Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Royalty, Chub and Barbel on the Brain.

 Whenever I plan a little trip to the Royalty I spend the days leading up to it feeling like a little child with Christmas on the horizon, the history, the prestige it's all very consuming and I still feel that even though it isn't the easiest fishery but it has looked after me well with Barbel to nearly 15lb, Pike a shade under 20lb and quality stamps of Dace too.

 The journey from Surrey to the fishery takes a little over 2hrs but before we knew it we had arrived in the car park to find a tiny tinge of colour, maybe not enough for the Barbel to feed their tits off but we stood a chance, with the right tactic and application theres always a chance of success, I started the day rolling meat and continued throughout the day to hopefully find feeding fish on my travels up and down the fishery on both sides.

 The first few hours produced nothing but a couple of half-hearted taps on the meat as tentative Barbel knew it wasn't any good for them but their instinct nearly got the better of them, alas I had to wait until around half ten before I got my first real hit, just above the telegraphs I spotted two tails hanging out the back-end of a long run of weed, my bait went out above the raft and rolled it down on the blind side, not 5 metres down the run my finger nearly got sliced off as a Barbel shot out from under the weed and charged upstream, taking nearly 30 yards of line with it.

 The fight is exactly what I expect off of an Avon Barbel of any size, the depth multiplied by the current makes them very enjoyable, it took what seemed as much as 6 or 7 minutes to finally land it and once in the net I allowed it a few minutes just to recoup, then a couple of photos to savour the moment before she was slipped back to make someone else's day.

Typical of an Avon Barbel.

 As I played that Barbel I noticed on a set of shallows below a couple of Chub spook off so I wondered if one of them wanted to play ball.....three casts later and this lovely brassy Chub was connected and causing havoc amongst the weed beds, but no match for my determination to get it in, two fish in ten minutes....Sweet!

 But that splurge of action was to be short lived as the angling got very quiet and speaking to most anglers on the fishery to see how they were fairing provided grim reading as most had seen fish but simply could not get one to commit, was that to be my lot?

 As the sun was really high and the heat made it all the more exhausting I took a more laid back approach throughout the afternoon to just try and find fish with one eye firmly on the evening. About 100 yards up from Harrigan's I found a shoal of Chub, a couple of which were big fish and more than likely over the 6lb mark, my Avon best is 5.09 so there was a potential river PB in front of me. The waiting began whilst I worked out a way to catch them, for ages I catapulted out pieces of crust and after a little while I got them taking it off the top, having fed them for twenty I went out with my own piece of crust but the wind blowing into my face made it almost impossible to get it on the spot, with the 'pult I could get out but the bait and line was just too lite, having tried for nearly an hour I gave up with the intention of coming back at dusk, so that's what I did.

 No bread this time but just a healthy introduction of Barbel and Chub crack (aka The Source) on an ounce lead and a foot long hook length at 10lb breaking strain as there was a couple of thick weed beds between me and the fish, knowing Chub they would head straight for them! I let the broken bits settle down and then put my first cast out after twenty minutes or so, no sooner did I put the rod down it slammed over and was into number one, 4lb on those, then it must have been 2 minutes after getting my bait back out when it tore off again, slightly bigger this time at 4.14.

 All day I wondered if it would go off in the evening, it was clear my question had been answered, I had to tie a new rig as the 4.14 had ruined the rig on the way in coming through the weed bed, so I kept little bits of bait going in whilst doing that and by the time I was ready the swim got a little rest, I flicked my bait straight out on the spot and held on to the rod, I didn't even get the chance to set the clutch and sit back in my chair before it savagely slammed over again, couldn't believe how easy this was becoming and as the Chub rolled on the surface before diving for the weed I could see it was a very big fish, probably the biggest I saw in the shoal earlier on in the day, knowing I'd only get one shot I put some power into it and luckily the Chub didn't get properly stuck in the weed and started to come free, once over that main bulk of weed I could breath easy and paid out the net as she cruised in, not two minutes from bite to bank, not bad and it was exactly what I'd hoped for, had to be a 6+.

My new Avon best, 6lb 4oz.

  Even for a summer fish she was big, very long and in the depths of the winter it may be a 7lb fish and one that I'd love to cross paths with again, I enjoyed the moment and with a couple of snaps she was gone. The commotion didn't put the remaining fish off as I had another of 4.06 out fairly quickly afterwards by which point I decided to try and find a Barbel before the light failed but all I could find was enormous Salmon gliding across various gravels, in truth I had had a brilliant days fishing and yet again the Royalty turned up again for me.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Short and Sweet on the Chub Front.

 With only an hour after work available I needed to quench my flowing fix, with my Mark IV in the back I loaded it up with a pin and was ready to go, only a little bait too meant that if it went off like it can at times then my trip would be very quick.

 I dropped into a couple of small spots that I often have success in proved fruitless which can be the case during the summer, I find Chub and Barbel tend not to stay in certain places for long so staying mobile and only giving each swim ten to fifteen minutes affords me the little luxury of fishing more areas, upon arriving in my third swim which does hold fish up until the first heavy floods was a success as on my third trot down my cane slammed over with a Chub in tow, from what I could see downstream it was half decent, a typical scrap played out in the main flow before giving up, 4.02 on the scales just to get my eye in as I hoped more would come to the bank.

 That confidence soon wore off though as I ran baits through another six swims without a single enquiry, I found that quite strange in truth but maybe with the pressure the river is currently seeing I wonder if a majority of the fish are feeding at night to avoid the attentions of us anglers?.

 It's an answer I'm not 100% certain of but all I know is that with the effort put in to catch the one Chub turned out to be crucial, nine swims, one take, one fish. Not often it's that tough but I'll take that.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Canal Bream, Return of the Breadi.

 Recently I've been a bit behind in the blogging, so I am hoping to catch up and what better way to start than with the canals elusive big Bream and Carp, the Bream probably wouldn't be many anglers first port of call but I really like how dark they are in the gin clear water, they look simply prehistoric, catching them isn't easy as I have touched on in the past where I've had varying levels of success.

 About 9am..ish after finishing with an early morning client a gap in my schedule of 3 hours was going begging, that meant only one thing, it was fishing time! Oh when a plan comes together its great, all I needed was to find fish and feeding ones at that, the conditions for stalking weren't perfect but in the past I have caught in worse.

 Just a small loaf of Warburton's for the walk and a stalking rod loaded with 8lb line just in case I came across a nomadic Carp on my travels. I spotted a shoal (5 or 6) of Bream cruising the far bank margin which was a sight for sore eyes, nearly three miles walked before these appeared, as soon as I spotted them the bread was flicked just in front of the advancing pod, no sooner did the bait hit the water one of the Bream arched up and sucked the bait in, a Bream off the top! I was a little shocked to tell the truth but I've seen some crazy things in my years of angling, this was just another to add to that growing collection.

 The fight was non-existent as I have come to expect but it's the stealth and patience required to catch these extremely clever creatures, the most un-natural approach seems to work most of the time I've caught, on the scales she weighed 8lb 6oz and was very chuffed......but only for about twenty minutes. In that small shoal I did see a big big Bream in the middle and if I was a betting man I'd suggest it were a double, as the little shoal came back around minus the one I'd caught I cast out another piece of bread past the shoal and dragged it back into their path, as it fluttered down to about a foot under the surface the largest of the shoal (the big big fish I eluded to earlier) went straight for the flake and made no mistake in sucking it down.

 The patience had paid off again, however this time I knew I was in for a treat, last season I managed a 10lb 1oz specimen but this looked bigger, but just how much?? 3oz much! boy was I happy, but in truth I did think it was a high 10, can only imagine it has dumped most of it's spawn or maybe all.

 A net covered in slime, jumper covered in it, work trousers snotted up and spent the following five minutes de-snotting the line, did I care? did I hell. What a fish and what a way to achieve it, 10lb 4oz of pure wild canal slab and what a beautiful looking creature too.

Like a breeze block, possibly never seen a hook before.

 There's not many anglers who get excited about such a fish, but I'm one of them.
 Unfortunately the day did end with a sour note, after the joy of landing two magnificent Bream I finally tracked down two Carp, both Common's and both very big, the bigger of the two would have surely been pushing 30lb and it's been a target of mine for a few years now, for nearly 2 hours I watched them and put baits in front of them with nothing but the occasional flinch of fleeting interest, at one point I crushed up some crust and put it in the margins, after 30-40 minutes a Bream appeared and started to hoover up the crumb, this seemed to annoy the Carp and they swam out from under some weed and headed straight for the bait, I sent a piece of flake down straight in front of the Carp and the big Common nailed it, I struck and my rod buckled with line pissing from the spool as she made off I struggled to keep in control such was the power, my tackle wasn't light either.

 A few minutes into the battle I thought I was gaining the upper hand as I had the chunk just twenty or so feet from the net, then with one huge lunge she went back up the canal and buried itself deep into a large silkweed bed and I knew straight away that I was not going to win this one, a couple of heart stopping minutes passed with me trying to ease back out but it wasn't to be, the tension dropped off and using a barbless hook it just fell out and the Carp righted herself and cruised off, I couldn't believe how unlucky I was. The Angler Strikes Back will be the next instalment.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Summer Barbel, Pure Enjoyment.

 I have a confession to make, I have really missed targeting Barbel. After spending many hours sat behind rods awaiting various fish to find my bait on a pond/lake or reservoir the art of stalking on a river has made me realise just why I love to target them.

 Having already done one short session and banking two Barbel to 6lb 5oz I fancied my chances to get amongst some bigger fish, a double the target. I know where they will be roughly so it was simply a case of getting myself into a catching position, now with the vegetation this time of year being so thick that wasn't particularly easy, but after a short spell of being stung to high heaven by the nettles I got the chance and they fell with confident regulatory which was much to my delight.

 Although the Barbel that were showing themselves were of the smaller kind they still pose a challenge with their erratic fighting but it certainly adds to the enjoyment. Three hours later and FIVE Barbel on the bank I decided to call it a day. Another few points to add to the "Bloggers Challenge".

Solid scrap to dust off the Mark IV!

A long lean chalk stream devil.

7.7 best so far but I suspect it won't be for long.

A stocky 7lber.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sneaking Carp in the Urban Jungle.

 A nice short post, the afternoon trip started off out in search off canal Bream and Carp but neither were to be spotted in the miles of canal searched, tough to take but I'm well versed in how difficult it can be and maybe they were just down in the water column hiding, another day may yield a completely different result but the trip didn't stop there as on our way home I popped into a local dock where I know big Tench live and good Carp to mid 30's.

 Opportunistic fishing at its windswept corner of the deep dock had a small head of Tench showing and I felt confident that they were feeding as the paddle tails were waving up the water as they grazed, I flicked out a lump of bread and awaited the peacock quill to lift or shoot under.

 Twenty minutes or so of stalking and i was in, but it was no Tench, but a small Mirror Carp instead had fell for the trick, not a monster but it was very pretty!

Fenland Rudd 2017 Part One.

 Who needs an excuse to head up to the Fens? I most certainly don't, I can't think of many better places in the country to be fishing than in the flats of Norfolk / Cambridgeshire. As always it means an early start to beat the dreadful traffic that builds up on the A13 and M11 but with the anticipation building to a deafening crescendo the pre-dawn drive flashes by, having been down there a few times now there is a pukka little order that everything goes in so it makes launching for the day a breeze.

 But just before we get to the fishing myself and Brian were blessed with the sight of a Barn Owl hunting in the brush not 50 yards from us, for me these are my favourite animal, not even a species of fish beats these personally, the hunting supremo and extremely pretty too, just watching one for 15 minutes felt so calming, I even managed at distance to get some photos.

 I could watch them all morning, incredible creatures but we did have the small task of catching some river Rudd, not just any Rudd either, with fish surpassing the 3lb mark these were serious fish and plenty of fishing had to be done to get through the smaller fish.

 Conditions were almost perfect as the sun was high and hot, the wind was typical for the fens ( blowing varying speeds and directions ) so stalking wasn't too bad but the river we fished was very coloured and that was something we did not expect, but as the day went on the Rudd fed fairly well. However when using bread on these waterways the Swans and Gulls know exactly what the game is and trying to outsmart them is not a mean feat!

 Luckily enough with the boat at times we could escape their attention and seek feeding fish elsewhere, how I'd like a shogun I can not remember how many times these blasted birds have ruined great feeding spells. Thankfully we started to get amongst some decent fish around the 1.08 mark and by midday I had bagged a fish just shy of 2lbs, almost immaculate which is something thats unusual for the Fenland rivers as they seem to all have a nick or two, no doubt running the gauntlet of predators and yes even 2lb Rudd will disappear down the throat of some of the Pike present, not even an issue.

1.14, seasons best.

 By the time lunchtime came up we were debating on what to do as the sun was really high and the heat was really felt, we thought we'd discuss over a big juicy burger/chips and a pint what the plans were and finally decided that the fishing was going to be tough until dusk which unfortunately on this occasion we didn't have that option so a quick drive elsewhere to check up on some other water we haven't fished was in order and with a great looking section earmarked for further investigation we headed back to London.

 Another sighting a beautiful Barn Owl heading into the distance as we fished.

Back in the Angling Media.

 Just a little snippet from the Angling Times recently with my PB Golden Orfe that was taken during a day trip to Newdigate Fishery in the Surrey Hills.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Opening Day Successes.

 So the glorious 16th of June approached fairly quickly after my arrival back in the U.K and this season I had decided to give Chub a go for the first couple of days. My venue was the D.Stour and with this being my third campaign on the river I was certainly feeling more optimistic about my chances of catching some of the rivers huge inhabitants, I know I was fishing some of the best water in the country so I know I have to bide my time and continue to learn the waters, it will come.

 Myself and Brian made the long journey down at the crack of dawn with the view to stalking the fish throughout the day and static fish for the Chub during the night, once we had arrived the temperature was already at 24c with prospects of a max around 31c, that's pretty hot when in amongst towering stinging nettles and balsam, not very pleasant and if you can imagine sat in a sauna fully clothed then you get the picture. But the river season was open and we couldn't care a single bit, lovely to be on running water.

 I set up a short stalking rod (9ft) and a (12ft) trotting rod for different swims to make sure I didn't alienate myself from potential targets, as the sun got higher during the morning we could see Chub moving around but to our surprise they were still spawning on the shallows and this presented us with an early problem, just like us humans, we don't think of eating whilst doing the deed so I wasn't expecting the Chub to oblige, things were going to be tough from the outset.....

 Around midday I trotted a big lump of meat downstream to a tree line and the float stormed off downstream and was met by some very strong resistance, the fish began to come upstream and I could see a large frame (probably 6-7lb) heading for the top of my swim and as I bent down to pick up my net it lunged downstream and buried itself in a huge weedbed, not what I wanted and the line was solid straight away, I was gutted as I could still feel the subtle tapping on the rod, so I knew it was still on the other end, I let the slack off to see if she'd back off down still attached but before I could formulate a plan the line went completely slack as I took up the tension, she was gone.....not the start to the season I wanted.

 With very little since that lost fish but the occasional knock unfortunately nothing could be hit on the float or on the rolling method and as 4-5pm approached I decided to completely change tact and find a shaded area to fish a static, I had to try something else as my desired approach was proving useless, I flicked out my 15mm source boilie and sat patiently in the heat of the mid afternoon sun, tan top up time.

 Roughly two hours in my tip on my outside rod nodded and then absolutely went berserk, the sort of brutal take you'd expect from a Barbel, I made sure this time I put plenty of pressure on the fish the entire way in, thankfully the fight wasn't very hard and she came in fairly smoothly, back of the net for my first Chub of the season, not a bad one either!

5lb 6oz
 First of the season weighed 5lb 6oz and considering how hard it had been I was very chuffed with that, the evening hadn't even arrived and I felt that would be my best time, so having released that brassy beaut the successful rod went back out and the wait began again.

 That wait was not as long as I thought it would have been, maybe an hour or so later my outside rod again sprang to life with a vicious lurch towards the river and on a tight clutch I made sure that the fish couldn't make its way back into the branches I was fishing but the weight of the fish made it quite difficult and I wasn't expecting to see a big frame of a Chub surface, I had thought it was either a small Carp or small Barbel by simply how strong the fight was, not just a small Chub either, easily my biggest D.Stour chevin to date.

 Understandably I was over the moon when she slipped over the rim of the net, an easy 6 and maybe bigger I thought, only to keen to know the Rueben's came out to put a number on it.

6lb 8oz, only three ounces off a new PB.
 It had been a long time coming but I feel that it will get even better but now two Chub in the bag things were looking rosy and at 4pm I thought a blank was nailed on, funny how one decision and little knowledge of the water can help, this was no doubt a culmination of luck and hard work that has been put in over the previous two seasons.

A still evening of the tips.

Deer in the field at dusk.

 The rest of the evening unfortunately went by with little action but it was good to just be back on a river, night came and went without a hitch and we were ready for day two.

  Day two started with myself and Brian walking the banks in search of surface feeding Chub and as the sun got higher we could see more moving around but very few were actively searching for food, it must have been 6am and the mercury was already sat around the 27c mark, it was the precursor to a roasting hot day, one that I felt would not do us much good unless we found shade and equally knew the Chub would wait until the cooler latter part of the day to start feeding.

 We walked a fair few miles to search out fish but we were unsuccessful in catching, by around midday we decided to call it a day and fished a little closer to home for the remainder of the day, we knew we'd have to wait until 6pm onwards for some action, we can wait and do it all another day, the two Chub during the first day were brilliant and the trip was a success for sure.