Before progressing on just how disastrous the last two weeks fishing have been I have to try and pinpoint the reasons for it. I personally still think that the long cold spring and the short summer is too blame as the rivers that have usually had a good flush through, uprooting the dead weed are still riddled with the stuff. Looking at the trees it’s coming to the end of the month and plenty of trees are still holding leaves. This autumnal drop usually is far quicker, a couple of frosts, then a good blow and they are gone, yet the storm a couple of weeks ago that should have cleaned these didn’t so this years drop is far slower and all the time leaves are falling into the rivers decaying and then poisoning them is just not conducive for good angling. Its not just the rivers that are suffering, its stillwaters too, all you have to do is look at the bottom, they are covered in leaves and with the water temperature slowly dropping due to the nightime frost over the last few weeks, trying to catch is almost impossible, in fact getting a bite on some sessions would be classified as a result. To be honest during this period I should have taken the foot of the peddle and taken the easier option, visiting either overstocked day ticket venues or simply targeting species such as chub, dace and grayling. I did do this to a certain point the first week, yet last week continued to track down species that haven’t settled. The older we get the wiser we get, it’s true to a point yet we also get stubborn and that’s exactly what I have been!
Let’s take a look at the first week -
After last weeks continuous ‘head banging against a brick wall’ targeting barbel I was somewhat relieved to have the week off, yet if you think I can go more than a couple of days without wetting a line, you’re wrong, but before doing so I was somewhat relieved to know that it wasn’t just myself that’s been struggling to catch. In fact here are a couple of words taken from emails that I received – ‘I’m desperate for a change of scene, found the Loddon ridiculously tough the last couple of weeks’ – ‘Not a touch, I think its an epidemic’!
A change of scenery is indeed sometimes what’s needed and taking the foot of tracking down big fish needs to be addressed especially when confidence is dwindling and needs to be boosted. Going back to basics, relaxing and just getting the rod bending often does the trick and that’s exactly what my brother and I did for a couple of hours on Tuesday afternoon and whilst doing so uncovered a potential gold mind.
Wednesday evening after more Christmas shopping I managed to sneak half a bottle of red into my fishing shed that’s been in need of tidying for a while. The wine was needed to make the depressing sight slightly more manageable, yet after two hours of organising I was able to move around as well as making plenty of bench space and close the door feeling that I had achieved something.
Thursday morning and with the girlfriend watching Christmas movies I spent a couple of hours tying up loads of short hooklinks which will make life so much easier as my eyesight isn’t very good and tying these up after dark is almost impossible now. I also started to organise different tackle boxes for different species, those being zander, perch, pike and roach, all species that will be in need of my time over the next few months. I was also hoping to get out with the girlfriend for a couple of hours into darkness but time got the better of us and with the air temperature plummeting away thought better of it, yet come Saturday evening the temperature going to be slightly more tolerable so we have decided to leave it till then.
Saturday seemed far more comfortable and with overcast skies and the temperature slightly warmer we headed out late afternoon all wrapped up as we were going to fish into darkness. The lake was empty and calm and come 7pm not so much as a bleep had come our way. Although I was hopeful, to be honest after at least two very hard ground frost the chances of catching were slim, yet it was good to get out and start acclimatising to the cooling weather.
Monday arrived earlier for me than most as the girlfriend was starting work at 5am so after a 4am start I managed to get a couple of hours in bed before hitting the yearly accounts come 8am, yet by 11am I had to knock this on the head as I had a couple of customers booked in hoping to catch their first ever zander. Meeting at 1pm we headed to my favoured area, up next to the old oaks along the long bank and were surprised to see just four other anglers fishing. After going through tactics, tackle and bait we cast out in hope of some action before darkness arrived as it was overcast and mild, perfect for zander, or so we thought. As darkness descended the bleeps started and we were all thinking the switch would be hit at anytime, yet come 9pm all we had to show for our efforts was one zander of 5lb 4oz which at least gave Tim his third personal best with me over the last two sessions. As we left the lake the temperature started to drop and the cloud disperse and looking up their it was a full moon and the reason why the fishing was so slow.
The rest of the week was all about feature writing and by its end I had written three articles, one for Coarse Angling Today and two for European magazines on catching winter carp using PVA and targeting eels on running water. I also have to admit to having a desire to cast a line, yet although I’m far from a fair weather angler, one thing I cant stand is wind, rain and low temperatures and Wednesday was just that, however all was not lost as I did venture out, not with my rods but with my eyes and as dusk fell I watched as fish after fish rolled in front of me. It was only three degrees, yet I looked up and thanked the fishing god as I will be back to fill my net, or so I thought as on Thursday evening I sat watching motionless indicators and questioning my sanity.
Friday dawned frosty, again yet this time I had perch in mind, headed to a local day ticket venue and blanked almost for four hours. A couple of roach, one that was cast out in the hope of a perch, the other a net one saved the day, yet on the arrival of three youngsters who continuously cast lures around the tiny lake I headed home, grabbed some different kit, headed to the lake where earlier in the week id seen fish showing and yep, you guessed it blanked!
A new direction
I’m going to be very honest here. October and November have been one of the hardest in my angling lifetime. I’m not sure if I’m pushing myself to hard and in the wrong direction targeting crucians in October and trying to catch a barbel of monstrous proportions on one of the hardest stretches of river in the south, so instead of boring you with my poor results, I would much rather, when one is caught bring you news of what my efforts behind the scenes have delivered so this will be my last weekly report.
Instead though and after seeing such huge hits on my website regarding my recent features on fishing the Method/Groundbait lead feel that my audience would much rather see features on how to catch certain species, so each week I will be visiting a venue accessible to all and then reporting back on my results. These articles won’t just be directed at catching specimen fish but will be more about just about catching and getting the best from a day out, something we all strive to achieve. Yes, most of the waters that I’ll be visiting will have the outside chance of catching a fish of a lifetime and on occasions they will include methods to do just that, yet I feel that its time to get the real reason we all go fishing for, to enjoy the surroundings, relax and put the net under a few modest size fish. This different approach will not only allow me to get a much needed new library of images, something I’m in need of for features but will also take the stress of consistently catching for my blog, something that’s I have known for a very long time has been a distraction on my specimen fishing.
Don’t think you will be getting less updates on my website, you wont as on top of these four ‘in-session with Duncan Charman’, you will get other articles as they are published within magazines as well as at the end of the month a monthly report, something that I already do for Nash Peg One site and Anglers Net so this wont mean any extra work for me.
Remember the saying, wherever theirs a famine their will be a feast, just keep at it and make the most of it when you find the fish in an obliging mood.