Saturday, 31 December 2011

Have A Good 2012

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Uknown

I have been considering my options these last few days with much pondering and thanks to the amount of very good quality and interesting fishing blogs that people take the time and passion to write, such as the one written by Jeff Hatt, I have been considering doing a spot of roving on a very small stream. Having taken the time to look at it during the summer when the water was very low, I can't say I saw that many fish, the odd Chub of two or three pound, some small Roach and Perch, admittedly it was fairly choked with weed as well, but there was some interesting deeper areas and some lovely gravel runs, the last few days has seen us have a nice drop of rain, perfect for giving many of our rivers down south a good flushing, although that term is a dubious one, as I will lead on to explain.

I had passed the stream by for  many years, whilst on the way to fishing the local pits, I am guilty for having neglected it. I remember chatting to a chap on a damp, November afternoon, he was roving about and was very forthcoming about the fish that the stream contained, Chub, Perch, Trout, Gudgeon, Roach, Dace and the odd Barbel. I should have followed my instincts back then and spent time fishing it, alas I was more into stillwater fishing and the thoughts of this little stream, were left to gather dust at the back of my mind.

Flick ahead to the here and now and I found out that during July 2010,  Thames Water which operates Silchester Sewage Treatment Works in Hampshire, had two storage tanks used to store sewage sludge, which  failed. Two redundant storm tanks were used to store sewage sludge and these were isolated from the sewage treatment process to prevent stored sewage sludge being pumped back into the works. However, on the morning of 20th July 2010, the two storm tanks were full and needed to be emptied and  released  a "flushing" of sewage into the stream. The enviroment agency estimated 7500 to 22000 fish were killed,  Thames Water pleaded guilty and were fined a paltry £61,049.

This would explain why during this summer I only spotted a few fish, what's left is anyones guess. That being the case, I have decided to spend my next  couple of  fishing trips doing some roving on this tiny waterway to see what remains, hopefully there is still some life left in what was once a very special ecosystem.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011


Thursday morning dawned, I had checked the weather forecast the night before and the forecasters pointed out with an unsettling conviction that there would be dangerous winds for the Northern part of the country, I scanned about and saw that there would be gusts of 50mph for Southern England, but the temperatures looked very nice, sometimes I am easily lured in without taking note of other factors,this could be said to have been one of those times. Some cheese on toast was made, along with  a flask of coffee, hastily packed into my rucksack and I was all set to go. Making my way to the river I was greeted by a flock of wooly jumpers, which made a nice change from the usual bovine inhabitants, which I find can be very inquisitive and a bit twitchy at times.

Bait wise I had brought a tin of Sardines in tomato sauce with me and was planning on fishing half of one, along with a feeder, filled with a mixture of sardine and light groundbait mix,many years ago as a lad this had always been a good bait for me and I use to catch some nice Chub and Barbel in the colder months on it. These days like so many of our waterways, using such a soft bait is always a risk due to the amount of Signal Crayfish that inhabit our rivers and lakes, these days this tributary is sadly no different and as I cast out, the thoughts of Crayfish nagged at me.I placed my other rod out on a small 15mm boilie freezer bait. This particular swim was a lovely glide, just below a bend in  the river, where the current was smooth and the area was quite a bit deeper compared to the usual average,with some nice pockets of gravel and the odd Swan Mussel.

The trees gave no sign of any wind whatsoever, but for  the faintest of breezes, the first thing that popped into my mind was "calm before the storm". But by 3pm the wind started to become more lively, coming and going in surges and at one point I thought that if anyone saw me, they would probably think that I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic and at that point I may have been inclined to agree. It was around about this time that I heard something break the waters surface further upstream,it sounded similar to a fish,but I was convinced it was a Mink, the culprit soon made itself evident as it paddled by me,a very stocky and healthy looking Otter, on seeing me, it turned tail, dived and was not seen again.

The afternoon was peaceful and uneventful on the fishing front, save for a Swan which was still wearing infantile, grey coloured plummage and the Red Kites which were making the most of the wind, showing their aerial prowess with an almost arrogant certainty, I watched on in mild  amusement as some Crows whom usually bully the Kites, tried in vein to keep pace with them in the wind, failing miserably, the Kites were in their zone, this was what they did best gliding, climbing effortlessly, making it look all so easy. If only the same could have been said for the chubby guy under his umbrella, I was having a nightmare, the umbrella was tethered down, bending and creaking in the wind which was changing directions rapidly, causing the the umbrella to buckle in, folding round me and enveloping me like a Triffid, it was one of these gusts that up ended it, nearly taking me behind with it and into a waiting Bramble bush, many bent spokes and holes later,the umbrella which now resembled something akin to a colander was back in use.

I had a few taps on the Sardine and on checking the bait, sure enough it had vanished, no doubt thanks to something wearing a shell suit, replete with a pair of claws, I considered my options, I had brought cheesepaste with me and maggots just in case of this, but out of sheer rose tinted, bloody mindedness and some idealistic attempt at rebellion, I decided to place another half of Sardine out again, this was how the evening went on, I simply could not get past the Crayfish,yet would simply not give in, as I to tried claim some kind of idiotic moral high ground.

By late evening and after some very heavy rain, the sky cleared and along with it the water temperature had dropped off, I was pondering calling it a day, when the boilie rod received a few tentative taps followed by a steady, slow, almost deliberate run, I lifted in and was met by a welcoming resistance, followed by sporadic kicks. I slid the landing  net under a Bream, upon lifting the fish out,I could see it was a rather chunky fish  and it looked in great condition, it weighed 8lb and was one of the nicest looking Bream I have caught from this tributary.

Not one of the most straight forward trips that I have ever had, but regardless of the unsettled conditions it was most enjoyable. However I now have a  growing pile of umbrellas that have either been damaged by acts of god or just seem to not last like any of the older models that I owned years ago, falling apart way to quickly considering what they cost, I am beginning to wonder if there is any manufacturers out there who still produce good quality umbrellas any more, as I have gone through many different brands over the years, oh well roll on a new umbrella,although it's anyones guess how long it will last.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Of Mice And Men

What is it that they say about the best laid plans? After having that delightful recent trip,I was chomping at the bit to get back out,but found myself with a hammering head and a heavy bout of man flu.Mark was not a very happy chap to say the least,after to many mild days passed whilst the flu ran its course,I decided to dose myself up and head off down the river.

I got to my chosen swim pretty much shattered,but after a sit down and infusion of coffee,the world was at peace,the river a very pretty autumnal picture,banks strewn with fallen leaves,the numerous trees shedding their once pretty petticoats,revealing a raw,skeletal beauty.The Kingfisher a comrade during so many of my fishing trips,glided into and back out of view,calling out with its shrill whistle,a call that always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and never fails to bring a broad smile to my face.I decided to fish a small swim,upstream of where I fished last time,the swim was quite a tight one,with a raft to the left hand side,a lovely feature and one I felt might hold a fish or two.

Despite a few taps,it was a quiet afternoon,but one spent in the good company of wildlife,none more so than a Robin which was making the most of the remaining  berry supply,inbetween resting up in the nearby tree,frequently.

It was late afternoon when my rod tip bounced back and forth,followed by two light taps and then wrapped round.After a short but spirited fight,a very long Chub of 5lb,was sat recuperating in the folds of the landing net,it was in beautiful,scale perfect condition.

I was buoyed by the capture,it made for the perfect tonic to how I was feeling,the weather conditions were pretty much spot on and I was confident that there maybe some other fish about,willing to  snaffle up some more bait.

 Early evening darkness enclosed me,the breeze that had been,was no more,rain began to fall,drizzle at first,but gradually picking up pace,coming down steady.As the evening passed I became aware of the sounds of a crafty Dormouse nearby,no doubt picking up my dropped bits of groundbait mix,my mind flicked back to how the little rogues had nibbled my digital scale buttons earlier on in the year.

So I decided to drop a morsel under the bough of a nearby tree,sure enough after a few minutes a bright eyed,mischevious looking chap appeared and set about making light work of my offering.

A veritable banquet

The rain halted sporadically and the moon popped in and out between the sheets of cloud,bright,but not too bright,my bite alarm gave a light bleep,the rod tip shook and then silence,save for the calls of numerous owls and the lonesome barks of a vixen on the opposite bank.The three foot twitch didn't occur until the rain began afresh,an all in one bite,that swept the rod tip right round,as soon as I lifted in I was greeted by the resistance of steady pressure,as the fish tried  to make for the cover to my left hand side,side strain applied,the fish responded well and kicked out directly in front of me,moving away from any danger and out into the main current,of which I was only too glad,after a few more strong,surging runs upstream,I eventually slid the net under a lovely looking November Barbel of 10lb 9oz.

The trip was the prefect remedy for the flu and as I made my way home recounting how the fishing trip had been,being wet never felt so good.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Blown Away

 Acorns crunched underfoot,as I made my way to the river and after the first frosts of recent weeks,I was greeted with a very windy,but mild morning. The plan was to do some feeder fishing and try to tempt some of the large Chub that populate the Thames tributary,I eventually decided to settle on a sheltered area and one that had a real aura which screamed Chub,replete with overhanging foliage,wood rafts and faded streamer weed.I usually use live maggots for a lot of my Autumn and winter fishing,but given how tenacious the Crayfish can be on this particular stretch,I decided to go the artificial route and fish a combination of floating artificial casters along with artificial red and white maggots on the hair.The feeder was filled with a mixture of vitalin,maggots,casters and seed,as well as being flavoured with anchovy.

I really love these types of days,which will no doubt become rarer the later we move into the year,blustery,but not too cold and a real mixed bag of weather. Squirrels were scampering about above me,dancing acrobatically from one branch to the next,their minds set on stocking up their larders.

 Bites were forthcoming more or less straight away,but rather hesitant plucks and subtle taps,nothing that would commit angler or fish into doing something rash that they might connect with one and other,as the morning turned to lunchtime a young swan sped downstream,still wearing immature grey plumage,to all intents it moved as if its life depended on it,a few minutes later that turned out to be pretty much close to the truth,as an angry adult Swan,with wings locked in battle mode,surged past me and carried on,only to reappear heading back upstream giving me what seemed quite a resentful glare.

 Not long after this incident,the rod tip started receiving a bite that indicated more serious intentions,every light pluck met by a harder one,until the rod tip eventually smacked round and a sprinting battle commenced,after a short,but spirited fight,a Chub with a broad back was resting in the landing net,I could not help from cracking a very contented smile as the scales settled at a very pleasing 6lb 5oz.

That was to be it until the early evening darkness,when the weather changed again and the it rained hard and solidly for a couple of hours.This seemed to have the desired affect on the Bream and they got their heads down,a couple of smaller fish in the three and four pound bracket,were later followed by a nicely conditioned fish of 6lb.

By now the time was getting on for 11pm and I decided to not stay into the small hours as I would normally do,I was content to have caught a nice Chub by design and it made for a rather fulfilling feeling,one which I would like to repeat again soon,as I don't wish to waste this influx of rain and cloudy conditions.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Indian Summer

Would someone like to enlighten me as to what happened to Autumn? The weather the past few days was something akin to an Indian summer,with temperatures hitting the balmy heights of 29c,with that in mind I cannot say that the conditions looked very favourable on any of my local rivers,but  I was certainly not going to miss the chance to get down the river.

I had planned on fishing an area I had not fished in many years,but like everywhere on this river,it was full of wonderful features that screamed "fish me",such is the flow of this very alluring temptress that it has brought many an angler under its spell,but its ever changing moods are all part of its very seductive charms and I am one of those whom has fallen for it.

The spider webs were heavily laced with the  morning dew,which hung like sparkling crystal chandeliers,across the bramble strewn margins and the insect life was in full swing,the hum of bees,diving in and out of the balsam accompanied by the popping sound as the seed pods split open,catapulting their content everywhere in hope that they might find somewhere to grow.

I decided to pick two spots to fish,the first a very small area which would only be suitable for one rod,the hand of indecision plucked at me as to which spot to fish first and I was stood indecisively for a good twenty minutes,trying to decide which out of the two spots to wet a line in first.Eventually I went for the smaller area and quietly lowered in my rod close to some marginal surface foliage.

It was to be a quiet and overly sunny morning,save for the movement of the Kingfisher,who regularly paid a visit to my swim for a quick snack,I was beginning to kick myself for not having brought any maggots with me,as I could have caught some nice silvers and given the bright conditions I think a maggot or worm would have picked me up a better fish or two as well,hindsight is a  wonderful thing though.

I remember many years gone by that this use to be a good spot for Pike as much as it was for Barbel and Chub,in fact many was the time when after Barbel,you would end up being bitten off by the Pike that resided here.It was late afternoon when this memory became reality,as my rod tapped lightly  and the line gracefully moved to some cabbage patch downstream,before immediately falling and sagging limply,a rye smile broke across my face,I lifted the rod,nothing,no rig no weight and on closer inspection the line had teeth marks on it and was cut off sharply,the Pike had given me a warm greeting and some food for thought when the weather gets cooler.

I noted more small fry scattering repeatedly,when the Pike are on the feed,this swim although a very good one for my sought for quarry,would probably result in more Pike activity.I decided to move to my second swim,a pacey spot with streamer weed aplenty and some nice glides as well as an area just off the main flow,it looked sumptuous.

There was room for two rods here,so I placed one into a clear patch in the main flow and the other into a slower deeper glide.It was not until the sun had long disappeared and the owls began their calls, that I had my first bite,a slow stumbling affair,the rod tip plucked round,nodding a few times,before bending round in a steady fashion,I was into a slow resistance,that kicked sporadically,a Bream of 4lb+,it was most welcome,alas once I got it into the net,I saw it did not look in the best of health,in fact it looked rather the worse for wear,with sore looking growths around its fins and black plating all down its flanks,despite this it swam off strongly.

It was around 3am when I had my next bite,this time a thumping bite,but one which seemed in the style of a Chub,the rod tip smacked round three times and baitrunner ticked off in an alarming fashion,I struck and connected with nothing but thin air, "I bet that was a Chub" I muttered to myself,it would have been nice to have at least felt some resistance,so that I could have more accurately guessed what species had just eluded me.The remainder of the night was a very quiet one and as the early morning sun filtered through the mist,I was making my way home,hoping for some cooler weather and a drop of rain,as I really wanted to return to this area of the river,there were some hidden gems that had remained unearthed under the rivers watery blouse,she had brought me down to earth with a bump,but in doing so had just caused  more fascination and enticed me deeper into her loving arms.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Wind Of Change

When I got to the river bank,I was greeted by the rich smells of blackberry and balsam,a very heady,fragrant combination,the bushes were loaded with heavy crops of berries,birds and insect life happily gorging themselves on natures hamper.As an angler Autumn is one of my favourite seasons to go fishing,a time where the fish are more willing to feed and get their heads down,knowing that the harder winter times will eventually be on the way.

It was a sunny day and the river was still very low compared to how it had been in years gone by,that coupled with sunshine across the water,I cannot say that I was overly confident and I was rather glad that I would be fishing into darkness.I decided to place my eggs in one basket and put both rods out on boilie,upstream rod on shellfish and the downstream rod on a new home made base mix containing anchovy and robin red,which I have decided to name "red anchovy".

Given the conditions I didn't expect much during the daytime and knowing the size of the fish in this river and some of the snags nearby,I was not going to be tempted into fining down my tackle in search of a bite,thus risking fish welfare,I was more than happy and willing to play a waiting game.

A waiting game it certainly was,with only a few light taps and plucks by late afternoon.Daylight faded away and evening drew in earlier,as it does in September,the night was met by a chorus of owl hunting calls,the rustle of mink as they plotted their way along the far bank path and the sound of mice nearby,chattering like a rogues meeting.

This is where something odd occurred,I had a nice cheese and relish baguette sat on top of my rucksack,a prime target for any rodent,but this remained untouched,not a jot of interest from the rascals,instead they decided to have a light snack on the rubber buttons of my digital fishing scales,cutting small slivers of rubber off of two of the buttons,I was puzzled and rather bemused to say the least.

It was not till late night that I had my first serious bite,rod tip lunging round,the fish plodded off in a run downstream and in the direction of some very dense wood,side strain applied and it was gradually coaxed back in my direction,after a short battle,a Barbel of 12lb was recuperating in the landing net.I was very happy,as the fish had fallen to the red anchovy mix and that made for some added satisfaction.

By now the late night sky had changed some what and unsettled clouds were beginning to appear,a wind was taking gradual breathes,lightly caressing the hawthorns and brambles with each passing,the odd speck of rain pattered the umbrella,but did not gather any pace.I looked over both rods wondering if there would be more action,ever expectant but without greed,time comes to pass and a place to rest ones mind with the odd fish as reward is something of a bonus.The upstream rod's baitrunner let out a fast paced run and a very exciting fight ensued with a fish that headed off into the middle of the river,but didn't hug the bottom,instead making long runs in its repeated attempts to make it to the cover of the far bank.Eventually the culprit was in the landing net,a very pretty and heavily scaled Mirror Carp of 11lb+.A fish falling to both baits,"perfect" I thought to myself.

It was very early morning when I had my last run,unfortunately losing the fish to a hook pull,by now the wind had become stronger,gusting with something akin to anger,the clouds were puffing up and the heavens opened,giving the river something it desired and not just a small amount,sheets upon sheets of rain hammered down onto the river,I waited for the rain to stop before slowly packing up,when the rain finally abated the river looked rejuvenated and small fish were topping in appreciation of the welcome deluge.

I made my way home,back to the reality that is the real world,but back to it with a contented smile on my face.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Enigmatic Gold

The river,I had promised myself that I would return to its sleepy,Crabtree banks,places where an angler can disconnect from the grey monotonise sound that is the hustle and bustle of everyday life,where one can take a chance to dream,streamer weed jungles,moving to the flow like party streamers,in varying colours of green,if this could be my home,then it surely would be.

Life is a short passage of time where if you blink,you may miss something special, being by the water is no different,condensed with the activities of numerous wonderful creatures,there never ceases to be some wonderful sights and this time was no exception,with deer in the fields and fox's padding about marking their territory,simply wonderful.

I had planned on fishing an overnight session,targeting the Barbel,but upon getting to the river I spent the first few hours with the Camera,taking a few choice photographs of the Deer,the evening sun making them look particularly resplendent.

So it was not until gone 7pm that I got setup,with one rod upstream and the other downstream, both with the line well pinned down,the evenings drawing in a bit earlier now and I rather prefer it,as it gives you that little bit extra time at night when the fish are happy to feed a bit more confidently,darkness had not long covered me in its shroud when I had my first steaming run on the downstream rod,lifting in I was met by an angry and very stubborn fish,that tried to power off further downstream and find some comfort near to an undercut bank where a tree had fallen during the previous winter,thankfully it turned before getting any nearer to this sanctury and I was rewarded with a lovely looking Barbel of 9lb4oz.

I was not very sure if I had the camera framed right for the self take and ended up with me having my picture taken wearing an overly serious look on my face,not one of my better self takes I must admit.

The first fish of a trip is always special to me,this fish was no different and it's always a real confidence booster to get a fish early on,especially as this river can have some moody moments where it can really confuse you,but this is something that I have always enjoyed,as the challenge is part of what makes fishing special to me,as well as the preamble leading up to wetting a line.

The night was a peaceful one,with a steady breeze and the odd shower later on,I was contented, one fish was more than enough,but I was happy when the downstream rod disagreed with me and a surging,powerful,mini torpedo headed off toward some cabbage patch,trying to bury itself in there,this fish was a very proud,pretty fish with lovely red fins,weighing 8lb1oz.

I sat back sipping on my flask of tea,the perfect drink to compliment such a lovely setting,the night cooled a little and sped on far to quickly,a glimpse at my watch told me it was getting on some what,I pondered wether to stay longer or go,the thought of leaving the embrace of the river and heading back to the arms of humanity did not appeal to me very much,So I decided to continue on for a while longer

The upstream rod had been in a world of peace,relaxing on its rest,there wasn't any prior warning to the violent take that soon followed,with line being taken and fish on a quest to disappear somewhere upstream,this fish was a real livewire making several runs before it was sat recovering in the net.

It was a very powerful fish,weighing 9lb,with a tail shaped like a spear,which explained the powerful runs it had given,it was in brilliant condition,really scale perfect.

Morning broke,I had stayed far longer than I had planned on doing and it was time to leave this magical place,as I packed up I took another look at the river,thanking it for its kindness in giving up a few of its gems to me and headed off home.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Forgotten Pool

I have not had much time of late to get back down the rivers,something which I plan on rectifying very soon.

So with a short session fix in mind,I considered my options and my memory served me with the option of stalking on a small stream,plans were made,rod,centrepin,landing net compactly wrapped together with two rod bands,all was needed was my landing mat which would double as something to rest my rump upon,perfect....

Upon arrival to the stream,my plans were thrown into disarray,as I found that the water had been diverted due to building work and was also very low,ankle height in places,I had another option,fish another stretch of the same stream,but given how long that would take it was not a viable option this time round,I made my way back to the car,heart sunken and despondent.

It's times like these that you realise how often such wonderful people can be taken for granted and I have been guilty of this many times in the past with my mother Maureen,despite her not fishing she has always shared a very deep interest in angling and my fishing trips and has always spent time to being able to ferry me back and forth at some of the most ungodly hours that most parents would simply refuse to do.

I got back to the car and shared my heartache with her,her reply came swiftly "do you have anywhere else in mind?"

Baring in mind that time was limited,my mind raced fervently for options which did not include commercial waters.
Somewhere in the back of my mind covered with the cobwebs of many memories was an overgrown pool,murmuring the words "You always promised you would fish me one day,but you never ever did".

I had found out about this small lake from a friend of a friend,as you tend to do with such places,but I never got round to fishing it,I suppose it is around half an acre in size,if that and condensed with snags,overhanging trees and generally abound with beautiful features to cast a float to whilst whiling away the hours in peace.

I had three hours of fishing time available to me,so wasted no time in picking a likely spot with a part fallen tree to one side,deciding to present some loose fed maggot and caster along this spot and fished the lift method with it.

It was not long before the tell tale signs of fish activity were showing,pin prick bubbles soon began appearing and fizzing,but no bite was forthcoming,was this quaint pool perhaps a dark moody mistress? I pondered a moment longer than I should have,in doing so missing the most obvious of bites.

The float slid back alongside the tree and the fizzing continued anew,nearby a Heron caught my attention as it waded into the shallows,barely causing a ripple as it silently hunted a tasty morsel or two.It really was a place that time and the heavy hand of progress had forgotten,fish and fisher melting as one into this green overgrown pool,where one might relive a childhood dream or two.

Thirty precious minutes passed before the next bite,this time I was met by an angry fish that made the centrepin reel crackle with joy as it made several sprinting runs for the nearby snags,after a very spirited fight I slid the net under a very pretty looking Koi Carp that I estimated at 3lb+.

I began to wonder what other suprises this lake held in its depths,it was very close to the end of my limited time when I netted a lively,nice looking,dark Common of a couple of pounds.

A nice way to end a trip to a pool that had remained stored in memory only and for far to long at that.I look forward to revisting it sometime soon,but cannot promise that flowing water will not come between myself and the ivy and bramble entwined paths of this beautiful forgotten pool.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Crayfish Dance

I had not got down to the river till evening,spotting the light coloured derriere of a deer as it bobbed away into the undergrowth,it was a nice still evening except for odd scatterings of showery rain mixed between the blue sky,the sounds that link evening to night began in earnest,the howling call of a vixen setting off a rather rousing cacophony of barks from nearby dogs.

The silhouette of a Pipistrelle bat skipped in and out of view between the reed beds,flitting about to and fro collecting a feast of insects,the scene was set and completed when a couple of owls sat in a tree nearby me and duly began their hunting routine,which was keeping the mice at bay to say the least,I could have done with the owls growing some gills and hunting the crayfish which were out in force and giving me nightmares,stolen boilie stops,chewed up anti ejection sleeving,you name it,they were doing it.I decided to place some loose feed just a bit further away from the main centre of crayfish headquarters,so as to give me some breathing space and this worked for a while and two or three hours later,I had a resounding,thumping bite and it was not long before the silvery back of a summer Chub of 5lb 5oz was sat in the net,a fish I am pretty sure would go bigger come winter time.

The night sped on,as ever it does when you wet a line and the battle for the land time forgot,the tale of fisher versus the crayfish legions began afresh and unabated,I eventually opted to change my boilie rod for some extra hard freezer baits,in the hope that I would sustain the clawed onslaught for longer,perhaps long enough to allow the fish a chance to pick up this tasty snack,although I wouldnt have blamed them if they had opted to go for a nice fresh crayfish instead,I mean after all who wouldn't?

Time passed,the rod tip responding every so often with a reply of,tip tap tap,these crayfish were really on the ball tonight,wait what was that,thump thump,the rod tip looped over and relaxed again, "crayfish darting backward with the bait damn it" I muttered to myself,not so long after the rod hooped over again and the tightened baitrunner decided to clock off at the rate of knots,it was at this moment I was sat thinking "ye gods,that must be one very big crayfish".

I told my legs to get up and strike this run,they moved but were seemingly not connected to me,my torso wanted to go to my rod,however my legs walked on the spot with me still in the chair,I cannot quite describe what had just happened but eventually I some how managed to get my brain to tell my legs that this was simply not what I had in mind and scrambled for my rod,in the fashion of something akin to a clockwork teddy bear.

I was met with a surging powerful response as the fish kited upstream trying to head for numerous snags including some thick pads and reed beds,it hugged the bottom bullishly,I felt the line tripping over unseen obstacles,before a torpedo shaped flank appeared in mid river,it looked a solid summer Barbel,the thoughts of "please don't slip the hook" played many times through my mind.

It was eventually greeted by the waiting net,a lovely summer fish,one ounce under 12lb and a nice reward considering the amount of crayfish activity that there had been,I went home early morning a very contented chap,I am still trying to fathom why my feet walked on the spot but didnt propel me out of my seat when I had the run,whilst I packed up I came to the only possibly logical conclusion that I had in fact been doing the crayfish dance.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Streamer Weed And Balsam Seed

The low light of an evening fishing trip,dull colours with faint rays of sun reflecting on the river,streamer weed slowly swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the flow,I smiled as the rain began to hasten,hitting the umbrella harder,hissing and spitting like an angry wet snake.

The river needed the refreshment for thirst that only droplets of water could provide,the water slowly changing colour from green to a slight tinge of brown,lily pad heads were now slightly submerged,a dragonfly perched itself and teetered on the only dry petal.It was not until the evening had long since been relinquished of its daily duties and the Barn owls began their late night rounds that I had my first fish,a small Chub of around 1Lb,young,vibrant,full of life and slipped back I had shadowy images swimming around in my mind of Barbus Barbus,they are never far from my thoughts,they swim freely inside my head,regularly playing tricks on me,always so alluring,yet they deceive me,taking refuge in the tangled roots that are my mind,along with foggy dreams of past halcyon days spent fishing,pondering the meaning of what it is to be human,what is the excepted example that this world and its populace deem as being worthy to grace it,should I be a person that fits into a round hole or a square? What if I do not fit into any of these pre-determined shapes and patterns that society and ignorance accepts,will I be thought less of a human for not being what is the conceived "norm"?

These thoughts invade the space of the Barbel,pushing them back into the opaque density and shadows that are my life experiences carved by the hand of other people and their preconceived notions,the sound of the rain and the reply of the rod tip as it gives a resounding bite are the only thing that bring me back to the here and now,the occupant the other end of the line tussling for freedom,its spirited fight and exuberant power eventually ending at the welcoming,open arms of the landing net. The Barbel had become reality,perhaps I had pushed this gem out of my minds eye and into reality due to the other thoughts that I had let invade its peaceful feeding ground in my memory.

It was very early morning when another Barbus Barbus got the better of me due to a hook pull and had me in its landing net,the least I hoped was that I was a personal best human catch for this fish and that my fight was as spirited as the scaley torpedo earlier in the night had been.My mind at rest again,reset by natures balancing act,it was early morning when I headed home refreshed,happy to be a bit different and not one bit ashamed to call myself an Aspie.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Opening Day Magic

A few weeks prior to the beginning of the river season I had tinkered about with my fishing tackle,to the extent of looking like some crazed squirrel,the hiatus was nearly over,I was so excited just like a child at Christmas Eve.

It was evening as I made my way to the river,to the splash and patter of rain which became increasingly steady,the rivers would certainly welcome this,as it had been such a very dry spring,the rain was turning into more of a monsoon,I reached my swim a little damp in body but not soul,the river looked in fine shape and the insect and wildlife was in abundance.
As I slowly set up,the kingfisher gave me a customary flypast replete with shrill whistle,the hairs stood up on the back of my neck and a tingle ran down my spine,it was something else altogether to be back on the rivers again.

Evening past into darkness and barn owls began their hunting calls,my rod twitched and the swinger rose,I was into my first Chub of the season a slim jim of 3Lb 8oz,a nice way to christen the new season.

I sat back and smiled,it was the smile of a contented soul,surrounded by nature,at peace with my surroundings,I sipped tea,relaxed and listened to the ebb and flow of the river and the sounds of nature as a fox barked into the night.

It was gone 3am as the rain gathered pace when I had my next fish,a lovely well conditioned Bream of 6Lb 8oz in full on spawning mode covered in tubercles,a sign that it would still be a while till the Barbel will have spawned and getting their heads down properly as is usually the case.

By first light the river was the colour of a strong cup of tea and the flow had increased significantly,but the baits were still holding in position save for the extra large chunks of flotsam that were now drifting by at regular intervals,I had seen a Carp pop its head up and roll back down in front of me,a dark looking lady with a large flank and belly, "you must be hungry" I whispered to myself.

A single bleep later was met by the spool of the baitrunner melting into life as if possessed by demons,the fish ran for the far bank cover of pads and streamer weed,firmly lodging itself there and not wishing to come out,applying some steady pressure there was the feeling of some slight movement and sure enough the fish moved free and continued a powerful upstream run,more pressure applied and eventually I had a glorious Common Carp of 18lb 5oz,immaculate and scale perfect,sat in the net.

Well I was more than made up with that and that would be putting it mildly,it was also the perfect way to Christen my new Chris Orme handbuilt rod,which felt beautiful,a perfect balance
between forgiving tip to help soften any sudden lunges,yet still with massive reserves of power and strength,without being a stiff poker,excuse me a moment of indulgence,I have really fallen in love with it.

It was late morning when I had my last fish.a very powerful surging run on the same rod,I was connected with another fast paced bullish fish,that was not in the least bit happy to be hooked and showed it by making its way downstream and bullying me,the rod responded and took every surge of the fish in its stride,eventually nestling in the landing net was a moody,lovely looking mirror of 13Lb 1oz and one of the prettiest mirrors I have ever caught.

It was without a doubt a beautiful start to the river season and with another 9 months of river fishing now available to us,I would like to wish everyone a good time and enjoy it on whatever river you're having a dabble on and more importantly,take pictures and leave only footprints.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Sunday, 29 May 2011

An Intimate Return

After having enjoyed our recent trip to that so very intimate of lakes,myself and Robert were desperate to get back to it again,I could not wait,especially after having sampled how delightful it is to play fish on a centrepin,as well as also finding the lake to have a population of Silver Bream,a fish which has garnered my interest even more so since reading Jeff Hatt's numerous stories of his fishing trips in search of this most dainty and enigmatic of fish.

Upon arrival at the lake,the wind was certainly blowing rather steadily and as sods law dictated,I had forgot my fleece,such is life.I decided after having a look at a few areas to setup next to an island,which had some lovely reeds alongside it as well as some nice marginal bushes,with the wind pushing bits of food into this particular corner and insects dropping off the overhanging tree at regular intervals,was enough to convince me that it looked a very good fish holding spot.

Robert had setup further down in a rather nice spot with a sunken,marginal bush adjacent to his swim and was feeding in some corn and 10mm boilies around it,he would once again be putting his feeder rod to use alongside this feature.

With it being windy and being only my second trip out with the centrepin,it was making for some fraught but amusing moments,on more than one occassion the float was close to hanging from the nearby tree like a damsel in distress.After about ten minutes,the float tilted and slid away beneath the surface and I was met by a very lively Carp of 4lb.

I had been feeding in a light amount of hemp and sweetcorn mixed with some finely blended Vitalin and strawberry groundbait from my last trip and it was proving nice and effective,it was not long before I was catching some lovely hand sized Roach as well as a few Silver Bream including one which I had wish I had weighed now,and which I estimated was between 8 to 12 ounces,I'm now really beginning to wonder what kind of potential this lake has for throwing up a large Silver Bream,as there seems to be a chance that it could.

A little later on I recived a call from Robert that he was into his first fish of the day,a frisky fish of 4lb 8oz on the 10mm boilie and like so many of the fish in this lake it was in lovely condition and still had its curtain intact.

On returning to my swim I found one of the Canadian Geese with its head inside my groundbait bucket,greedily trying to consume all the contents,it was rather shocked to see me behind it and proceeded to charge off nearly taking said bucket with it,a rather comical sight to say the least.I had been having quite a few more smaller Carp which were finding their way to my net by route of maggot.

Inbetween the Roach Bream and Carp,I had been giving a cursory glance to the odd rustle of the reeds alongside me and noticed a lovely pair or yellow lips coming up every so often and slurping down insects,I couldn't resist the temptation of some freelined bread and upon casting was hoping this fish was feeling the same way.A quick dab in the water for casting weight and a cube of bread was placed by the reeds,I noticed a vortex in the water nearby and a few minutes later a pair of lips appeared "sluuuurp",bread gone and the water erupted as the hook was set,and a lean,mean,golden torpedo tore off,the centrepin whirred into life,the fish was very lively and made numerous surging runs for the nearby island and bushes,eventually the net slipped under it and an immaculate,lean,golden bar of 4lb 8oz was sat resting in the net.

As this fish was slipped back,I decided to take a look in on Robert for a cup of tea and a chinwag about a Tench I had seen in the margins and just as we was contemplating another biscuit or two,as is so often the case,when you go to do something or eat,the fish seem to know and a bite occurs,this was such a moment as Robert's feeder rod looped round and he was into another Carp,which had an old piece of landing net still attached to its dorsal,why whoever had caught this fish could not have removed it in the first place,is beyond me and the fish could have quite easily became tethered.

With just the company of the water fowl and the odd Deer which padded its way about in the fields nearby us,an angler can't really ask for more than that.Early evening called and having seen a couple of Carp clooping about,close into the island,I felt it was time to give some more freelined bread a go.The piece of bread was met with some hesitant trepidation,as the fish circled it,mouthing it from different angles but resisting sucking it in fully.Just as one of the Moorhens were becoming a little too aware of there being some bread nearby,the line sped off across the surface and I was into a fish that decided to charge off anti clockwise around the island,crashing through the family of Moorhens as it went,their shrill cries of alarm reverberating around the lake,after an entertaining fight I slipped the net underneath another scaley torpedo of 4lb 5oz.

It had turned out a nice sunny,settled evening and the wind had also died down,it really was picture perfect and I was contentedly admiring the evening sunlight and shadows on the lake when Robert called me over as he had a fish in the net,a slim Jim also of 4lb 5oz.

I thought this may have been our final fish of the evening as the light was fading and we was pondering on getting packed up,the joy of just having the one rod to focus on meant I was sorely tempted for one last cast,you know the type "I'll just have one final cast,only one more",where you can't help yourself but really want to,with just the bread left and rest of the bait packed up,I flicked out one final crust alongside a couple of free offerings,once again near the reeds.

Daylight was fading away and a light mist was developing on the lake when I had my final full blooded take off the surface,I can't think of a more exciting way of fishing,a real adrenaline rush,the pin crackled off and this fish felt more bullish as it sped off out from the reeds and island,into the open and surged back round to come alongside some of the overhanging bushes near the island.After quite a few long runs I had a lovely looking fish of 5lb5oz as my reward.

It had been a lovely days fishing,Robert and I had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.