Monday, 20 October 2014

A long catch up - Digging into my past

Well it has been a while since my last update so this is a fairly long one. During that time I have had a mixture of glass back syndrome and some personal issues, both of which  I wish to touch upon to a certain degree in this particular post.

I would just like to say thanks to the kindly mother who devotes her spare time to ferrying me about and picking me up and sometimes at rather odd hours, it is a fact that a lot of my fishing would not be possible without her assistance, she also takes her time to involve herself with my fishing directly, chatting about venues and much more, I never mention it to you enough but I am forever indebted to you and also to dad for kindling my interest in angling as a child.

The back has mended somewhat though and that was originally caused by falling down the stairs at home, partly my fault for leaving one of my hats tucked in the banister rail which then fell onto said stairs and took me on a mini adventure as half of me surfed down them, an amusing but painful sight. I thought nothing of it the following evening, just a little ache and twinge, so decided I was still fair game to head off fishing. After getting to my swim I was using my chair as a makeshift zimmer frame and I was feeling in pretty poor shape, shooting pain running into the lumber and down my left thigh, this was only alleviated by pushing back hard against my seat and leaning to my right, thoughts of how I was going to make it back were running through my head, thankfully I had brought some diclofenac tablets along with me and these did help alleviate the pain if not the problem.

This particular stretch of the river was intimate with some very nice features, sunken bushes and beautiful gravel runs and channels, spots where folding nettles to one side is more than ample to poke a rod through.

After a light amount of bait dropper work a single rod was lowered next to a marginal tree, a nice opening in the weed beds and a slight variance in depth, deeper but not by a lot, perhaps by an extra 12 inches when compared to other areas in the same swim. It looked the perfect spot for fish to either be sat under or patrol along and stop for a snack.

By now evening had faded to night and owls were calling out in earnest, every so often a pipistrelle  would dance in front of me, fluttering to and throw, thankfully picking up any mosquitoes that might have been contemplating feeding on me instead.

There was no real indication of the rather spirited 5lb barbus that sped off with my bait, just an all out bite and a tenacious scrap.

It was nice to see a younger fish as that is not usually the case on some areas of the Loddon that I fish, the norm being high singles and doubles. A couple of hours later and another feisty friend of a similar size joined this fish.

Fighting fit 5.4

This was giving me some food for thought, why was it this particular area seemed to have a larger populace of smaller/younger fish. Less predation? Perhaps a better habitat and spawning areas than on other reaches? Perhaps more stocking had taken place along this reach than on others? I am not sure on the latter and do plan on doing some research into this.

I was happy, but the way home, though short was arduous and in hindsight I should have never made this trip as it botched my back good and proper, ruining a trip that I had offered a good friend (Tom) the following weekend.

What followed was days of repeated hot water bottles, Ibuleve back rubs (thanks to mum and dad) and painkillers. The last time I had my back go badly was lifting a large computer monitor (crt) many years ago and that left me bed ridden,  my mind was swinging back and forth to that moment and I was subconsciously compounding emotion on top of emotion, with thoughts of having let a friend down, along with being an idiot for falling down the stairs in the first place.

After what felt like too long I began feeling better, certainly not like a spring chicken but better. I decided to have a rummage about in my rucksack and in an attempt to reduce any weight, although in fairness I think the weight needs to come off said person and not rucksack.

As my back continued getting better I opted for a couple of late evening sessions. I found myself heading to an area that I was more unfamiliar with, but one that had a rather enticing look about it, fallen trees and reed lined margins, ideal for a one rod poke, the two swims I had in mind were rather hit and hold and would prove interesting should I connect with any of the residents.

A few bait droppers of seed were lowered into place upstream in both swims, along with a miniscule  amount of broken boilie, I decided to start off with a thick set boilie paste only, so as to give off a fresh scent trail.

The night was clear, stars twinkling and aside from the bark of deer which penetrated the darkness all was calm. An hour or more had passed when I had the first indication of fish in the swim, the rod tip giving a rather fidgety nudge, followed by a pluck. The bite was most definitely more akin to a chevin.

Another thud and jerk followed, I struck, the fish bolted for the safety of a nearby weed raft, it was indeed a chub and a well proportioned one at that, broad and in rather pristine condition.

A brassy chevin (5.2)

I gave the spot another hour but started to receive some rather unwanted attention from the cray twins, the rod tip tightening up solidly as they played about with my bait, on winding in I applied a size 8 boot to the mini lobster that was holding firmly to the hook link and decided that a move to another swim was in order.

On moving to the next swim the rod was not in the water for long when the tip sprung round and I brought in probably one of the largest crayfish I have seen, one of its claws the width of one and a half of my thumbs, we eyed each other up for a second, thoughts of a boiling saucepan, some salt and side salad did spring to mind.

A change to boilie was made, two more casts preceded another two crayfish of similar size, a mental note was made to stop kidding myself that there would be no more after each cast to this undercut bank so I relocated to the main channel and a small opening in the streamer weed, by now pockets of mist were rolling in across the fields at regular intervals, enveloping river and angler, the only light coming from my watch as I checked it furtively, time was ticking down and with it the sullen feeling of having to leave the river was slowly but surely setting in.

My rod tip nudged slightly before arching round, this time it was evident that it was no crayfish as a welcome scrapper (4.9) took me on a short and energetic trip through the weedy channels.

Perfection in miniature

I headed off home happy in the knowledge that this new area had produced a couple of very healthy looking fish.

The next few days thoughts about heading back down the river were interspersed with the trip I had planned with Tom and what area of the river we should head to on the day.

The following evening and at the offer of a lift to one of my venues I decided to head out, not reaching my chosen location until darkness had started setting in, a swim which had garnered my interest in the past and looked like it could indeed be fruitful, not so much dense weed beds here, but enough adjacent features to suggest that fish would travel through this area, however due to the lack of rainfall the water was low and very clear, the marginal gravel gullies clearly visible with my headlight as were the crayfish and minnows.

A light underarm cast was made toward a gully on the opposite bank, small weight and pva mesh creating a light ripple in the moonlight, it was a mild night with a light amount cloud cover, the only sound that of mice trying their best to get to my rucksack via the undergrowth, it was a strange night in that respect as there was very little owl activity despite conditions looking perfect for their hunting sorties.

At about 10pm the crunch of feet nearby told me that there was another solitary angler seeking a fish or two, their headlight dwindling off into the distance as they headed back downstream, it was not long after this that the rod thudded round, shunting forward in the rest, I was soon connected to a very lively fish that ploughed off upstream as it tried putting the reeds on the opposite bank to good use. Once I slipped the net under it I could see that it was in cracking condition with a large paddle, vivid colouration and fighting fit.

8lb with a rather mean paddle

It was a very pleasant way to commence the trip and I would have to say this has to be one of the most immaculate barbel I have had the pleasure of catching.

A quick cast and the rod was back in position, about half an hour later and I could hear movement on the opposite bank, my first thought was a mink but this animal didn't seem quite as agile, the far bank foliage rustling as it seemed to tumble headfirst through it, followed by the odd gruff sound, all became evident when my headlight shone on a badgers head which was poking through the stinging nettles, I don't think it was overly impressed to see me, making a disgruntled sound it ran off in that rough and ready style that only badgers seem to have.

By now I had rummaged about in my bag and found a pack of choc orange digestives, as I set about tucking into one or five of them the rod tip shook violently, seemingly a tad too heavy handed to be a crayfish.

The second bite was equally cagey with just the one sharp tap, this fish building up confidence to a more aggressive take which followed ten minutes later, the rod wrapping round to the right, fish heading down the gravel gully for the safety of the bushes upstream, some side pressure was applied,I heard it break the surface, it sounded and felt a reasonable fish, as I drew it closer to the bank it decided to play possum, looking well and truly ready for the net, this was not to be the case though as it sped off downstream, line steadily ticking off the drag.

After what was a very good scrap I had what looked a nice double in the net and the scales did not disagree settling on 11.12.

This was followed not long after by a perfect little barbel over 2lb which in hindsight I should have taken a picture of, given that it is the smallest I have seen in recent years on this waterway.

On returning home I chatted to Tom about the following days fishing and had high hopes for him to bag his first barbel from this river and maybe first double.

On meeting Tom in the club car park it was evident that he was rather excited to wet a line on a new river and his company is always very congenial, those that know me will be perhaps be aware that I don't have a great deal of friends, those that I do have are mainly inside the fishing community and Tom and I have grown a great deal as friends, in the past we have not always seen eye to eye with certain things, but we have worked through those moments and also shared some amusing trips together, unassuming and enjoyable to fish with, it is nice to be able to call him a good friend.

We made our way slowly past swims, stopping frequently to draw breathe and for me to share some information regarding certain spots with him, confidence was high and conditions looked good, nice cloud cover and very still, even if the river was a tad low and clear. We eventually stopped at an area I felt would offer a good chance of a fish to either of us.

Tom tackling up

We opted to fish a single rod each so as to not pressure the area too much, the day past by fairly uneventfully with only one sharp bite coming to Tom and I did think this was going to develop into something a bit more convincing but alas did not,much to my malaise the crayfish were proving to be on fine form, taps and plucks coming at regular intervals as they toyed with my bait.

Evening passed into darkness, it was a calm night, barely a breeze in the air,  just the sound of owls and a rather attention seeking deer barking out its gruff call for the best part of an hour. It was becoming fairly evident that the gentleman's river was going to do what it does best with a Jekyll and Hyde moment, as early morning came and we slowly packed up I mentioned how unlucky we were given the conditions and how fickle the river can be at times, but Tom was not fussed or put off by this and on making our way home he was already chatting about having another trip.

A few days later I had been giving some thought to trying another spot in this general area of the river and I also had other things on my mind, one of those being an appointment to see a psychologist. If I sat here typing this and said it did not play heavily on my mind I would be lying and my mood was a sombre one during this trip, filled with thoughts of what to expect with the upcoming appointment, but the river helped to take the edge off this, as did the reward of a healthy and energetic barbel (6.10)

When the day of the appointment finally arrived I was moody and agitated, it was safe to say that I had worked myself up somewhat and ended up having a bit of meltdown prior to it, as well as acting very negatively toward my father, given that he was trying to be supportive I cannot really forgive myself for doing that, but at the same time I guess I felt rather prickly.

My mother remained present as she was to be there to chat about what I was like as a child through to my adulthood and so on. A lot of the questions that were put to myself and mum were in relation to autism and to help the psychologist gauge it, I will not delve into everything as I find it painful enough typing about it, but at the same time feel that I need to unload some of it in this blog.

Many topics were covered, including how well I socially interacted with other children when I was a toddler, through to primary and secondary school, how many friends I had and such. The amount of friends was probably one of the easier questions to answer, as I could count those on a single finger.
I explained how I never really interacted socially with other children at primary or secondary school finding it all too awkward, the trouble is when you are deemed different to the "norm" you are then picked on more and I spent a lot of my schooldays being bullied, which created an immense loathing for school, especially secondary.

Questions were asked if I would realize that I was boring someone when talking continuously on subjects that I enjoyed such as fishing, I did admit that I would continue chatting on the given subject. My parents are well aware of this, but despite that fact always try to be very accommodating and at the same time remind me when I am harping on a bit too much. I must be rather exasperating and very trying at times.

Other subjects were touched upon such as hearing sensitivity, smell and whether I had a good imagination or not, also how my eye contact was when speaking to people. Whilst eye contact is not  something I have ever been good at, over the years I have come to force myself to maintain it during conversation, although I still find it easier to do so when chatting on subjects that I am familiar with and in surroundings where I am more at ease. Social interaction has never been easy, that isn't to say that I don't enjoy it on my own terms.

Questions were asked if I ever felt depressed. Going into detail about how i generally felt from day to day and what things brought me to a low ebb, sharing this with a person you don't really know from Adam and a person whom you do, yet don't share those parts of your personality and mental state with was not the greatest of feelings.

Many more items were covered in detail which also included any female relationships, this felt awkward and immensely uncomfortable to chat about and admit that I had never had a relationship.I suppose the general thought for a man of my age is that my mum should perhaps see me with my own family or at least in some kind of relationship and I guess this is the shape life would normally take. It is not an easy subject for me to touch upon as I know deep down this affects her, especially as she sees acquaintances and their children growing up and starting families, myself left in stasis.

With regard to this subject, I do have the most uncomfortably realistic dreams, the kind where you might awaken to think it was real and believe you are in a relationship, only for it to become starkly apparent that it was indeed only a dream and it is these that I dislike the most as they cause me a lot of distress.

But do I actually want a soul mate? You know the answer to that is a rather mixed affair, I guess part of me does, but the other part does not feel it right that I should inflict myself upon another person who is more functioning than myself and have a negative impact on them and their lifestyle.

By the end of the appointment I was feeling almost numb and totally spent, it is not everyday you get to rake over the coals from two different perspectives and still find them too hot for comfort.

The more I think about it all, the more I realize what a let down I must really be to mum and dad, I know they had to think long and hard about having a second child and when they did decide to they were bestowed one that didn't cut the mustard, not even half a jar. Such are the ways and weaknesses of genes and how they meld, you might think that easy for me to say, alas if only that were the


For those who came expecting to read a blog solely about fishing and found something a little different by the end of it and might feel that this angler is one card short of a full deck, to hell with you, after all this blog is my party and I'll cry if I want to.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Pastures new - Part 2

After our recent trip I was chomping at the bit to get back down and properly reacquaint myself with some of the carp that I had spotted on a recce after my trip with Tom.

I was set up and wandering the banks by 2pm and it was another scorching July afternoon, in fact I cannot remember such a settled July in a long time.The river was low,crystal clear and it was not long before I spotted a group of three chub skulking under some marginal cover and acting rather apprehensively toward my bait, a quick change of hooklength material was made as I switched to preston powerline (5lb 14oz b/s).

After a quick trundle with the link leger I had picked up a couple of perfectly formed chevin on worm, not monsters but in great condition and no sign of a gatecrashing trout anywhere, although that was soon to change when further downstream I picked up one from underneath an overhanging tree and another from a glide at the end of a bend in the river, both fish scrapping like bucking broncos, combining a mixture of tail walking and lively runs.

I stopped for a bit of respite under a nearby tree, sitting down to rehydrate myself, gosh it was hot and it was slowly getting the better of me. I carried on downstream trying a few likely looking areas where the river slowed and banks were more undercut, crayfish one a chuck were reeled in, the usual  size one might find on the Kennet or Loddon, a size 8 boot was duly applied, I pondered whether to change from lob worm to a more buoyant bait such as bread, but decided to stick with it and try to see if I might be able to find a swim where the crayfish were not so at ease.

A little further along and I found a nice spot, the far margin covered by an overhanging bush, it looked too good to turn down, a few taps were soon followed by a full blooded bite and I was into what felt a better stamp of chub, it was not long before a lively 4lb fish was sat in the net replete with a stunning brassy sheen, it was probably one of the nicest chevin I have caught 

Small river brassy bar

Come evening time the sun was growing long and the call of a Barn Owl could be heard in the field behind me, the setting was perfect, during this time I had been watching the coming and going of a carp along my nearside margins, the odd large swirl giving away its presence.

This is was my chance, a rapid change was made to more beefier tackle (10lb Yo-zuri) and a size 6 hook with two juicey worms were hastily cast just short of the area that this fish was patrolling, after a few subtle plucks the tip swept round, I knew immediately that I was in for a scrap as this fish bow waved off downstream for the safety of a sunken tree, the only option to apply steady pressure and turn it away from its haven of choice.

A dark common broke the surface before powering off into the weed beds again, by now I had the landing net in position and was beginning to develop a slight foam around the mouth caused by thoughts of losing said fish, thankfully after a couple more runs she was wallowing in the net and looked a good double.

A perfectly conditioned common from a small waterway

Weighing 11.9 she was in perfect condition, with a vivid gold meets bronze coloration,I was most overjoyed that she had picked up my bait and after an impromptu video and stills she was swimming off, leaving a very contented angler in her wake.

I carried on fishing till around 10pm, by which time the crayfish had switched on to manic levels and were doing their utmost to annoy me, but I was far too happy to care, it had been a very good afternoons fishing and one where time spent on groundwork had paid dividends in the long run.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Pastures new - Part 1

A change is as good as a rest, or so the saying goes and I must say that whilst barbel fishing has been whispering to me and lurking in my thoughts, I have been enjoying not targeting them during the majority of this season, in fact I have fished the gentleman's river only twice this season and that has made for a rather refreshing change and allowed me the chance to head to a waterway that I only really started fishing thanks to a friend whom has also fallen in love with it.

It shares many features of my local waterways, beauty, intimacy and a resounding feeling of timelessness, in fact the two trips I have made to this particular river have both sped by far too quickly.

After quite a bit of groundwork and google map pondering, Tom and I decided to head to a new area of the river and do a spot of light roving. The day in question was a hot one, blue skies in every direction and pushing 30c, I came prepared with a nice thick fleece and even though I really did not fancy the idea of baking like a pig in blankets it would at least allow both of us access to the more overgrown areas of the river.

It became evident straight away that the trout were going to be very active, almost suicidal in their attempts to save any of the better chub from picking up our baits, mine especially as I had decided to opt for a mixture of link legered lob worm and maggot as my main approach and it was not long before two trout including a tail walking maestro graced my net.

One of many chub bodyguards that were caught

After a few trout and some very apprehensive chub that really were not in a very forthcoming mood we decided to head downstream, the river slowing in pace and once again crystal clear. By now I was overheating to the extent that you could have nicknamed me chitty chitty bang bang, a welcome bottle of liquid refreshment (thanks Tom!) was downed and instantly sweated back out.

Tom suddenly motioned to me to join him, he had spotted a carp laid up in a sunny marginal weed bed and kindly offered me a cast, a quick flick and the link leger was settling just above said fish, its reaction was one of casual disinterest as it decided to drift off downstream and rest in a shadier area.

We decided to stay in this particular spot a tad longer, Tom deciding to try and offer this fish a piece of link legered bread, the next moments were filled with that tension as an angler waits to see what happens next, all of a sudden the river erupted, Tom shouting "yes Mark I've got her!". The fish bolted off downstream before diving into a nearby weed bed, by now I was next to Tom and wondering if this fish had found a bad snag downstream, thankfully this was not the case and with some steady pressure she came free and was soon resting in the net.

I smiled  "feels like a double to me 10 maybe 12lb mate".  Sure enough on the scales she went 10.15 Tom's first river carp and he was clearly overjoyed. Warm comments were aplenty and a hearty pat on the back was given.

A triumphant and elated Tom with his perfectly conditioned  river ghostie

By now the swim had been well and truly disturbed so we made for another area of the river, both of us really wanting to pick a few of the better chub up along here, but alas they were acting rather wary and not wishing to come out from the confines of snags and bank side coverage, I gestured to an area of the river with a nice bit of flotsam, suggesting to Tom that he might chance his arm there with a piece of bread and after a few wary taps he had slipped the net under a healthy chub of 2lb.

Meanwhile I had headed downstream and made a cast to some overhanging trees, the link leger skimming in underneath them, this resulted in a near instant, full blooded bite and what looked a better stamp of chub, but alas resulted in a hook pull and me letting out an anguished cry of "argh noo!".

We moved on and found this area of river to have denser weed growth, it looked perfect for any chub to hold up in such bright conditions and looked worthy of a cast, so one was made to a tiny gap in the weed, my fingers settling on the line, waiting with suspense for any subtle plucks.

Sure enough there was the odd pluck but this was very noncommittal, so I decided to tweak the bait in hope that the extra movement might tempt this weed bed occupant to take a more decisive course of action, it did and the rod tip lurched round violently with fish heading off downstream, this felt like a better chub and after a healthy scrap resting in the net was a nicely formed chevin and more the kind of stamp we were seeking.

A hard earned better stamp of chub (3.4)

After this fish Tom and I decided to stop and have a bite to eat under some most welcome shade, food was shared and swapped as we recounted the days fishing, it certainly had been a varied and enjoyable trip thus far and with a few hours fishing left we were rather looking forward to what we might uncover next.

The river became shallower, in places no more than 18 inches deep, the water gurgling as it caressed the gravel runs, riffles giving way to deeper pools, the kind of features that gives an angler too many options that he might be tempted to cast to each and every one.

I quite fancied one of the deeper pools along here and whilst Tom was upstream unhooking a trout I decided to roll the link leger through and see if anyone was home, pluck pluck came the positive reply, as I set the hook the events that then proceeded were a bit of a blur as a rather powerful fish simply steamed off downstream, my tiny reel purring in despair as I tried to slow said fish down. Sadly it made for the next bend in the river and across some stoney shallows, the inevitable happened hook and line parted, I had a pretty good feeling that I had just lost a carp and conveyed the news to Tom.

As we chatted about it we spotted another carp moving up past his swim, Tom tried a couple of casts toward this fish  but it became fairly obvious that it was not going to be hanging around, instead skulking along the opposite bank before disappearing upstream.

By now evening had come and it found us fishing a slower reach, Tom and I were both thoroughly exhausted but content, we sat together and chatted as I chanced my arm in this slower area of the river.

A subtle tap here and there slowly transformed into a more positive affair, the rod tip swinging round, little did I know that deja vu was about to strike, I was met with a large commotion as the water erupted, followed by fish bow waving downstream, I had little to no chance and little had just about left town! Within a few seconds of the clutch going into overdrive I was left sans hook and a tad gutted to say the least, a mental note was made to come back with the option of some stronger tackle on the next trip, as it was now becoming fairly evident that there was some larger fish lurking in the shadows.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Opening season trip compilation

Just a short video compilation of my first two trips at the beginning of the river season

Sunday, 13 July 2014

When a river smiles

To rove or be static, move and shake as oppose to sit and wait, I considered my options, a change to single rod was made and I decided to head out for the evening and fish a handful of swims hoping to connect with the first barbus of the new season.

The river was alive, the underwater jungle looking fresh and full of life, cabbage patches dotted here and there, juvenile perch playing hide and seek between the dense green folds. I headed to a narrower section of the river, one I fancied but had not fished as much, with good marginal coverage for chub and barbel alike and some deeper gravel runs, perfect for the crayfish to pay my bait too much attention.

It was a glorious evening and I was entertained by deer on the opposite bank bouncing about with their youngsters and two Kingfishers which kept chasing each other up and down the river, one of which stopped in the third swim that I was in and gave me a resounding lesson in catching fish before calling out its success with a shrill chirp and darting back off downstream.

A crayfish with claws like a lobster was all I had to show thus far  but I was sated, at peace with my surroundings and natures theater had put on a splendid show, I could not have asked for more. I decided to mosey on to my final swim, a slower area of the river, a small bait dropper was filled with seed a couple of times and lowered unobtrusively into the margins, thirty minutes later and a whittled down boilie wrapped in paste was lowered into the same spot.

As an angler watches the isotope so his mind can wander a little, I played out various scenarios in my head, how I would play the fish, what snags it might try to make for and many other little things. It was a clear night and by the time the dew began to patter down at regular intervals I had started to wonder if the final roll of the dice may have been just that,it was at this point that he isotope nudged slightly, not a lot but it had moved, I glanced downstream although I am unsure what I expected to see, but in that moment the warmth of hope was kindled and along with it an anglers chance to perhaps dream.

Time passed by, a vixens shriek faded into the distance, the hairs on my neck standing on end as if to acknowledge and salute this lonesome female. The next sound was of the little rod doubling over and clutch trying to keep up, the bite if it could even be called that was savage as the fish steamed off downstream in search of cabbage patches, sure enough she found them and the safety they offered, a steady amount of pressure was applied and slowly but surely it was free again, this time in mid river and heading back upstream.

I knew from the tussle that I was connected to something a bit special and by now I was more or less done in and nervous exhaustion was rapidly taking charge, had this have been intercourse then I would have in all probability climaxed way too soon, leaving a rather frustrated female by my bedside.

Slowly and surely I gained control, finally a broad flank broke the surface and was guided into the waiting net, I peered inside and jabbered something that was barely recognizable as a language, by now I had been reduced to a state of devolution and neanderthal man was beckoning, I could have honestly just pointed into the net in the dark, started muttering and painting on the nearby trees to describe the fish, as try as I might words were not being formed.

I sat down and recovered somewhat before weighing this fighting fit barbus, the scales settled on 15lb a new personal best, the moment was a surreal one and watching her disappear back into the river is a sight I shall not forget.

Monday, 7 July 2014

A nomadic puzzle

My first trip of the new season on the Blackwater had got me wondering about the carp, resident and the  freshly adopted escapees, last season I had caught a couple of them whilst link legering (both commons) and during the close it had been smouldering away on my minds back burner about targeting them.

So on my second trip I decided to take a couple of very compact carp rods along with my feeder rod and link leger setup, if truth be known I planned to fish most of the afternoon on link leger and switch to the beefier tackle into darkness.

It was another pleasantly warm summer day and the fish were very forthcoming on the link leger setup,vividly marked perch and handsome chain mail, adorned chub falling to worm over maggot and casters.


Midway through the trip at around 6pm a wide, bullish looking head appeared in front of my near margin, a common carp no less and proceeded to paddle by like flipper the dolphin, head right out up to its gill covers, before nonchalantly slipping back under the surface film. It was almost as if it was checking that the coast was clear, it is hard for me to describe it in words it but it was rather comical to say the least.

About an hour later I received an inquisitive bite on double lob worms, nothing aggressive just a steady almost chub-esque bite. I struck and this apparent chevin rapidly began to morph into something that was on a mission to head upriver, the clutch on my reel gathering pace, tick tick turning into zip zip, my hand dampening each run as much as I dared, before gaining some line in return, if fishing line was a currency then the exchange rate was very much erring on the fishes side.
Slowly if not too surely I gained control, "ping" the line clipped the dorsal, but all remained well.

Finally a common with a blunt head broke the surface and thankfully slipped into the net.


I was rather happy to have landed this steam train meets battering ram, as battered me it certainly had, I could have sworn that I had aged a good few years during the scrap.

After this I decided to setup the two stalker rods which at 9 foot in length are both perfect for some of these small river spots, these were both placed along the margins, with a light amount of free offerings inside pva mesh stocking. Within a couple of hours I had a slow and steady bite on my right hand rod, I struck and became instantly aware that this felt a larger fish as it bolted off for the weedbeds, perhaps being on the heavier tackle bred an overconfidence within me, or the fish was not so well hooked as I thought, but after a fair battle I saw the flank of what looked a very portly mirror, perhaps a scraper twenty and then the hook flew out behind me, the fish thanking me with a flap of its tail (almost a two finger fish salute) and it was gone. I looked at the rig swinging behind me and back at where the fish had been in disbelief.

Alas it seemed sods law to land one on the light gear and lose one on the more appropriate tackle and It remained quiet into darkness despite a couple of small chub on the carp tackle that was to be it. Nevertheless it had been a great trip and I had at least managed to locate an area they seem to visit and winkle one out, albeit on the link leger.