was to play the numbers game and catch a double ...