Monthly Report September 2016
Opps, may have opened a can of worms with my comments last month about magic scales as I have had a number of people asking, is it him and in most cases you are wrong? Let’s look at it like this. I would only make a comment if I was 100% certain that there was dishonesty happening. I just wantedto rattle the cage of anyone that think they can try it on and get away with it. If you are an honest angler, catching specimen fish and are weighing them accurately then my comments should not in any way have offended you.
Well September is finally with us and do I see a slight change in the weather? Fished a river for the first time this season and my god, do we need some rain as the river Thames was almost stagnant! I have to admit, although the fishing was tough I really enjoyed the company, change of scenery and the occasional roach to just over the pound and certainly look forward to getting out on flowing water more in the next few weeks.
Badshot Lea Big Pond proved that we are still a long way from getting away from the inconsistent fishing as although conditions looked brilliant for my customer, come 10am and after catching plenty of bream the lake switched off. We tried everything to buy a bite but come 3pm, and apart from what probably was a lost grass carp, we threw in the towel. It just goes to show you that knowing and being there when the fish are feeding is the difference between a good day and a bad one.
With the humid weather continuing I just had to revisit the eel lake for a couple more times with my mate Chris. The first session was a real head banger as I had at least seven runs where line was pouring off the spool but failed to connect with any. The first take on worms saw a big fish hit the surface as I struck. It reminded me of Jeremy Wade striking a Tarpon whilst in a boat at night that came out of the water to the side of him, very strange but I have had eels come out of the water on the strike before so assume I was close but no cigar! The runs came on both fish heads and worms which tells us these eels are more predatory and are more than likely going to have wide, big mouths. What was also strange was that Chris fishing identical no more than twenty yards to my left never had one pick up which made us think that my runs were coming from maybe the same eel. Whilst we were there we could hear what we thought were mopeds in the distance, however well away from any roads it soon became apparent what this was as a European wasp was attracted by my head touch. Knowing how aggressive these can be and realising they were very dozy we sat for the next couple of hours in fear of being bitten and when Chris decided to tread on one that landed close to him, and knowing they put out a distress signal I felt it was time to leave. The second night was far less eventful as I failed to get a positive pick up on bolt rig worms (trying everything now) whilst Chris received four screamers, finally connecting with one, however we were somewhat disappointed as we were both expecting a whopper not a s*****r to show. Time to leave the eels alone this year but we will be back next spring.
My next trip was back to Enton/Johnson’s, this time with my dad and girlfriend’s dad. Conditions looked relatively good yet with few fish moving on arrival (always a bad sign here) we knew it would be tough. I used the Pellet Cone and managed three modest tench alone with losing one whilst both dad’s failed to catch which seemed the trend around the lake as I only knew of one other tench being caught, tough or what! The fun really started when on packing up I heard Mick let out a cry and on turning saw my father, who’s 84 and just recovering from a knee operation, in mid air and lake bound! He had to do this next to the dam in the deepest part of the lake, however with the help of another angler we managed to drag him out with just the odd cut, bruised and nettle sting (plus a cracked rib which was later discovered). I’m not sure who was more shocked dad or the passengers on the train passing as anyone looking would have been confronted with a naked man revealing all. Not the prettiest sight!
It was good to catch up with my mate, Tom Aldous this month, however I gave him the choice of venue and species and he suggested the river Loddon and barbel. Now with the weather set to be wet all day I didn’t relish roving around so decided to sit in a pool and keep dry yet after two hours of little activity decided to get wet and go find a fish or two. Not long after settling in a swim it seemed my run of catching not a lot was going to continue as the three foot twitch came yet the hook pulled on what felt a big barbel. Gutted I continued and soon, in another swim saw a repeat performance happening, yet this time a spirited seven pounder graced my net. Readers will remember last year me writing about the litter on the banks of a certain stretch of the river Loddon and that the angler (he can’t be classified as an angler) who leaves certain revealing items about his identity on the banks. Well the Benson and Hedges smoking, coke drinking and luncheon meat user is back as he had once again decided to chuck all his crap in the bushes! I just wish the bailiffs were more active as it wouldn’t take long to single this person out and ban him for life, well that’s if he’s a member? Tom’s a good learner and returned a few days later and bagged himself his first ever Loddon barbel. Let the flood gates open.
Last month I mentioned how the rudd at Frensham and the crucians at Enton had disappeared and thought that they were either full up or eating naturals. Well the crucians have reappeared at Enton and they certainly have been feeding over the summer, obviously on naturals as the high two’s are now three’s and the odd one is even breaking the 4lb barrier. In all honesty if I had looked at the weather forecast on Thursday 22nd then I would have never set the alarm for Friday morning but I felt the need just to go fishing by myself. On arrival at Enton I found the lake still and covered in mist and with the temperature at only 6 degrees, a clear sky and no wind forecasted along with few fish showing knew I was there just for the love of fishing. However there is a saying that ‘all the time you have a bait in the water, you have a chance’ and that was certainly the case as after a blank two hours the fish for some unknown reason switched on and rewarded me with nine crucians to 3lb 14oz plus two carp and a tench. It just goes to show that we know little about when fish feed and although we can predict things quite accurately it’s always worth going, even if you think it’s not!
I also had a few days away with my dad and brother so time on the bank feels somewhat down this month however when I looked at my diary inputs I was surprised to see that I had actually fished for myself nine times, (53hrs) along with guiding on two occasions (19hrs) and producing three features (21hrs), so not a bad month. These hours don’t include travelling or getting kit ready, however they are still well down on what I am trying to achieve so hopefully will start to address thisover the coming months.
Day to Day events.
01/09/16 – Headed to the river Thames early afternoon to produce an OTB feature for Anglers Mail.
02/09/16 – Guiding day at Badshot Lea in the hope that the bream are feeding. Arrived at 6.30am and come 10am all looked good for a proper bagging session yet come 10am the lake switched off. John caught nine quality bream and a tench up till then but lost just one fish in the next five hours, still 50lb of bream can’t be argued with.
03/09/16 & 04/09/16 – Spent most of the weekend writing AM articles.
05/09/16 – Headed to the newly found eel lake with a slightly better approach. Cast out at 8pm and twenty minutes missed a screamer. This continued into the evening with both my deadbait and worm rods going, however seven bites came and all were missed! Chris sat next to me and had absolutely no pucks ups which makes us think we have few eels in the lake. The ones that are there are predatory big mouth ones as they picked up both fish and worms and that my bites probably came from the same one or two eels. We also think these eels are something special. Let’s see how they handle a bolt rig next week!
06/09/16 – At long last a day out with my and the girlfriends dad. Meeting at around 7am we headed to the railway bank at Enton, however with few fish moving we knew it would be tough. I managed three tench plus one lost come 2pm which as far as I knew was top-rod for the day as most others failed to catch. Failing to catch on rod and line. Dad even tried to get in with them at one stage!
08/09/16 – Headed to Oxfordshire at first light, this time to meet up with my good friend Jake Lund who was fishing Christchurch Lake on the Linch Hill Complex to get a few images for an Anglers Mail feature.
09/09/16 – Another attempt to get an AM feature in the bag, however with a really strong wind and bright conditions it seemed from the start that we were on a looser, so moved to a slightly more sheltered area where we struggled for a few roach.
10/09/16 – After picking Tom up from Winchester we headed to the river Loddon in hope of a barbel. The weather was terrible but our persistence paid off with myself taking one which was around 7lb. It could have been so much better but a rare hook pull on what felt like a big fish was quite gutting.
12/09/16 – The hopes of a monster eel were dashed when Chris connected with a two-pound bootlace, yet at least he put a hook in one which was more than I’ve done!
13/09/16 – After a few hours in the office headed to Richmond to create an AM feature. If you like stick float fishing then keep an eye out for this one.
14/09/16 – Spent the day in the office completing a couple of AM articles.
15/09/16 – It’s going to be a long day as after no sleep due to the noisy storm last night found myself on the road come 5am heading to the river Wye near Hereford. It wasn’t the best of journeys but I finally found myself with a nice mug of coffee in my hand made by Sue at Sink Green Farm where I met up with good friend Mark Grafham and my customer for the day who was treated by his girlfriend to one of my vouchers last Christmas. If the other half is finding it difficult to know what to buy you for Christmas then why not get them to buy you ‘A day with Duncan’ voucher? Fortunately Mark had done some research earlier in the week and directed us to a couple of producing swims where we caught steadily all day on both the feeder and float which what Matt really wanted to do. The barbel were all sizes from a pleasing 12oz right up to a proper one weighing 9lb 10oz for Matt along with the odd decent chub. Anyone wanting to try this fantastic river then get in touch as I am going to be spending some time there next year and can work out a price and organise B&B if needed. Come 10pm I found myself pulling into the driveway, totally knackered but very pleased with how the day turned out.
19/09/16 – 22/09/16 – Spent a few days away with my brother and dad at Coghurst Hall Holiday Park near Battle in East Sussex. My brother managed to catch some sizable mackerel of the pier which we enjoyed for breakfast whilst my dad and I fished the sites lake which apart from a few skimmers and a big eel that I lost at the net on a white boilie proved somewhat difficult. The following day we fished the Old Specimen Lake at Wylands and enjoyed all sitting in a line catching carp to high doubles. We were supposed to leave Friday morning but dad had a pain under his right arm so needed to get it checked out with the doctor who seems to think that whilst falling into Enton he cracked a rib!
23/09/16 – Having the best part of the day to myself I headed to Enton, however after two hours looked as if I was starring a blank in the face. Then things started to happen and in the next three hours landed nine crucian to 3lb 14oz, two small carp and a tench before reluctantly having to head home to sort some financial things out.
25/09/16 – Knowing that the crucians were once again on the feed and that a few specimens were showing made my mate Chris headthere as I felt he had a very good chance of beating his 3lb 12oz best. Dropping into a couple of favoured swims things weren’t looking that good as after a few hours all we had to show for our efforts were one 3lb 3oz crucian, a small tench and a rudd between us, but then Chris received a screamer that he initially thought was a tench. That tench finally turned into a crucian weighing exactly 4lb, a known fish that Paul Garner caught a couple of times a few years back. Happy days and I love it when a plan comes together.
28/09/16 – Headed to the river Loddon with Tom to try and create a barbel video. Arriving at 1pm in fairly bright conditions and finding the river low and clear it was always going to be a struggle but I wanted to prove that if you adopt the right approach then you should be able to buy a bite or two and that’s exactly what we did. Unfortunately the size of the barbel and chub wasn’t anything to set the world on fire but I took satisfaction knowing that if I can catch the smallest barbel in the river then I can certainly catch the biggest, all I need to do is continue getting bites, which isn’t proving difficult of late.