Tuesday 28 February 2017

Final Push

Only two weeks left so I headed out into the rain to find a few barbel, apart from a few trips recently I haven't really targeted barbel this season - and I'll miss them when It closes.

A couple of wet hours (and wet feet, I've ripped my fishing boots). But barbel don't mind the rain, I had four; 5lb 14oz (top photo), 8lb 8oz, 6lb 10oz and a splasher about 1lb. Job done.

I'd really like a few more pike this season, I've only caught ten - and one of those was on luncheon meat! I had planned a long weekend on The Wye in March, but the water levels are all over the place.

We've had a really dry winter and I was taking it for granted I'd get a few more days River Wye fishing - monitoring the levels, bags backed and fingers crossed...

Thursday 23 February 2017

Tough Cookie

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30

Time to test the new camera, this is going to be my take anywhere tough cookie. It is waterproof and shockproof - so slime-proof and sand-proof by default, it even takes underwater photos.

It's smaller and lighter than my previous camera and even my phone and set me back £105 so didn't break the bank and saved money will go on a DLSR. Time to test the photo quality.

Chub photo, a bit washed out but factory setting aren't great for something that is shiny and wet, need to play with the exposure.

First things first, try and catch a fish! Wandering along scouring the bottom with polaroids I spotted a monster barbel - that would be perfect! But she ignored the bait and even the free samples...

I dragged myself away and soon found a shoal of chub and landed a 4lb 14oz fish. My best from the river for a few years and not the biggest in the shoal! My first test subject.

Better but exposure still too high.

A bit of wandering about and I spotted a couple of barbel grubbing up the bottom, both looked about 5 or 6 pound. Test subject number two?

One nailed the bait straight away and after a cracking fight went 7lb 10oz - they are really piling on the weight - I wondered how big the monster I spotted was?

Exposure set to -1 to show the details in the scales, I'll keep tweaking it but this looks like a pretty good daytime photo.

I continued fish spotting but they were proving elusive, I did manage two little splashers - they spooked the bigger fish but provided test subjects three and four...

I was pretty happy with the results, same sort of quality as my old Lumix but hopefully it'll be harder to break this one. I'd run out of daylight, time for home - just a quick stop off to see if the monster barbel from earlier wanted to play...

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Daylight And Dusk

Cracking barbel spotted in the daylight but wouldn't take a bait until the sun was setting. Fantastic fight and my second biggest ever, 11lb 15oz. Absolutely delighted!

Sunday 12 February 2017

In Focus

James sent the photos of the roach from earlier in the week - thanks James, cracking roach and brilliant photos - even the Roachman couldn't believe the weight, we reweighed it on James' scales - big frame just no weight to it.

The DSLR camera takes beautiful photos and as I'm in the market for a new camera I did briefly consider getting one, but it's too big, not in keeping with my traveling ultra light, always on the move approach.

I really like the Lumix range of compact cameras (like the one I've just broken), and been looking at the TZ range - already recommended by Mick Newey, and he takes some great photos.

But when I think about what killed previous cameras; water, fish slime and now sand, perhaps I'd be better off with a tough camera and I'm looking at the Lumix DMC-FT5. I'll loose a lot of zoom but hopefully it wouldn't let me down when faced with a special fish...

So what I want is DSLR quality photos, in a compact camera, that's waterproof and hard for me to break! Does anyone any recommendations?

Friday 10 February 2017

Pull My String 3

Another quick mission, I was going to go after dace but it was getting late - by the time I got to the river it would be getting dark - better to stay local and have a barbel blast...

First taker was the chub above and as I checked the photo the camera said 'Focus Error. Please turn camera off and then on again' - I did but technically speaking the camera was f**ked. Crap, it's been on the blink since I got sand in it shark fishing...

Never mind, the light was fading and the barbel had come out to play - I landed five; 6lb 4oz, 3¾lb, 5lb 14oz, 3½lb and 9lb 5oz...

The nine was a beauty but despite threatening the camera with extreme violence it wasn't going to work. So a massive thank you to the dog walking couple who took the camera-phone photo below.

The DMC-TZ8 has served me well for the past few years and I was hoping it would last until the end of the season but now it's time for a new camera...

Wednesday 8 February 2017

The Plan(s)

How do you catch a two pound roach from a stream chock full of hungry trout?

Me and James had discussed it in length, and we had a plan... Well, we had a plan each as James was armed with his body weight in liquidised bread, and I had a small tub of worms and one of maggots.

My plan was to wander about and find fish on the stick and pin with very little feeding to keep trout activity to a minimum. It didn't work! The first couple of dozen fish were all trout! And James was having the same problem.

Eventually we found some gaps in the trout (caught them all once?) and started catching our secondary target - grayling - I eventually lost count but had 10 over a pound with the best (weighed) one going 1lb 9oz. And James caught even bigger grayling.

But by chance - and not by any plan - I caught our target species. Not a two but a spectacular looking 1lb 11oz roach, an ancient warrior - battle scared and beautiful. And despite fishing on well into dark this was to be our only roach...

What a fantastic looking fish, and for once James was going to be the photographer - this is just a quick self-take - I'll add James' photos when he send them across tomorrow...

Yeah, I know, just one roach between us and for once I caught it..!

Saturday 4 February 2017

Mutant Chub

A couple of hours chasing chub and barbel in some shallow water with James this afternoon. The barbel eluded us but we managed 3 chub including the mutant below...

This one was missing its pelvic fins - and is going on my soon to be compiled mutant fish list.

Others include a barbel with no anal fin, a pike with only one central pectoral fin, a zander with no dorsal fins and a one eyed barbel (no hole where the eye should have been or even dent in the skull).

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Silver Darts 4

I wondered if this rain might have stirred up the dace, so I grabbed the stick n pin, the leftover bait from the grayling and headed for the stream. With a couple of hours on the clock I found them feeding...

Eighteen dace, nine over 8oz with the best three going 10oz (below), 10¼oz and a chunky 11¼oz new PB (above). Plus a little roach and three little perch - cracking couple of hours! Only a tiny increase in my PB but there's six weeks left...