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:


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Lochnaw Castle Roach.

I'd never caught a two pound Roach before.

The five steps to a fishing holiday are as follows:

Step 1. Book it.

The three criteria which must be fulfilled for this are; you can get the time off work, you can afford it, and lastly (as others who could not attend found to their cost...) you can get it past the missus!

In the grand scheme of things a trip to Lochnaw is not as expensive as you might imagine. All-in this trip cost me less than the fishing alone if I were targetting Scottish salmon for a week.

Step 2. Think about it. A lot.

This step sees post-it notes going up all over your abode, reminding oneself to pack various items of kit. Some are cryptic, for instance,  'rubber bands!' or 'carrier bags', whilst others are self-explanatory bits of tackle.

Step 3. Prepare for it.

Personally, this involved an evening in the pouring rain brewing up hemp and consolidating my gear.

Step 4. Execute the plan.

You can never consider all eventualities you will face but if you've put enough time into items two and three your wits should see you through.

Step 5. Reflect on it.

I'll be reflecting on this last trip for sometime as it was simply fantastic.

Warren Gaunt picked me up last Saturday morning and we headed North into heavy rain. After a tour of the loch in the back of an estate workers Landrover we discussed our preferred spots with the rest of our party - Phil Smith and John Found.

On a whim, Warren and I decided a little more time reccying the road bank was worth the effort given the spot we'd previously agreed on  involved a long walk from the car. We found a rocky beach, complete with rock pools, and talked ourselves into giving it a go. I even did that Bob Nudd thing where he faces the water, deliberately places both feet on the ground shoulder width apart and bounces slightly on his knees whilst surveying the water in front of him. Two hours later and we were almost ready to fish. The rain continued.

 I'll let the photos describe how events unfolded as they speak for themselves. Suffice to say I ended up catching twenty four two pound roach to two fourteen. The average size of the two pounders was two ten and I had multiple fish at all weights above two pounds eight. Between us we had forty two pound roach with two 'threes' amongst them.

I didn't go to bed for the first two nights as I was too excited to sleep. The scenery was as dramatic as the weather. We had eveything from wind in all directions to flat calm, bright and sunny to a months rain in twenty four hours. In fact the loch rose so much in the last twenty four hours of our trip our bivvies were under water by the time it came to leave and our rocky beach was gone, submerged for another year.

Saturday Night. 

I had six two pound roach, the biggest was two pounds thirteen ounces - a new pb. 

2.13 Lochnaw Roach. PB.

The rock pools proved very useful for mixing groundbait and washing hands.

Warren's first night fish of 2.14.

Six of the best, and up all night.


I caught eleven two pound roach in a hectic evening session. I couldn't keep one rod in the water for long let alone two.

5 of 11

Stunning Lochnaw Roach.

6 of 11.

Warren's 3.2 Roach.
We celebrated our first 'three' with a couple of special beers.

The side bet on the Sunday night was whoever caught the biggest fish would have breakfast cooked for them the next morning.

Served to Warren on a silver platter I took my loss like a true gentleman.


I caught four two pound roach.


I caught two two pound roach including a new personal best of two pounds fourteen, and a two thirteen perch.

Warren watches his rods, from the margins (tit).

2.13 Perch caught as the feeder was on the drop.

Look at the mouth on that.


I didn't catch any two pound roach. I was thinking of asking for a full refund at this point.

We cast.

Warren's 3.0 roach.
We drank.


I caught one two pound roach.

Then the rain came......


Grant Mitchel. Note the new water level!


It had now rained hard and constantly for over twenty four hours. We returned to the loch in the afternoon with the intention of fishing into evening but our shelters were now well underwater and I was soaked wet through every time I left cover to cast.

I hooked and lost one last decent roach which came off under the rod tip and now wet and deflated we decided to call it a day.

It came off Wal, it came off! My body language says it all.

They're not ripples in the foreground, that's Warren's floating groundsheet.

The one consolation in pulling off on Friday night was a night in the warm lodge with a chinese take away and beers whilst it lashed it down outside.

I ate this food.


Homeward bound with a car full of soaking kit but with broad smiles on our faces.


I headed down to the Warks Avon at Wasperton for a couple of hours to finish my fishing holiday off before  England played in the Euro quarter finals match and was rewarded with a 6.11 barbel.

Here are our challenge scores tonight:


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Linear Fisheries Tench...

.... Plus A Very Pleasant Surprise!

I made my second visit to Linear after tench before the weather took a turn for the better.

Andy and I were greeted by cool temperatures and light North Easterly winds when we arrived just before lunch on the Saturday.

I've fished many night sessions in the past but my last visit here was the first time I'd ever done forty eight hours on the bank. I enjoyed my extended stay. There was a pleasing rhythm to it. You are in no rush to get set up and after the first night is spent and the sun is well and truly up the next morning you don't get that sinking feeling that your best chance has passed. You have lots of time to watch the water in front of you and if the first night and dawn hasn't gone well then there's still time for a move and the renewed optimism that always brings.

During our slow circuit of the pit we chatted to some well-known anglers and Linear bailiffs and tried to gauge a place to settle. A little advanced weather research told me the wind would soon switch and blow Easterly into one of the bays on the lake, and would then stay in that direction for most of my time here. We pondered hard and then settled on a spacious peg in the windward bay where we could both pitch camp. Joe was going to be joining us later and there was a peg free to our left which we hoped he could occupy. Linear was busy and finding three pegs in a row in a likely looking area was too much to ask.

I didn't put any loose bait in but was soon fishing my maggot feeders. My plan was to cast around a little for the first few hours and (without the aid of a marker rod) find a long and short spot I was happy to fish over. Although the marginal slope was weedy, within a couple of casts I'd found the lower limit of the weed and was happy with my short spot. My long cast was more troublesome and I ended up going quite long - about eighty yards - and fishing over the top of a bank of Canadian pond weed which I think was sitting on a bar.

My overall strategy was to fish for a bream over a bed of bait at night and for tench during daylight hours. My first milestone in the plan was to get a bite.

I'll set aside the craic and the characters we met along the way but I was having a really good time. Everything felt right despite the first evening, night and dawn not resulting in even a single bite between Andy and I. Joe arrived on Saturday evening and the banter continued, in fact there were so many fish rolling in the peg in the bay we'd left for him I recall saying, "He was $h1t if he didn't catch from there". I went round to see him at just gone five a.m. the next morning to wake him up and to tell him they were still rolling and that he was, "Now well beyond $h!t". Within  an hour of me going back to my peg he'd had one double figure bream and a second bream to back it up. :/


On Sunday morning I had a stockie carp and Andy hooked and landed a proper wood-carving of a fish which I'll let him tell you about. [At least put a photo up Andy!]. During the fight Joe offered comforting words such as; "So what's your carp pb Andy?" and "What strength hooklength are you using!?". Relentless.

A large number of small carp have been stocked into this lake recently and they are making matters confusing for carp and tench anglers alike. The carp anglers are being kept awake in the night by bites from fish in the six to ten pound bracket, and tench anglers are crest-fallen when one is hooked and they were hoping to see a green back beneath the ripples. But these fish are no doubt future lunkers and will soon grow on.

Around lunchtime on Sunday I had my first tench which I didn't weigh. It was perhaps four pounds.

Over the course of the day Andy left, as did Joe, as did every other person on the busy lake and on Sunday night I had the whole place to myself. Both rods out long for a bream and an early night. I had three more stockie carp during the night and into early morning and then at dawn my first weigh-in tench of six pounds eleven.

Still with both rods out long I had another tench of six fourteen before I started to see fish roll over the bed of bait Andy had put down in his margin.

I first moved one of my rods back to my margin spot and within ten minutes I had two liners. I moved my second rod onto the same margin spot and that's when it happened.

After forty eight hours on the bank the margin swim I'd been steadily baiting kicked-on and in the next four hours I had the best tench fishing of my life. My personal best coming into this session was eight pounds eight ounces.

In that four hours I had tench of  (in chronological order): six pounds fourteen, seven pounds twelve, eight pounds three, eight pounds five, eight pounds nine, eight pounds five, and then nine pounds five! A new personal best!

I was over the moon when the first fish of eight pounds five came along as it was the best I'd ever had from Linear, but was jumping for joy with a nine pounder. Thankfully the swim next door was now occupied and so I have some half decent photos too rather than grappling with a self-take. The photo with me without my sunglasses on is the biggest fish.

The nine pounder fought like a carp and was on for way too long for my liking, but there was nothing I could do about it, it flatly refused to come ashore. Weighed and witnessed in a trusty Lanes Bait carrier bag *oh the ignominy* the largest fish was returned as the sun broke through the clouds and our recent warm weather began.


I had one further bite after the big one which within seconds of being hooked managed to deposit the hook into an old sock on the lake bed. The sock was covered in tiny mussels and in my opinion is actually shaped like a tench.

PB Linear Sock.


Invention's Mother

Since Linear I've had a couple of goes for big crucians on a local clear-water pit. Finding the bottom very weedy I was urgently in need of a weed rake.

A rummage around in my kit bag found just the ticket. I tied on this multi-tool affair and swung it out into the margin under my float rod.

It did the job nicely and after a dozen pulls through I was fishing over a clean bottom.


A Very Nice Surprise.

A number of fruitless efforts for the grass carp of Snitterfield came to an end last night when after feeding biscuits for an hour I saw a distinctive shape dashing about and taking my baits.

The net result was an eighteen pound six ounce fish which I believe I've caught and reported before on here. A second air-punching moment in two weeks, and a very nice surprise too.

Whilst fishing with my mate Dan we both heard an unusual roaring noise coming from below the reservoir. A hot air balloon rose silently over the ridge, making a great spectacle on a summers evening.


Here are our challenge scores this evening. Before I caught the tench from Linear Danny had been in the lead for some time.