Thursday, 16 September 2021

Hide & Seek

Knew they were in there somewhere! A beautiful 11lb 1oz barbel with plenty of room to fill out over autumn & winter - fantastic!

Note to self: Never use Hovis bread again - it's crap.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Small River Roach

A couple of afternoons chasing small river roach; stick 'n' pin, bread for bait and polaroids to spot the shoals under the weedbeds. One or two fish from each swim before moving on - a lot of water covered. And a lot of fish spotted, including future targets - carp, chub, dace.

First session I landed about a dozen roach - including three over a pound; 1lb 2oz, 1lb 1oz and 1lb 0oz. Second session I landed a couple of dozen - biggest was 14oz - smallest about 10oz - cracking bag of roach! Oh, and I found a lure - always a bonus!

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Return To The Stream

Couldn't resist - although more exploring than fishing...

But 4 wild brown trout landed - three swingers...

And this absolute beauty!

And if you missed it - James has added another double barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge - plus some cracking chub - epic blog post here.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Butterflies 2021

Feels like summer is fading away - nearly pike time! Over the summer I managed to add 16 more species to my (side quest) butterfly photo collection - total now 44 of 59. Plus I improved on 25 of the 28 photos from last year - the growing collection is here.

Orange Tip (2021) Clouded Yellow (2021)

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Out For Trout

I tend to neglect the local(ish) chalk stream - then when winter rolls around I think 'must fish it next season' - not this year - a break from the barbel and an afternoon targeting wild brown trout...

I was in two minds; stick 'n' pin or fly gear - but it's really overgrown and I didn't fancy an afternoon climbing trees to retrieve my fly - the pin it was. As it happens I did end up wading out to rescue a float!

The stream is gin-clear, the deep bits are less than a foot 'deep' and you can jump across it - I did - I jumped across to prove you can jump across - no half measures on this blog!

The trout are surprisingly difficult to spot in the shallow water, using any bit of weed or overhanging trees for cover. And often they see you long before you've seen them - once they've spotted you they bolt!

But despite spooking more than I fished for, about a dozen hard fighting trout to about 4lb found the net - the biggest jumping up a waterfall mid-fight! Brilliant afternoon in the sunshine!

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Late Summer Gold

Half the battle is spotting the bigger barbel - this is one I spotted on the last trip to the river - and I convinced her to take a bait today. At 7lb 3oz it's a step in the right direction - still searching for a double!

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Quick Barbel Report (124)

Still on splasher patrol and still up to my neck in nettles - but have spotted a couple of bigger barbel... Next targets...

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Stick Rod Rest

Bit of ledgering - sitting still for a change - stick for a rod rest. Two swims, 2 hours each - two chub, 2 barbel - great stuff!

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Evening On The Itchen

A change of scenery. And target species! I fancied trying to track down a big summer Itchen roach. The swim was a shallow gravel run with plenty of weed for cover and I could see fish ghosting in and out. Staying put, plenty of bait and a slow-rolled piece of bread flake on the quiver tip. Would these spooky fish want to play?

Two roach, the best going 1lb 13oz...

The other going 1lb 5oz...

Five bream, two chub...

And my first Itchen gudgeon... Bonus!

Friday, 13 August 2021

The Search For Barney 1

River is low and gin-clear, so with my kit and net on my back - armed with polaroids - I set out to explore the 2 mile stretch that produced six doubles last season - they've got to be in there somewhere! Peeking in any little gap and even climbing trees for a better view they remained hidden - I'll find them!

I found several shoals of small barbel on a long shallow run and set about getting them feeding confidently on the surface - I took a video of them competing for the floating crust - I'll upload at some point. Starting downstream I worked my way up, catching one without spooking the next - landing ten of the little beauties!

Before walking home (still walking) I decided to sit it out for an hour - see if there was something I'd missed. Classic barbel bite and I was surprised to find myself connected to a monster eel - second one on bread this season. Was sure it was a three - but still a fantastic new PB of 2lb 12oz - impossible to hold for a selfie!

Friday, 6 August 2021

Adventures Of Netman

No kit (or ticket) - today I was going to be... Netman...

Saw hundreds of Chalk Hill Blues - only ever seen one before...

Distracted by butterflies I very, very nearly stepped on an Adder...

Found thirty-five quid blowing across the field...

Saw three Silver-Spotted Skippers - species 43...

Oh, and netted this Mole beauty for James... Job done.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Bugs & Beasts 8

Last batch of the year - Painted Lady against the summer sky.

A freshly minted Small Copper - perfect.

Green-Vained White - one of 4 similar looking white butterflies.

Common Blue and friends.

Small Heath - one of my favourite photos this summer.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Lucky 13

I might not be catching big barbel but I'm catching lots of them - so I grabbed a loaf of bread and headed to the river - see if I could wrap up the 100 Barbel Challenge in July.

And 13 barbel found the net, mostly to floating crust. Season total: 104 barbel - cracked it! Time to target something else - although I did spot a double - I'll be back for her!

Thursday, 29 July 2021

The Storm

It's been brewing for a while - the storm finally arrived! Two London hospitals flooded, sections of the underground became rivers and my garden had that much needed drink...

But did it wake the monster barbel from their summer slumber? Those big barbel that have eluded me so far this season - surely the fresh water would spark them into a feeding frenzy!?! Nope!

But I'm very lucky to have barbel within walking distance (still walking to the river) - and I don't care about size - 91 barbel landed so far this season! I've got Autumn & Winter to search for a double.

James is having better luck chasing the doubles, although on a different river, adding another one to his 40 Rivers Challenge - seven down, 33 to go - full story on his blog here.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Waiting For The Storm

A cooler day followed a much cooler night and it had been over a week since I last wetted a line - to the river! Although I managed 4 chub, 4 barbel (two of which were swing-jobs) and a dace with eyes bigger than it's belly - the bigger fish were spooking off the bait...

I think they are waiting for the storm...

Wednesday, 21 July 2021


It's too hot for fishing - expecially barbel - the water is warm and the last thing I want is one to go belly-up! But there is a storm brewing - kit packed and ready for the fresh water...

So instead I thought I'd do a Stag Beetle update; seems to have been a very good year with 36 beetles spotted (31 males, 5 females) - mostly at night or in flight when they're difficult to photograph!

Stag Beetle (Female) Stag Beetle (Male)
Stag Beetle (Male) Stag Beetle (Female)
First Sighting: 6 June 2021 -- Last Sighting: 13 July 2021