Wednesday, 9 September 2015

All Change.

When September mornings arrive who's mind doesn't inexplicably turn to autumn perch, barbel,  chub, roach, and dace to come?

Summer is waxing and Autumn is striding forth out there and with it there's a distinct change in the air, and I love it!

I've never caught a decent river perch by design before and I'm determined to set that straight this year.

I've continued to fish throughout late summer and whilst enjoyment has remained at the fore I've also continued to learn and catch a few along the way.

Before I let the photos do the talking I wanted to mention a purely technical aspect I've incorporated into my standard running ledger rig this year - a large Drennan float stop on the main line above my snap link swivel.

For me it serves three purposes:
  1. When fishing in a high / rising river it is slid 10" up the mainline and acts as a weed guard.
Mid-cloumn floating debris slides down the line to the stop where it collects - the mechanics of which tend towards a slightly earlier displacement of the lead or feeder but are countered by the fact that the hooklength and bait remain clean throughout the cast. I'd rather retrieve my line a few minutes earlier than usual with a clean hook than one continually masked by trailing jetsam.

2. Whilst baiting a hook before filling the feeder it limits said feeder from sliding well up the mainline.

i.e. you can reach down to pick the feeder up quickly and easily.

3.  It can be slid down the mainline to within a short distance of the buffer bead to create a bolt effect. 

i.e. three inches of easy line can be taken before the stop is reached, then the resistance of the lead is felt.

All this I put to good effect during my third session of the year at Lucy's Mill where I blanked spectacularly.

A passing Countess of Evesham calls time on the session.

I've had a few evening cycle trips out to Coombe Abbey after work and on each occasion I've stayed out far too late but have been unable to call it a day due to the endless movements on the quiver tip. 

Capability Brown and I have quite a thing going on. He does a mean back garden and wherever he's trodden I like to follow.

Fishing a 10ft wand coupled with braided line and corn on the hook, once the sun starts to sink the bream move in and the line bites are nothing less than infuriating. I'm sure if I were to attach a pencil to the tip of my rod and move a piece of paper across it as you would see in a seismographic station I would be left with the perfect outline of large bream..

During the school holidays I suggested to my boy we engage in an afternoon stalking carp. Reticent at first he soon got the hang of the commando style approach to Hopsford Hall's Duckery: hiding behind reeds, climbing the odd tree fish spotting and generally moving slowly, deliberately and with quiet purpose to achieve our aim of catching one of the pools educated residents.

Admittedly not whoppers but I couldn't wish for a more enjoyable joint venture. There's hope for him yet....

The day before holidaying in France I did three things. Firstly the afternoon before travelling I caught up with my friend Dan and his lad who were doing an overnight session at Hopsford.

I took his son Olly off to the Duckery pool to give his dad a chance to set up camp in peace and to try once again to stalk a carp off the top.

Akin to stalking with a rambunctious tigger by one's side, the fish didn't let us down. I hooked one and the boy did the rest with an admirable ability to steer the fish clear of the reeds.

 Secondly I found these in Lane's tackle shop which triggered thing number three.

Inspired by the idea of doing a bit of LRF in the Med' I bought a six piece travel rod from Merv Wilkinson at an absolute bargain price. The rod packed down to about the size of a conventional ruler and was perfect for a few stolen sessions amongst a family holiday with the kids.

Needless to say six pieces soon became seven when I hooked the sea bed and decided to 'give it the beans' to try to free my hook. There endeth the holiday fishing.

The scenery in the south of France was truly awful... 

Once home from our holiday my dad said he'd like to join me for an afternoon's sport, so bank holiday Monday saw us meeting up (once the rain had stopped) to do just that.

Now at eighty years old, my dad was a fearsome sportsman in his day. He could turn his hand to most things and would usually excel. Although he hadn't fished for a good few years he was 'annoyingly' skilled on the day, giving me a solid run for my money in our one fish one point competition. But fear not dear reader -  I smashed the loveable old dribbling giffer into the mud winning the day 31 - 21. Principally because he got himself into a knot at the end and refused my assistance in untangling it!!

My two quid winnings will inevitably come out of his winter fuel allowance and we've resolved to fish together again soon.

I love my dad.
Happy Days.

Finally then, I bought a GoPro underwater camera for our holiday and whilst out swimming found a disused outflow pipe which was home to a shoal of schoolie bass. The possibilities of putting this camera to use whilst fishing local clear waters abound and I look forward to employing it in future....



Sunday, 12 July 2015

Blȉssed ﻝ

I've caught a couple of decent fish recently, and they've served to add the perfect punctuation to what proved two tip-top weekends.

The fish and the preceding fun are now intertwined as memories. Little bundles of joy in my thick head. I'm certain the context or backdrop against which we fish influences if not the outcome then at least the enjoyment of the end result. 

Taking a simple shower after a weekend at a festival; a sip of whiskey after the arrival of a first born; your favourite tune coming on amongst spectacular scenery - all capable of triggering dizzying heights of biochemical release due to their context.

Wake up; drink a tall whiskey; take a shower and put the radio on is perversely my daily routine, but not all days are so good!!! 

The first notable fish was preceded by a trip to Padstow by light aircraft. My best mate's friend is a pilot and part-owner of a plane so off we trotted on our jolly-boys outing; destination Polzeath airfield which is nothing more than the nineteenth fairway of a golf course. 

Descent was committed and the cockpit fell silent in anticipation of our landing until the pilot set us all at ease with, "Can anyone see the runway!?"....

Now I know why the bloody Pope looks so happy to see terra firma!

One pair of safe hands between us.

Back home for Sunday I saw the female Jobling contingent run Race For Life, then whilst in the checkout queue at the supermarket with the children I saw on Facebook that a Vulcan bomber was due to fly over Coventry airport within the next twenty minutes.

To continue the aeronautically themed weekend we 'scrambled' and joined thousands of others flash-mobbing the perimeter road of the airport, causing the most almighty traffic jam on all surrounding roads.
We waited....

...and it arrived in a deafening roar!

So why not chance my arm on Sunday night?

Kids despatched I made haste to the Warwickshire Avon at Stratford on Leamington Angling's Lucy's Mill stretch.

Dusk began to draw both the evening and weekend to a close when my rod buckled and shifted uneasily in it's rest from the force of the bite.

The fish had me skipping up and down the bank like a mountain goat in my attempts to subdue the rushes and after an enjoyable scrap I won the day.

12lb 8oz Warks Avon Barbel

Here endeth this particular weekend.

I caught up with Danny and Jeff recently on the canal. Keen to improve his lure fishing edge Danny deployed his prototype 'Zander Invisibility Cloak' he's been working on...

The second noteworthy fish followed a fantastic barbeque birthday party with beer provided by Dave of "The Midnight Brewery" Leamington Spa and a delicious spit roast whole lamb.

Now child labour was employed to serve the beer, and the 'waiters' soon cottoned on to the fact that tips were received for their prompt and attentive service. This lead to all attendees having heads like sheds the following day. I abandoned all hope of fulfilling duties of domestic drivel and took myself to Napton reservoir for a restorative evening session.

Reports of crucian carp captures from Napton are rare. I'd never caught one before despite throwing at least half a dozen of my best attempts at it in previous years. By all accounts crucian captors from Napton is a pretty exclusive club, one nonetheless with very few fussy joining criteria other than luck, a drizzle of fortune and a pinch of guile.

The afternoon was moody, a brisk wind - which given Napton's raised position is not uncommon here - and heavy showers scudded above us.

I fished a pole float in the margins coupled with a long float rod and centrepin reel.

A delicate bite which was nothing more than the float shifting an inch or two 'in the wrong direction' i.e. against the breeze, was struck at and after a circular thumping tussle I netted my first ever from the venue:
2lb 3oz Crucian from Napton.

Later that week I was taught a lesson by the crucian fishing master that is Keith Sale. I couldn't repeat my fluke whilst he made it look like a foregone conclusion from the off...

The absence of grown-ups whilst gardening has lead to some interesting results:

Whilst typing this morning I've had to forcibly evict a pigeon which took up residence in 'me kitchen'! It was landed using nothing more than a Korum folding landing net. Hopefully an omen....

.... as I'm out again this evening and am currently selecting my weapon of choice!


Friday, 19 June 2015


The bloggers challenge is working it's magic...

More spare time, more opportunity for reconnecting with our glorious English countryside and the motivation of a shared endeavour to catch something special. Thank Izaak I didn't sell my rods and with them my church.

A story of something new you ask? Something fresh, one of twists, turns, happy endings, and the like of which I at least I have never witnessed before?

Settle in. This is a belter.....

Kids in tow, my good friend Dan and I arrived at the campsite pool at almost exactly the same time. Whips were prepared for the boys who had maggots and endless silvers on their mind whilst my girl  resolved to sit it out down the very edge for something larger.

Waterfowl abounded - moorhens, coots, geese, you name it. All were present with their young clutch in tow. Cute.

Our makeshift party had the outward appearance of travelling folk such was the bustle, chatter and general good humour. My girl held a vigil over her float positioned tight to the grass.

Within thirty minutes Abbey struck into something taking both line and a liking to the corn and the fish attached became the centre of our party's concentration. Whips were laid down, landing nets were readied far too early and everyone stood.

The scrap with the fish went according to plan. I'd set the clutch sympathetically and it was give and take for a while.

That's when shit got weird.

A pair of swans with half a dozen cygnets made haste to where we all stood. Abbey doesn't like swans: 'break your arm' and all that so she was the first to exit the scene.

The rod was rapidly handed to me and the fish landed by Dan's eldest son. Meanwhile the swan family had climbed out of the pool and the parent's wings were spread. They hissed, they flapped and they ran at us. Every minor sought refuge in my car.

Dan and I looked at each other dumbfounded. The carp lay on the unhooking mat but every time we tried to get anywhere near it we were driven away.

The carp, not unreasonably becoming tired of the the air decided to flap on the mat at which point both feathered parents charged it and started beating the fish up with their wings as it lay on the ground.

The unhooking mat blew away in the wind and despite mine and Dan's most manly efforts with landing nets and loud voices we couldn't get near the fish without being forced to retreat.

At this point Dan put his beer down.

After a conflab he got into his car and drove the aggressive parents away from the fish by sounding his horn and flashing his lights at no more than one mile an hour. 

This gave me opportunity to retrieve the fish, take a quick phone snap and foregoing any ceremony of weighing return it to the water where it rested before swimming away.

For the record I'm sure it was the same fish we caught last outing here and which Abbey is holding in that post's final photo.

Not content in ruining the carp's day the swans went on to attack a caravan, an awning, a man walking across the field with a water roller before finally moving onto the canal presumably to sink a number of barges.

Since this episode I caught a nice carp - 19.3 from Jubilee pools.

There's been plenty of this....

...and this....

.... and even this.....

The final atrocity captured on camera during our memorably session with the swans was when Dan's two young boys brutally chased my son and beat him relentlessly with wild rhubarb. I don't think he will ever recover!!! :)

This fishing lark is also harder than I remember, I've also:
  • Not caught a carp from the canal
  • Not caught a carp from Ryton
  • Not caught a carp at Jubilee
But the rivers are back in now,,,

As I type at 23:00 there's still a gloaming of light out there... make the most of it boys.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Nothing Serious.

I too have decided to join in the fun with the Bloggers 2015/16 Challenge.

I read a post by George Burton some time back explaining the plot which he, Russell and Jeff were hatching and the thought of entering swilled around my brain for a week or two before something happened which had me tearing at my laptop bag in the affirmative.

My planned itinerary for a day off work was changed all of a sudden. So after a minor lie in I found myself with the day stretched out before me. After the gym I went fishing for the afternoon at Leamington Angling's Jubilee pools. The tench and roach were biting freely on the float and come hometime I'd had a great afternoon in the sun.

Sparkling Roach.....

.... and a Golden Tench!

But it was once I returned home and was putting the gear away in the garage - the bricks of which had soaked up the sun's heat leaving it warm whilst outside the dusk air cooled rapidly - that I had a strong desire to write about fishing again.

Admittedly not actually going fishing that much is probably enough of a reason for this thought not to have occurred to me before then, but occur it did, so I put two and two together and surmised that entering the challenge might provide the required impetus to quench my thirst.

Let's see.

I began my quest for mind-blowing monsters on the busy bank holiday campsite pool at the back of the Blue Lias reservoir. Now this is absolutely the wrong place to start such a quest as the small pool undoubtedly holds nothing to raise even the eyebrow of your seasoned specimen hunter, but with children in tow and a couple of shiny new whips to christen begin here it did.

We caught skimmers, rudd, perch and tench on the whips. The sun came out and the air-engines revved-up a stiff breeze.

By mid-afternoon bread crusts were flung and the noisy slurping commenced. A couple of small carp off the top quickly followed then a half-decent common could be seen making shapes for the loaf.

It's 'impressive' size meant things quickly became a good deal more serious for the children, and it was tracked to the windward bank on bended-knee and in hushed tones.

It fed cautiously, hard against the marginal grass and came and went a number of times.

I did what I do best and took cover amongst the foliage of a convenient sapling (I could hear them laughing at me in their caravans.....think about that....someone in a caravan laughing at you). I dangled my bread onto the water where I next expected leviathan to make an appearance, line perpendicular to the surface. Good as gold the dark shape materialised after an anxious few minutes and sipped down supper. 

I horsed the fish away from danger and handed the rod to the eldest who did the rest with aplomb - with the odd squeal from her and clutch.

So here she is, all thirteen eight of her. Common as you like, fun to chase round a pool and a big lover of bread products.

Miss A. Jobling.

Monday, 14 January 2013

For The Record....

For the record, our bloggers '2012 Top 5 Percentage of Record Weight' competition drew to a close at the end of 2012.

Once again there were some fantastic fish caught across all those who took part and I'm sure the challenge provided a framework for us to pursue fish which otherwise we might not otherwise have invested effort in chasing.

I was lucky enough to post another win but put that down to the time I had available rather than laying any claim to being a better angler than anyone else. As with any pursuit, the more you practice the luckier you become.

Our Final Scores.
So here's to next year. For me it will be a case of fish whenever I can with the aim of extracting maximum enjoyment from each session rather than the biggest fish. Sure I'll follow the seasons and the species like any seasoned angler does, and I'm certain I'll roll the dice on a big fish trip from time to time, but for now I'm looking forward to getting out in the countryside and getting some bites.

Here's the result of my last perch session of 2012, a 2lb 12oz perch on a prawn from a local commercial. I went all of last year without catching a three pounder. Something that I intend to put right in 2013!


Friday, 26 October 2012

I Remember Blogging....

The last time I disappeared off here was because of the upheaval of a marriage break-up. That threw me headlong into almost two years solid fishing - long summer nights and some whackers on the bank - and very enjoyable it was too.

I met various assorted nutters on the bank at times when those wearing different heads were tucked-up indoors but it cemented my love of the English countryside in all it's seasonal glory.

This time I've been away because I've found something more beautiful than a mild autumn day, and quite simply fishing itself disappeared this summer. Does strange things to you it does. At one point I actually couldn't work my rods. I'd stand in my garage staring at them but not be able to work out what the hell I was meant to do with them. My malaise was the source of amusement to my fishing friends.

When I did try to get out I'd find myself sitting on my chair staring at the sunset and grinning inanely, rods still in bag. The funniest point came when I arranged to meet Danny and Andy on the river to try for a barbel. I didn't even set up. As Andy was balling in a barbely feast to mid-river I taunted every ball hitting the water with, "That's a Bream!".  To give him the opportunity for revenge I stood feet apart and arms outstretched and bet he couldn't hit me. It took just one thirty yard underarm lob from him and I was on tiptoes whilst the groundbait ball brushed the crotch of my trousers at top speed. That would have set me back a couple of years.

But enough of that.

With an afternoon free today I finally made it out perch fishing at a local commercial. I used two float rods, 'one on prawn, one on worm', and loose fed prawns and more sparingly red maggot. Bloody hell it was cold but I'd come dressed for it.  A Northerly wind persisted all afternoon which ate away at body warmth.

Bites were few and far between but every one was a perch, perhaps due to the cold snap. I ended up with five perch with two over two pounds. A very pleasant way to spend an afternoon and return to species I'm still very fond of.

Just hooked.

Here are the two pounders, they weighed two pound six and two pound nine.

A perch fishing trip a week ago found me attached to a seventeen pound ten ounce common which took a prawn.

17lb 10oz common.
  And at last knockings another two pound perch to a prawn.

Our gentle annual trip down to the River Itchen transmogrified into a proper bender meaning sore heads all round on a day which deserved to be purer. Not a brain cell between us.

Hazy. Very hazy.

We got very, very drunk which is neither big nor clever.

I caught an absolute shed load of these.

And finally by way of reminder (to me as much as any casual reader), we're having a bit of a competition this year to see who can catch the five largest fish from a selection of species.

I've greatly enjoyed reading about some fantastic captures and outings by others in recent months and perhaps now can hope to nudge my own score up before the finish line of 31st December.

Here are our scores: