Friday, 31 December 2021

Lazy Fisherman 2021


The fifth year of tracking how far I walked with my lazy hobby - I do love stats! And it's 2,472 miles this year - think that's the furthest I've walked since I first started wearing the Fitbit. Happy New Year!

Distance Walked 2021


Distance Walked 2017-2021 (5 Years)

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Stomping Grapes


Dec 24 (+0.8m) - Blank
Dec 26 (+1.2m) - Pike 18lb 10oz
Dec 28 (+1.7m) - Blank
Dec 30 (+2.1m) - Blank (barbel blank-saver)

The Wye isn't too flooded to stop me trying - but too high and unsettled to stop me catching pike. Even chucking out a barbel rod alongside the pike gear isn't helping much!

Some days you get to drink the wine,
Some days you've got to stomp the grapes.

Monday, 27 December 2021

Christmas Fishies


A couple of days searching the river with deadbaits and the pike are playing hard to get! A float-fished sprat lowered into a little slack producing the only run in two days. But well worth the effort - a beautiful 18lb 10oz Wye pike to kick things off... (+0.8 / 1.2)

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Winter Solstice


The shortest day and almost the end of the year - would 2021 go down as the year I failed to catch a pike? To the Kentish Stour and while James tried to add another double barbel to his growing river list - I took the opportunity to float some livebaits about.

I just needed a run - and in a beautiful deep bowl I got my wish. The float sailed away - there is nothing more exciting than watching a pike float disappear! Cracking fight before a beautiful 8lb 1oz pike was in the net - job done!! Delighted. River Wye next...

Friday, 10 December 2021

Quick Barbel Report (164)


It's really turning into winter out there! And I've got a cold - first one in about 3 years. At least the barbel are still playing; three added to this season's count - plus two bonus chub. Soup time...

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Kidnapped!


An on-again, off-again quick pike mission to a little pond - in fact James said the only way he would be able to find the time is if me and Richard kidnapped him - no problem...


Still time was short, as soon as the sun got above the tree line the pike would switch off in the shallow, gin clear water - but James and Richard bagged a mini-jack each...


None for me this trip - but it was just nice to see a pike in the net. I really have got to land a pike this winter - it's been over a year since I last bagged one! Pike Challenge 2021/22: land a pike!!

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Double Damn


I saw a big tail sticking out of a weedbed, trundled a cube of spam down to it - and fish on! A good double hammered around before finding a snag - I pulled this way and that, but it was stuck. Giving it some slack eventually it swam out - game on! Great fight - until - as it was in front of the net the hook pinged out!!

Only an angler knows that feeling - you can only look on as your prize sinks back into the depths - gutted! A mild day after the recent cold snap - and I thought the barbel might be on the munch. They were - seven barbel and 2 chub found the net - including two barbel in 2 casts (one was resting in the net). Not a bad consolation prize!

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Break Out The Meat


After a few frosty nights I was wondering if the barbel would play - it normally takes them a little while to adjust to a sudden drop in temperature - but would they be able to resist a cube of spam?

It's been nearly 2 weeks since I last wet a line - so I thought I'd risk it. Quick mission and they were very spooky in the clear water - but 3 barbel and a bonus chub slipped up - that'll do nicely!

Friday, 12 November 2021

Alan Turing


After three pike blanks on the bounce I needed something to pull my string - time for a barbel. Much harder going than I thought (time to swap to luncheon meat) but I did manage to bag this beauty.

Some people think I'm just lucky - and what I caught next, floating down the river, might add a bit of weight to their argument...

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Prospecting II


Back to the new river searching for pike - 2 afternoons - 0 runs - am I looking for a needle in a haystack? Not giving up just yet!

The river was full of baitfish, so I entertained myself catching a few on the livebait gear - bleak, perch, dace, roach...


And one of these! Not sure what it was? Roach/bleak hybrid? Bream? Something else? Answers on a postcard please..!

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Prospecting


A trip to a new river, I'd heard rumors of pike, but how many and what size was a mystery. It was full of bleak - a good start. And although I didn't land a pike I had two runs; the first I failed to connect, the second, a good pike shed the hook in a snag. So even though it's a pain in the arse to get to - I'll be back...

Is anything more exciting than watching a pike float hammer under?

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Average


Barbel number 150 of the season, and more importantly Small River barbel number 1,200 over the 12 years I've fished it. That means I've got my average up to 100 barbel a season - something I couldn't have dreamt of even 3 years ago!

And as it happens this also includes 25 doubles (including recaptures) - so that's an average of 2 doubles per season. Due to excessive note taking I've collected a mass of data as a by-product of fishing here... Let's see... Total weight of barbel caught: 2.3 tonnes!

It's not an average I'm planning on maintaining - the river is close and convenient, and I'll keep fishing it. But I think it's time for a new fishing challenge - what that challenge is needs a bit more thought - wish there were some local pike..!

 Season No 5+ 7+ 10+ Best
 2010/11 27 1 0 0 6lb 6oz
 2011/12 44 14 8 0 9lb 12oz
 2012/13 56 34 20 6 12lb 4oz
 2013/14 8 5 4 0 7lb 13oz
 2014/15 71 33 16 1 10lb 1oz
 2015/16 127 45 15 0 9lb 4oz
 2016/17 70 31 15 2 11lb 15oz
 2017/18 132 56 23 2 10lb 9oz
 2018/19 101 36 13 1 10lb 3oz
 2019/20 164 69 28 5 12lb 1oz
 2020/21 250 77 20 6 14lb 2oz
 2021/22 150 21 6 2 11lb 1oz
 Total: 1,200 422 168 25 Breakdown

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Secret Stream Silver


Very few places fill me with more anticipation than fishing the Secret Stream (I’ve never mentioned it’s name) - less than a mile long, shallow, gin-clear water and flowing though the most beautiful countryside. And James and I found ourselves lucky enough to be fishing it on the opening day of the grayling season.

It’s been nearly two years we last laid eyes on it - our 11th visit in six years - and we were on the riverbank, gear set up, long before the sun broke the horizon. As soon as we had enough light it was stick ‘n’ pin, maggots and searching the gravels with polaroids for grayling among the many trout and millions of minnows.

The minnows were ravenous but the trout were pretty well behaved - except for the triploids - I landed a few of those, one of which was well over 6lb (would have smashed my river PB if it was in season). And we found the ladies of the stream - beautiful bars of silver - fantastic fishing - cracking day in the autumn sunshine!





Monday, 18 October 2021

Evening On The Itchen II


A return trip to The Itchen, and while James tried to add another barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge, I tried once again to land a 2lb+ Itchen roach. I could see them ghosting in and out of a shallow gravel run - but to cut a long story short - I couldn't tempt them!

I tried a variety of bait but the roach weren't going to be fooled on this trip - a blank was saved by a grayling, a brown trout and three chub to 4lb 13oz. A quick photo of the largest chub - before hitting the road, no time for sleep - there was grayling to catch...

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Ghost Barbel & The Twins


Whatever was putting the fish off a few days ago has washed through. An afternoon wander and five barbel found the net - including the 7lb 2oz very distinctive 'ghost barbel' (above) and an 11lb 0oz double (below). Oh, and another double spotted for next time...


The eleven was sat with her twin - there couldn't have been more than an ounce or two difference between them. Both rushed the rolled bread, this one beating the other to it - a recapture of my September double - but I know there is at least one more there...

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Fresh Water


After an afternoon thrashing the canals to a foam with lures without so much as a follow I thought I'd hit the Small River for some barbel action. This much needed rain must have sparked a feeding frenzy - nope - just one fish! Anything but predictable!!

Sunday, 3 October 2021

London Pike


Chasing rumors. I'm very lucky with my local fishing, I'm a walk away from some fantastic barbel, chub, trout, roach and gudgeon. There are ponds if I fancy targeting carp and canals for bream. But one species I haven't got at my fingertips is pike.

The last few seasons I have fished The Royal Parks with diminishing returns and stories of a big fish-kill that wiped out the pike. The once great Penton Hook hasn't produced a pike in years. And the river and stillwater I used to fish are no longer available on a day ticket.

Looks like I'm going to have to head away from London to find pike, my last local hope is the canals (much of which now display 'No Fishing' signs). Time to wander the towpath and chuck a few lures about. Or am I missing something right in front of me?


River pike within the London tube network, 13lb 1oz (2018).


Canal pike within the tube network, 15lb 0oz (2015).


Tube network stillwater pike, 11lb 12oz (2015).


A Penton Hook double, 17lb 8oz (2011).


Tidal Thames, boat caught double, 12lb 9oz (2017).


And my biggest London pike, 18lb 3oz (2019).

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Summer Fishing 2021


A summer of bread! It's pretty much all I've used for bait so far this season - sorry bait companies. Well the short summer season has once again flown past; roach, trout, chub, a few eels and lashings and lashings of barbel (153) - so before it's wooly hats and wellies here's a quick summer review - written monthly as I went along...


June: I managed to hit the Small River five times during the opening two weeks (one full day and 4 afternoons). Action was explosive with 62 barbel landed - plus a small carp, a pound plus eel and about a dozen chub! The bigger barbel are eluding me but hopefully I'll track them down. Cracking start to the season!!


July: Extreme weather; a heatwave followed by storms and flooding. The barbel fishing was still hectic, small fish, but I cracked my Barbel Challenge - 104 barbel! And mission with the stick 'n' pin resulted in a mixed bag including some lovely gudgeon. With the 100 barbel target in the bag I really need to locate some bigger specimens...


August: Still trying to track down a bigger barbel - best of the month was a 7lb 3oz beauty. I did land a surprise new PB eel - on bread! As a break from the barbel, a trip to the Itchen resulted in a couple of pound plus roach and five bream. And a wander along a neglected chalk stream provided some cracking wild brown trout.


September: A return to the chalk stream produced the most stunning wild brown trout I've ever seen. A quick mission to the Small River saw a double figure barbel added to the season. And three days on the very low, clear River Wye produced some fantastic chub and barbel action. Small River summer barbel count: 140.

And now it's time for pike...

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Quick Barbel Report (140)


Just three quick Small River barbel missions this month - 11 barbel added, including a double and the 7lb 12oz beauty above.


And James has added another double barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge - quarter of the challenge complete - blog post here.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Wonderful Wye - Day 3


Last fishing day of the short trip - time to find that perch! But first I couldn't resist using up the last of the luncheon meat - and bagged three more barbel in The Wye Valley sunshine.


I switched to a lure and the weather closed in. Unfortunately no perch - I did watch one about 2lb hit the lure in the rain - but it didn't find a hook. Wet through - a Sunday roast was calling!


Roast beef and Mortimer & Whitehouse. Cracking trip home - far too short a visit but I'll be back very soon. Thanks Mum & Dad - can you order a bit of rain before the next trip (but not too much).


The heavens opened - so we spent an hour sheltering under a bridge.


No perch photo, so here's a photo of cow #1063..!