Monthly Report August 2017
August, in my mind the worst month of the year for catching consistently and all I seem to hear from the anglers on the banks is, where have all the fish gone? If you think about it, it’s not difficult to work out. Firstly the water is at its richest in natural food and the fish can just gorge themselves on this high protein diet and totally ignore our baits. Another factor is the amount of bait that is dropped into the lake, which is probably at its highest due to the amount of anglers enjoying the sunshine, yet all this does is rot on the lake bed, deoxygenates and soar the water putting the fish in a somewhat uncooperative mood, but worst still is the weather. I might be wrong but when the wind has blown its seems to be on a daily swing and in my mind if the wind can’t make its mind up then the fish can’t make their minds if and where they want to feed. It’s a month that I could quite easily hang the rods up and get loads in the house or garden sorted, and although I have spent time doing this, in the small amount of hours I have been on the bank I have been learning the art of zig fishing. Believe me it’s quite technical but every session I have either learnt something or seen someone far better getting it right and can now say that I feel very confident that each session will see a fish or two grace my net. I’m going to keep at it through September and October but also need to start looking at other things, so it’s going to be a case of making more time to do more things and hopefully start to reap the rewards over the next few months.
Day to Day events.
01/08/17 – 02/08/17 – Been looking forward to another carp session and arrived early to see if I could catch on zigs before dusk. Unfortunately I made the mistake of fishing a crowded railway bank and after three hours of feeling somewhat claustrophobic and only one tench on a 3ft zig to show for my efforts headed to the narrow swim on the end of the chicken bank. With carp showing all over the place felt that a few fish would fall, which they did, tench along with just one small common that may have scrapped 10lb. Chris fished in the board’s next door and took one tench and a 15lb mirror. Another mistake that I won’t be making again is fishing a zig through the night as this just doesn’t seem to produce.
03/08/17 – Long day in the office, 8am – 8pm getting ahead of myself on the WTF Column for Anglers Mail.
04/08/17 – Let’s be honest, August is probably the worst month in the year for an all year round angler so I can be excused for once again sitting behind the computer and tapping away on things that will free my time up for when the weather is ideal for fishing and I can just grab the gear and go.
05/08/17 – At last a lazy morning and come 1pm I found myself at Johnsons for a few hours carp fishing. Setting up half way along the railway things didn’t look great from the start as very few fish were showing. Casting a couple of zig rigs out and five hours later without a bleep decided enough was enough and headed home to get supper on and gain some brownie points. Looking back the reason it was so slow was the same old reason about the wind not making its mind up where it wanted to head and unsettling the fish. I also found myself sheltering under the brolly a couple of times as the heavens opened and unleashed hail, rain, thunder and lightning!
06/08/17 – Having such a slow day yesterday and the wind still not prominent from any direction decided fishing would be almost a waste of time (it’s never a waste of time, but sometimes you just know) so picked my mother up, gave here fourteen shots over 9 holes at Bowenhurst and gave a right good thrashing (she is 80)!
07/08/17 – Start off a busy week. On the road come 6am to meet up with a new customer Michael who had booked me for a spot of tench fishing. Meeting in Abinger Hammer at 6.30am we found ourselves on the banks of Lodge Lake (Newdigate Fisheries) come 7am. The weather looked good for a few fish but it took some time for the first fish to fall, a tench around 4lb. This was followed by four more, the best maybe 5lb plus five orfe to 4lb 14oz, however it was a frustrating session in the sense that maggots were being removed from the hook with ease from what I suspect were small orfe. My suspicions were 12oz orfe but if these were continually sucking maggots in on a two-inch hooklink then you would have thought one would be hooked however the smallest orfe was around 2lb 8oz! We did play around with our rigs and bait and finally found a solution, that’s why you hire a guide!
08/08/17 – Up at 5am and on the bank early, this time to give my good friend, and on occasion customer (this is what you get when you become a regular) an introduction to GAS Johnson’s Lake (FOC as I’m not allowed to guide on GAS waters). His target was to beat his crucian best of 2lb 15oz from Harris so we headed to the railway bank, even though the wind was coming off our backs. In my experience, in August if you want a big crucian then head to the railway bank, it might mean less fish but the deeper water does seem to produce the odd big girl. Two hours gone and I had taken two crucians of 3lb 10z and 3lb 3oz plus a tench and a small common whist Mark was still to get a bite! I had to leave due to an urgent call but I can’t have been out of the car park when Mark called saying he had just taken a crucian of 3lb, job done. When I managed to get back little had happened but things seem to liven up early afternoon with tench to 5lb, another good crucian for Mark, pesky rudd and a common of around 6lb. Come 5pm, and with little happening for a couple of hours and with rain in the air we decided to call it a day, well happy with our results as August can be a real head-banger on most lakes.
09/08/17 – The weather, or should I say the weather forecasters are once again doing my brain in! Today was supposed to be wet in the morning and then clearing early afternoon, so I rescheduled a morning guiding session to later in the week as I also had to attend a FAS barbel teach-in come 5pm and thought it might just be too much for one day, especially if it was wet. As I write this up, its 9pm and the rain is still lashing down outside. Luckily, after last month’s FAS Barbel teach-in’s washout I made the right decision and cancelled the event, albeit late in the day but mainly due to a couple of late cancellations! I’m certainly not a fair weather angler but running up and down a wet river bank for the best part of six hours in pouring rain isn’t fun and as I’m feeling somewhat chesty was definitely the right call. Sorry to the anglers that still would have attended but these events are supposed to be fun and in this sort of weather it would be the exact opposite. I will be rescheduling this event for later in the month or even late in Sept and will be in touch.
10/08/17 – On the bank of Richardson Lake at 6.15am to meet one of my regular’s Neal who wanted to see if he would like pole fishing. I still have a pole and a seat box and it was refreshing to dust everything down, re-elasticate etc and see that delicate float disappearing and the elastic stretching. Holding 8m of pole and not really knowing what to expect the bites came quickly which was surprising after the amount of rain that fell the day before. Meat over groundbait was are tactic as Neal wanted to hook big fish so when the first tench tore off, Neal was hooked and told me that the experience was going to cost him a few hundred quid due to having to buy a whole new outfit. A flurry of tench was followed by a lull in action mid morning and a switch to caster saw a few more fish landed. Having learnt loads and after having experienced a whole new side of fishing Neal left around 4pm which allowed me to have an hour and two bream and a tench followed along with a proper zoo creature that saw me struggling at 14m and elastic stretching to its max which finally saw the tiny size 18 pulling. Back at home it was once again a scramble to sort the feeder kit out for a session on Johnson Lake with another regular Adrian.
11/08/17 – On the bank come 6am this time to give Adrian a short morning session using the pellet cone on Johnson Lake. Things didn’t look or feel good on arrival as the temperature had dropped over night to an unseasonal seven degrees and very few fish were moving. Dropping in peg 27 it didn’t take long for the first bite which came from a 5lb plus tench. This was followed by three more to 6lb plus a roach around a pound and a small rudd before action slowed. Just before Adrian left at midday he landed another tench which gave me a couple of hours myself before having to leave. Action was steady with four more good tench falling, a crucian which might have made 3lb plus a number of small rudd.
12/08/17 – At long last a lay-in after an early night, bliss. No fishing today as I need the day to catch up on fishy paperwork and clean and organize kit for a much easier coming week.
13/08/17 – With a variable wind which was cold and high atmospherics should have stayed at home as Johnson Lake was just rubbish. A few fish were bubbling on arrival at 8am and we did manage two tench and a double figured common between us but come 10am it was just dead and nothing done could tempt so much as a bleep. Packed up at 2pm but knew we should have gone far sooner.
15/08/17 – A full day in the office getting back on track along with sorting the tackle for a day’s carp fishing and one barbel fishing on the Wye.
16/08/17 – Should have been up early and heading to the river Wye today but had to move this too tomorrow, so headed to Johnsons only to find a match was planned, so had to move to another lake, Tarn but watching the water for ages failed to see a sign of a carp and with the weather far from perfect headed to a stretch of the Wey just to hopefully get a bite or two. Managed to get a good bite on pellet but failed to make contact before switching to bread for a wild brownie. Even had a cormorant surface in my swim on a river I could jump over! What chance do we or the fish have?
17/08/17 – Up at 3am and on the road come 4am heading to the river Wye to create an AM feature. Absolutely chucking it down when we left but come 6.30 when we arrived it had passed. Good to see the weather forecast right for once! Barrie, a past customer but now good friend had fished the day before with another ex-customer Mark and between them had taken 17 barbel to over 8lb on the feeder, however today was all about catching on the float so without too much temptation we set about our task. All caught on the float throughout the day; however I had a right mare as everyone I hooked either saw the hook pulling of them hitting a snag. I think they all felt for me however it just goes to show we are all human and all have those days when things just don’t go right, however the day was more about all getting together and having a laugh.
18/08/17 – After a lay-in I met good friend Tom Aldous early afternoon to see if either of us could tempt a river carp. With only a few hours to spare in the afternoon and with thunder, lightning and heavy downpours all we had to show for our efforts was one modest chub, but I did have a couple of carp move through the swim.
20/08/17 – A full day in the office compiling my weekly Anglers Mail ‘Where to fish’ column along with making a start on a Catch More feature.
21/08/17 – Another day in the office, this time creating a European article, my first for a while.
22/08/17 - Kit sorted and on the Tidal Thames come 4pm. Rivers in the fields but still managed to get fish, albeit later than we would have liked but still caught loads of fish. Keep an eye out in Anglers Mail for a ‘Where to fish’ opener coming shortly.
23/08/17 – It doesn’t take much for a week to go ‘tits’ up. A feature deadline bought forward or a customer cancelling a guiding session at the last minute, but this week I’ve had both. Managed to get the feature sorted along with using the free time to take my mother for a game of golf.
24/08/17 – One of those days where I can’t decide what I fancied doing. Shall I go barbel fishing, crucian, no its carp fishing so headed to a local lake, however never cast a line as initially didn’t get the right vibes that it would produce then got chatting to an angler that literally was taking the place apart. I could have dropped in next to him, as my approach was very similar, but as he was so helpful didn’t want to crowd his space, so left feeling somewhat excited. Not a feeling I have had for some time. Popped in the tackle shop, bought a few bits then headed home to mimic what he was doing. The plan was to return nice and early the following morning, set up well away from him and drop a few in the net myself. In fact I was so excited I didn’t sleep much.
25/08/17 – On the lake come 6.15am and rods out before anyone else. Baited up and happy with my swim, now it was just a case of let the flood doors open! Unfortunately once the mist had cleared it was obvious that there wasn’t a lot of fish in front of me, in fact the whole lake looked dead. That was until I saw this angler I spoke to yesterday get his rods back out, bait up and then start hauling! It was simply that he had loads of fish in front of him and I had none. I don’t even think moving would have helped as a friend was on the opposite side and also said things weren’t happening. I was doing everything right, was happy with my rigs yet if they aren’t there you are not going to catch them. I did have three runs though, so all wasn’t lost. The first was from a duck, the second, a screamer saw nothing on the other end and just as I was calling it a day a double came along. It was a frustrating session but I’m close, oh so close and a few more tweaks to my set up and baiting and I know it won’t be long before I get the better of them. Roll on Sunday!
27/08/17 – On the banks of the Basingstoke Canal come 8am to meet up with Jake Lund once again to create a Catch More feature for AM. Keep an eye out for this one as it’s very interesting. Home come 11pm and on my way to a local lake for a spot of zig fishing all the time praying that the swim I wanted would be empty, it was. Chris was joining me and thoughts were on a red letter day as just ten minutes after casting out the alarm screamed and it was fish on. Ten seconds later I was reeling in a limp line as once again the hook had pulled and my run of dropping fish was to continue. You can imagine what I felt like when exactly the same happened an hour later and I was beginning to think that my luck was never going to change when the third carp hooked finally graced my net. On the scales she went 22lb 2oz and for the first time I felt contented. Later that afternoon Chris was away but bad luck was to strike him also as he too had a hook pull right next to the net. Thing s slowed and the fish seem to move as well as knowing what was going on, however I managed another one around 5pm, the biggest for me so far, an old leney of 26lb 4oz. That was the end of the action but certainly starting to put the pieces of the jigsaw together.
28/08/17 – Standard Monday in the office doing fishy related jobs.
29/08/17 - Tried to get out on Tuesday for another zig session but anglers in the area that I fancied and not wanting to bring attention to my tactics decided it was better not to fish. 30/08/17 - Wednesday I had a Farnham Barbel Teach-in that had been rescheduled in and once again it looked as if it was going to be wet, yet the rain cleared leaving an enjoyable evening, shame only two anglers made it!
31/08/17 – Another day in the office due to having a number of tradesmen booked in doing odd jobs around the house.