Follow the fly fishing adventures of Doc Brown and his pal Crab in a brand new comic strip Fluff Chuckers. Only in Total Flyfisher Magazine, available from shops that sell magazines, like Smiths and that one just round the corner. I'm also doing the illustrations for Parton's Parting Shot as well - which is pretty sweet.
A couple of hours down the river this evening, trying to crack the challenge before the cold weather arrives tomorrow. And it was like fishing in leaf soup, so much rubbish was collecting on the lines it made things very tricky.
Dan's first cast managed to sit out for about 20 minutes before he had a rod ripping bite, a great fight to start with, then the fish seemed to give up when it got near the net... But it was the fish we were after, the one to tip us over 300lb for the season.
We weighed it, shook the scales and weighed it again, 9lb 15oz just one ounce off being a double, but Dan was still delighted.
The Barbel Challenge 2012 was cracked. Time for champaign - or in this case a couple of pints - brilliant!
Barbel Challenge October 2012: 22lb 5oz | 3 barbel | 7lb 7oz average | 9lb 15oz best
Well Roger and Paulos' shark fishing adventure went very well, you can see the photos here: Shark Blog. Loads of red drum, the odd monster stingray and best of all a six-foot-plus shark from the beach.
We've talked about this photo for probably over a year now, often standing on the frozen banks of the River Wye while pike fishing. It's the trophy shot he's been after - top fishing guys!
Another trip to Penton Hook, and a plan; one rod for bream and a pike rod each. Things started off well, I had a small bream about 2lb on the fourth cast laying down a carpet of bait...
Darren soon had an eel about 1lb, a 8oz roach, this hybrid about 1lb 8oz and an aborted run on his pike rod...
But then things slowed right down. Time for lunch, what will it be today? Well there is no point breaking from tradition (we also had bacon sandwiches). Cooking these attracted every dog on the island...
About an hour later I heard a shout from Dan, I ran for net duty and was met with the biggest bream I've ever seen. 6lb 4oz, his first ever bream and an absolute monster. Slab number one!
Darren (our resident bream expert) was next into the action with this cracking 5lb 5oz fish. Slab number two!
OK, I didn't manage a slab, but this fantastic 2lb 4oz eel made up for it, although he didn't want a photo with me - they are so tricky to hold for a photo...
I did manage a second bream of 2lb 4oz (my fifth bream ever) and Darren wrapped things up with a bootlace eel.
And the pike, they didn't want to play today, we'll be back!
I've always fancied owning an aquarium, but I know my cat would eventually find a way to kill the fish... So a few months ago I downloaded the Fish Farm app for my iPhone.
You buy, sell and breed fish to gain money to buy more exotic fish, there are fresh water, salt water and big fish tanks, loads of fish species, tank decorations and 150 levels (currently on level 142).
Seems to have kept me entertained on bus and train journeys to and from the river! And it's free, more information and download here.
Within a second of his first cast Dan was hooked up, he didn't have time to put his rod down, the barbel must have grabbed the SB4 on the drop... Great fight and a 7lb 3oz barbel was in the net... That's the way to do it, none of this waiting hours for a bite!
When he put it back it kicked out, then turned over and floated, disaster! Dan waded out and grabbed it. After holding it in the water for a while it swam away strongly, but our time was now limited. It wasn't cold but with wet feet and jeans he wasn't going to last long... We stuck it out until sunset in the rain but no more bites... Time for a quick pint in a nice warm pub!
So close to cracking the challenge... 6lb 6oz to go...
On Monday I was supposed to go barbel fishing with Darren, but I couldn't escape from work. Darren landed a 6lb 14oz barbel and lost a second fish, good news - they are still feeding.
So on Tuesday I went out for a couple of hours to see if I could find one. I didn't find a barbel but had a nice eel, easily over 2lb but unfortunately I managed to drop it back in trying to weigh it - stupid mistake!
It poured down with rain all day on Friday, we knew it would effect the water but I don't think any of us expected just how high, dirty and fast the water was going to be at Penton Hook on Saturday.
We were on the island just after sunrise, Darren fished a sweetcorn rod and a maggot feeder for the barbel, bream and carp. Dan fished a luncheon meat rod for the barbel and a livebait rod for the pike and I fished a livebait and a deadbait rod - no question what was on my mind...
But first things first; the Great Penton Hook Cook-Off, Dan's sausage sandwiches verses Darren's bacon rolls... As I was the judge I had to call it a draw, both were great (and I wanted to ensure I continued to get both on future trips).
After trying to fish in the fast water we moved to some slack water towards the bottom of the island and Darren was soon into some dace, roach and skimmer bream on the maggot feeder.
I borrowed a dace and a few seconds later was hooked up to my first pike of the season 6lb 2oz a long skinny fish but fighting fit - brilliant!
With the action pretty slow Dan did a shop run, he left his livebait rod in the side (to keep his bait alive). And a few minutes after he left inevitably a pike hit his bait, I had it on for a few minutes, a cracking fight and a pike about 12-14lb, but it spat the hook in the side. Or as Dan later phrased it: I lost a pike on his behalf!
A few minutes later, before Dan was back, I had a run on my livebait rod. Another great fight and a 9lb 1oz was landed - pike number 2 of the season.
Dan returned and after half an hour of cursing his luck for missing his run, his livebait rod was away again... Looked like a good fish from the fight although we didn't see it... It managed to find a snag and transplant the hook into a submerged tree. Bugger!
Things quietened down, Darren's bites had dried up, I was really expecting him to get into the bigger bream but it didn't happen. And the odd little knock on Dan's luncheon meat rod didn't develop.
Then a zipping run on my deadbait rod (sprat), the pike stayed deep and managed to tangle in my second line, but eventually a 10lb 8oz pike was in the net - my first double of the season - I have all the luck!
We fished on but long after it should have been packing up time we called it quits, it was a great day on the island sat in the sun... And my pike campaign has started. Fantastic!