Duncan’s Monthly round-up – May 2015
Well what a transformation in the weather from the 1st to the 30th, at least it seems that summer has finally arrived now.
It’s been one of my busiest ever months seeing myself on the bank no fewer than twenty one times. These trips have been split between Guiding (9), Personal (10 and Features (2) a total of 135hrs in which a bait was in the water. These sessions have seen the short crucian campaign at Enton come to a close resulting in my new personal best of 4lb 4oz and with the opening of the river the barbel campaign commence. As you can see time has been spent getting to know a new river as well as baiting a few swims with the hope that a few barbel with get onto the feed and give us some results. To be honest I wasn’t expecting any barbel to show in June, so when the last session produced a proper ‘big un’ it was a satisfying result. Let’s just hope the flood gates open and one comes along to smash my personal best that stands at 16lb 10oz.
June was also a sad month as Sky TV has pulled on Tight Lines, a show that has been running for years and one that encourages youngsters to get into fishing as well as portraying angling in such a variety of ways.
If you’ve been reading my face book page you will see that I have tried my best to keep a few teasers posted and for all those that look forward to seeing what I have been up to in more depth, well read on…
DAY TO DAY EVENTS
29/5/15 – I didn’t expect to fish again in May and even wrote up my monthly blog however Ben at Apollo had a contact for me to do a Venue Expert feature, so put the tackle in the car as it was still made up from the previous night. Arriving around 4pm I found the venue to be busy with the weekend carpers already in position so dropped into peg 19. Using my new found method and placing plastic baits on both rods I cast one out around twenty yards whilst placing the other under the rod tip. The close in rod failed to produce but further out saw around a dozen tench taken plus three crucians, 3lb 5oz, 3lb 10oz and the fish that is being claimed as a new British record and a new personal best for myself, spawned out weighing 4lb 4oz!
01/06/15 – Summers certainly not here yet as a wet and windy weather front sweeps the country over the next couple of days. At just 12 degrees and with a strong wind I nearly stayed at home like most other anglers but suffering from a bad toothache and struggling to concentrate on anything headed out into the gloom. Should have stayed at home as after three and a half hours I failed to get a bite as did my dad who joined me and with no fish showing knew that Enton was having one of its off days and packed up once the rain started to fall. Back at home I managed to get started on tying up some rigs and answering some questions for Anglers Mail.
03/06/05 – The tooth ache continues even after a trip to the dentist yet I managed to finish off the AM answers and questions along with sorting out the tackle for a guided overnight cat trip to Badshot Lea tonight.
04/06/05 – Unfortunately apart from good company the fishing at BLBP was terrible. It wasn’t just us as others seem to be struggling and apart from one bream and a missed run, that was it. Trying to fathom out why it was so slow we have to look at the weather again. The moon was full, the temperature dropped from 20 degrees to just 5 and the wind swung from the S/W to an easterly overnight. Its one of those occasions when the two anglers will have a return visit on me in a few weeks time.
Back at home it was time to tidy the tackle, get tomorrows kit sorted for Newdigate, and visit the dentist again, before heading to the river to start a pre-baiting campaign for the start of the river season.
05/06/15 – Another early start, up by 5am and on the road by six to meet up with Lewis my customer for the day and a session at Newdigate to see if he could catch his first ever golden orfe. The warm weather continues, albeit very muggy, the perfect fishy day when you would put money on them crawling up your rods and after the last few difficult sessions I was hoping to see some consistent sport. How wrong was I as apart from a very early tench and tiny golden orfe things went quiet. The wind was swinging all over the place and a few hours past with little activity yet a spell late morning saw two golden orfe of 4lb 7oz and 4lb 8oz caught along with three modest tench. Come 1pm the sport, as predicted slowed and come 3pm it was time to head home before the traffic built up. It was great to see that the big orfe I caught at 6lb 5oz had survived the horrific injuries inflicted by a heron, although badly scared and well down in weight at 4lb 7oz, lets hope she starts putting some weight on.
Back at home it was once again all go as I needed to get the tackle ready for a Farnham Angling Society Junior Teach-in the following day.
06/06/15 – Knowing that the fishing on Badshot Lea had taken a turn for the worse of late I wasn’t over confident of catching the two youngsters, Ethan and Jack, some fish, especially as we were starting at 9am. The wind was strong and from the side making casting difficult however the helicopter rig did its business providing a 4lb bream to Ethan just seconds after casting out. Unfortunately his younger brother had to leave for football practice early so missed out on the bream action as by the time he returned his brother had managed another three along with a few roach and perch. Fortunately their were still a few fish feeding, mainly perch and roach which kept him happy. It was a great session, just a shame that so few youngsters aren’t interested in other species apart from carp and that these sessions are so badly attended, yet refreshing to help the few that are. I’m certain that their dad learnt lots; let’s just hope he puts everything into practice in next weeks army charity match!
Back at home I had to sort out the camera kit as tomorrow sees another early start, this time heading off to Larford Lakes to shoot a feature with Perry Stone.
07/06/15 – It’s Sunday and I’m a bit dazed when the alarm sounds at 5.45am, yet once I come to my senses I realise I need to be in Worcestershire around 8.30am. Fortunately the drive was a good one and I arrived to meet Perry Stone setting up on the Specimen Lake. Can’t tell you anymore, however if you want to know a few of his secrets then you need to keep an eye on Anglers Mail as the feature will be in it soon.
08/06/15 – Tapping away on the computer keyboard by 7am as well as sorting through yesterday’s images so that I can get the feature to AM by the end of the day. Come the evening I headed south to pre-bait a few swims for the fast approaching river season.
09/06/15 – A change of venue from Wylies to Willow saw myself guiding good friend Ron to a bit of floater and zig fishing. Unfortunately the strong cold north east wind and spawning activities put paid to countless amounts of fish and we arrived to find a usually active lake dead. The zigs failed as did swapping over to helicopter rigs but after careful baiting we managed to get the odd carp feeding which finally saw Ron land his personal best carp, a common of 16lb 10oz. It was certainly one of those days when one bite turned what could have been a blank into one he will remember.
Back home by 2.30pm I quickly gathered my kit so I could join up with my dad at Johnsons. It seems the words out that everywhere is fishing hard as unlike previous weeks the banks were almost deserted! Dad was already set up and had lost a tench so at least a few fish were biting and come dusk he had taken around six tench to over 6lb. I managed a dozen or more fish with two crucians and a tench of 7lb 10oz being the pick of the bunch and my mate Chris fished for a couple of hours taking three tench and a 3lb 4oz crucian.
11/06/15 – With a couple of hours spare before meeting an angler at Richardsons on the Marsh Farm Complex I cast out a couple of rigs into Johnsons in hope of a few crucians yet it was once again just tench that graced my net. Back on Richardson Trevor was steadily catching crucians for an Anglers Mail Venue Expert feature. Back home by 3pm I managed to get the tench kit sorted for a days guiding at Mill Lane as well as proof reading a couple of past articles.
12/06/15 – Once again I was up early meeting Alan at Mill Lane. He wanted an introduction to the venue as he was looking at increasing his personal best tench. We had already agreed that a bite would be a result as I know some very capable anglers that have taken a long time to get to know the venue before they started to catch. Fortunately the venue was quiet and the weather, humid and stormy seemed to be playing into our hands however the horrid N/E wind that had plagued us all over the last week or so had decided to change to the S/W. A good thing you may think yet we were at the changeover stage and found the lake to be flat calm. A few tench were rolling and bubbling and we decided to attack the venue in two ways. Alan went in positive with a few balls of groundbait just over the inside weed cover whilst I decided to fish for a bite, scaling things down and fishing the same rigs as those so effective at Johnsons. Alan looked as if it would be him that caught with loads of fizzing in his swim as well as constant liners, yet it was my rod that flew into action producing a tench just shy of 6lb. That was the end of the action as late morning the lake died and come 3pm, just before the heavens opened we headed home happy as loads of lessons had been learnt, ones that he will certainly gain from in his next visits.
15/06/16 – The standard day in the office this time writing my latest article for Coarse Angling Today. Time was also spent getting the rod ready for an early start to the new river season.
16/06/15 – Early to bed, early to rise and the alarm sounded at 4am. Meeting my mate Chris next to the river at 5am we, not surprisingly, found a couple of other anglers already on the river so as we have been baiting a few swim leading up to the start had to keep a low profile as not to be seen. This unfortunately took a part of the river out that we had high hopes off but we still had three spots to try that had also been baited. Knowing just how slow the rivers can be during the first few weeks we had already agreed that getting a bite would be a result so set about the task of achieving this. Chris fished a well good looking swim but in the five hour stint failed to get a response. I had two swims to go at and after less than half an hour hooked a sizeable fish yet it was definitely not a barbel. Unfortunately the hooked pulled and I consoled myself that it had to be a big bream, yet in the back of my mind I knew it could have been a big chub. A good fish showed itself moving up the far bank, carp I would suspect, so this was an encouraging sign for the future. The last swim seemed devoid of fish, yet it was by now late morning.
Back at home it was time for a couple of hours shut eye before taking the girlfriend for a meal as her birthday also falls on the glorious 16th.
17/6/15 – In the office by 7.30am and working on a feature on unhooking mats for Anglers Mail. All finished by 6pm and out for another meal to celebrate my brothers birthday.
18/6/15 – This is the time of year when burning the candle at both ends comes into play as this morning I was up at 4am and at Enton by 5am as I was meeting my girlfriends dad, Mick, who had never fished the venue before. With the wind pushing into the shallows I hoped spaces would be free but there wasn’t any and after quickly trying a couple of new swims but not feeling it, I headed for the railway bank which was empty. By now the wind had swung to the north east and literally seconds after setting Mick up he was away with a tench. Thinking the flood gates would open he then struggled, yet the next fish he caught was a 3lb 1oz crucian. My dad had now arrived and I was well into a rhythm having taken two crucians and three tench, yet although steady things did slow up. Dad however was giving me a right lesson in catching and by the time I had left at 11am he had caught me up and landed five crucian to 3lb 2oz plus six tench. I ended the session with five crucians to 3lb 6oz and six tench so all in all a pretty good session.
Back at home and after lunch I was straight back into the office paperwork, banking, blog writing as well as sending over articles and images to Anglers Mail along with getting the rods and tackle sorted for my first eel session of the year and by 9pm the rods were out.
19/6/15 – Unfortunately come 5am and apart from a few very strange bleeps a run hadn’t developed. My mate Chris however had received two screamers in the night but unfortunately failed to make contract with either.
Back at home I was once again feature writing this time a ‘Venue Expert’ for the Mail before once again grabbing the eel kit and heading off again for another night, but not before dropping some bait in the river to keep our barbel swims alive.
Rods out come 9pm and soon after casting out a pike of around 7lb picks up my deadbait. Then as darkness arrives the bleeps begin but not before missing a proper eel bite. Around 11pm an aborted take occurs then I connect with the next bite and an eel of 3lb 15oz is taken. The bleeping continues before a change of bait at 12.30am sees the swim quieten down. Chris tries the same swim as the night before and again has loads of bleeps and one aborted take.
21/6/15 – It was a toss up whether to go fishing today on the river or leave it till the morning. Although the weathers far better today I decided to spend most of the day completing an Anglers Mail feature and head to the river on Monday. The main reasons are their will be far less anglers around and after baiting the swims on Friday feel that the barbel, if any are around, will be ready for some more. Let’s wait and see.
22/6/15 – On the river by 8am and covered five of the six baited swims giving each around an hour. First swim had two good fish roll and started to rub my hands together yet when the bite came the tip bent round slightly slower than I would have wished for. Straight away I guessed it was a bream and right I was, one that weighed 7lb 10oz. The fight was the same as the fish lost last week so I’m now sure that was a bream as well, albeit in another swim. Baited all the swims prior to leaving and back at home by 3.30pm giving me plenty of time to sort the kit for a rudd guiding day tomorrow and a tight lines feature on Wednesday.
23/6/15 – Managed to get to the Frensham early to see what swims were free and with the wind predominantly from the west headed to a swim with plenty of ripple. I was meeting a new customer today, one that I had met whilst guiding on the river Test at Timsbury during the winter and had mentioned how he would love to catch a big rudd. After running through the two similar but slightly different set-ups we managed to get the rods out by around 3.30pm. Regular casting to build the swim finally bought a response around 5pm however this was from a tench that unfortunately threw the hook. Around 7pm Neil Wayte turned up for a chat and whilst enjoying catching up the alarm sounded and Ritchie hooked what at first seemed to be a coot, yet with the coot going one way and the line the other he soon became somewhat jelly legged and after a short fight managed to place the fish he had dreamed of in the net, a rudd weighing 2lb 3oz. This signalled a flurry of bites to both rods and come 11pm he had managed another four weighing 1lb 15oz, 2lb 2oz, 2lb 5oz and 2lb 8oz. So happy he even knocked the session on the head an hour early so he could score some brownie points back at home. Good luck Ritchie, I know you are going to like Frensham!
24/6/15 – Up at 5.30am as today I was fishing once again for the Tight Lines crew. I can’t say too much apart from ‘I’m only human’. The show will go out on Friday 3rd of July when I will be joining Keith in the Bothy to talk about the start of the river session.
25/6/15 – With the tackle somewhat in a state today was mostly spent tidying it up as well as getting things sorted for a tench and a barbel guiding session on Friday and Saturday.
26/6/15 – Another early morning, 4am in fact and on the banks of Frensham by 5am. Headed for the bridal path around half way along and prepared the swim for my customer Andrew who arrived at 5.30am. A few tench were rolling but it took at least an hour for the alarm to sound and a tench to pick up his double maggot offering. It was the start of a steady couple of hours in which four more tench were netted, the best two weighing 6lb 7oz and 7lb 1oz, both supplying Andrew with new personal bests. As expected the swim died around 9.30am but a shoal of perch moved in early afternoon that kept us busy. Come 3pm it was clear that the tench had switched off so both knackered decided to call it a day and miss the rush hour traffic.
27/6/15 – Today I was hoping to help young Jake and his granddad William catch their first ever barbel. Meeting at 8am at Stanford End we were fortunate to only have one angler fishing and with a couple of good barbel swims free we were soon settled with the pellet lead cast and hopefully doing its job, attracting a barbel. I initially sat with Jake who’s only 11 and just five minutes after casting in the tip pulled round and he was away, yet it wasn’t a barbel but his first ever chub, one that weighed 5lb 1oz. William hadn’t had any enquiries so I decided to keep him on the move trying all the shaded swims as the sun was now high and the temperatures on the rise. Second swim and whilst talking to him the rod started to show signs of fish and then the rod was gone with William not seeing the three-foot twitch and now experiencing just how powerful a barbel can be. After a few anxious minutes in which time the fish snagged him we finally managed to get it in the net, not a big one but his first at 5lb 10oz. Jake was also moving around and could have had another chub but we decided to wait till the rod ripped round so ignored the chub taps and pulls. Unfortunately as the temperatures rose well into the twenties all signs of fish disappeared and we decided that as we had only fished six hours to knock it on the head and return another day to make up the ten hours my guided sessions last. It’s not something that I usually do but having covered all the best swims I just couldn’t see another fish falling in such bright conditions.
29/6/15 – 1ST FAS Barbel Teach-in, Venue Stanford End. Hot and bright with barbel spawning. One chub of 5lb 4oz and an 8lb 12oz barbel caught.
30/6/15 – The hottest day of the year with temperatures into the low thirties. Knowing that it would be almost impossible during daylight I had to make a decision between targeting eels or barbel. It was a far better night for eels with stormy conditions forecasted after dark but knowing that the river needed its regular baiting up I decided it would be barbel. Arriving to meet my mate Chris at 7pm we headed to the furthest baited swim with the plan of working back towards the car as the session progressed. Tossing a coin we picked our swims and settled in and it was obvious quickly that my swim contained fish. Two big heavy rolls, probably bream, showed that the baiting was working then the liners stated before a steady pull round resulted in nothing! Chris called soon after this as he had a good bream and needing images for the Nash e-zine magazine I headed downstream to take a few shots. Back in my swim and with the rod positioned once more the same thing happened, it was as if I didn’t have a hook on. Confident they were bream and with darkness falling we headed downstream to the next baited spots.
Once again two big fished rolled before the rod pulled round and yep, you’ve guessed it, thin air was struck. Replacing the bait and holding the rod once again saw a bite materialise however this time the rig did its job and expecting a bream I was somewhat taken when line started pouring from a tight clutch. To be honest Id seen a carp in this swim last week and expected one of these to show so was completely surprised when a good barbel showed. A few anxious moments followed before the first of the campaign slid into the waiting net and at 10lb 14oz it was a rewarding end to the session. Chris failed to get any further enquires and having to work the next day finally called it a day at 12.30am.