Saturday, 30 March 2013

Lets go catch some big fish - Weekly report starting 23rd March

 Having had to cancel a couple of recent planned trips recently due to the weather I finally decided that the planned trip to Westhampnett would go ahead, come what may. The weather was once again doing its best to have me rethinking yet even though it was bitterly cold, it was at least dry and I headed south to one of my favourite venues. Meeting my fishing partner Chris at 3.30pm we signed in then headed to a couple of sheltered swims which fortunately gave us good access to the end where the wind was blowing. The temperature was just 1 degree on arrival and as soon as you faced the wind it felt more like -5! No other idiots were on the lake as we deposited around forty balls of Fish Frenzy method mix laced with crushed and whole 10mm Nash Monster Squid Boilies into each swim at around 75 yards range. To be honest we had already agreed that a bite would be a result as well as enduring such cold conditions, yet come morning I was in a daze as a red-letter session had just come to a close which had yielded six double figured bream, the best weighing 12lb 8oz. Unfortunately for Chris he never got into the fish and we agreed that I had just been lucky on my swim choice and dropped my baits within a shoal. This also goes to show just how close an angler can be from success and failure!
With the bream falling at steady intervals throughout the night I didn’t get to much sleep so after writing up catch reports, packing away tackle along with organising the camera kit for a photo shoot with Nash consultant Nick Watkins on Wednesday I grabbed a few hours shut eye before the girlfriend arrived.
On the road early the car was pointed towards Southend-on-sea and two hours later I arrived at Mill Barn Fishery to meet up with fellow Peg-One Consultant Nick Watkins. Breaking the ice in the puddles as I made my way to the fishery did little to raise my hopes yet come 2pm Nick had eventually got the fish feeding and started to take a few carp just into double figures on the new Nash Bugs and Critters.
Thursday was all about getting images manipulated and forwarded to Paul Garner as well as organising the helicopter rigs for a guided session on Badshot Lea Big Pond with up and coming superstar Jake Curry. I was also testing out one of Shimano latest big pit reels on Monday for Anglers Mail so with this also needing writing up it’s all about keyboard angling today.
At last a guiding day that hasn’t had to be rescheduled due to the weather, yet it was still freezing in the wind and myself and Jake had to move because of it. Meeting at Badshot Lea Big Pond at 8am I was surprised to see just three other anglers on the lake. In the past at Easter the lake has been rammed, yet due to the weather most have stayed at home. With a brisk cold easterly blowing and cat ice in the margins it was always going to be tough, however using a proven rig, and clipping up and continually casting finally bought a response and come 3pm five modest bream had been landed.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

We all make mistakes - weekly report starting 17th March 2013

We all make mistakes!
Looking back at my diary exactly a year ago the daytime temperature reached 22 degrees, just 6 degrees overnight and a slight easterly blew. I was enjoying a session at Westhampnett and that evening I landed three good bream. As I look out the window today it’s all different, temperatures are struggling to get above freezing and snow covers the ground. Yesterday I had spent the day cleaning the tackle shed along with preparing my bream kit in the hope of my first overnight session of the year on Monday, the location Westhampnett, but will it happen, I have my doubts. If it doesn’t it will be a real shame as I was hoping to say farewell to a venue that has been so kind to me before commencing a sustained tench campaign. My ticket does allow me to fish the venue till the end of May, yet I wanted to put all my spare time into another venue; however it looks like I might just be also thinking of bream at the same time.
I think the most annoying thing that this terrible winter has bought is the endless hours spent organising tackle only to see the weather spoil the plan. Whether it be a guiding day or planed personal session I think I must have spent as much time getting my kit ready than actually on the bank. Sometimes I wish my life was more stereotyped, one species, one venue were the kit is always prepared it’s just a case of sorting bait and going. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, yet things should get easier over the next few months.
With cold heavy rain falling all day on Monday I did the sensible option and stayed at home compiling an article on preparing for a tench campaign. Due to the cold rain my planned roach day on Tuesday was put of till Wednesday and once again I got ahead of my self and wrote another article on targeting numerous species throughout one session.
Finally Wednesday arrived and although the weather was cold at least it was settled and I headed to a day ticket fishery in hope of roach. Arriving slightly later than hoped I found I had the lake to myself and settled in the same swim that had produced a two-pounder a couple of weeks ago. This time I had decided to try the float, yet come the end of the day just two net fish had fallen, a roach of 1lb 7oz and a trout, however the feeder had done the business, not in terms of numbers but quality as two roach had been netted, the best 2lb 6oz, the other 1lb 8oz. Unfortunately photographic evidence of the roach wasn’t possible as I found myself with a flat battery. As the heading says, we all make mistakes!
Knowing that the weather was once again going to change for the worse come the end of the week I almost decided to stay indoors yet after dropping the girlfriend of Thursday morning I stopped of at Badshot Lea Big Pond. This venue usually fishes really well in the spring for tench and bream, yet after two hours of non activity I was just about to move swim when the indicator danced then dropped to the ground. It was the start of a productive two hours in which nine good bream fell to the helicopter rig and groundbait feeder. Unfortunately the feeding spree was short lived and the shoal moved on yet 40lb of bream in five hours was far more than I had expected and proof that spring is just around the corner.
Having a delivery of bait and tackle from Nash I spent Friday cleaning tackle and preparing for the spring. I have to say that I can’t wait to get out and use my new Nash Entity rods, Siren alarms plus everything else needed to fish at the top of my game. My new sponsors Nash have listened to what I want to do over the next year and are backing me in every direction and I’m going to do everything in my power to pay them back, big time.
Its time to go and catch some big fish!

Friday, 15 March 2013

A weight of my shoulders - weekly report starting 10th March 2013

Having crammed in numerous sessions last week I was quite happy to have a weekend of and apart from writing up my weekly blog and preparing the pike kit for Monday, I did just that.
Last week I had to reschedule a barbel guiding day, however with the weather taking a turn for the worse had to rethink species come Monday. After discussing this with my customer we decided that it was worth trying for a pike to beat his present best of just over 16lb. Heading to a local Stillwater with a reputation of turning up a few big fish we really did question our sanity, as the temperature was barely above freezing and couple this with a gusty bone chilling easterly, the temperature felt more like -7! Positioning a couple of dead-baits close in we really didn’t expect much action, yet a couple of hours into the session I watched as the braid tightened on one of the rods. Tightening into the fish Mel momentarily felt the fish but unfortunately the hooks failed to penetrate and we were left thinking if it was one of the high twenties the venue holds. An hour later the same rod was away, yet disaster once again happened with the bait being dropped. To be honest two pick-ups on this venue is a result and is encouraging as it came from a new swim, one I may investigate further later in the week. Fours hours into the session we had had enough, the cold penetrating even the best of clothing so not wanting to waste the remainder of the day we headed of to the new waters that Farnham Angling Club have just purchased so Mel could have an early introduction to them.
Tuesday was equally chilling with Hampshire just missing the worst of the snow that covered Sussex. The day wasn’t wasted though as I did some research into finding a tench water to concentrate on through spring as well as ordering some new Nash kit and bait for the campaign.
An early night saw an early wake and I found myself on the banks of the Loddon for a rare and final chub session. I had a roach guiding session planned for the day yet due to the raw conditions thought it best to rescheduled this. It was still dark when I arrived and as expected I was the first on the river. Although I enjoyed the session I have to say, how predictable chub fishing is, as I caught from the three spots that I expected too with a few other swims producing not even the slightest of knocks. The remarkable thing though was I rarely catch more than one chub in a swim, yet after settling in my first swim and catching almost immediately I braved another cast. Amazingly a couple of bites soon came before another chub graced my net. Moving downstream two more chub were caught either side of a raft, swims that usually produced. Trying a few swims as I moved back to my original spot saw no more action, yet the first swim once again produced another two chub. The rewarding factor of the day was I was getting loads of steady pulls in the first swim when I revisited it, yet most were missed. Thinking about what was going on in the swim I made a couple of slight alterations and bingo, the bites were hit, a trick I won’t forget in the future. Six chub in a session on this stretch is what’s classified as a red-letter day, however the six-pounder I hoped for didn’t show and I had to settle with a couple of scrapper fives. I wanted to fish a swim upstream but a friend had arrived later, saw I was roving the swims downstream so settled upstream and using similar tactics to me, breadflake, had taken a 4lb brown trout and three chub to 5lb 3oz. Although I will still be guiding on this river, all my chub fishing will be done on a far bigger and demanding river, so it was nice to finish the river season, and say goodbye to the stretch on a high.
The last day of the season was once again cold, in fact every lake I passed on route was frozen and I was fully expecting my final fling at a big pike to be frozen out, yet I was surprised that the lake was ice free. Settling in the same swim as we did on Monday, using the same rigs and bait it took around two-hours before the alarm signalled a steady run. I have to say the adrenaline had started to pump yet this was short lived as the culprit was a jack. Knowing a big girl could be close by I stayed for a further three hours yet it wasn’t to be and with the sun bright and conditions far from perfect for fishing I decided to take my mum out.
Well that’s it, another river season ends and to be honest I’m glad it has. This winter has been so diverse that the constant swapping of tackle, venues and species has taken its toll and with many options removed, it feels like a weight has been lifted of my shoulders. Time to sort out the tackle, order some bait and start preparing for a serious spring campaign and get back into spending more than a few hours on the bank, I can’t wait, I just wish this awful weather would pass.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Facing my fears - Weekly report starting March 2nd

On Sunday I met up with Carl and Alex, the youngsters that appear in the Anglers Mail, who had contacted me to create a video for the Nash Peg One website. Travelling up from their Sussex home we met around 9am in my favourite swim on my local river Wey. The earlier frost was just beginning to disappear when they arrived and I was keen on trotting a float through the swim as I had been priming it with maggots for around an hour. A couple of sneaky trots earlier had, as expected revealed the fish were feeding, even though the river was low, clear and cold. The lakes had frozen the previous night such was the coldness and my target was a dozen fish in these conditions and come an hour and a half later two chub, one trout and eight quality dace were in the net and with the minnows hitting everything in sight and other anglers beginning to arrive we decided to move upstream. Every swim I fished produced fish, dace and small trout mainly, and come 1pm we had enough footage to produce the video. This also gave the two lads an hour to fish themselves and from the email received they both caught some quality dace plus a modest chub to Alex. I have since seen the video and was amazed not only with the speed they produced this but its quality. Obviously these guys know what they are doing with a video camera. Keep an eye out as I’m sure the video will be available to view soon.
Monday evening I had a customer that wanted to try and catch a big winter rudd. Anyone that’s been keeping up with my blog will know that I have been having a real head-banger of a winter targeting these with just a few to show for the countless hours that I have put in, yet having caught a few days before felt we had a chance. The weather has been slowly getting milder during daylight, however the temperature soon dropped at dusk and come 10pm just one chance was forthcoming which unfortunately failed to materialise. Although Mark went home fishless the amount of preparation and attention to detail he picked up throughout the session will certainly put him on the right track for the future, and as my policy states, if we return home fishless then a FOC return will be provided, yet I think this will be in the summer now!
Tuesday I was looking forward to a days piking on the Wye but reports are that the rivers fishing badly and as I was teaming up with angling friend Chris who had just blanked there over the whole weekend decided to head to the river Loddon instead. Arriving in the early hours to a ground frost Chris hadn’t even managed to get his second rod out before a run developed that produced a very long double. Thoughts were that we were in for plenty of action, yet come 5pm, and with the temperature now reaching 14 degrees, and after covering two dozen swims between us, just one small jack had shown, once again to Chris’s rod.
On Wednesday I had a customer booked in for a barbel feature finding session, yet due to a breakdown in communication this had to be re-arranged at the last minute leaving myself on the river bank with a few to myself. Trying something different I fished four swims over a five hour period, managing one modest chub which is a result on this stretch.
With the rain finally arriving and temperatures well mild I should be out on the bank, yet a freelance photojournalistic job sent from Anglers Mail needs producing so it’s of to Bedfordshire for the day. Hopefully I will be able to get on top of the job and free some time up on Friday, yet with everything looking spot on, what species will it be?
Everything went to plan, yet by the time I arrived home and manipulated the images it was around 6pm, so l decided to have an early night and set the alarm for 1am, yes 1am! The reason why is with the temperature so good and hopefully with some warm rain water in the river the barbel should be crawling up my rods. I also guessed that other anglers would be on the bank in the evening and felt I would try and fish when the banks were quieter. The stretch I headed for is difficult, a section where one bite is a result, yet on arrival found three bivies in the big fish spots, so much for it being quiet. Covering four swims between the hours of 2.30am and 7.30am produced just one slight rattle. This was my last chance of a massive Loddon barbel but unfortunately one of the big girls didn’t have my name on her. Home by 8.15am I grabbed a few hours sleep before writing up the Anglers Mail article. Although I didn’t catch I did face one of my fears full on. Many will recall a couple of years ago I fell in the Loddon during daylight and struggled to get out, and that was when I had far less clothes on, as it was in July. Since then I have always been apprehensive at roving around a river bank during the dark, yet I have to say I really enjoyed the session and glad that I made the effort.
Having everything set up for rudd fishing and plenty of maggots in the fridge I grabbed the gear and headed to Frensham. Dropping in a new swim I managed to spod some bait out albeit dark, drop the rigs over the top and sit back for a few hours before having to pick the girlfriend up at 11am. Not expecting much I was surprised when one of the bobbins sprung into life. Picking up the rod I instantly new the culprit was a rudd and half way in the other rod signalled a bite. Somehow I managed to net both fish which turned out to be my target species weighing 2lb 1oz and 1lb 15oz. Two more smaller rudd fell before it was time to leave, yet at least Frensham said goodbye for another three months in a nice way.
Last week I mentioned a gadget called the Ball Maker, well I have taken a picture so you can see exactly what it creates. It’s not in the shops yet but is expected to arrive within the next couple of weeks. I suggest you place your order now as they are going to be in big demand when they arrive.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The right bite! Weekly report starting Feb 23rd 2013

After a busy week I really could have done with a weekend off, yet my newly appointed position with Nash Fish Frenzy and Peg One brings with it fishing shows and with The Big One being held at Farnborough Airfield over the weekend saw me attending this. Saturday was busy and I thought it would be best to get to know a few of the consultants which included Nick Watkins, Dave Green, Lewis Baldwin, Stuart Jupp, Alan Storey and of course my good friend Paul Garner, all of which welcomed me aboard with a very warm welcome. Leaving the show I must say that I felt a bit guilty as all day Alan was making bait balls with the new ball-maker so I asked if on the Sunday I could get my hands dirty and demonstrate this new exciting gismo. The Ball Maker makes perfectly formed balls of sticky pellets and groundbait in a matter of seconds and the interest around the stand was incredible. The Ball maker comes in two sizes, 20mm and 40mm, cost £7.99 and £9.99 and will be available in shops within the next few weeks. I have always said the simplest things are best, yet often overlooked and without a doubt this item of kit will simply revolutionise many anglers fishing.
Id purposely left the start of the week free as after not being in the office for nearly a week knew that I would have loads of things to catch up with. The weather was still painfully cold, yet with a slight increase as the week progresses this seemed a wise decision, yet a quick look at the barometer Tuesday night showed a dismal 1032mb and thoughts of an easy day on Wednesday were forgotten.
Wednesday dawned in a similar pattern, white cloud, an easterly wind and cold, yet if there is one species that does feed in these conditions, then its roach. For the day I had teamed up with one of my regular customers who dearly wanted to beat an old personal best roach of 1lb 8oz. I had recently visited a new commercial in the hope of a big perch and accidentally caught some quality roach to well over the pound and with the owners telling me that the lake held numbers of two’s thought this would be the perfect venue. Alan decided to fish the float of the rod tip using a small pole float and maggot as bait whilst I took the more specialist approach of helicopter rigs cast into open water. An hour in and things weren’t looking good as neither of us has seen a fish, yet get a bite, however finally one of my alarms sounded, only to see me fumble the pick up and not make contact. I was gutted as the bite had a good fish written all over it, yet more bites followed to both tactics and come the end of play Alan had taken four quality roach on the float, including a new personal best of 1lb 12oz with me taking three, the best weighing 2lb 8drams. Although far from easy, this is the sort of venue I like and with a future visit planned and the days warming up I’m hoping of even better results.
Having put so much effort in to trickling some bait on a little and often basis on a local water over the last few months with little to show, most would have given up, however obviously I’m a gutter for punishment as I grabbed the night gear in the hope of a red-letter session. Unfortunately come 10pm I was on my way home as Id received just one bite, yet this came from a 2lb 5oz rudd so I did have a big grin on my face. If a few more bites were forth coming I would have stayed on but with the atmospherics still ridiculously high I can only imagine I landed my feeder on the rudds nose!
The week was rounded of with a trip to Old Bury Hill in the hope of a big zander, yet I should have known better as experience has told me that certain weather factors don’t favour this species. Arriving at 4pm and teaming up with my good friend Mark we sat it out till 9pm for just one small zander.