Tuesday 31 July 2018

Hot Chub

It's hot but the chub don’t seem to mind; they are still feeding in the early morning, fight well and go back with a minimum of fuss. Great fun while we’re waiting for the traditional British summer rain!

Surface fished bread is my method of choice at the moment - and it’s devastating - fifteen chub to about 4lb in a couple of hours. Brilliant!

Saturday 28 July 2018


Normally a British heatwave is when we can string two rain-free summer days together, then we quickly complain about the heat, panic buy ice lollies and dig out the shorts before it's all over!

But we really had a heatwave, time feels distorted - was it 6 weeks? Two months? Anyway it's time for some rain. I’ve been avoiding the barbel in the low water. Chub off the top are still game though!

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Koi Quest 1

Koi carp are pretty easy to spot in a gin-clear, shallow little river - as such they get a lot of baits chucked in their direction and have got wise to us anglers. Having hooked and lost two this season, they are not impossible, it was time to try and put one on the bank...

Floating crust was again the method of choice, and I set about wandering the riverbank trying to spot one. I had to force myself to ignore the little common carp as they’d spook the koi if hooked - but I couldn’t resist a couple of beautiful mirror carp!

I did spot a few koi, and got them nibbling the bread, but they wouldn’t commit - I’m going to have to experiment with hair-rigging the crust. As usual, about 8am the carp stopped feeding for the day - I’ll be back to try and tempt a koi soon...

On route home I stopped off at some fast shallow runs for a couple of chub off the surface - they don’t really seem to mind the strong sunlight. And it’s great to get them competing and watch them bow wave across the river and smash the bread crust!

Saturday 21 July 2018

Small River Carp 2

For the sake of the species hunt I’m going to count common and mirror carp as two species - I have to, there’s not many more species in there. Perhaps there’s also a leather, but I haven’t seen one.

The problem with bait ‘n’ wait is the commons greatly outnumber the mirror carp, it would be a numbers game - besides, stalking individual fish on floating bread crust is much more fun!

First up I spotted a koi (another species I need) and freelined a bit of bread crust down to him, I didn’t however spot the little common with him that nailed the bait - still a carp on the bank is a great start!

I located the koi and it took about an hour to convince him to take a bait - cracking fight but as he went over the net the hook pulled - despite a desperate lunge my prize slipped back into the shadows.

Half an hour later I spotted my target, she hit the bread with a splash and tried to rip the rod out of my hand. Again the hook pulled at the net - but this time she was a second too late. Species 16!

A beautiful but slightly spawning damaged mirror carp - brilliant! The sun was too high for carp now, but I did manage a chub off the top before heading for home - I’ll be back for that koi...

Friday 20 July 2018

Boilies #08

Koi Riddle:
  • I hooked a koi carp.
  • I played and landed a koi carp.
  • I took a photo of the koi carp.
  • I didn't catch a koi carp.
How I did it:
  • I hooked and lost a koi carp.
  • Went downstream and met an angler who'd hooked a fish and got it snagged, I held his rod while he waded in to free it.
  • I tried to hold it in the water while he waded back, but feared I'd loose his fish and landed it (it was another koi).
  • I took a photo of him holding it on his phone.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Dental Spam

I arrived a few minutes early to the dentist, a double appointment, not something I was looking forward to. Instead of sitting in the waiting room I thought I’d pop next door and buy a tin of Spam - I’d look forward to doing a bit of barbel fishing afterwards.

Not paying 5p for a bag, and only wearing shorts and a t-shirt I had nowhere to put it. So left it on the side in the surgery, looking over my dental appointment like a weird lucky mascot - perhaps they thought I was going to test my teeth on my way home!

While the dentist hammered, sawed and drilled away I planned my trip, and by the end I’d landed 10 barbel in my mind. Home, grabbed the kit and on the riverbank it didn’t go exactly to plan - but two barbel - both about 5lb - that’ll do nicely!

Saturday 14 July 2018

Small River Carp

Time to try and add a carp or two to my species hunt, and I’m initially targeting a slow, wide but still shallow section where I’ve caught carp before. Two rods and the first dawn raid.

Normally my go-to bait would be corn, but I know these fish get targeted and have probably developed a taste for boilies. Scopex & squid was my flavour of choice, bright and they smell lovely.

Great start - a small common carp on my first cast, species 15 on the bank. Next I lost a small mirror carp - cr*p - I need a mirror carp! And finished the short session with a rogue trout! I’ll be back...

Friday 13 July 2018

Boilies #07

Koi Riddle
The following actually happened to me yesterday, it’s a funny old game. All of the following statements are true:
  • I hooked a koi carp.
  • I played and landed a koi carp.
  • I took a photo of the koi carp.
  • I didn't catch a koi carp.
How did I do that?

Answer on the next exciting instalment of Boilies, unless someone works it out and posts it in the comments - I'll say if you get it right.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

One Thousand Posts!

Blogs by there very nature are self-indulgent, and milestone blog posts are the most self-indulgent of them all - blogging about blogging! And for this post I make no apologies...

Yeah, this is post number 1,000! It’s been 10 years since I started blogging my fishing exploits; 4,500+ comments have been added and the site has been viewed more than 500,000 times.

In that time I’ve caught 216 pike including 5 twenties, 568 barbel including 11 doubles, as well as 54 zander, 31 sharks and five goldfish! And I’ve beat all my personal bests (except salmon).

There have been 300+ Jack’s Pike comic strips which went on to be featured in a number of magazines and even an animated short. And spin-off Fluff Chuckers appeared in Total Flyfisher for 5 years.

I’ve met a bunch of interesting people through the blog, some on the riverbank, some by bloggers meeting up. Great fun, and my fishing has improved by sharing knowledge with other keen anglers.

I’ve been back through looking at some older adventures; exploring a new river with Dan, trips back to home turf River Wye, away days with James, shark fishing with Paulos - far too many to list fully.

Perhaps the heyday of blogging has passed, overtaken by Facebook and Instagram where you just see the end result, not the effort. But I prefer reading blogs, and I’m glad you still read mine.

It started as a diary, so I could see what I was doing this time last year or 6 years ago and if nobody reads it, I’ll still blog. But I love the comments and love reading other blogs so long may it continue...

Thanks for reading, and keep blogging!

Saturday 7 July 2018

Small River Fish 4

Flying ants and the stripy green invasion. Stick ‘n’ pin, half a pint of maggots, cheese and beetroot sandwiches and no particular plan - I’m really enjoying this small river species hunt...

First up was a wade about and a dip with the net in a spot that screamed ‘bullhead’ - they were there, in numbers and much bigger than I have previously seen - this is the spot to get one on bait!

And as a bonus I also found some sticklebacks, this one and her pals were also caught in the net, and added to the hunt but hopefully I’ll get one on rod and line while after the bullheads.

On the float it was a real mixed bag; brown trout, roach, chub, dace, minnows, gudgeon and perch. I can no longer call them ‘rare perch’ as I added eleven more today, from three shoals of fish...

I’ve banked 22 perch from the river already this season - compared to 3 perch in the previous eight seasons. I personally welcome the invasion, there is plenty for them to eat - and they’ll only grow!

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Eel Quest 2018

I’m always on the move when I’m fishing, but if I wanted an eel for my Species Hunt I was going to have to bait and wait. Size 12 barbless hook with luncheon meat and rig scaled down to match. I cast out, sat back and so began the waiting game...

A few little knocks and taps, but it was well over an hour before the rod nearly ripped off the rod rests - definitely not an eel. A barbel charged around my swim before finding the net, not my target but you’ve got to love a barbel, popped it on the scales, 6lb 5oz.

I presumed the fight had spooked all the other fish, hopefully just leaving eels to mop up the remaining free samples - so I was surprised when the tip sprang to life within a minute, a 5lb 4oz barbel! Any more? Nope, the tip remained still for another hour or so...

Then the tap-tap-tap of an eel, strike and target spotted as it wriggled about on the surface. Only a bootlace but I used the net just in case - and as it went over the hook pulled. All the fun of catching an eel with none of the hassle of unhooking it - job done!

I was tempted to stay on and try and catch another before I ran out of light, but I’d been in one spot too long. I decided to pack the gear up and have a wander - possibly find the next target. And on route bumped into this little beauty - and helped her cross the road!

Monday 2 July 2018

Small River Fish 3

Paths retrodden and Miller Time. Frustrating little fish, bullheads, I was watching them watch my bait. Fishing in 6 inches of gin clear water while the dog walkers passed thinking what on Earth is that full grown man doing? Surely he can see there’s no fish there.

Size 22 hook to 2lb line and they were outsmarting me. My species invented the airplane, the internet and the crinkle cut chip - I’ll get you! An hour or so later I went in after them, still took a few attempts but I conned two into the net at the same time - got ya!

See Mr. Fish; we didn’t invent the fluffy dice or string made out of cheese without a few ideas! Seriously I didn’t think it would be this difficult - but a beautiful little dinosaur on the scorecard. Yeah netting them counts, they don’t seem to eat anything!!

Back to the stick ‘n’ pin I had 3 little roach, a load of chublets...

Two gudgeon, two more rudd and about a dozen minnows...

And my old pal the goldfish! Despite trying to avoid him!!

Below is a list of possible target species divided into three sections; common, caught before and not caught but I have seen in the river before this season started. And I’ve ticked off the ones I’ve already added to the hunt, including 3 new species.

Common   Caught Before   Seen Before  
Barbel Carp Common   Bream  
Chub Carp Ghost   Bullhead
Dace Carp Koi   Goldfish
Eel   Carp Mirror   Pike  
Gudgeon Goldfish Brown   Rudd
Minnow Perch Salmon  
Roach Stickleback   Tench  
Trout Brown Stone Loach   Trout Sea  

Edit: Forgot Choach ✓