Monday, 18 September 2017

Parish Games Bridesmaids

We didn't get the best of draws, the river was low and clear, conditions too bright-all excuses that were discussed over a pint post match. I can honestly say we did however make the most of our opportunities. The annual Parish games fishing match, the once a year where I dip my toe in the strange world of match fishing.
The fishing was tough, in fact it was worse than tough. Dry nets numbered well into double figures so the fact that every one of our team of three caught something meant we were in with a chance at the end.

I contributed a meagre 7.5oz made up of three Perch, some blade Roach and a solitary chublet, all caught reasonably early on. As I say tough going but I still enjoyed it! This bag of monsters gave me fourth in my section. Ady also finished fourth in his section and Don caught a credible 2lb 5oz to give him second in his section and third in the match overall.

As a team we finished second overall for the third time in four years-consistent!! Next year is going to be our year........

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Avon Evening

4lb 9oz
Not quite sure why I look so miserable having just caught a cracking summer Chub weighing over four and a half pounds. This was the third fish of a highly enjoyable evening spent by the Avon. Not a long fish but it had a good girth, probably been feeding on all the pellets I had baited up with.
Martin was already ensconced himself in the fast water below the weir when I arrived so I plonked myself in the next peg, a slow moving area that I thought might throw up a few surprises. My two pronged attack consisted of pellet on the right and half a Roach on the left in the hope that a few predators attracted by the abundant fry life would take advantage of an easy meal. Two small Pike fell for the approach in the early evening but as the light faded the pellet rod started to come to life.
We decided to give it ten more minutes and truly at last knockings the pellet rod hooped round as a decent Barbel tried to make its escape. In the darkness it felt like a good fish. I had no idea exactly where it was in the river so stopping it snagging me up was almost impossible. It managed the inevitable but thankfully the weed was sparse and I managed to cajole it back into open water.
Finally I was able to slip it over the net with Martins help. In the gloom I thought it was a double but the scales revealed it fell a bit short of the mark. Anyway it capped off an enjoyable couple of hours by our special local river.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Annual Shark Trip

The sun rose as we trundled down the M5 on our way for our annual Shark trip off the Plymouth coast. Two aborted trips last year both lost to the weather has us keener than ever and there was no fear of mother nature stopping us getting out this year.

As always we were aboard Sea Angler II with Malcolm Jones, one of the most experienced and trusted skippers in the area. This year he had a first mate on board too although Robbie did seem to be more there for company rather than work but he did mash up the rubby-dubby as we steamed out to our drift. The (not so sweet) smelling mixture of Mackerel, bran and oil used to attract the toothy critters to our mackerel flapper hook-baits.

The sharks have been about in numbers this year and within minutes Nath was into the first shark of the day. Year on year shark numbers seem to be on the increase and the variety also seems to be getting more varied, Porbeagles are getting more regular and Threshers have been spotted. In future years it may be possible for us to even target Tuna and other Pelagic species.

What followed was a procession of Sharks at regular intervals weighing up to about forty pounds.

Just after lunch a fish took the bait on the drop and as line screamed from the reel I realised that I was attached to a much more substantial fish. An arm aching battle ensued, several times the shark was brought alongside the boat, Malcolm grabbed the leader but each time the shark wrestled away and I was forced to haul her back to the surface.

Eventually she was dragged onto the side of the boat, holding her down the trace was unclipped and the hook removed.

Three of us lifted her into the boat. She measured 66 inches to the fork of the tail and had a 33 inch girth which equated to 90lbs in weight. The girth squared multiplied by the length divided by 800 equals the weight in pounds. As accurate as it gets on a boat!

A quick couple of photos with my new pb and she was returned to her watery home, hopefully the only thing that was hurt was her ego.

We still had time for a few more fish including one which I battled on a spinning rod and fixed spool reel which was a lot of fun before we steamed back to port. Sixteen sharks landed between us made for a fab days fishing and all that was left was a night out around the nightspots of Plymouth.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mullett Blank and Barbel Rod Testing

A trip to Swansea ended in a blank, one hooked fish, one lost to a hook pull. Still the night out was fun and Andy did catch so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Saw a few fish but they were quite spooky in the brilliant sunshine.

An evening session on the Avon was more productive. I am in the market for some new Barbel rods so Andy has lent me his Harrison Torrix 1.75 test curve to try out. Wasn't sure about the look of it, quite a light but thick blank but looks can be deceptive. It casts beautifully and when I hooked a hard fighting Barbel close to snags it took on it's full curve and I must say I was impressed with the power and feel.

Despite only having one eye the 7lb 9oz fish gave the rod a proper workout and I felt I had much more control than with my current set up. The rod is still in the truck so I think I will give it a couple more sessions before taking the plunge. Need to be sure as they aren't the cheapest on the market.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

While the Kids are Away

Managed  a couple of evenings out while the kids are on holiday:

Friday Night

Grabbed a load of maggots and headed down to the Avon. The Perch were hungry and landed one after another all about 2-4oz plus a few small small Roach and Dace. Nothing special but then I didn't set my stall out for anything bigger.

Tuesday Night

Last night was back on the Barbel with a single rod fishing pellets and pva bags plus a second 'sleeper' rod baited with small Roach for any predators that happened to be passing by. The action was very slow until the light faded and the sleeper rod was first to go. A small Pike that tail walked a bit before it snagged me up in some of the masses of weed that is prolific this year and then escaped.
As I turned round to rebait the Barbel rod bent double and I enjoyed a fabulous scrap with a fit seven(ish) pounder.
One more classic Barbel bite which failed to connect and then the swim went dead again. A very short little feeding spell but at least I avoided the blank.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Monthly Update-July

There are not enough hours in the day to write comprehensive blog posts about each session. Hence from now on it will have to be monthly updates, here is one for July.

Session One.

Friday early morning spent rolling meat under the willows in my favourite weir pool. 

Two small Barbel landed both around five pounds-odd. Back home in time for breakfast.

Session Two.

A pleasant evening fishing pellets on the upper Avon stretch that is fast becoming my favourite stretch of the river. Picturesque, peaceful, private, no boat traffic and full of fish. I feel the average size is probably less than I am used to but who cares. It is fun and there is certainly a few good doubles to be had.

One lost Barbel (my fault-gave it too much welly) and a brace of Chub landed on this occasion both around the four pound mark.

Session Three.

Back on the peaceful syndicate stretch and this time the Barbel did play. Small fish but immaculate and a good indication that this stretch has a bright future. Pellet and Pva bags again proved their downfall.

Session Four. 

Another early morning jolly but a blank this time. Got a proper soaking. Did manage to get this photo of two expert fishermen having a chat about their favourite swims!

Session Five. 

An evening session, pellet on one rod but this time I fancied a bit of variety so small Roach deadbaits were deployed on a second 'sleeper' rod in the hope that some Zander might be in the mood. 
First up a terrific battle with an 8lb 10oz Barbel. They don't half pull back in the low clear conditions but all held firm. 

The fish needed nursing in the margin for quite some time having expended all her energy in the battle but finally she swam off strongly.

Sadly that was the end of the action on the pellet but I did have some fun with tail-walking Jacks on the dead bait. Two landed, biggest 5lb 10oz.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Big Barbel Before Breakfast

A beautiful dawn, perfect for a sneaky session before work. One tin of Spam was all I needed to land a cracking eleven pounder in the golden sunshine whilst the rest of the world slept. 

One lost fish to an unforeseen snag and a four pound Chub the only other occurrences before I snuck back home for breakfast.

Friday, 23 June 2017

So Close, No Lies

The sun rises on another new season and I couldn't resist a few pre-work bankside hours. However the fish could resist my pellet offerings and I went home with just a couple of Chub pulls and nothing more to show for my efforts.

Fast forward to the following Wednesday and I was back on the bank. This season I have decided to come away from the manic BAA stretches as much as possible. I have kept the ticket on because they are close to home, ideal for quick sessions but am disillusioned with the actions of several individuals that fish these stretches, lighting fires, the ridiculous amount of litter and the constant flouting of rules. Plus I am not a people person with rod in hand and they are just too busy.

Martin already had a Bream in the net when I arrived, a lovely dark fish of about four pounds. I dropped into the swim above him, a lovely nearside run with overhanging trees that just screamed Chub and Barbel. I baited up with a couple of handfuls of pellets and the pair of us went for a wander. Martin knew of a Kingfisher nest just upstream so we went to see if we could spot the owner and also have a chat with the only two other anglers on the mile and a bit stretch. That's what river fishing should be, plenty of free swims, not full of noddies in every available peg.
No sign of the Kingfisher but one of the other anglers landed a Barbel while we were there, a good sign that the fish were feeding.
Within a half hour of returning to our swims (the Kingfisher was hiding) my rod hooped round and after a cracking battle I landed my first whisker of the season, 8lb 2oz. I thought more would immediately follow but the fight had obviously spooked the swim and an extended period of inactivity ensued.

Martin added a decent Chub to his Bream and then a Barbel of his own of about six pounds as the light started to fade. Darkness was virtually upon us when I finally had my second bite. The fish managed to find a snag but thankfully with a bit of careful cajoling it came free. From there on I was on top of the tug-of-war and Martin slipped the net under a lovely long fish for me. The scales don't lie and neither do we!-9lb 15oz of immaculate Avon Barbel. Martin took a pretty good photo considering an inquisitive horse was nudging him in the shoulder whilst he did so.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Six Sessions, One Post- Close Season Catch Up

Recently it has been a bit of a struggle to find the time to fish and when I have managed to get bankside the results have been poor. I cannot find the motivation to write about fishless sessions or ones involving tiddlers so hence the blog has been quiet.

Several weeks ago I took some floaters to my favourite Carp venue. The avian life were extremely interested in my offerings, especially the goose and swan pictured and I struggled to get the same response from below the surface. One missed bite was all I could muster and I went home cursing our feathered friends.


Session Two and some very inclement weather gave Tazzy and I a proper soaking.

The cold rain made the sport sporadic to say the least. I was targetting silver Bream but only managed a few small roach and a couple of Bronze Bream and nothing special to boot.

Session Three was good fun, got the fly rod out and chased the Carp in the local puddle. Two small battling Commons landed made for a pleasant evening distraction.


Session Four was a blank chasing Tench, the weather was still quite chilly and I don't think the Tincas had woken up properly from their Winter slumber. Even Tazzy looked bored that day.


Session Five and the fly rod came back into play. A social evening with the big man at the picturesque Lenches lakes chucking bits of fluff at rising Trout.

The warmer temperatures have made the fish more active and I managed a brace of Trout up to 2 1/2 pound. The first one fell for a black gnat type pattern with buoyant white wings (I must learn the proper names of these things!), the second a large grasshopper type thing, it was getting dark so needed something big that my old eyes could see in the gloom.


Session Six saw me back Tenching but this time on a red hot day in glorious sunshine.

The Carp were thrashing around in the margins obviously starting to get amorous and they gave me a constant barrage of line bites making it difficult to tell if I was getting actual bites. The Tench were conspicuous by their absence and after five bite less hours I was beginning to get frustrated.

Finally I had an unmissable run and after a bit of trouble with a weed bed I slipped the net under by far the best fish I have caught this year. A stunning female Tench pulling the scales down to 9lb 3oz. All the frustrations of previous sessions forgotten with one fish- gotta love this sport!!