Monthly Report November 2016
November arrives and with it comes the frosts. Good as I hate winters like last year when the mild weather stays with us as this just keeps the options open for targeting so many different species as opposed to fish such as roach, grayling and pike that should be on my mind.
This winter grayling are firmly fixed in my mind and although my target is a two-pounder, realistically beating my old best of exactly three pound would be a dream come true and I’m on the river that could do this the Frome. In fact first session on the river and first bite came from a two-pounder so having this under my belt so early on gives me the rest of the winter to concentrate on the stretch and see what it has to offer. Last winter Chris and I also had grayling on our minds but as previously mentioned the winter was far from ideal as we decided to target these during Jan and Feb, a time when the rains came, flooded the river and surrounding fields and made things almost impossible. This year we are not going to make the same mistake.
One topic I’m going to cover briefly this month is ‘split-shot’, or should this be called ‘shit-shot’ as it doesn’t matter what I buy they seem to be useless, as every time I strike they either move or come off. Pressing them harder on the line stops this to some degree but then you run the risk of either damaging the line or not being able to move them easily. It was a problem that I’ve become sick off, especially when trotting a stick float so now I simply use an inline olivette to bulk shot the float followed by a few Stotz as dropper shots. Problem solved, well that is until the need to fish shirt button style!
Last month I also touched on the subject of the massive carp that’s been caught again and the topic of should it be claimed as a British record. Well when I wrote about it last month I thought that this carp was one that had been born and grown on to such a weight in this county, yet now I’m led to believe that it’s an Israie carp that found its way into the country and a very big weight. I don’t know all the facts and in no way should its origin remove any credibility from the anglers that have caught it but it does change the way I feel about it being accepted as a new British record, and in my mind it shouldn’t be.
As you can imagine I’ve fished in some outrageous weather conditions before but this month found me on the banks of the Dorset Frome trying to create an article for Anglers Mail. Not only did it rain but the wind that blew across the flood plain was stupid and I had to feel for the angler that was trying to control a float down the river. It wasn’t until I said give me the rod, it’s done like this that I realised just how difficult it was. This made the anglers day and made me feel a bit stupid but I have learnt to keep my mouth shut in future as trying to cast in wind speeds of well over 40mph with a pin is almost impossible. Fortunately before the wind became dangerously powerful he managed to catch more than enough fish for the feature, so it wasn’t a complete washout. The Frome was also the venue for my last guided session and although this did fall in the month of December felt I should include an image as it was a complete white out when we arrived, the temperature was -7! Did we catch, off cause we did!
He I go again, me winging over tackle shop opening hours! This month I headed to my local tackle shop for some maggots only to find it closed at 4pm on a Thursday. What really gets me is I’d taken time out to sort the bait so we could get an early start on the Frome the following day, so finding this shop closed buggered me up in two ways. I’m guessing this tackle shop had closed early due to the lack of customers, however in reality how many customers have found themselves in a similar situation and now don’t bother going there. If they are like me they only have to be disappointed once and that’s it, that tackle shop only exists as a convenience store which is a shame as I am all for supporting the local tackle shops but sometimes they just don’t help themselves. To give a tackle shop an idea of how a customer reacts then look at this - I went into a tackle shop 30years ago to buy a reel. It was a time when buying on the internet was just coming into fashion yet although I knew I could get the reel on line for £64.99 didn’t feel comfortable doing so. In the shop the owner, after winging about us youngsters always wanting a discount, said that he would give me some change from £70 and on handing this over, which was a lot of money for me in those days, received the reel back along with a one pence piece! No I’m not kidding and nor was the tackle shop owner. I was in need of the reel quite badly so walked out of the door truly pissed off, however have I ever stepped foot in his shop since, once I think to collect some bait for an angler, will I ever step foot in it again, not unless I have too!
There is a very good reason why a carp angler goes to Yateley Angling Centre and an all-rounder like myself heads to Apollo Angling at Marsh Farm as not only do they stock everything I want, they never close shop during the day, supply quality bait, will price match an item of kit found on the internet, are always helpful and friendly and even run a loyalty card system.
I had to smile this month as it seems that some young and very good anglers seem to think that starting at the top is the way forward when it comes to sponsorship. I was going to write loads on this subject but felt it best to keep it to a few wise words. If you want to be noticed then just keep catching quality fish as there are eyes out there looking and when they feel you are worthy of being signed up they will be in touch. By seeming desperate and by splashing the sponsors names all over your catch pictures/report is doing you no favours as everyone else will simply ignore you and by doing so that sponsor, or in your case non-sponsor will just ride your goodwill. Stop, be honest in what you are using and if you are good, consistent and reliable then the opportunities will come. Back track some twenty years and it was the capture of a 31lb 10oz pike that saw my opening with Anglers Mail, then future captures in the same year in the shape of a 7lb 1oz eel plus others saw the likes of Simon Scott, Paul Garner and Colin Davidson taking note. It’s these guys that have looked after me ever since, yet it was my dedication in catching big fish that saw them take note, and certainly nothing else. If you’re an angler that is constantly in the news, keeping your profile up to date in social media but setting your heights just a bit too high then it’s worth knowing that some of the best anglers in the country started right at the bottom as once you are on the sponsorship ladder, then you will get noticed!
To anyone that attended Sandown and wanted to catch up with me then I apologise as although I wanted to attend Nash had such a good response in the team that my services weren’t needed. I will be at the Big One at Farnborough in March so look forward to seeing you then.
A quick look at my diary shows that this month was a good varied one for guiding, features and personal sessions. I may well not have been on the bank for as many sessions as I would have liked but the hours spent each session was well up, at over eight hours! At a glance, watching as a customer caught three personal best in one day, as well as four two-pound plus grayling on the Frome, then purchasing a 15ft rod and showing an eager to return to such a venue gives me so much pleasure. Catching my first personal best of the season, an 8lb 2oz brownie from the same venue plus a number of 2lb plus grayling on the float has also been enjoyable as it gives me the incentive to keep trying as that 3lb plus grayling just has to show sooner or later.
Its also been a mega month for writing features and fortunately Angler Mail have been keeping me busy, however if you are a lure angler out there with a few tricks up your sleeve and fancy featuring in an article then get in touch. What I’m interested in is your tactics, not the venue and will be willing to spend a day with you taking images and notes to compile your first ever article. What I really want to ensure is that if you have a special venue then this will be kept secret and that even if you are sponsored there is no cost to you, all I need is your time to promote you in whatever way you wish. If you are interested then email me email@example.com or call/text me 07928 617006. Another really enjoyable day was spent at a local venue with Paul Garner that has huge pike potential. It was our first session on the lake and we had to move three times to find the fish which saw us taking three modest fish late in the day. If anyone would like to explore this venue with me then once again, get in touch via email or phone!
Day to Day events.
01/11/16 – On the road come 5.30am as off to the Frome to enjoy the first day of the Grayling season. On the bank and fishing by 8am and first fish was my target for the winter, a 2lb grayling. Banks expectedly busy but plenty of water and swim to go at and enjoy. Managed maybe a dozen grayling including another two plus a few brown trout on trotted corn, however if maggot was used then far more fish would have been caught, yet the average size would have been far smaller. Can’t wait to get back!
02/11/16 – Took mum out for a game of golf. Needed a calculator to add up her score, yet I shot a 35 on a par 31! Afterwards I headed out to sit with a friend who was after a 2lb roach. The temperature dropped dramatically after dark and the fish didn’t really feed as all he managed were a few modest rudd.
03/11/16 – A full day in the office wading through lots of fishy related jobs.
04/11/16 – Up early and on the road come 6.15am, this time travelling to the river Wye to join up with past Wye Champion Dave Roberts to create an ‘On the Bank’ feature for Anglers Mail.
06/11/16 – Spent most of the day writing up the OTB for AM along with lots of other fishy related stuff.
07/11/16 – Another day in the office, this time creating a roach feature for a European magazine.
08/11/16 – With a customer wanting some stick float fishing on Thursday thought it best to take a look at a couple of stretches to see what was fishing best. I wanted to go to the tidal at Richmond but the tides were wrong and would have seen us having to wade through the rush hour each way so I headed to the Thames at Staines, however the low clear conditions and lack of flow saw just a couple of small roach taken. In the afternoon I headed to the Blackwater and in just three hours fishing managed around forty fish consisting of roach and perch to over a pound along with small chub, dace a gudgeon. No guesses where we will be Thursday?
09/11/16 – Loads of overnight rain made me head to the river Loddon, however although it was up a few inches it had no colour in it. I had to go to the river as needed to do a brief assessment on it so thought I’d might as well cast a big lump of garlic sausage in the river for an opportunist barbel but it wasn’t to be.
10/11/16 – Just returned home after a fantastic guiding day on the river Blackwater. My customer Ian wanted a day’s trotting and the river never disappointed as every swim we visited provided bites, mainly from quality roach to well over the pound, chub to 3lb 8oz plus dace, perch, gudgeon and a 7lb pike that grabbed a roach on the way to the net. Initially we had said that a 20lb net of fish would have been a result but with the addition of the pike we went well over the top of this. Now where can you go and get quality fishing like this nowadays?
11/11/16 – Conditions were far from ideal for a social into darkness at Enton. Not only was it cold with temperature falling to 1.5 degrees around 8pm but the full moon, cloudless skies, clear water and lack of wind did little to raise our confident. As expected it was tough, and the five hour session ended in a total blank for myself and Tony with Alan managing a couple of rudd along with losing a fish.
12/11/16 – Up early, this time visiting the Basingstoke canal to meet a couple of carp anglers to create an Anglers Mail feature. Things didn’t quite go to plan as the fish weren’t biting and the weather, well it rained constantly the whole day.
13/11/16 – Spent a few hours tidying the tackle shed ready for a new roof next month as well as sorting the tackle ready for a busy week ahead.
15/11/16 – Time to head back down to Dorset, this time with a customer whose wife had bought him three days guiding with me for Christmas last year. His wish was to beat his previous best grayling of 10oz taken from the Wey many years before and if possible up this too over two-pounds. Beating 10oz was a certain but getting a two-pounder another story however if you want a fish of such magnitude then you have to fish a river that gives you the best possible chance, so the Frome it was. Meeting in Alton at 6.30am we were on the bank just gone 8am and as Ross hadn’t done much trotting for a while headed to a swim which is like a nursery for fish as its got lots of small brown trout and grayling up to a pound. Twenty fish later and Ross had started to hone his skills so off we headed to a swim far more demanding. Feeding corn it took quite a few trots to get a bite yet when it came he found himself attached to his dream fish, a 2lb 6oz grayling. Fortunately the weather conditions were ideal with little wind which makes things far easier and almost every swim we covered produced fish. Come the end of the day around fifty fish had been taken including a dace of 7oz, sea trout to around 3lb (both personal bests) along with brown trout, salmon par and more grayling including others weighing 2lb 4oz, 2lb oz and 2lb 5oz!
16/11/16 – Today was a bit of a disaster as I learnt an important lesson and that’s not to mix work with pleasure. The only saving grace was that I was able to spend time with my father and girlfriends dad who caught a few ornamentals and the odd better roach from a very low and under par Golden Ponds.
17/11/16 – Another early start, 6.15am in fact and once again it was to be spent on the Frome to create a trotting feature for grayling. Although we managed to get the feature sorted it was far from easy as the wind increased to over 40mph which made trotting in any form almost impossible. Come 2pm and with the clouds blackening we decided to call it a day as fishing is supposed to be fun!
18/11/16 – Another trip to Dorset, yet today was far easier as I met Chris on the outskirts of Winchester where we picked up Tom. Arriving in Wareham we quickly bought some maggots had a quick look at the Frome on the quayside before heading off downstream. Conditions weren’t that good with a brisk south west wind but after Tuesday’s results I now know that grayling can have their off days as the river fished exceptionally hard. Tom managed around forty fish, grayling to 1lb 6oz plus small brown and sea trout. Chris and I caught around two-dozen fish each with the highlight falling to my rod in the shape of a personal best 8lb 2oz brown trout and a 2lb 3oz grayling. We were hoping to create a video but the wind just made and audio coverage difficult; however it would have been great to get that big trout on video.
19/11/16 – In the office all day catching up on fishy related stuff as well as cleaning and sorting all the kit from the last few sessions.
21/11/16 – Another day in the office, this time writing the words for an AM ‘On the Bank’, taking a few images to go with this and sorting the kit for a day’s guiding tomorrow.
22/11/16 – Just returned from a great mornings fishing with a customer at a local lake in which he landed over 15lb of quality roach to over the pound on the float in less than four hours.
24/11/16 – Up early once again this time to team up with Paul Garner on a new venue to check out its pike potential. Arriving before dawn we started in a shallow corner but after two hours moved to the deepest corner yet another two hours past without any activity. We then had the heads up that a few pike had shown early on further along the bank so moved and fortunately caught three modest pike quite quickly. Paul needed some images for a feature so although we were disappointed at finding the fish late in the day we did at least get some quality action and catch images. The venue has done pike well into the twenties and rarely gets pike fished so I’m looking forward to returning to get amongst its bigger residents.
26/11/16 – With the Nash stand at Sandown being so well attended I was given the weekend off, just as well as the girlfriends been off the last week, however did manage to head to a local lake to try and catch a bag of roach for a feature. The target was 15lb plus but the weather has taken a turn for the worst and has really turned cold. Roach did grace the net, around 8lb of them in just three hours but it was so cold that it wasn’t very enjoyable so with freezing toes and fingers I decided to return in slightly more comfortable conditions.