Tuesday 31 August 2021

Butterflies 2021

Feels like summer is fading away - nearly pike time! Over the summer I managed to add 16 more species to my (side quest) butterfly photo collection - total now 44 of 59. Plus I improved on 25 of the 28 photos from last year - the growing collection is here.

Orange Tip (2021) Clouded Yellow (2021)

Saturday 28 August 2021

Out For Trout

I tend to neglect the local(ish) chalk stream - then when winter rolls around I think 'must fish it next season' - not this year - a break from the barbel and an afternoon targeting wild brown trout...

I was in two minds; stick 'n' pin or fly gear - but it's really overgrown and I didn't fancy an afternoon climbing trees to retrieve my fly - the pin it was. As it happens I did end up wading out to rescue a float!

The stream is gin-clear, the deep bits are less than a foot 'deep' and you can jump across it - I did - I jumped across to prove you can jump across - no half measures on this blog!

The trout are surprisingly difficult to spot in the shallow water, using any bit of weed or overhanging trees for cover. And often they see you long before you've seen them - once they've spotted you they bolt!

But despite spooking more than I fished for, about a dozen hard fighting trout to about 4lb found the net - the biggest jumping up a waterfall mid-fight! Brilliant afternoon in the sunshine!

Thursday 26 August 2021

Late Summer Gold

Half the battle is spotting the bigger barbel - this is one I spotted on the last trip to the river - and I convinced her to take a bait today. At 7lb 3oz it's a step in the right direction - still searching for a double!

Sunday 22 August 2021

Quick Barbel Report (124)

Still on splasher patrol and still up to my neck in nettles - but have spotted a couple of bigger barbel... Next targets...

Thursday 19 August 2021

Stick Rod Rest

Bit of ledgering - sitting still for a change - stick for a rod rest. Two swims, 2 hours each - two chub, 2 barbel - great stuff!

Sunday 15 August 2021

Evening On The Itchen

A change of scenery. And target species! I fancied trying to track down a big summer Itchen roach. The swim was a shallow gravel run with plenty of weed for cover and I could see fish ghosting in and out. Staying put, plenty of bait and a slow-rolled piece of bread flake on the quiver tip. Would these spooky fish want to play?

Two roach, the best going 1lb 13oz...

The other going 1lb 5oz...

Five bream, two chub...

And my first Itchen gudgeon... Bonus!

Friday 13 August 2021

The Search For Barney

River is low and gin-clear, so with my kit and net on my back - armed with polaroids - I set out to explore the 2 mile stretch that produced six doubles last season - they've got to be in there somewhere! Peeking in any little gap and even climbing trees for a better view they remained hidden - I'll find them!

I found several shoals of small barbel on a long shallow run and set about getting them feeding confidently on the surface - I took a video of them competing for the floating crust - I'll upload at some point. Starting downstream I worked my way up, catching one without spooking the next - landing ten of the little beauties!

Before walking home (still walking) I decided to sit it out for an hour - see if there was something I'd missed. Classic barbel bite and I was surprised to find myself connected to a monster eel - second one on bread this season. Was sure it was a three - but still a fantastic new PB of 2lb 12oz - impossible to hold for a selfie!

Friday 6 August 2021

Adventures Of Netman

No kit (or ticket) - today I was going to be... Netman...

Saw hundreds of Chalk Hill Blues - only ever seen one before...

Distracted by butterflies I very, very nearly stepped on an Adder...

Found thirty-five quid blowing across the field...

Saw three Silver-Spotted Skippers - species 43...

Oh, and netted this Mole beauty for James... Job done.

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Bugs & Beasts 8

Last batch of the year - Painted Lady against the summer sky.

A freshly minted Small Copper - perfect.

Green-Vained White - one of 4 similar looking white butterflies.

Common Blue and friends.

Small Heath - one of my favourite photos this summer.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Lucky 13

I might not be catching big barbel but I'm catching lots of them - so I grabbed a loaf of bread and headed to the river - see if I could wrap up the 100 Barbel Challenge in July.

And 13 barbel found the net, mostly to floating crust. Season total: 104 barbel - cracked it! Time to target something else - although I did spot a double - I'll be back for her!