Saturday, 15 December 2012

Is this Jeff?

Just found this picture of Jeff Hatt - gentleman angler - trying for his beloved roach on the Cov canal. Or is it?

Actually I've "borowed" it from Caught by the River it's Frank Finn. C by t River is a good read.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

It Could Become a Habit

After a suggestion from a fellow angler, I tried a new (for me) commercial pool where I was assured there were some nice perch and roach to be had. No surprise there then when we are told that the carp pools are the new Holy Grail for those species ignored and despised by the camouflaged tent-dwellers! (Have to admit I do like catching carp but definitely don't tent dwell!)
Having had a couple of days when I was thwarted by frozen locks etc last week, I was determined to give it a go. So I set off to this Oxfordshire hamlet to check things out.
Arriving at the opening time of 8 am - luckily not 7 as I was told by my confidant, I wouldn't have fancied sitting outside for an hour! - I saw a peaceful, misty scene.
For the first couple of hours I concentrated on the perch, using a nice old-school perch bobber (except it was plastic). I fed chopped worm and maggots with prawn on the hook but failed to even get any interest. It was bloody cold.

Just before midday, having had the whole place to myself, 2 well-known piscators arrived. I can only give their christian names, Phil and Merv, under pain of death.

The feeding of maggots gave away some swirls so I knew there were some fish in the swim so I changed over to a goose quill waggler and double maggot. Immediately I started to get roach. Everything from 6 oz to 1 1/2 lbs. Almost all were fin perfect.
There was only one exception which had a less than perfect mouth as well as a couple of blemishes on one flank.
Having set my stall initially for one of the 3lb plus perch and failed miserably, (I was not alone) I was pleased to finish with a nice bag of lovely redfins caught on traditional gear, a "Wotten" quill and a pin. The day had wavered between cold with a north westerly wind to fairly calm and blue skies.

 The gear I used, Wotten quill waggler, 15' rod and a Sheffield pin. 3.2lbs line.
 A modern take on a perch bobber, a 12' float rod and a Fox 4000. 6lbs line.


Like I said, this might be a habit I could get into!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Return to Bishops 14.11.12

Another bash at the pike in Bishops Bowl was planned and eventually I made it on Wednesday. The drive up was misty and drizzly, not as bad as my last visit with Martin but I was glad my brolly was in the car. Unfortunately Sean, the owner, was having a lay-in so an early bacon bap was not possible. I had to make do with a scotch egg, not quite the same!
By the time I'd set up the mist was starting to clear and I was faced with a flat calm surface.

It's funny but I've rarely seen any fish topping, the exception being about 1 hour before dark. There weren't any tufties either so it was difficult to spot any fry or silvers which may tempt the pike.
Having chatted to a couple of regulars, I fished both rods fairly close in to the reeds.
One had a sardine and the other a mackerel, both courtesy of Mr Morrison, popped up with some new Greys "Fledger Booms". It didn't take long for the left hand rod with the sardine to develop a steady drop back. As is sometimes the case, a quick tightening up and strike met with thin air but no sardine. At least I knew the fish were there. A couple of hours later the same rod  came to life, this time a "proper" run. After only a couple of minutes a nice 12lb 4oz pike lay in the net.
It was a similar length th the one I had a week ago but this time it had obviously had a good munch as it's belly definately felt full!
The popped up approach seemed to be correct as, every time I wound in, the bait and trace were clear of weed whereas the boom and weight were covered in it. The only interest I'd had by mid afternoon was to the left hand sardine rod but eventually something decided that a big lump of mackerel was just the ticket. The right-hand rod was in. This time the pike didn't make double figures, going a shade over 9lbs.

A welcome mug of coffee was called for as the temperature started to drop back into single figures.

By now it was getting progressively darker and colder so a leisurely pack-up was called for.

In retrospect, I was quite pleased with 3 runs and 2 fish for the day. The only other angler on this lake chatted to me on his way out (a brand new Range Rover - so much for angling being a working man's sport!) and admitted he hadn't had a touch. He was fishing further up the lake where Martin and I had started last time.

Friday, 2 November 2012

A Day's Piking at Bishops Bowl

I had a day at Ryton last week as I wanted to check out the new work which had taken place over the last few months.
The new walkway only covers about 100yds (?) which is nice as the rest of the banks have been left natural but this bit gives the less able a safe area to fish from. The newness of the ground behind meant that almost every passing dog- or child-walker stopped for a chat. Still, after a few years of foliage growth the anglers will be a bit more private!
What about the fishing? Best to gloss over that, I'll just say that out of 10 rods fishing, there was only 1 fish, an upper double carp, was caught and that was off a "natural" swim.
I did get to meet some interesting fellow fishermen. Barry The Fly, Paul The Bailiff, Paul The Not Bailiff and Skodaman.

So back to the title of this piece, Bishops Bowl.  Martin and I arranged to meet first thing yesterday. It was a good choice of venues as it's virtually halfway between where we live. Checking on the weather forecasts from Monday onwards, I was pleased to see that the heavy rain expected on Wednesday would clear the Midlands by the early hours of Thursday morning when all good boys would be tucked up in bed. So, leaving Banbury at 7:30, (Martin had phoned to say he couldn't make it until about 8:30), I found the sky grey and overcast but dry. "The remaining clouds just slipping away" I thought.
By the time I pulled into the car park ready for a breakfast roll the heavens had opened and we had a steady, if not torrential, downpour. While waiting for Martin's arrival as well as my BBB - big breakfast bap - several OAPs, or should I say retirees, dribbled into the shop. We all moaned about the weather, voicing the fact that the weather girls from various sites had promised a dry day!  Sean, the owner was very helpful in giving us the latest fish and swim reports and, after Martin had finished his munch, we set off to what we hoped was a prime spot.
By the time we set up the rain had settled into something which, while wetting, threatened to ease off at any minute. Thinking this would be the case, I foolishly decided not to go for the waterproofs but relied on my brolly.
Eventually, after spending too much time out in the open, I realised that my cargo trousers and fleece top were not the best for this weather. Oh, it was still raining!
The first 2 swims we chose didn't produce the goods. The only excitement was when what seemed to be a large carp did a somersault in the rushes right next to Martin. It wasn't interested in his roach or lamprey deadbaits 'though!
A move was called for and, as we had the whole of the lake to ourselves, we upped sticks and moved......2 swims down.
Martin was pretending to be a garden gnome
My swim resembled the worst of the Somme
By now the weather was having fun with us. One moment a downpour, the next sun. Still nothing doing on the pike front.
We'd remarked that there was little evidence of fish life, nothing topping and no fry visible in the margins. Martin noticed also that there were no Grebes to give away pods of bait fish. We were aware, however, that this lake held some very good-sized fish which didn't give themselves up.

By early afternoon the weather gods eventually realised that they were supposed to be providing a dry, sunny but cold day. The swim I was fishing had a huge slab of rock jutting out about 30 feet into the lake and I had a large mackerel placed at the drop-off point in about 3 feet of water. The general depth varied tremendously between 6 and 20 ft.
After a wander about my swim, I had just sat down when the bobbin of the rod with the mackerel gave 2 short rises and then flew up, taking line from the baitruner. After a short fight I netted a nice-looking pike of 9lbs 4oz - not the size we were hoping for, but at last something.
Between us, we had rung the changes on the deadbaits, roach, lamprey, mackerel, smelts and as we'd just had this one fish, and it was already early afternoon, we decided to go over to the other side of the lake for the last few hours. We fished a spot where there were 2 swims separated only by a small tree making it a nice "sociable" position.
Other than 2 small beeps from one of my rods, the day finished quietly. Martin didn't even finish his 2 gallons of milk! See above. So we packed up in the gloaming to a very nice sunset.
Only 1 small fish between us but it had been a pleasant, sociable day with plenty of weather to moan about.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sunny Southwold

Last week we went to take our annual week's break to the lovely seaside town of Southwold. I've been going there since the kids were little, probably about 25 years.

Lately we've rented a lovely flat on the front which looks over the beach from the pier to virtually the end of the town.

The bay window allows Chris to luxuriate in a huge armchair while keeping an eye on me when I'm fishing from the beach.  This has a twofold advantage in that she can catch up on some novels as well as looking out for my hand signals requesting a mug of coffee!

Previously, I'd been beachcasting and had some success with both flatties and bass but as I'd bought a little 8' Savage Gear spinning rod I decided to cut down on the baggage and try for the bass with some lures. With a small stalking bag and the rod it felt like I was merely taking a stroll!

I'd bought some new Dexter Wedges (sounds painful) and some sandeel immitations and planned to do the surf from the beach and the harbour with the sandeels.  As it turned out the weather was so perfect I only fished 2 or 3 times and just went from the beach. As a very occasional sea angler, I believed that you should only fish High Tide when the bass were driving in just a few yards out. However, I was chatting to a local who said he caught at all states of the tide and in fact that very day he'd had 6 bass at Low Tide. That made the times of fishing much easier not being shackled to the actual High Tide.

Over the week I managed a few bass from the beach, 1 of which made a great evening meal.

It actually took the Dexter in the last wave, so about 6 feet from the shore.

The fact that Southwold is really quite a small town meant that after walking the length of the beach, on the way back to the flat I was able to stop off at the local to enjoy a pint of Adnams!

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we've booked for Christmas week.  Mmnnn, beachcasting for cod on Christmas morning!

Friday, 17 August 2012

College Loonies

Like Roger Booth has recently blogged, the carp at College Pool, although small, do not fight the way they're supposed to. I think the biggest I've ever caught there barely reached double figures, but they obviously have watched too many action movies and aspire to join Stallone, Van Damme et al.

I parked yesterday morning at about 7:30 to find no-one else there . Having this luxury, I had a walk around the pool - didn't take long! - and decided to fish the far end near the lillies.

I know from previous experience that you can't afford to be anything but alert when fishing from this peg, but still put up a quiver rod for the thousands of perch, amongst which swam some heavyweights as I found out to my delight last year.

I came "gunned up" ( is that right? I know "under-gunned".) I had my usual carp gear, a 2.75lbs TC rod, 12lbs main line, a Korda Safe Zone leader and 15lbs braid with a size 8 strong hook. A little on the heavy side? Not when you're fishing here for these loonies. Bait was double 20mm boilie inside a solid bag. I scattered a few freebie boiles in and around the lillies and overhanging tree - no need for a catapult!

Initially, I started catching perch on the quiver, in fact they were coming one a chuck. Nothing of any size; up to 3/4 lb. I was using a maggot feeder with 2 red maggots on the hook and changed to prawn to try to tempt the bigger fish. No chance. Swinging in 4 " perch with the prawn literally filling their mouths reminded me of their voracity (greedy buggers actually).

It didn't take long for the carp to start showing an interest. No twitches, no lifting of the line, just wham-bam-thank-you-mam. The first one caught me out and by the time I'd grabbed the rod it had me in the middle of the lillies. Knowing I had some strong stuff on I tried a tug of war. No result, for me at least. Then I slackened off and watched the line for a few minutes. Nothing. I went back to strong arm tactics and only managed a lilly pad.

 That was it, war!

I concentrated on the carp and let the perch swim rest.  The next time the reel spun I was on it in a second or so. Leaning into the fish, I was amazed at the bend in the rod.  Surely a high double? No, a feisty 8lb on the nose mirror.

Not the rod I was using, just like the juxtaposition of centre pin, goose quill and fish.

A very enjoyable day finished with 5 carp hooked, 3 landed and at least 50 perch. Another result was that just as I reached the car, the heavens opened. So I remained dry, well dryish.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Car Boot Gems

Not the "got any jewellery, mobile phones?" etc chat from the dealers who descend on the poor booters even before the engines are turned off, rather 2 nice rods from days gone by.

I've only once had the chance to buy a real gem, a Hardy split cane rod which needed some attention at £80, but I turned it down, foolishly as I now know. But this weekend saw us going to a couple of our regular car boots in the area. I found a lovely cane and split cane 10' rod in fabulous condition. Not made by any well-known firm, in fact it doesn't have any markings but just the quality and feel made me buy it after a small negotiation!

The other is a 13' hollow glass rod, again in great condition made by Norco of Fordingbridge and is an "Interceptor" by Howard Humphrey. He was part of Ivan Marks's "Likely Lads" match team in the 1970s and was a brand manager for Lanes Tackle.

So I can't wait to try these 2 rods out, bought for a total of £11, maybe on my local bit of the Oxford canal.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

10th August Middle Severn

I'd promised myself a trip to one of the BAA's stretches on the middle or lower Severn and finally made the effort on Friday. I had a reasonably early start and pulled up in the car park around 7:30 to find not a soul in site. Happy days!

This stretch is fairly straight and I chose a swim which had an overhanging tree to my left, downstream, with a clear bit of water directly in front and upstream.

Knowing that this part of the river holds some good-sized bream and also the possibility of a large barbel,  I set up a large halibut pre-drilled pellet under the tree and a cage feeder with smaller soft pellets on a quiver rod. This was cast slightly upstream into the main channel.

I soon had the bream interested and started to catch them up to 6 - 7 lbs.

The best went 8lbs 3oz.

I was pleasantly surprised to pick up the odd roach, which found double 8mm soft pellets to their liking! Mostly they were in the 1/2 - 3/4lb range but the best went a very nice 1lbs 7oz.

I'm afraid despite ringing the changes of bait and hooklength the barbel didn't show. I went from 3' mono to 6" braid, hook sizes from 12 to 8, pellet to meat to boilie, all to no avail. Still I enjoyed the wildlife between bream/roach as well as 6 hang gliders doing their crazy stuff god knows how many hundreds of feet above.

There were the usual summer boaters, both holiday-makers in narrowboats as well as a few gin palaces. Most were really sensitive to the angler (me) and when they realised I was there, pulled further out into the river.

However, around lunchtime I heard the chug chug of a narrow boat coming upstream but couldn't see it through the tree to my left. I thought that it must be further away than I thought until suddenly, about 10 ft from my bank appeared the bow with 2 ladies of a certain age enjoying a cuppa. On seeing me one shrieked back to the Captain, "Look out, there's someone here!". I sunk both rod tips in speed which Usain Bolt would have been proud of, and watched in amazement as the craft continued its parallel course, not turning one iota until Captain Pugwash casually said, "We'll only be 15 minutes, we're just stopping for a bite". With that he churned the water and proceeded to moor no more than a few yards upstream from me.

A reasonable guess would have been that within several miles there were no other fishermen. So why here? Good as his word, after 20 minutes or so he cast off and, instead of continuing up the river, he swung the boat around and went back to wherever he came from. Hopefully only to fall in some mammoth-sized cowpats when disembarking!

Rosinante, I solute you (with 2 fingers!).

I ended up with 8 bream between 6 and 8lbs 3oz and some very nice roach up to 1lbs 7oz. Oh, and a bit of sunburn.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Early Doors at a Thames Jungle and Pimlico

I've had a couple of trips out in the last 2 weeks. The first, to a small stretch of the Thames west of Oxford which is on a Club card I recently bought. Although it takes only 30 minutes to drive to the track leading down to the river, it's another 15 minutes negotiating the rutted track and field to get to the water. 2 gates later, one of which is padlocked, I saw what lay ahead of me.

Driving down to the bank I was careful not to lose the exhaust system. Having parked, I decided to walk the stretch and managed to get soaking wet struggling through the knee-high grasses and weeds.

I must remember that at 5 o'clock in the morning everything is saturated despite any fine weather forecast!

Along the whole length, about 1.5 miles, there were only 3 or 4 "easy" swims. Everything else entailed major gardening and ground work to reach the river.  I settled in a swim which was just below a bend, having a quick walking pace flow.

I didn't connect with any of the barbel for which I was hoping, but did manage several smallish chub up to about 2.5 lbs.  As the holiday makers started their breakfasts and decided to move their boats I decided to head off home. Particularly as at about 9 o'clock this one got confused and thought he was at Silverstone with Lewis et al. Good job I had packed away most of my stuff otherwise sitting on the edge I would only have got soaked again.

So yesterday I had another early (for me) start - 5 am - and went down the the small lake where I caught my PB carp a few weeks ago. This entails a bit of a walk, although nothing compared with Martin's new water. I think he said it's a 35 mile walk, or was it 35 mins?

Although there were 3 anglers there before me, I had most of the main lake to choose from. and fished a swim opposite the one I fished earlier. I chose this because I'd noticed that the fish were showing on the surface there rather than on my side of the lake.

 Good job my boots are waterproof
You may see the gloopy mud which went up to my ankles.

As it was early and I couldn't see any activity up in the water, I started with 2 bottom baits, one under a tree to my left and the other a little way out. It was from the "tree" rod where the action came and 3 nicely scaled mirrors just making doubles came in fairly quick succession.

I'll have to sort out this self-take stuff!

This one had some nasty marks, spawning trophies?

Around 7 ish I started to see some dark shapes cruising just under the surface in the middle of the lake so I got out my floater gear and put away the bottom rods. I'd recently bought a brand new Sonic rod from a lad on eBay for buttons and wanted to try this out. Although it's a 2.75lb TC I'm  impressed with its action. Nice and relatively soft tip, so with a 10lb main line and a 8lb hooklink I had no problem playing fish close in.

I had a further 3 off the top and funnily enough all were commons and all torpedo-shaped. As forecast it started to rain around midday so I packed up having had a most enjoyable 6 or 7 hours fishing.