Monday, 11 December 2017

Grayling – The one species you can rely on when it gets really cold. Part two – Catching those bigger fish.

Grayling – The one species you can rely on when it gets really cold.
Part two – Catching those bigger fish.

So you’ve had your first taste of grayling and now have your sights set at landing that elusive specimen but simply can’t get through the smaller fish, what do you have to do? The first area that you will have to address is line control from rod tip to float and sadly this only comes with time, however a few simple tweaks or observations can make all the difference. The first and most common mistake is allowing the mainline to override the float, dragging it off line and downstream faster than the current. Mending the line, and by this I mean simply lifting the line off the water so it straightens it from rod tip to float, will solve the problem. I would much prefer to mend the line a few times if needed than seeing the float pulled off line, so next time you watch the float head off downstream pay attention to that line and if it’s in front of the float or not in a straight line behind, then a quick flick of the wrist will see that line straighten out. Some anglers feel that by laying the line on the water and keeping the rod tip close to the water will help, which it will do on a windy day but I like to keep as much line out of the water as possible, something that’s only possible on days of no or little wind. Obviously keeping in control is far easier on days of no or little wind so another great tip is keep your eye on the weather and head to the river on one of those days when the skies are blue and cloudless, and the air still. You will know when you have it right as when the float disappears you will often feel the bite through the rod.

Another area that will greatly improve line control is float choice. Grayling are bold biters so forget those delicate sticks and go big, as a heavy float will not only get the  centerpin turning better, create far better control on windy days, ride those turbulent swims better as well as being more visual which will allow you to trot a swim further. I started out using Drennan Loafer floats that served me well for years and caught plenty of big grayling but longer floats do offer allot more stability. Once again Dave Harrell floats are difficult to beat as mentioned in Part 1.
Reel choice is very personal but I found that I lost too many fish when using fixed spool reel. Not only did this make my finger ache come the end of the day, but having to pull line of the reel by sweeping the rod backwards always created a trot that was slightly interrupted and not as smooth as a closed face reel or centrepin offered. I would go as far as saying that a fixed spool reel probably cost me one out of three fish hooked, many when the bail arm was engaged. Changing to a centrepin instantly showed its advantages but to land nine out of ten grayling hooked is an art, however persist and learn the craft and that’s exactly what you will achieve. The disadvantage of a pin is in windy conditions they become problematic more with tangles around the reel. A pin with a line guard will reduce this problem but I found that for all the tangles they stopped they produced others, so simply now revert to the best of both worlds on breezy days and that’s a closed face reel. Once again for every problem solved another is created and with closed face reels it comes down to the clutch and on the old Daiwa 125m or Abu reels these were somewhat useless. I recently hooked and landed an 8lb 2oz brown trout using an old Daiwa 125m closed face reel and to say it was a bit touch and go is an understatement! If I were to recommend a centrepin then it would have to be an Okuma Aventa, brilliant, smooth and affordable. And a word of warning when loading line on a pin, only put around 50 yards on as anymore will see the line bedding in and failing to fall of the pin smoothly.
Line control and tackle are certainly area’s to concentrate on, just
small things such as having some Vaseline handy to rub on the rod eyes and keep them from freezing up, and using a 15ft rod will all help not only catch more fish but bigger fish. 

So you’re happy with the tackle you are using and have paid attention to line control and now want to catch bigger fish? Well big grayling can just turn up in a swim full off smaller samples but in my experience swims that seem to be full of smallish fish often don’t contain any or many big ones. Using maggot in a swim with lots of small fish and maybe just one big fish will stack the odds against you, as for every small fish caught will see the bigger, wiser fish spook and become reluctant to take a bait, however well its presented. It doesn’t matter how good a swim is or how many fish are present, as soon as one is hooked and landed you are on a time bomb to just how long it will last, and usually it’s not very long! From the first trot down, grayling seem to be the most stupid of all fish, yet catch a dozen from a swim and the rest become the cutest! 
My advise if you want to catch the bigger grayling is to us
e sweetcorn, as this seems to slow the ever hungry, swim destroying trout down as well as the smaller grayling. The problem with corn is that it sinks quickly so activating the fish in the swim to feed by loose feeding corn is difficult. I tend to feed with corn by laying the float on the surface then flicking just a couple of bits next to it. As time goes on, and after a few fish I will feed these two bits off corn slightly further down, just in case a big girl, or should I say boy as many a big grayling is male, is sitting a little further away. One way of getting the best of both worlds is to feed maggot and fish corn on the hook. Maggots fall far slower than corn and will travel downstream much further, activating a much longer trot and attracting fish that are situated further down. Small fish and trout will leave the corn alone allowing more time for the bigger fish to home in on. Something that I have done is to dye my sweetcorn orange! Why? Well it’s believed that grayling feed on salmon eggs which are orange. If this does create an edge I’m not sure but it certainly doesn’t slow the action down.
One important point to mention is hooks or more importantly the sharpness of your hook. I like Kamasan B525, size 14 micro-barbed (if allowed) as these are light due to being of a fine gauge. They are also sharp, however like all hooks they do blunt after a few fish or the point can turn over so if you lose a fish check the hook point. If you lose two on the trot, change the hook even if it looks OK!
Another tactic that will keep the swim producing for longer is to feed whilst playing a fish as this will see the grayling in the swim ignoring the hooked fish and chasing the loose feed. It might only catch you a couple extra fish but a couple more could mean that fish of a lifetime. If you do have the luxury of fishing a beat with no one else around then it might be worth taking just a few fish from a swim and then returning again a few times over the course of the day. Rotating swims like this was a brilliant tactic I employed on the Itchen a few years ago. The only way to feed effectively and consistently is to wear a bait apron as bending down to pick up a few maggots from a bait box before flicking them into the river, will just get too much and make you lazy.
One point to mention and it comes back to location, is not to ignore any swim, however shallow. I remember fishing the Itchen which had a hut set in the middle of the stretch. At lunch time I would meet up with a mate who had been covering the river either upstream or downstream depending on who won the toss at dawn. In front of the hut the river was shallow, maybe a foot deep where you could make out the gravel but not with any distinction due to the speed of flow. We had ignored this area for
ages when on this occasion Steve cast out a feeder. What then happened was just amazing as he proceeded to take no less than seven two pound plus grayling from it. He even had a friend turn up who had never caught a grayling before and knock out one weighing 2lb 10oz. It was a lesson learnt and one I will never forget. Why

were the grayling in the shallows you may ask? Well a cormorant can’t swim in a foot of water can it! Big grayling do seem to be found on their own quite often, or in very small groups of similar sized fish, so don’t be in too hurry to move on from a swim that looks and feels great but doesn’t produce lots of fish. Big grayling also like small depressions, often ones that have been created by a salmon that was once resident for a while, one that slowly created a clear spot by constantly flicking its tail. In fact it’s very difficult to explain what is the best grayling swim, but if you want a big one then you need to explore every likely looking spot, be it a long steady run, a steep drop off,
under a bridge, a small depression, slack on the inside of a bend to fast shallow water, but one thing is for sure, swims with loads of fish rarely contain a monster.
            To catch a real specimen, one over 3lb you will need to be on a very special piece of river. Day ticket and club stretches, well clubs that have open membership, unfortunately nowadays rarely produce these. Although I’ve caught hundreds of two’s and would feel confident in guiding an angler to such a fish, a three-pounder has only graced my net once and this was on a private salmon beat that I managed to get access to many years ago. If you want such a fish then you have to be either very lucky, know someone that has access to a stretch of the beaten track or be prepared to join a game stretch that allows coarse fishing however this will come at a cost.  

Duncan Charman is sponsored by Nash Tackle and Bait and has his own website  He regularly contributes to top weekly, Anglers Mail magazine and is their very own ‘Where to fish’ expert for the South East.
He is also an angling guide and can be booked on a daily basis for most species including carp, pike, perch, zander, chub, catfish, barbel, bream, grass carp, crucians, roach, rudd, grayling, tench even golden orfe. Guiding vouchers are also available which make great birthday and Christmas presents for the angler with everything. For more information and prices email him at or give him a call 07928 617006 / 01252 315271.
He’s also written a book called Evolution of an Angler which can be obtained at the stupid price of just £10.99 plus P&P. Again email him for more details.

Timsbury – 07759 331385
Lower Itchen Fishery – 07477 790210
Purbeck Angling – 01929 550770
Dave Harrell –

Images –
1 – If you want a big grayling you will have to go off the beaten track.
3 – Centre pin, 15ft rod and a good sized float all helps in line control.  
4 – If I were on a size 18 barbless hook then the chances of landing this massive trout would have been unlikely.
5 – There are many ways to keep the eyes from freezing up, Glycerine is one.
6 – -5 on the Test but the fish are still feeding.
7 – Plenty of grayling in this swim, but is there a two?  
8 – Coloured corn, does it give you an edge?  
9 – You just can’t feed without a bait apron.  
10 – Ignore the shallows at your peril.  
11 – Find a big grayling and you might find more.
12 – If you want a massive grayling then the Frome is a good river to head too.  


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Dad's a happy man.....

Dad's a happy man!

With the weather unseasonably warm and the perch fishing of late so good thought it only fare to take my 86 year old dad out to see if he too could bag himself a few fish. Arriving at the river at 8.30am I made him walk the best part of a mile, yet seconds after casting out he found himself bent into a good perch which unfortunately shed the hook. Almost speechless at the sheer speed in which the bite came he made another cast and was soon looking at his fish big perch which was soon followed by another slightly smaller specimen. Not wanting to exhaust the swim we headed further downstream and once again seconds after the float landing he was again into a good perch which again shed the hook, however he made no mistakes with the next bite and was once again smiling with his second specimen perch. Back in the first swim another cast was made and once again an instant bite was forth coming which resulted in a new river personal best. Exhausted of bait so quickly we were back at the car come 11am both smiling like Cheshire cats!

Fancy experiencing a day like this, then email me for prices and availability -

Monday, 4 December 2017

It really doesn't get much better!

Perch goldmine.
I did say that I might have fallen on my feet of late. Arrived at the river at 7.30 and come 11.30am I was on my way home well happy with a roving session for perch on a different beat of the same river that's been producing of late.
A couple of things that I have noticed is that now the cold weather has arrived, when you get a bite its from a big perch, two-pound plus, unlike a couple of months ago when lots of smaller fish were around,  a bit like rudd fishing at Frensham really! The other thing is if a perch is in the swim then expect a bite almost immediately and don't leave the swim after one fish as the chances of two, even three are high.
If you fancy a guiding session then email me for prices and availability -
Don't leave it too long as I'm onto something here and am willing to share tactics and venue and some fantastic fishing.
There is still time to get a guiding day voucher for Christmas, just get the other half to get in touch!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Monthly Report November 2017

Monthly Report November 2017

Well this month I’ve been here there and everywhere and it doesn’t surprise me to see that I have been on the bank on sixteen occasions. Many of these have been short sessions targeting a big fish at key times, such as roach at dusk and a few hours into darkness. I haven’t had much success at the moment but I know that the venue fished has the size of fish I’m looking for I just need to be there at the right time and put my hook in the right fish’s mouth. It’s not all been short sessions as my guided days are for up to 10 ten hours fishing and add travelling time onto this, some of which are an hour and a half each way you can see why with my diverse style of fishing where each day could see a different species targeted, getting out every day is impossible. I think something else that some anglers don’t take into consideration is preparation time, sorting kit and bait which all takes additional time. Perch are one species that are capturing my imagination and my target, a four pound plusser this winter, was rocked somewhat as when a big one slid in my net at the back end of the month and on a river my heart jumped a beat, however she came a few ounces short at 3lb 9oz but it was still one hell of a fish.
Guided days have also been successful with customers catching plenty of fish including personal bests, perch again along with learning new skills and techniques along the way. Feature writing is still taking plenty of time up, however I have now decided to limit myself to two a week which includes my WTF column for Anglers Mail each week which will free up some valuable fishing time.
Perch are the new barbel in my eyes as trying to catch a barbel on my local rivers to order is almost impossible but perch are far more reliable and a species that seems to be gaining in for availability and prices, however I have to admit that quite a few dates have already gone.
popularity. Chub and grayling are also very much obliging in these cold conditions that have now set in so if you are interested in being guided then I’m going to increase my guiding days to two a week for the next few months. Email me at –

I’m also looking forward to my once a year trip to Testwood Pools next month and will be putting in a few short sessions on a local commercial, one that each year turns up perch to over 5lb. Will keep you all informed, tight lines.

Day to Day events.

 01/11/17 – It’s a real shame that anglers like myself, with relatively little spare time have to work around the ever busy roads. This often dictates not just the species that you want to target but also the venues fished. Today I was teaming up with my mate Chris for a walk around the tidal Thames, more as a day to gain information than to catch fish as although rods were taken we knew that we would be arriving at the worst time of the tide, low tide. Some would disagree but with the draw-off underway actually casting a line at this time of the tide was almost impossible. We had to sit for hours waiting for the river to start filling up yet when it did it was time to leave, yes in order to miss the traffic. All was not lost as although neither of us could tempt a bite we did watch an angler head into the weir at high tide and catch a few fish. Most of these were pike to around 10lb, so it almost told us what we already knew, that the numbers of perch that once thrived here weren’t around, however what are left are big. It also proved that in order to get to the fish you have to get afloat and this was what the visit was for as with a small boat at my disposal it’s now time to start getting it ready for its first voyage in years.
02/11/17 – The next day, again with Chris we headed south to Passies Ponds in West Sussex. Unfortunately every time we go perch fishing it seems to coincide with far from ideal conditions and with a grass frost, bitter N/W wind and bright blue cloudless skies (once the heavy fog had lifted) it was always going to be tough. Watching carp being caught, off the top on the ribbon lake did little for our confidence either but we both fished hard for five modest perch, the best 2lb 6oz.
03/11/17 – With a guiding trip on the Loddon having to be rescheduled and with my perch head on I used a few hours of the day to check out a local stretch of the river Wey but nothing tickled my nuts so to speak and although I did cast a line in the odd swim nothing was forthcoming.
05/11/17 – With a few hours once again to spare I met Chris once more for a quick three hour session at a local lake, once again for perch and yes once again we were greeted with a frost and bright blue skies. Again we knew it wasn’t going to be easy but Chris did get two pick-ups, one that he missed and the next, definitely quite a good perch was lost.
07/11/17 – After dropping the lady off I headed to the Loddon to meet up with one very brave angler who had hired me for the day to reveal all of my secrets on one very difficult stretch. It wasn’t surprising that we never received a bite or saw any signs of fish but they are there and I hope that what he learnt will be put into good use and that he will be rewarded with a couple of very big fish over the coming months. Good luck Graham!
09/11/17 – A mega early morning, 4.45am to be precise as this time I was heading to a small club lake in Kent to meet my customer Ian for a perch session. When we arrived at first light I was surprised to find carp up on the surface and moving around as it had been another cold night with temperatures hovering just above freezing! Float fishing prawns and spraying maggots soon created a few bites, but although some of these were from our target species, no monsters were landed. We also caught roach to around a pound plus rudd, bream and even a gudgeon that took a prawn on a size 10 hook! By 2pm the clouds that had given us confidence had moved on and the sun was out and with this the lake died. Come 3pm and once again not wanting to hit the M25 traffic we threw the towel in. It was then that I realised why it was so tough and those carp were up on the top, the atmospheric pressure was 1024mb!
10/11/17 – At long last a day in the office sorting out fishy related jobs.
11/11/17 – Spent the day completing my WTF column, getting a few Anglers Mail Tactical briefings finalised and sorting the kit and bait for a day’s perch fishing tomorrow.
12/11/17 – Off to West Sussex this morning once again to team up with Chris in our search for a big perch. This session was to create an Anglers Mail ‘Where to fish’ Opener. How did we get on after last night’s torrential rain that saw all the lakes at Coloured Ponds full to the brim? You will have to keep buying your copy of AM each week to find out if we succeeded in landing a few stripy’s.
13/11/17 –This afternoon I headed to my local Gold Valley Lakes to team up with a local match angler, Ashley who has been framing quite a bit of late, to create an Anglers Mail Catch More feature, before sorting the tackle for a guided trip to the River Itchen tomorrow morning.
14/11/17 – On the road early to meet up with my customer for the day, Terry who wanted to try using a pin and perfecting the art of trotting a chalk stream for grayling. Conditions weren’t bad apart from a slight tinge in the water but this didn’t seem to put the fish off as every swim we tried we caught, mostly small grayling to around 1lb 6oz and brown trout to 3lb. Come 3.30pm Terry was knackered and was struggling as his arm was hurting from catching so many fish but
left a happy angler and with a new style of fishing away from his normal fly fishing he will be back enjoying the explosive action soon.
15/11/17 – In the office all day writing up the Anglers Mail WTF opener shot on Sunday.
16/11/17 – Once again office bound for a few hours before grabbing the tackle and heading off to a lake to see if I could tempt any bites before the cold weather arrives. Literally had just three hours to spare and five minutes before winding in both rods were away. One was missed the other produced a roach around 1lb 6oz. At least I know when to arrive in future!

17/11/17 – Once gain in the office, this time writing up my weekly ‘Where to fish’ column.
20/11/17 – Was hoping to have a full day perch fishing at a new venue but things went tits up yesterday afternoon leaving me with just the afternoon and evening to fish so I headed to a local lake to see if I could tempt the odd rudd. Arriving at dusk, just in time to set up and bait up before the suspected feeding spell started I found myself sitting through the expected 5pm switch, yet come 5.30pm the first bite came from the right specie but of the wrong size, around a pound. It was one of those occasions when I could have fished late into the night if the fish were obliging, yet in really mild conditions, 12.5 degrees and a nice SW wind, and with only two more similar size rudd in the net that both fell around 6pm I decided tonight wasn’t the night and headed home.
21/11/17 – In the office, this time writing a Catch More feature on winter carp for Anglers Mail.
22/11/17 – Up at 2.30am, no not to go fishing but to drop the girlfriend of at Heathrow as she’s off Christmas shopping for a few days! Don’t worry, haven’t told her yet but planning a few days away soon looking to catch a monster stripy! Back at home by 4.30am, sleep till 9am and then in the office with matchsticks holding my eyes up all day completing not only a Catch More for Anglers Mail but my weekly ‘Where to fish’ column. With pretty much everything done it’s now time to get the rods out! 
23/11/17 – Up at 5.30am and on the road with my customer John Merriman in the hope of a big Passies Pond perch. Taking a chance we headed to the Match Lake, once again in blue cloudless skies and come 11am a couple of F1’s had fallen along with a personal best perch of 2lb 5oz. We then headed to the Main Lake and had to scale everything down to get bites but during a short feeding spell John managed a further four perch, all around 2lb along with losing a couple.
24/11/17 – On the road early again, this time heading to a commercial fishery in Berkshire in the hope of a monster perch for myself. The fishery isn’t a prolific perch fishery and only produces a couple of perch each winter but when they come out then they are capable of smashing my 4lb 10oz personal best. Fishing till 12.30am, again in bright cloudless skies I blanked but I’m going to have to get used to these on this fishery. Back at home and after a couple of hours work I swapped the perch rods over to rudd rods and headed to a local lake at dusk, casting out heli rigs and maggot in the hope of a big rudd. Five bites came my way by 8pm which resulted to four fish which included three modest rudd, the best around 1lb 12oz. Leaving the lake it looks like winter has arrived as the temp had fallen below freezing and my tackle showed signs of frosting up.
25/11/17 – Two mornings of heavy frost and bright blue skies meant that I didn’t see the reason of going perch fishing so stayed at home, sorting out the lighting in my tackle shed. In the evening though I once again grabbed the rudd kit and headed to my local lake for a few hours. The weather is raw, atmospherics really high on 1023mb and a breeze making it feel far colder than the 5 degrees stated. My mate Chris went in the normal swim, had two chances but somehow mucked both up. By 8pm and with no further action we decided it wasn’t going to happen as most fish come between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
26 & 27/11/17 – In the office both days sorting a few fishy related items including my weekly Anglers Mail ‘WTF’ column and an Advanced Grayling feature for Anglers Mail website.
28/10/17 – After picking the girlfriend up at Heathrow and knowing she needed some sleep slipped off to a new stretch of river for a spot of perch fishing. Second cast produced one of my biggest ever river perch weighing 3lb 9oz but disaster then struck as in my haste to leave home I realised that I had left the camera at home, so all I could do was take a quick picture on the mobile. An hour later in a new swim saw a 2lb 9oz perch in the net and yet another mat shot taken. Between the next bites (I missed two) I decided to explore my iPhone and when the next perch, again 2lb 9oz hit the net I was able to take a rather amateurish self take, shame the two 2.9’s didn’t come first!
29/10/17 – If you want a three pound plus perch then you have to strike whilst the irons hot which is exactly what one of my regular
customers, Alan Muller did when he read my latest Face Book entry showing yesterdays perch. Booking me for a guided day we headed back to the venue, however after a heavy frost things took a while to get going but after a couple of small fish he struck into a much better fish which turned out to be a new personal best perch weighing 3lb 4oz alone with following this up with another slightly smaller in a hectic few minutes.

30/10/17 – It’s been a busy couple of days and once again I was up early, this time to meet new customer Ryan who was looking to catch a big chub. Normally I wouldn’t have worried about the weather but last night was cold and with a heavy frost once again on the ground and temperatures not getting higher than 2 degrees along with a strong and chilling N/W wind we headed to an old hotspot at first light. The once known ‘banker’ swim failed to produce on cheese paste, as did the next three, also past productive swims, so we switched to a lump of flake. This livened things up, however the first bite came from a pike! Roving around the next swim produced a chub of around a pound so although we were now getting bites they weren’t from the size of fish desired. A couple of swims later a better chub graced his net, around 3lb 8oz, still not what we were looking for however giving a few swims what’s known as ‘quick fire’ visits we were running out of river. Our plan was to settle in one swim that I know produced chub to almost 7lb last winter but before doing this we tried a small depression in the river bed and starlight away a bite came from what we hoped was a big chub, however when a barbel showed we were both amazed as it took bread and came on the coldest day of the winter so far. Although the big chub never showed, four bites on this difficult ‘big fish’ stretch of water is good and would have normally produced a five pound plus chub, however with new skills learnt and knowledge of the river I’m sure it won’t take Ryan long to land a big chevin.
With just three weeks left till Christmas if you fancy buying your angling partner a ‘day out with Duncan’ voucher or one of my signed books for Christmas then you need to do this soon. I still have a few books left so just email me with your address along with payment for just £10.99 plus £4 P&P and I will get a copy in the post straight away. A guided voucher costs £135.
Payment can be made by PayPal, a cheque or direct into my bank account.

Email me at –

Two successful days guiding

Chub fishing on the coldest day of the winter so far.

Yesterday was raw, in fact it didn't get above 2 degrees all day and the frost that covered the ground in the morning was still around in places come dusk. The chilling N/W wind and high atmospherics would have given us some fantastic odds on blanking but new customer Ryan wanted a big chub and if one species was going to co-operate then this would be it, or would it! Cheese paste was our first bait tried and in the forth swim a bite finally came from a pike! We then switched to bread and managed another bite, this time from our chosen species a chub but around 4lb lighter than our hoped for five pound plusser! Before progressing we were also on a difficult stretch where two bites would normally see a big chub in the net so we were doing ok, just wrong size and species. A bigger chub did come later in the day and after roving through numerous swims yet at around 3lb 8oz it was still slightly short of our target. Then in the last swim before settling down in a known big chub swim and sitting it out on paste Ryan hooked something that felt like the real deal and on bread we both had hopes of our target fish, yet unexpectedly a barbel around 3lb 8oz popped its head up! 
No more action came yet on a hard stretch and on such a difficult day to get four bites was a result and I'm sure that Ryan's next four bites will see a five pound chub grace his net.
If you fancy a guided day learning a few tricks for chub or any other species then email me with your request -

Customer lands personal best perch.
Alan, a regular customer of mine wasted no time contacting me after seeing that I had located what could be a perch gold mine and knowing I was confident of beating his previous best, a mid two wanted to 'strike when the iron was hot so we headed out, once again on a raw winters day to see if I could produce the goods for him. As you can see from the pic's come the end of the day he wasn't complaining as he now has a best of 3lb 4oz!
Fancy a day in search of a big perch? Well just email me and I will let you know the cost of the day and dates that I am free -

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Perch paradise, maybe?

Organised, almost!
Headed to a new stretch of river in my never ending search for a big perch and finally stumbled on what could just turn out to be a perch goldmine. First cast in a likely looking spot produced a bite and after a powerful fight a slid the net under a big perch which turned the scales to 3lb 9oz, an ounce under my river best. Unfortunately I then found that I had left my camera at home so had to take a image on my mobile phone. No more action for a while and after a couple of moves before dropping a bait in another swim, only to see it nearly ripped of the rest immediately. This bite was missed but placing the bait in the same spot produced another which was a perch weighing 2lb 9oz and yet again another self take was taken. Whilst waiting for the next bite I started to look at the features that my iPhone has and worked out how to take a ten second selfy which was good as soon after place another 2lb 9oz perch in the net.
Its early days here and with loads of river to explore further cant wait for my next session.
If you fancy a day on the river in search of a big perch then I have dates available over the coming winter. If you want a day with a difference then this day could be split between targeting chub and perch. If you are interested then email me and I will send you prices etc -

Monday, 27 November 2017

Christmas ideas.......Time is running out

Christmas ideas.
If you are looking for something different this Christmas then why not get your partner to contact me and buy 'A day with Duncan' voucher. You can then book whatever date you want with me throughout the following year and target whatever specie you fancy.
As you already know, I fish for every specie so there is a good chance that if you want a big carp, chub, tench, rudd etc,  a day simply catching tench all day or feel that you need to learn a new skill such as waggler fishing,  grayling fishing using a centrepin and or zig fishing then I'm sure that I can accommodate.
If you are interested then in order to get your voucher in time for Christmas then you need to get your partner to get in touch now.
Simply email me at -

I also still have a few signed books left at the silly price of just £10.99 plus P&P. Again email me if you are interested.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

We all like a video to watch....

Spring Tench...
Sorry, not really the right time but did this on eon Johnson's back in the spring and just got it edited....
Hope you like...

Winter rudd...

Winter rudd.
First winter session of the year and things look good. No annoying small ones, just five bites in a quick after dark session and three modest rudd to show for my efforts.
If your up for a challenge then email me for prices and available dates -

Keep going and you will succeed.

Keep going and you will succeed.
The last few days have not been easy especially if its perch that you have been after. My latest customer John, a regular over the last couple of years had never targeted perch by design so we booked a day and headed to one of my more consistent venues. The weather was once again against us, high pressure, blue cloudless skies and a really brisk cold north west wind. I took a risk and headed to a lake on the complex that I had never fished due to reliable information from fellow angling informative s yet two hours in and just one F1 that took a liking to Johns prawn I felt a bit under pressure. Fortunately the next bite came from our target and weighing 2lb 5oz gave John a respectable personal best. An hour later and with the sun across the swim I made the decision to move onto the main lake, yet after a couple of further swim moves we just could not buy a bite. It was time to scale it down, first to a small piece of prawn on a size 12 then after no bites to a size 18 and double red maggot. Another move bought a swift response from a skimmer followed by a modest roach before John lost a good fish that he was sure was a perch. The light was fading but in true perch form they went on a quick feeding spree in which John managed four perch, all around 2lb along with losing a couple. Would we have caught on the prawn, I don't think so, its just about reading the conditions/situation and making the right decision, something I think we did on the day. In the hope of a much bigger specimen we watched the float through the light of our head torches but it wasn't to be but at least we missed the traffic home. A tough day and from the time we left home to getting back we were out thirteen plus hours, however many would have thrown the towel in far sooner!

Here are a few words I received from John..
I've been using Duncan as a guide for just over a year and it's been my best fishing investment ever. With his knowledge, guidance and encouragement during 2017 I've managed to catch 12 pb's topped by a 3lb 12oz crucian. It's been his inspiration that has improved my fishing skills and driven me to explore new fisheries and species that have resulted in my new pb's. Many of these fish I've never previously set out to target but with my new found skills zander, tench, roach, dace, golden orfe were caught whilst not being guided by Duncan.
I therefore can only highly recommend him as a guide and angling companion. Booking him for "A Day Out With Duncan" is something you'll not regret.
If you want a day targeting a new species or learning a new skill then why not get in touch. Email is best, just let me know what you are looking for and I will do my very best to satisfy -
What's trending over the next few months is - trotting a southern chalk stream for grayling, chub on flake/cheese, roach on punch, perch on either still or running water or if you really want extreme fishing - targeting a specimen rudd after dark at Frensham. Other favorites are zander at Old Bury Hill and roving a local river fishing the stick float for a mixed bag of roach, dace, perch and chub, however if you want to give me a challenge then I'll give it my best shot.....

Friday, 17 November 2017

New video to view now!

New Nash video at Godalming Johnsons Lake starring me and produced by Carl and Alex now available to view. 
If you want to master the pellet cone and use this in your armory next spring then its a must watch, however did we catch? It didn't all go to plan I can assure you...


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Lower Itchen Fishery is full of fish.

Lower Itchen Fishery is full of fish.

My first trip to the Lower Itchen Fishery saw my customer for the day having to give up around 3.30pm as his arm was aching from catching so many fish. Terry, a game angler wanted to be taught the art of stick float fishing to give him some diversity from casting a fly this winter and come the end of the day was trotting a stick with the aid of a centrepin and landing a mix of grayling and trout like a real expert. Don't think it will be long before he's back on the river enjoying this explosive style of fishing for himself.....

If you fancy being guided on the Itchen, Test or even the Frome then why not email me - for available dates and prices.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

November - Time for perch....

Perch time.
The first frosts have arrived and at last the summer species can be placed on the back burner and winter species such as perch come into the limelight.
First session was really a bit of a experimental recce trip and although things looked promising catching from the bank was impossible and the need to get afloat became very apparent when we watched as a couple of anglers bagged not perch but a dozen pike from areas we just couldn't reach. Measures have already been put in place and it wont be long before we too can get to these spots and reap the benefits.
Second trip was to a commercial in West Sussex and we couldn't have picked a worse day as the fog didn't lift till around 1pm and it was cold, bitterly cold and then when the fog did lift we were left with a blue cloudless sky and air pressure on 1020mb. Both Chris and myself fished really hard, trying different methods and moving around and after a hard day we were rewarded with a number of two pound perch.
If you fancy a days guiding for perch then why not email me -

Monthly report October 2017

Monthly Report October 2017

Another really mild month that has seen the transformation from summer to winter species really difficult to make however the last Sunday night of the month saw the first frost which means I can at last forget about summer species and start concentrating on winter targets, perch especially.
Godalming Angling’s Johnsons Lake was where I spent most of my spare time, yet the venue was very unpredictable. One day the crucians would be relatively easy as would the carp, the next almost impossible. After a successful day guiding a couple of members, Scott and Will I was confident of catching some crucians for a Nash Video, but try as I did the crucians were just not feeding. I did catch one relatively small crucian straight away then spent the rest of the day catching everything but. The Nash video duo, Carl and Alex were with me and I’m sure will make another Oscar winning production but the day just proved how difficult and unpredictable our sport can be. Also on Johnson saw me hook seven carp in just three hours before having to jump in and save a cygnet. The following day I was back with my dad in the hope he would experience such fine fishing but the wind had turned and the fish gone. Later on in the month and again having one last go for the carp, unsuccessfully, I had to sit and watch a cormorant swallow what almost certainly was a two-pound plus roach. It took around fifteen minutes to swallow it then for the next two hours look uncomfortable as it digested it. If it were my fishery I know what I would do as this is just not sustainable and one day I fear that Johnsons will be an all out carp venue as watching three cormorants work the water on a daily basis is seriously going to make an impact sooner or later. As you will see from my daily posts I love the wild life around me and will do everything to save a suffering bird, but cormorants as far as I’m concerned need to be controlled any which way.
Apart from the Johnsons session I have started to travel further afield and enjoyed a brilliant day on the Bridge Pool with my good friend Lewis Deek’s along with travelling once again to the Wye and back in a day and during the first couple of days in November to the Thames and a commercial in West Sussex in hope of a specimen perch. November is going to be almost all about perch with the occasional roach session and maybe a day targeting carp. What with my weekly Anglers Mail ‘where to fish’ column and the continual feature writing for magazines in both this country and abroad its sure to be another action packed month but one I’m looking forward too.
Book sales have been manic and with just a small stock left if you want one for Christmas then you need to put your order in now. Just email me and I will let you know how you can get your hands on a signed copy.
Another idea that is always popular as a Christmas present is to get your other half to buy a ‘guided day voucher’ from me. Vouchers will be posted out and can be placed in your Christmas card as an added surprise and then be used anytime throughout the year. Again just email me for prices etc.

Day to Day events.

01/10/17 – A guided day at Johnsons to help member, Scott Poulter and his son Will fine tune some methods to help catch more and bigger crucians. Fishing off the Railway Bank and starting at 6.30am the first fish to fall for Scott was a mirror, known as The Peach and probably the best looking carp in the lake at 29lb 12oz. Not bad on a size 16 hook and 5lb hooklink! The day progressed in a steady manner with the odd fish falling to both but it was far from easy and regular casting and accuracy played its part in keeping the fish coming. Come dusk, 6.30pm when we called it a day Scott had landed a dozen tench, another carp of around 11lb plus two crucians, the biggest 3lb 5oz. Will who tried his luck for carp at the start then switched to crucians later in the day managed two crucians, the best a personal best of 3lb 11oz!

Testimonial from Scott...

Having fished for the best part of 35 years, I have generally had a clear sense of targets in my fishing but for me it has never been just about catching, or measuring success merely in pounds and ounces, more about a sense of enjoying my surroundings, and working things out for myself so that on the odd occasions that I catch a decent fish I gain that sense of reward that comes with having worked for the prize.
However with my time increasingly at a premium due to family and work commitments I realised that if I was to get the most from fishing then a little help along the way would do me no harm at all and I booked Duncan for a day’s Crucian fishing at the beautiful Johnsons Lake, what a great decision it proved to be.
               My objective for the day was simply to learn as much as possible so that I could translate those lessons and try to apply them to my own fishing, but I gained so much more than just that. From the outset I found Duncan easy to communicate with, prepared to freely share his knowledge and information built up over years in his own fishing, generous with his time and generous with the use of his own tackle if I wanted or needed it, and he worked hard all day to try and ensure we caught.
               On the day I also took my son with me, who is showing an increasing interest in the sport, and is beginning to learn and carve out his own direction. Duncan was great with Will and was equally adept and patient communicating with a relative beginner.
               Whilst the success of the day was never going to be measured by me in what we caught, more by what we learned and we learned absolutely loads, we did nonetheless also bag a few. I managed a pb Mirror of 29lb 12oz on a small critically balanced piece of fake corn fishing with the pellet cone, and also came within an ounce of my Crucian pb with a 3lb 5oz fish. This was backed up with Tench, Rudd, a slightly smaller Crucian and a Common. However it was one of Will’s fish that stole the show, with a stunning 3lb 11oz Crucian, a new family pb and I was very proud of my boy.
               Duncan took it all in his stride and expressed a degree of slight disappointment that it had been a tough days fishing and was genuinely sorry that we hadn’t  enjoyed more success. It is precisely this mind-set and that sentiment that separates the top anglers from the average guys like myself and drives them to keep refining things until they have truly cracked it. The difference being that many of them understandably keep the knowledge won through their hard work to themselves, whereas Duncan is one of the guys who shares it freely.  
               I cannot recommend Duncan highly enough, I will be booking again myself in the future.

Scott Poulter

02/10/17 – Up at the crack of dawn once again and back on the banks of Johnsons to meet Carl and Alex to create a Nash video. Can’t say too much about this apart from we gave it everything, fishing an hour into darkness to catch our target species, succeeded but it was far from easy. Link to follow.............
04/10/17 – Headed down to Barton Court fishery to produce an Anglers Mail opener. Fished the stick and maggot for plenty of bites from surprisingly dace along with lots of brown trout and minnows!
05/10/17 – In the office all day writing up yesterdays feature and my weekly ‘where to fish’ column.
06/10/17 – A very sad day as we lost one of the families pet, Snoopy from old age. Struggled to get my head around anything serious after having to lay her to rest in the back garden but at least we can talk to her everyday and remember her for all the happiness she bought us all. Hopefully the dace will keep my mind occupied tomorrow on the Bridge Pool.
07/10/17 – A treat from a very good friend and previous customer off mine Lewis Deeks was a trip to the famous Bridge Poll on the river Avon at Christchurch. Arriving at my home at 6am we had the luxury of leaving the van in the driveway and travelling down in the car and after a good journey down we arrived at just after 7.15am.
Unfortunately the weather was as comfortable with constant drizzle and a brisk westerly, yet after a few hours this cleared, the wind dropped and the maggots were able to come into play. Lewis was quietly making his rod up but mine was already set and ready to go so after asking for his permission (he did pay) I guessed a depth, placed a piece of corn on a hook and a few yards down the pool saw the float dip and the rod bend double. Lewis just laughed as I tried to get some sort of control on what was obviously a decent sea trout, yet the hook pulled. A few casts later and still with Lewis setting up saw the second sea trout hooked and this one after an immense fight saw what we thought was what’s known as a ‘taker’ in the net, yet two inches oversized (22inches) and weighing around 5lb she was set free to pull another string. That was the end of the sea trout action for me (a few were hooked and lost) and although plenty of quality dace came to hand it was the master that stole the show as it soon became around 10 sea trout to my two! The tide plays a massive part in catching and around lunchtime and with the tide at its highest the bites dried up as did the constant jumping from the trout. We continued to try and get bites but it’s like a switch being hit as just as the flow starts to ebb out to sea the trout and dace start to move again and with this so do the floats. I think we ended up with twenty-six sea trout, Lewis had 16, myself 10 and although I landed three on the trot I just couldn’t match his centerpin line control and expertise at placing them in the net. What a day and an experience I highly recommend.
10/10/17 – On the bank of Johnson Lake come 7am to meet dad and Mick in the hope that the crucians may have switched on. Conditions great with a nice S/W wind blowing into the ‘Chicken Bank’. I had made the mistake of saying I would be arriving at 6.45am so they took advantage of this and duly bagged the best swims at 6.30am, yet an hour later they were on the back foot as it was four nil to me. Three tench and a 3lb 7oz crucian had graced my net so I thought it time to help them out, tie up some new hooklinks and hope this would bring them the odd bite, which it did. Come 1pm when we called it a day I had taken one more tench, another crucian, again 3lb 7oz plus dropping one which looked far bigger at the net along with the standard double figured common. Dad managed two tench, one over 6lb and Mick three crucians to 3lb 5oz and a tench. All in all an enjoyable session but rather cold. Winters just around the corner.
11 & 12/10/17 – Back in the office for a couple of days, this time creating a Catch More feature for AM as well as starting this week’s WFT column.
13/10/17 – Another early morning this time heading to West Sussex to meet my good friend Rikki Cooper who was confident he could put a 20lb plus pike on the bank in a morning session for the camera! Did he do it? Well if you want to know, and the venue he fished then you need to keep buying your copy of Anglers Mail each week!
15/10/17 – Tried to have one last go at the carp off the top but with the lake too busy settled down for a few hours in the less populated areas in the hope of a big crucian. Conditions feel great but white cloud and high atmospherics (1019mb) usually mean it will be tough and it was with just four bites coming from the four hour session. Those fish were three crucians, 1lb 4oz, 3lb 7oz and 3lb 8oz plus a 6lb tench.
16/10/17 – In the office all day writing the pike feature for Rikki and Anglers Mail.

17/10/17 – Wanted to be on a lake roach fishing at first light but after a sleepless night due to a few fishy related things on my mind decided that I’d grab the carp kit and head back to my local lake for one last go with the zigs. Swim free at last and soon had a few carp mouthing around and just twenty minutes in landed the first, a 14lb common. The action was then quite manic with five more carp falling plus one lost from a hook pull. These weighed 15lb 13oz, 15lb 15oz, 17lb 7oz, 18lb 3oz and 20lb 3oz. Not bad for just three hours in the water. Might off had another but with just thirty minutes to go before heading off to pick the girlfriend up noticed a cygnet in distress. Yes, your all saying that they are a pain in the arse but no one likes to see an animal suffering so there was nothing else for it but to jump in the lake, get my knackers wet and cold and save the swan from any pain. She was trailing sixty yards of line that was attached round her next with the rig well out in the lake. After biting the line she still had line around her neck and by this time had jumped out of the lake and was heading down the track so

chasing her I managed to corner her, jump on top before removing the line and placing her back where she belonged, in the lake.
18/10/17 – After such a fantastic day yesterday I had to take my dad back to experience such great fishing however after arriving at first light it wasn’t long to realise that something was different, the wind. Yesterday it was a nice S/Westerly yet today it had swung 180 degrees and was now coming from the N/East. Although we worked hard and got the odd fish showing it was obvious that they really weren’t having it and come midday, some five hours later we threw the towel in and headed home. How two days can be so different! Back at home it wasn’t long before I was picked up by Thames fanatic Alan Muller, this time heading to one of his favourite swims for barbel at Sunbury Lock. If you want to know how we faired then keep buying your copy of Anglers Mail as all will be revealed.
19/10/17 – In the office all day writing my AM column along with getting the tackle sorted for a day’s guiding on the river Wye tomorrow.

20/10/17 – Arrived at the river rather later than would have wished which probably the reason for not catching as many as we would have liked as all year the river has fished better in the morning. Things looked good, but the water temperature was really cold and I’m guessing it colder as the day progressed as the action tailed off also as the day wore on. Out of the four barbel hooked just one of 7lb 5oz was landed, I even lost one after doing all the hard work, getting it away from the snags only for the feeder to lodge in a snag mid river! Even the chub weren’t feeding with just one showing and come 5.30pm the river looked dead.
23/10/17 – It’s been a bit of a roller coaster couple of days; however a situation that had me seeing the odd sleepless night has now been rectified for the best and I can now once again relax and get my head around things. I was supposed to have been shooting another feature for the Mail Saturday just gone but the weather forecasters had sent out weather warnings about Storm Brian. To be honest I was somewhat disappointed as I had more wind in my underpants than Brian did! Sorry another case of the weather forecasters over exaggerating exactly what was coming in certain regions and making us all batten down the hatches for no reason at all. Thanks!  
On a positive note my book sales have gone mad and I have been constantly writing messages and signing the latest batch printed before posting them out. Looking at my stock I’m going to have to make another call to my printer tomorrow to get enough in for Christmas. If you want a copy then you need to get in touch now, just email me at – and I will forward everything you need to know?
24/10/17 – In the office all day catching up with fishing related paperwork.
25/10/17 – Chris my fishing mate wanted to have one last go at the carp on over-depth zigs and although I told him it probably was too late in the year he insisted and in all honesty with a gentle S/W wind and temperatures almost twenty degrees I thought that we might just have a chance Things looked good an hour after arriving at first light with a few carp cruising around and moving under our spodded out slop but an hour later it looked like one got away with the rig, created a big swirl on the surface and that was the last thing we saw of a carp so at 2pm threw the towel in finally for this tactic this year.
27/10/17 – Spent the day in the office writing features. Managed to get two Anglers Mail features completed, my WFT column and a ‘Catch More’ on weir pool barbel.
28/10/17 – Another office day, this time compiling a European roach article and tidying the tackle shed as now it’s turned colder I can finally start thinking about perch, grayling and roach.
29/10/17 – Oh my god, does roach fishing get any better as just returned from Waggoner’s Wells, had the place to myself and using bread punch two rod lengths out caught 32lb of roach to just over a pound in an amazing three hours. I would have caught more but Dad came and sat with me and I asked him to tell me when it was 1pm, however he hadn’t put his watch back and having so much fun didn’t realise until I got back to the car! I think my timing was perfect as today is the last mild day and tonight the temperature is dropping away, we may even get a frost in the morning. We did!
30/10/17 – Typical Monday in the office writing up features.

31/10/17 – The first frost of the winter has seen me sorting out the rods ready for perch which will be one of my main targets this winter and with the next two days to spare I will hopefully get off the mark either on the tidal Thames or down south on Passies in West Sussex.