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

Melting


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

Glorious*


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 in search of some personal bests - and 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. Still on the 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

Snowman


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

Gold!


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...

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Twenty Four Hours


The longest bait and wait I'd ever attempted and the target was an 8lb tench - this is the first venue I've fished with a realistic prospect of connecting with one.

Arriving about 5pm myself and James started by spombing out a load of bait; maggots, hemp and corn - then sat back and began our waiting game...


About two hours later a screaming alarm announced my first run, a tench that shed the hook about half way towards me.

A run half an hour later and after a careful fight my prize was in the net, a beautiful tench of 6lb 5oz, a PB by 1oz - I'll take it!


As the light faded I connected with 5 or 6 more tench and lost all but one of them - there is work to be done on my rig! The tench I landed went 6lb 5oz - very different shaped fish but same weight.

Darkness fell and with the bait topped up and just the odd eel beep here and there on the alarms, about midnight I left James to it and headed off to get some sleep.


By 5am I was back, the bait was topped up and the traps were set - we waited for the sunrise - this was why we were here...

To cut a long story short; one missed run and one lost fish - they just weren't feeding. James was having no luck either so at 4pm, after 23 hours, we called it quits and headed back to London.

I think the weather conditions were against us, but I'm happy with a new PB (twice), my first fish for the Blogger's Challenge. And we'll be back for the eight pounder in the summer...

Friday, 28 April 2017

Blogger's Sin


Photos Or It Didn't Happen. Another trip out in search of a PB orfe, I want one over a pound to start me off and a main target weight of 5lb. And I realised I'd committed the blogger's sin and forgotten my camera. Ah well I had my phone.

James opted for a bait and wait, I opted to go stalking - I was soon into fish; crucians, carp and loads of tench but although I could see my target I couldn't tempt one. Eventually James phoned, his method had worked - only one fish but it was an orfe.

I continued catching but after walking miles round and round I went back and found James, he was chatting to a local - I won't mention names - but he recommended I moved a few yards to the left and slightly change my shotting pattern. Boom, 10 minutes later my new PB was in the net, a 3lb 4oz orfe - you can't beat local knowledge!


Luck Of The Devil. No more orfe were spotted so me and James decided to have a fishing match for the last hour and a half before dark. And at half time it was looking like a white wash - 7 tench to me (7 points) to 1 tench to James (1 point).

Then it all went quiet before a shoal of high value crucians (2 points each) arrived in front of James, the final whistle at 8pm revealed a score of 13-10 to James even though he'd caught nearly half as many fish - lucky b*stard - one point per fish next time!!

Orfe photos on James' camera to follow. Added - thanks James.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Lechlade


A trip to Lechlade, home of monster trout, in search of a PB with Steve and Dylan - the target was a double. And we'd managed to find less than ideal conditions; wind, rain and worst of all a daphnia bloom - that was keeping the trout more than busy.

Dylan and Steve started out working nymphs and lures while I wandered about trying to spot a fish in the margins, spotting and bumping two fish, it was looking good - but then the fish stopped moving and disappeared from view.


Just before lunch I spotted a solo rainbow feeding under a overhanging tree, it nailed an orange nymph and after a lacklustre fight the first fish was in the net, a 5lb 3oz new PB rainbow trout - a great start but I knew there was bigger to be caught.

Had they switched back on? We thrashed the water to a foam for the next six hours for just a couple of follows, this was hard work. Eventually Dylan started to get interest in a white lure, before our target nailed it - a good double figure rainbow charged off - unfortunately jumping and landing back on the line, it was gone.


We all switched to white lures and the trout started to show interest - Steve nailing the fish above, after a cracking fight his new PB of 9lb 0oz was in the net. Nice one Steve! Then they disappeared.

A walk around the lake produced my chance, the biggest fish I'd seen all day nailed my lure - but unfortunately it wasn't to be, shedding the hook after a few powerful runs... Ah well, next time!

The day was done and we later learned that only 3 fish (including ours) had been landed all day - so we didn't feel so bad. We headed home, well to the pub, making plans to return - Steve has a nine to beat and me and Dylan want a rematch with our lost doubles...

Monday, 10 April 2017

Hot Spring


A beautiful start to April and I couldn't resist a couple of trips out in the sunshine.


The first was to crucian Mecca Johnson's, no fish but it's the first trip there - and it was great to wet a line and do a bit of exploring.


The second trip was in search of a monster orfe (the target is a five pounder). I did manage a couple about 10-12oz, technically a PB but I'll be back for a bigger one.


But there were a few crucians, carp and loads of tench. Couldn't really get through the tench - which was a lovely problem to have!


No closed season blues for me this year, next I might go and dust off the fly rod...

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Specimen Challenge 2016/17


Bream 10lb 9oz (47%) - Previously 5lb 3oz (22%) *Upped twice.

The challenge last season was to improve my rather average Personal Best list. The aim was to improve on 10 of them and although it would mean less fish than the accumulative targets of previous seasons, and even a few dreaded blanks, I was hoping I'd be sat here now looking at some impressive photos of some of my less targeted fish.

I didn't manage ten but upped six (including banishing my bream curse). And added a new one with a monster minnow - seven new PBs, not bad for a old piker - I'll take it!


Minnow 18 grams (75%) - New entry.


Grayling 2lb 11oz (63%) - Previously 2lb 1oz 8dr (48%)


Roach 1lb 15oz (46%) - Previously 1lb 12oz (41%) *Upped twice.


Dace 11oz 4dr (53%) - Previously 10oz 4dr (47%)


Chub 6lb 12oz (72%) - Previously 5lb 2oz (55%) *Upped twice.


Rudd 1lb 10oz (35%) - Previously 1lb 1oz (22%)

SpeciesPBRecord%
Barbel12lb 4oz21lb 1oz58%
Bream 10lb 9oz 22lb 11oz47%
Carp 20lb 2oz67lb 8oz29%
Crucian2lb 9oz 4lb 10oz55%
Chub6lb 12oz9lb 5oz72%
Dace11oz 4dr1lb 5oz 2dr53%
Eel2lb 11oz11lb 2oz24%
Gudgeon0lb 2oz 11dr0lb 5oz54%
Minnow18 grams 24 grams 75%
Perch2lb 4oz6lb 3oz36%
Pike25lb 4oz46lb 13oz53%
Roach1lb 15oz4lb 4oz46%
Rudd1lb 10oz4lb 10oz35%
Ruffe0lb 2oz0lb 5oz40%
Tench6lb 4oz15lb 3oz41%
Zander 9lb 1oz21lb 5oz42%
Grayling2lb 11oz4lb 4oz63%

Added to the PB list, which now shows the softer targets. I think the next step would be to get everything over 40% of the record; carp 27lb, eel 4½lb, perch 2¾lb and rudd 2lb.

Not sure about the eel but I'll extend the challenge into next season, targeting the rudd and carp during the summer and hopefully bag a nice perch with a more extensive pike fishing campaign this autumn.