Saturday, 18 November 2017

Not My Day....


 I looked forward to a days Piking afloat SS Rudd in search of....ermmmm...Pike, all was supposed to be smooth with no glitches as the last couple of trips have done, well that most certainly wasn't the case, a lack of live bait opportunities owing to the colder nights made catching liveys very hard, I could live with that, but when we left our first port of call and arrived at spot number two I had found that some piece of sh@t had hit the side of my car and obviously driven away without a care in the world, a nasty dent and scratched paint work above my rear drivers side wheel arch meant I was not in the best of moods, understandably so too.

 Well lets just say it got worse before it got marginally better, a hard morning afloat without a knock for myself or Brian got our brains wracked, couldn't decide on where to go in the pool and what depths to fish so I decided just to pick an average depth and stick with it. I stuck with a Dace for the best part of an hour before it finally stopped in its tracks and the float vanished, I wound down and was met with very little resistance, me thinking straight away it was a jack I played it normally to get it in fairly quickly, but the fish was cruising towards me and as the tension was taken up the weight on the end got heavier and heavier, what I initially thought was a small Pike turned out to be an upper double around the 17-18lb mark, in the gin clear water we both got a very good look at her, the only problem was my Dace was only being held in its jaws, the treble actually wasn't set, as she approached the boat maybe ten foot out she coughed my Dace and came hurtling out the water, with one almighty lunge the Pike was gone, in pure desperation the bait went straight back in the area I thought she was but not a peep from my livey.

Right moody evening was in store.

 Could it get worse? good question, much to my delight it did....(a strong air of sarcasm), one days dose of bad luck was already administered the angling gods decided to continue the punishment, after losing that Pike at exactly 1pm the action took a nose dive until the tide had nearly finished running off, then just a little before dark a flurry of activity came our way when my float went, Brian's also went, both of us didn't connect but shortly afterwards mine went again and the rod went, as the tension held a decent fish was playing out deep down, I could feel it wasn't a Pike immediately, so it could only be a Zander and it was one, a really big one of possibly double figures and as it came up to surface it shook its head and spat my little Chub live bait and I was distraught, my day had just got more shit as it progressed, I was having one of them days where I wished I'd stared at the TV and done fack all.

It took a lot to crack a smile, not a good day.

 A little bit later on in the evening my float did go one more time and like an express train too, certainly a Pike and wasn't a tiddler, weighing just under 7.8. Scant reward for the effort put in but it seems to be a re-occuring theme. The Thames is kicking my arse at the moment.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Roach on the Pin.

 Possibly one of the most enjoyable of our species, so easy to get excited about when targeting them, whether or not they play ball often doesn't matter, whether Summer stalking in the shallow chalk streams or lobbing out a large cage feeder stuffed with liquidised bread fished with a large lump of flake on the end during the depths of Winter is just perfect. Sunday morning certainly felt like Winter, the biting north-easterly wind and clear morning sky certainly meant the thermals had to come out, first time this season !


 I had originally planned to go Perch fishing for the day, however with only a few hours available I had to stay fairly close to home. Having got home late after my last trip out which was in search of Grayling my gear was all still set up and with a 6gr large bodied alloy still attached normally would have been overkill, heavy overnight rain persisted and this brought the river up over a foot and just holding steady as I arrived but battleship grey with the run off from the roads I knew immediately that fishing would be tough until it cleared through. If there is one river in this country that I know very well its this one. The run offs are highly toxic to us but the fish seem to be able to ride it out time and time again, the levels of mercury and god knows what else make the water extremely bad, not to mention Thames Waters snide goings on, assuming people won't notice!

 After feeding the run with caster and white maggot for over half an hour the water started to lose a little colour and that's when I began to run my float through, as expected though it took a while to arouse a bite from what were probably very reluctant fish, as the colour continued to drop out the bites became more confident but certainly not hittable, the speed with which the fish were hitting the maggots was incredible, on such a large float in the current (which was needed to hold it back in the flow) seemed like it was working against me, it took nearly 30 trots before I connected with a fish, it was my target though just a bit smaller.

Not the neatest schematic, but you get the drift.
 I was finding in the increased flow that even with my bulked down shotting pattern the maggots were still passing the "hot zone" too quickly and that's why the bites were so quick, in the pacy flow the Roach were not looking to expend too much energy in intercepting the free offerings and indeed my bait, I found that to combat this I began stopping the loose feed and fish my float over depth by around six inches. The plan was to hold it right back in the flow, which would in theory give the Roach more time to find my bait. For a few trots it worked a treat as bagged another two Roach to 12oz or so but then it died again, no matter what I tried it seemed to work for a few trots then nothing again. Nearly two hours of the sporadic sport I decided to move downstream to another swift run, just hoping that these were going to feed better!

Best of the two from the first run.
 The second swim is rather precarious and I always have horrible visions of falling in, thankfully this time around I got in the right way up.....last time didn't go to plan at all and ended up with a pair of waders fall of cold water, not nice as it took nearly a week to dry them out. I pitched up and started feeding maggot into the swim whilst getting my tackle set up so that it was fishing pretty much level with the bottom which is uniform until the end of the run where it actually deepens up by about a foot, this is usually where the main bulk of action comes from.

 Again, just like upstream, indications were slow but inevitably they did come, this run in particular has done some big Roach in the past and I am certain if I get it right it could do more!, it has been a while since a two-pound specimen has graced my net and I would love another this season. When I connected to the first real slip of the float a nice plump Roach of around 10oz cut through the water at a decent rate, they do fight so well for such small fish on light gear. Something wasn't quite right though with the way I was missing bites.

 For possibly twenty or so minutes after the first Roach I had another two of around a pound, but I missed so many takes, so a rethink was made and totally changed my approach on the float, instead of a bulky shotting pattern and a large float, a light 3BB setup was donned and size 14 hook, the success was instant and those bites I was missing now became hook-ups. Within 45 minutes I took a further nine Roach, one of which was a right porker, weighing around 1.4 mark maybe slightly more, it had the potential to be a real lump in the future.


Future is looking good.
 Then out of the blue my float stormed under and as soon as I struck into the fish it was evident I was attached to something a little large than a Redfin, my light gear was really put to the test and getting the culprit to the net was very difficult but after plenty of tooing and throwing a feisty three pound Barbel lay in the net. That was the swims lot, well and truly trashed as I tried for twenty minutes after taking a quick photo for nothing but blank trots.


 It was fun whilst it lasted!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Open Season: Grayling on the Agenda.


 This time last season I was faced with a very tough days fishing which ultimately came good after many hours of trotting with very little reward, just 30 minutes from the end of that trip came the all important take and the battle that followed was one I'll never forget in all my years ahead, quite incredible as was the Grayling that fell to a single grain of yellow corn, a PB of 2lb 11oz which I was aiming to better this time around.

This seasons benchmark.
 This time around myself and Brian decided on a two day trip down "souf" in search of a big Lady, what better place could an angler tackle than the picturesque River Frome which carves it's way through the Dorset countryside, the drive is long at nearly three-hours but certainly worth it. An early start from South London you'd think would have dragged but it never does, the thought of encountering my target of a three-pound Grayling is enough to keep my thoughts running away into dreamland, in truth all my fishing exploits send my mind wandering, just never knowing what the fishing gods could send your way. Having the correct bait does help immensely though.

 We arrived nice and early into Wareham to collect our books and maggots to find out the tackle shop didn't open until 830! After spending an hour waiting for the shop to open we gazed at the infamous Roach bridge over Wareham Quay, if you don't know about this particular area it is renowned for it's huge Roach potential. When the shop opened we bowled in to get the books and bait, with hands filled with tubs to load up with maggots we were told that they had ran out of stock! ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE COARSE SEASON! complete and utter bollocks, I was completely aghast at what I'd been told, November 1st is the opening to two of the biggest coarse books in the county and he ran out of bait......missing a big trick me lado! As nice enough bloke he was, thats nonsense.

 I run my own business being self employed and if I don't know when my busiest times are or when I can expect large demand then I might aswell sell up and go on the dole!. So for two days it was red and yellow sweetcorn, not that I haven't done well on it in the past but the maggots would have certainly been a strong addition to the feed. After plenty of messing around I think we got fishing around 10am, not ideal considering we left at 5am, but not all plans go smooth as you'd like.

My first decent trotting run.

 First couple of swims looked good but provided nothing in regards to action, then having found a nice double bend downstream I fished the exit of the first turn and trotted fifteen yards on the straight before it turned again on the reverse, this proved to be a good swim for all of 20 minutes, five quick fire grayling to 1lb 7oz and that was it, another 3 hours on that run provided nothing but a couple of bites, not that I felt I wasn't fishing well as on the contrary I don't think there was much more I could do.

Best of the early afternoon @ 1.07.
 Hours passed by with not much to shout about until dusk when I had an aborted run off of a Pike, a little excitement which kept me alive. As the sun began to disappear I switched back to the grayling I managed two in the swim I caught from earlier in the day which were both best of the day (1.08 & 1.11), the latter I was going to take a quick snap of but I got shout from across the field that Brian had caught a Pike so I slipped my biggest Grayling of the trip back without a pic, but his Pike was mint and one I would have been pleased to have caught.

 We finished the evening watching the amazing Jurassic Coast sunset before heading to Poole for Curry, Beer and a kip ready for day two.


 Day two.....what a lovely sight to wake up to, land low clouds and completely eire, perfect for a days grayling fishing I thought, everything just seemed right so we got down to task at hand and I was setup already, first couple of trots down I had a fierce bite on the float which I somehow missed, something was home! I think with a couple more trots I got the line right and the fish began to find my bait. A couple of nice Grayling came to net to 1.08, then I lost a good fish in the flow which felt like a big Grayling but was unsure as it was unsighted, ten minutes later I got a storming take and i was into a better fish, certainly felt bigger, out in the flow it felt really big and played it with caution, I had visions of a monster high 2 or 3lb specimen on the other end, as it got closer to the net she shrank in size but still a good fish.

1lb 11oz Frome warrior with slight Otter damage to its bottom lobe of the tail.
 Not bad at all, that Grayling was followed by a brownie which did its best to pretend I was locked into battle with a large Grayling, my heart sank when it surfaced a few feet from me out in the flow, not what I wanted! but great sport on the light gear. A couple more fish did follow but it was hard going from there on with just a couple more small Grayling and Trout coming to the net, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon searching for pods of fish amongst the vast runs of weed still present, a large dose of rain is certainly needed to get it shifted, but suspect there will be a lot come christmas time.


 The last part of the trip was to have a reccy at another stretch of the Frome and boy were we in for a treat, arguably one of the prettiest stretches of river I have ever laid eyes on, sadly we didn't catch but it was just an awesome place to see and will certainly be getting some attention before i go off on my travels in early December. I love this place and not even caught a fish there.



 The tally for the two days was sixteen Grayling with the best at 1lb 11oz x2 and four Trout. Not prolific but surely can get better.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Heaven.


 When going on my travels around the country and sampling the potential angling rewards there are some places that justify the early morning's, the long drives and the expenditure that typically comes with angling, no better sport on this planet!


 The fishing was tough over the two day period but small snippets of the session provided some good fishing, I will try to get a blog done soon.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Autumn Barbel: End of a Baron Spell.


 When I decided I was going to put more time on the bank in the evenings I did for a moment think it wouldn't be easy, but it has been harder than I imagined. Over a kilo of boilies and pellet has gone out in just over a fortnight in a handful of swims which look good for a fish, however no matter how good these swims have looked, most of them have produced nothing, not even a liner. Perseverance is a key factor for sections of river like this, low stock, very snaggy and no info to go on in regards to catches ( so I could try and devise a plan based on other anglers results/blanks ), without this it's all blind, although I must confess I am not a total stranger to this area.


 For nine trips up until tonight I had really struggled, a Barbel a few trips back was the tangible evidence I was in the right areas, five trips later and five blanks threw me a massive curveball, just when I thought I was getting somewhere, this evening I got down the river still with light in the sky which made my life a little easier. A few small handfuls of loose feed went out just whilst the gear got setup, little did I know though, over the last couple of weeks the rains have pushed all sorts into the swim I fished this evening, cast out for the first time and straight away felt the line was really tight, plenty of tugging to free my terminal tackle ended up in the line breaking.....great start !

 Second cast......in the spot, perfect.......five minutes later a lump of loose weed pulled the lead out of position and into that unseen snag......setup number two gone......this was getting expensive and also time consuming as I had to tie yet another rig!. I thought to myself I need to get a bait out and keep it out there, owing to the leaves and weed the lead size was increased to a 1.5oz which was swung out, unfortunately for me I over-egged it and into a tree on the far bank.......I didn't think it could get worse, it could of I suppose had I not been able to get it back, composure was needed, I could easily have packed in there and then.


 Finally after plenty of measuring up the cast I wanted hit the spot, a lovely solid thud as the lead hit gravel, just where the bait was going, could I keep the bait in the water long enough now was my worry, I sat and watched the end of my rod to see it sat rather still which made me feel confident the lead was holding in the spot, just to give me half a chance. Twenty minutes or so had elapsed when the silence was broken by two nearly fully grown Fox cubs which were playing just behind me, I sat on my chair with my back turned to the rod watching them when I heard the very sound I have missed, a screaming centrepin! Action at last.

 Obvious from the beginning I was into a decent fish as the slow calculated fight ensued downstream, the first run happened so quickly I could only let the fish go, I nearly paid the price too as it found a large weedbed which it buried its head in, thankfully it didn't take too much to ease it out. A few minutes of charging around in the torchlight I could make out the outlines of a good fish but a foot or so down and thirty/forty feet away it's hard to gauge accurately. The net was shipped out as she finished off her surging runs with a dash for more cover, but with good control over her it didn't take much more to slip the net under my prize, I enjoyed that.

10lbs 7ozs

A real minter!

 Not been easy and started to forget what a proper Barbel looked like, on the scales she rested on 10lb 7oz, on the Trent it's a good fish but not uncommon, here however a fish of this size is far from common! just the size I was after, I know the stocks are low and with this the average size tends to be bigger which is why the decision was made to target it more.

Never ceases to amaze me how good this rod is to use!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Bit of a Mixed Bag.


 Fishing isn't always about catching big fish, or at least actively, the sight of an autumn Gudgeon cuttings its way through the gin clear river on a crisp morning is just as nice. Catching this morning was pretty slow to start with, the overnight winds culled a lot of leaves along the river bank and the river was full of them, even trotting was made difficult. This particular run has provided me with some great sport over the years, the first hour was poor but the consistent feed got the fish moving off the bottom and into the upper layers where they became more confident, I fished a simple 4BB stick float and fished about 6inches over depth and held back the float in the ceases which produced steadily for the remaining 3 hours I spent there.

 A mix of Gudgeon and Minnows kicked it off with my best Gonk weighing exactly 2ozs on the mini scales, my first over two ounces this season that I have weighed, the minnows were relentless to begin with, however the Dace began to get a look in, three came in a short spell, all of which were over 8oz! the best weighed 12oz 2dr, my biggest Dace from this particular section, something I did not expect. The Roach didn't show up until well into the third hour when a nice pound plus fish made it's way through the swift current and into the net, 1.03 the verdict, a few of them and it would be a good morning's fishing.

Mint Roach.

Clonking Dace!

Little stunners.

 By the close of play I managed a bag of 6lb 13oz of Dace, a Chublet, Roach and Gudgeon mix, the Dace and the best Roach making up the bulk of the weight, not as prolific as I have experienced in the past but a nice few hours faffing around, a two-pound Roach is a possibility so you can never tell what is in store when I arrive on these banks.

 Not a terrible substitute for my failed trip down south as the storm would have made conditions tough, the Avon probably would have been carrying colour thus not ideal conditions for stalking a big Esox, maybe next week.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Autumn Barbel: Hard Going.


 For nearly a week now I've been dropping bait in a few swims with a big Barbel in mind. Sightings of fish have become almost non-existent which leads me to believe they are leaving the shallower not so-weedy runs for some of the deeper runs, where they will hopefully start to fatten up, most of what I have caught in the last two months haven't been in amazing conditions, although there is always the occasional one which is built like a breeze block, just looking for a 12lb+ breeze block for my Autumn fishing, what ever else comes along in the meantime will be greatly appreciated, bites haven't been forthcoming.

 I had a two hour evening trip on Monday which proved to be fruitless, not even a sniff, but I got the chance to put a little bait out to hopefully get the fish moving into the swims I have been prepping, Tuesday I popped back out, the plan exactly the same but conditions were completely different, mainly due to the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia the winds were pretty strong, some gusts were making even the largest of the trees creek under the strain, this causing a huge amount of leaves to fall and the river was littered with them, not to mention sticks to whole branches were coming through every couple of minutes and pulling my tip around, keeping a bait in the water was tough.

 After plenty of trying with dusk just settling in my centrepin burst into life and the cane slammed around, no mistake in that take!. A staunch battle ensued against some far bank vegetation as it darted under to shed my hook, she made a good attempt but I wanted to land it more than "it" wanted to get away, a few minutes of continual lunges for freedom and she was in the net, dusk is the time, like a switch being flipped. Not a monster but 7lb 13oz is not bad, I'm in the right areas. The rest of the evening slipped by without another touch.


 Wednesday evening after work I was back down, with more bait put in the swims I am slowly starting to feel confident that the fish are going to begin to congregate in the knowledge more bait could be going in, just need to keep away from the Chub. A quick cast in one of the swims as I didn't have long resulted in a small Chub around 3lb, not quite what I was hoping for when the rod tried to disappear downstream, which incidentally crapped my bait all over the net and mat, someone was hungry!.

 Thursday, unfortunately finished work too late to get on the bank so it's given me time to do this post. I'll be back down soon, but before then the Avon Pike population are going to get some attention, followed by a 36hr session on the D.Stour, it's all go now :)

Monday, 16 October 2017

Predator Season off to a Good Start.


 The mighty Thames, a boat and some live baits is possibly the best angling combo possible, the unknown monsters, the inevitable slipping under of the float, it could be 4lb pound, could be 32lb you just don't know and that anticipation is gripping, so much so when October came around I was making noises about getting out in the boat for a virgin Pike cruise. Now it wasn't necessarily a Pike trip to start with as Perch were actually the primary target but the lure of the Pike couldn't be ignored, so I didn't even set up perch gear, Brian only managed twenty minutes or so before caving in to his inner Pikey self.

 After a short motor around the pool we anchored up just off the main weirs flow, the bait went out and it was time.....it didn't take long before my float slipped under, I was away! A healthy bend in the rod indicated it wasn't a small fish, after playing her in the deeper water for a few minutes she cruised up toward the net, what looked a low double was resting in the net. Good start!


 The day only got better still as the bites came in very short spells as the Pike went into hunting mode, it was great fun with four taken over two days and lost another four, which was through poor tackle selection more than anything else, that will not happen again, prepared now properly before we get in amongst the big girls which will start to come on the feed now. Looking forward to it for certain!


Another shot of the top one, looked awesome.

Looked good, nothing on that trot.

 Won't be long and I'll be back out in the boat, ready for a shot at the larger residents.