Sunday, 19 May 2019

Myths & Monsters

Every pond has a legend of the monster pike, even the village duck pond where Mrs Soandso’s dog was eaten while having a swim. The only English fish creating more of a myth is the catfish.

”Yeah, it’s over a hundred pounds, it followed in a double figure carp as I was playing it.” Of course it’s never been caught or photographed. I had a more sensible target of a double.

Back to the muddy little cat-pond, I said I was after a double but wels are new - a screaming run and a little kitten first cast made my day - anything else would just be a bonus...

Half an hour later I was in again, another kitten but I popped her on the scales to set a PB - 7lb 4oz, bloody hell these things fight - what would a big cat feel like? I was soon going to find out!

A couple of hours later Richard was copying me with a little kitten followed by a 7lb 4oz cat of his own. Mid afternoon, out of the blue my rod screamed off - I hit something that didn’t want to meet me!

Fishermen exaggerate, but I’m not when I say it took 15 to 20 minutes to even see what I was connected to. My knees were shaking as Richard swept my prize up in the net - 27lb 0oz of fantastic!!

We rounded off the day with a few carp and bream - what a day - what a cat (but I don’t recommend a 2lb test curved rod, how it didn’t break I don’t know)... Next target: a Bertie!

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Hello Kitty

I’d never caught a wels so when I had the chance to spend a day targeting them with Richard I grabbed it. A muddy little pond but we knew they were in there, and after about 4 hours my halibut pellet ‘donkey choker’ rod screamed off...

Cracking fight; powerful and dirty - tried to get in every snag in front of me - but my first UK cat was in the net. More of a kitten than a cat but I was delighted! What a beautiful looking fish; grey mottled pattern, really long whiskers and a serious mouth.

A couple of hours later - after several dropped and missed runs - I managed to land a second one. Even smaller, but that didn’t matter - I’ve fallen in love with these fish! Richard left it late but also bagged a kitten himself - as well as a couple of carp.

Can’t wait to return - I have loads of ideas for rigs and bait. I’m not one for sitting still waiting for fish to come to me but there’s no stalking them in this dirty water. And let’s face it they look fantastic - I’ve got my sights on a double, perhaps even a twenty!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Gudgeon Match

Round 1
Local pond, Brian Vs James, most gudgeon in an hour wins a pint...
Brian 20 - 14 James (the pint was mine!)

Round 2
Rematch (2 hours). And the gudgeon were really on the feed...
Brian 111 - 73 James (no need for a round 3 decider :-)

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Season Review 2018/19

My tenth season review - written throughout the year. And it was another cracker; monster trout, a serious canal carp, the mini river species hunt, a fantastic shark fishing trip and a load of pike! I added six new PBs (including sharks) and landed a total of 26 species of freshwater fish - that must be a personal record.

Closed Season: A great day on Lechlade produced a new PB rainbow and a PB brown trout, a double! Then I turned my attention to the local canals landing 3 small pike and a monster 28lb mirror carp, smashing my PB. The Blogger’s Challenge concluded and I was more than happy with third place - not a bad off season!

June: Opening day saw me into the local barbel, that pull I’d missed for three months. I also continued my canal carp quest landing two more, including a double. And I started a hunt to catch as many species from the local river as I could this season, setting the near impossible target of 20 species - 11 so far - including a choach!

July: In the grip of a heatwave it was best to try and avoid the barbel, instead I turn my attention to adding some mini species to the hunt; minnows, bullheads and sticklebacks were caught. I added common and mirror carp, but a koi proved elusive. And floating bread provided some explosive chub fishing while waiting for some rain.

August: Shark fishing! I’d really been looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. A new PB lemon shark for me and Roger, 7’ 7” & 7’ 8” respectively, two bull sharks to 6’ 9” topped off a twelve shark trip. Plus a few stingrays. And a great holiday in America; dinners, water parks, beaches, nature and crazy southerners!

September: Back to reality I stalked out a few carp on the local ponds, while doing some reccies for autumn pike and perch. The river had seen a bit of rain while I was away and I upped my local barbel count to 55 fish. And, after some near misses, finally landed an elusive koi carp - taking my species hunt total to eighteen.

October: Pike time! And lots of pike, no monsters in fact only one scrapper double, but I landed 44 pike from some local ponds throughout the month - I really wanted to get more pike on Pike Blog this year. I had a few local barbel and a load of perch on the lures but pike were the main mission - 47 landed so far this season.

November: Less time on the water I added 7 more pike, cracking my target 50 Pike Challenge - although I need to add some more doubles. A fantastic trip to the Test Valley saw me land 6 pound plus grayling to just under 2lb. Plus some quick missions to the local river to wet a line - and bag some beautiful autumn roach and barbel.

December: I added a few more barbel (total 71) and 7 more pike (total 61) but I was really hoping The Wye would be on form for my annual Christmas visit - but as usual the floods arrived. I had a cracking couple of days chasing trout and perch on the fly with Steve and Dyl - really should do more fly fishing throughout the year.

January: First trip of the year saw a beautiful double figure pike on a deadbait. A trip down to The Royality produced only a jack - tough fishing. Locally I bagged a few more barbel, but again the cold water was making it tricky. And a few missions to the local ponds saw some pike fall for the lures - which warmed me up no end!

February: I was busy with work - drawing robots! But I did manage to escape to the river with the stick 'n' pin and catch seven pound plus roach, the best of which went 1lb 14½oz, plus some cracking dace. Just one pike added to the challenge. And with some unseasonably warm weather I landed six more barbel to 9lb 1oz.

March: Only one pike trip with 2 more pike added - total 73. But the main mission of the final two weeks was getting my barbel total to 100 fish, I'd left it very late but more trips to the river than I'd planned and I cracked it - including a double - total 101 barbel - brilliant! Another fantastic season - roll on the next one...

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Fish Of The Season

Normally one fish each season stands out - but this season there have been a few contenders. A double figure brown trout on the fly from Lechlade, backed up with a PB rainbow. Blog post.

A monster carp from a sparsely populated London canal, caught on floating crust, netted while lying on the floor to make my net reach the water and weighing in at 28lb 12oz. Blog post.

A new species, well hybrid, the ultra rare choach (chub/roach). I never thought I’d see one of these let alone catch one, and a 3lb 8oz beauty from a local river was a fantastic surprise. Blog post.

All the arm ache of a daytime bull shark from a deserted island, one of three sharks that day and it really felt like fishing in paradise. Part of an amazing shark fishing holiday. Blog post.

On the flip side of fishing in paradise, I’ve included this stunning barbel. Caught in horrendous conditions; cold, pouring with rain and blowing a gale - just proves you’ve got to be in it to win it. Blog post.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Species Hunt 2018/19

The challenge was to catch as many species from the local little river as I could during the season. I set an unrealistic target of 20 species and surprised myself just how close I got, especially as I abandoned the challenge as soon as the pike season started!

Relying on experience from the past eight years, a few tip offs from James (rudd & bullhead) and a lot of luck (choach & koi) I managed to land a total of 18 species. And I spotted a couple of tench and a bream - so twenty species was a possibility - next season?

Chub Barbel Perch
Chub Barbel Perch
Roach Dace Gudgeon
Roach Dace Gudgeon
Brown Trout Rudd Goldfish
Brown Trout Rudd Goldfish
Minnow Choach Bullhead
Minnow Choach Bullhead (Net)
Eel Stickleback Common Carp
Eel Stickleback (Net) Common Carp
Mirror Carp Ghost Carp Koi Carp
Mirror Carp Ghost Carp Koi Carp

Monday, 18 March 2019

Pike Challenge 2018/19

The challenge was to land 50 plus pike over the course of the season, I didn’t add a target weight, I just wanted to get a load of pike on Pike Blog - although I always hope I’ll bump into a twenty!

I managed 73 pike from 9 venues, only 3 doubles to 13lb 7oz - I’d have liked more doubles but that wasn’t the point, fast and furious fishing - lots of multiple fish afternoons - brilliant fun!

Breaking them down I landed 65 on lures, 4 on livebait and 4 on deadbaits. I stuck mostly to lure fishing this season, perhaps I’d have a caught a bigger stamp of fish on bait - but not as many.

As I photographed every pike I used the camera’s time stamp to create a graph showing the capture time in relation to sunset. Perhaps gaining more understanding of the pike's feeding times.

Obviously this is only one snippet of information, but something I’ll continue to do in the hope of improving my catch rate - and anyone who reads this knows I can’t resist the odd fishing related graph!