Saturday, 31 August 2013

Another step-back - Weekly report starting Saturday August 24th 2013

After such a manic week I was glad for once to see a bank holiday on the horizon. The whole weekend was spent relaxing and recharging the batteries as well as the usual jobs such as weekly reports, tidying tackle as well as completing Part 4 of ‘Targeting a new Tench Lake’ for Coarse Angling Today’. Sitting in the garden I felt a sting on my knee and looked down to see a black and white ladybird biting me, a bite that was to flare up over the next few days. Beware red and black one are fine but other coloured ones bite! The only drawback was that this holiday would cut right into my own personal fishing yet getting on top of things was far more important and I finally managed to get out late Tuesday afternoon. Arriving at, or should I say, almost arriving at our chosen carp swim at 7pm we were confronted with a situation that prevented us from getting to the river, joy! What with the tench lake closing earlier in the year and now, no way of getting to our carp swim to continue our campaign, we almost laughed, some things are just not meant to be.
Heading downstream we finally settled at another area close to a yacht club and after baiting up watched as the bobbins started to dance, joy, bream are around. After six five pounders I changed my preferred snowman rigs for 20mm baits which as usual quietened things down, yet come 1.30am I was thinking whether these bigger baits were actually being ignored by not just the bream but any carp that might be around. Out went the 15/10mm snowman rigs and within minutes in came two more bream. The bigger baits went out once again and come 5.30am when we made a quick getaway carpless once more and having to rethink what direction our fishing for the rest of the year would be taking.
Back at home and after a couple of hour’s kip I was once again out, this time meeting one of my regulars Ron at Godalmings Broadwater Lake. Unfortunately the lake fished badly and after the six hour session we ended up with just five carp into double figures. I always try to find a reason why the fishing is bad and on today I blamed the variable wind that just couldn’t make its mind up.
Thursday was all about preparing for the final Farnham Angling Societies Barbel Teach-in and as usual we saw two no shows which is really disappointing, however it did give the four eager anglers the opportunity to move around. Paul, new to river fishing was first of the mark with a chub which was unfortunate as he was in the banker barbel swim and on this occasion was rudely interrupted. Dean headed of upstream and landed a small barbel while Barry and Brian moved around trying out my tactic without any joy. Once again thanks guys, it was a pleasure to meet you and keep me informed on how things go.
Friday I was fortunate to get a lay-in as my customer for the day wanted me to introduce him to a very difficult stretch of the river Loddon, brave man. Meeting at 10am in bright sunshine we headed of upstream with me revealing past and present barbel swims along the way whilst watching red kites fly over top. Brian had in fact fished the section on seven previous occasions without any joy and was in need of a helping hand as he dearly wanted to catch his first barbel away from the more commercial sections and wasn’t put of by the rock-hard nature of this stretch. We finally dropped into a swim towards the top of the section and after going through bait, tackle and some watercraft on the swim swung the rig into position. Amazingly after just a couple of minutes a couple of tiny taps were noticed then ten minutes later the rod pulled round in true barbel fashion and after an explosive fight I slid the net under Brian’s first barbel. After this we roved the river trying another ten swims, some showing signs of fish, one even producing a good bite, yet after being in contact for a few seconds the hook pulled. It wasn’t a barbel, probably more likely a chub or bream and come darkness we were back in the car park, drained but well happy with our results. Good luck Brian, go get ‘em’.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Pellet/Groundbait Lead - Part 1 - Coarse Angling Today

Duncan Charman – The Thinking Angler.

When PVA, Method Feeders and boilies first came into the angling world, anglers including myself grabbed the idea and used them to great effect, yet moving on a few years, how many of us have actually looked at these products in depth and realised that they may well, now be costing us not only fish but also a small fortune. I for one have and if you were to take a look in my Rucksack, whether my target species was carp, barbel, bream, even crucian carp, well you wouldn’t find any, as I have thought long and hard over all these items and taken steps to almost eradicate these from my armoury.
Don’t get me wrong, I still use PVA but only when I have too. Two areas that I have found this product useful is firstly when targeting chub in the depth of winter using cheese paste. I still watch as anglers walk down to each swim, roll some pieces in their hands and throw them in with little consideration to the depth of the swim and how fast the flow is. Having no control of where these free offerings land they may well be having an adverse effect on their fishing as if these pieces get caught up in the current and taken further down stream than they hope, then the fish may well follow. Pinpointing where my free offerings of cheese paste are is hugely important to my confidence levels and the way I get these next to my hookbait is to place a couple of bits on PVA string or tape which is then attached, not to my hook, but to whatever weight system I’m using. The reason I attach the cheese paste to the lead is I want these, if possible to be above my hookbait, so when a chub senses these and starts to look for them, mine is the first it finds.
I did experiment whilst barbel fishing a very difficult stretch of the Loddon last year for barbel, one that I wrote about in CAT titled ‘Alternative Barbel Fishing’, yet apart from that brief experiment, that was relatively successful, I can honestly say I haven’t used PVA for barbel for around eight years.
Method feeders are another item of kit that makes angling relatively easy, yet I have a problem knowing that when my mix breaks down, I’m left with a veined structure that seems very obvious to the fish. How do I get around this, easy, I simply prepare my groundbait well in advance so I can mould it around a gripper style lead, one that is coated and far less conspicuous to the fish in my swim. Whether this makes any difference is for you to gauge, yet if it creates confidence in myself and the way I fish, well I’m half way there. The complex area that surrounds this style of fishing is the mix I create for each situation. Obviously a fine sieved mix won’t withstand an eighty yard cast, but then I can’t see the use of such a mix at this distance. If I’m casting eighty yards then I will probably be fishing for bream, so a method type mix, such as Nash Talapia Method Mix pressed around a two and a half ounce lead is needed. Similarly if I were targeting crucian carp in the margins, I would be using a finely sieved groundbait, a very effective one I’m using at the moment is Old Ghost Green Alga.
It’s also worth trying to get a knowledge of each species, especially how and when they feed. Bream are shoal fish, so when one enters you’re swim, you can bet it isn’t alone. Creating a big bed of bait, well in advance of their usual feeding time, dusk, is needed and loading the method mix heavily with loads of particles like corn and pellets will only prolong the feeding spell. Crucian carp are also shoal fish and again the best feeding spell is dusk and a few hours into darkness, yet the last thing I would do is load the finely sieved groundbait with numerous varied particles. The reason being crucian carp are far more intelligent than bream and if you load the groundbait with 6mm pellets then they will readily accept these, yet avoid yours at all cost, the reason being, yours has a hook attached to it and this makes the bait act completely different to those around it. How does an angler solve the problem and outwit the crafty crucian, simple, the only large item of bait within the cloud of attractive fishmeal is you’re pellet or piece of corn. How does the angler keep the crucians coming, simple, keep casting at regular intervals. How do you cast a lead containing very fine groundbait around, simple you don’t. All you do is hold the baited lead next to the reel and swing it out, slowly building the swim just like a match angler.
Another species that attract the over use of PVA and boilies are carp. If anglers were to stop rushing, use their eyes, find the fish then place an effective hooking system over an accurate bed of bait, then their results would go through the roof. Again, I can’t say I don’t use boilies, I do, but very occasionally as in most cases I’m matching my hookbait to the feed around it. Once again, and as it is with barbel, the most commonly and the highest quantity of loose feed that’s introduced into a standard, well stocked, club lake is pellets, so why use a boilie? The carp home in on the pellet and in some cases will ignore a boilie as it’s different to the loose feed, so why are more anglers not matching their hookbait with the feed they are introducing? The reason is that a boilie will last far longer and can be left in the lake all night, occasionally being picked up when a carp makes a mistake, however on lakes such as Godalmings Broadwater, I’d bet that the pellet in a PVA bags has disappeared within fifteen minutes, if not sooner.
Let’s look at a prime example that happened to me on Broadwater. I was fishing with a friend who was happy to do the same as most, cast out a PVA bag, however unlike those using boilies; he had actually matched his hookbait to his loose feed. Fishing next to him I had already decided before arriving to cast every fifteen minutes. First job was to look around and find the fish, which aren’t always along the rugby bank and prime the swim! Locating plenty of carp of the road bank, an area most avoid, I simply compressed some Nash 6mm Sticky Method Pellets around the inline 1.1oz lead and made six casts to a distance that felt comfortable to me. Each cast saw the lead and feed fall exactly in the same spot as I had clipped the line in the reels line clip as well as marking the line using a length of ESP Marker Gum which was tied on in the form of a stop-knot. Each time the lead hit the surface I struck the feed off which created a tight feeding zone. After six casts I simply attached a short eight-inch hooklink made from Nash ‘The Missing-Link’ to a Korum Quick-Change-Bead which held a size 12 barbless hook tied knotless knot style and on the hair I added a small punched piece of Old Ghost Bloodworm Hookbait Sausage along with a tiny piece of artificial buoyant corn. This was repeated on my other rod. It took around thirty minutes and soon after a recast for one of my rods to rip off resulting in a 12lb common. Looking out into the swim I could see some bubbling over the baited area and as soon as the lead covered in pellets hit the water carp could be seen swirling around. Slowly the swim came alive with runs coming at regular intervals and after I had caught thirteen carp with my friend failing to get on the score sheet, he decided to swap tactics. By the end of the six hour session and after exhausting my two-kilo bait allowance I had taken around two dozen carp to 15lb with my friend matching me fish for fish once he had activated his swim, however with the biggest fish weighing 18lb 2oz I think he went home more satisfied!
So there you have it, some serious points to look at, bring into you’re fishing which will not only save you loads of money, but also catch you lots more fish. The points I have touched on are using the ‘Pellet-Lead’ for carp and barbel as well as the ‘Groundbait-Lead’ for long distance bream fishing and close in crucian fishing. Keep an eye open for parts 2 and 3 of this mini series, coming soon!

If you would like to witness such a devastating method first hand and try it out for yourself then why not book me for a days guiding? Simply call me on 07928 617006 or email me duncancharman@me .com

*Please note, since this article was published within CAT certain products have been altered due to a change in sponsors and the session with my dad has been swapped to one more recently with a friend.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Anglers Mail - First Trial Shimano Big Baitrunner C14 XTR-A LC

The skies the limit!
Well aware that I was awaiting a parcel containing the latest Shimano Big Baitrunner, I was somewhat shocked when the parcel arrived, why, it just wasn’t heavy enough. At first I thought that someone at Anglers Mail Head Office had taken the reel out of the box for a sneaky look and forgot to place it back, but I was wrong. Weighing just 640(g)/22.6(oz) I instantly knew that this was the first big pit reel that had ever felt comfortable in my hands, as although big, its weight balanced its size perfectly and the reason for its lightness is due to the C14 construction which massively reduces weight.
Eager to put the reel through its first proper test and with an overnight session planned the following day at Westhampnett I loaded the reel with Nash 12lb Hardcore, rigged my Entity 2.75lb T/C rod up with a 2.5oz inline lead, short braided hooklink and headed south. With the easterly wind dropping temperatures to -5 overnight my first thought was would the oil in the reel freeze, something that often happens with cheaper reels, however I shouldn’t have worried. Having chosen my swim, I was faced with a strong side wind as fishing into the teeth of it wasn’t a consideration. Depositing fifty balls of groundbait at range into the main body of the lake, via a sling-shot, I marked the lines on all rods and clipped up. Moulding a good helping of method mix around the lead, increasing the weight to around 5oz, I compressed the rod and let rip, however I soon realised that I was struggling with my standard reels, yet when I bent into the rod with the Shimano reel attached the line clip was easily hit, straightening the line perfectly in the cross wind. I was fishing at what I thought was my limits, but for the first time ever, knew that my limit had been completely controlled by the reels I had been using. To be honest I wasn’t expecting anything but come morning six double figured bream had graced my net, five to the Entity and Shimano combination! The reason I struggled on the other rod was due to dropping short every time. How I wish they had sent me a pair! It was also during the night that I noticed the blue and silver flashes that are impregnated within the stylish black body, something that’s not noticeable straight away.
I wanted to see just how far l could cast so decided to head to my local football pitch. Trying to get a realistic distance I kept the 12lb line as used in the earlier session, just attached a four ounce lead and compressed the rod. Before revealing the distance I have to say that I have never seen line lay on a reel in such an immaculate fashion, it was simply perfect. Not being the biggest and strongest of guy I have always felt that 100 yards was my limit but with the Shimano C14+ XTR-A LC, I constantly hit 130yards, sometimes further. If a professional long distant caster rigged up correctly with a shock leader and more powerful rod then, to be honest, the skies the limit!
Back at home I decided to check out the specifications of the reel and impressive is an understatement! Gear ratio 4.6:1, line capacity 12lb line 600yards, Unsurpassed X-ship technology for an ultra smooth feel and enormous cranking power, 6 shielded A-RB and 1 roller bearing create a super smooth retrieve, Aero Wrap 11 combined with Slow Speed oscillation for perfect line lay, AR-C spool for increased casting performance, one piece bail to eliminate line wrap, instant drag spool for instant fish playing control, an amazing 32 lines of lay per oscillation, spare spool and free line plus a reliable line clip. I could go on but I haven’t got the space!
The last test was to get a take from a carp that took line initially of the baitrunner then the clutch and a local day ticket venue produced my first twenty of the season. My only concern is the amount of turns it takes to adjust the clutch through its settings. When tightened right down it takes at least three complete rotations to get the clutch slipping, then a further two to loosen right of.

As close to perfection as you are going to get when distance is an issue, yet said that, it still feels superbly balanced in all angling situations even when distance isn’t an issue. Brilliant engineering comes at a cost, yet if looked after, this reel with give you years, if not a lifetime of reliable service.
RRP PRICE. £349.99
VERDICT. 9.5/10

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Winge of the Week - How many turns?

This problem seems to be common throughout many products from the amount of turns needed to tighten up the locking screw of an oval umbrella right through to removing the handle from a reel, yet the most noticeable is the amount of turns needed to simply remove the spool from a reel. I just cannot see the reason why it takes twenty-four complete rotations to remove a reel handle, twenty to remove a spool and a dozen to tighten down an oval, surely six is enough!

Product of the Week - Nash Fish Frenzy Sticky Method Pellets 900grm £3.99

Many of my customers will know just how effective ‘The pellet-lead’ is, not just for barbel but on commercial carp runs waters such as Godalming Angling Societies Broadwater, yet many have difficulties scolding normal pellets into the right consistency to mould around the lead. Fear not as if you want a simple and effective solution then you need to get your hands on some Nash Fish Frenzy Sticky Method Pellets. No more adding water on a little and often basis hours before leaving home as these pellets allow river/lake water to be added on arrival and after just minutes are ready to use. Available in three sizes, 2mm, 3mm and 6mm as well as three flavours, Natural, Monster Crab and Shellfish and my favourite Scopex Squid.  

Draining but Rewarding - Weekly Report Starting Saturday 17th August 2013

Saturday dawned and I realised it was my five year anniversary with girlfriend Denise so a quick visit to Tesco did the trick, well almost! I tried to find a card, however they were all titled, to our friends, on your, to my wife etc, no cards titled to my girlfriend so instead of this I had to go overboard on other gifts. Champagne - half price, flowers – buy one get one free and a meal for £10 which included a bottle of red, for me, set the scene yet after cooking and drinking I fell to sleep early, so all in all it was almost an anniversary to remember! Love you darling…
Sunday I headed to Wotton House on the outskirts of Dorking as I was the photographer for a friend who was tying the knot. Arriving at 10.30am and leaving some twelve hours later took the stuffing out of me, yet come 8am Monday I was on the bank of Badshot Lea Small Pond looking after a couple of youngsters, Luna and Nico. It was a rescheduled FAS junior teach-in yet the Helicopter rig that I wanted to show them just doesn’t work as well as the year progresses so a change of venue to Badshot Lea Small Pond saw them perfecting the art of using ‘The Pellet-Lead’. It was a shame that they were slightly late as just before they arrived I landed a common of 17lb 5oz which would have made their day. Whilst setting up another enthusiastic young angler, Ross showed an interest and joined in and come mid afternoon we had all caught a few carp and bream, making it a very rewarding day for all parties. I would have loved to have given them more time but I had a prior engagement that evening with the river that had given myself and Chris big barbel the previous week. Arriving late and after a long walk I found another angler fishing the swim l wanted so had to head downstream and target the carp, yet during the night and after no indications, up sticks and moved. All in all a lot of effort but I just felt a few hours in the right spot is better than a whole night in the wrong spot. Unfortunately my efforts went unnoticed as did Chris’s yet we both know that we are fishing a very difficult area, one that doesn’t give up their inhabitants easily. At least the carp and barbel areas were primed ready for another attempt shortly and come 6am we were both on the road to work.
After a few hours kip I met up with my good friend Jake Curry who I hadn’t seen for a while as he’s been busy studying for exams as well as having a working holiday in the Bahamas, luck boy! Today we were going to try our luck at floater fishing and with temperatures rising to 26 degrees and with no wind we instantly knew that we had made a wise decision, especially when a cruising carp slurped in a few floaters in front of the car park on the big pond. Heading round to the small pond we took a stroll around the lake, found most of the carp in front of a few swims and proceeded to feed them up before casting in. Five hours later we were heading home with twenty-one carp to our names, the biggest 14lb 5oz.
An early night Tuesday saw the alarm waking me at 5.30am and after a forty-five minute drive found myself meeting up with good friend Alan Clancey on the banks of a new stretch of the river Loddon as his guest. Alan put me in a known barbel hotspot, yet apart from a couple of chub bites that were missed the barbel failed to show and come 3.30am I was on my way to pick the girlfriend up from work. Alan moved into the swim after I left yet I haven’t heard from him so assume on such a bright day the barbel just didn’t want to play. It was a great day, albeit in conditions that weren’t conducive to catching and great to fish a new stretch of the river and I’m looking forward to another go later in the year when conditions are better and when I can fish all day.
After dropping the girlfriend of Thursday morning I headed to Stanford End for a day guiding a new customer. Fortunately we had arranged to meet later than normal which was good as it had been raining hard all night and as we meet the rained eased. It seemed most other anglers planning to fish the river that day were fair weather anglers as surprisingly the car park was empty. Heading for a known swim it took Steve around twenty minutes to receive a three-foot twitch from a barbel weighing, maybe six-pound, but it was a start. Soon after catching other anglers started to arrive and apart from one missed chub bite we were forced to move downstream. Just one other angler allowed us to move around, yet a couple of very productive swims, ones that I usually keep to myself failed to produce, however dropping his bait in a likely looking spot soon bought another bite, yet seconds after making contact, what was almost certainly a chub saw the hook pulling. Chancing a second cast saw another bite yet a repeat performance occurred and although we kidded ourselves it was another chub we both knew it wasn’t dam! Moving downstream we started to see other anglers set up and apart from a couple of small plucks that ere missed another barbel failed to show and with the light fading it was time to call it a day. I was hoping for a relatively early night yet it wasn’t to be as I had to get the tackle ready for another days guiding on Friday, this time at Broadwater.
Meeting Chris at 7am and taking a quick look at the lake gave us very little to go at regarding locating the carp, so I decided to set up along the road bank, an area that is rarely fished but almost always produces for me. Two hours later and with just one common to show for our efforts it was time to move, this time to the more favoured rugby bank, peg 12 in fact. Literally after priming the swim it took no more than thirty seconds for the alarm to scream. Come three hours later and with around a dozen more carp to 13lb being landed Chris left having learnt a very important lesson, don’t be afraid to move! It was more of a learning day of casting repeatedly and accurately, scaling down not just terminal tackle but also bait size and matching this to the feed. By the time Chris left he was catching far more than any other angler on the lake, had perfected the art of casting accurately and learnt some vital lessons in how to get the best from a venue, lessons and tips he can take forward to other venues and reap the rewards.
All in all a very busy, rewarding but draining week, yet with a long weekend planned I’m looking forward to being able to put my feet up for a few hours.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Big Barbel week - Weekly report starting Sat August 10th 2013

Saturday I checked out a new area of the Thames that one of the Nash anglers had mentioned during the Roadshow at Broadlands. The area is known for its barbel, yet last week I heard of a 7lb 5oz chub being caught and this week a 30lb carp so it looks like it holds everything we are looking for and with a couple of potential swims located I’m sure we will be paying it a visit soon.
Monday dawned and after getting on top of loads of wedding photographs I prepared the carp kit for a night under the stars, once again on the Thames. Chris arrived early afternoon and we headed up to Chertsey and Laleham for a look around, yet apart from a few good looking areas, nether of us was drawn to it so before the traffic mounted headed back to a new stretch on the middle reaches that I had checked out over the weekend. Picking a swim that had some pace to it below a weir we were soon sorted with rods out, however the only spectacular sensation that night was watching the Perseid Meteor Shower as come 7am when we wound in neither had received so mush as a bleep!
Somewhat disappointed and with the best part of the week at our disposal we decided after lunch to head to a new stretch of river and try our luck at barbel. Settling well away from each other in swims that looked the business we both fished pellet up until darkness then cast another rod out for eels. I instantly knew my swim contained fish or a good fish as a liner indicated its presence after just twenty minutes yet I had to wait a further five hours till the tip pulled round and after a hairy fight in such a tight swim I finally managed to slip the net under a very big fish. In the net she looked like it might beat my best but on lifting I knew it was well short, yet weighing 14lb 7oz it was a great result and my best barbel for a couple of years now. The rest of the session past without any further action, yet as they say, all you need is the right bite to put you back on the confidence road.
Back at home I quickly fired a couple of images to Tim at Anglers Mail before once again shifting through wedding images. Can’t wait till Thursday as we will be back for yet another session.
Thursday came and with wet weather forecasted to move in at around 2am on Friday we decided to head back to a known carp swim on the Thames. Instead of going looking for the carp we have decided to settle on one spot that produced lots of carp in the past for me and will be trying to fish the swim once a week from now on as well as also topping it up once a week. The session couldn’t have got of to a worst start as on arrival I was distracted by someone asking about the fishing. Not wanting to bring attention that we were staying the night closed the boot of the van as not to reveal the bedchairs but on doing so heard a nasty crunch. What had happened was my rod holdall had slipped whilst resting against the van and had come to rest on the boot and on closing the boot one of my butt eyes of my new Nash Entity’s was crushed. I managed to use the rod throughout the session but although the eye was less it’s ceramic and wasn’t sharp lived in fear of hooking a carp! Later that evening my barbel spoon snapped on me before the catapult elastic went. Not a great start but I struggled on. The swim we wanted had a massive wasps nest in that had been recently burnt and with some aggravated wasps flying around had to settle a few yards upstream. Arriving at around 3.30pm we weren’t expecting anything till dusk yet as soon as I fired in a few boilies the swim came to life, unfortunately they were from bream that were rolling everywhere. Luckily our baits, 15mm/10mm snowman rigs went unnoticed for a couple of hours, yet come darkness more than half a dozen had dropped in our nets, so out went the double 20mm baits! This quietened things down and with what was almost certainly a carp crashing upstream we dozed of in anticipation. 2am the rain started and after swinging the oval to stay dry I felt that the big hookbait might just be too big so changed to single 20mm yet come morning just a few bleeps had come our way. We feel we are getting closer so after baiting up with around 3 kilos of pellet and boilies headed home with a return trip planned for Monday night.
Another day in the office before returning to our new found barbel swim, but tonight it would be Chris who would be trying to tempt a monster. As for me I still had river carp on my mind and headed of downstream, finally settling on a swim fringed with lilies on the far bank. Movement in these soon revealed my position was spot on and soon after casting out a common stuck its head out, yet the night past without incident but not for Chris as dawn broke he was requesting some photos of a barbel weighing 11lb 10oz. For me it was like catching another monster as this week we have put in plenty of hours and hard work searching the river for big fish and I desperately wanted Chris to catch something special.
All in all the week has proved just how searching for big fish can go. We spent four nights spent on new and old areas which have a track record of producing monsters. One bite is all we were looking for and luckily we both received one. That’s all it takes to turn a week from being a disaster into a remarkable one. This week we have found a swim that contains big barbel as well as two that contains carp and its now up to us to educate the carp into eating our boilies before returning and being rewarded.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Anglers Mail Feature - Quick Comparison Test on Winter Clothing


Last winter was one of the wettest on record, yet just because it’s bleak outside, doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable. This is were matching the correct clothing with the style of fishing you do needs to be considered carefully.
Being an all-round specimen angler, one that often roves a venue without an umbrella, having the correct clothing is paramount, as not only does it need to keep me warm and dry but it also needs to be flexible, allowing a full range of movement. It also needs to be able to withstand the constant bombardment of the non-forgiving countryside and for me the Nash ZT Duo jacket and trousers fits the bill perfectly….

Anglers Mail – Best Buy
Trendy green Jacket and trouser combo, both with understated graphics and a 100% Nylon outer shell with PU coating, water resistant to 8000 and breathable to 3000. Fleece lined trousers and removable inner to jacket create a very versatile system whilst retaining extreme comfort and complete movement. Endless features include, high quality protected zips, numerous internal/external pockets, easy to adjust and removable braces, elasticated adjustable cuffs, steam taped, wasteband and ankle gaters to name a few. The knees and butt are also reinforced and the hood, although obscuring eyesight, fits away within jacket behind the comfortable fleece lined collar. (Second Skin £34.99, Neck Warmer & Winter Hat, both £9.99)
Features 10
Performance 10
Value 9

Available in green or Camo the outer shell of the Jacket is made from 100% Nylon Taslon, water resistant rating of 5000 and breathable to 5000. Trousers are made from 50D Polyester with a slightly lower specification rating. Unbelievably comfortable and allows complete freedom of movement. Oozing features throughout such as numerous internal/external pockets, fully taped seams, high quality storm flap zips, storm cuffs, boot gaters, the list is endless. Extremely trendy and attention to detail is second to none. Elastic waistband and comfortable, easily adjustable and removable bib and brace system. The hood is fully adjustable and although the knees and seat are reinforced, could have done with being harder wearing. ( ‘LO-FI Beanie £9.99 & ‘ATLAS’ Fleece £29.99)
Features 10
Performance 8
Value 9

Stylish olive green jacket and bib and brace, water resistant to 5000mm, yet breathability not stated. The material has been taken from extreme mountaineering clothing and although comfortable, does restrict movement and is slightly pinchy around the knees. Extremely warm though due to the hollow fibre. The jacket has a removable fleece inner making it very versatile and both have numerous features including, fleece lined collar, durable hard wearing quality zips, multi-pocket design inside and out, fully laminated seams, adjustable elasticated shoulder straps, zipped leg openings plus a fully adjustable hood which again seems to be oversized obscuring view. (Solace Boots £49.99 & Slouch Beanie Hat £9.99)
Features 10
Performance 9
Value 8

Eye catching featuring the ‘anti-rustle’ camo design and created from the Whispatex/Windstop fabric, water resistant to 8000 HD and 100% breathable but actual specification not shown. The jackets inner is quilted lined for extra warmth, and both jacket and trousers have Teflon reinforced areas for wear resistance. Both jacket and trousers are oversized and feature, chunky zips with protection, adequate internal/external pockets, plus a discrete internal wallet/phone pocket, high, thermal collar, adjustable cuffs and waist band, plus zipped ankles for easy boot removal. The hood is removable but lacks adjustment and once again obscures eyesight. (Camo Boots £25.00)
Features 8
Performance 8
Value 8

Dark green jacket and trouser combo made from highly durable Polyester with a quilt insulation and water resistant rating of 5000mm, breathability not stated. Comfortable, warm and snug which does restrict movement slightly. Plenty of features throughout including, fleece lined collar, knitted cuffs, adjustable and removable hood yet again impairing vision, quilt and fleece lined, numerous external/internal pockets however just one zipped, adjustable waist cord, reinforced knees, Velcro ankle straps plus stretchable ‘H’ braces.(Sleep Skin Top £19.99, Hot Foot 008 Boots £ 39.99. Full Finger Gloves £11.99; Fingerless £9.99 & Pilot Hat £14.99)
Features 9
Performance 9
Value 10

30PLUS SNUGZZ 30/50 JACKET £75.00, SALOPETTES £59.99
This olive green jacket and salopettes is made from a PVC Nylon with a Polyester lining and has a waterproof rating of 5000 and a breathabilty of 3000. Although the material feels comfortable, the jacket lacks padding and is quite tight on the upper body and the straps to the salopettes are not fully elasticated creating tightness in movement, yet these are well fleeced and warm. Features include adequate internal/external pockets, adjustable waist band, quality protected zips, high fleece neck collar, adjustable wrist bands and without a doubt the best hood of all tested which cleverly fits behind the collar. (Fleece £45.00, Woolly Hat £6.25)
Features 8
Performance 8
Value 9

Soft green sleeping bag feel material with moisture dispersion, yet neither the breathability, waterproof rating or material makeup is mentioned which causes concern, however tested to -10 degrees centigrade, so warmth guaranteed. Extremely comfortable allowing unrestricted movement and spacious with reinforced lower legs extending to the knees. Would the material withstand the versatility of the specimen angler in the countryside? Good bivvy clothing though. Straps are fully elasticated and easy to adjust and features include adequate internal/external pockets, full length zips, adjustable hood which doesn’t interfere with eyesight and elasticated wristbands and the long leg zips are great for removal of muddy boots.(Peaked Beanie Hat £9.99)
Features 7
Performance 8
Value 8

Made from a 100% extra tough ripstop nylon outer and a Polyester filling and lining this jacket and trouser set has a waterproof rating of 25’000 and a breathability of 10’000 so neither can be questioned. The material quality and rating comes at a cost as it’s quite noisy and although spacious does restrict movement slightly. Attention to detail is paramount and features include numerous internal/external pockets, well fitting adjustable hood that can be stored within the high fleece lined collar, water resistant wrist bands and adjustable cuffs, quality zips and seams, yet although the trousers are elasticated and adjustable they don’t come with elasticated over the shoulder straps.
Features 9
Performance 9
Value 9

Product of the week - Old Ghost Bait Sticks

Edges in angling are difficult to find these days, especially when it comes to bait yet Old Ghost’s innovative minds certainly look like they are going to take this countries specimen and match anglers by storm and their sausage sticks look to be a real winner. Coming in four flavours, Snail, Bloodworm, Corn and Squid, these bait sticks have a unique textured making them amazingly versatile. I was lucky to get my hands on a few of these a while ago and last week simply punched small pieces of the bloodworm stick and hair rigged these along with a small buoyant piece of corn to literally take GAS Broadwater apart. Later in the week I had a customer try a piece of the Squid stick and was soon into his first ever Loddon barbel. Available now in most tackle shops. Be the first to use these and give the barbel something they haven’t seen before! Singular sticks £1 or a pack of five for £4.50.  

Winge of the Week - Human and dog shit!

I was shocked this week, not for the first time I might say, when lying right next to one of the most popular swims at Stanford End was a human turd! It was during a FAS barbel teach-in when anglers new to barbel fishing attend, some who have never caught a barbel and need an introduction to river fishing, yet after seeing this it’s enough for them to avoid these popular stretches at all cost. We all get caught short from time to time, it’s unavoidable, yet dropping one in a swim and leaving it there is inexcusable. What the hell was this angler thinking about? So if it was you that dropped one in the Jungle last week, then shame on you, you are a disgrace to all anglers.
Dog shit is something else I can’t stand and once again it’s not the dog that’s to blame but the owner. I often take my girlfriends parents dog for a walk around Frensham Small Pond, a very popular venue with dog walkers and once again was shocked at the number of tied plastic bags that were just thrown in the hedges or tied to branches of trees! I heard of Christmas trees but some tries can only be described as turd trees. Once again, what the hell is the owner thinking? Does a National Trust shit collector do a daily round, no, and if you are going to take the trouble of placing it in a bag, then why don’t they take it home and discard it in the right way.  

OMG - Weekly report starting Saturday August 3rd 2013

This week has seen a lack of time on the bank as I had three days booked of with the girlfriend. I did have a FAS barbel teach-in at Stanford End on Tuesday evening and apart from the initial disappointment of two no-shows we had a great evening. These teach-ins aren’t all about catching fish as for the first hour or so I go through how I approach the river, what I look for, the bait applied and tactics employed. This briefing is so that anglers can return and know that what they are doing and the swims they are fishing have a track record of producing.
Each angler picked a swim and settled down, yet the text requesting a photo failed to arrive early on. After spending time talking and helping the anglers the first fish was landed a chub of around 3lb, however this angler revealed that he had lost a big barbel earlier in the session. Two anglers had settled in one of the bigger swims as a big fish had rolled as darkness fell and soon after casting out Nige was into his first ever barbel which weighed 8lb 2oz. No further action came, yet all the anglers learnt lots and will be returning with plenty of confidence.
Wednesday we visited Thorpe Park and as I crossed the bridge into the theme park I looked out across the lakes and remember the time spent fishing these magical waters, however today was far from relaxing as I was going to experience a few white knuckle rides for the first time. OMG!
Thursday arrived and my weekly nine holes of golf with my mother at dawn were completed before settling down in the office to catch up on emails etc. The afternoon was spent getting a couple of lightweight carp rods ready for a few hours on the river Itchen as well as organising the kit for a days guiding on Frensham the following morning. I really should have cancelled the trip to the Itchen as it was gone midnight when my head hit the pillow and come 3.45am the alarm was ringing.
Meeting Steve next to the hotel we headed up the bridal path, an area I haven’t fished for a while and my second choice of swims as another angler had just beaten me to my preferred area. The first draw back was the rain that started as we set up and just seconds after casting out I knew that float fishing with maggot was going to be a non-starter as a tiny perch grabbed the bait. Loads more followed and after two hours we had to rethink tactics. A couple of tench had rolled over the groundbait so I decided to head home and grab a few small tutti fruity boilies. By the time I returned it was nearly 10am, the time that the tench normally go of the feed and after setting up scaled down bolt rigs and casting out we awaited a response. Casting every fifteen minutes the first bite finally came around midday and Steve slid the net under a new personal best tench weighing 6lb 2oz. This was followed by two more in quick succession and we were beginning to think we were onto a winner yet come 3pm and after a couple of hours of inactivity we decided to settle for the three. It was one of those days when the odds seem to be against us, yet constantly casting and tweaking things finally paid off and we left feeling very content as well as learning loads.
Next week I looking forward to a whole week of fishing with my mate Chris. The first couple of days have been planned to visit a new stretch of the river Thames with carp, chub and barbel our target as well as trying our luck on the Loddon for a barbel or two. Come Wednesday we will review are results and either head to a Stillwater for some action if things have been tough or continue on the rivers.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Product of the Week - Marker Gum

Being an angler that is obsessed in clipping up and casting accurately I need a product that is reliable and wont move. In the early days I remember using Electrical tape, yet this seem to cause friction when casting and once wet seem to move. The next product used was thin pole elastic which I have used for years, however this is difficult to remove and the stop knot tied needs to be moistened to bed down correctly. I was given some E.S.P marker Gum recently and since using it haven’t looked back as it beds down easily without moisture and is extremely limp so the ends can be cut to whatever length needed without the fear of restriction on casting.

Winge of the Week - Zips!

Your probably thinking that I’m going to criticise how quickly some manufactures zips break, well to be honest, the quality of zips have come on leaps and bounds in recent years to the extent that they can last years, even after constant use. Another annoying part of zips is how they catch, especially on sleeping bags, disastrous if they get stuck when trying to exit quickly in the event of a bite, however it’s the annoying slit in the metal part of the zip that really gets me, especially on products such as a quiver system, a product designed to take rods that are made up and have mainline in the vicinity of them. When manufacturers go to such lengths to create a product that is designed to protect made up rods they seem to fall down on attention to detail, which can lead to mainline damage and a potential lost fish. Knowing the problem, I’m sure that a manufacturer could use this as a selling point, especially on products such as quiver systems and create a zip without this annoying problem.

Hauling at Broadwater - Weekly report starting July 27th 2013

What happened to the storms forecasted on Saturday? I had visions of it raining heavily all day and loads of thunder and lightning. Once again it seems that the weather forecasters are always edging on the side of caution just so another Michael Fish forecasted doesn’t happen. Unfortunately for me when it did throw it down at around 2.30pm I was just leaving a quaint church on the south coast with a lovely couple that had just tied the knot. The English weather, don’t we just love it!
Sunday was my first proper lay-in for ages and I made the most of it, rising around 9.30am. Luckily I managed time to get my weekly blog up on the website before doing the family rounds.
Having spent so many hours bankside as well as loosing quite a few days through manipulating wedding images I needed to get on top of things in the office as I felt seriously behind. Come Tuesday evening I sill seemed a million miles away and with two days guiding booked in for Wednesday and Thursday knew I was going to have to prioritise my time better in the future, especially knowing that my actual fishing time for myself was taking a back seat.
Wednesday was all about catching fish and with one of my regular customers booked in knew the perfect venue, Broadwater. This venue really responds to constant, accurate casting and using the pellet-lead and small baits knew that it wouldn’t take long to get a response. Fortunately I just about made the venue as I have had loads of problems with my van lately and with an intermittent fault knew it was just a matter of time before she broke down. Well a few miles from the venue she lost power sending loads of black smoke out the back. I limped into the car park hoping that she would start later and I could get her to my mechanic. Fortunately I managed this and the fault which I thought was going to be the turbo or injectors and expensive turned out to be a split hose on the turbo system. Back to the session. Well after locating the majority of carp using our eyes we simply cast out a comfortable distance before clipping up and adding a line marker. Loading the lead with scolded pellet deposited six loads, attached the short hooklinks that contained small trimmed down baits next to small hooks and cast out. An hour past before I received a run, yet looking at the bubbling I knew it was only a matter of time. Mark always wants me to fish, as he can watch and learn and was getting to grips with casting, hitting the clip and lowering the line whilst the action in my swim started to hot up. Mark eventually got of the mark, yet I could sense his frustration as by now I had landed a number of carp, yet I knew his time would come, and once the accurate casting was mastered he was matching me fish for fish. We were hoping for a twenty, but the biggest carp went 17lb 12oz which provided Mark with a new personal best, beaten his sardine caught carp from Old Bury Hill whilst zander fishing by 2oz. When we packed up at 4pm, nine hours after starting Mark had taken around fifteen carp, myself around two dozen to 14lb, in fact the action was so frantic at one point I had three double figured commons in the net at once, not bad for a day when we only saw two other fish caught. Mark left a happy man, a master at fishing the method and now knows the importance of working a swim.
The following morning we met at 8am on the banks of the river Loddon. The weather forecast wasn’t favourable and knowing that Marks first Loddon barbel had proven elusive in three previous trips knew we were up against it, yet in the second swim, just when Mark mentioned that my knew found wonder bait wasn’t working, saw the tip rapping round. In the net I could sense Marks elation and although the barbel wasn’t massive weighing six pound I knew it was a special fish. We were hoping for the flood gates to open, yet come 5pm, after fishing a further ten swims and with temperatures reaching 33 degrees no further action was forthcoming. After working so hard I felt we deserved another fish yet I know that the Loddon barbel flood gates are about to open for Mark.
Totally exhausted I was hoping for a lay-in come Friday, followed by a day in the office, yet a call from my mechanic to say my car was ready saw me collecting my dad at 6.30am as he had planned a days fishing with my girlfriends dad at a day ticket water that I had been wanting to visit. Mother needed her car so the office duties had to wait a day and come 7am we found ourselves in the carpark. Mick settled for the match lake whilst dad and myself headed to the carp lake. Unfortunately the owner informed us that the lake was fishing hard and with the vast majority of the lakes carp population up on the surface and with surface baits banned and no zigs we felt that we were wasting our time come 1pm. Dad did his usual and sneaked one out, on a fake piece of bread, fished zig style but it wasn’t a carp but a trout that had been missed from the nets when the fishery was turned from a trout lake into a carp water. I adopted the tactic of fishing a piece of meat under a pole float, next to a snag that contained carp close to the margin and should have caught, yet the one bite I received came when I wasn’t holding the rod, should have known better! The lake we fished is very picturesque and contains some very good fish and although my first visit wasted one I will remember I do intend to return later in the year when the carp drop down in the water.
You may have missed my ‘Winge of the Week’ and ‘Product of the Week’ last week; sorry it was just one of those things that had to take a back seat.
At long last I have a car that’s functioning properly and look forward to some carefree driving as well as finding some time to start putting in some serious fishing for myself with my mate Chris and the week starting the 12th looks good, however before doing so I need to get on top of things in the office. On a good note my last few dates for guiding on the Wye have almost been taken with a surge last week, so if you are thinking of booking a date with me then you need to get in touch as I only have four available spaces left.