Monday, 29 April 2013

3.5oz of breaking a British Record! Weekly report starting April 20th 2013.

 Last weekend I helped a customer with tactics in approaching a new venue for tench. The venue is big, around 30 acres and unfortunately the tench were reluctant to feed so we decided to head back the following week, yet when Saturday dawned the first thing I had to do was scrap the ice of the cars windscreen. The wind had also tuned a gain to a chilly easterly and although the skies were blue and the sun shone I was still happy that I was wearing thermals. We fished from 7am to 1pm and apart from an aborted take the highlight of the morning was listening to the first Cuckoo of the year. I’m sure Steve will get to grips with the lake once it warms up, yet as they say if the fish aren’t feeding, you’re not going to catch them.
Monday was spent in the company of another Nash Peg One consultant and although meeting late in the morning and fishing till around 3.30pm he still managed to put together a great bag of bream, hybrids, tench and perch using helicopter rigs, maggot and the Nash Ballmaker.
Tuesday was an early one and this time I headed south in the early hours to a favourite day ticket water, Mill Farm Fishery in West Sussex with the hope of catching a monster silver bream. Arriving at 7am I headed for the Specimen Lake and hoped for a swim that I had never fished before. It was as if I had a sixth sense. Starting on maggot proved a non-starter so a switch to hair-rigged 6mm Pineapple Squidgee bought a instant response from a dozen or more carp to 21lb 10oz plus a few silvers around 10oz. Playing the numbers game and continuing to cast every ten minutes with a cage feeder filled with 2mm Scopex Sticky Pellets to build a swim finally bought a bigger silver weighing 1lb 7oz, however from then on they slowly got bigger. The carp had risen to the surface giving time for the bream to find the bait and what followed has to be what’s classified as a red letter day as silvers of 1lb 14oz, 1lb 15oz, 2lb, 2lb 10z, 2lb 2oz, 2lb 6oz, 2lb 9oz and a massive one of 3lb 1oz 8drams followed. I even let my girlfriend’s father use my rods for half an hour and he had silvers of 2lb 2oz and 2lb 9oz plus a 4lb tench! What I could have achieved if I had stayed till closing time is mind blowing yet due to a pressing engagement I had to reluctantly leave at 4pm.
In the office on Wednesday I completed part 2 of ‘Approaching a new water for tench’ for CAT as well as a ‘First Trial’ on an expensive Shimano reel for Anglers Mail before getting the tench gear ready. Arriving later than normal I managed to secure the same swim and deposited a kilo of hemp plus some dead maggot, small pellets and crushed and whole boilies to the gulley in front at around 50 yards as well as in close. With all rods positioned, now fishing Monster Squid boilies in one form or another, I settled down to await events. The Tufftie Ducks are well on our bait but they seem to leave the boilies alone so I’m quite happy for them to be cleaning of the spot. A couple of times they came up quicker than normal, obviously spooked by fish and a good fish rolling gave me confidence that the baiting has started to work. Just into darkness the middle rod flies off, obviously not a bream this time, but the expected tench turns into an immaculate stockie but at least it’s a bite. Nothing happens in the night, yet at first light a repeat performance sees another carp landed as well as a big aborted drop back a few minutes later. I stayed a couple of hours into daylight as it was really misty but nothing happened.
Back home I was really in two or should I say three minds what to do. Should I head back to the big southern gravel pit and have another go at the bream, maybe I should return to the tench lake, yet this hasn’t woken up yet or should I head back down to Mill Farm Fishery knowing jolly well that there was a very good chance of a British Record silver bream. In the end I decided to get on top of the paperwork, have an early night and set of before dawn in hope of a big silver. This freed up some time on Thursday and the standard nine holes of golf was fitted in with my mum as well as completing yet another article, this time for Nash.
The alarm sounded at 4.30am on Friday and come 6am I was pushing the trolley to the same swim as fished earlier in the week. The weather was completely different with rain in the air and a chilly north easterly blowing. I did doubt my position come six hours later, not for fish in general, as loads of carp, tench and silvers up to a pound were regularly falling. In fact I reckon l must have landed sixty or more fish before a big silver showed. Out of the blue and completely unexpected one of 3lb 8drams appeared and as I was organising the camera kit another comes along, this time 2lb 9oz. Half an hour later another graces the landing net, this time exactly 3lb yet after working the swim for more than nine hours and with an hour of inactivity I decide to call it a day totally knackered.   

Sunday, 21 April 2013

300lb of carp & tench in a day! - Weekly report starting 13th April 2013

With the rain clouds building on Saturday morning and not wanting to get wet again I quickly packed the tackle up at 8am after a blank. It was the first tench session of the year, on a new lake, yet with plenty learnt and tactics having to be rethought I returned home happy. The weather stayed dry for a few hours and I managed to dry things off before sorting the kit out once again for a technical session on another tench venue for a customer on Sunday.
The weather was far better come Sunday and with the temperature constant over the last few days felt confident of some action. After a quick walk around we found out that a few tench were beginning to show to the carp anglers and finally settled in a swim favoured by tench anglers. After a few minutes explaining the art of feature finding and spodding some bait out we cast out a couple of rods on my favoured Helicopter set up with maggot on the hook. Casting every hour as well as placing another rod in the margins the tench were obviously still yet to wake up as we tried everything to gain a bite, yet come 5pm we decided to call it a day and return in a week’s time for revenge.
Having spent so many hours on the bank last week, Monday had to be spent catching up on paper work and that’s exactly what the day was spent doing.
It was another early morning come Tuesday as a guiding session had been planned for perch months ago. My customer arrived at my house at 6am and we headed to a local three lake commercial. Come lunchtime though all that had been caught between us was wild carp and quality roach, plus one tiny perch that at least told us they were still in the venue. Our thoughts were that we were too late and the perch had other things on their minds so we made a move to the complex’s specimen lake, again hoping for a big perch. It wasn’t long before Alan was bent into his first carp and that set the scene for the rest of the day as between us we must have netted another twenty carp ranging from 9lb – 16lb. Brilliant fun but it was the loss of a very big common that hung on my mind, a fish that finally shed the hook after a 45minute battle! A few good tench also showed to prove that the water is warming up and by 7pm we were both knackered after catching what had to be getting on for 300lb of fish.
Back at home it was a rush to get the camera kit sorted as the following day I was heading to the Tring Complex to complete a feature for Nash Peg One. It was another windy day yet come 2pm we had the feature sown up and I managed to get back home before the rush hour.
I was torn in two minds on Thursday whether to target bream or tench overnight yet having bought a ticket on a new lake with tench in mind and working with another angler to suss the venue out I did the right thing and targeted tench. With three rods, all fishing boilies in one way or another I settled back to see what was in stall for me and come the morning I had my first proper bite, yet it didn’t have red eyes and green sides and although the right size was unfortunately a bream weighing 9lb 2oz. Knowing that the venue holds very few bream, I have to take a positive away from the session that if we can catch bream, then the tench will follow.
Friday was spent tidying and drying the kit, sorting it out for another tench session early Saturday morning with a customer before preparing some items of interest and heading to Isleworth for a live appearance on Tight Lines.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Wet, wet, wet! Weekly report starting April 6th 2013.

At long last it seems the weathers on the change, yet we still had two hard frosts over the weekend.
Monday morning I headed to a venue that I have never really got on with, Lodge Pond with the view of producing an Anglers Mail Action Replay feature based on the new Nash Ballmaker. Let’s just say it was a success with around 45lb of quality bream finding the bottom of my landing net in just a few hours. Keep an eye out for the feature; it will be in Anglers Mail very soon.
Tuesday dawned wet but with a Tight Lines film crew booked I had to get the wet weather gear on and head of in the hope of an early season tench. Heading for Bagshot Lea Big Pond I dropped into a favourite swim and soon after casting out a helicopter rig baited with double maggot received a bite. I was expecting the flood gates to open as conditions were far milder than of late, yet something wasn’t right as over the next six hours or so I struggled for just three more bream. The programme can be seen this Friday, the 19th on Sky Sports 3 at 7pm where I will also be a guest.
Wednesday I spent the morning drying clothes, cleaning and preparing the bream tackle for an overnight session. The forecast was for rain again, coming in at 5pm and fading away come 1am. Heading south earlier than normal I found myself rushing to get everything sorted as the rain had arrived an hour earlier than expected. The rain was relentless and as darkness fell the wind increased. It was one of those evenings you question your sanity. At 1am an alarm finally sounded and with the wind easing I hoped that this was the start of things to come yet it was my only bite of the night. The rain did finally stop at 4am and come 7am I was packing up, wet once again but with a 10lb 9oz bream to show for my efforts.
Thursday morning was repeat performance of Wednesday, drying, cleaning and preparing kit for another overnighter, yet the target species tonight was to be catfish. Young Jake was joining me, however apart from one aborted take just into darkness the night passed uneventfully, well apart from my oval taking off and myself getting wet again as the heavens decided to open at 1am.
Friday morning was once again spent drying of and getting the tackle ready for yet another overnighter, this time the target species was tench and it was my first session of a new campaign. Arriving at 5pm with my fishing partner Chris we spent a couple of hours baiting and setting up, yet it was to be another quite night with just the odd liner occurring. We had said before leaving that a bite, let alone a tench would be a result as this session was all about getting to know how the venue ticks and refining tactics. Let’s just say we learned loads and the maggot approach has had to be abandoned as the lake is crawling with small rudd.
As you can see its been a hectic week, with loads of effort and time spent bankside, yet results have been poor, the reason is that the water temperature is still cold, however with temperatures rising I think everything will be kicking off very soon.      

Friday, 5 April 2013

Weekly report starting 30th March 2013

Most anglers look forward to bank holidays yet I rarely fish on weekends or bank holidays as these are spent with the girlfriend, so for me it throws my whole week into disarray. I did spend a few hours over the four day weekend preparing my tench tackle for a campaign soon to commence yet even this preparation has been slow in completing due to the weather conditions and the start of this, at least a week, if nor more away from getting underway. One of the main jobs though was to load reels up with new line. Choice of line hasn’t been a problem, yet reels have been as although I have plenty, most are from my previous sponsor, reels that I have to say don’t really hit the mark when it comes to reliability. I was going to give them one last chance, yet whilst loading up balls of groundbait into a Gardner Sling-shot whilst bream fishing on Tuesday the backwind switch went, a problem that has raised its ugly head on numerous occasions. Back at home their was only one place for it and all the others, in the dustbin! Luckily I have a number of Shimano reels and although these are old, probably fifteen years or more, after a good clean up and greasing I had them working like new. My advice to everyone buying reels is to stay with manufacturers that have been making reels for years; Shimano and Diawa are two of the best. Buy a cheap reel from a lesser known manufacturer and the chances are you are going to have problems far sooner than one of the two I have mentioned. Shimano do small baitrunners for around £50 the same as the ones I have just binned, yet from the Shimano you will get years of service, the other a year at best! Let’s look at it this way. My local tackle shop, Yateley Angling Centre only stock Shimano, why, because they rarely get anglers bringing these back to the shop with a fault. Enough said!
After such a fantastic bream session last week I was eager to return on Tuesday. The weather was similar apart from the wind which was stronger and had some north in it. Luckily the same swim was free and with rods all clipped up all that needed doing was get some bait out and dropping the rigs over the top. Let’s just say last week was a one of as come first light I hadn’t received even a single bleep. That’s fishing!
Although I packed up at first light on Wednesday, it was almost midday when I arrived home as I had a few people to see on my way home. By the time I had cleaned the tackle and organised it for another overnighter as well as sorting out some float fishing kit for Thursday morning, the day had passed.
Thursday morning dawned raw and I suspected that the two keen young anglers that I had planned to look after for the morning would have cancelled, yet as eager as ever they were waiting at the gate come the 7.30am start. With the wind reaching almost gale force and snow flakes in the air we headed for relatively unknown day ticket water called Riverside Farm located in Hollywater, Hants. Its one of those waters where even on the coldest day you will get bites, usually from quality roach and today was as expected, a bite a chuck. Fortunately Granddad was on hand to keep the boys interested up and help with the tangles and come 1pm, although cold, we had taken a mix catch of roach, rudd, perch, gudgeon and carp.
I had planned to head back for another overnight bream session but with the north east wind getting stronger, snow falling and temperatures just above freezing; decided that sensibility was called for.
Fridays all about catching up on some paper work such as submitting ‘Where to Fish’ images for Anglers Mail, preparing kit for an ‘Action Replay’ on Monday, ordering some items of Nash kit needed, creating some leaflets to promote the barbel trips to the river Wye as well as my book, sorting some dates out to do talks and slideshows as well as sorting a few areas of my website that need looking at, so its going to be a busy one. Come 6pm I’m going to pick up my mate Chris and go and spend a few hours feature finding on the tench lake so we have a starting point for next weeks first session.