Saturday, 12 August 2017

This weeks guided sessions....

This weeks guided sessions

Its been a long week, especially with the weather constantly on the change but well worth the effort dodging the downpours and braving the cold mornings, 7 degrees on Thursday. More details of these can be read in my monthly blog that will be published early September but in brief Michael enjoyed a day at Newdigate Lodge Lake catching ten or more fish which included a personal best golden orfe weighing 4lb 14oz plus tench to around 5lb. 
Mark caught his target fish for the summer, a 3lb plus crucian when one of 3lb 2oz graced his net after maybe two-hours along with plenty of other fish. 
Neil wanted something different so the pole was dusted down and he's now well and truly hooked after catching some elastic stretching tench and bream and Adrian now knows how effective the pellet cone is having a short morning session interrupted by a number of tench to 6lb.
If you want a days guiding then just email me at -

Shocked at what's been said.........

This weeks Anglers Mail article
As a journalist for a angling magazine's and constantly producing features for anglers to read I need to be well aware of the rules and regulations that clubs and day ticket venue lay down and then abide by these, however it seems that we all interpret these differently especially if they are written in a too complex way, lets face it this shouldn't be the case, as they should be written in a way that cannot be interpreted differently.
Last month I had an angler tell me that a bolt rig couldn't be cast into a lake and bought my attention to this rule - All rigs must be free-running - no fixed or semi-fixed rigs permitted. As always I was well aware of the rule and had to explain that nowhere in the rule was the words 'bolt-rig' mentioned and that I could easily achieve a bolt rig using a tight line from rod-tip to an inline free-running lead along with a short hooklink and hair-rigged bait.
I also had my hand slapped by a bailiff after using my net on a local lake to retain a perch (I thought I might be able to get a brace shot quickly for a feature needed). Not wanting to create a scene I apologized but once at home wanted to read the rule once again. It read as follows - No carp are to be retained in keep-nets or sacks whatsoever, at ..............Lake, other than in authorised competitions. Its a shame when I know the rules better than the bailiff!
So once again I was shocked at some comments when producing a pellet waggler article recently as after reading the rules before and after still cant see what all the fuss is about.
The rule reads as follows - No surface baits of any kind may be used. Buoyant bait (pop-ups) may be used at a maximum of 2 inches (50cm) from the lake bed.
In my mind it would be far easier to say the following -
All rigs must be free running.No keepnets apart from in authorised competitions.
All baits must be fished on the lake bed.

No confusion just plain and simple (black and white) rules that cant be misinterpreted!

French video now ready to view....

French Video now available to view - just click on link below.........

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Monthly Report June and July 2017

Monthly Report June and July 2017

Having missed my monthly blog last month you will see that I have incorporated the few times I fished in June into July giving a much longer blog for you to get your teeth into.

As you can see another busy month with ten guided sessions crammed in, some overnighters at Frensham. Frensham has been tough, not just for tench but rudd as well and contrary to what you may have read, multiple catches of either have been rare. Fortunately I don’t ‘big’ my catches up so when a customer books me they know that we are fishing for maybe one or two two-pound rudd, anymore and it’s classified as a bonus. The blue green algae once again is rife, however this doesn’t usually kill the fishing but I’m putting the difficult fishing down to two factors. The first is Frensham hates a changing wind
and every time I’ve fished the lake this season it’s been on different one. The second factor is the really hot spell a few weeks ago warmed the water quicker than in previous years and the small rudd that usually don’t bother us till well into August were problematic far sooner making catching by design (maggot fishing) really difficult. Fortunately I may have a solution to the problem but its early days.
I still haven’t spent much time on running water and the desire to do so seems’ a long way away. This is probably due to having lots of contacts that are reporting that they are struggling and that we needs some flow and colour. You may be thinking we have had lots of rain, yet when it comes, it comes in force making the small rivers I fish rise and fall quickly. Good if you have time to react but if like me you don’t then that brief feeding spell will be missed.

I was hoping to get a few carp sessions in but due to the water pump on the van going these were limited to just three, yet every time I went I did manage to hook a big fish, even if they weren’t all landed. I have to admit that the last Sunday in the month proved that I’m onto something regarding the rig and bait I’m using and can’t wait to get out again (tonight) and glide another scalley pest or two my way.
Getting out with new anglers and creating features has also been fun, such as a day on the Wandle with James Buckley, bream fishing at The Causeway Lake with my good friend Sam Meeuwissen and watching Tony Ashbolt take Broadwater apart on a method rarely used there. If you are catching loads and have a method that you have perfected, and this doesn’t have to be specimen fish orientated as a match/lure tactic will be welcomed, and fancy featuring in an Anglers Mail ‘Catch More’ feature then I would love to hear from you. Get in touch simply by emailing me at –

                                                Day to Day events.

1st – 7th / 06/17 Basically working on a number of Anglers Mail articles to get finished before I head of to The Dominican Republic for two weeks.
9th – 24th /06/17 Had a fantastic holiday in the Dominican Republic enjoying great food and plenty of sunshine, however on returning the girlfriends found she has a DVT so the expected rush to get out and spend loads of time fishing has had to take a backseat.
27/06/17 – Having heard about the great weather the UK had been enjoying whilst away I was hoping to top the tan up yet my first trip out, a guided session at Frensham Great Pond coincided with the first proper rain for weeks. Arriving around 3pm, earlier than planned, I managed to get set up before the heavens opened, which was more than I can say for brave Lewis who wasn’t so lucky. Apart from the rain things really did have ‘fish crawling up the rods’ written all over it, yet we had to wait around three hours for the first bite, then two came along at once. Both cane from tench, one of 5lb 6oz was landed, the other lost. Darkness fell and our hopes rose when what was thought to be a rudd was hooked but this turned out to be a perch. The rain by now even heavier but we braved it, got soaked and come midnight had landed a couple of rudd, ounces shot of two pound. Lewis was hoping to beat his 2lb 2oz rudd from last year but as they say ‘close but mo cigar’. Angling is a strange sport as we joked that when I returned from seeing Lewis to the car that such a fish would come along and after casting both rods out for a few minutes whilst I packed up they both went of producing a brace of rudd weighing 2lb 2oz and 2lb 3oz.
28/06/17 – Having managed to dry the kit out earlier in the day and with the conditions looking spot on for a fish or two I grabbed the opportunity of being able to do office work later in the week and head of to Johnsons for a few hours. Setting up awkward peg 29 and with fish fizzing everywhere it wasn’t long before the first crucian saw the bottom of the net followed by five more. Strangely the crucians this year seem to be spread out more this year with anglers catching maybe one or two, unlike the couple of dozen the previous year if you found yourself on top of them, so with six to my name in maybe an hour and a half I was somewhat enjoying myself. Unfortunately they drifted off and the tench moved in and come 6.30pm, four and a half hours after starting I hadn’t added to my tally of crucians but eleven tench had come unstuck. The best crucian went 2lb 14oz and all looked like they had been through a few wars, all lean, tattered a torn after spawning but as we know they will recover and hopefully with more weed around and being allowed to get on with things undisturbed we will see a new year class in time to come.
29/06/17 – Up at 5am and on the road come 6am, this time heading to SW London to meet up with a couple of enthusiastic young anglers on the tiny river Wandle to create an Anglers Mail ‘Catch More’ article. If you are into fishing tiny urban streams then keep an eye out for this article over the next few weeks.
30th – 2nd/ 07/17 – The best part of three days spent in the office getting up to date with my ‘Where To Fish’ Column, completing the Wandle article plus sorting the tackle out for a long week ahead, fortunately spent on one of my favourite venues, Frensham Great Pond.
03/07/17 – Up at 3.30am and fishing by 5am with my customer for the day Barrie.  Setting up in what’s known as ‘The sun-trap’ swim and with the weather looking ideal for a bumper catch we had to wait over an hour for the first bite. The morning progressed in much the same way with just the odd tench showing and come midday and with four tench to 7lb 2oz we headed home. The session did allow us to experiment with different rigs and prove just what a leveller fishing and Frensham Great Pond is as all four tench fell to Barrie’s rods and mine remained motionless. Fortunately two of the tench came to a method I’m not that keen on but seeing this it’s time I persisted with it and hopefully if successful again will make distance fishing for tench at Frensham far easier.
04/07/17 – Up and in the office come 6.30am after a great night’s sleep and working hard to get my weekly ‘Where to Fish’ column sorted nice and early as well as getting the tackle ready for a nights carp fishing.
05/07/17 – Arrived at the lake yesterday evening around 7pm with the intension of fishing at least one rod on zig, a method that I rarely use but with the air pressure high and the fish in the upper layers it seems the right approach. The lake is rammed, so after a quick walk found everyone had followed the wind but a quick look off the back of it, in a shallow area full of wee found lots of carp so with some space around thought that I could intercept any carp moving out in the night and that the angling pressure elsewhere may just have pushed the fish here anyway. Tactics was to fish a zig near the surface and a bottom bait below whilst spodding some Nash Gyro BugLife over the top. An hour in and the zig rigs off producing a stunning mirror of 21lb 2oz. Things then went quiet, apart from a Mallard that had me dropping the zig down as must have been on, or close to the surface. Sadly that was it on the zig rig but the bottom bait ripped off twice in the early hours producing two mid-double zip linears, the best 16lb 8oz. Come 5.15am it was time to pack away and head home to get the lady to work but well happy with my first night targeting the carp at Johnson’s.
06/07/17 – Sometimes fishing is just so unpredictable it leaves us all scratching our heads as today I found myself on the banks of Newdigate Fisheries for a day’s guiding Ian Joyce hopefully to a few tench. Temperatures were soaring with 19degrees recorded at 7am and come 2pm it had passed 30! Clear blue skies also had us thinking we would be up against it but with a storm forecasted seeing atmospheric pressure dropping and a nice southerly wind saw the fish almost crawling up Ian’s rod. Certain methods failed to catch however after a few tweaks we finally cracked it and come 2pm when it was just too hot to continues Ian had taken at least fifteen fish including five orfe to 6lb 4oz, the only golden tench in the lake along with tench to exactly 7lb. Not bad for a day when many would have stayed at home!
07/07/17 – Spent the morning in the office before doing my best to locate some canal carp but three hours walking upstream of Fleet and not one carp spotted. Headed to a local lake to try and stalk one and got smashed up by one of the lakes biggest after having to place a bait in a rather dodgy position.
08/07/17 – First guiding session of the year on running water and it’s in the bid to catch a new customer his first barbel. Heading to the Loddon, in far from ideal conditions and on a river that had been given a facelift in the close season (Stanford End) we headed to a swim that had produced consistently in the past and after around fifteen minutes the tip flew round only for the line to part as if someone underwater had cut it with a pair of scissors! Not the best start but these things happen and at least David had discovered an instant method that he can take back with him to his local river. Two swims later and a repeat performance occurred only to see the hook pull on another barbel a few seconds into the fight. It was going to be one of those days! With the temperature rising we knew we were up against it and apart from a decent chub bite that was met with thin air we had to throw the towel in mid afternoon and declare it was 3-0 to the fish!
10/7/17 – With a WFT opener needed by the end of the week and the rivers and canals fishing badly in this hot weather headed to a local club water and took around thirty carp in not much more than three hours but unfortunately none made double figures.
11/7/17 – Can you believe it, just like last year and the first Farnham Angling Barbel Teach-in is set to be a washout with heavy rain forecasted from 4pm. Words can’t really express just how uncomfortable this turned out to be for myself and six unlucky anglers as it started as forecasted and never stopped with around two-inches falling whilst we were there. Waterproofs designed for angling proved useless and I might of well have been wearing a mankini as come 10pm I was soaked to the skin, shivering and in need of a hot bath. The river’s form didn’t even make up for such a miserable evening with just one fish hooked that decided to bite through the hooklink, a pike I guess. On a positive note I have received many thanks for the evening and the tips passed on and await a few catch reports from the anglers in due course.
12/07/17 – Spent the morning in the company of Tony Ashbolt at Broadwater Lake producing an Anglers Mail feature on the pellet waggler. If you are a regular and struggling to catch then you really need to keep an eye out for this feature as it will seriously increase your catch rate here!
13/07/17 – It’s all go and after getting the rudd tackle sorted headed to Frensham Great Pond to meet my customer for the day Tim McIntyre. Small rudd proved problematic but persistence paid off in the shape of two specimen rudd, late into the night weighing 2lb 3oz and 2lb 8oz.
14/07/17 – Having got back from the guiding session at around 2am I had a decent lie in before setting about getting a few features with pending deadlines underway.
15/07/17 – Mid afternoon headed to Weybridge to take some wedding images for my good friend Jake Lund, Congratulations!
16/07/17 – Spent most of the day in the office writing up my ‘Where to Fish’ column for AM.
17/07/06  – In the office early so that I can write up last week’s Pellet Waggler article before getting the tackle sorted for a nights guiding at Frensham. Arrived at 4.30pm to find an easterly wind blowing so took a chance and headed to an area that wasn’t very productive last season. Reports are that fish, albeit just a few fish and no big hits were coming from all areas so it seemed the perfect time to explore. Straight away it was once again obvious that the small rudd would make maggot drowning impossible until late into the night and so it was. I managed a 2lb 6oz rudd
around 11pm plus a tench at 1am which raised our hope but apart from a few sucked maggots this was all we had to show for our efforts come first light. Topping the swims up with bait the tench seemed to switch on around 7am and a quick flurry saw myself and John land five fish, the best maybe a scrapper six.
18/07/17 – I was hoping to be back at Frensham for another guided session tonight but with water dripping from the van I had to postpone the session and with a storm brewing might just have done the right thing, however I know just how well fishing can be when the atmospherics take a sudden drop. Managed to spend a couple of hours sorting the kit and doing a few tidying jobs in the fishing shed later in the day after a few hours sleep.
19/07/17 – Spent the day in the office getting my AM ‘where to fish’ column sorted.
20/7/17 - Another office day, this time manipulating Jake Lund’s wedding images along with nine holes of golf with my mum at Bowenhurst golf course. The five irons working a dream as is the putter but it was strangely my short game to the green that let me down.
21/07/17 – I did have a customer booked in for a day’s tench fishing however he had to cancel and reschedule it for next month. All in all this week’s gone from being a busy one to a complete nightmare, what with the van which is now fixed, I couldn’t even go fishing myself, however on the positive side at least I am ahead of myself for once in the office.
24/07/17 – Spent the morning getting the rods ready for rudd guiding session at Frensham. On the bank by 4pm and set up ready for my customer Scott come 6pm. Everything looked spot on with fish moving over our baited spots come dusk however the small rudd explosion made maggot fishing frustrating and come 2am, along with lots of small rudd the only sizeable fish were a couple of modest tench. I tried plastic, small pop-ups and then boilie bottom baits but apart from one more small tench it was obvious that it just wasn’t going to be. One thing that may have accounted for the difficult session was that the temperature dropped dramatically overnight to the extent that you could see your breath, usually meaning it’s as low as 7 degrees. This small rudd explosion is early this year; usually you can get away with maggot fishing till maybe the first week in August. Unfortunately these shitters (anglers keep saying these are good for the future, however with a dozen cormorants working the lake early morning it might not be as they won’t turn their nose up of a two pound plus rudd!) will now be with us till the first few frosts chill the waters so with one more guided session later this week, and if things turn out similar, I think it will be time to leave well alone for a few months.
26/07/17 – Spent the morning writing up most of my AM WTF column before heading back to Frensham Great Pond to guide my good friend Adrian in the hope of replicating the session with Paul Garner last year. After the eventful/uneventful night on Monday I decided to steer clear of the popular Oaks swim and head elsewhere and come 10pm thought I’d made the right decision when a rudd of 2lb 10oz graced my net, the biggest I’ve heard from the lake this season. Unfortunately that was my only bite, however it’s a step forward in catching my target fish without being kept awake all night with tiny rudd. Another major problem was my swim seemed to be covered in silk weed and every time I wound in had to stop at least twice to break this off my line and from around the tip eye. My rig was also covered in the stuff so another problem that needs to be addressed. Adrian, who obviously I spent most of the time with, fared somewhat better, even after reeling in his rods at 1am and casting out again at 5am. He managed a cracking rudd too plus four tench and didn’t suffer from the silk weed problems I had. Once again the session got off to a good start but the expected rush of tench as dawn broke never materialised, however it was a great session and one where lots was learnt ready to take into the next session. One thing we did noticed was the amount of natural food in the water as looking in the landing net found an abundance of life, most evidence were the amount of big fresh water shrimps! Why should a fish want our bait when they have these and evidence why the fishing has been hard this season.
28/07/17 – Had a brilliant day guiding the dad’s at Lodge Lake Newdigate. Arriving just after 7am and having the lake to ourselves the guys fished just one feeder rod each and enjoyed a ten fish catch, shared out equally between them. Mick was off to a flyer with four fish quickly landed which included an orfe of 5lb 3oz (personal best) and three 4lb plus tench. Things then went quiet before adding another good orfe early afternoon. Dad seemed worried about the lack of fish but then an orfe and tench settled his nerves. Strangely things seemed to pick up just after lunch with three more fish including an orfe of 5lb 7oz and two tench, including the biggest I’ve seen from the venue and a personal best weighing 7lb 9oz. It could have been much better for him but two lost 5lb plus tench and an orfe managed to shed the hook. The reason for me guiding the dad’s was that they have had a bad run of late at more local venues and I just wanted to take them to a great venue with some stunning fish, sit with them and iron out a few small problems to put them back on track. Don’t get the wrong impression that Lodge Lake at Newdigate is easy, it’s far from it and if you arrive and fish thinking this then you will probably come unstuck. I’ve fished the lake for the past three, maybe four years and I do feel that I know how it ticks and if approached correctly can get the best from it. If you fancy a day here then why not book a guiding day? Just email me – The only downside to the day was to find ‘blind eye’ dead, an orfe that has given so many anglers a personal best. Unfortunately she seemed to be unable to get rid of her eggs back in the spring and I must admit I feared that she may become spawn bound which she did, however nothing ever lasts forever and with an influx of new orfe earlier in the year will provide us with plenty of sport in the future. 
29/07/17 – A day in the office doing fishy paperwork.

30/07/17 – After last night’s rain I wasn’t surprised that only six anglers were fishing Johnsons when I arrived at 8am. Apart from one angler who had landed a number of fish, everyone else had struggled and with few fish showing me and Chris headed to the middle of the railway bank. Chris unfortunately blanked but I managed four bites resulting in one lost carp, a suspected lost rudd plus a 4lb tench and 21lb 4oz carp. I was doing something completely different to Chris and most others on the lake and seem to have something working for me. It’s certainly not perfected but with nine bites in three sessions I’m getting close. Can’t wait to iron out all the creases and enjoy the rewards, it won’t be long! 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tough going but hugely rewarding!

Tough going but rewarding.Last night saw myself customer John heading to Frensham Great Pond, the scene of a mega tench catch taken by John last season that earn't him a free FAS permit.

This session was all about catching a 2lb plus rudd however hard as we tried, just one showed a 2lb 6oz fish on my rod. You maybe asking why l didn't let him take my rod but some anglers prefer to learn by association, watching myself then replicating what I do, my help comes in tying up rigs, baiting up and generally answering loads of questions. the next bite came to my rods, a tench then the tables turned as John went on to land four tench to around six pounds. Unfortunately the big rudd never came his way but he knows exactly what to do and I''m sure will be sending me a picture soon of a fish of a lifetime.

Guiding inquiries to -

Customer lands rudd brace weighing 4lb 11oz

Customer lands rudd brace weighing 4lb 110z!Tim's best rudd may have weighed a pound so a guided trip to Frensham Great was organised in the hope that a two may turn up. The fishing in general has been hard this season, especially the tench with anglers recording a few fish each session but struggling to put the mega hauls its famous for. 

Setting up in a tight reed fringed swim and after some gardening we managed to get the rods out but the small fish were proving problematic but struggling through these Tim managed his dream fish, a rudd weighing 2lb 8oz quickly followed by another of 2lb 3oz.
Guiding inquiries to -

Thursday, 6 July 2017

30 degrees and still catching!

30 degrees and catching!
Here are a couple of images from today's guiding session with Ian Joyce at Newdigate Fisheries. Far from ideal conditions and certain methods failed to catch but we finally sussed out what and how they wanted it and come 2pm, after starting at 7am Ian had caught 15 or more fish including tench to exactly 7lb, orfe to 6lb 4oz and the only golden tench in the lake.

Guiding inquiries to or call 07928 617006

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Turning my hand to carp.....

Making the switch to carp!I've been talking about simplifying my personal angling and turning my hand to carp fishing as I can simply arrive, find some fish, cast out and hopefully with a bit of thought catch a few carp whilst being able to relax. 
Thought I'd share this cracker, the best of three from last night and caught on a method that I had little confidence in, knew worked but needed to perfect! Well I think that's all changed now!
If your struggling to catch carp or any other species then why not book me for a day's guiding, it will help you put more fish on the bank...
Email - or tel: 07928 617006.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Guided sessions to Frensham, so far.

Apologies for not having a monthly report for June but with a two week holiday and office work time on the bank has been limited.

Wet, wet, wet at Frensham.
After returning from a couple of weeks in the Dominican Republic I was hoping to top the tan up however the English weather had other ideas and my first guided trip back to Frensham Great Pond coincided with the first rains for weeks. Lewis bravely agreed to keep with our plans and brave the weather forecast and was rewarded with this fine tench, a perch plus two rudd that didn't quite make the two pound barrier. Close but no cigar as they say but there is still plenty of time to increase his best of 2lb 2oz caught with me last year.

7lb 2oz Frensham tench to customer.
By all accounts the fishing at Frensham has been a bit 'hit and miss' this year with the tench spawning on opening and really not getting their heads down since. My latest guided session saw Barrie setting his stall out for tench and with a nice westerly pushing into our faces and cloud cover above things looked great for a hectic session. Yet, as it is so often with Frensham the fish had other ideas and even though we worked hard, ringing the changes and constantly casting the bumper call never materialized yet our efforts were rewarded with four big tench the best not far off Barrie's personal best at 7lb 2oz.

If you fancy a guided trip for tench or rudd at this fantastic venue then why not email me - for availability and prices.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Monthly Report May 2017

Monthly Report May 2017

Although it’s been a busy month in the office, actually getting out and catching a few fish has been somewhat lacking. In all I’ve only fished for myself five times, most being eel sessions on new venues to see if eels are present. Every session has produced runs, even if it was just one but actually contacting with any of them has been frustrating. The first lake that I was tipped off about only produced three small eels in five after dark assaults starting last October so this has been knocked on the head. The other two trips both produced just one run which is more off the water I like, as being up all night with anything less than four pound is hard work, but when just the odd run comes it usually means big fish. Shame nether were converted but that’s eel fishing.
Guiding has also taken a back seat, mainly because I haven’t been very proactive but this will all change soon as I have a number of days already booked for barbel fishing on the river Wye and
tench/rudd fishing at Frensham is just around the corner which is always popular (get in now and book a date as not to be disappointed).
Features are taking up much of my time as I seem to plan a day’s fishing and then a day writing them up which has to change. So instead of spending two days to complete each, I’m going to do my best to get up early, fish for six hours then return home and write it up, perhaps with maybe just a quick proof read over a cup of coffee the following morning. I’m also going to be on the lookout for anglers catching on different methods that want to star in features, so if you have  a few tricks up your sleeve, or maybe a fishery or tackle shop that knows someone that’s taking a venue apart then get in touch and email me at I’m also going to be trying to get out every week and fish a new venue that is featured within my ‘Where to Fish’ column so if you feel you have a venue, club or day ticket that is worthy of a visit and a review then once again I want to hear from you.
Lastly it seems that some clubs have reacted to my call for complimentary permits so I can promote their waters. Twyford and District Angling Society and CALPAC have been the most recent and you will soon be seeing them mentioned on a far more regular basis within my Anglers Mail write up’s. In fact only last week I was out on one of Twyford’s water teaming up with my old pal Sam Meeuwissen doing a three page Catch More feature with him, not bad publicity for the club! Twyford have also had a Tactical Briefing done on St Patrick’s Stream plus at least four mentions on their venues or showing their club details and all for, yes the price of a complimentary permit and yes, I will continue to promote their waters as best as I can throughout the coming year along with all the other clubs that understand what scratching each other’s back mean.

The memories of that monstrous carp from Lac Serreire seem a million miles away but I will be returning as we have just managed to book the last couple of weeks remaining in 2019 and 2020, it’s that popular!  

The images of my brother here and the carp at the top are fish caught in May during features but held back until they were published. This is something that I will do each month as unless you buy the Anglers Mail you will never get to see some of the fantastic fish caught each month. 

                                                Day to Day events.

02/05/17 – 05/05/17 – Basically a no-fishing week to enable myself to get back into the grove, relax and look forward to my next target, a big eel. I did manage to get an article done for the Nash website on our French trip, take a look at under the Knowhow tab for the article. I also had my weekly Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish’ column to do so certainly not an unproductive week.
06/05/17 – Spent the day doing a shop day for Nash at Tackle Up in fleet.
08/05/17 – One of those days in which lots of odds and sods get sorted, one being to get the tackle sorted for an eel session later in the week, a customer guiding session for cats, get the tackle shed in some sort of organised state and make calls to organise features etc.
10/05/17 – Spent most of the day working for Anglers Mail and Twyford and District Fishing Club producing future Tactical Briefings before spending a couple of hours into darkness for eels at a southern lake. Just one eel of 2lb to report from six runs in which one was lost and four were missed!
11/05/17 – Spent the morning drawing up venue maps for AM before sorting the catfish tackle out and starting my weekly ‘where to fish’ column.
12/05/17 – Spent the day at a really well run day ticket venue, New Farm Fishery. The weather forecast was for it to be overcast with showers and humid, great, however it was far from this and come late morning after a brief shower it was mankini weather. Sadly the cats weren’t playing ball, (which is often the case with this species as its all or nothing) and apart from a couple of aborted pick-ups on big lumps of meat we returned home empty handed, well not quite, as I bumped in John Llewellyn who runs Big Carp/Cat Baits who kindly left me with a selection of his samples which will be put to good use in the coming weeks. Check out Graham the bailiff at New Farm Fishery is a really great guy who runs a very friendly fishery and will bend over backwards to make you visit one to remember, even if the fish aren’t feeding, so if you are looking for somewhere new to visit then give this one a go. It’s not an easy venue and the cats/carp don’t give themselves up easily but there are some very special and big fish here with cats to over 80lb, including mandarin cats to over 40lb, carp to and some very big grass carp. Parking is very close to the lakes and the swims are in most cases nice and level so great for the less agile who’s looking for a whopper or two! Thiers also a well stocked tackle shop and the fishery even offers home cooked food delivered to your peg, now what more could you ask for? Check out for more information.
15/05/17 – Up early again and on the road come 6am, this time heading to Weir Wood Reservoir in East Sussex to team up with Rikki Cooper from Predator Pro to create a feature for Anglers Mail demonstrating a devastating perch tactic. Even though it rained all the time, I hardly noticed as it was a fascinating day out, in great company and an office backdrop to die for. Did he catch perch, of cause he did along with one very special fish. Keep an eye out for this feature coming soon to the mail and if you fancy a great day out with a very knowledgeable angler then its worth checking out
16/05/17 – Met my dad at Badshot Lea Big Pond at 7am and headed to pegs 47 and 48 due to a nice southerly wind. Straight away it was obvious that there were plenty of carp around, probably due to a band of weed a couple of rod lengths out. Fishing helicopter rigs at around 70 yards it didn’t take long for a bite which saw a 15lb mirror landed followed by two more. The bream then moved in and at least a dozen came, the best probably pushing 7lb along with another carp and a 4lb tench. 100lb mixed catch in around five hours, all taken on maggot and a size 16 hook! Dad struggled next door, mainly due to losing fish in the weed but managed a few bream and the girlfriends Dad, Mick fishing opposite caught a personal best tench weighing 7lb 9oz!
17/05/17 – The rain has arrived so spent a full day writing the article on the Dropshot Hybrid rig for Anglers Mail.
18/05/17 – 19/05/17 – It’s still raining, so after spending a few hours sorting the catfish tackle headed back to Badshot Lea with mate Chris and customer John. Although conditions looked great being overcast and damp other things needed to be taken into account as with very few fish moving it was obvious it wasn’t going to be easy. The temperature had dropped to a high of just 11 degrees, the wind had also dropped and the A/P was on 1015mb. Another factor was that if the cats were going to go on a feeding frenzy then they would have probably done this the two days before when the temperature was higher, as was the wind and the A/P much lower. Chris had the first run at 10.30pm which saw a 26lb 6oz cat banked but apart from one screamer that I missed at midnight the session passed without any further events. Speaking to a few anglers and hearing no other runs during the night it seemed very little came out elsewhere.
20/05/17 – Spent the day writing up my weekly Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish’ column. Still not repeated any venues but it’s going to happen soon as now running out of venues, well apart from in Essex that I’m now beginning to think has more water than land!
23/05/17 – Arrived at BLBP to try and get a picture to show how well it’s fishing. Set up in peg 47, slight wind from the S/W, temp up to 20 degrees and slowly clouding over and with loads of carp spawning. First cast lost a carp from a hookpull in the weeds, followed by two more before catching eight bream in just two hours. Photograph taken headed to GAS Harris Lake to see how Dad and Mick were getting on. They had had the odd tench but things had gone quite so tweaked there set-up and dad straight away started to catch crucians, all around 2lb. Unfortunately  my help didn’t get Mick’s alarms sounding which was strange as he had fish moving in front of him. Back at home it was time to get the eel rods sorted and head down to Chris for a few hours fishing. Unfortunately the three hour into darkness session produced another small eel so knowing that singling a big one out is going to be difficult and that we probably have just as much chance on a couple of venues on our doorstep have decided to kick this water in to touch.
24/05/17 – After a lay in got on with getting my weekly ‘Where to Fish’ column sorted. One thing that I’m really feeling good about is that loads of anglers, fisheries and just general friends have commented on just how refreshing it is to read my column. New fisheries and no repeats, oh, sorry as its come to a time when I am going to have to start repeating a few fisheries, but only those that I am getting feedback from that are fishing their socks off. Even Bill commented on how good the column looked which is humbling as he certainly knows his waters and just today I phoned John Riason to see how Gold Valley was fishing and he too commented on my work as have a number of my angling customers who are always looking to try out a new venue. I have to admit its not easy and very time consuming but when I know its appreciated then it drives me on.
One thing I will mention is the club tickets that have been sent to me as I think other angling clubs need to know why some are mentioned more than others, or maybe why they are not mentioned at all. It’s not because I don’t want to mention you but if you don’t come forward and reveal yourselves then how can I promote your angling club and try and get a few more members signed up. The clubs that send me tickets are – Farnham Angling Society, Godalming Angling Society, Hartley Wintney Angling Society, Grayshott Angling Club, Bath Road Piscatorial Society, Twyford & District Fishing Club and most recently CALPAC. Having a complimentary permit allows me to access these fisheries, know what’s going on and then promote them as best I can. Let’s be straight to the point here, let’s look at a couple of local club to me, Farnborough and District Angling Club and Oakhanger Angling Club, clubs that have made it obvious that they don’t need any help. Have I any intensions of joining your club at the moment, no! Why, because I just don’t have the time to fish your waters, not because they aren’t good, because I just don’t have the time! So knowing that your membership has been falling year after year (F&DAS) why not send me a complimentary permit so I can promote your club and at least keep you in the local angler’s eye, even better getting a few new members sent your way? It’s not lost revenue its free promotion! Enough said.
Oh maybe not as I’m amazed why clubs such as Reading, Thatcham and Newbury haven’t approached me knowing that they are struggling to keep membership at a constant level. I have been struggling for the last couple of years with venues in Berkshire to promote in Anglers Mail so now’s the time to act if you want a bit more exposure.   
25/05/17 – 26/05/17 -  Come 2pm and on a baking hot day I found myself on the way to Furnace Fisheries to team up with Dave Mutton to create a Catch More feature on catching catfish up in the water. To be honest all my cat fishing is carried out with bottom baits so it was an eye opener for me to see just how effective this type of fishing is. If you too want to know how to approach cats in a different way then keep buying your weekly copy of the magazine and you will find out.
26/05/17 – After a sleepless night due to Dave’s snoring I was amazed to still have enough energy to write up the article.
29/05/17 – Bank Holiday for most but not for me as spent the day writing an Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish ‘column for June 13th.
30/05/17 – On the banks of GAS Richardson Lake come 7am and by midday had around 40lb of tench. I was creating a two page ‘Where to Fish’ opener for the Anglers Mail which you will be able to read in a few weeks time, well that’s if you buy the magazine? Again another example of me promoting a club that looks after me!

31/05/17 – Spent the day writing the words for yesterdays feature plus finishing my weekly ‘Where to fish’ column plus uploading a couple of other features.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Grey Lady of Lac Serreire

The Grey Lady of Lac Serreire
Duncan Charman and Chris Petter

When my fishing buddy and fellow Nash Ambassador Chris Petter asked if I was interested in an all expenses paid trip to France to celebrate his 50th birthday I could hardly refuse. The target for him was to up his French personal best to hopefully a fifty, for me being an all-rounder, I was just happy to get away, spend some relaxing time in good company and hopefully bag a couple of thirties if I was lucky. 

Our destination was Lac Serreire in the Coussac region of France, south of Limoges and some 450miles from Calais. It was 11.30pm on Friday April 21st when the doorbell rung and after a quick coffee we were on the road heading to the Eurotunnel in Kent, both not looking forward to the drive through the night, especially after a day in the office. Arriving in Calais in the early hours we hit the toll roads and with an 80mph limit we were soon eating the miles up,
listening to Pink Floyd turned up load and trying to keep each other awake so that our estimated time of arrival of 1pm would be met.

Arriving just before one and after an informative tour of the lake by the owner Simon Mansbridge we drew numbers for swim choice and yes you guessed it, I pulled out the last one! Fortunately Chris’s hand was slightly better and with the Shallows and Outlet swims going first we were left with a choice of the Middle, Woods or one of Tim and Mary’s. Chris decided on the Woods as this is the only swim on the far bank, one that has loads of options going for it and a swim that is good to double up in without reducing each other’s chances dramatically. Chris had choice of sides and amazingly went for the right hand side which is far shallower and generally provides more fish but usually smaller, yet it had done a seventy the previous week. I was left with deeper water, one that does fewer but bigger fish and the thought of blanking was going through my mind, especially knowing that the swim had only done two fish the previous week. Totally knackered from the lack of sleep and food, and with brains not functioning correctly we simply got a couple of rods out each, all on snowman rigs, cooked a curry and then hit the sack not expecting any action until the following day.
            It was 2am when we were awoken by a one tonner which saw Chris bent into a fish which just plodded away not doing allot, something that big fish can do on occasions. In the net I could see that this carp was going be close to Chris’s goal as it was massive compared to anything I had ever witnessed. On the scales we could see it was agonisingly close to the fifty pound mark but both agreed that she, although a personal best, wasn’t quite there and settled at a weight of 49lb exactly.
Morning dawned and
conditions didn’t look good as a ground frost greeted us along with clear blue skies and no wind what so ever. Over a brew we made our game plan and for me, who is often referred to as the ‘impatient angler’ it was going to be difficult as all I could do was place two rods in deep water at distance and wait along with working the other down the edge of the lilies to my left. Chris had opted to use 3.25lb t/c NR Toro rods loaded with 18lb NXT D-CAM line and also decided on placing two at distance in the hope of a big carp along with placing one on a green marker that lived in the lake, a consistent producing mark and where his night time capture had come from. With all rods refreshed come midday it was time to lay back and catch up on some sleep; however three hours later I was awoken to a single bleep on my middle rod and watched as the tip on one of my Pursuit rods silently pulled round. Winding like hell I finally caught up with the culprit which was by now had kitted some sixty yards to my left and was close to piling through the pads. It was make or break time as I knew if this fish found the pads then my chances were limited so clamping down on an already tight spool I tried to stop it but this fish had other ideas and just ripped  15lb mainline of the spool. I was now convinced it was a ton-plus catfish as the fight was that brutal and on looking at the line coming of the reel knew I had another problem as it had taken a serious battering either on an underwater obstacle or simply from the friction off the reel. I needed to get this line back on the reel, yet this fish decided to head straight back where it was hooked and just stripped line again. Finally after maybe fifteen minutes the fish was tiring and slowly coming closer and convinced it was a catfish almost fell over when the mother of all carp surfaced, shoulders out of the water, just wallowing slightly out of reach of the waiting net. It will be a sight I will never forget as I can’t really recall the rest of the capture, but the man hugs saw Simon racing around the lake on his bike to identify her as The Grey Lady, a carp usually around the eighty pound mark! On the scales the needle settled just shy of 79lb and we agreed a weight of 78lb 14oz, OMG! 
             What was so rewarding from this capture is I had actually thought about bait and rig so instead of using a snowman rig had drilled out a 20mm Scopex Squid boilie and plugged it with 7mm rig foam so that it would counterbalance the weight of the hook and act the same as the freebies around it, very similar to what I try to achieve when crucian fishing. I’d also dropped the weight of the lead from a 3oz to a 2oz Long Ranger as I hoped that the length and weight of this wouldn’t sink into the heavy silt within the lake. The rig itself was copied from one which my good friend Jake Lund made up for me, specifically for this trip, and is what he classifies as a go-anywhere bottom bait rig. All I did was use Nash TT components which included an eight inch 20lb weed Comblink hooklink, size 6 barbless Fang X hook, a couple of blobs of Cling-On tungsten putty and a 1mm Blow Out Tube to make the bait come straight of the top of the hook.  

            The next two days followed in similar fashion with Chris and myself taking two carp each. Chris’s went 42lb 14oz and 38lb 12oz the following night and myself one of 56lb 6oz at first light and a 39lb 12oz mirror in the early hours of Wednesday. Three of these carp fell during a short period when the wind changed from a chilly north to a warmer south westerly.  All these carp came to rods fished in the shallows or alongside the lilies, which wasn’t surprising as the carp were getting ready to spawn and nothing was coming to any angler fishing at distance to open water. Things then went quiet, probably due to the wind swinging once again to the north and after a day of constant heavy cold rain. The best part of three days past before we received anymore action with Chris taking two twenties, 21lb 12oz and 28lb during Thursday night when the temperatures plummeted to -5, a 32lb 7oz during Friday night and then one of 38lb 12oz on one of my rods just minutes before winding in whilst I was briefly away from my rods!

The fishery has a ban on the use of plastic and foam baits as these if lost create a 24/7 hookbait for a carp to pick up and if tethered easily damage or at worse cause a fatality. I consulted the owner so I could use a non-threatening counterbalanced bait using foam and try something different. The reason for my thinking was that most anglers seem to be using snowman rigs with bright pop-ups, and although they seem to produce their fair share of carp, I wanted to get away from this blatant obvious hazard and if a clued up carp did enter my swim then needed a bait that looked and acted to the freebies surrounding it. It might have only caught me one fish and the question whether it played any part in the downfall of ‘The Grey Lady’ but the reward in thinking about the situation, being slightly different whilst keeping with the rules was suitable satisfying.