Saturday, 31 December 2016

Monthly report December 2016

Monthly Report December 2016
Hope you all had a really great Christmas and managed to get out on the bank for a few hours, pre Christmas Day hopefully as since then the temperature has plunged to below freezing most nights making anything other than grayling or chub probably a non-starter. Saying this even the chub have proved difficult and all I can put this down to is the extremely high pressure that has been almost of the scale on my barometer at an incredible 1043mb for the last few days!
I was going to have a moan about the so called fishing programme ‘Fishing Impossible’ which I had to delete of my series link as after seeing them using bat shit as bait and using dynamite to fire it into their swims guest that the following week they would all cut an arm off just to make the next challenge that much more impossible. What a load of crap! However what with getting really hacked off with trying to load things on my website due to Blogger being a right pain in the arse I have been told by a good friend to stop being the miserable old man of angling and to try a be a bit more happier so as from next month, no more, or far less winging and much more happier angling subjects to discuss! 

A quick check on my diary inputs and I have been out either fishing for myself of guiding eleven times this month along with plenty of days also spent on the bank as a freelance photographer creating articles for Anglers Mail. All in all another busy month, one that I will probably remember for the weather conditions, often really cold and foggy and one in which we saw very little in the way of rain which has left every river fished extremely low. Christmas day was also strange as I bet there were hundreds of anglers sitting at home eating turkey and mince pies thinking its 14 degrees outside, I bet the fish are going mad. As for the fishing the Frome has been really consistent in producing two-pound plus grayling, yet I’m now beginning to think that the stretch I’m fishing isn’t going to produce a real monster so time to start looking elsewhere. Testwood Pools was a joy to fish once again but we did make a massive mistake and booked it when the tide was out. This and knowing that a vast majority of the game fish had been removed made it a difficult session but any day which sees roach to 1lb 12oz and dace to 10oz taken on the float is still a red-letter day. The two fish that I will remember are the 2lb 7oz grayling taken by my friend Barrie from the Itchen, the biggest I have seen out of the river for a number of years and the 5lb 3oz chub that Tom Aldous caught during a quick-fire session on the Loddon. The river Blackwater continues to produce however a month ago when fish could be caught from most swims have now shoaled up so if you find them expect a really good day, yet trying to locate them does take time and as for the Loddon, well this is a complete contrast to the Blackwater as even the so called easy stretches are now really tough.

I’m not really one for making New Year’s resolutions but its time I made a few lifestyle changes, started to look after myself more, get into a routine such as always eating breakfast as well as spreading my fishing time out more productively. Chasing massive fish is a thing of the past, yet I will still continue to fish venues that do contain big fish however whether or not a fish-of-a –lifetime will grace my net in the limited time I get to fish myself is unlikely, all I can do is give each session the best I can and enjoy it to its fullest.

Happy New Year to you all and looking forward to catching a few in 2017.  

Day to Day events.
01/12/16 – The third morning on the trot when temperatures have plummeted to around -7 but come 6.30am I was on route to pick up my customer Graeme who was booked in for a day on the Frome. A steady drive saw us arrive just after 8am in a total white-out landscape. Undeterred we headed downstream, yet with the rod rings freezing presenting a bait was difficulty, yet just being in such a winter wonderland was worth it. I have always been a believer that grayling don’t get put-back in the cold yet three days of such cold conditions certainly saw a decline in numbers of bites than on milder days so now I’m not a believer! After a few swims and a few small grayling Graeme saw himself bent into a better fish which turned out to be a 1lb 10oz personal best grayling which certainly put some warmth into our bodies and made us smile. Late morning the frost disappeared and the fishing improved slightly and come the end of the day around two dozen grayling and sea trout had fallen. Difficult but certainly not impossible!
Here are a few words from Graeme – Thanks Duncan; Today was certainly a challenge, but a superb day none the less. Managing to bank a few was a bonus! And thanks for the pictures too.  Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge and the venue. I now have a new set of tools in the box, so to speak, and am looking forward to getting out again soon. I’ll need that fifteen- footer though! Looking forward to heading back in the New Year when hopefully an early start won’t be so icy. Have a great Christmas, tight lines, Graeme.
05/12/16 – After a couple of weeks off I’m sort of back in the swing of things yet first job was to sort out the last twelve months accounts, joy!
06/12/16 – A full day in the office sorting out fishy things such as updating a few face book posts, making contact with a few possible article possibilities and banging my head against the wall trying to get into my blogger account to post my monthly blog. Sorry for the delay!  
07/12/16 – With three long sessions on the trot starting tomorrow it was all about sorting the kit and bait out.
08/12/16 – At long last I’m out on the bank again this time following up a lead of a few big roach. Arriving at first light I headed to the smaller of the two lakes on this day ticket venue, regularly cast out helicopter rigs to the centre of the lake and constantly got beaten up from small carp. My dad and girlfriends dad were experiencing the same so after three hours and sixteen carp decided to move to the larger lake thinking that I had been thrown a curve ball. Same tactics produced the same result, carp so with an hour left headed back to the small lake and cast my rigs into some fast water coming in from a small stream in the hope that the roach were piled up here but yes you have guessed it, all I caught were carp!
09/12/16 – Probably the once a year day I look forward to the most, Testwood Pools. Arriving at dawn myself and Alan were fishing just after 8am however the tide was running out and after just an hour the water had left the pool leaving us with probably the hardest situation possible. Lesson learnt, next year make sure that high tide is around midday as this creates far better fishing. The first hour saw a number of fish taken Inc a couple of dace around 10oz but strangely no trout. We then found out that the majority of these had been moved into the main river! Things then toughened up, yet Alan managed a 1lb 7oz roach on the float that gave us inspiration to carry on. I managed a few trout and small grayling whist Alan switched to the feeder in the hope of more roach but come the end of the day all he caught were frustrating roach/bream hybrids plus a few trout. Having a bad arm I also switched to the feeder and had another 10oz dace plus trout before switching back to the float which produced a 1lb 12oz roach, hybrid, 3lb chub, a salmon par plus the occasional trout. Together we caught around fifty fish made up of eight different species which goes to show you just never know what’s coming next when the float disappears. All in all another enjoyable day but once again the 2lb roach or 1lb dace failed to show. Close again but no cigar.
10/12/16 – On the road come 6.30am this time heading to the Frome in Dorset. The weather wasn’t kind with drizzle and fog making the 80mile trip not that pleasurable. Arriving at 8am and knowing the weather was going to come in wet around 3pm we myself and Lewis headed downstream first. Fishing the stick and pin Lewis was soon into fish but with the river running slightly coloured things weren’t as easy as expected. Second swim produced a few more grayling to 1lb 10oz plus sea trout and the third grayling to 2lb 1oz along with a couple of similar sized ones slipping the hook. Early afternoon we were back at the car for lunch before heading upstream. The wind had now increased making trotting, even for an experienced angler like Lewis difficult. Knowing the swim held fish but struggling for good presentation we switched to the feeder which bought instant bits from brown and sea trout plus grayling to exactly 2lb. Just as the weather was forecasted to do the conditions quickly changed for the worse and not soon after we were back in the car the heavens opened making it another tricky drive home. Even though this was a guiding day, Lewis is an accomplished angler and puts most people to shame when it comes to fishing a centrepin but had never fished the Frome before so it was more of an introduction to the river than anything else. In fact I have to admit that I learnt a couple of things from him!
12/12/16 – In the office all day sorting fishy related items.
14/12/16 – Left home in the dark and arrived back in the dark, which isn’t unusual at this time of year, to create a couple of Anglers Mail features down in Tonbridge with angling guide and top predator angler Rikki Cooper. Keep an eye out in the magazine for these.
15/12/16 – Spent today guiding Barrie on the river Itchen. I have never seen the river so low but this didn’t deter the grayling and trout which just kept on coming. Persistence in a swim where Barrie had a gut feeling would produced a big fish proved right as late in the day he landed an old warrior of a grayling which smashed his previous best. She or should I say he weighed 2lb 7oz and this just goes to show, never ignore a gut feeling. Well done Barrie.
16/12/16 – Another day on the Itchen, this time with one of my regulars Mark who had just bought a centrepin and had it modified as he is left handed. Having only fished the pin once before today was all about learning a few techniques to help master the pin and come the end of the day and after landing again well over forty fish his first steps into presenting a bait perfectly were taken. He even managed a personal best as well.
17/12/16 – Picked Chris up at 8am before heading to Wareham for a few hours on the quay that produced just one modest dace. We then headed upstream for a spot of grayling fishing which produced around twenty fish between us, the best 2lb 3oz to Chris.
18/12/16 – On the banks of the Basingstoke Canal with Tom to create an AM OTB.
19/12/16 – In the office writing up a few features.
20/12/16 – More feature writing!
21/12/16 – Spent a few hours organising tackle for the next couple of days on the bank plus tidying up a few of my tackle boxes.
22/12/16 – It was never going to be easy whatever or wherever we headed today as after a spell of relatively mild weather the skies cleared and a heavy frost lay on the ground as I headed out towards the river Blackwater to meet up with my customer for the day. Barrie who had fished with me on the Itchen last week and landed a 2lb 7oz grayling wanted a introduction in stick float fishing small rivers and if roach could be taken then he would be happy. First swim, a known roach holding spot held no roach just a couple of small chub so we headed to another swim and fortunately this one did produce a few roach. In all Barrie managed around 8lb of fish, mostly made up of a 3lb 13oz chub and 1lb 4oz roach plus others up to around 12oz. That swim made the day as every other one was tough, just a couple of fish then nothing. Switching to a small cage feeder late in the day he managed another modest chub which was lucky to escape the attention of a double figured pike that had lunch on its mind. All in all a great learning day, especially when the producing swim died a death. I said that it was either due to us spooking the fish but this was unlikely as we hadn’t had enough fish to spook them, a pike entering the swim but then surely this would have attacked a previous roach or that some other bigger fish had moved in and this was proved right with the bigger chub. I have never seen the river so low and even tried to tempt a few fish myself from a previous productive swim without any luck which reassured Barrie that he was doing nothing wrong; it was just that the river was fishing below par!
23/12/16 – Hopefully the last early one for a few days as up at the crack of dawn once again this time to pick up my mate Tom Aldous for a few hours chub fishing. We had very little time when we arrived at the river due to being held up in traffic and knowing that the river wasn’t fishing great the previous day and two anglers already on the bank, one in a banker chub swim we headed to the bottom of the beat before working our way upstream in a methodical manner checking out every likely looking area. Second swim and Tom found himself bent into a decent chub which proved to be a venue best for him at 5lb 3oz. I tried a few areas that rarely get explored but with the river low and clear I wasn’t surprised to draw a blank. Toms fish was our only bite but we only fished two and a half hours, missed the first hour of light and had to work around other anglers that could well have fished a few of the swims as there were the odd fishy sign around. I was glad Tom caught as he’s had a tough time of late what with work and studying and has struggled to get out so all in all I would say job done!
27/12/16 – Met up with a couple of lure anglers on the river Thames. Not the easiest of day, what with a hard frost, cloudless blue skies and a barometer that’s almost off the scale at 1043mb! Fortunately after roving around for a few hours we managed to get the job done with a nice perch.
28/12/16 – With a new customer booked in for a day’s chub fishing on Friday thought it would be a good idea to go and check a few swims out on the Loddon. Arriving just after 8am I only had one knock, only fished two swims as other anglers around so moved on to the Whitewater, walked the entire stretch dropping bread in a few swims but again not so much as a single touch.
29/12/16 – A days guiding on the Loddon for chub. Really cold and misty, barely rising above freezing all day and fortunately not that many other anglers to contest with. The swim that produced the knock the day before gave Chas a proper pull round after a few knocks and a big fish was briefly hooked before the hook pulled. Gutted as we probably tried a dozen other swims, all of which produced nothing. After yesterday’s results I can only put the lack of action down to the extremely high atmospheric pressure which yesterday was nearly of the scale on my barometer at 1043mb! Talking to other anglers it seemed that they were too struggling and it just goes to show how one bite can make a difficult day in to a memorable one, that’s if it finds the bottom of the landing net!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Another satisfied customer

Another satisfied customer.

Roach are one species that can be caught in this chilly weather, you just have to get the venue and tactics right but just as important the time you fish for them.
Aaron had a great day recently catching this quality bag of roach on the float and bread.

If your interested in having a guided session with me just email me for more information -

Friday, 23 December 2016

Two days on the River

Two days on the River.
Have spent the last two days on the river. Yesterday was guiding Barrie who wanted to learn the art of trotting a stick float. Venue was the Blackwater but a heavy frost, the first for a while and a very low and clear river meant that the fish were shoaled up and many of the usual fish holding spots were either barren of fish or all that was obliging were chub. In total Barrie, not only learnt how to control a float but also caught five chub to 3lb 13oz, a dozen or so roach to 1lb 4oz plus the odd dace and perch all on bread discs.
Today I grabbed just a couple of hours with my good friend Tom. With other anglers on the river and having to work around these along with a cold clear river it was never going to be easy. We were also on a stretch thats hard but does have a few big chub about and fortunately Tom tempted the only bite which produced this stunner weighing 5lb 3oz.

Happy Christmas everyone,
catch up in the New Year...

Sunday, 18 December 2016

A day of two halves

A day of two halves.
Just returned from my third consecutive session on a river, this time the Dorset Frome. It was a day of two halves as in the morning we wanted to find out about a new area which we did but the couple of hours spent wetting a line only produced a modest dace for our efforts but its one of those areas that you just have to get the right bite and the fish of a lifetime could just turn up.
In the afternoon we headed to more familiar territory and caught plenty of grayling, the best falling to Chris which weighed 2lb 3oz.

If you fancy a guided trip to either the Frome, Test or Itchen then  just email me at for availability and costs.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Two brilliant days on the river.

The rivers are full of fish!
Just had two really productive sessions on the river Itchen where my customer Barrie smashed his personal best grayling my miles with one weighing 2lb 7oz along with around forty other fish. And Mark who was really in need of some advice using a cenrepin certainly got to grips with it as he also took more than forty fish including lots of grayling including a personal best.
If you fancy a days trotting either the Frome, Test or Itchen then why not email me duncancharman@me .com. The season runs till the end of February and with Christmas just around the corner you can always get someone to buy a 'Day with Duncan' voucher.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The master of the pin!

10th December 2016 -The master of the Pin!

This weekend saw me and Lewis heading to the river Frome. Lewis has never fished the river before so although this was a guiding day it was more of an introduction to the river than a learning one as this man can certainly fish the centrepin.
The weather was terrible there and back with drizzle and fog making the 160mile trip not that enjoyable but fortunately a predicted break in the weather during our stay made up for this. Arriving shortly after 8am Lewis soon had his first Frome grayling, one around 4oz, let’s hope things improve. That first swim, one that certainly contains two-pounders only produced small grayling up to around a pound so with lots of other swims to try we headed further downstream. The second swim we tried is a lovely long trot, a stick float anglers dream yet although a few fish did come including grayling to almost 2lb they were certainly not there in the usual numbers. The river was carrying some colour and corn certainly seemed to score better than maggots and if there is one thing that I’m beginning to learn about the Frome is that these fish move around unlike the predictability of the Itchen and Test where they seem to remain in one spot. Third swim, one that usually produces just the odd bite saw Lewis take a number of fish including one over two-pounds and a number approaching this. Just a shame that the biggest one hooked came off! After a few more swims and fish we headed back to the car for lunch before heading upstream to a long sweeping bend that has a few big fish in. The wind had now grown in force and even to an experienced float angler presentation was proving difficult so we reluctantly switched to the feeder which resulted in more than a dozen fish including sea and brown trout plus grayling to 2lb.
Just as predicted soon after we retreated to the car mid afternoon the heavens opened. This river rises and falls very quickly after rain which is why these fish get moved around and predicting where they are can be difficult yet this adds to the fun as you never know what’s going to turn up next.

If you fancy a day’s fishing on the Frome, Itchen, Blackwater or Test trotting a float for a variety of species then why not treat yourself to a day out with me. Just email me – for further details.

Nearly but no cigar, again!

9th December 2016 -Testwood Pools 2016
Some will know that once a year I have a customer that treats me to a days fishing on Testwood Pools. The last two years we have come close to catching our target, a two pound roach and a one pound dace, how did this years session go?
We certainly had the weather when we arrived at Testwood Pools as it was overcast with little wind and very mild, around 12 degrees! Unfortunately the tide wasn't kind as we only had an hour trotting it down before it dropped below the rocks, leaving us fishing a pool that didn't change all day. Fortunately the pool had seen most of the trout removed but in my mind this could work against us catching our quarry, as although most bites come from coarse fish, the competition for food has been removed and the roach and dace can just feed without interference making the amount of feed introduced difficult as too much and they will have a free meal. 
First trot down and a 10oz dace came to the net yet I knew that I was on borrowed time for these and only caught two more all day, both around the same size. Alan hooked what he thought was a big roach soon after starting but this turned out to be a roach/bream hybrid, something that became all too common during our visit. A few more fish came, mainly small grayling before we had to start searching new areas to find where the fish had moved to. Alan managed a roach weighing 1lb 7oz in the main pool but apart from two smaller samples his dream fish, a two-pound river roach eluded him. A switch to the feeder saw more bites coming his way but most were hybrids or trout. I managed to get a few bites long trotting the pool but most were either grayling or trout before switching to the feeder to see if I could find an area that held a few fish which I did. After missing a couple of plucks using bread I switched back to the float using corn as bait and hooked what I thought was a hybrid but as it went in the net could see that it was a big roach, but was it a two? Unfortunately not as it fell a few ounces short, close again but no cigar. A 3lb plus chub had the adrenaline pumping later in the day but apart from hybrids, trout and grayling it seemed that once again it wasn't to be. Their's always next year! 
All in all a fantastic day once again in which no fewer than eight different species graced our nets including specimen roach and dace but that fish of a lifetime from Testwood Pools remains elusive to us both, yet Alan did head to a stillwater two days later and catch his third two-pound roach of the winter.
If you want to know how to book this venue then email me -

Where are the roach?

8th December - So far from a roach, let alone a two-pounder! 

Following up a lead from a friend regarding some specimen roach I found myself on the bank of a small day ticket venue with my dad and girlfriend’s dad. The weather was good, actually it was too good, as soon after casting out a couple of helicopter rigs I found myself bent into an angry carp.

 Three hours later fifteen more had graced my net so it was time to move to the larger lake alongside as I was beginning to think that an informational curve ball had to thrown my way! Two hours later and having seen numerous more carp grace my net I was on the move again this time back to the small lake and into a swim that I would normally not target as it was right next to a small stream that saw lots of turbulent water pushing through it and hopefully some specimen roach. After a couple of strange bites I was hoping that a roach or two would show but wrong as the line ripped off the spool once again. 

Sometimes you just know that it’s not going to happen and although I stayed as late as I could and scanned the water for any signs of roach, they just didn’t want to oblige. Not sure if I will be going back as my brother fished it a few weeks back when one lake was frozen and the temperature was -7 and guess what he caught, carp. I don’t mind the odd carp gate crashing the party but realistically trying to target these roach is almost impossible and if one does come along its probably more by accident than design. The search continues. 

If you want some fantastic winter fishing and have been short of a few bites recently and want some comfortable fishing where long walks aren't required then I have the perfect venue, and you never know a monster roach may turn up if you are lucky.

Email me if you want more details - 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


The two most important points to concentrate on if you want to take a good self-take image of your catch is firstly, the welfare of the fish, and secondly, being organised.

Always ensure that your catch is safe and out of harm’s way whilst setting up. This may mean placing the fish in a landing net in the margins or another means of retention, however never retain a fish for longer than necessary and always keep an eye on it at all times. It also important to make sure that the unhooking mat is damp and that a bucket of water is available to dampen the fish down. Never place a fish on a dry mat or weight in a dry weigh sling.

Whilst the fish is resting (I always weigh my fish separately as scales can be a danger to the fish if left on a mat) organise the area where the fish is to be photograph. An important part of getting a good image is to find a good backdrop like some rushes as an umbrella or tackle in the background doesn’t look good. Pace the damp unhooking mat on the ground and push two bankstics in the ground at either edge. One will hold the camera by means of a Gardner Camera Adapter the other will have a towel placed on it to give the camera something to focus on. I use a light green towel as if a white bag is used the camera will feel that there is too much light and take a dark (under exposed) image and if a black towel is used the picture will be light (over exposed). Kneel next to the front stick and imagine holding your catch.

Being creative and using more advanced settings on the camera come with time and experience so my advice when starting out is to set the camera to what I call ‘idiot mode’. On Canon cameras this is usually a green square and what the camera does is simply set the camera settings for you so that a good quality image is taken.
Make sure that the camera’s focusing switch is set to Auto Focus as this will allow the camera to focus on the towel (position the fish will be held).

Look through the camera eye piece and focus on the towel. Whilst doing this it’s also a good to imagine the final image, you holding the fish, so try and zoom in or out so that the final image will be acceptable. Focussing on most cameras will be achieved by seeing a red square flash on the towel. When you are happy with the focussing it’s very important to switch the camera’s focusing switch to Manual as this locks the focal point on the towel. Failure to do this will only cause problems and this is the most common reason why images are out of focus, as if not locked it allows the camera to refocus when the self-take button is pressed.
With the camera in ‘idiot mode’ and the focal point locked it’s now time to set the camera to self-take mode. This icon varies on different cameras but on Canon’s it’s a broken circle with a clock like hand within.

With everything set, lean forward and press the self-take button. A yellow timer switch will then flash and just as the photo is about to be taken stay on constantly. My camera is set for ten seconds as any quicker and it will mean rushing and making a mistake.

Whilst the camera is flashing position yourself so your knees are touching the edge of the mat and once again imagine you are holding the fish right where the bankstick is. It’s very important that when you come to holding the actual fish that it’s where this stick was positioned or right above the edge of the mat as this will mean that the fish will be in focus. Pushing the fish forward away from where the bankstick was will only result in the fish being out of focus!

Once the image has been taken take a look at how the framing of the image has turned out. If whilst focusing on the towel in point 5 you imagined the final image everything should be fine, however if you find that you have zoomed in too far and have cut your head off then you will have to go back to step 4 and start all over again.
This is where experience helps and always remember that you are not looking for the perfect image just an acceptable image of your catch. Its far better to take an image that’s zoomed out, one with plenty of area surrounding you and the fish as this can then be cropped back at home on your computer.
This point is also where many images are taken out of focus as if the test shot isn’t framed up well there is a tendency for the angler to readjust the framing of the image and by doing this it affects the focal point.
Once you know that the image will be in focus and framed up well it’s time to place the fish on the mat, lean forward and press the self-take button.

Simply lift the fish on the same access as the edge of the mat (where the bankstick and towel was positioned) and smile. Take three, maybe four shots before returning the fish to the lake (still in your landing net).  

12 – GOOD TO GO.
With the fish safely back in the water it’s now time to check the image and this one is perfect.

If everything has been carefully organised and the procedure followed then a self-take image should only take a couple of minutes and cause the fish no harm. Time to let the fish go.

If you do find that your images are out of focus then it means that one or another of the above points hasn’t been followed. Take your time, practice as much as possible and slowly the whole procedure will become second nature. Once you are competent then you can move on to taking night time shots or progressing into using the creative settings on the camera, however always remember that the fish’s welfare is paramount and far more important than the perfect picture.   

Monthly Report November 2016

Monthly Report November 2016

November arrives and with it comes the frosts. Good as I hate winters like last year when the mild weather stays with us as this just keeps the options open for targeting so many different species as opposed to fish such as roach, grayling and pike that should be on my mind.

This winter grayling are firmly fixed in my mind and although my target is a two-pounder, realistically beating my old best of exactly three pound would be a dream come true and I’m on the river that could do this the Frome. In fact first session on the river and first bite came from a two-pounder so having this under my belt so early on gives me the rest of the winter to concentrate on the stretch and see what it has to offer. Last winter Chris and I also had grayling on our minds but as previously mentioned the winter was far from ideal as we decided to target these during Jan and Feb, a time when the rains came, flooded the river and surrounding fields and made things almost impossible. This year we are not going to make the same mistake.
One topic I’m going to cover briefly this month is ‘split-shot’, or should this be called ‘shit-shot’ as it doesn’t matter what I buy they seem to be useless, as every time I strike they either move or come off. Pressing them harder on the line stops this to some degree but then you run the risk of either damaging the line or not being able to move them easily. It was a problem that I’ve become sick off, especially when trotting a stick float so now I simply use an inline olivette to bulk shot the float followed by a few Stotz as dropper shots. Problem solved, well that is until the need to fish shirt button style!
Last month I also touched on the subject of the massive carp that’s been caught again and the topic of should it be claimed as a British record. Well when I wrote about it last month I thought that this carp was one that had been born and grown on to such a weight in this county, yet now I’m led to believe that it’s an Israie carp that found its way into the country and a very big weight. I don’t know all the facts and in no way should its origin remove any credibility from the anglers that have caught it but it does change the way I feel about it being accepted as a new British record, and in my mind it shouldn’t be.
As you can imagine I’ve fished in some outrageous weather conditions before but this month found me on the banks of the Dorset Frome trying to create an article for Anglers Mail. Not only did it rain but the wind that blew across the flood plain was stupid and I had to feel for the angler that was trying to control a float down the river. It wasn’t until I said give me the rod, it’s done like this that I realised just how difficult it was. This made the anglers day and made me feel a bit stupid but I have learnt to keep my mouth shut in future as trying to cast in wind speeds of well over 40mph with a pin is almost impossible. Fortunately before the wind became dangerously powerful he managed to catch more than enough fish for the feature, so it wasn’t a complete washout. The Frome was also the venue for my last guided session and although this did fall in the month of December felt I should include an image as it was a complete white out when we arrived, the temperature was -7! Did we catch, off cause we did!  
He I go again, me winging over tackle shop opening hours! This month I headed to my local tackle shop for some maggots only to find it closed at 4pm on a Thursday. What really gets me is I’d taken time out to sort the bait so we could get an early start on the Frome the following day, so finding this shop closed buggered me up in two ways. I’m guessing this tackle shop had closed early due to the lack of customers, however in reality how many customers have found themselves in a similar situation and now don’t bother going there. If they are like me they only have to be disappointed once and that’s it, that tackle shop only exists as a convenience store which is a shame as I am all for supporting the local tackle shops but sometimes they just don’t help themselves. To give a tackle shop an idea of how a customer reacts then look at this - I went into a tackle shop 30years ago to buy a reel. It was a time when buying on the internet was just coming into fashion yet although I knew I could get the reel on line for £64.99 didn’t feel comfortable doing so. In the shop the owner, after winging about us youngsters always wanting a discount, said that he would give me some change from £70 and on handing this over, which was a lot of money for me in those days, received the reel back along with a one pence piece! No I’m not kidding and nor was the tackle shop owner. I was in need of the reel quite badly so walked out of the door truly pissed off, however have I ever stepped foot in his shop since, once I think to collect some bait for an angler, will I ever step foot in it again, not unless I have too!
There is a very good reason why a carp angler goes to Yateley Angling Centre and an all-rounder like myself heads to Apollo Angling at Marsh Farm as not only do they stock everything I want, they never close shop during the day, supply quality bait, will price match an item of kit found on the internet, are always helpful and friendly and even run a loyalty card system.  
I had to smile this month as it seems that some young and very good anglers seem to think that starting at the top is the way forward when it comes to sponsorship. I was going to write loads on this subject but felt it best to keep it to a few wise words. If you want to be noticed then just keep catching quality fish as there are eyes out there looking and when they feel you are worthy of being signed up they will be in touch. By seeming desperate and by splashing the sponsors names all over your catch pictures/report is doing you no favours as everyone else will simply ignore you and by doing so that sponsor, or in your case non-sponsor will just ride your goodwill. Stop, be honest in what you are using and if you are good, consistent and reliable then the opportunities will come. Back track some twenty years and it was the capture of a 31lb 10oz pike that saw my opening with Anglers Mail, then future captures in the same year in the shape of a 7lb 1oz eel plus others saw the likes of Simon Scott, Paul Garner and Colin Davidson taking note. It’s these guys that have looked after me ever since, yet it was my dedication in catching big fish that saw them take note, and certainly nothing else. If you’re an angler that is constantly in the news, keeping your profile up to date in social media but setting your heights just a bit too high  then it’s worth knowing that some of the best anglers in the country started right at the bottom as once you are on the sponsorship ladder, then you will get noticed! 
To anyone that attended Sandown and wanted to catch up with me then I apologise as although I wanted to attend Nash had such a good response in the team that my services weren’t needed. I will be at the Big One at Farnborough in March so look forward to seeing you then.
            A quick look at my diary shows that this month was a good varied one for guiding, features and personal sessions. I may well not have been on the bank for as many sessions as I would have liked but the hours spent each session was well up, at over eight hours! At a glance, watching as a customer caught three personal best in one day, as well as four two-pound plus grayling on the Frome, then purchasing a 15ft rod and showing an eager to return to such a venue gives me so much pleasure. Catching my first personal best of the season, an 8lb 2oz brownie from the same venue plus a number of 2lb plus grayling on the float has also been enjoyable as it gives me the incentive to keep trying as that 3lb plus grayling just has to show sooner or later.
            Its also been a mega month for writing features and fortunately Angler Mail have been keeping me busy, however if you are a lure angler out there with a few tricks up your sleeve and fancy featuring in an article then get in touch. What I’m interested in is your tactics, not the venue and will be willing to spend a day with you taking images and notes to compile your first ever article. What I really want to ensure is that if you have a special venue then this will be kept secret and that even if you are sponsored there is no cost to you, all I need is your time to promote you in whatever way you wish. If you are interested then email me or call/text me 07928 617006. Another really enjoyable day was spent at a local venue with Paul Garner that has huge pike potential. It was our first session on the lake and we had to move three times to find the fish which saw us taking three modest fish late in the day. If anyone would like to explore this venue with me then once again, get in touch via email or phone!

Day to Day events.
01/11/16 – On the road come 5.30am as off to the Frome to enjoy the first day of the Grayling season. On the bank and fishing by 8am and first fish was my target for the winter, a 2lb grayling. Banks expectedly busy but plenty of water and swim to go at and enjoy. Managed maybe a dozen grayling including another two plus a few brown trout on trotted corn, however if maggot was used then far more fish would have been caught, yet the average size would have been far smaller. Can’t wait to get back!  
02/11/16 – Took mum out for a game of golf. Needed a calculator to add up her score, yet I shot a 35 on a par 31! Afterwards I headed out to sit with a friend who was after a 2lb roach. The temperature dropped dramatically after dark and the fish didn’t really feed as all he managed were a few modest rudd.
03/11/16 – A full day in the office wading through lots of fishy related jobs.
04/11/16 – Up early and on the road come 6.15am, this time travelling to the river Wye to join up with past Wye Champion Dave Roberts to create an ‘On the Bank’ feature for Anglers Mail.

06/11/16 – Spent most of the day writing up the OTB for AM along with lots of other fishy related stuff.
07/11/16 – Another day in the office, this time creating a roach feature for a European magazine.
08/11/16 – With a customer wanting some stick float fishing on Thursday thought it best to take a look at a couple of stretches to see what was fishing best. I wanted to go to the tidal at Richmond but the tides were wrong and would have seen us having to wade through the rush hour each way so I headed to the Thames at Staines, however the low clear conditions and lack of flow saw just a couple of small roach taken. In the afternoon I headed to the Blackwater and in just three hours fishing managed around forty fish consisting of roach and perch to over a pound along with small chub, dace a gudgeon. No guesses where we will be Thursday?
09/11/16 – Loads of overnight rain made me head to the river Loddon, however although it was up a few inches it had no colour in it. I had to go to the river as needed to do a brief assessment on it so thought I’d might as well cast a big lump of garlic sausage in the river for an opportunist barbel but it wasn’t to be.
10/11/16 – Just returned home after a fantastic guiding day on the river Blackwater. My customer Ian wanted a day’s trotting and the river never disappointed as every swim we visited provided bites, mainly from quality roach to well over the pound, chub to 3lb 8oz plus dace, perch, gudgeon and a 7lb pike that grabbed a roach on the way to the net. Initially we had said that a 20lb net of fish would have been a result but with the addition of the pike we went well over the top of this. Now where can you go and get quality fishing like this nowadays?
11/11/16 – Conditions were far from ideal for a social into darkness at Enton. Not only was it cold with temperature falling to 1.5 degrees around 8pm but the full moon, cloudless skies, clear water and lack of wind did little to raise our confident. As expected it was tough, and the five hour session ended in a total blank for myself and Tony with Alan managing a couple of rudd along with losing a fish.
12/11/16 – Up early, this time visiting the Basingstoke canal to meet a couple of carp anglers to create an Anglers Mail feature. Things didn’t quite go to plan as the fish weren’t biting and the weather, well it rained constantly the whole day.
13/11/16 – Spent a few hours tidying the tackle shed ready for a new roof next month as well as sorting the tackle ready for a busy week ahead.
15/11/16 – Time to head back down to Dorset, this time with a customer whose wife had bought him three days guiding with me for Christmas last year. His wish was to beat his previous best grayling of 10oz taken from the Wey many years before and if possible up this too over two-pounds. Beating 10oz was a certain but getting a two-pounder another story however if you want a fish of such magnitude then you have to fish a river that gives you the best possible chance, so the Frome it was. Meeting in Alton at 6.30am we were on the bank just gone 8am and as Ross hadn’t done much trotting for a while headed to a swim which is like a nursery for fish as its got lots of small brown trout and grayling up to a pound. Twenty fish later and Ross had started to hone his skills so off we headed to a swim far more demanding. Feeding corn it took quite a few trots to get a bite yet when it came he found himself attached to his dream fish, a 2lb 6oz grayling. Fortunately the weather conditions were ideal with little wind which makes things far easier and almost every swim we covered produced fish. Come the end of the day around fifty fish had been taken including a dace of 7oz, sea trout to around 3lb (both personal bests) along with brown trout, salmon par and more grayling including others weighing 2lb 4oz, 2lb oz and 2lb 5oz!
16/11/16 – Today was a bit of a disaster as I learnt an important lesson and that’s not to mix work with pleasure. The only saving grace was that I was able to spend time with my father and girlfriends dad who caught a few ornamentals and the odd better roach from a very low and under par Golden Ponds.
17/11/16 – Another early start, 6.15am in fact and once again it was to be spent on the Frome to create a trotting feature for grayling. Although we managed to get the feature sorted it was far from easy as the wind increased to over 40mph which made trotting in any form almost impossible. Come 2pm and with the clouds blackening we decided to call it a day as fishing is supposed to be fun!
18/11/16 – Another trip to Dorset, yet today was far easier as I met Chris on the outskirts of Winchester where we picked up Tom. Arriving in Wareham we quickly bought some maggots had a quick look at the Frome on the quayside before heading off downstream. Conditions weren’t that good with a brisk south west wind but after Tuesday’s results I now know that grayling can have their off days as the river fished exceptionally hard. Tom managed around forty fish, grayling to 1lb 6oz plus small brown and sea trout. Chris and I caught around two-dozen fish each with the highlight falling to my rod in the shape of a personal best 8lb 2oz brown trout and a 2lb 3oz grayling. We were hoping to create a video but the wind just made and audio coverage difficult; however it would have been great to get that big trout on video.
19/11/16 – In the office all day catching up on fishy related stuff as well as cleaning and sorting all the kit from the last few sessions.
21/11/16 – Another day in the office, this time writing the words for an AM ‘On the Bank’, taking a few images to go with this and sorting the kit for a day’s guiding tomorrow.
22/11/16 – Just returned from a great mornings fishing with a customer at a local lake in which he landed over 15lb of quality roach to over the pound on the float in less than four hours.
24/11/16 – Up early once again this time to team up with Paul Garner on a new venue to check out its pike potential. Arriving before dawn we started in a shallow corner but after two hours moved to the deepest corner yet another two hours past without any activity. We then had the heads up that a few pike had shown early on further along the bank so moved and fortunately caught three modest pike quite quickly. Paul needed some images for a feature so although we were disappointed at finding the fish late in the day we did at least get some quality action and catch images. The venue has done pike well into the twenties and rarely gets pike fished so I’m looking forward to returning to get amongst its bigger residents. 

26/11/16 – With the Nash stand at Sandown being so well attended I was given the weekend off, just as well as the girlfriends been off the last week, however did manage to head to a local lake to try and catch a bag of roach for a feature. The target was 15lb plus but the weather has taken a turn for the worst and has really turned cold. Roach did grace the net, around 8lb of them in just three hours but it was so cold that it wasn’t very enjoyable so with freezing toes and fingers I decided to return in slightly more comfortable conditions.