Saturday, 27 May 2017

Crucian Chronicle

Thought you guys and girl maybe interested in the new annual ezine from the ACA which I have helped produce.

Crucian Chronicles

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Gotta Start Somewhere

A late start on a new water is like a kid not being able to open his Christmas presents at 6am on Christmas morning.
So instead of a early morning tench fishers dawn, I had to settle for a tench fishers sunset instead, but I had to find them first.

I had been out on the boat during the week to scout out some likely looking areas but this is a water like none I have ever seen or fished. It is a hybrid of different water body types, in some places its like a broads river, in another section its a farm pond and then you have a mere. To me it id idyllic, one of a kind and a special sort of something that I have lusted after for a good few years, and now I can fish it.

So I was on the bank this time and selected a swim on the broads river and I begun raking spots on the far bank. the cast able weed rake is an invaluable tool for a tench angler, I not a fan of raking out tonnes of weed for two reason 1) it bloody hard word 2) it really not necessary in my humble option.

With the spot raked and the distance marked, the far bank rod was clipped up to the required distance using a piece of electrical tape on the spool. Pinpoint casting was important otherwise I'd end up in the overhanging trees.

The magic of the place is the wildlife, its not uncommon to see a number of birds of prey plus warblers, cockoo's and even the change of a bitten.
On the drive in I had seen a hoby and a tawny owl and that was before I even got to the lake.
With the rod taped up and ready to go the close bank rod 90 degree rig was swung out into position, it was baited with a boilie and fake corn over a mix of hemp, dead maggot, and corn all marinated in its own juices

The far bank rod was to be another bolt ring, but the inline maggot feeder had been changed to a inline method feeder couple with a short hook link baited with three fake maggots on the hair. With the presents of a very active population of silvers, I wanted scent to go in with small morsels of bait rather than a particle bed. The plan was top up the scent with a recast every 45-60 minutes. The feeder dropped on the money and was set onto the alarm.

The third rod out was a simple float rod rigged so I could fish on the bottom using anything that wouldn't attract too much attention from the silvers.

The day was warm and sunny, even with the blustery wind blowing down the lake and control of the float was difficult, but not impossible. What was impossible was to stop the attention of the hordes of rudd and roach which intercepted the bait big or small before it had change to hit the bottom and before long ten or more had been landed and returned.

 With the attention firmly on the float, I missed the first couple of bleeps on the margin rod, this soon change when the bleeps got quicker and the baitrunner spun. Something had self hooked its self and was running along the bank. I clamped down on the spool and the rod took a healthy curve, could it be a good tench or even be a carp. I started to get control of the fish and clawed back line against this weight. The water clarity wasn't good so I didn't get to see the fish until it was underneath the rod tip. The long cream under belly soon gave the mystery fish's identity away and it seem that a pike had take a liking to the fish meal boilie tipped off with fake corn.

I tried to bully the pike into the net as I didn't want to exhaust it. It was neatly hooked in the scissors so a bite off was unlikely, but as the  pike came toward the sunken net, it surge and the hook pulled free.

With the boilie and fake corn still attached and with not much damage, it was swung back out.

The feeder rod had been cast every 45 minutes and hadn't been touched, so the mix had bit of molasses mixed in to give it something else before it went out again.

It was time for tea, and not a cuppa, but the evening meal. A nice tin of curry with some pre prepared rice was on the menu and this was to be washed down with a mug of tea.

The sun was pleasantly warm this evening and it was a pleasure to be there enjoying the sights and sounds of the lake. The hoby had returned, but a barn owl was also out hunting out over the farmland. I watched the barn owl as it swoop down from it hover, but my attention was drawn away by the sound of an alarm screaming. The feeder rod was away and again the spool was spinning. I clamped down on the spool and connected with another running fish, but this felt different and I hoped it was as it felt. The fish stayed deep on the bottom and I couldn't make it out in the brown tinged water what it was. Even the surface swirl didn't give its identity away until the paddle tail broke the surface. It was a tench and a nice one too. I played it carefully not wanting to loose it on my first outing and I had the net submerged and waiting for the tench to come to it. I had the tench near to the net only for it to use its large tail and it was away again. I extended the net so I could reach further out, so when or if I got it close there would be no mistake.

One last surge and it was with range of the extended net and was in.

The next few minutes I just stood looking at the lump in the net. It was hooked neatly in the edge of the mouth and didn't take much to unhook. Next was the weight.

With shaking hands, I weighted it and settled on 8lb 6oz of female tench. Final job was the photo's which I was very grateful of a helping hand.

With the photos done and the tench rested, she was slipped back into the lake and soon gone leaving only memories of the capture.

The next three hours were uneventful and nothing else graced the net anywhere near the scale of the tinca and with the sun setting it was time to leave.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Catch Cult Edition 1 - Review

Well my copy of Catch Cult arrived in a "something for the weekend" brown envelope and with a great sense of joy it was opened and flicked through.

First impression is that we have a quality angling magazine in my grubby mites.

I have now read every article and it didn't disappoint me, in fact it was better than I expected.

The feel of the magazine is great, every time you pick it up, it has a newness to it, like when you get a new car. The editorial is no nonsense and there is a comfortable amount of advertising in it which in most publications is now the main focus of the publications.

The writers are mostly guys ones that I have heard of from my days as editor of the pike pool, from other magazines or books, but some are untried and fresh. The articles that stood out for me was
from the stables of Danny Taylor and John Costello, whom really went to town and produced exceptional pieces of angling literature.

One thing, is it a magazine or is it a book? No its both its a magbook, the readers digest of angling publications. Not as high brow as Fallons Anglers, and not tacky or over run with adverts like some of the mainstream publications, but a happy balance of quality articles, nicely places adverts and stunning pieces from a various angling disciplines.

Looking forward to edition 2 already, so a big well done to Messrs Shallcroft and Mumby.

Check out the website

Tuesday, 4 April 2017


The alarm was off and I was up and out of the house like a mad march hare before daybreak.
Well the first part was true anyway.

I arrived at the lake later than planned due to a) not setting the alarm correctly and b) because of the slow old boy taking a early morning Sunday drive on a Saturday.
So it was not at day break that I got to the swim but about 40 minutes after, so I hastily set about getting the spombing due as quickly as possible. The spomb was put to good effect and in quick time two around some 3/4 rod lengths out was baited up. This was then left to rest while I had a quick chat with the overnight carpers. They'd not seen much action bar some mid doubles and I was soon back in the swim getting the rods out.

The first rod out was the reliable in line maggot feeder with a 3" hook link and the second was to be a in line lead baited with a sweet boilie and a PVA bag. Once out it was time for breakfast.
Breakfast has become a bit of a thing of late, gone is the gulping down a bowl of cereal at home, gone is the porridge bot on a winters morning and hello to the bank side butties!
After breakfast and only a hybrid to show for my endeavour, which had hung itself on the size 12 maggot bunch, I noticed that during the many retrieves, on a number of occasions the maggot had either been sucked or taken off of the hook.

The in line feeder rig consists of a in line maggot feeder taped up to reduce the flow of maggots, a quick link, 3" fluro hook link with hook sizes varying from 10-16 depending on whats on the hook or hair. To start with I had used a size 12 with the maggots bunched on to it, but due to the issue of bait being nicked off of the hook I decided to change to the fake baits.
So off with the hook rig and on with the hair rig. The hair had two fake bait red maggots hooked in a V shape rather than the T shape that a lot of other tenchers seem to favour. Whilst I've found the T shape effective, the V shape seem to deter the small silvers.

So with the rig change sorted, the feeder when back out and it brought a near instant result. The bobbin rose and the was pulled tight to the alarm before it dropped back. I connected with something, but it was soon evident that it wasn't a tench and the nodding of the tip signalled a bream had come into the margins.

The bream was soon netted and whilst not a monster by any means, it did show that something was feeding over the baited area.

It was soon returned and the feeder was back out and I settled back to enjoy the sights and sounds around the lake.
A  pair of Great Crested Grebe's were on the water courting in their normal head bobbing manner, three pair of buzzard were using the thermals to climb the thermos, a pair of kestrels were roosting on a branch on an Oak tree.
On the ground signs of plant life were spied and I took a couple of snaps of the wild flowers Primrose and cowslip, were taken around the lake.

Whilst enjoying these sight, it was noticeable that the insect life was not as abundant as previous springs, but this way to due more to the chill in the wind.

After an hour enjoying just being out there the maggot feeder rod was away again. This resulted in another bream taking a liking to the fake bait.

Fake baits are flooding the market and I've noted that with this there is a massive difference in the shape, appearance and feel of them. I'm in the mind that the fake bait needs to feel and look right to fool the fish or maybe its just to fool the anglers so I've stuck with the original and still the best in my opinion.

The morning drifted to midday and a few more bream took a liking to the rubber maggots and it was soon evident that a shoal had moved over the baited area and that they were hoovering it up every last piece of bait. Bream could be seen breaking surface and ever so often I get line bites too.

Just after lunch the boilie rod alarm was screaming and a fish was on the run, but there was one issue, the baitrunner was too slack and the running fish made a tangle mess of the mono before I even got to the rod. I lifted the rod and the fish was already gone. I was left untangling the spool before recasting.

By the time the session end, I had had seven bream and a small hybrid all from the margins, but not a sign of the tench that I had been targeting. With the weather turning milder, I'll soon be able to do short evening session on the pond so I'm hopeful of snagging a few over the coming months.

Back home and preparation are started for the next session and 2kg of hemp was bubbling on the stove.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Change of Tact and New begining

With the pike now spawning, I decided that this should make the end of the season for them, so a change of species was in order.
Another chance to wet a line came my way and it was back to the pond for another crack at the roach.

The alarm didn't have to sound and I was up and out before dawn. After having a mooch about I decided on a spot were as it had been reported that the larger fish were starting to head there with spring upon us.

I arrived in the car park and not a sole was about, so I had my choice of swims and settle into one that had been kind to me this time last years. It was also a spot would give me shelter if the impending wind starting blowing.

Instead of the usual tactics of ten ball of bait crashing out into the depths, I opted for a little and often approach utilising just the 35g feeders. The bait for the feeders was to be kept simple too, brown crumb, a dash of maggot, and corn plus a lot of hemp.

Whilst I settle back and enjoyed the first brew, I looked out across the water and in front of me was a few grebes feeding and a buzzard cruising on the thermal.

The feeders were refilled and recast in 15-20 minute intervals. It was time for breakfast. It was a bacon butie sort of morning so the new frying pan came out for a trial session. I found this one in the camping section again, the beauty of it is the folding handle . I had suspected that I need to really build up the swim before the first bite would come, but surprisingly I didn't have to wait too long and soon the roach were upon the bait and the alarm sounded giving single bleeps.
With the bacon cooked, the first real bite came and massive drop back of the bobbin that I missed by a million miles.

The morning drifted on and there was sporadic bites on maggot and caster baits, but most of the time the bites were un hittable.
Morning turned to afternoon and I finally managed to get a roach landed.Not a massive roach by any means but a blank saving fish and this was followed up with a few more until the bait ran out.

 What was nice bout this special place is that roach was a species that some would say were in decline on this water, but since 2011 they having been making a come back and it does just go to show that natural can sort its self out if given time.

There is also something new on the horizon with respect to a angling publication. Two very passionate anglers have come up with a unique printed magazine which will appeal to anglers whether they are coarse, game or sea, if the fish for roach, pike, carp there will be articles that everyone will enjoy. So here is a taster of Catch Cult.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Long Time Coming

The blog has been neglected since the last post, this has been for a variety of reason including pike fishing most weekends, long hours at work, studying, DIY, pestering the Environment Agency (EA) with FoI/EIR's and writing for others.

Pike Fishing, So far...

I been fortunate to have been out most weekends for a day on the banks in pursuit of my favourite species since October, but I have been surprised but the lack of sizeable pike considering venues I've been targeting should hold bigger pike.

Most session have rewarded me with a number of pike, but sadly nothing bigger than mid double. This have been
Whilst the size may have been small the average per session is three or four, so that not a bad average considering some of the venues are very difficult.
One of the most memorable session so far was on a local still water. I ventured down for dawn and had decided that I need to catch a few pets to using during the session. It was a bitterly cold day with a heavy frost on the ground and I was expecting a slow day.
Out with a mackerel tail first in area were I'd caught being and a lamprey on a float ledger next to the reeds. The float was just settling on the float ledger when the alarm sounded on the rod baited with the mackerel tail. I wound down and I could feel a weight at the end of the line. After a short scrap a low double was netted. At little over 13lb she was not a monster but was most welcome. The mackerel was still attached so it got chucked out again.

I quickly tackled up the float gear and baited with a couple of maggots. After about an hour, I had a few pets in a bucket ready for the session and soon had one out underneath a float. This plodded around the swim for a while before the float started dancing and then when sailing under. Tightening up a lively jack was soon at the edge and as the trace only had a single treble which was neatly in the scissors it didn't take much to nick it out and release the jack.
Another pet was attached and cast back out.

The float had hardly settled being it was buried again and another jack was soon reeled in and attached. This scenario went on for most of the morning, sling a pet out get a run, attach another cast it out get a run.

It was then the turn of the mackerel tail to have another run and and another jack decided that it would try to swallow a bait half as big as its self. This was soon returned without its meal.
The final run of the day was late in the afternoon on another pet. This time the pike was not a jack but another low double.

Finished the day with seven pike landed and two runs missed. Nothing huge  but very entertaining.

Pestering the EA with FoI etc

For the last year, in the region where I reside, its been noticeable that the EA are simply not spending money on the rivers in these parts. So I wanted to find out more. Que FoI and EIR for some answers and answers is what I got. F*ck all. I'm not going to go into depths as this is forming evidence for a show down with EA, but quite frankly it is a disgrace how much of the rod license money is not going back towards improving the rivers or angling.

Writing for others

I have also been trying to get some answers for an article I've written for Pikelines,which is the Pike Anglers Club quarterly club magazine. The article is about Windermere and its declining pike populations. I was asked by the Club's Secretary, John Currie to find out as much as I could about the water going into Windermere from United Utilities treatment work. The article was published in November 2016.

This has been quite time consuming article and it wasn't helped by the long time its take to get answers from both the Environment agency and United Utilities, but the end result was very rewarding and enlightening.

There is also a new magazine on the horizon so watch the news stand for Catch Cult which is being producer by Rob Shallcroft.