Saturday, 31 October 2009

Warwickshire Avon!

Thursday 29th October, 16:00 - 19:00. River Avon at Wasperton. Very mild and still.

This was a short exploratory session back on home turf. I might be getting ahead of myself but once I've caught a five pound Zander my attention is going to return to Roach and Perch and I really want to catch a decent one of each from this river.

I fished above the Swans neck on the lower part of LAA's Wasperton water. The first thing I noticed is the massive improvement to the lower car park thanks to a few tons of hardcore. The parking down there is now much easier.

I fished an in-line maggot feeder on a light quiver tip through to a 5lb bottom and a strong 14 hook. I baited with 2-3 maggots. The peg I chose was just upstream of a far bank tree that has fallen into the water. This looked a good holding spot for all sorts, and it was all sorts I was targeting tonight.

There were three influences driving me to fish here;

1) Pete's had some success with Barbel on the BAA water just upstream. That water looks much the same as this piece in terms of character. I've never seen any Barbel anglers on this bottom section but I've always wondered about its potential. Barbel like maggots.

2) With one eye on a late Autumn Roach venue I wanted to assess the potential here. Roach like maggots.

3) I've been wondering if this stretch holds any Zander and although this evening session wouldn't tell me I can check out likely spots.

It was an easy lob to just upstream of the fallen tree.

The first couple of casts were lifeless on the tip. On the third I had a tremble. On the fourth I had a jag. From the fifth until after dark it was a case of a strike bringing the cast to an end. After dark activity slowed and I had to wait for a bite.

I was glad of the routine casting as when the light faded later on I could almost literally make the cast with my eyes shut, feathering the feeder into the same spot each chuck.

I caught a Perch after about half an hour of fishing but was simply missing too many bites. The braided mainline and light tip was showing up everything but the bites were lightning quick, hopefully small fish. I think I might have done better if I wasn't fishing so square.

As dusk descended a few more substantial indications crept into the mix and I soon had a Bream of about 4lbs on the bank. I hit a 'rolling feeder' movement on the tip for this fish - the feeder I was using was cylindrical with fins down the side.

Another Bream of about four pounds followed the first as the light faded.

This second fish was in mint condition.

After this I had three eels on the trot. The first had gorged my hook and I couldn't retrieve it so I tied on a bigger hook to try and hit more bites.

I had two Chub about four pounds each. Here's one of 4lbs 4oz;

One more Eel finished proceedings and I packed up.

No Roach, no Barbel but a healthy river in front of me. I saw signs of Roach topping at dusk which provided encouragement.

I also saw Herons, Kingfishers, Pheasant, Woodpeckers, Voles, an Owl and heard a mighty fish crash downstream.


Friday, 30 October 2009

Snowballing Zander Party

Tuesday 27th October, 16:00 – 22:00. Coventry and Oxford Canal

I met up with Jeff at his house at half past three. This was another canal based instalment of my attempt to catch a five pound Zander.

Danny was going to join us later and so was Kevin, Jeff’s mate.

I’d made up a pair of floats according to Jeff’s Guinness widget design from last week as I didn’t fancy using quiver tips again. Mine looked more agricultural than his. I understand this design is now classified as a national secret and intellectually protected to criminal standards.

When I arrived at Jeff’s house I saw something truly shocking. Through a gap in the front door I could clearly see dozens of small children being forced to make up floats of this design, presumably for mass export to the lucrative Chinese fishing tackle market.

This little mite who I managed to grab a word with and eventually single-handedly liberate told me they were ‘encouraged’ to make up to twenty floats per day under pain of going to bed without either pudding or watching Hannah Montana. It’s not the hard manual labour but the volume of Guinness they were drinking that made me most jealous.

[For the avoidance of doubt – the above is a joke. Jeff now assures me he drinks the Guinness]

We walked to the canal and started fishing just up from a wide bend opposite a pub, both of us casting out deadbaits under a float. I had no weight on the line under the float and found the tow was slowly dragging my bait so put on a two swan shot weight to keep things still.

Danny arrived just in time to see Jeffs float waddle off and under. The strike brought the fish to the surface but it soon got off. Almost a carbon copy of my first loss last week. Shortly after recasting his float did the same again but this time the strike hit thin air. Rascalus Zanderi.

We fished into dusk, now with five rods in the water, but for no more bites. We clipped the starlights onto the floats and lit up the canal like Blackpool.

Dark descended and Jeff offered to go back to his house and make tea. This offer received a warm reception.

Upon his return Jeff had tea, cake, and Kev’ with him.

Kev set up whilst we drank tea, chatted and ate. Democracy decided we should move on due to lack of action.

We four tramped up the tow path to our second spot, a dark and tree lined area just west of the M6 bridge. We must have looked a real sight, headlights on and starlights glowing bright green and swinging from our rods. I admitted a slight sense of self consciousness, of the sort you hope train spotters might possess when standing in a herd on the end of a station platform.

When we cast our lines at this next spot we had no less than six rods in the water between the four of us. Away from the sodium glow of the city the canal looked unearthly bathed in a string of green along it’s far bank. Later, at least one cyclist drew to a stop when rounding a bend and coming upon this strange looking phenomenon. Four head lights were then shone in his direction to complete the abstract scene.

Apart from Kev none of us had a single touch and so we continued up the canal, stopping twice more before reaching Hawkesbury junction. Here we spread into the gaps between the moored boats and fished. I had a bite within fifteen minutes and connected and landed a Zander of about two pounds. Catching a five pounder is proving more difficult than I first imagined.

Jeff and Danny then either missed or hooked and lost fish in a late flurry of activity.

Things then died down again and we called it a day. Good cake. Good times.


Sunday, 25 October 2009

A Sunday Morning Outing

Sunday 25th October, 09:30 - 12:00. Brookfield with my daughter Abbey. Windy but bright. 14C.

Abbey and I had a few hours after silvers at Brookfield this Sunday morning. My boy went swimming lessons. Unless you have a letter from your mum fishing with Dad is compulsory.

We tried three different pools until we found some shelter from the wind. We fished a whip at five meters.

We caught from the off; Roach, Rudd and one Perch.
Nice nail varnish!?;

Towards the end Abbey 'made friends' with a family of six ducks by feeding them maggots. When I pointed out that this was not conducive to the fishing she tried to hide herself from them using broken off bits of a nearby bush;

She caught and unhooked six fish herself. This cost me £1 as I'd bet her she couldn't catch more than five. Watch out Emma Pickering.


50.946939, -1.345064 - Something Special

Friday 23rd October, Lower River Itchen, Hampshire, 09:15 - 18:00. Mild and dry with some sun.

Leyton from the Barbel Adventures Forum provided the invite for this one; a day trip to Hampshire to fish the River Itchen after Grayling, Roach, Chub and Barbel and anything else that swims.

Jeff Hatt and I travelled together from Coventry and met up with the remainder of the party at the river; Leyton, Simon, Sash and Paul. Paul is the founder of the Barbel Adventures website and forum.

This trip required an early start and I was round at Jeff's for half five on the dot. Punctuality is the Jobling way. At five thirty five I saw Jeff come flying down his stairs. He bowled out of his front door, the momentum from the descent apparently carrying him and as he strode past me stocking footed to his gallery to collect his things he enquired how long I'd been waiting. It soon transpired he'd awoken only seconds before.

Shaky from an early start we drove for a couple of hours South and talked up the fishing to be had.

The river Itchen is one of England's premier chalk streams and the fishery we were visiting is predominantly a game anglers paradise for most of the year. Each October the fishery opens it's doors to those from the broader church and bait fishing (with conditions) is allowed.

We arrived at the fishery for eight on the dot, hoping to start at eight thirty. Unfortunately, apart from Sash, the remainder of the party had met with a Sat Nav malfunction. The underlying cause of the malfunction was later determined to be user error.

While we waited for the rest Sash dispensed some high quality tips and observations to chalk stream virgins like ourselves. Top bloke.

While we waited for what seemed like an eternity for the others to arrive (it was actually about fifteen minutes) Jeff and I stared into the clear split streams of the Itchen that ran around us. This was my undoing as I wound myself up into a right state. I was practically frothing when we jointly decided it wasn't rude to move up to the beat itself and put up our rods (tackle up to us normal folk).

Driving up to the fishing hut which acted as base we saw the river properly for the first time. It was amazing. Mist hung over the water and the manicured surroundings added to it's appeal. It looked like a cross between a thoroughbred race horse and a preened poodle. A Ferrari of rivers. Every glide, sweep and bend made the mouth water. I half expected God to turn up and say he was on the syndicate here.

The others soon arrived and a friendly and optimistic mood prevailed and persisted throughout the day. Good company.

The longitude latitude coords in the title are where I started the day. I offered double or triple maggot on a fourteen hook under a chunky stick float on a fourteen foot rod and centrepin with 4lbs line. I had with me quite a few pints of maggots which were liberally fed by hand from my bait pouch.

With the water still low from the recent lack of rain we each sought the deeper scoops and holes.

First trot through and I had a small Grayling.The flow was strong enough to really pull line from the reel and the bites were sharp and deliberate. Very few bites were missed all day.

After a some more Grayling I had a nice Brownie;
After this Trout I had a Sea Trout about a couple of pounds! This was dream fishing. The fish pulled back hard in the strong flow.

Still in the first spot where I'd been for about forty five minutes the bites started to dry up. As I was thinking about moving the float disappeared and I was into a better fish. It was frighteningly fast when it turned on the power. It tested my tackle and swam upstream with real purpose.

After a great scrap Jeff did the honours with the net and on the bank the fish was a riot of colour. My initial thoughts were that it was a second sea trout but to be honest I'm still not sure if it was a Salmon that had been in the river a while.

It weighed we estimate somewhere between three and four pounds. It was not weighed properly and was returned to the water quickly after some photos. After a short recovery it righted itself and sulked in the edge over some gravel for an hour afterwards.

The rest of the day was a magical blur exploring and fishing various different swims. I did better in the morning than in the afternoon but still lost count of the number of fish I'd had. I had a go on the quivertip in the afternoon but the weed and leaves coming down the powerful flow curtailed almost every cast as they inevitably caught on the line.

One peg on the lower section in the afternoon yielded five Roach on the trot but I didn't have one over twelve ounces. All of the Roach were minters.

Jeff had a Roach weighing one pound ten ounces at last light. He should be home by now after I left him to cycle back up the M40.

As dark fell I had a massive tangle and so called it a day. I took the car down and found Jeff still fishing away. Had we been closer to home we would have both stayed until we fell asleep I'm sure.

This was a fantastic day. Thanks again boys for the invite and the good company.


Sodium Glow vs Chemiluminescence

Tuesday 20th October, 16:15 - 21:30. Coventry Canal with Jeff Hatt. Overcast, cool, wet at times.

Inspired by Roger Booth's success with Zander on the cut (Ryton Carp) I arranged to meet Jeff Hatt (Idlers Quest) to have a go for them. I'm finding I'm mostly fishing with people who can be parenthesised by a url nowadays. My wife says meeting people over the internet with a shared love of fishing is weird. I disagree, this is a modern world and this fishing year has been the most varied yet with new venues, new species, and new outlooks on the sport. Others might agree with her but I'm old enough to not care.

This is Jeff's manor and he's banged his head so hard against the place in the hunt for big Roach he had a good idea where we might find success with Zander.

We walked ten minutes from Jeff's house towards town when I realised I'd left my bait back at the car. Feeling a bit of a knob I high tailed it back and picked it up. I only got lost once on the way back to the canal. A great start.

We began at the tall trees just up from Courtaulds. Within ten minutes of starting I had a bite on the quiver tip. I struck and felt resistance. A fish surfaced midway across the canal and then my terminal tackle shot upwards and behind me into a tree. The hook had slipped. The fish gave a kick on the surface and was gone. It was a Zander of indeterminate size.

We gave this and each subsequent spot about thirty minutes as we moved our way back towards the M6.

As dark arrived we were at the back of Tescos.

The glow from Tescos was nothing compared to the blinding glare from Jeffs floats;

Despite quite a few bites between us we just couldn't connect with the fish. This led to all sorts of discussion and theory about how we might improve our stats. This topic is a common theme with Zander fishing, how to convert the often finicky but sometimes sail-away bites into hook ups.

In the last swim we fished we both finally connected with fish. I had a Zander of 3lb 10oz and Jeff had one nudging a couple of pounds.
I'm not certain if I've written about this on here before but two big angling surprises for me this year are how much I've enjoyed a) quiver tipping for Bream and b) Zander fishing. I didn't care for either activity this time last year, but that was because I'd not really given them a good go. I'm finding Zander fishing most enjoyable. They're obliging, feed readily and most of all when on the rivers you can use quiver tips, point your rods in the air and pretend you're Barbel fishing. And you get regular bites!


Sunday, 18 October 2009

Early at Stratford

Sunday 18th October, 07:45 - 11:00. Small weir at Lucy's Mill. A cold morning.

I met up with Pete early this morning and had a few hours on the waggler and maggot on the small weir at Lucy's Mill. He fished the big weir after Barbel and Zander while I concentrated on the one rod.

It was a chilly start. Mist rose from the of the weir. It took me a while to get the swim going. I catapulted maggots only sparingly on the line I was fishing. I was hoping for a decent Roach or Perch.

I caught only Perch for the first two hours. One was half decent but I didn't weigh it. It wasn't on the competition radar of two pounds or more.

At about ten o'clock the Bleak moved in and became a pain. Only one in three casts made it through them and the bites near the deck dried up too.

I packed up and went over to chat to Pete about an upcoming outing this Friday and found he was doing the same. He'd had a knock on a worm but other than that it was quiet and so was calling it a day.

Just Perch and Bleak in the net, not a Roach to be found;


Fishing Abandoned.

Friday 16th October, 14:30 - 16:30. Cosgrove Caravan Park at my brothers van.

This date had been in the diary for a while. I was visiting my brother's van at Cosgrove which has fishing in the gravel pit it backs onto. Also on site is the River Great Ouse and Tove and so the plan was to try for a Perch, from the pit on Friday afternoon and then perhaps the river before coming home Saturday.

Tactics were to start on my pole and hopefully catch some small fish to use as bait at dusk. I also had worms and a float rod I could try and pick one up with.

I started fishing red maggot on the pole and although it took me almost thirty minutes to get the swim going I soon started to catch Roach and Perch pretty regularly. My brother had a go on the pole and we chatted away whilst I fished.

Unbeknown to me another mate Karl then turned up at the van whom my brother had invited on the quiet and kept under his hat. Karl is one of my 'just out of University' buddies. These are like University friends but with the gilt edge of money added to the mix. Karl, my brother and I have shared in some heady times in the past and so within half an hour the banter rose to the surface, cans were opened and consequently the fishing was relegated to a background activity.

Although both guys have a passing interest in fishing the chill wind and lack of angling effort meant the pull of the warm van with it's vista out onto the water was more appealing than being part of the view. I sensed the mood and packed up.

I'd caught a few before taking the rod down;

The best was a Perch too;

That was pretty much it for fishing I'm afraid. I did put my new one piece suit on after we returned from the pub and spent an hour chatting to the bloke and his mate from the van next door who was Carp fishing. He had one 16lb. His mate's parents have bought the house next to the Malt Shovel in Ryton near the Avon so I told him about the fishing to be had down there.

One piece suit modeled;

There was part of me that was torn about not giving the river or the pit a proper go but the majority part enjoyed the good company.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Tuesday 13th October, 16:30 - 20:30. Coombe Pool. On my bike!

This evening session for Zander at Coombe forced home the marked transition from summer to autumn. The cold nights and shortening days are forcing the leaves to abandon photosynthesis for this year and the green chlorophyll colour is rapidly dropping out of the leaves. The remnants of these energy factories are breaking down leaving the golden colours we associate with the season.

Needless to say Coombe looked fantastic. Capability Brown designed the gardens around the main house but I don't think he had a hand in the ancient woodland in which I was fishing, evolution can take credit for this;

As an angler it's the time of year when you get boiling hot walking to your peg whilst the sun's up but then feel the cold once it dips behind the trees.

Tonight I was on my bike again and rode the short journey from my home to the woods section of Coombe. I took with me two rods and a method which had caught me thirteen Zander in my last three sessions fishing for them on the Avon.

There was simply masses of weed still about. Most annoying was the bright green snot weed which stretched perhaps thirty feet out lining the edge of the pool. This hampered retrieval and might prove troublesome if something decent had to come through it. Second most annoying was the Canadian pond weed which sparsely populated the deck even at forty five yards out. This troubled me as I was never totally confident my bait was not masked.

Thankfully I'd modified a pole V-backrest to support my rods as I'd remembered how hard it was to get a bank stick in last time I was here. This allowed me to keep the tips high up and the line out of the weed skirting the margins.

Stillwater Barbel/Shore fishing for Zander;
I was using braided line on both reels and my bait was fished perhaps four inches off the bottom. The effectiveness of the rigs ability to keep the bait off bottom was reduced due to the lack of depth in the lake and distance I was fishing. I was essentially using a variant of the Dyson rig I've cited previously but without the submerged float.

At dusk the sky turned pink and then purple as the sun shone upwards from the horizon onto the undersides of the clouds. Also, at least thirty seven Swans glided up the far bank in a line to take up their overnight roosting position somewhere out of sight.

How many swans can you count?

Disappointingly the tips didn't move all evening apart from the odd bat bite caused by them bumping into the raised lines.

The water in the lake was crystal clear and I got the feeling I was fishing in a converse location to my recent Stratford sessions. When on the river during the day I've focused on the deep or dark covered water where I think the Zander are holed-up when it's bright, and these have produced. Noticeably the action from these areas has dropped off as dark arrives and I think this is due to the Zander reacting to the dimming light and going out hunting in open water. Sometimes I've had a run of fish in quick succession in the gloaming from one spot but then nothing at all afterwards. Like the Zander pack has moved through the area and off to some other hunting ground where they will spend the night.

I still need a five pounder.


PS. Pete and I are planning our Christmas fish on Monday 28th December and then out for some ales in Cov' to celebrate the end of this competition and it's self-imposed stresses, and from my perspective the end of this blog. Starting point will be the Town Wall Tavern. Anglers one and all are welcome to join us. I'll contact those I know directly but if you want details nearer the time drop me a line at

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Big Coat Blank

Thursday 8th October, 16:00 - 19:45. Brandon Marsh. Cool during the day and then cold. Get the big coats out boys.

I fished one rod, float fishing for a Bream / Tench / Carp.

I'm running out of ways to talk up a blank, for a blank it was.

There was little wind in my sheltered spot and the surface was flat calm. Not content with watching the tip of my float during daylight hours I focused hard on the meniscus created where it pierced the surface of the water, desperately seeking an indication of a feeding fish below. The meniscus was still.

The blips flipped and the kingfisher dived but nothing troubled my quill.

At dusk I made a mental note that my hand hadn't hovered over the cork in that expectant way even once yet.

The lake bed was clear and casts lasted thirty minutes as I'd put in my loose offerings at the start and didn't intend on topping up until I'd had a bite.

At one point I saw a twig of an overhanging bush move as a fish moved through the submerged cover. I addition I saw a tail come out of the water in a shallow strip of water.

You would wouldn't....| No! Get on with it:

I later trimmed this boilie down and added a sweetened piece of plastic corn at dusk.

I didn't need Derran Brown to stick me to my chair for this one. I caught myself slack jawed and staring dribbling at my float on more than one occasion.

I even chose a camo-can for my refreshment;

Nill points.


Zed Leppelin, Zed Cars & Zederby. But Green.

Tuesday 6th October, 16:00 - 20:00. Avon at Stratford. Light rain in the air but mostly dry & breezy.

I'd arranged to meet Danny Everitt for this session in another attempt to bag a 5lb+ Zander. I was buoyant after the fish had been so obliging on my two previous sorties and as I yomped towards the river I was almost certain I would catch my target species. I was willing a five pounder to bite.

Danny was already fishing when I arrived at the waterside and after salutations greeted my, "Any good?" with, "Just had one eight and a half pounds!". After he'd showed me the photo I took a long run up and attempted to rugby tackle him into the river. He deftly sidestepped and I became entangled in the mainline of his quiver rod with raised tip. I dangled from his tip ring over the waters edge by my britches for over three hours before he would cut me loose. Man, eight and a half pounds! I want one of those.

Danny's Zander;

I set up opposite the weir just up from a guy who'd had a thirteen pound Barbel on worm earlier in the day. Nice work.

Mmmm, smell the Avon.

Before casting out my Zander rods I had a quick go in the small weirpool with a pole. I was using it at 6m but had tied up the line to 4m length. I'd left all my tackle apart from pole and maggots by the other rods and so just squatted on the ground. I couldn't kneel as the concrete was soaking wet. I started catching some small fish. The gusty wind meant I couldn't put pole sections on the concrete surface as they were being blown along. Every time I caught a fish I stood up and swiped around at the fish until I could grad hold and unhook it. This prompted Danny to comment that it looked like I was comedy fishing. Rather than risk another mistimed rugby tackle I agreed with him as I think I actually did look like a fishing clown. I'm available for kids parties, so long as there's a crate of Stella on hand - how hard can it be?

I settled down to Zander fishing and had four throughout the evening. Most came from the deeper water on the inside of the weir run off but not one over five pounds in weight. I estimate I hit about fifty percent of the bites in the session, so still missing a good few.

Fishing clown throws sharp Zander into crowd of kids at party shocker;

I logged on when got home and read about Roger Booth's near double Zed from the Coventry canal.

I am green.


Sunday, 4 October 2009


Sunday 4th October, 07:00 - 09:00. The Avon at Stratford.

The inbuilt angling alarm clock in my head woke me for the third time at six a.m. I was on the bank just before sunrise and had to use my head torch to put the rods together, both of which I'd made up last night and just needed a lead, hook and bait adding.

By the time I was ready to cast out I didn't need my torch anymore and Warwickshire was looking damn fine in the golden morning light.

The photo doesn't really do it justice.

I had my first bite within twenty minutes. It was the most positive bite I've had from a Zander so far - the tip properly lunging over. Learning from last Fridays session I bowed the rod top slightly to allow the fish five seconds slack then struck. A lip hooked Zander of 4lbs 6ozs.

I think this one's OK don't you?

After another twenty minutes I'd had nothing more so moved down one peg. After about twenty minutes the tip started bouncing again. This time when I struck I felt a split second of resistance then slack. Inspection of the terminal gear revealed the fish had opened out the snap swivel on the end of my trace onto which my hook was attached. It was a semi barbless. Not wanting a repeat of this I replaced the snap swivel with small split ring (?) [ like you get on a keyring] and put on a new hook.

I connected with one further bite which was a Zander weighing about 2lbs.

What a great way to start a day. I'd connected with two thirds of the bites so that's an improvement too.

I'm cutting my teeth on this type of fishing here but still need a 5lb+ Zander for the competition. Perhaps a return to Coombe is needed?


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Another One of Those Days

Thurs 1st October, 16:30 - 19:30. Brandon Marsh. Blowy and cool at dusk, 11C.

One rod for a Carp and a Pole for a Tench or Bream.

You would wouldn't you?

Er, no actually. Good as gold. Not a peep;

But what about the pole I hear you cry!?


Most memorable episode was when I got my hook caught on a far side branch. I shipped the pole back and grabbed the super strong elastic and began to hand it in. The hook length gave and the perversely bullet shaped connector shot back and hit the ring finger on my left hand. Two days on and my finger now looks like a fat bruised cocktail sausage. My wedding ring is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. If I keep this injury rate up I'm going to run out of digits.

I hope it's just me who's struggling at Brandon or else it's going to run out of members. That would be a shame as I love the place really. Honest.


Still After a Big Bream.

Tuesday 29th September, 16:30 - 22:30. Napton Reservoir. Blowy but pretty mild.

I've learned a valuable lesson this season when fishing with groundbait - make it up at least twenty four hours beforehand. This allows the water to soak right through bait and also allows the mix to marinade and soak up the flavours of the liquid additives. A bit like last nights Chilli always tasting better the next day. Halibut pellets will go soft and leach out their oils and corn will dull in colour as it soaks up the fishmeal flavours - lovely.

Armed with a mix of 50:50 fishmeal groundbait and hemp with some hemp oil I arrived at Napton expecting to feeder fish into the evening. I wanted to fish the large reservoir as a carping friend has had Bream to 11lbs out. Remembering the problems I'd had with weed previously I first set up a rod with just a bomb tied on the end of the mainline.

This felt like hassle at the time as it was preventing me getting fishing and I'm normally so enthusiastic to get started as to not contemplate such a measured approach.

It paid off though as after casting and retrieving a few times I found the peg I'd first selected had weed all across it, invisible from the surface. Casting around to the left I found a deep weed free area. Gather up tackle and move left!


The same exercise here revealed the weed free and deepest spot was pretty close in so away went the feeder rod and out came a float rod. It was deep so I fished a two swan straight waggler as a slider down to a 5lb bottom. Ham-fisted oaf that I am I cracked the first float whilst setting it up which started to take on water after a few chucks. I was using a quick-change float adapter though, more for reduced friction in the float eye than anything else but I changed over quickly to a yellow tipped version of the same float.

I couldn't see the tip of this float as I was fishing into light water so added float rubbers to cover the yellow.

Finally, I started fishing! I can tell when things aren't going well as my teeth clench.

I balled in five orange sized balls and fished a bunch of red maggots on a strong 12 hook. Within a few casts I had a lovely lift which resulted in a Tench.

The resulting Tench;

A few Tench started to roll in the swim. I kept it topped up with groundbait and maggots.

I then missed a couple of bites. I inadvertently caught a small Rudd down the edge whilst the tackle lay in the side and I sorted out a twist on the tip ring. I fed maggots close in in the clear water and became distracted by a shoal of Perch eating them. One fish was half decent. Whilst on the subject of Perch some small fish were dimpling the surface over my groundbait where bits had floated to the surface. Twice during the session something struck at them and came clean out of the water. I'm not sure if it was Jack Pike or good Perch.

Weirdly I wasn't bothered about catching Tench tonight. There are loads in here and I think you'd have to get through a few to get a biggie. I switched across to two 10mm boilies on a hair under my float hoping for a Bream. Apart from two dips the float remained still though.

Towards the end I bit off the hair and put a bunch of maggots back on. This earned me one more Tench.