Friday, 30 June 2017

Big Barbel Before Breakfast

A beautiful dawn, perfect for a sneaky session before work. One tin of Spam was all I needed to land a cracking eleven pounder in the golden sunshine whilst the rest of the world slept. 

One lost fish to an unforeseen snag and a four pound Chub the only other occurrences before I snuck back home for breakfast.

Friday, 23 June 2017

So Close, No Lies

The sun rises on another new season and I couldn't resist a few pre-work bankside hours. However the fish could resist my pellet offerings and I went home with just a couple of Chub pulls and nothing more to show for my efforts.

Fast forward to the following Wednesday and I was back on the bank. This season I have decided to come away from the manic BAA stretches as much as possible. I have kept the ticket on because they are close to home, ideal for quick sessions but am disillusioned with the actions of several individuals that fish these stretches, lighting fires, the ridiculous amount of litter and the constant flouting of rules. Plus I am not a people person with rod in hand and they are just too busy.

Martin already had a Bream in the net when I arrived, a lovely dark fish of about four pounds. I dropped into the swim above him, a lovely nearside run with overhanging trees that just screamed Chub and Barbel. I baited up with a couple of handfuls of pellets and the pair of us went for a wander. Martin knew of a Kingfisher nest just upstream so we went to see if we could spot the owner and also have a chat with the only two other anglers on the mile and a bit stretch. That's what river fishing should be, plenty of free swims, not full of noddies in every available peg.
No sign of the Kingfisher but one of the other anglers landed a Barbel while we were there, a good sign that the fish were feeding.
Within a half hour of returning to our swims (the Kingfisher was hiding) my rod hooped round and after a cracking battle I landed my first whisker of the season, 8lb 2oz. I thought more would immediately follow but the fight had obviously spooked the swim and an extended period of inactivity ensued.

Martin added a decent Chub to his Bream and then a Barbel of his own of about six pounds as the light started to fade. Darkness was virtually upon us when I finally had my second bite. The fish managed to find a snag but thankfully with a bit of careful cajoling it came free. From there on I was on top of the tug-of-war and Martin slipped the net under a lovely long fish for me. The scales don't lie and neither do we!-9lb 15oz of immaculate Avon Barbel. Martin took a pretty good photo considering an inquisitive horse was nudging him in the shoulder whilst he did so.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Six Sessions, One Post- Close Season Catch Up

Recently it has been a bit of a struggle to find the time to fish and when I have managed to get bankside the results have been poor. I cannot find the motivation to write about fishless sessions or ones involving tiddlers so hence the blog has been quiet.

Several weeks ago I took some floaters to my favourite Carp venue. The avian life were extremely interested in my offerings, especially the goose and swan pictured and I struggled to get the same response from below the surface. One missed bite was all I could muster and I went home cursing our feathered friends.


Session Two and some very inclement weather gave Tazzy and I a proper soaking.

The cold rain made the sport sporadic to say the least. I was targetting silver Bream but only managed a few small roach and a couple of Bronze Bream and nothing special to boot.

Session Three was good fun, got the fly rod out and chased the Carp in the local puddle. Two small battling Commons landed made for a pleasant evening distraction.


Session Four was a blank chasing Tench, the weather was still quite chilly and I don't think the Tincas had woken up properly from their Winter slumber. Even Tazzy looked bored that day.


Session Five and the fly rod came back into play. A social evening with the big man at the picturesque Lenches lakes chucking bits of fluff at rising Trout.

The warmer temperatures have made the fish more active and I managed a brace of Trout up to 2 1/2 pound. The first one fell for a black gnat type pattern with buoyant white wings (I must learn the proper names of these things!), the second a large grasshopper type thing, it was getting dark so needed something big that my old eyes could see in the gloom.


Session Six saw me back Tenching but this time on a red hot day in glorious sunshine.

The Carp were thrashing around in the margins obviously starting to get amorous and they gave me a constant barrage of line bites making it difficult to tell if I was getting actual bites. The Tench were conspicuous by their absence and after five bite less hours I was beginning to get frustrated.

Finally I had an unmissable run and after a bit of trouble with a weed bed I slipped the net under by far the best fish I have caught this year. A stunning female Tench pulling the scales down to 9lb 3oz. All the frustrations of previous sessions forgotten with one fish- gotta love this sport!!

Friday, 17 March 2017

One Last Hurrah

The final day of the season, still as special as always despite the close season rule changes on stillwaters. A last chance to sit beside running water for a whole three months. My chances to fish of late have been extremely limited but there was nothing that was going to get in the way. A whole day away from the business for which I owe my wife a large debt of gratitude. She will make me pay I'm sure!
I arrived late, the joys of getting three kids sorted for school but the whole day was ahead of us so I did not fret. Martin was already well settled in a swim, the first stage of his plan to fish the early morning for predators in full swing. I hadn't even finished tackling up before I was commanded over to his swim for photography duty. An excited Martin had a pb Zander in the net. At 9lb 9oz he had smashed his previous best by over six pounds, his half smile hiding obvious delight. 

My tactics were different, my target was Barbel and I intended to fill a swim with maggots and hemp, wait a while and empty the river of its slippery residents. A few Chub and a solitary Perch fell for the tactic, but they weren't exactly crawling up the line as I had hoped. 

Between bites I amused myself watching the lumberjacks trimming the tree opposite. With my vertigo I felt sick just watching!

On Martin's advice I chucked a second rod upstream with pellet and a pva bag and it finally gave me the prize I desired, not a monster but a Barbel landed and I was happy.

A Jenny Wren gave an opportunity for some playing with the camera.

Eventually as darkness fell the fish started to feed in earnest, Martin had sveral Chub and a solitary Barbel and I managed an Eel and a Chub of 4lb 5oz...

and finally a Bream of (strangely) exactly the same weight.

And so the sun sets on another season and I have just one target for next, to get more time on the bank!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

River Test Grayling plus the Inevitables

The sun had just risen over the horizon as Martin and I pulled into the car park following our long journey South to fish the Hampshire Test. It was time for what has become an annual pilgrimage to the mecca of Trout fishing however our aim was to plunder the stocks of Grayling that live among the spotties.

The Test is a truly stunning waterway and despite yesterdays torrential downpours it was reasonably clear with just a tinge of colour-perfect conditions. It is truly amazing the different depths of each swim in this river. I began the day in an old favourite spot that is only three feet deep but the weed, which should be long gone by January made trotting impossible so I moved upstream to a swim that was over nine feet deep. With the freezing cold overnight temperatures I fancied some fish could be holed up in the deeper water.

I wasn't wrong and soon enough good numbers of Grayling fell for the maggot hookbaits up to a biggest of 1lb 4oz.

Inevitably Trout were attracted to the loose feed and it didn't take long for the thrashing Salmonids to clear out the swim.

 One interesting visitor to the swim was this Little Grebe, that is their imaginative name, nothing to do with their size and the first I have ever seen/identified- thanks to Google.

A move down stream became imperative and I focused my attention on a lovely long glide close to the confluence of main flow and backwater.

Again plenty of Grayling were landed up to a pound but after a while they didn't get much of a look in as a procession of Trout were landed. To be fair they were good battles on light tackle.

Quite a variety of good looking Brownies with one Rainbow thrown in for good measure. I lost count of the total number of fish caught but it was well over sixty. A great days fishing and a lot more fun than a commercial Carp-filled puddle, Cannot wait until the next visit.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Severn Roach and an Opportunity

In days gone by the middle Severn was a mecca for Roach fishing and it seems to be making a bit of a comeback as far as it's silverfish stock are concerned. There are even a few over that magical 2lb mark, Andy having landed one only the week before. Having seen the photo my appetite was wetted for a big Roach of my own so when he offered to take Martin and I to the scene of his success we didn't have to think twice.
A few little issues (and Andy's love of a full cafe breakfast!) meant we were a bit late starting but with a heavy overnight frost I don't think we missed much.
So with a bucket full of maggots we set about plundering the Roach. It wasn't easy going but there were a enough fish biting to keep up the interest and I do love trotting for Roach.

The kingfisher flitted about and I fed a rather friendly Mallard a few grubs to help him along.

Late in the day Andy popped down to my swim to say he was packing up as a Pike had just taken the Roach he was playing and he couldn't be bothered to set up again.
Thankfully I had chucked my Pike rod in the bag so I attached a freelined Roach deadbait and cast it out into Andy's swim. I let the bait sink before giving it a slow and twitchy retrieve. The bait got within a few feet of the bank before getting nailed. A feisty little battle followed before I put the net under a short but fat little Pike. 

Andy wasn't convinced it was big enough to be the culprit of his bite off but a few further casts failed to produce any more action so we set off home before the freezing fog descended.