Saturday, 31 March 2012


This week I stayed very local and fished Willow Farm on the outskirts of Evesham. The forecast was for dull and overcast weather and it stayed that way until mid-afternoon. I thought that it would be perfect for Perch as they do not feed well in bright weather. The sudden drop in temperature following the lovely warm weather all week caught me out and I felt freezing all morning.
Last week was the first time I have ever used Prawns as bait and as they had caught three Perch in quick succession I decided to try them again, just on the one rod and on the other I used half a Lobworm. What I didn't realise was just how much Tench love Prawns. They went mad for them!
I had nine of them in total up to 3lb 11oz which to begin with was good fun on float and light tackle but I often fish places where they run much bigger so I started to get a bit annoyed with them. I would play them carefully thinking they could be a big Perch only to be disappointed when they came to the net. A few years ago they would have made for a really good days angling but I have been spoilt by catching them close to double figures. It is sad how your viewpoint of fish size changes and with it your opinion on what constitutes a good fish does as well.
I also caught a small Roach on the worm and a near personal best Silver Bream which actually excited me more than the Tench. It weighed a meagre 9oz and took a small section of Prawn. For it's size it had a remarkably big tail.
There are Silver Bream over a pound in here, I know because I saw one in old man's keepnet whilst chatting to him about the species. He had no idea what he had caught as is often the way. I will keep on trying until I break that barrier.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Ruddy netful

I am not a fan of commercial fisheries and whilst this venue may have the slight look of one, once you scratch beneath the surface it is very different. This is Hailes fruit farm, there are two ponds which were obviously originally for the farm's water supply. They are not advertised at all, not even from the roadside so they are peaceful, undisturbed and overgrown. They do hold Carp but only a small stock of naturals, no F1s, stockies or pasties. The majority of the stock is silvers(and gold!) and they range in size from small to average and slightly above. So this was were I spent my weekly outing.
I have fished Hailes twice before using only maggots and I caught a lot of fish. The problem I had was trying to get to the better specimens. The maggots were eaten by everything especially the small Roach so this time I fancied trying pellets to see if that would sort out the bigger fish-it worked.
Other brands are available
Also having read about some bloggers recent successes with Perch on prawn I had a second rod primed for a margin attack.
First cast with a pellet and I landed a Rudd and a pretty decent one at that weighing about 12oz. Within a few minutes I had his sister in the net also and this set the tone for most of the day. It was very nearly a bite a chuck and watching the waggler sail away is one of my favourite things in fishing.
I also quickly landed three small Perch from the margin rod on Prawn but those bites dried up as soon as the sun came out.
The only thing that slowed me down with the pellets was a change of wind direction around lunchtime. All the crap that was gathered in the right hand corner blew across in front of me to the left hand corner. It meant the float being dragged about or the pellet not sinking but I was having such a good time I did not let it bother me.
I finished with a bagful of Rudd, Perch and the odd Roach and not a mangled mouth between them.
My ambition for the session was to beat my previous personal best Rudd, which stood at 1lb exactly. I managed to do that by a meagre two ounces. Not the target annihilation like last week but pleasing none the less.
Seems like Spring has finally arrived.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

One target done (several to go!)

At the start of 2012 I set myself a series of targets that I wanted to achieve during the year. Today I annihilated the first of those. 
It has been four weeks since my last outing due to family commitments, work and visitors. It has been great catching up with family and old friends but the downside was missing the last two weeks of the river season and reading everyone's blogs has not helped in the slightest. In fact they all made me pretty jealous. 
One of my 2012 targets was a 3lb Trout, a new personal best on the fly. This branch of our sport is really exciting me at the moment, variety is the spice of life and I love trying new places and methods. I have been reading and absorbing all things fly for the last few weeks.
This morning I set out early for Lechlade fishery, a renowned big Trout mecca boasting double figure Rainbows and Brownies set in the Cotswold countryside. The lake itself is a lot smaller than I imagined but being fairly new to fly fishing it was plenty big enough for my amateurish casting efforts. I arrived about ten minutes before the gate opened and had a chat with some of the other anglers that were obviously as keen as me. They were really friendly and told me what flies had been working and what they had been catching. It was a bit of an eye opener that they were so willing to divulge information. Imagine if I had asked a carper what bait he was on. In response would be a grunt and a twitch and I would be none the wiser. The fly consensus was lures and flashy colours.
The gates opened and I got a two fish ticket, and some flies as recommended by the others plus the fishery owner.
My fly fishing is still in it's infancy so I headed to a quiet corner where I could thrash the water to a foam without too much embarrassment. To my amazement on the fifth cast the line tightened and it was fish on. I could not believe it! It was a good fish and just as I was getting control of the fight I reached for the net. Fatal mistake, the hook pinged out as I took my eye off the prize-gutted. It did my confidence good though just having hooked a fish.
I persevered with the same fly for a couple of hours but apart from a couple of tentative 'follows' nothing happened. At lunchtime I had a wander round the lake chatting to anglers on the way and one lad was having success with a yellow lure. I checked my fly box and had every other coloured lure bar yellow so I tied on an orange and green thing(no idea what any are called!) and chucked it out. It wasn't long before it got nailed. The only fly rod I own is a 5weight Orvis clearwater so is light and whippy and therefore leaves me a bit under-gunned for these big hard fighting Trout but with a bit of care I managed to land my first Lechlade Rainbow. I was elated. Easily a new pb and almost bigger than the net. I had to sit down and have a brew to stop my body shaking.

6lb 9oz of battling 'Bow'

The killer fly, 'a gold bead head green and orange thingamajiggy' just above the handle

I pulled myself together and moved swims away from the disturbance of that fish. I stuck with the same fly and kept chucking it toward the island opposite and slowly retrieving it back. For a bit of variety I had one cast along the edge and could see the fly working all the way when out of the depths another fish came up and nailed it. It was so exciting to see the whole take in the clear water and the fight was just as nervy as the previous because I knew this fish was bigger. I said over and over to myself "stay on, stay on" and thankfully it did. Twenty minutes later and I had raised my pb yet again to 8lb 5oz. I was and still am thrilled. Fish limit reached, target done, a superbly enjoyable day.

8lb 5oz