Thursday, 4 June 2020

Escape To The Pond


Date fished: 19 May. With the lockdown rules eased James and I headed to a little farm pond in search of tench - it was great to wet a line after being confined to the garden and a daily dose of exercise - watching the carp in a local pond - very tempting!


An early start, a beautiful day with a pair of osprey overhead, deer visiting the pond and a grass snake hunting the frogs in the margins. And tench! I could see them swimming just under the surface in six foot of water - and even got a few to take bread off the surface.


Slow sinking bread flake did the trick, the tench nailing the bait about 6 inches under the surface, great fun and six hard fighting tench found the net; 6lb 8oz, 6lb 3oz, 6lb 2oz, 6lb 1oz, 5lb 15oz & 5lb 4oz. An absolutely fantastic way to blow the cobwebs off the gear!

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Pre-Season 2020/21


Lockdown: Weird closed season, I had planned to spend some time exploring the canals - but Bat Flu meant staying at home. Fortunately I have a garden, plus some ponds fairly close for a bit of fish-spotting.


Escape to the pond: As soon as lockdown was eased me and James hit a little farm pond after tench - so good to be back on the bank. And six tench to 6lb 8oz was a cracking result! Blog post to follow.


Flight night: The weather was hot. Barbel were spawning in April, carp in early May and I saw my first stag beetle on the 24th May - it’s magical sat in the garden watching the beetles buzzing about!


A Cat 24 Hours: A trip out chasing wels with James & Richard - and conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. A 1000lb+ bag of fish between us, including a 30lb+ PB each - blog post to follow.


Scuppered Plans: I think Covid 19 is still going to interfere with this season, the shark fishing adventure this year has had to be postponed and I think local lockdowns may spoil other plans.


Barbel Challenge 2020: I’m going to continue my barbel challenge, again setting a target of 100 fish. With far less time on the river this season it won’t be easy - but it’s just great to be on the riverbank.


Other Plans: The first river target is a 2lb+ rudd, and I’d like to track down those dace that eluded me last year. Pike will be my winter target - but I’m getting ahead of myself - roll on the sixteenth...

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Season Review 2019/20


My eleventh season review - written monthly as I went along. A lot of fishing and some cracking fish landed; my first wels catfish, carp on the fly, loads of barbel and even the odd pike. And my fish of the season has to be the monster six pound chub from the local little river. A long blog post for me - but it took all year to write...


Closed Season: I had a bit of a break over the closed season, very little fishing. I did manage a couple of gudgeon matches against James on a local pond. A couple of days chasing my first wels catfish - landing five, setting a fantastic PB of 27lb 0oz. And pre-season warm up with the tench and crucians down on the farm.


June: Well rested I was looking forward to the start of the river season, and this year it was all about barbel. Seventeen barbel on the opening morning was a result beyond my dreams! And four more short sessions took my barbel tally to 34 fish for the month - a cracking start to my 100 barbel challenge, can I complete it in the summer?


July: As well as barbel fishing I set my sights on a fly caught carp - but what I wasn’t expecting was this stunning double figure koi on the fly - brilliant way of catching her! A long day of bait ‘n’ wait was rewarded with a beautiful twenty pound common carp - the first of many I hope! And I took my barbel count to 55 fish.


August: I continued my barbel quest with short early morning sessions - which included bagging a double - my barbel count was up to 84 fish. But the fish of the month (perhaps season) was a six pound chub from the local little river. Me and James have long speculated their existence - and here was one on the bank - brilliant!


September: The month started with a beautiful river koi - followed by catching carp on Jelly Babies! But the main mission of the month was my barbel quest - and I cracked it - 102 in the summer season! Sorted, I managed three crucians from the farm and said goodbye to the summer with my very first tidal Trent barbel!


October: Pike time! The season opener was a double, followed a few days later with a lure caught PB of 18lb 3oz - not a bad start! I tracked down some pound plus perch from the local river, and the barbel were on the feed - 22 added including two doubles to 12lb 1oz. Oh, and had a couple of weeks holiday in Île de Ré as well.


November: Autumn really stamped it’s foot - a wet, cold month with most of the rivers in flood. And I was really struggling with the stillwater pike - only one lost fish all month! The barbel and chub on the local river acclimatised to the frosts and I added 11 more barbel to the challenge, including two more doubles - season total 135.


December: It kept raining - the rivers were out of sorts all month - even the local little river. Not much fishing. I started December with a double figure river carp on light trotting gear and added 4 more barbel in two short trips. A couple of sessions on a flooded River Wye produced only one pike - but a double - and I love Wye pike!


January: More floods and frosts, but when I had the chance I targeted the local barbel adding 11 more to my challenge (total now 150). Seven jacks were added to my pike tally and a cracking 5lb 9oz chub was landed. But the highlight of the month was a brace of two pound grayling stalked out of a beautiful little chalk stream - a brilliant day.


February: Started with a fantastic week pike fishing on The Wye with my brother - 13 pike including 6 doubles, topped by an 18lb+ pike each. Perfect timing as the river flooded to record height as soon as we left. Locally I added 4 more barbel to my challenge and had a massive bag of 70 chub on the stick ‘n’ pin. Two weeks left...


March: Lots of rain - but I did sneak out between storms. The month starting with a monster 6lb 5oz chub and I added 10 more barbel to my challenge - taking my season total to 164! A couple of jack pike and a bit of wandering about with the stick ‘n’ pin rounded out an absolutely brilliant season - roll on the next one...

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Pike Fishing 2019/20


Tough going this season - the pike seem to have disappeared from the local ponds and the rivers have been in flood all winter. Not a great deal of fish but some cracking pike landed - good old Wye!

I managed 19 pike including 5 doubles (below). Great stuff, but another season without a twenty - need to fix that next time!


18lb 6oz, River Wye, Feb 2020.


18lb 3oz, Royal Park, Oct 2019. Lure & stillwater PB


15lb 9oz, River Wye, Feb 2020.


13lb 6oz, River Wye, Dec 2019.


12lb 6oz, Royal Park, Oct 2019.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Barbel Challenge 2019/20


The target was 100 barbel from the local little river - cracked in the summer, and I continued to add barbel over autumn and winter. Mostly quick missions when I had a couple of hours - great fun!

The final total was 164 barbel, for 779lb 0oz, including 5 doubles (below) to 12lb 1oz. My best season on the river so far!


12lb 1oz, Oct 2019.


10lb 11oz, Oct 2019.


10lb 10oz, Nov 2019.


10lb 3oz, Nov 2019.


10lb 0oz, Aug 2019.

 Season No 5+ 7+ 10+ Best
 2010/11 27 1 0 0 6lb 6oz
 2011/12 44 14 8 0 9lb 12oz
 2012/13 56 34 20 6 12lb 4oz
 2013/14 8 5 4 0 7lb 13oz
 2014/15 71 33 16 1 10lb 1oz
 2015/16 127 45 15 0 9lb 4oz
 2016/17 70 31 15 2 11lb 15oz
 2017/18 132 56 23 2 10lb 9oz
 2018/19 101 36 13 1 10lb 3oz
 2019/20 164 69 28 5 12lb 1oz
 Total: 800 324 142 17  

Saturday, 14 March 2020

More Wandering


Nearly out of season, time for another wander - stick ‘n’ pin in hand, this time down The Itchen - a fantastic 16 mile walk back and forth in the sunshine/rain/sunshine. And some cracking little fish banked.

Going to pop out later and finish off the bait - can’t waste half a pint of mags and a couple of slices of bread! Dace are the target - and let's face it probably a pint to end on. Good luck if you’re out.


Little beauties.


My best Itching trout, about 4lb.


And great looking roach (not sure why he’s pulling that face).

Friday, 13 March 2020

Eight Hundred!


I needed one more barbel from the local river to hit the milestone - and I was determined to get one no matter how long it took. As it turns out it took about an hour - my 800th barbel from the river!

Thursday, 12 March 2020

New Toys & Old Foes


New lures sent to me from the States - cheers Paulos! Any excuse for another crack at that big pike I lost over the net last week...

I arrived to find the water really dirty, perhaps a deadbait would have been better. But I still thrashed the water to a foam for three hours...

Just one missed take - she’s reminding me that she’s still there! That’s it for the pike this season - I’ll be back for her in autumn...

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Wandering


Stick ‘n’ pin, half a loaf of bread and a wander for a couple of hours - when it stops raining it’s starting to feel a lot like spring. One fish from each spot before moving on - I mostly stuck to the plan!


Sixteen little chub to about a pound...


Two trout (hard to avoid) - in great condition ready for the season...


And a bonus roach to end on - cracking!

Monday, 9 March 2020

Arnie


Three hours, three chub, three barbel - including this bodybuilder of a fish! Taking my total barbel count to 799 from the river. I’ll be back...

For the barbel records: 6lb 12oz, 4lb & 4lb (163)