Monday 31 August 2020

Butterflies 2020

Common Blue (Closed Wing)
Well I haven't photographed any new species of butterfly for over a month - and autumn is very much in the air - I think this is the full collection for the summer of 2020. A total of 28 species - something I'll try and beat next year. Scroll over for species, click for big.

Meadow Brown Common Blue
Small Tortoiseshell Small Skipper
Ringlet Heath Fritillary
Brown Argus Red Admiral
Marbled White Dark Green Fritillary
Speckled Wood Granville Fritillary
Comma Peacock Butterfly
Large Skipper Green-Vained White
Gatekeeper Dingy Skipper
Small White Brimstone
Holly Blue Large White
Small Blue Silver-Washed Fritillary
Small Copper Chalk Hill Blue
Small Heath Essex Skipper

Saturday 29 August 2020

Dirty Water Chub

Once they reach around four pounds the chub on the local river become very spooky - they've been around the block a few times! You can con them into taking a bait but it's difficult. I make a mental note when I spot a decent chub - then if it rains and the water colours up I go back to see if they're still there with dirty water confidence.

I'd seen a few big chub recently while targeting barbel - and after the heavy rain last night they might want to play. Arriving at the river the water was up and dirty - perfect! Using bread I wasn't surprised my first 2 chub turned out to be barbel - probably beating them to the bait. But I'd spotted a big chub a couple of days ago just downstream.

I crept in and a chub first cast - about 3lb - right species, but not the one I was after. A brief wander about and I was back - I hit a fish, it pulled back and all it wanted to do was get in the snags - that's a big chub! Safely in the net she went 5lb 13oz - result! And just enough time for one more barbel before the rain pushed me off the river.


Thursday 27 August 2020

Quick Barbel Report (68)

Five barbel added to the challenge to about 7½lb (forgot the scales). And a reccy since the storm and subsequent flood over the weekend - trees down, new snags & the barbel are where they’re normally not.

Quick barbel report (68) additional: As I returned one of the barbel a nettle just brushed my ear - bloody hell that stings! Just when you think you're getting immune to them - you’re absolutely not!!


Tuesday 25 August 2020

Deflated Part 2

After the season opener chasing rudd on The Fens was cut short with a punctured boat followed by a massive storm James and myself have looked forward to a return visit. We had planned on a trip within a couple of weeks - as it turned out it was over 2 months before we were going to attempt another 48 hours fishing here...

Who ordered the gale force winds? After a 3am start, a long drive (and breakfast) we were on the water in the repaired boat. The water was cold and conditions difficult - finding a few spots out of the wind we only managed to tempt a handful of small fish. And a storm just after lunch pushed us off the water - time to try our luck on land...

The wind got stronger! Casting became difficult and although we spotted a couple of decent size rudd on our travels it soon became clear they didn't want to play. Plenty of small fish - but not what we were here for. Long before the sun was setting the pub was calling - and weirdly - that doesn't happen often these days...

The weather conditions would be the same the next day - and spending the night on the riverbank lost it's appeal! Sixteen hours into our 48 hour session we called it quits! That's it for the rudd this season - can’t really complain - new PB last trip - we'll be back next year. Fenland pike and zander - see you in a couple of months!

Friday 21 August 2020

The Bicycle Incident

Polaroids? Check! Decent sized hooks? Check! With fresh water in the river - I hoped the barbel were on the feed. And I was soon into fish; a chub, an eel and eleven barbel found the net - no lost fish today!

I spotted my first big barbel of the summer between two weed beds and soon conned her into taking a bait - my first double of the season at 10lb 3oz - delighted! Nearly got run over taking the photo though!


Sunday 16 August 2020

Fail To Prepare...

Polaroids. Arriving at the river I reached on top of my hat, where my polaroids live - they weren't there. The most important item when fishing for small stream barbel is a pair of polaroids - without being able to spot fish you could be fishing a long way from them!!

Hooks. I was sure I had a pack of size 4, wide gauge, barbless hooks in my bag - nope! I'd been up late watching the snooker the night before - and thought I'll just chuck the gear in the bag in the morning - mistake - biggest hooks I had were size 10. Fail to prepare...

Prepare to fail! It's been too hot to fish for barbel all week, but with a drop in temperature and a storm's worth of fresh water in the river I thought they might be on the munch. And they were - an hour later I'd hooked 4 - and lost them all to hook pulls - very nearly went home!

Adapt. Instead I cut the luncheon meat right down to barely cover the hook - and despite loosing 2 more barbel and landing a dozen or so small chub I could get a better hook hold. Seven barbel landed over the next 3 hours - an absolute result after my poor start.


Sunday 9 August 2020

Pest Control

Four more barbel added to the challenge; about 1lb, 1½lb, 2lb and 3½lb - or as James calls it - pest control! Great news for the future of the river but along with my target of 100 barbel I'd like to bank a few bigger fish - and hopefully a double or two (I managed 5 last season).

I've walked a fair few miles of the river so far this summer and seen loads of barbel - mostly 4lb and under and I haven't seen anything even approaching double figures. Perhaps they are tucked away during the mornings - may have to try an evening session...


Friday 7 August 2020

Jurassic Pike

Reusing the pike skull illustration from the abandoned Hell's Anglers t-shirts, click the designs to see the shirts or visit the shop here.

Monday 3 August 2020