Wednesday, 29 August 2012

No More Mosquitoes

Coghlans Anti-mosquitoes Coils.

One insect that can spoil a days fishing is the dreaded mosquitoes. A pet hate along with wasps and slugs of many an angler and one that l just won’t put up with anymore. Most anglers are happy to smear on insect repellent, yet just like filling the car up with diesel, its something l wont do as fish are said to have a million times better sense of smell/taste than us humans, so if l can smell any impurities on my hands then you bet a fish can once its been transferred onto your bait.
The solution and an alternative to using insect repellent is to carry a anti-mosi coil with you. Lighting the coil with a lighter and blowing the flame out will see the coil smoke for around eight-hours and better still they can be placed in a holder that allows them to be transported easily from swim to swim if roving or hung up in a nearby tree. You don’t even have to place them right next to you, as they will deter insects from quite a few feet.
I’m not sure if the holders are made by Coghlans but l bought mine for a few quid from Yateley Angling Centre where the coils, priced at £2.25 for ten, are also available. 

Bites during daylight

This summer has to be one of the hardest and most frustrating l have ever known. The summer, or lack of it plus the constant rain has seen not just the angler struggling to get out and fish, but the fish to feed, well at least on a predictable level and as for the birdlife, it seems that they are all having chicks now.
I always look forward to a roving day on the Loddon and today l was guiding a new customer Mark who, although catching the odd barbel after dark, was struggling for bites during daylight. Meeting at 7.30am we headed downstream and dropped into what’s normally a productive swim and after around fifteen minutes the tip pulled round and a chub graced his net, albeit the smallest chub l think l have seen on this stretch for years. Moving to another, one that Mark said he would have walked passed, it didn’t take long once again for a bite to develop, this time from a chub weighing 4lb 9oz. It was a great start, yet after covering a further four swims we failed to tempt another. I had dropped some bait in the swim that produced the bigger chub and after a few hours Mark dropped his rig stealthily into it. This time no small plucks were forth coming, either a sign that it hadn’t recovered or that a barbel was feeding. It was obviously the latter as after ten minutes the tip whacked round and after a fight in a very confined area a modest barbel fell into the waiting net.
After a break for lunch we headed downstream and l introduced Mark to a couple of my favourite and productive swims, both of which showed sighs that either barbel or chub were present, yet the bite we wanted didn’t come, yet l know it will, probably tomorrow when Mark will be returning.  


Gold Valley may not be the most idyllic of venues but it’s a fantastic one to learn and perfect new methods and techniques.

Today was all about learning, however it was just a shame that more anglers, especially youngsters weren’t interested in my affordable teaching days, maybe l didn’t advertise these heavily enough or maybe most youngsters are into carp fishing nowadays. Two anglers that did take advantage of the day were Martin Farmer and Ron Jackson and both left with plenty to think about.
Ron was with me for the first time and learnt how effective the groundbait-lead is taking numerous carp, bream and crucian carp throughout the day and on leaving couldn’t wait to take the tactic to his local lake. I await his results but lm pretty sure he will take the place apart.
Here are a few words from Ron…
Hi Duncan. Thank you very much for my day of outstanding instruction, demonstration and fishing experience. I am sorry l felt to tired to try the pellet-waggler, another time perhaps. I would certainly recommend you to anyone wanting to improve their fishing skills. I have written down the method you imparted to me so as not to forget. Can’t wait to take it to my local lake and will report back on my results. Thanks again and am looking forward very much to our time on the river next month.
Kind regards,

Martin is a regular and wanted a refresher on the same method, yet l know he’s a capable angler and felt that it would be a good idea to introduce him to the pellet-waggler. I could tell from just watching him that he enjoyed every minute using this active method and being a methodical angler, like myself will surely take this to other venues and catch loads.

I’m contemplating doing the same instructional days next year throughout the summer holidays. These will give anglers an introduction and basic knowledge of using the method feeder, pellet waggler and carp fishing which will include rigs, accurate casting and baiting so if you are interested then keep an eye on my website. These days will cost just £50 per angler and will be based on a maximum of six anglers each day, so if you don’t want to be disappointed then email me now and l will book you in.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sonubaits Original S-Pellets.

It’s often the case that when a company is launched and creates one of its first products, then this turns out to be the best and in my mind this is the case with Sonubaits S-Pellets.
I first tested these, well it has to be at least five years ago, and since that initial batch was sent to me have never looked back. Even after trying all the other flavours in the extensive range which include Strawberry, Monster Crab & Mussel, Hali-hookers (6mm, 8mm and 11mm) and the more recent introduced F1, Krill and Tiger Fish (6mm & 8mm), l still come back to the original S-Pellet.
Although these can be hooked directly onto the hook, banded or lassoed, l find that the texture perfect for hair-rigging, as long as the baiting needle is extremely fine.
Initially l used these to great effect when fishing Harris Lake on the Marsh Farm Complex for big bags of crucians but more recently have found them great in conjunction with the pellet waggler or when using two 8mm for barbel on the river Wye.
Nutritionally balanced these hookable pellets constantly leak an additive laced oil which pulls fish into your swim, triggering an aggressive feeding response. If you haven’t tried these then your missing out and if you have, well you’ve already have the edge.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A mixed week.

It’s rare that l get out on a Saturday evening, yet today was an exception, and with the weather humid and still and with a few hours to kill in the evening, headed to Johnson’s in search of crucian carp. Using the groundbait lead and small pieces of corn it took no time at all for the first of six tench to grab the hookbait. Around an hour before darkness the crucian’s arrived and come 9.30pm l had managed six, the best probably a big two.
For anyone that’s thinking, what’s the method-lead, well it’s simply where a ball of groundbait, either Sonubaits Krill or Supercrush Green, which is pressed around a 1.1oz Korum K-Grip lead instead of a method feeder. Next to this is a short hooklink, usually four inches of 0.15 Reflo Power along with a Korum Xpert size 16 hook containing a short hair. There is absolutely no casting involved, all l do is hold the ball of groundbait next to the reel and then swing this out into position. The difficult thing about this method is getting the groundbait mix just right and swinging the groundbait ball out.
With the weather getting hotter and still with a nasty ear infection decided not to fish through Monday night but to have a short evening session floater fishing. With thoughts of a 40lb grass carp on my mind l headed to Cemex Little Moulsham, yet after doing a couple of circuits, could only find two grassies which were deep within a snag along with a few tench an one of the old original carp. There were a few fish showing out in the middle over the gravel bar and when three fish decided to head to one corner l thought my luck had changed, yet these turned out to be, what l call the breeze-block stockies. I then headed to Cemex Match Lake and managed to get a few fish taking but these only took one bait before heading off, so desperate to get a bend in the rod, ended up on a Farnham Water where l took six carp in just two hours, the best around 12lb.
Early Wednesday morning l found myself once again heading to the river Wye, this time with my good friend Chris. He had fished a few stretches in the past and like me wanted to find a few more, so although we would be casting a line at times, our trip was more of an exploratory trip than a fishing trip. The first stretch we looked at was upstream of Ross-on-Wye, one l had found out about from searching the internet. Arriving mid morning g and paying our £10 day ticket at the farm, we headed to the river and walked the complete stretch. Two other anglers were already fishing and had caught upwards of fifteen barbel in a day before, so our hopes were high and after locating a couple of likely looking pools for pike later in the season we settled in a couple of comfortable swim midway between the boundaries. Six hours later nether of us had managed a bite, and with the other two only taking one chub we consoled ourselves by saying that the river must be having a bad day. We decided to call it a day at 7pm, as this would give us time to find the stretch that Chris was to introduce me too before darkness fell, however just as we were packing up the tip rattled and my biggest Wye chub saved a blank. After getting lost in the Hereford countryside we finally found our destination with just about enough time to set up camp for the night and cook a hot meal before darkness descended. I have to admit that, apart from kipping under the stars in France, this has to be the quietest place in England that l have ever spent a night. The only noises heard were owl’s in the surrounding hills and salmon leaping out of the river. Setting the alarms for 5am we awoke to a glorious misty dawn and after setting up on a concrete salmon jetty it didn’t take long for the tip to pull round from another Wye chub. A couple more followed before the tip slammed round and the first barbel of the trip led me a merry dance around the river. Although Chris had introduced me to the stretch, he hadn’t fished it before and was set up further downstream in a worn swim that turned out to be a good swim on the beat, yet after a few hours had failed to get a bite. Although l was catching l decided, after talking to the gamekeeper, to move downstream to a good barbel area, yet come midday l was also biteless. Chris had also moved into the best swim on the stretch and in a couple of hours managed three barbel as well as losing three and knowing we had another stretch sorted and with time on our hands headed to yet another stretch for a walk. Although we arrived home later than we would have wished we both agreed that we had gained more knowledge than we could have ever wished and know that our homework and hard work will repay us in future sessions, not just for barbel but also pike. I will be back up next week for a couple of days, so watch this space.

Amazingly on Friday morning l was up early again, this time for a guiding day at Gold Valley. Both Ron and Martin both enjoyed rod bending action from numerous carp, well into double figures, using either the pellet waggler or groundbait lead.  

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Product Review

Rollover Bite Indicators by Zandavan Productions

I have had a passion for eels for as long as l care to remember and each season spend countless hours’ bankside in search of a monster. Over these years l have tried numerous types of bite indicators, from the humble washing up liquid bottle top hanging on a long drop, too monkey climbers along with the more commonly used drop of indicators, however although l have been happy with most aspects of my set up, bite indication has always been a problem. Drop of indicators set lightly have been what l have used for the last few years, yet having a relatively tight line running down to my rig isn’t perfect. This combined with a mono mainline, which has stretch when taught has seen to many dropped runs, and although my list of big eels is impressive, l still think that it could have been so much better.
These days l have even less time to spend targeting this mysterious species, so when l get a run l want to know that l am going to maximise my catch rate, and that means only one thing, reducing the amount of drop runs.
I briefly saw a zander angler at Old Bury Hill using a set of Rollover Bite indicators last winter and made a mental note to investigate further, so when l was asked by Tight Lines to catch an eel for the cameras, l just had to buy a set.
Barry Mconnell, one of the countries most acclaimed eel anglers produces these under the name Zandavan Productions so l searched the internet and located his website, Purchasing a set of two, which set me back just £36.98, l headed out one night to test the product and that night managed four runs, three were from eels, the other from a carp. I have to say, what a mistake I’ve made leaving it this long to buy a set as on a previous session l had at least a dozen runs and only converted two, yet looking back this was due to coiling mono more than the indication set up.
These indicators are easy to set up and allow the angler to use open bail arms, yet the line isn’t stretched or tensioned in anyway as it simply loops over the end of the indicator arm. If tension is needed, due to drift or undertow, then the arms have a weight that can be slide down to increase this, along with a chain that can be attached in severe conditions. When a take develops the arm simply lifts up and a sliding weight within the arm drops to the back, allowing the arm to fall backwards, releasing the main line. Another brilliant advantage over drop of indicators is opposed to just one bleep from the alarm, with these you will get at least four before the line falls free.
To be honest, l can’t see how, when having to use an open bail arm any other indicator can beat this and with a few months left before my eel fishing stops, and then the zander season kicking in, lm going to enjoy testing these out further.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Barbel from the Wye

Duncan Charman's Weekly Session Report Wednesday August 15th and 16th.

After dropping the girlfriend of at work at 7.30am on Wednesday morning, l headed north for the first of many exploratory sessions on the magical river Wye near Hereford. The sat-nav showed 147miles and a time of 2hrs 48mins, however even during rush hour l made good time and arrived at my first port of call, Woody's Angling Centre in less than 2hrs 30mins. Over a cup of strong tea, Woody drew a map of a swim he knew would hold fish on a stretch controlled by Hereford and District Angling; however this was to be left to the following morning as l wanted to return to a swim l fished last year, also controlled by Hereford DA at Breinton. Arriving at Breinton Church in torrential rain l then realised that l had left my waterproof jacket at home, so parked up and had a three hour afternoon snooze. Finally the rain stopped and after cooking a hearty Spaghetti Bolognaise on the stove in the back of the van l took a leisurely stroll along the river bank. I soon realised that this wasn’t going to be a stretch to take customers, as the banks are extremely steep and even a nimble chap like myself ended up in the water after slipping and dropping my chair that decided to float of downstream. Finally sorted, albeit bruised and battered, l finally cast out, however come 8.30pm it was obvious that the session wasn’t going to be as fruitful as last years morning session, as apart from one small barbel, just the odd swinger chub and dace came to my single 8mm S-Pellet.
Making the most of the remaining light l drove downstream and took a look around the water works, a much deeper and slower section, one that Woody had recommended when the waters up and coloured, yet with no angler fishing l knew that things weren’t happening here either.
A friend of mine was staying at Sink Green Farm B&B, the same place that l have booked into next month, so l headed here but not before finding the location of my morning g session. It was around 9.30pm when we joined up and over a cup of coffee that Sue the owner made and discussed what had been going on. Mark had been catching a few on a stretch revealed to him by the Wye master himself ‘The Pons’, yet as much as l tried to get the details from him he remained silent, fair play, however you wait until ‘The Pons’ gets back from his holidays!

It was around 10pm when l headed back to the van where l spread the sleeping bag across the seats and tried to get my head down, however I’ve been suffering with my ears since returning of holiday and with a bad infection struggled to get much kip. I could have crashed on the sofa in the B&B but in a strange way, l like to rough it now and again as these experiences seemed to remain in my memory longer. The alarm sounded at 4.45am, yet l was already awake and after a quick sort of the gear in the growing light headed a few miles downstream, albeit on the opposite bank.
The walk to the river consisted of a short walk along the road, up some steps, through a gate, along an embankment, through another gate, over a bridge and through a field of sweetcorn. This took a good ten minutes but it was a walk l had to do twice as on meeting the river l realised that the only way of fishing the swim was with chest waders as the deep gulley on the far bank had a thick bed of streamer weed protecting it which was positioned mid river, before this it was shallow gravel.
After sliding down the bank and adding to my bruises l was finally positioned mid river, albeit now nearly 7am. Not quite knowing what to expect l cast a double 8mm Sonubaits Crab Pellet ‘O’ into the gulley, placed the rod in the high rests and watched as the Quiver tip of my Korum Neoteric XS 12ft Multi Quiver Power gently swayed in the morning breeze. My hand hovered as the Korum 60gram Mesh feeder loaded with Sonubaits Hemp & Hali Crush momentarily dislodged, yet a few turns of the CS3000 saw this problem solved. Moments later a pull on the tip eased my worries, Woody was right, barbel were here. After ten minutes l reloaded the feeder and made another cast, only for a repeat performance to occur. Third cast thou there was no mistaking, as the tip bounced back in unfamiliar southern fashion, and on picking the rod and slack up, bent into a good Wye barbel. After a few moments of stalemate were she held her ground in the strong flow l eased across, however this is when the fun started as the bed of streamer weed was thicker than first thought. On surveying the swim, l knew that l had to make sure my end tackle was up to the job, so tackled up with a four foot hooklink made from Reflo 0.19 Power plus one of the new Korum Xpert Specimen size 12 hooks. Obviously this was powerful yet balanced enough to tame the barbel as eventually l managed to drop my Korum 30inch Latex Barbel Spoon underneath a mound of weed and engulf her. It was a great start and the next five casts saw a similar result, however by now l was getting the barbel up on top before the weed which made things so much easier. Although the action was frantic, l still had time to enjoy the wildlife of the Wye which included a barn owl working the morning mist, a grass snake struggling to cross the fast flow and the all too familiar call of a Buzzard as it climbed on the warming thermals.
With six barbel landed by 8.30am l was expecting a red letter day, (hang on, when was the last time l caught six barbel in a session, let alone in an hour and a half!) but the action suddenly stopped. The odd salmon jumped, yet l couldn’t buy another bite for at least an hour, but then two more followed quickly before one headed upstream and done me on a snag.
I could have stayed and caught more, but l had achieved what l had come here for, to find a swim that l could catch a customer a fish, and knowing this l headed back to Sink Green Farm to say my farewells before heading home.
Although anglers reading this may think the Wye is easy, then think again. If you can locate the barbel then catching them isn’t a problem, yet getting to the swims that contain them isn’t exactly simple. There are very few comfortable swims like on the Kennet or Loddon here, this is adventure country, so be prepared!

Useful contacts –
Sink Green Farm – David and Sue 01432 870223
Woody’s Angling Centre – 67 Whitecross Rd, Hereford HR4 0DQ – 01432 344644
Hereford and District Angling Association – Membership available from Woody’s.
Cedar Tree B&B – Alan and Joe 01432 267235
Korum –
Sonubaits –
Premier Inn Ross – 0871 527 8944
Premier Inn Hereford 0871 527 8518
Broom Farm House –  

Monday, 13 August 2012

Tackle Review – Monday 13th August.

Each week lm going to start reviewing items of tackle that l feel have ether revolutionised my fishing or have helped me catch more fish during a session. These products will be ones that l have complete faith in and would highly recommend any angler buying and although these items of kit will cover a wide spectrum of angling and manufacturers, its only fair that l start with something from my sponsors Korum.

Although l have tried numerous sized pit reels in my time, the ones that have lasted longest and l have had faith in, up until now, have been Shimano Biomasters. Not too big and with a silky smooth clutch that could be adjusted in just a couple of clicks of the front drag. These reels accompanied me on all my Thames carp sessions as l needed a reel that would put me in complete control of a fish, once hooked, literally within a split second.
Many models were given to me to test, yet all had front drags that needed so many turns to make a difference in the tension that they were binned. This is what l hated most about this type of reel and why the Biomasters stayed put, however these did have a problem, and that was line getting behind the spools.
When Korum sent me a pair of their new KZR Mini Pit 6000 l have to admit l was expecting yet another reel with excessive clutch control, however how wrong was l, as these were even better than the Biomasters. Not only did they look stunning but they only needed a slight adjustment of the dial on the front drag to alter the clutch’s tension, and with the problem of line behind the spool almost eliminated, a fantastic line lay and a clutch that felt silky smooth, l have to say l was instantly converted.

RRP £120, yet online you will find these for less than £100.

If you want to check out the specification of this reel in more depth then take a look at Korum’s website –   

Saturday, 11 August 2012

What's going on...?

Duncan Charman’s Weekly Session Report starting Sat 4th August.

This blog goes out to all the anglers that are struggling. It’s not you, it’s just a really bad season and this week pretty much sums things up.
Let’s look at my week. On Monday l headed to Woodlands View Fishery near Worcester for the Korum winners day. These lakes are stuffed full of fish and five hour matches are often won with ton plus bags. I was asked to fish and decided to try the pellet waggler, a tactic that l have started to really enjoy. None of the other anglers were fishing this method and it didn’t take long for the F1 to start falling, however after an hour or so things toughened up. All the other anglers were now catching, however you couldn’t call it hectic, yet it was an enjoyable day out only ruined for the few stragglers that stayed behind, as once again the heavens opened making us run for cover.
On Tuesday l met a friend and we headed to the river Kennet at Burghfield. Now this stretch has always been kind to my short session bursts, yet today we fished from noon until 11pm for just one modest chub to show for our efforts. Once again the heavens opened and for the second day in a row l got soaked. It may surprise you but Burghfield is still fining down from the heavy rains back before the start of the season. I classify the Kennet, just like the Loddon as a river that will rise and fall very quickly so for it to still be fining down after rain that fell many weeks ago, leaves not just us anglers, but also the fish in complete disarray.
I managed to get in bed around 12-30am and when the alarm woke me at 5am l was hoping that an early morning with a customer on a stretch of the Loddon that l thought l knew like the back of my hand would produce. Wrong, as after covering all the known hotspots using a method that rarely lets me down, he only managed one positive bite, which luckily he converted into a modest chub. The confusing factor during the morning session was when we arrived; the river was gin clear, however after a couple of hours it coloured up, only to clear again when we called it a day at lunchtime. Thinking that the fish were just off the feed due to the conditions, we were stunned to watch a group of four barbel, in a no fishing area, intercepting free offerings of pellet paste before it could reach the bottom, and where they were was just a couple of feet deep.
That evening l hit the sack around 9pm, however the alarm sounded at 1am as l had agreed to pick some friends up from Gatwick. I finally got back to bed at 3.30am only to awake at 6am as l was meeting Roy Westwood from Anglers Mail to shoot a feature on Stillwater watercraft. After dropping the girlfriend of at work we finally met at 8am at the Badshot Lea complex. There was absolutely no wind and with a hot day forecast we felt that catching a fish for the feature was going to be difficult, especially as we were to shoot all the pictures prior to angling. At around 11am l located some carp and scaled down my approach too a hair-rigged Sonubaits 8mm S-Pellet, plus a tiny piece of buoyant corn next to a size 12 Xpert hook. My hooklink was just four inches of 6lb Xpert Power Mono along with a 1.1oz K-Grip inline lead which was free running for a couple of inches before being stopped by a Rubber Braid Stop. I baited two spots, one in a shaded corner, plus one in open water with three Spomb loads of pellets, the same that l would be moulding around the lead. Dropping the bait into the corner l soon received liners, yet after twenty minutes felt the need to cast to open water. Less than five minutes later the indicator rose and a slow take saw me commencing battle with a deep slow moving fish which turned out to be an immaculate mid-double common. Looking at Roy we both smiled as watercraft is an essential part of catching and if you don’t try and understand what’s going on within and around your fishery, well then, it’s your loss. The feature goes out soon, so keep buying your copy of the Mail as it’s full of valuable information.
It was great to get home around midday, yet although knackered, l continued to sort out fishing related paperwork, finally running out of energy around 10pm.
Most of Friday was spent beginning to organise my guided sessions on the river Wye. I still have a few spaces available which are on Sept 5th, 6th and 7th for one angler and a day available on Wed 10th October. The cost per angler is £125 and includes the use of my tackle if required plus bait and day ticket.
At 6pm l met up with another angler, Lewis Deeks for another attempt at catching some big rudd from Frensham Great Pond. When l arrived only Lewis’s car was in the lay-by and we’ve both have been around long enough to know this meant one thing, its fishing bad. At around 8-30pm Lewis departed, as a summer cold was making him feel ill and the lack of bites did little to take his mind of this. I stayed on till 10-15pm taking just one small rudd; along with missing a further four bites throughout the course of the session. A few fish were moving after dark, yet these weren’t concentrated in any one spot, just here and there, leading me to assume it wasn’t my location that was wrong, but Frensham just fishing appallingly badly.
A friend of mine, Steve Donut Ansell sent me a picture of a big carp he feel has never been caught before. He took it from a venue he chanced upon, deep in a wooded area on a couple of Sonubaits 8mm pellets and is one of just seven carp that live in the lake. Top angling, now go catch the others.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Ollie's personal best.

It’s been a while since l caught up with Ollie. Back in the winter we had spent frustrating day perch fishing and with nothing to show for our efforts and thought it was only fair to promise him a days crucian fishing come the summer.
August is a great time to catch numbers of fish at the famous Harris Lake on the Marsh Farm Complex so we arranged to meet in the car park at 6pm with the view of fishing till midnight. Luckily the weather stayed dry and setting up on the railway bank using free running inline leads covered in Sonubaits Super Crush Green and tiny pieces of corn hair rigged next to a size 16 hook he didn’t have to wait long for the alarm to sound. In fact it can’t have been more than five minutes before the first tench was landed. These continued to barge in throughout the session and come 11pm more than two dozen had been landed, the best a shade under Ollie’s best of 5lb 5oz.
Dad had also joined us and was experiencing similar action, however when he left as darkness fell he had included three crucians to around 2lb 8oz in his catch. I was amazed that Ollie hadn’t connected to one as they were rolling everywhere and with our groundbait running out he made his final two casts. It was around 11.15pm and l had almost thrown the towel in but a stuttery take saw a crucian hooked, definitely bigger than anything he had seen before and weighing 2lb 10oz we both were relieved as well a very happy anglers.
As we packed up the other rod sprang into life and another smaller sample followed and although our thoughts were that the crucians were just about to get their heads down we both left well contented

Ollie's tackle included -
Korum Neoteric XS 12Fft Multi-feeder rods with the 1.5lb tips added.
Reels – Preston Inception 3000.
Mainline – Gardner 6lb HydroFlo.
Lead – Korum 1.1oz K Grip Inline.
Hooklink – Reflo 5.14oz.
Hook – Size 16 Korum Xpert Specialist.
Bait – Sonubaits Supercrush Green and Sweetcorn.  

Friday, 3 August 2012

Opportunist Angling

The highlight of the week thou was whilst guiding a new member on a stretch of the river Kennet. My task was to introduce a regular of mine Martin Farmer to the river and show him where l had caught barbel and chub from in the past. This would provide him with valuable information that would otherwise take hours to create on his own. The stretch was seriously overgrown, hardly fished and the river itself was coloured and motoring through. No other anglers were on the beat, so obviously l let Martin set up in what l consider the best swim on the stretch, one that had supplied numerous big barbel to myself in the past. Using the Method-Lead Martin religiously cast every hour in the hope that the barbel would switch on, however after eight hours the three-foot twitch failed to materialise. The only bite came from an over enthusiastic roach around the pound mark.

During the afternoon Martin had taken a stroll down the lower end of the stretch and as the river runs along a public footpath l had stayed behind to watch the tackle, refusing his generous offer for me to cast a line in the swim as this would have been tempting fate, however during the course of the day had trickled some bait into a swim just downstream, one that l had never caught from in the past, although tried on numerous occasions.
In hindsight should have sent Martin downstream to try this swim, yet that would have meant vacating the good swim, so with Martin fishing well, doing nothing wrong left him for an hour and wandered downstream myself. Casting an identical rig and bait into the swim l sat back and nodded of resting the rod but against my leg and setting the clutch just in case a bite came. It was literally on the hour and just before l had set the alarm on my mobile that l was awoken to three bites at the same time. Two were from mosquitoes that were tucking into my face, the other from a barbel that was heading downstream. It was on picking up the rod that l realised just how fast flowing the river was, yet the trusted Korum Neoteric XS 12ft Multi-Quiver with the 1.5lb tip added and 10lb Gardner Hydro-Flo main never let me down and after a few minutes another Kennet lump slid over the draw string. I then realised that l had just tied up my first hooklink made from Korum 10lb Xpert Braid along with using a size 8 Xpert Specimen hook, not a bad way to christen new products! Weighing 10lb 13oz it was what l classify as an opportunist capture and proof that big barbel can be caught in daylight.
It was a shame that Martins tip didn’t wrap round, however it was all he needed to see to make him return and reap the rewards of a method that l have spent years perfecting, although l think we may just be about to take the method one step further. As if Martin needed any more convincing that the stretch he was about to fish held plenty of big fish, yet as he packed away, something very large pocked its head out of the water, as if to say, you’re turn will come.

Anglers Mail Action Replay - Coming soon.

Eels on Prawns.

This week has been absolutely manic as l have been out on the bank every day, sometimes burning the candle at both ends. In brief my week was as follows – Monday guiding, Tuesday to Wednesday eel fishing, Wednesday guiding, Thursday guiding and Friday guiding along with all the other bits that go with this like updating blogs, sending images to Anglers Mail along with the time consuming tackle organisation and email relying.

On Tuesday night l headed to a water that produced a couple of big eels for me the previous week to produce an Action Replay for Anglers Mail. The session went according to plan with numerous eels landed as well as a carp. If you want to see how l went about eeling in a slightly unorthodox way then make sure you buy your copy of Anglers Mail each week as it’s full of great tips and features.