Monday 25 July 2011

Trick Of The Light

Impromptu evening session on the Wandte, and they really have wised up to us fishermen. No bites until it was nearly dark, not even little rattle - we're here bites. As dusk took hold I had a great bite - which I missed... Don't know how... Next cast got repeated plucks, really little ones, then the meat was gone.

I watched this for a couple of casts before trying to hit one, little rattle, strike, fish! I saw it turn in the shallows and I shouted to Dan I'd hooked the fish we were after (and then some) I needed a net man. My giant barbel headed well downstream as I explained to Dan what I had hooked into. I inched it upstream until we got a good view - my 3 foot odd long barbel was in fact a chub wrapped in a long stream of weed... Ah.

Once it broke free of the weed it put up a good account of itself, cracking fish, 8lb 4oz 4lb 8oz, best chub so far this season... And with that we headed for a pint.

[Edit: Really sorry to anyone who read this last night, the chub was 4lb 8oz - not 8lb 4oz as I wrote. I was delighted with the fish but I didn't mean to nearly double its weight]

[Edit 2: I forgot to post this last night but we found a quivertip from a multi tip rod, near Enfield and as it's a fairly small Wandte world I wondered if anyone reading this had lost it, or knows who lost it - if so please leave a comment and I'll get it back to you]

Saturday 23 July 2011

In Search Of A Perch

A quick afternoon session on the Thames after a perch. It was bright, too bright really, so I fished under trees and against man-made features. It was rubber V's plastic...

Rubber first, nil fish...

Half time!

Then plastic, nil fish...

Conclusion: Need to dig up some worms and/or get a weir permit!

Thursday 21 July 2011

Untapped Water

With the barbel starting to wise up to us fishermen Dan and myself decided to look for some unfished water. This is a problem, as it's such a small river, everywhere gets fished. Dan had the idea of finding a spot that looked like it didn't hold fish, hoping that most fishermen would simply walk straight past.

We found such a spot, about 3-6 inches deep and in the daytime you can see there are no fish there, added to that it's tricky to present a bait well and we had to work out how we were going to net a fish should we hook one.

Well it worked! 1lb 14oz to me before Dan had a 2lb barbel followed by a 1lb 5oz one. We then wrapped things up with an eel each, both over a pound. And I'm hoping there are bigger fish there.

It has really made me think where we can find fish in the future...

Monday 18 July 2011

Bits And Pieces

Pike Blog V's Science

While recording our progress as we try to catch 100lb of Wandte barbel, I have inadvertently been doing a study, the ongoing results (just over half way) can be found here.

The River Wye

A double (estimated).

While we have been struggling to find the bigger fish, Roger has been into them on the River Wye. Just a few photos.

Barbel 7lb 3oz

Barbel 9lb

Chub 4lb 4oz

Week On The Wandte
Monday 7pm-12am Barbel 5lb 9oz
Tuesday 7pm-12am Barbel 6lb 11oz
Wednesday 8pm-12am Blank
Thursday 9pm-1am Blank (Dan: Chub 3lb 1oz)
Friday 5pm-9pm Blank
Saturday 9pm-1am 12oz (Dan: 12oz, 1lb, 8oz, 3lb 8oz)
Sunday 4pm-7pm Blank

One Of Those Days - Update

Phil hasn't managed to get the video of me wading about in my boxers looking for the landing net off his new phone, but here is a still. This is before I found the deeper water! Original blog post here.

The Blogger Strikes Back
Far from being put off I've made a second blog, although this one is only going to last for a month. When I'm not working or fishing or sleeping I do other stuff. Like annoying my flatmate. I wonder if he's reading this?

Sunday 17 July 2011

The Plan

Excuse me Mrs Tiggy-Winkle can I borrow the landing net?

Evening session on the river and I had a bite first cast, and a 12oz barbel to kick things off, followed by an eel. Dan then had a 12oz barbel (he was copying me), then a 1lb barbel, then a 8oz one.

Next up Dan had a plan, we moved to some shallow fast water, six inches deep and full of weed. Dan hit a fish pretty quickly, a great fight and a fantastic 3lb 8oz barbel - a new PB, delighted doesn't begin to describe it!

Well done Dan, the run of bad luck has ended.

New personal best, 3lb 8oz

Saturday 16 July 2011

Not Going Fishing

I spent all morning not going fishing, and some of the afternoon, but then I fell off the wagon and went fishing.

Dan had been there for a couple of hours without a bite when I arrived, he was targeting chub, I was after a roach. No sooner had I cast out when Dan shouted he'd got one, a 3lb 1oz chub (above). It was nice to take a photo in daylight! I then lost a chub before we sat there for the rest of the afternoon for a few little rattly bites and no more fish. We even managed to tear ourselves away to the pub before closing!

So that's everyday this week I've been fishing, I should go today and tomorrow to make a full fishing week - if the rain stops later I might just do it!

Friday 15 July 2011

Jack's Pike #33


Finished work late and fished from 9pm until 1am without a bite, it's not an easy river and I think the barbel are wising up to us fishermen, most of the guys I've spoken to on the bank this week have been struggling. Perhaps it's time to refine the techniques and try some new baits.

My plan to fish every night this week (while my girlfriend is away) looks like this:

Monday 7pm-12am Barbel 5lb 9oz
Tuesday 7pm-12am Barbel 6lb 11oz
Wednesday 8pm-12am Blank (not a bite)
Thursday 9pm-1am Blank (not a bite)
Friday I’m going to the pub!!

And a quick hello to Jason, who recognised me from the blog, and who bucked the trend and landed a nice fish this evening - post below.

[Edit: I was going to write this last night but I was too tired...

One of the joys of fishing late on the Wandte is the night bus journey home, there is always a gang of 3-5 kids, drunk, playing music, shouting and doing their best to be intimidating on the top deck every night. And last night was no exception.

I was sat on the top deck doing my best to ignore them (don't know why I don't just sit downstairs) when one walked up and asked "do you smoke crack?" - "um, no" - "are you homeless?" - "no". I thought this was a strange exchange, then I realised I was wearing a wooly hat, scruffy old clothes, shoes that you could plough, had a bag and a beard - the classic homeless crack smokers outfit!

I attracted his attention, pointed at my fishing rod and explained that although I was disguised as a homeless crack smoker, I had in fact been fishing. The music was off and I was the center of attention.

The conversation among them went something like; "fishing f**kin' sucks" - "what a f**kin' waste of f**kin' time, you should be..." - "actually I used to go fishing with my dad" - "I used to go with my brother" - "did you catch anything?". We then sat there for the rest of the journey talking about fishing, pleasant journey all round. And I was, temporarily, part of a late-night South London bus gang!]

Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Blogger

All the guys I normally go fishing with were previously engaged this evening so I hit the river on my own. I do like having company, someone to have a laugh with while waiting for a bite, a net-man, a photographer - but sometimes it's nice to be by myself.

I arrived before six and walked along baiting up a few swims and taking a few photos, I thought it would be nice to have a non-fish photo or two. I then settled into a chuby looking spot to have a blast for a big chub while waiting for the light to fade... I had a few bites but I'd need a quivertip and reactions of a racing-slug to hit them.

As darkness fell I headed off to my first pre-baited swim, action was slow as I gradually moved up the river from swim to swim with only the odd tap here and there.

I fished the second to last swim and was about 10 seconds from moving before the rod hammered round. A great fight and a 6lb 11oz barbel. I needed a photographer, I did a self-take in the dark but it really was rubbish, next time I'll photograph them in the net.

With the water well and truly thrashed I moved to the last swim. Cracking bite first cast, and I hooked and landed a sock... Time for home.


And I would say hello to the fisherman I met, we had a nice chat before "Oh. You're THE blogger... I disagree with all that...". So I presume he's not reading this, it was nice to meet him anyway...

Just think where publications like The Angling Times or people like Matt Hayes and Co could be if people liked to read about fishing?

Seriously though, I don't mention stretches of river, swims and I even deliberately misspell Wandte so Google doesn't pick it up - I can't see the harm in blogging. The original idea of Pike Blog and Shark Blog was so my brother and I could see how each other were doing, fishing-wise, from opposite sides of the world.


So at the half way point the barbel challenge looks like this:

Total weight:54lb 13oz
Number of fish:24
Average size:2lb 4oz
Biggest barbel:9lb 12oz
5lb plus:3
Total sessions:14

It is mostly small barbel, they are averaging just over 2lb. But now we're going to focus on trying to find some bigger barbel, we're aiming for ten 5lb+ fish to complete the challenge (and I'd love to see a double!). I'm also going to start targeting the Wandte chub and roach, and start exploring the Thames.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Christening The Net

I, like many anglers, think a virgin landing net is unlucky (we're a superstitious bunch). The first thing I did as soon as I reached the river was to dunk the net, and the next fish caught was going to be landed in it - even if it was a baby gudgeon!

Dan didn't have much time to fish tonight, we arrived at 7pm and he had to leave at 8.30, we concentrated on one peg. Dan fished meat, I fished halibut pellets. An hour and a half isn't long when you are fishing and the time disappeared in the blink of an eye. Just one half hearted bite to Dan, no fish.

Dan headed home, I headed a few hundred yards upstream to meet Darren. Darren was already fishing in two consecutive pegs and was kind enough to move one rod so that I could get in. He'd been fishing about an hour without a bite so I wasn't expecting instant results. But after about ten minutes I had a bite and connected to a good chub. Once it was nearly beat I mentioned to Darren that it hadn't taken long to christen the net - bump - the hook pulled!

We fished into the dark before I had another bite, one of those rod-ripping bites that barbel are great at. And after a short, powerful fight Darren swept it into the net. Net christened! The barbel went 5lb 9oz - fantastic!

We fished on for a couple of hours with only one or two little bites before Darren lost an eel. Darren left and I stopped off in a spot I'd pre-baited on my way to meet him, 20 bite-less minutes later I headed for home.

Job done.

Sunday 10 July 2011

Serious Net

When the guy in the shop says "indestructible" should I take it as a challenge? We'll see how long this one lasts!

Quick trip out on Friday evening, and we were face with a dilemma - no suitable landing net. I had a small net so we headed off upstream in search of some small barbel, Dan was under strict instructions not to hook into anything over five pounds!

I was first off the mark with a 1lb 8oz fish, Dan soon followed with an identical 1lb 8oz barbel and after a couple of hours he had one of 1lb 4oz. A total of 4lb 4oz added to the challenge, every little helps (although it has brought the average size down to under 2lb). We'll have to do something about that...

Thursday 7 July 2011

One Of THOSE Days!

As I sit here I'm not sure how to describe it... My afternoon meeting overran, then I had a power cut in my office - so I decided to join Dan & Phil fishing. We fished from 6pm to 9pm.
  • Turn up
  • Loose my kit first cast
  • Loose my kit second cast
  • Loads of weed make fishing impossible
  • Loose kit again
  • Dan gets a barbel, I net it (1lb)
  • Can't get the camera to work
  • Dan gets second barbel
  • I go to net it, netpole breaks, net floats away
  • Dan falls in!
  • Phil nets barbel for wet Dan (1lb 8oz)
  • Dan puts on big (barbed) hook and trawls for net
  • Once hooked he pulls it into the side
  • I go to grab it, hook transfers from net to my hand
  • Net washes away. F**kin' b**** f***** t***
  • Rip hook from my hand, by now I'm p***** *** (and a bit bloody)
  • Can see net in the shallow water just downstream
  • Strip to boxers and Dan's (already wet) shoes and wade in...
  • It's not that shallow!
  • Pick up net, turns out to be a chair frame covered in weed
  • For f**** ***** b***** **** c***** *****'s sake!
  • Search about for submerged net
  • Now have an audience, including "what's that man doing daddy?"
  • Wade back, dry off and head to a friend's leaving do
  • M*** ***** the ******** *******!!
2lb 8oz on the barbel challenge... Well done Dan. Phil filmed some of this, including the episode with me wading about - as soon as he puts in on YouTube I'll link to it here. [Edit: No, we weren't drunk!]

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Chub And Eels

Evening session, yesterday, saw us catch 3 little eels and a chub about 3lb. Unfortunately no barbel, although we saw someone catch one about 7-8lb. Aiming for a bigger barbel is going to result in fewer fish but the quest continues...

Sunday 3 July 2011


...Back down to Earth. Well after the nine pounder I've just had two blanks. Friday myself and Dan fished for 5 hours without a bite. Yesterday myself, Dan and Darren fished for 10 hours for one lost fish, Darren lost a cracking chub. That's a combination of 40 rod hours, and shows what a fickle river the Wandte is.

The good news is we explored a lot of new water and saw a lot of fish. 10-15 barbel and lots of big chub. And one of the barbel spotted could only be described as a lump. Perhaps the legendary Wandte fifteen pounder is real!