Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Monthly report February 2018

Monthly Report February 2018

Well what can I say about February? Not a great deal really apart from the weather that has hampered every angler across the country from getting out. To be honest I would much prefer the winter to be consistently cold as not only can us anglers get acclimatised to it but so can the fish. Sadly getting a consistent winter rarely happens and the ever changing temperatures and conditions just play havoc with everything. ‘The beast from the East’ maybe upon us but at least spring won’t come too early and when it does the fishing should be superb.

Anglers that keep a close eye on my Facebook page will see that I have had to reduce the information that I bring to them. This is simply down to a few pathetic readers that seem to just want to give negative feedback. This all started when I posted the picture of a dozen or so bream on a mat which really was simply done to show that if you choose the right day and swim and then fish the right rig catching in such appalling conditions is possible. One angler mentioned the 50lb limit allowed in a keepnet however I have four at my disposal so who said I was only using one? You! Assumption is a dangerous thing my friend and who are you to discuss fish welfare when you are happy to impale a hook within a fish’s mouth. Maybe you should take up golf if it bothers you that much or after telling me that you blanked on the same venue just days before in far better conditions get some angling guidance. So to all my Facebook friends who used to enjoy my informative posts and helpful advice blame these pedantic so called anglers for my rethink.

The traditional close season on our rivers seem to be filling the news at the moment and I have to say that I would hate to see it abolished however after such a horrendous winter I do feel that there may be some cause to rethink the dates. I’m no expert but how many fish are actually spawning at the moment? Pike, perch even roach and dace may start early but as for barbel I think that they would be going through this ritual much later on so in my mind keeping the rivers open to say mid April would not only be productive for the river anglers but also protect species such as barbel when they are most vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong if we were to extend this to mid April then I would want the season opening mid July, however I have this horrible feeling that if this goes to a vote then there is a very high chance that it will be abolished and for me it will be a very sad day when it happens.  

On a better note, spring isn’t that far away. Once this cold snap moves on and the wind changes direction things should start to liven up. The lengthening days has already seen a few tench waking up so give it a couple of weeks and fish should be crawling up our rods and the horrid winter a distant memory.

I still have a few copies of my book ‘Evolution of an Angler’ available at the stupid price of £10.99 plus P&P, however  I am down to maybe a dozen after the Christmas rush so if you want one then now is the time. Email me –
Guiding vouchers are also popular as Birthday presents so why not treat your angling partner to a present with a difference. If you’re stuck for ideas then this maybe the solution. Again email me for more details –

Day to Day events.
03/02/18 – Managed a few hours perch fishing on the river this morning with Chris and Aaron. Fishing by 8am in glorious rain and a chilly temperature of just 5 degrees best. The river looked good and we all caught, albeit mostly pike yet Aaron did the business as usual and managed a decent perch. Keep an eye out in Anglers Mail for a feature from him soon.
 04/02/18 – In the office all day feature writing and getting some library images done.
05/02/18 – Spent the day sorting the words for a WTF opener feature.
06/02/18 – Another office bound day, this time doing my weekly WFT column.
08/02/18 – Getting last few images to complete articles, rewriting European  articles for this country and then headed to the FAS AGM where I was voted in at being the clubs new President.
09/02/18 – Another day in the office and once again getting a few things that have been hanging around out of the way. Although the cough hasn’t disappeared I’m thinking come next week I will be fighting fit and gagging to cast a line.
12/02/18 - After a couple of hours in the office headed to the river in the hope of a big chub. Fished an area that has done the odd six of late, but also an area that has never been kind to me in the past. After depositing tow pints of dead maggot in the swim placed a bait and waited. Three hours later at 7.15pm, without a sign and with frost on all the tackle headed home. I did have a good fish come upstream past me so the baited spot failed but at least I have a bit more space in the freezer! Good to get out, even if it was just for a few hours in far from good conditions.
13/02/18 – Managed to get an Anglers Mail WTF Opener sorted and uploaded on Wylands along with spending time on the keypad simply getting information for up and coming features.
16/02/18 – Up early as wanted to head to a local lake for a few hours to see if the bream were willing to feed as my dad was asking earlier in the week. Weather forecast showed a cold night with a brisk westerly; however come first light it was a complete white-out. Clear skies, no wind and a heavy frost saw me abandoning the idea, in the office early to get my WTF column sorted before grabbing two hours on the river Wey with chub in mind. Looking at the river I wasn’t
confident as it was running a chalky green colour, pushing through but fining down, however the bait I had bought was bread yet my good friend Tom had mentioned it fished well with some colour. First swim saw two clever fish pinch my hookbait before a chub of around 3lb killed the swim. Next swim and an immediate bite produced another around 3lb. Third swim nothing, however the last two both produced chub weighing 4lb 12oz and 4lb 14oz, not bad for a two hour session in spring like conditions of 11 degrees.
18/02/18 – Met Chris at 8am and headed to the Wey for a few hours chub fishing. River clear and after just a few minutes in my first swim missed a bite before hooking something far more powerful than a chub which turned out to be a small carp. Chris fished the swims I caught from a few days earlier but could only muster up one decent tap which was too quick to strike. I missed a bite in a new swim however being such a short stretch we soon ran out of swims so headed downstream a few miles, yet this winters conditions showed just how difficult they are as when we looked at the river it was coloured and looking horrid. We did try a couple of swims but both agreed we were wasting our time on bread.

19/02/18 – Ahead of myself again after writing up my WTF column nice and early. Another good week for book sales and now getting close to having to make that decision whether to get another 100 printed. Feeling quite good as usually I have loads of icons, which mean jobs pending on the left-hand side of my computer screen but its 2.30pm and there’s nothing! That means get the rods out, well at least tomorrow morning and then again on Wednesday and Thursday as these are booked in as guiding days. Aiming to keep ahead of myself as this will allow me to get out and make the most of it when a good day comes along but looking ahead the weather isn’t getting any better soon.
20/02/18 – The end of the short mild spell is in sight so I headed out to my local Badshot Lea Big Pond for a spot of bream fishing before it arrived. Conditions ideal, overcast, mild with a N/W wind and A/P on 1019mb, maybe not quite ideal! The trip was really to see if it was an option my the dads to head out this early, the answer yes, yet it looks like with falling night temperatures to -4 forecasted for the week ahead, they will have to wait. In four hours fishing the devastating helicopter rig, groundbait feeder and maggot I took 25 bream averaging 5lb, the best probably 7lb and a roach bream hybrid of around 3lb 8oz. Not bad for February! Back in the office well before midday as I need to get the tackle ready for two consecutive guiding days on the river, one trotting for roach, the other for perch.
21/02/18 – We all get them, one of those days when as hard as you try, getting a proper bite just doesn’t happen. Unfortunately such a day fell whilst I was guiding one of my regular customers John who wanted an introduction to the river Blackwater and a spot of roach fishing on the punch and stick float. We arrived as the sun was rising and went straight into what’s known as a ‘banker’ swim only to receive the grand total of no bites. We then tried five more swims that usually produce for the grand total of five small roach. Thinking the roach just weren’t having it we changed tactics and headed to another stretch in the hope of a few chub. Dropping in eight swims and offering a big lump of flakes we received just the odd tentative pluck! I then received a call from my good friend Lewis Deeks who was on the Test at Broadlands who informed me that he couldn’t buy a bite! It then dawned on me that there was something in the air that was putting everything off feeding as if you can’t get a bite from a grayling then we were up against it. Undeterred we then headed to the river Wey where just days earlier I had caught a number of chub but six swims later and just one pluck for our efforts we decided enough was enough and threw the towel in!
22/02/18 – After such a difficult day I was hoping that whatever had put the fish off feeding wouldn’t carry over to today as I had another customer who was looking to catch a big perch. I decided to take a risk and sit in one swim for the morning, one I knew had a few predators in yet two hours in and with nothing to show for our efforts I was beginning to get that sinking feeling. That was until the float slid away and a small pike livened things up which was quickly followed by his dream fish, a very big perch. With other anglers arriving we headed downstream to try a couple of good swims, the first failed to produce but the next gave Chas three bites which resulted in two pike. Not an easy day but get the right bite and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
25/02/18 – On the road early, this time heading south to Broadlands to team up with James Buckley to try and get a bream article sorted. Sadly ‘The Beast from the East’ was beginning to raise its ugly face as the wind had swung to the east and with three hard frosts on the trot and now a cloudless dawn. Far from ideal bream conditions, in fact everything you don’t want when targeting bream and as expected things were tough. Just one modest bream was caught, not really article material and come midday we decided a return visit was needed in a few weeks time.
27/02/18 – Would you believe it, the coldest night of the winters forecasted and my boiler ignition has failed, bugger........Hopefully my mate Barrie will be able to fix it, fingers crossed. Wrapped up warm and wrote my Anglers Mail WTF column so I’m still working a week ahead of myself.
28/02/18 – Fortunately it wasn’t a cold night as Barrie managed to fix the fault, with everything frozen spent another day in the office getting fishy related items sorted.

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