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.