Friday, 28 December 2012

Weekly report starting Dec 22nd 2012

The lead up to the festive period and the few days holiday that follow to some mean more time on the bank, for some it’s a ritual, however for myself I find it difficult to get out, usually due to getting as many things completed before the turn of the New Year. This year it’s been the same and with the weather being so wet I don’t think that I have missed much, saying that the one short session that I did fit in produced two very big fish.
I met up with an old friend that I used to work with when I was an engineer at the Sandown Show and we had agreed that we would get out after Christmas. Mickey fancied Old Bury Hill and with the weather being so mild it seemed the perfect venue to catch up along with having the chance of banking a fish or two. I arrived later than Mickey who had set up in one of my favourite swims along the ‘long-bank’. The wet start to the day had past and knowing that Mickey had received the odd indication felt we had a chance of a daylight zander, especially as the water resembled a cup of chocolate. The brisk westerly also provided some much needed cover. Making up the standard new rigs on the bank I cast out a couple of sardine sections and we sat back chatting. It was Mickey who received the first proper bite but unfortunately this was missed. Mickey was using carp bobbins on short drops, not ideal especially if you’re chatting and away from the rods catching up. The missed run was blamed on me which I took on the chin so to speak. My rods remained silent, yet Mickey was getting the odd lift and fall of the indicator so changed to a couple of my home made light bobbins, yet after this the indications ceased. My rods for a very brief spell came alive though, first by a couple of small zeds and a missed run before I connected with a heavier fish that did very little head shaking. I even said I thought it might be a carp but then a good zed hit surface and Mickey slipped the net under her. Fat as a pig and in great condition, apart from the pale appearance due to the murky water she spun the dial past the 10lb mark, finally settling at 10lb 5oz. Mickey couldn’t stay and left around 5pm and could have even got to his car when another run saw another double being landed, this time she went 10lb 6oz. I fished on for an hour but my confidence had disappeared as a broken isotope had left a horrid smell on my hands and even avoiding touching the bait I still felt that this could be detected by the fish, so left slightly earlier than I had planned.

Happy New Year and lets hope that 2013 is more productive than 2012!

Top Tip and lessons learnt.
At this time of year feeding spells can be very short. I remember talking to Adrian Smith on the banks of Willow Pool in Oxfordshire a few years ago. He mentioned that he could set his watch to when the roach fed and when they did it would last just a few minutes. He had built a picture of the venue from spending hundreds of hours on the venue and had to have complete faith and confidence in his rigs, bait application and placement of these. So my top tip here is, find out when the fish are feeding and fish at these times. Even though I’m allowed to stay on at Old Bury Hill, not one angler was still fishing come the 4.15pm closing time. In fact everyone had left at least half an hour before this and two of my four zeds came before the kicking of time.
The lesson learnt during this trip was to be careful breaking an isotope. Anyone that knows me will know that I don’t even fill my car up with diesel on route to a days fishing for fear of tainting my hands. Its been written about that fish have a million times better smell than a human, how accurate this is lm not sure, but if I can smell diesel then you can bet a fish can. The liquid from the broken isotope was as bad as diesel, if not worse, so once this was on my hands it was time to head for home and the next time l break one l will be wearing gloves.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Weekly report starting 15th Dec 2012

The week started really well with a book signing day spent at Yateley Angling Centre. It was good to see such a diverse range of anglers interested in the book as well as catching up with some old friends that I hadn’t seen for a while that took the time to pop in. It would have been great to catch up with Ruth but she couldn’t make the day, I’m sure she had heard that I was going to ask her for £25 for every time Yateley Angling was shown within the book. A big thank you though has to go to Ruth and the guys in the shop for their hospitality as well as stocking the book, so if you want a signed copy then they have a few, but hurry they wont last forever.
Sunday was spent earning some brownie points and Monday in the office catching up on the paperwork that was piling up, yet the rest of the week was to be spent on the bank fishing, albeit mainly with customers. The weather however was doing its best to spoil the fun, yet a day on the Itchen with young Jake was rewarding with plenty of fish coming to his net. Unfortunately the river is really high and racing through and although Jake persisted using the float and centrepin, it was obvious that the feeder would score better and after taking around ten fish which included grayling to over the pound as well as trout he swapped to the feeder in the afternoon. Fishing one of my favourite swims he was soon into fish, the highlight a personal best grayling weighing 1lb 13oz, or was it the very large pike that struck a grayling on the far bank, three times (one for the future).
The following day I was meant to be back, but with the fishery closed for its annual Christmas shot, Adrian and myself headed to another river, this time with dace and roach on our mind. The weather took a turn for the worst, yet we luckily managed to avoid this and come the end of the day Adrian had been rewarded with numerous quality roach to 1lb 7oz plus the occasional dace. The great thing again, was that Adrian wanted to use the float, so being a traditionalist I set him up initially with a centrepin which he mastered superbly, before reverting to an old close faced reel due to the lack of flow. Once again when we found the fish, predators were lurking and a couple of times one would be seen chasing the roach as Adrian hastily would it in.
Thursday the weather was diabolical and having two youngsters to watch over headed to Gold Valley in search of perch. Jake was once again with me along with his friend Simon and I had visions of the day putting them of fishing, it was that bad. Fishing the main lake we decided on a specialist approach and used either prawn or lobworm on running feeder set ups. The bleeps soon came, however these were from small fish but finally the bobbin started to head skywards, but Simon’s strike met thin air. The second chance wasn’t missed and he landed a personal best weighing 1lb 8oz. Although the rain was relentless I headed to another swim and started to drip feed this with red maggots before dropping a lobworm within. A couple of small perch raised my hopes but it was the silver fish flashing about that made me change the hook from a size 8 to a small 18. The pole float constantly disappeared and knowing I could catch the youngsters a few fish let them take turns. Jake being the gentleman he is always lets his friend have a go first and with Simon catching a few good rudd finally handed the rod to Jake. It wasn’t long before Jake called for my assistance and seeing the rod bent over fully expected to see a carp on the other end, so when a big perch surfaced quickly dropped the net underneath it. I could see the joy on his face as perch have been the one species that have eluded him and when it went 2lb 9oz knew he had broken the spell. As the light faded more perch followed and come the end of the day when it was time to wind in I could see that neither wanted to.
I was hoping to head to the river Wye on Friday, yet I don’t think I’m destined to do this, this side of the New Year so will just have to wait, but with loads of things to catch up with, spent the day doing just that.
Wishing everyone a fantastic Christmas and rod bending New Year.

Top tip and lessons learnt

Twice this week, whilst guiding, pike have been either spotted or actually chased hooked fish, so my top tip for the week is to always carry a few items of pike kit. This may only be a couple of wire traces or a few lures but with a small spinning or stalking rod and a reel with some heavy braid loaded to it, a day roving a river for other species could just throw up a big snapper.   

Friday, 14 December 2012

Weekly report starting 10th Dec 2012

After an eventful Sunday night, which saw the girlfriend suffering with a stomach bug and myself having a restless night on the sofa, I as expected arrived at the river far later than hoped. In fact I could have so easily returned home and gone back to bed, yet after feeling under the weather myself over the weekend, really needed to get some fresh air, even if it was only for a couple of hours.
For years I have had heard reports of big pike coming from a local river and knowing the stretch well decided to give it a go. Thinking about the stretch, I asked myself the question, if I were a pike, where would I live? The answer to this question led me straight to one swim. I would have loved to have been casting a line at dawn, yet as previously mentioned I arrived late so positioned two sardines with the heads cut of into the swim. Looking at my watch it was 9.15am and with the bright sun failing to reach the pool felt confident, yet thirty minutes past uneventfully. I planned to fish the swim only for an hour before moving to my next position as in the past; I know if a pike is hungry it will probably struggle to resist this easy meal. I have also learnt that by repositioning a bait, bites can come soon after; however the first rod was snagged. Luckily I was using 40lb braid so simply pulled slowly until the trebles bent straight. Placing this rod on the ground I cast out the other rod before bending back the other rods trebles, yet half way through the process the backup indicator, my bite alarm sounded. Tightening the clutch I made a short sharp strike and found the rod tip hoop over, yet whatever was on the other end was very lethargic and after an unspectacular fight lowered the net under a very good fish. If the body matched the head, this pike would have well made twenty but having an empty lean body she fell a couple of pounds short. I never like it when a pike gives up so easily and always make sure to have a good look inside its mouth as sometimes a trace can be found blocking its throat but this one was clear. I must have taken her by surprise. Having made very little disturbance in the swim I decided to ignore the second swim and fish on for an hour, however no more action came, yet having not fished the river for pike for, probably fifteen years, it was a great welcome back.
The following day I had a customer booked in who wanted to try and catch a two-pound roach, however overnight the temperature dropped to a chilling minus four, in town, and when the customer knocked on the door at 6am I questioned our sanity. With an hours drive on icy roads ahead and with a very good chance of the venue being frozen we decided to check out a local lake and as expected found it to be frozen. Plan B was introduced and we once again headed to the river with a couple of pike rods as well as a chub rod and a ball of cheese paste, however come dusk neither of us had managed to get even the slightest of indications.
Wednesday arrived and being the 12/12/12 it had to be the busiest days of the year for wedding photographers and having to arrive at the hotel at 8am it was once again an early start. The day went well, however it was around 10pm when l arrived back home and come 1am and having polished of the best part of a bottle of red I hit the sack, well and truly looking forward to a lay in.
Thursday was all about backing up fishing images so that my computer speeded up, ready for a few hundred wedding images to be downloaded. A quick look at the barometer showed the atmospherics falling rapidly that evening and with temperatures rising overnight and a band of rain arriving, I decided to head to the river come first light on Friday armed with a pike and chub rod. To be honest, if I had had time to think about things, I should have waited for the warm wet front to arrive, then head to the river during the afternoon with a barbel rod, yet the rash decision had been made and I arrived once again at the crack of dawn. The rain hadn’t arrived and although the air temperature was a warming seven degrees I sat at the pool feeling that this change wouldn’t have awoken the pike and that the river would still be very cold. An hour past and after repositioning the bait a couple of times decided to try my luck with the chub. Moving downstream and with a few slices of bread in the bag I made a cast into a almost certain chub guaranteed swim and sure enough just two minutes later had a modest chub in the net. Having ruined that swim for a monster I headed downstream and in my third swim once again ruined my chances of a whopper with another three pounder. By now the rain was hammering it down; in fact it had been hammering it down since I swapped to chub and having covered all the hotspots headed home in time for a delivery of winter clothing to check out from Anglers Mail. On route back to the car I checked out a big dead chub that I had spotted on Monday. Back then it was fully in tact, yet just five days later had been stripped to the bone. I don’t think this chub had been killed by anything, as it showed no sign of this on Monday; however that same day I had watched a big mink on the opposite bank and could see how an angler could have mistaken this for an otter and put two and two together. The sad thing about this chub is that it had to be one of the biggest chub, if not the biggest chub on the stretch, a sure six pound plus fish in its prime and knowing that each year the numbers of chub are dropping, worry that in a few years time I will be fishing for very few big fish.

Saturday I will be spending the day at Yateley Angling Centre, signing my first book ‘Evolution of an Angler’ so if you want a copy signed; you know where I will be.

Top tip and lessons learnt.
Anyone that has read Terry Hearn’s books will know how he goes about sussing a venue out. Similar to myself, he uses watercraft to dismiss a very large percentage of the venue. He will then try and think like a fish and imagine (if he can’t see them) where and what they are up to in the remaining area. A stillwater is similar to a river and in the case of locating Mondays pike; I to dismissed a very large percentage of the river, using watercraft and my instincts to place me in the right place.
So the top tip this week is get to know the venue you are fishing and the lesson learnt is, it only takes a second to get a bite and there’s plenty of seconds in an hour!          

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Top tip for the week

Top tip for the week and lessons learnt.

With the ground saturated, any overnight rain, however slight will run of into the rivers and this week, on two occasions, I have underestimated the flow. Although tactics have been right I could have done with slightly heavier feeders in my tackle box. These would have made fishing a few swims on both the Loddon and Itchen easier, yet saying this, don’t go casting a big feeder in a swim from the start as all you need is a feeder that just holds bottom.

Weekly report starting 3rd Dec 2012

The main image shows a sad moment, as I was watching the water at Westhampnett, one of my favourite water at first light on a frosty Tuesday morning thinking whether to believe the reports that the fishery had lost its population of perch. Although the weather was far from ideal, when I packed up after fishing for seven hours, through what is usually the best feeding period, I was still asking the question.
Up early again on Tuesday, this time for a chub guiding day on the river Loddon. The journey took slightly longer due to a heavy flurry of snow at fleet and with temperatures below freezing most would have abandoned the trip, yet past knowledge gained has told me that, even in the coldest conditions, if you can get a bait in the water, then chub will feed. Neal had arrived moments before me and as we crossed the bridge and looked at the river, my heart sank slightly as the expected green tinge had been replaced with a weak tea colour.
Neal hadn’t fished a river for over a decade and wanted to try something different and although I know the river well and have total faith in my tactics the thought of struggling myself a couple of weeks ago was clear in my head. Getting of to a good start was what was needed and I knew just the swim.
Walking across the frosty fields bought home that winter had finally arrived and after a brief explanation of the simple bread flake rig we made our first cast. Ten seconds past when the tip twitch, pulled round but Neal’s strike met thin air. Second cast the same happened but the third bite saw the rod bend over and after a brief fight Neal netted a chub weighing 4lb 8oz. A forth cast was chanced yet just the occasional twitch showed that more chub were around, yet as l have come to expect, once spooked they are difficult to tempt on such a small river. Although Neal had a whole day to learn the basics to fishing bread flake, l can honestly say that he had done this in less than half an hour!
The next swim drew a blank, yet the third produced another four-pounder, a right result on such a cruel day. The forth swim, another banker failed to produce, yet with a large mink working the swim, this didn’t come as a surprise. It was now time to move around spending ten minutes in every likely looking spot before dropping back into the first swim, this time with cheese paste. Unfortunately our efforts and bait changes went unnoticed as did a spot of float fishing through a known chub hotspot. Obviously it was one of those days when the bait had to be placed right on a chubs nose and with a banker swim well downstream, on another stretch, we decided to move.
The snow filled clouds had now disappeared, replaced with a warming sun, however approaching this new swim in a stealthy manner, due to the sun sending long shadows across the river was impossible. Sitting in a swim with two shadows visible on the far bank and knowing the bait is right below these does little for the confidence, yet amazingly the tip twitched, pulled round and the third chub of the day was safely netted. Two more swims were tried, one of which was ruined by a pair of swans and with the sun and temperature dropping away we called it a day.
What a contrasting day, far from ideal, and extremely cold, yet with three good chub netted in fantastic countryside hosting an array of wildlife l was hoping that Neal had been converted, and when he mentioned he couldn’t wait to get back, l knew we had both had a great day.

A few words from Neal…
Dear Duncan. Thank you for another superb days guiding. Despite conditions being pretty awful I still managed to catch some decent chub.
Once again you've opened up another angling door for me. I shall be returning to the Loddon for some more winter chub fishing very soon.
Great teaching and great company!
Regards Neal.

I was looking forward to a guiding trip to the Itchen at the end of the week and imagined the river to be perfect, yet once again on arrival l was shocked to see it high and fast. Luckily the river was running clear which gave us a fighting chance, yet with a North West wind gaining in force by the minute we soon realised that catching on the float would be difficult, even for an expert on the pin.
Mark had never caught a grayling before and not having fished the float for a while and only using his centrepin on a few occasions soon got into the swing of setting the float on its way and feeding, yet the banker swim of previous weeks only produced one bite which was missed. Finding a slightly sheltered swim Mark soon was bent into a fish, the first of numerous brown trout but we were of the mark and confident of a grayling or two. With a couple of other anglers uncomfortably close on such a long length of river we decided that it would be us that showed the correct etiquette and moved upstream to a pool that holds plenty of fish. Impossible to fish the float even in normal conditions we decided to put the feeder into action and within seconds the tip twitched and a brown trout was netted. More followed before a Mark found himself playing a fish that felt different and he was right as a grayling of around a pound six graced his net. A few smaller pencil grayling followed along with trout before the swim died, yet as l was wondering upstream to look at other swims l heard Mark shout and saw him netting what looked like a good grayling. Weighing 1lb 11oz it was a great personal best and a good fish on a difficult day, yet Mark wanted to catch grayling on the float and pin, so we headed back to the swims fished earlier in the day. Whilst Mark fished the float, I tried the feeder getting bites in most swims, yet it seemed a moving bait wasn’t what they wanted as Mark was struggling. Moving from swim to swim we finally had a grayling taking maggots up in the water and as the float made its way downstream soon disappeared and Mark’s first grayling on the float came to hand. Strangely it seemed that as the light faded the grayling switched on and more followed which was the icing on the cake after an enjoyable day even though river conditions were far from perfect.

Monday, 3 December 2012

A new beginning

December 1st 2012 will always be a day that I remember for two reasons.
The first will go down as one of my proudest angling moments as it was at the Sandown Carp Societies Show that I launched my first book, Evolution of an Angler. Many will know just how long this project took, the best part of a year, during which time I had to sacrifice time on the bank. Luckily my decision to write came at a good time as this year has to of been one of the worst in my living history and anyone who has been able to catch consistently has done well.
I managed to get a sneaky preview of the book in its finished state just two days prior to the show and the end product is more than what I had envisaged, so I must thank Paul, Cliff and all the team at Calm Productions for their expert advise and guidance.
The show itself went really well, and along with pre-orders, the best part of the 100 limited editions have been sold, yet there are still a few left, so if you don’t want to be disappointed you need to act fast and order yours online
Arriving at the show around 8am on a frosty winter’s morning, I couldn’t have been welcomed more warmly and when I looked at the book laying next to me I felt quite honoured as it was Matt Hayes ‘Fisheye’. The other side of me were two of, what I call angling gents, Steve Fantauzzi and Ben Hamilton from ‘Thinking Anglers’ who kept me company all weekend. Although Mat was in demand all weekend he did ask if he could look at the book and whilst doing so we had a great conversation on fishing with our dads. Other angling greats were on the stand, Terry Hearn, Nigel Sharp, Gerry Hammond, and Terry Theobald all of which gave me a warm welcome as did Martin Bowler who ever wished me good luck with the book, so to all involved over the weekend, thank you. Rosie will also noticed that I have started to correct my bad habit!
If you didn’t get to the show but would like a signed copy of my book then I will be at Yateley Angling Centre on Saturday 15th December between 10am and 4pm. Look forward to seeing you then.

The second part of the story is that after more than five years at Korum I have decided that I need a new challenge. The hardest part of the decision was knowing that I would be leaving a group of anglers that I can honestly say have been brilliant. Working closely with anglers such as Chris Ponsford, Ade Kiddell, Dai Gribble, Nigel Botherway and Gary Knowles has been fantastic and I must thank them for all their kind words, some I have to say has put a lump in my throat. All the best guys and look forward to catching up some time.
Time to look forward and once again feel fortunate to be associated with an angler that has been kind to me for many years, one that noticed my potential more than a decade ago and took no time in signing me as a sponsor for the company he worked for then. Paul Garner isn’t just a brilliant angler, he’s an angler that I respect highly and being able to call him a friend as well means so much. Once again I feel relaxed, yet revitalised and for the first time in a while I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into some serious campaigns and doing what anglers know me for, catching big fish, however this time l will be wearing the Nash Peg One logo on my sleeve.

I must also apologise for my lack of blog entries. You will start to see these becoming more frequent and I will be keeping you updated to what I am getting up to, catching, along with some tips that might just help you catch a few more fish.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A pike trip planned to the river Wye with my good friend Chris was understandably postponed due to the flooding, so knowing most other venues would be hard due to this we decided to head to Old Bury Hill in the hope of a few runs.

Dad was also joining us so meeting up early afternoon we made our way up the long bank, once again in the rain. As expected sport was slow up until dusk and apart from one run that l missed things didn’t look good, yet the switch we were hoping to be triggered happened and in a short flurry of action Chris managed two zeds which included a new personal best of exactly 10lb, dad also managed two, yet fishing in a new swim l was still to get of the mark. Casting every half an hour with fresh baits normally gets some action and at around 7pm another short feeding spell bought me two zeds, the best around 7lb plus a double figured mirror. Dad also managed two more zeds and not to be beaten a common weighing 17lb 15oz. Chris’s swim had strangely died and as usual it looked like dad was going to show us youngsters how it was done, however when we decided to call it a day at 9pm both my rods went of and with two more zeds in the net, the best 7lb 13oz it bought our scores level.

Although the fishing wasn’t hectic it was a really enjoyable evening with plenty of light hearted banter plus a few fish, how fishing should be.

Friday, 23 November 2012

We are sensible anglers, get us out of here!

Its rare that l have to use my return visit policy when guiding, yet a few weeks ago whilst zander fishing at Old Bury Hill myself and regular customer Mark came up against the odds and found ourselves on a night when the fishing was impossible. We knew what it was, the full moon and although Mark did catch a personal best carp, it wasn’t his target, so a return visit was planned.
With a weather front that had placed around thirty rivers on flood alert in the west country moving east the session was almost abandoned, yet l know that the worse the weather, the better the fishing. Arriving at 2pm we headed to my preferred area along the long bank and soon had four rods fishing sardine sections. The night before had seen loads of cold heavy rain enter the lake and l had reservations whether this would have killed the lake, yet a pike being weighed by another angler raised our hopes. It wasn’t until the light started to fade that Marks indicator rose slowly to the rod blank and a firm strike saw a powerful fish hooked, yet unbelievably it was yet another carp, this was getting a bit silly now. Luckily a couple of small zander soon followed and with his first zander netted we started to relax, yet with the wind gaining we knew our stay could at any point be cut short. To give Mark a good chance of catching a few fish we had agreed that although l would work my rods he would take runs on them, however once he had caught a seven pounder l would swap the right-hand reel handles back so l could have a fish. Fortunately most of the following runs came on his own rods and with a flurry of action that saw him net two good zander weighing 8lb 10oz and 8lb 7oz at the same time l decided to have a fish. Re-baiting with fresh baits l cast back out and straight away got a run which saw a very big zander grace my net. Weighing exactly 12lb l knew l was one very lucky angler and realised that the fishing god was once again looking down. We both took another zander before the wind started to strengthen and once the rain arrived around 9.30pm we looked at each other, knew we had booth had a brilliant session and screamed ‘we are serious anglers, get us out of here’.

Whilst this weather is still mild, the zander fishing is still good, yet once the winter sets in it gets harder so if you fancy a go you better get in touch soon.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I can now confirm that the book launch will be at The Carp Societies Sandown Show on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December.
I will be personally signing limited edition numbered books over this weekend, however if you would like one of these limited editions and cannot make the show then these can be ordered online at however you will need to order you’re copy prior to the show.

I will also be spending a day at Yateley Angling Centre on Saturday 15th of December between 10am and 4pm, so again if you want a signed copy then come along.

If you want a sneaky preview of one of the thirty one chapters in the book then there is one on carp fishing the Thames that can be downloaded on Calm Productions website.

The book covers my progression as an angler, evolving from a match angler in the early days right through to what most know me as today, a specimen angler. The book isn’t just a good read but also a bringing together of my love for photography and almost every page has a full colour image shown and taking into consideration it has over 350 pages, that’s a lot of photographs.
The book covers my quest to catch most species including eels, carp, barbel, bream, in fact almost every freshwater species that swims and covers some fantastic venues such as the river Kennet, Itchen, Thames and Loddon as well as stillwaters like Lynch Hills Willow Pool, Thorpe Park, Westhampnett and of course Frensham Great Pond. It also covers the capture of two British records, visits to France and Spain plus a chapter on ‘The fish l wish I’d never caught, twice’.
There are no secrets within the book; no this is how l did it, just a good honest read that will appeal to not just the club angler but also to those targeting fish of a lifetime.

If you’re struggling for ideas to give the wife or girlfriend for Christmas then look no further.

The cost of the book is £25 plus P&P if ordered online.

There are also 40 limited edition leather bound copies costing £180 plus P&P. To order these please call 0208 3203 886 or 0845 408 606

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Itchen to get at the Ladies

Although l have helped numerous angler have a memorable day on the Lower Itchen Fishery, l have never fished it for myself, so with a Coarse and Match Fishing Monthly video requested by on grayling fishing, l grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Arriving at opening time, 8am, l found l had the stretch to myself and headed for the centre of the fishery, an area Clayton the onsite river keeper had pointed me to. Starting on the float l covered loads of swims, catching from all but two and come 2pm l had lost count of the grayling that ld landed, along with lots of brown trout plus a couple of salmon parr. The last swim l fished on the float saw loads of grayling intercepting loose maggots, however bites were difficult to come by, that was until l made a tiny alteration to my hookbait, thereafter it was a pound plus grayling a cast.
Once the rain arrived l decided to head to a big pool upstream, one that is almost impossible to fish on the float and try the feeder, something l will only do in such a situation. It took all of ten seconds for the tip to twitch and the first of many brownie of see the bottom of the net. Although two good grayling did find my bait, plus a sea trout, it seemed as if the grayling pool had been invaded by brown trout and after around a dozen or more, and with the rain beating down, l headed for the comfort of the car.

The video will be edited and ready to view soon, so keep an eye out on for one of many of my ‘In Session’ with Duncan Charman videos.

If you fancy experiencing the fantastic non-stop rod bending action The Lower Itchen Fishery offers then why not book a day with me. You won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Evolution of an Angler

Although l still cant confirm if the book will be ready for launch at the Carp Societies Carp Show at Sandown on the 1st and 2nd of December, l can confirm that l will be signing books at Yateley Angling Centre on Saturday the 15th of December between 10am and 4pm, so if you want a signed copy then make it a date.

Further information on cost, online ordering to be published soon.

Pike on the Wye

Apart from a dismal two-day trip to Chew last year, it’s been over a decade since l seriously targeted pike. My exploratory trips thou to the river Wye in search of barbel earlier in the year had revealed a few likely looking haunts and with the occasional large bow-wave spotted behind the odd unlucky dace, my mind started to wonder. Fortunately l have teamed up with another angler who like me wanted to unlock its secrets, so a two day trip was arranged and early one morning we headed north.
The first day was more about walking, looking and if we were lucky casting a deadbait which would be slowly retrieved in a sink-and-draw fashion. First port-of-call though was to Woodies to get the necessary tickets as well as draw on his wealth of knowledge, as if there was one man that could put us on fish, then Paul was our man.

Unfortunately the place Paul wanted to send us was closed to the Wye three day festival, so with a couple of other stretches at our disposal and prime swims pinpointed we headed of with high hopes. The first swim we looked at and tried was a deep pool just above some shallows, home of a very large pike, yet an hour of working the swim failed to produce, so we moved to another stretch. I’d thought about the tactics that l wanted to try and this was to place a static deadbait within the swim, then sink-and-draw over the top. It’s a tactic that l have read about working for others and one that creates the best of both worlds as some days pike want a static bait and then on others they want it on the move. The second stretch we fished already had a few pike anglers on, one had taken three on lures, another had pulled out of a fish on the opposite bank, however with loads of bankside cover there were plenty of swims to try, yet these were tight, features either side, and thoughts of hooking a big pike at first was somewhat daunting. Id rigged the static deadbait up on a Korum 2.75lb Carp rod with 40lb braid loaded onto a KZR Mini Pit 6000, a couple of drilled bullets to hold bottom in the slack created by the cover along with a Snapper size 6 trace witch held a sardine, my favourite deadbait. The sink-and-draw rod was toned down to a 1.75lb Neoteric XS Twin Top with the same reel and braided main and this time a smelt was mounted on a size 8 Snapper trace. Because l was going to move swims and the differences in the flow l weighted the bait by sliding a length of pole float rubber onto the braid, then pinched swan shot on. The rubber protects the braid and the weight can be altered with ease. With the deadbait positioned l started to work the smelt over the top, yet after twenty cast nothing had happened. Down to my left was a big snag which allowed a risky cast right down the edge in just a few feet of water. The cast was bang on and after just two turns of the reel l watched as a good double shot out and grabbed the bait. A tense fight commenced before she was netted and l punched the air as it was my first Wye pike. Twenty minutes later we were on the move again, searching different swims and watched as another angler netted what looked like a twenty on the far bank. Keen to keep on the move we headed upstream, yet the odd likely looking spot failed to produce, however a swim mentioned by a barbel angler had to be investigated and once again the smelt did the business, this time on the first cast with a pike around six pounds. The light was going and having found numerous swims for future reference we headed back to the B&B in Ross.
The alarm sounded well before dawn and with a couple of hours before breakfast we tried another spot well known for pike. This section looked great, yet our efforts went unnoticed, however an angler had arrived just before us, settled in a swim and caught a low double plus missed a run, so it certainly wasn’t time wasted. After breakfast we headed back towards Hereford and l dropped into the swim that had produced the double the day before. This time the sink-and-draw failed to produce so l added just enough weight for the rig to hold bottom and carefully cast it, once again under the snag. I’m not a great lover of using alarms and drop of indicators, much preferring to watch the rod tips for a signs of a pickup. I didn’t have to watch for long as the left hand rod tapped before the clutch started to turn. A firm lift was met with a satisfying curve on the rod and soon l was admiring another good double. Soon after a recast the same rod signalled another bite and as soon as l lifted into this fish l knew it was far bigger. She tried to make the upstream snag a couple of times and l had to clamp down on the clutch, yet the rod turned her and after an explosive tense fight l found myself looking at what l thought was my target, a twenty pound Wye pike, yet the dial on the scales dropped short, yet was l disappointed, no way. The swim died after this so we decided to head to another stretch to locate an area that’s known for producing. Leaving the tackle in the car we found the swims, yet due to the long walk we decided to keep these for another day and headed back into Hereford to watch the weigh in as well as talking to the match anglers to see if they were experiencing any pike trouble, which they were, however after the match had finished our sardines were totally ignored as these pike were feeding on the vast shoals of dace and roach.
Having learnt so much, located numerous swims for the future and with a few pike under my belt l left a happy angler and thoughts of a return visit were already floating around in my head.

It’s a great start in locating areas to take customers pike fishing on the Wye. Earlier this year l started guiding on the Wye for barbel and in two incredible weeks, one in September, the other in October we took more than one hundred barbel, as well as loads of chub. Next year as well as the two weeks barbel fishing, l will be available to guide pike anglers on this incredible river as well as fishing for dace, so if you a couple of days of contrasting fishing, why not get in touch and book you’re spot!   

Friday, 2 November 2012

A right run-around

Personal best Carp on a sardine!
Mark had read about how carp get caught on sardine section at Old Bury Hill whilst targeting zander and although he believed this, he actually wanted to see if it was possible. Mark has fished Old Bury Hill many a time in the past but had never caught a carp from it, let alone a zander, so it seemed a good idea to see if we could edge our bets and target both.

Unfortunately the conditions were terrible. Loads of cold overnight rain had entered the lake and coupled with a clear sky revealing a full moon, a cold North West wind, atmospherics rising and temperatures dropping down to just 2.5 degrees, things looked bleak, especially when the feeding spell arrived and the fireworks of the previous evening failed to materialise. Even on the cruellest of conditions, a few zander show, yet this was the first ever evening when the lake fell dead, that was apart from one hungry carp that picked up Marks sardine section and gave him an enjoyable run-around on scaled down balanced tackle. In the net she went and on the scales gave a reading of 17lb 9oz a new personal best for him. Well happy with the result we continued well into the evening, even with me casting a couple of rods out to give Mark a better chance but apart from a fast take that was missed, probably a carp, the zander decided to go on hunger strike.
Although beaten on the zander front, Mark left a very happy man and with a return visit planned in a few weeks, we will be back for revenge.

A Christmas present with a difference!

Happy Birthday or Christmas!
Over the last couple of months an incredible amount of wives and girlfriends have contacted me to buy their love ones a birthday or Christmas present with a difference. It seems that when it comes to giving them tackle ideas, we seem to have everything, however getting the best from a swim, increasing your catch rate or even catching a personal best isn’t something that can be bought from a tackle shop.
If your wife or girlfriend keeps asking for ideas then it might be an idea to pass on my details, you never know, when you open your next card a voucher headed ‘A Day out with Duncan’ might just drop out.
You don’t even have to worry about the finer details such as venue, species and date, as this can be organised between us at a later date.

Vampire fish on Halloween

Halloween was a typical moody night and the full moon that appeared momentarily between the rain laden clouds that raced through the night sky on a brisk wind only heightened our spooky feelings.
Zander, or as we called them vampire fish for the night were our target and with three anglers that had never seen, let alone caught one, expectations were high. Obviously we were on the banks of the best day ticket zander venue in the country Old Bury Hill and with the permission to stay late and conditions what seemed perfect we set our traps.
Sardine sections hair-rigged next to a barbless size six hook were cast out, no more than twenty yards and we sat back awaiting the switch to be struck. James was of the mark first with a small pike, yet we had to wait till dusk before the bobbins began to twitch. I’m not sure who landed the first zander as all of a sudden runs were coming all over the place and in a hectic couple of hours the trio had taken their fare share, however once again this was from fish up to around six pound. Andy then found himself attached to a much more powerful fish which turned out to be a carp weighing 14lb 12oz. Just as this was returned Adrian also landed a carp, slightly smaller at 12lb 13oz. Things then as expected quietened down with just the odd run coming, however it was young James who landed the best zander of the night which weighed 7lb 7oz. With the runs slowing and the heavy rain that was forecasted beginning to fall we headed home, the trio taking around fifteen fish between them.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Birthday barbel

Sue bought her husband, Allan a day’s barbel fishing with me as a birthday present and what a day it turned out to be. Allan hadn’t fished the river Loddon for a number of years, as he moved to France some years ago, however whilst visiting family here we managed to arrange a date to coincide with this visit.
Meeting at 7am and with barbel on our minds we headed straight for a banker swim, however this had changed somewhat over the past couple of weeks, due to the heavy rains and although called the jungle, now resembles a battle field. Dropping a bait in we sat uncomfortably as we knew that if a fish was hooked then the favours of an escape was heavily stacked in its favour and come thirty minutes later, and after a couple of taps we remained fishless. Moving to a swim upstream Allan soon learnt the importance of holding the rod, or covering after a tap, as the tip flew round and somehow the bite was missed. Reeling in Allan found a minnow impaled on the point of the hook, a very unlucky situation as it seems a barbel had found our bait, sucked everything in, including the minnow probably and the masked point failed to hit the mark. With two productive swims covered and just one left we headed downstream and soon after settling in Allan found himself attached to an angry barbel that did everything in its power to avoid capture, yet constant pressure did the trick and a big barbel surfaced. It was a typical Loddon barbel, short and fat and hopes of a double were soon realised as the dial settled on a satisfying 10lb 5oz.
By now the early morning mist and light covering of frost had made way for warm sunshine and as we headed downstream we were greeted with spectacular views of the English wildlife including Deer, Buzzards and Red Kites. The next swim failed to produce but the boundary swim didn’t disappoint as first a strange looking personal best chub of 4lb 14oz was netted before hope for the future in the form of a barbel weighing around 3lb 8oz.
On a high we covered plenty more swims, yet the tip remained motionless. More anglers were turning up and heading right upstream we dropped into a known chub swim which yielded another of 4lb 12oz. The final swim failed to produce but with the light fading and the night-shift arriving we headed home, well happy with four fish from a difficult river.

If you want a days fishing with me and are lost for ideas to give the wife for Christmas or you’re birthday, then why not pass on my details, you never know you might just have a red-letter days like Allan had.