Duncan’s Monthly round-up – July 2015
Well what can be said about July? Not a lot really, yet I have to admit that its one of those months, which include June and August, where often the fishing is far from brilliant, in fact I would happily swap these three months with January, Feb and March any day in terms of consistent angling. One difference however is the weather, usually warm and dry with plenty of sunshine, yet this month has been, to put it mildly, bloody awful! The month started in a mini heat wave with temperatures reaching 37degrees, however night time temperatures have dropped often to single figures making it feel more like April. I have to admit that I spent the last night of July under the stars hoping to get a good night sleep bankside ready for a dawn start but slept badly due to feeling cold all night. Should have taken the thermals or an over-wrap but you just don’t expect to have to take these measures in the middle of our summer, or do you?
Anyway enough about the weather, I think we are all cursing it in one way or another. Sadly the fishing has been poor also, especially the river that we have been baiting for a number of weeks. This isn’t because of anything apart from the time of the year; the river is just rammed with weed which is the home of millions of natural food items which the fish can happily feed on without having to search for our baits. Yes fish do get caught but this is probably more to an angler casting a bait and this falling on its nose more than the fish actively having to search it out and eat it. Come September though, once the weed starts to die away, the river temperature drop, the nights starting to draw in and the reduction of natural food, its another story as barbel and all other fish will know that they need to feed up for the winter and this is the time to make the most of it. You maybe questioning, so why go to the trouble of pre-baiting through the summer, why not start come autumn? It’s a good question, one which many would simply take the later option, but come September more serious barbel anglers will be starting their campaigns and if we can get the fish to accept our bait without to much caution and accept it almost as part of their natural diet then we will be one step ahead of the others and hopefully reap the rewards.
My statistics this month don’t reflect the time that myself and Chris spend pre-baiting. Twice a week this is done, a round trip that takes each of us around three hours but luckily we split this between us, myself baiting at the weekend and Chris mid week. Sadly this month has also been one to forget for a number of other reasons, however we all have bad ones from time to time, it’s part of life. My time on the bank has been split between personal sessions (11) and guiding (5) which is the sort of split that I look for. I have been out numerous other times creating articles for Anglers Mail but I don’t include these within the statistics. Hours on the bank totalled 109hrs, not the most but taking into consideration a few personal issues then I didn’t expect much more.
Looking forward to August? Not really as this is another month where the fishing is usually hard. Just looking at Frensham and the rudd fishing that was the highlight of July, well I can tell you it wont be in August as the small fish have become problematic, something that usually happens, so the standard maggot approach just wont work so if I’m to continue then it will be a more specialist tactic that will have to be implemented and this will probably mean less fish in the net. I will probably use this month to get ahead of myself in terms of features. I’ve already supplied the Nash E-Zine magazine with plenty of content so if I can get everything that I have pending sorted by the end of the month it will simply free me up to start concentrating on my barbel fishing. Time on the bank will also differ somewhat as every year I have things in my mind that I want to try, things like improving my bread punch fishing, exploring a water for a potential mini species British record, spending a couple of nights on a new eel venue and seeing if the old tactics that worked so well at Frensham still produce the goods. So don’t expect to many big fish as August isn’t the month to catch fish at their best weights, in fact its probably the worst!
DAY TO DAY EVENTS
02/7/15 – Today was spent producing a barbel article for the Nash E-Zine so if you want to know what’s going on in more details and the rigs, bait that I’m using then you better keep your eye out on the Nash website for the next issue.
Once this was completed it was time to get the eel kit sorted and head out for a night under the stars. Apart from one small pike no eels graced the net but Chris missed three belters.
03/7/15 – Back at home by 6am and time for a couple of hours shut eye before getting ready to head of to the Tight Lines studio for the last time and if time allows I will bait the river on my return and once again head to the lake in hope of a big eel, even if this means setting up in darkness.
Well if you thought stormy muggy nights was best for eels then think again as apart from one aborted run and a small pike to Chris the lake failed to produce again. Looking at the conditions this stormy night did coincide with a full moon as well as a wind that swung a complete 180degrees during the overnight session.
06/7/15 – An early start saw myself at Frensham before 5am setting up for the arrival of my customer at 6am. It was a chilly misty start at just 8 degrees and unfortunately one of those days when Frensham is just impossible. In fact for the past week the lake has fished very badly, probably because the tench are going into spawning however if this was the case the rudd should still be feeding? Anyway come midday we decided to knock the session on the head and save a few hours for a return visit in a week or so.
After lunch and catching up on some paperwork at home I grabbed the barbel rod and headed to the river for a few hours yet just one strange bite that failed to materialize was forth coming. I did see a big dorsal break surface in one swim, definitely from either a big bream or barbel so they are about. I would have stayed later than 10pm but the next day was once again another 4am start.
07/07/15 – Today was booked to complete the photos for an Anglers Mail feature at Todber Manor in Dorset. The best part of 4hrs on the road and six on the bank left me knackered, so the text for the Venue Expert will have to be completed later in the week.
08/07/15 – I popped over to Enton at 7.30am to catch up with my dad, brother and girlfriend’s dad who were all catching Crucians, tench and rudd so at least one local lake is fishing well.
09/07/15 – Met Chris at 7pm next to the river and fished through to midnight. Unfortunately neither of us experienced anything fishy, not even a good fish moved, but all the swims got baited again so it will happen but when?
10/07/15 – Completed the Venue Expert article for the Mail so headed to Enton for a few hours. Arriving at 4pm set up along the railway bank. A few tench were being caught but generally tough so started on the helicopter rigs and maggot, a tactic that worked earlier in the week but after two hours and just one lost tench switched to my normal methods and started catching straight away. With the banks getting busy with weekend anglers I found that casting long was the best tactic and although no crucians came, come 10pmten tench to 4lb had.
11/07/15 – Up at 5am and on the bank of the Loddon by 6am to meet a new customer for the day who was hoping to catch his first ever barbel. With a sunny day forecasted and temperatures reaching the mid twenties it was once again a day of targeting the shady feature swims. We knew bites would be few and far between but a barbel did come at 10.30am after moving around and rotating a few swims but unfortunately the hook pulled soon into the fight. Apart from a crayfish and a couple of chub knocks that was the end of the action yet Chris now has the confidence and rig to return and I know it wont be long before he manages his first barbel.
13/07/15 – Probably the worst day of my life so far as had to make the heart wrenching decision to say goodbye to my 23yr old cat. In no state to write an article that was my intension I made up rigs for Tuesday’s FAS barbel teach-in and headed to the river in hope of some excitement, yet all that happened was it rained.
14/07/15 – The morning was spent writing an article for Coarse Angling Today before heading to Stanford End for the second FAS Barbel Teach-in. The rain over the past days had given the river some colour and with overcast mild conditions the river should have fished well but just one 5lb chub was caught, however after I left at 10pm a 9lb 13oz barbel was taken along with one lost and another 5lb+ chub.
On the way home I stopped off at Farnham Golf Course and collected 60 lobs from the practice ground for some eel fishing later in the week.
16/07/15 – Having a couple of days fishing to look forward too I headed to GAS Broadwater arriving at 8am to join up with my brother and dad. 95% of the carp were acting strange, all up on the surface and it soon became apparent that we were fishing for the remaining 5%. In short the fishing was hard with six carp shared equally between us and come 1pm and having to get my kit sorted for a guiding session that night headed home. Kevin and dad stayed on for a few hours and managed a few more including a twenty plus some good roach that maybe need looking at soon.
Once the tackle was sorted I headed down to Winchester to pick young Tom up. Id promised to help catch him some new personal best and our first target was a two-pound rudd from Frensham. The lakes been tough of late but after spodding some Nash Salted Mini-Mix and maggots out we placed heli-rigs over the top. The weather wasn’t kind with thunder, lightning and heavy rain for most of the night but come the morning we had landed five two pound rudd, the best 2lb 4oz and 2lb 7oz.
17/07/15 – Absolutely knackered I managed a couple of hour’s kip to recharge the batteries before the daily duties were completed as well as sorting out the barbel kit. Chris had managed to bait the swims on our big fish venue before we met at another river, really just for a change of scenery. Rods out come 8pm, Chris with two barbel rods, myself one for barbel and the other for eels as the river was carrying some colour. 9.30pm I had my first bite which was from an 8lb bream before things went quiet till 5am when the rod slammed round from unfortunately a chub that didn’t even make 4lb. No call from Chris meant that no big fish had come his way, in fact his night passed without incident.
20/07/15 – Not a lot of fishing happening this week as having the week off, however did pop up to the Pitcher and Piano Pub at Richmond to meet up with the Tight Lines crew and say fair well. What with one thing and another its not been the best of months, a very sad one in fact, hopefully I will be able to stay in touch with many of the crew like Keith, Andy and Mick and that one day we will all be able to work together again and bring the millions of anglers a proper angling show on TV. Tight Lines, you will be sadly missed and I wish everyone involved the very best for the future.
27/07/15 – No fishing for a week and to say I’m missing it would be an understatement. I was hoping to get out last Friday but the weather was so bad that the social day with the dads was cancelled. I was also hoping to get out on the Saturday night but once again things went tits up and the few hours at Frensham were cancelled.
Most of today has been spent writing a feature for the Nash website E-Zine content about the golden orfe campaign earlier in the year. Once that was completed I obviously had lots of paperwork to sort before organising the kit and heading to the river for an overnight session.
28/07/15 – Unfortunately the night on the river failed to produce which was surprising seems the river was coloured, although fining down.
Come 3pm I was on my way to Frensham Pond for a guided rudd session with my good friend Lewis. Unable to get first choice swim we settled in one surrounded by rushes which gave us some respite from the strong S/W wind. Initially just small fish came; rudd and perch yet constant casting finally bought a bigger rudd, one that weighed exactly 2lb. A few fish were lost, probably tench due to kiting around the rushes plus another better rudd of 1lb 12oz however the full moon and high wind made things far harder than normal conditions and come midnight the swim seemed dead.
29/07/15 – A day spent getting another feature sorted for Nash E-zine, this time revealing a few of my secrets on catching crucians at Enton.
30/07/15 – The toothache continues and after an appointment I managed to spend a few hours at Waggoners Wells perfecting my bread punch fishing. The fishing was steady but their were no big roach, maybe 12oz biggest in a total weight of around 12lb, not bad for three hours work.
31/07/15 – 01/08/15 – After completing the photographs for a soon to be released Anglers Mail Venue Expert on Monks Lake in Kent I headed down to Mill Farm Fishery in West Sussex. My thoughts were having a go at the Silver Bream come first light and my mates Chris’s was to try for eels during the night. Unfortunately neither a big eel or silver came our way but plenty of fish did including lots of carp to around 14lb, loads of small silver bream plus the odd good roach and tench. Amazingly all I thought about during the night was just how cold it was, 5 degrees at the end of July, just stupid. The full moon didn’t help either!