I managed a very quick trip to the river this afternoon, it's these quick trips that are making my season. I do like to spend the day chasing fish, but those trips seem all too infrequent. I really wish there was somewhere close at hand to try and find a pike or two, perhaps I'll give the local pond another try now we've had a frost.
Anyway I added two more barbel to this seasons tally, 4lb 8oz and one about 1½lb, so I'm in the fish - just not the big ones. I'm really not complaining, I only landed five barbel last year so it's great to have something pulling on the line on a regular basis.
On Sunday James, Richard and myself journeyed up to Coventry to join the Midlands bloggers for a social fishing trip on a local canal. Organised by Jeff Hatt, I'm not going to list names or blogs, instead I'll make a list at the end of this post to other reports from what will probably be a heavily blogged event.
So this is my story. Having NOT missed the train from London (I'm looking at you James and Richard) I met Jeff at the train station for a 5 mile sprint across Coventry, we did briefly peer into the canal and spotted a couple of jack pike, but no time for a cast - there were people to meet and zander to catch.
Tackling up over a pint outside the pub on the canal it was strange to actually meet people who's blogs I read and fishing experiences I'd shared for years, I felt I knew them even though this was the first time we'd met - apparently I'm taller than expected.
Pint finished it was time to wet a line and on advice from Jeff we float fished roach sections. I didn't have to wait long before my float was on the move - I waited for it to pick a direction and struck - fish on and it stayed on!
My first wild zander, delighted! I was awarded 3lb by my fellow anglers, a cracking start.
Next cast sat out for about 5 minutes before the float started to wander, really like this float fishing - taking this to Bury Hill. Zander number two was on the bank, a mini zed but still a zed - brilliant.
As the afternoon progressed we explored some more of the canal, Jeff using his local knowledge to put a cast under 'the zander bush' for near instant result and the 4lb zed above (look how it's posing for the photo).
It was the last zander I saw, although a few more were caught, I believe Danny had a couple [Edit: make that 5] drop-shotting (got to give that another go) and Richard finished with a zander about 1½lb on legdered roach section.
While fishing I did have my float gently pull under a couple of times, and after a couple of exciting strikes thinking it was a zander, a slow pull up revealed it was a crayfish.
Despite crays being the bane of a lot of anglers lives, I'd never caught one - so I lowered the bait back down and waited with the net in hand. A slow bite, a slow lift of the rod and net under before he let go. My first crayfish!
Back to the zander fishing. We fished on into the first two hours of dark with no more fish, then retired to the pub for a few drinks before I had to race home.
It was great to meet such familiar faces for the first time and it was great to see how people were fishing for zeds, it was a brilliant day and a lot of food for thought fishing-wise.
So a big thank you to Jeff and all the guys.
They say there is two sides to every story, but in this case I expect there will be more, I'll update the list below as they appear:
Another trip to Bury Hill, and I knew this day was coming, I've had a hell of a run, but no fish today - a blank! I knew chasing zeds wasn't going to be easy and conditions just didn't feel very zander...
But looking back through the blog, I've managed 21 consecutive trips without a blank - three months! In that run I've caught 37 barbel, 9 zander, 6 pike, as well as perch, chub, eels, trout and even a ruffe.
I'll settle for a run like that any season!
After getting lost and going on a long walk through the woods, Richard eventually joined me for the day and bucked the trend by catching the only two zander on the lake all day - proving it could be done - nice one!
A couple of months ago while walking on the beach I found this block of stuff, something about the typeface appealed to me.
A bit of research later it turns out it's a block of rubber made from a rubber tree over 100 years ago in Indonesia. And was used in the early 20 century to make everything from teddy bear noses to diver's suits.
Several ships transporting it sank but one candidate was the Titanic, which was carrying a large consignment of it on it's fated voyage.
Here it is when it was made (probably not the same block). Early 1900s.
And what did I do with this rather extraordinary find? Much to the dismay of a couple of beach combing websites I sent the photo to, I photographed it and left it on the beach, below the high tide mark. The sea has claimed it again...