Monday 29 May 2017

Flight Night

Last night the stag beetles took flight, this was the main event and the epicentre of Stag-Fest was my back garden - and what a spectacular sight it was.

There is a limited stag beetle flight-night most years but the main event - the really big ones and lots of them - only happens once every seven years...

It takes a stag beetle 7 years to reach maturity (spending most of its life as a grub) and when they take flight they only have about a week left - fight, breed and die!

So the next big event will be in 2024 - hopefully I'll have a better camera by then. But a rainstorm last night may have interrupted proceedings, so they might be out again tonight - fingers crossed.

What has this got to do with fishing?

They don't normally fly until mid-June, nature is about 3 weeks ahead of itself. The last of the spawners have spawned (carp and barbel) - everything is ready for the new season - just over 2 weeks.

And I've uploaded a couple of videos of these mini-monsters to Instagram (no login needed), awesome creatures.

Thursday 25 May 2017

High Noon

The middle of a bright day - the worst time for fishing - but the best time for fish spotting. I once again braved the towpath, the water is gin-clear and the duckweed hasn't taken over - I was pike spotting.

I took a few lures and a few slices of bread, and after a lot of miles I did spot a pike about 3lb, positioned between two boats and impossible to get a lure to. Still, I'm really searching for a double.

The bream didn't really want to play in the bright conditions but I did get four chances, sometimes they can't resist a bit of bread. Missed three but bagged the 8lb 1oz bream below - my third biggest ever.

And canal pike - I will find you!

Monday 22 May 2017

Canal Barbel

Home to muggers, crack-heads, floating corpses and worst of all; joggers - I haven't spent much time on the London canal system. In fact I can count the number of canal fish I've ever caught on two hands; 3 pike, 2 perch, 2 zander and a bream - a total of eight fish!

The Blogger's Challenge ties in nicely with my own Personal Best challenge, I'm not going to drive myself nuts chasing a canal barbel or a stillwater grayling - but I thought I'd have a little canal reccy for a couple of hours - I was on the look out for predators.

I did spot a few pike, the best one being about a pound and a half, some nice carp to mid-twenties and a load of bream - the only fish I was able to tempt, 4lb 7oz above (fish #9). It's a start but I'm hoping to bump into a big pike at some stage, I'll be back...

Wednesday 17 May 2017


Continuing my quest for an eight pound tench. Normally I like a simple bait - luncheon meat, sweetcorn or a bit of breadflake - but these fish are too wise for that. I had to dust off the O' Thinking Cap.

The water is gin-clear and very weedy, I opted to bait up with hemp and red maggots - the thought being they would be attractive in both smell and movement but be hard to find among the weed.

Then in the middle of this would be my hookbaits; snowmen made out of brightly coloured 10mm and 8mm boilies. This is officially the first time I've ever used boilies!

As an extra firework; a bit of exploding green groundbait in the method feeder - so they'd know exactly where it was. They were never going to fall for this sh*t.

But after an hour, perhaps two, the alarm screamed away, a fantastic fight and a 6lb 7oz tench was in the net (above). Adding another 2oz to my PB - creeping towards my target.

Then, after loosing several fish to the weed beds I hit a good fish - was this the one I was after? Several heart stopping moments at the snags but eventually she was in the net.

Not quite as heavy as she looked - the scales read 7lb 12oz a new personal best (top photo). What a fish - who cares about those other four ounces? Not me! Not until next time...

Blogger's Challenge: There is a gang of perch that go marauding across the lake now and again, so I took a bleak-whip and bagged a few of them - weighing one for Challenge - at 5oz hopefully I'll find a bigger one.

And as darkness and rain descended a couple of eels fell for the old snowman, I weighed one - a 1lb 0oz eel for the Challenge - just getting a few fish on the scorecard...

Sunday 14 May 2017


Last trip of the year chasing orfe, trying to beat my new 3lb 4oz personal best and my sights were set on a five pounder. James opted for bait 'n' wait, I went stalking. And I was soon into fish, tench and crucians (with dubious heritage).

I could see my target species but I couldn't tempt them on float fished breadflake. I did land the almost black tench above - the most beautiful one I've ever seen - and I thought it was a baby catfish when it surfaced!

In the afternoon I heard James shout - he needed me to witness the weight of a fish - always a good sign - and not the fish above! James had landed two good tench and two monster orfe - there was only one thing for it - I had to bait and wait...

I had the gear for it, 3lb line was swapped for ten. Method feeder, fluorocarbon, size 18 hook, exploding green groundbait and a rubber maggot - not really my style but needs must. I hadn't brought a bite alarm so I borrowed James' spare.

Bait 'n' wait only took about 10 minutes - and only one cast. My target nailed it, after surfacing straight away and a non-fight a beautiful, fat 5lb 1oz golden orfe was in the net - target achieved. Brilliant stuff!

Right then, back to this eight pound tench...

Sunday 7 May 2017

Twenty Four Hours

The longest bait and wait I'd ever attempted and the target was an 8lb tench - this is the first venue I've fished with a realistic prospect of connecting with one.

Arriving about 5pm myself and James started by spombing out a load of bait; maggots, hemp and corn - then sat back and began our waiting game...

About two hours later a screaming alarm announced my first run, a tench that shed the hook about half way towards me.

A run half an hour later and after a careful fight my prize was in the net, a beautiful tench of 6lb 5oz, a PB by 1oz - I'll take it!

As the light faded I connected with 5 or 6 more tench and lost all but one of them - there is work to be done on my rig! The tench I landed went 6lb 5oz - very different shaped fish but same weight.

Darkness fell and with the bait topped up and just the odd eel beep here and there on the alarms, about midnight I left James to it and headed off to get some sleep.

By 5am I was back, the bait was topped up and the traps were set - we waited for the sunrise - this was why we were here...

To cut a long story short; one missed run and one lost fish - they just weren't feeding. James was having no luck either so at 4pm, after 23 hours, we called it quits and headed back to London.

I think the weather conditions were against us, but I'm happy with a new PB (twice), my first fish for the Blogger's Challenge. And we'll be back for the eight pounder in the summer...