Thursday 25 June 2020

The Shallows

Anglers like nothing more than a nice deep hole - actually they do - a nice deep hole on a bend! It’s where the fish hang out. But when they’re not at home where are they? Try the weedbeds close by - as long as they have cover and water over their back they seem happy.

A morning freelining meat and bread in the shallows. And some of the places you wouldn’t expect to hold chub and barbel - until one darts out and grabs a bait. Great visual fishing - and four chub to about 4lb and four barbel to 7lb 11oz landed before the heat put them off.


Wednesday 24 June 2020

Bugs & Butterflies 2

Heath Fritillary, rare species for the collection.

Brown Argus.

Red Admiral, freshly minted.

Red Soldier Beetle, even though it’s green!

Fine Ass Babes 2 - the things you see when bug hunting!

Monday 22 June 2020

Opening The Account

Had to check they were still there! Without using public transport it was a walk to the river, a wander about looking for barbel and home again - 13.4 miles! But a few hours on the overgrown waterway and nine barbel found the net - including this brace in consecutive casts (one was resting in the net). Love being back on this little river!


Friday 19 June 2020


Date Fished: 16 June. Opening day and me and James were on the road at 2.30am - heading for a marathon 48 hours floating about in the boat chasing rudd. Boat was pumped up, plans made, gear sorted and a ton of bread for bait loaded - 5am - let the season begin...

Shhhhhhhhhh... Air rushing out of the side of the boat - crap - and despite our best efforts to patch it the boat was beyond bank-side repair. A bit (lot) of swearing before packing it up and a hastily Plan B was put in motion - an underprepared 12 hour walk looking for rudd.

Shorts and Cons are ideal in the boat - not so good for wading about in thistles and nettles - but we put the miles in. Floating bits of bread down the river, looking out for signs of big rudd hitting them. And late morning James hit his target - but I’ll leave that story for his blog.

I struggled to find a big rudd; landing 5 small ones, a bream and a bream/rudd hybrid (my first one). But late afternoon I saw the swirl I was searching for - my next cast was nailed by a mint 1lb 14oz rudd - a new PB and getting close to my target weight - great season opener!

With the wind picking up and a big thunderstorm either side of us - just after 7pm we made a break for the car. We chucked the gear in just as the heavens opened - nick of time! Not the planned trip, but a big rudd each was a cracking result - we’ll be back with the boat...

Hard work but a 1lb 14oz new PB - stunning!

Not the target but a bream put a welcome bend in the rod.

My first bream/rudd hybrid.

Monday 15 June 2020

Bugs & Butterflies 1

Meadow Brown, nearly impossible to photograph!

Common Blue, bit ragged but beautiful.

Small Tortoiseshell.

Small Skipper?

Ringlet. Nearly fishing time...

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Hello Kitty

Date fished: 30/31 May (24 hours). Arriving about 5pm me, James & Richard found ourselves in a shallow bay with the wind pushing into it - and catfish showing themselves - everywhere! I couldn’t set the gear up quickly enough - seriously - there must be an easier way to thread rig tube onto the line - it took me about half an hour!!

Simple running ledger, 20lb Berkley Big Game straight through to a size 4 barbless hook, and double donkey choaker halibut pellets on a long hair rig. The other guys using similar setups. A healthy amount of free samples and PVA bags of pellets to create a bed of bait. Two rods, bite alarms and sit back and wait... But not for long...

Action was almost instant - my alarm screamed and I was locked in battle - eventually my first cat was in the net, a 24lb 4oz beast - way to open the account! The action continued across the bay and I landed 6 more before nightfall. Nighttime was strangely quiet, I think we had one cat each, plus I had 3 carp to 18lb 8oz - bonus!

As the sun rose the catfish switched back on. As dawn broke I was back into the cats, adding 14 more throughout the morning and afternoon - and upped my PB three times; 27lb 10oz, 29lb 2oz and I chipped over the magic number with a 30lb 3oz monster - brilliant! So that was 22 catfish and serious arm ache, what a 24 hours!!

My Total: 22x catfish (429lb 14oz) | 13x 20lb+ | 1x 30lb+ (30lb 3oz)

But this isn’t just about me, I was part of a team. A team that nearly always had a fish on the hook all the daylight hours we fished. We had numerous double hook ups and a couple of triple hook ups. Being each others net man and photographer - it was so hectic that many fish went back unphotographed - even twenties! (We weighed everything).

I had the most cats but James & Richard found some bigger fish - Richard landing 2 thirties and James a remarkable 6 over the magic number. A cracking trip, topped by a new PB each - it was going to be a one off - but with fishing like that we’ll hopefully be back soon... Once we have recovered... They don’t half fight!

Combined Total: 50x catfish (1073lb 13oz) | 37x 20lb+ | 9x 30lb+

Richard’s new PB at 35lb 5oz.

And James’ new PB at 39lb 9oz.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Stag Beetle

I’ve seen the stag beetles in the garden a few times over the past couple of weeks, mostly they arrive when it’s too dark for a decent photo or they are quickly off doing important beetle stuff...

But this one was a proper poser! There was another male in the bush - so this is one half of the standoff taking place on the shed. I took the opportunity for some nice sharp photos - got to love stag beetles!

Thursday 4 June 2020

Escape To The Pond

Date fished: 19 May. With the lockdown rules eased James and I headed to a little farm pond in search of tench - it was great to wet a line after being confined to the garden and a daily dose of exercise - watching the carp in a local pond - very tempting!

An early start, a beautiful day with a pair of osprey overhead, deer visiting the pond and a grass snake hunting the frogs in the margins. And tench! I could see them swimming just under the surface in six foot of water - and even got a few to take bread off the surface.

Slow sinking bread flake did the trick, the tench nailing the bait about 6 inches under the surface, great fun and six hard fighting tench found the net; 6lb 8oz, 6lb 3oz, 6lb 2oz, 6lb 1oz, 5lb 15oz & 5lb 4oz. An absolutely fantastic way to blow the cobwebs off the gear!

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Pre-Season 2020/21

Lockdown: Weird closed season, I had planned to spend some time exploring the canals - but Bat Flu meant staying at home. Fortunately I have a garden, plus some ponds fairly close for a bit of fish-spotting.

Escape to the pond: As soon as lockdown was eased me and James hit a little farm pond after tench - so good to be back on the bank. And six tench to 6lb 8oz was a cracking result! Blog post to follow.

Flight night: The weather was hot. Barbel were spawning in April, carp in early May and I saw my first stag beetle on the 24th May - it’s magical sat in the garden watching the beetles buzzing about!

A Cat 24 Hours: A trip out chasing wels with James & Richard - and conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. A 1000lb+ bag of fish between us, including a 30lb+ PB each - blog post to follow.

Scuppered Plans: I think Covid 19 is still going to interfere with this season, the shark fishing adventure this year has had to be postponed and I think local lockdowns may spoil other plans.

Barbel Challenge 2020: I’m going to continue my barbel challenge, again setting a target of 100 fish. With far less time on the river this season it won’t be easy - but it’s just great to be on the riverbank.

Other Plans: The first river target is a 2lb+ rudd, and I’d like to track down those dace that eluded me last year. Pike will be my winter target - but I’m getting ahead of myself - roll on the sixteenth...