Monday, 14 August 2017

Catch Up

Well I've done a bit of fishing over the last couple of weeks - but there hasn't been a great deal to write home about...

Locally I'm catching a few chub and barbel but I did manage to loose two big chub in three casts - inexplicable hook pull followed by getting one weeded up - and both looked well over 5lb...

I've spent an hour or two on several rivers chucking a lure about for perch - lots of fish but maxing out just over a pound...

And an afternoon using the method on The Thames produced a bite a chuck - mostly roach and skimmers with the odd perch mixed in - I'll be back with a keepnet...

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Eel Quest

Perhaps inspired by the Bloggers Challenge or my own Specimen Challenge I popped out for a few hours eel fishing yesterday evening - first time in years I've deliberately targeted eels!

Fishing a ledgered thin slice of luncheon meat in a few weirs and holes I thought I'd get a few on the scoreboard before trying to work out how to target the bigger ones - 3lb plus is the target.

But it's an old photo above, I couldn't find one, or they just weren't feeding - I had a chub and three barbel; 4lb, 6lb 8oz and 8lb 9oz - makes a change eel fishing and getting plagued by barbel... Love it!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Quick Experiment

Quick barbel mission to test an experimental new bait, fished static and waited for that bite we all know and love - 8lb 1oz - and one hell of a fight - brilliant!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Weight Watchers

Afternoon on the river - two barbel 4lb 0oz and a stocky 8lb 9oz fish, best of the season so far. Plus half a dozen chub to about 3lb.

Distinctive fish, caught in March by James at 10lb 3oz - shows the weight variation. So barbel caught now over 8½lb could be a double by the end of the season.

Monday, 10 July 2017

There's A Storm Coming

You can feel it build and fade daily - it hasn't broken yet - but I have a feeling it's going to be thunder and lightning and lots and lots of rain. I'm hoping it's tropical and I'm watching from a pub!

The rivers really need some water but I thought I'd take advantage of the low, clear water and go barbel spotting. They are easy to spot but getting wise - about 90% avoid the bait or spit it out so quickly you don't stand a chance.

Beautiful afternoon in the sunshine and I managed seven barbel to 7lb 2oz plus a few chub. I also spotted a few carp which are now on the target list. Roll on the storm...

Monday, 3 July 2017

Wye Not?

Where is the water? A few days on The Wye, hoping to land Paulos on a barbel - and it was going to be tricky in these conditions...

The chub wanted to play, watching them home in on the 'plop' of freelined luncheon meat was an exciting way of catching them...

Free sweets - well, wild cherries anyway. Hawks, hedgehogs, foxes - it's great to be away from the city in the summer...

A few perch and chub on Mepps and Rooster Tails, a couple of lost tiny jacks and only one propper pike showed any interest...

The American fish hold! As the light was fading the chub and eels became ravenous. And I'm sure the barbel were there...

In fact spending more time on the water than the American I landed four barbel - Paulos had a lot of other commitments...

But I couldn't let him leave without one - and this one really put up a fight - mission accomplished! Coming back for a pike?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Summer Rudd

I'm on a mission to up my PB list - but when it comes to rudd I want to beat it (aiming for a 2lber) with a fish in it's summer golden colours - just to add another level of difficulty.

I'm told they turn silver after the first flood, so not sure exactly how long I have. But it wasn't today, the best two went 1lb 5oz and 1lb 4oz - beautiful fish, I look forward to catching some more soon.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


A midday mission to the river - the worst time for catching fish but the best time for spotting them, I also wanted to see what features had changed - new weed beds, shopping trolleys etc.

And it was hot. Bloody hot. My Spam was melting, really soft and didn't want to stay on the hook - need some co-op luncheon meat, that stuff is pretty indestructible!

The fish were at bottom weight but were really on the munch despite the weather, and fought hard! Ten barbel the best two both weighing 7lb 12oz each...

I lost count of the chub but I landed five over 3lb with the best going exactly 4lb 0oz...

Fed up with the meat I went and bought some bread and landed four roach, weighing one at 12oz. Plus a bonus trout about 2lb...

I could have had more but it was hot. Bloody hot. So there was only one thing for it..!

Saturday, 17 June 2017


The day we've been waiting for was finally here, the kit was prepared and alarm set for 2.30am...

Opening day and I was on The Stour for sunrise to continue my quest for a 7lb chub, but as the light began to reveal the river I could see the chub were still spawning - they weren't interested in feeding...

By 7am the sun was already strong and a couple of hours later I thought I'd switch to lure fishing, aiming for a back-up perch my first fish of the season was nearly a big trout before he spat the hook.

The first fish was the mini-perch above, followed by several more of his (slightly) bigger brothers. A couple of follows by jacks - but even they wouldn't commit in the hot daylight...

The only option was a bait 'n' wait into dusk, would a chub or two slip up? Yes they would - but only fish up to about 12oz - not the ones I was here for - I'll be back for them...

*The title 'Glorious' refers to the weather, not the fishing!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Gold Mine

With a job cancelled and a break in the British weather I thought I'd head down to The Farm, crucians were the target and I was soon into the fish.

I landed fourteen crucians, five of them were over a pound to 1lb 14oz, no monsters but 14 bars of gold - I'll take it!

I also added 40+ tench to 3lb 4oz, a load of roach to 8oz, six gudgeon which maxed out at 1oz and a 6oz rudd - in fact I really got value for money out of a 99p bag of frozen sweetcorn!

Reactions fine-tuned, getting ready, the river season is nearly here...

Friday, 2 June 2017

Urban Perch

While searching for pike (and bream) on the local canals I have spotted a few shoals of perch, no monsters - they seem to max out about 12oz - but it was too much to resist, time for a couple of hours chasing real urban bullies this evening...

Spot and dropshot was the method - and when I did spot them they soon gathered around the orange fry above. But I had to scale down to 3lb line, a small red hook and a natural pattern before they would have a go - they're not dumb...

I landed half a dozen, and many more spat the hook at the surface - I weighed one of the bigger ones at just over 9oz - it's just fun catching them - size is not the point here. Or is it?

What's that following my little perch in? Hello Mrs Pike, you're who I've been searching for, very nice to see you - I'll be back...

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Pre-Season 2017/18

It's funny writing my traditional pre-season post as I haven't stopped fishing. I've hit the stillwaters, extending my PB challenge through the closed season - I've been on a roll, adding three more:

Rainbow Trout 5lb 3oz - Previously 4lb 0oz

Golden Orfe 5lb 1oz (61%) - New entry *Upped twice

Tench 7lb 12oz (51%) - Previously 6lb 4oz (41%) *Upped 3 times

But on to the new river season. Although the PB Challenge has been cracked I'm still on a personal best mission, the initial target is a monster chub, I got close to cracking the seven pound mark last season - lets see if I can go 4oz better this time.

The next major target is a twenty pound pike, haven't caught one over the magic weight since 2011 - it's time for another. Not just limited to The Wye, I've been searching out a few new venues.

Roach, dace, gudgeon, perch... To be honest it's just going to be great to get back on the rivers, stillwaters tide me over for the three months but main event is just two weeks away...

Monday, 29 May 2017

Flight Night

Last night the stag beetles took flight, this was the main event and the epicentre of Stag-Fest was my back garden - and what a spectacular sight it was.

There is a limited stag beetle flight-night most years but the main event - the really big ones and lots of them - only happens once every seven years...

It takes a stag beetle 7 years to reach maturity (spending most of its life as a grub) and when they take flight they only have about a week left - fight, breed and die!

So the next big event will be in 2024 - hopefully I'll have a better camera by then. But a rainstorm last night may have interrupted proceedings, so they might be out again tonight - fingers crossed.

What has this got to do with fishing?

They don't normally fly until mid-June, nature is about 3 weeks ahead of itself. The last of the spawners have spawned (carp and barbel) - everything is ready for the new season - just over 2 weeks.

And I've uploaded a couple of videos of these mini-monsters to Instagram (no login needed), awesome creatures.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

High Noon

The middle of a bright day - the worst time for fishing - but the best time for fish spotting. I once again braved the towpath, the water is gin-clear and the duckweed hasn't taken over - I was pike spotting.

I took a few lures and a few slices of bread, and after a lot of miles I did spot a pike about 3lb, positioned between two boats and impossible to get a lure to. Still, I'm really searching for a double.

The bream didn't really want to play in the bright conditions but I did get four chances, sometimes they can't resist a bit of bread. Missed three but bagged the 8lb 1oz bream below - my third biggest ever.

And canal pike - I will find you!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Canal Barbel

Home to muggers, crack-heads, floating corpses and worst of all; joggers - I haven't spent much time on the London canal system. In fact I can count the number of canal fish I've ever caught on two hands; 3 pike, 2 perch, 2 zander and a bream - a total of eight fish!

The Blogger's Challenge ties in nicely with my own Personal Best challenge, I'm not going to drive myself nuts chasing a canal barbel or a stillwater grayling - but I thought I'd have a little canal reccy for a couple of hours - I was on the look out for predators.

I did spot a few pike, the best one being about a pound and a half, some nice carp to mid-twenties and a load of bream - the only fish I was able to tempt, 4lb 7oz above (fish #9). It's a start but I'm hoping to bump into a big pike at some stage, I'll be back...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


Continuing my quest for an eight pound tench. Normally I like a simple bait - luncheon meat, sweetcorn or a bit of breadflake - but these fish are too wise for that. I had to dust off the O' Thinking Cap.

The water is gin-clear and very weedy, I opted to bait up with hemp and red maggots - the thought being they would be attractive in both smell and movement but be hard to find among the weed.

Then in the middle of this would be my hookbaits; snowmen made out of brightly coloured 10mm and 8mm boilies. This is officially the first time I've ever used boilies!

As an extra firework; a bit of exploding green groundbait in the method feeder - so they'd know exactly where it was. They were never going to fall for this sh*t.

But after an hour, perhaps two, the alarm screamed away, a fantastic fight and a 6lb 7oz tench was in the net (above). Adding another 2oz to my PB - creeping towards my target.

Then, after loosing several fish to the weed beds I hit a good fish - was this the one I was after? Several heart stopping moments at the snags but eventually she was in the net.

Not quite as heavy as she looked - the scales read 7lb 12oz a new personal best (top photo). What a fish - who cares about those other four ounces? Not me! Not until next time...

Blogger's Challenge: There is a gang of perch that go marauding across the lake now and again, so I took a bleak-whip and bagged a few of them - weighing one for Challenge - at 5oz hopefully I'll find a bigger one.

And as darkness and rain descended a couple of eels fell for the old snowman, I weighed one - a 1lb 0oz eel for the Challenge - just getting a few fish on the scorecard...

Sunday, 14 May 2017


Last trip of the year chasing orfe, trying to beat my new 3lb 4oz personal best and my sights were set on a five pounder. James opted for bait 'n' wait, I went stalking. And I was soon into fish, tench and crucians (with dubious heritage).

I could see my target species but I couldn't tempt them on float fished breadflake. I did land the almost black tench above - the most beautiful one I've ever seen - and I thought it was a baby catfish when it surfaced!

In the afternoon I heard James shout - he needed me to witness the weight of a fish - always a good sign - and not the fish above! James had landed two good tench and two monster orfe - there was only one thing for it - I had to bait and wait...

I had the gear for it, 3lb line was swapped for ten. Method feeder, fluorocarbon, size 18 hook, exploding green groundbait and a rubber maggot - not really my style but needs must. I hadn't brought a bite alarm so I borrowed James' spare.

Bait 'n' wait only took about 10 minutes - and only one cast. My target nailed it, after surfacing straight away and a non-fight a beautiful, fat 5lb 1oz golden orfe was in the net - target achieved. Brilliant stuff!

Right then, back to this eight pound tench...