Duncan’s Monthly round-up – March 2015
1/3/15 – After dropping the girlfriend off at work I picked fishing pal Chris up and we headed to the River Itchen for what might be our last chance of a two-pound grayling. The river looked good, albeit slightly faster than normal and whilst Chris tackled up I sneaked a couple of grayling out from a usually easy swim but it was far tougher than normal and when Chris failed to gain any response in his swim it seemed the writing was on the wall. Fortunately most anglers had stayed at home and we enjoyed leap-fogging each other taking maybe a dozen fish before heading downstream to explore new pastures. We both found a productive swim but apart from one sizeable grayling each of around 1lb 8oz it seemed the trout were on the feed and although good sport it wasn’t what we really came for so decided to head to a new spot that I recall seeing massive grayling some thirty years ago! We caught quite a few fish all around two…ounces and decided as this was a somewhat grey area for fishing their was absolutely no point pushing our luck so headed home in time to see England get a lesson in rugby discipline by Ireland.
2/3/15 – Today’s task was to complete a ‘Best off’ feature for Anglers Mail which took most of the day, before catching up on the usual daily tasks.
3/3/15 – Another day in the office, mainly because looking at the weather its going to warm up as the week goes on so best get all the features and paperwork done when the weathers cold and not good for angling. Jobs today included sending Nash my monthly round-up and doing a couple of user reports for anglers mail, yet it amazes me just how long emailing and telephone calls can take, today it just seemed to engulf most off the day. I did speak to my old mate Mike Townsend, based in Doncaster, he is what I call one of the nice guys in angling, always jolly and willing to pass on leads, in exchange for the same, which is more than I can say for many of the younger, look at me, take all and give f-all back in the press type angler!
4/3/15 – Today saw me on the banks of the river Blackwater/Test tributary in the Broadlands fishery complex with customer Howard. We were hoping for a bit of stick float fishing, however the Blackwater was coloured and pushing hard and couple this with the overgrown nature of the river made it not very enjoyable. We did manage a few small dace and roach yet after just a couple of hours headed to a free stretch of the river Itchen. There we bumped into a couple of friends, one being Sky Sports Andy Ford who had already been through the stretch fluff chucking with plenty of success. Normally I fish corn here yet with a couple of pints of maggots these were used which saw maybe thirty fish taken. Unfortunately these were mainly small trout, salmon par plus grayling to just over the pound. I think the size of fish was mainly down to fishing the swims after others had been in them, probably catching bigger fish and leaving us to be the pest controllers. One thing that was noticed is how important it is to use the right pattern and size of hook. I have to smile when I read articles where anglers complicate grayling fishing by using small hooks, swivels and elastic shock absorbers. To solve problems of loosing grayling is simple, use a strong hooklink such as Reflo 0.13mm then tie on a size 12 or 14 Kamasan micro barbed B525.
5/3/15 – A day spent writing and compiling images for ‘Day Ticket’ number 12 for Coarse Angling Today as well as getting in touch with a few different fisheries to start a new feature for Anglers Mail.
6/3/15 – The general ‘odds and sods’ before getting the barbel kit and heading to the river. Arriving at 2pm I bait dropped a couple of swims on route to swim number one where after just 2 minutes the tip signalled a bite by three serious taps. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, whether I was taken unexpectedly from such a quick bite, or that my clutch should have been tightened right up due to a snag downstream, yet the fish didn’t charge downstream in barbel fashion but head across the current before finding sanctuary within the snag. My head tells me that the culprit was a carp, yet my heart tells me that it could also have been a very big barbel. Come 9pm and after trying three other swims without a touch it was time to call it a day. I’m trying to tell myself that just getting a bite was a result, yet it certainly doesn’t feel like it!
9/3/15 – Today was spent compiling a feature on different variations on the helicopter rig for a European magazine. This along with general Monday morning organisation took up the day, however with the end of the river season in sight and thoughts of that lost fish last week I’m going to spend the next few days on the bank in the hope of something special to end the season.
10/3/15 – Trying to make a mends on losing that fish last week headed back, late morning to the stretch for revenge yet second swim in and disaster happens as yet again a hooked fish finds a snag. This time it was down to bad angling, however the bite and fight was certainly not from a barbel but probably a big chub. To say the F word was mentioned is an understatement yet lets just say I never made this mistake before mobile phones were taken to the river! If things couldn’t get worse a chub bite was missed in the next peg and five swims later the salt was rubbed into the wounds when I finally slide the net under a fish, a bloody two pound sea trout!
11/3/15 – Today was meant to be a day of rod bending action at one of my favourite day ticket venues however come the end of the day I could only manage two pound and a half roach. Dad fared better with two similar roach plus a tench. I was trying to compile an article for Anglers Mail and had high hopes of the standard 100lb mixed catch only for the bailiff to inform me that the lake had been netted 48hrs prior to my arrival and couple this with a brisk easterly wind had certainly put the fish off. Hopefully next week will be better.
12/3/15 – Today was spent with a customer on the banks of the river Loddon in hope of a last minute barbel. Conditions were good apart from a low clear river yet roving around soon saw the tip bounce and thin air to be struck. Chris didn’t make any mistakes come the next bite but yet again it came from a modest chub. Searching the river we soon settled in to a new swim and at last the three-foot twitch arrives and a barbel hooked, yet it seems my luck is rubbing off as having the fish beaten, it makes one last dash and the hook pulls. I’m not sure who was gutted more, Chris or myself yet at least the new tactic that I’ve started to use is working.
13/3/15 – Chris my mate has the day off so we decided to head to the river again in the hope of a barbel. Full of confidence with the new method and bait saw the rod pull round first swim in and a chub of 4lb 14oz landed. This was followed by another four-pounder in the next swim. That was my only action with Chris taking a chub in his last swim. Heading home just after lunch time we grabbed some food and headed to Old Bury Hill for a last chance fish at the zander. Meeting up with five other anglers we spaced ourselves out along the grassy bank and soon started to get a few indications. Barrie was first to catch, a small zed of around 3lb with Ian landing his first of the species, one that weighed 4lb 2oz and was soon followed by a double figured common. Full of expectance, especially when Barrie landed two more to 6lb 5oz, we all patiently sat behind our rods awaiting the switch to be hit, yet come 9pm we were all still waiting as after dark the lake died a death and although we continued to refresh the baits and keep casting the zander were just not playing ball. The saying ‘when the winds in the east the fish bite the least’ certainly was true this week!
16/3/15 – The standard day spent writing up features for Anglers Mail, posting new data on my website and facebook, returning all my emails as well as fixing a leaking toilet, joy!
17/3/15 – On the road early with the car pointed in the direction of Slough House Lake in Essex to create an Action Replay for Anglers Mail. Back home by 4pm meant that I could set about sorting out the tackle for Thursday/Friday and have a full day writing the article up on Wednesday.
18/3/15 – In the office all day to get feature to publication for deadline.
19/3/15 – This was the first session back in the world of targeting a certain species and size, however as the big fish world goes, you have to take the good and bad days and believe me there are more bad ones than good. Today proved to be a bad day, due to the horrid north east wind that has been killing sport for everyone. Target species failed to show with my only decent fish being a tench. Hoping for a better day tomorrow, however I think it will be the same as although decreasing is still coming from the N/E.
20/3/15 – Arriving back at the lake at 7.30am we were confronted with a chilly Easterly and trying to find the fish I set up with the wind in my face which was uncomfortable to say the least. Chris was into a carp straight away so hopes were high, however with such a bad wind it wasn’t to be and come 4pm we decided to call it a day. I managed a tench again plus a few modest roach with Chris taking the same with his best roach going 1lb 7oz.
21/3/15 & 22/3/15 – The Big One. Two days on your feet all day, early starts, eating crap takes it out of you, and as for a 50th birthday get together Saturday night, well I needed that like a whole in the head and come 8.30am the girlfriend sent me to bed as I was snoring loudly in the sofa! To be honest I love these shows as it’s a great time to do some networking with other companies as well as catching up with customers and fishing friends that, well if it wasn’t for the shows, it just wouldn’t be possible. Highlights of the weekend have to be chatting with legends such as Sir Pete Springate, Chris Ball, Chilly, Des Taylor and Mr day-ticket himself Bill Rushmer. I didn’t get my cuddle from Virginia but Sarah Collins at Go-Fishing made up for this, she’s an inspiration to us all. The Korum Consultants are always fantastic, especially Dia Gribble who came over for a good chat as well as the big man himself, ‘The Pons’ who gave me a big hug, then a good talking too as well. The local angling clubs, such as Farnham Angling Society and Hartley Witney were doing their very best to attract new members, as were Godalming, however the cries of 180 seem to be the passing comment. Nash, well they surprise me every minute with a never ending release of innovative products and baits. What’s hot at the moment? Well it has to be ‘The Key’ a HNV bait that I tried right at the end of the season, and well, if you’re a chub angler its instant! However Gary informs me that TG Active and 4G Squid are even better, bloody hell they will be crawling up my rods then! A problem that many predator angler experiences is an alarm not working when using slack line, open bail-arms. Well forget the rest and go with an alarm that works in these precious moments and you don’t have to reach deep also. The Siren S5 solves that dreaded problem, especially for eel and perch anglers, the moment when the drop off indicator pulls off, giving just a single bleep followed by nothing! Well I can assure you that 27.99 will solve that problem! The Scope and Dwarf range of rods draw an ever lasting following as do the bed chair/sleeping bag system do, and as for the bivvies it’s like a bee-hive of activity but for me I will settle for the brilliant Groundhog Oval style brolly. The new range of small item luggage is also innovative as it covers every area of fishing from, camera case, scale and lead pouch to overnight/session angler food and bait carryalls, to be honest I could go on for ever but its easier to go to www.nashtackel.co.uk and enjoy looking at an everlasting array of long lasting products that will keep you happy. It was also good to catch up with the consultancy team who make these shows run so smoothly, anglers such as Paul Garner, Ted Bryant, and Alan Storey.
23/3/15 – Monday it was straight back into things again, this time heading off to Berkshire to look at and create a couple of new venues for Anglers Mails ‘Where to fish’ section.
24/3/15 – Tuesday once again was spent creating another Anglers Mail feature, this time called ‘Venue Expert’ at Willow Park Fishery with a true Gentleman of our sport, Alan Chadbone. Keep an eye out for these informative venue articles as they will help you catch loads more fish. Unfortunately time got the better of me as I was hoping to write this up in the evening but it will have to be done on Thursday as I’ve got that twitchy feeling and need to go fishing on Wednesday.
25/3/15 – Big fish session. Was it a success, well you will have to wait till the end of April to find out!
26/3/15 – Back in the office to write up Tuesdays feature along with getting the specimen gear out for tomorrow.
27/3/15 – Big fish session.
29/3/15 – Big fish session.
30/5/15 – The standard Monday morning round up which included taking a number of photographs to complete and forward a European article as well as heading to Berkshire to get a couple of images and info on new Anglers Mail ‘Where to fish’ venues along with getting the kit sorted once more for another Big Fish session that, due to the weather might not happen on Tuesday. Lets just see what’s happening come 5am!
Well it had to be the horrid easterly come north east wind that really put paid to the sport this month. In total I been out casting a line on thirteen occasions split between personal sessions (9) Guiding (3) and features (1) totalling nearly 100hrs, a nice split yet its been the time spent indoors producing features that really indicate the amount of hours dedicated to angling.
The first two weeks of the month were spent on running water with the hope of a monster barbel. Unfortunately apart from a customer loosing one, the only species that seemed willing to feed were chub. A last go at catching a few zander failed miserably with five out of seven anglers blanking, however the move from running to still water has had its highs and lows. This is standard when fishing for big fish in low stocked waters, bites come at a premium but fortunately a couple of mine have come from good fish to lift my confidence for a good April.
I would love to share where and what I’m up to but with the campaign in its early stages I can’t disclose these details until the end of next month. Hopefully their will be loads to tell you.