Duncan’s Monthly round-up – January 2016
January, its always a difficult month and I can see why so many anglers simply don’t bother through this and next month, February. The effort involved just getting the enthusiasm right to venture out, especially when targeting big fish and the chances are that you will be returning and notching another blank (I’ve just returned from my first barbel session of Feb in great conditions and guess what, a blank) on the wall, is draining in itself, however persistence does come with its rewards and this month I managed to up yet another personal best this time in the shape of a dace. The day this was caught was definitely the highlight of the month even after catching a two-pound plus rudd at the start of the month but let’s face it, it’s not exactly a rare event in my angling world. To be honest, I could quite easily head to Frensham and catch these on a regular basis, and often have to talk myself out of taking the easy option just to get results, yet come the end of the month would I have felt I’ve achieved anything, probably not. Life’s too short and covering old ground, however good has to be ignored if we are to learn new thing.
Looking at my diary inputs it’s been one of those months when plenty of short sessions have kept me going, fourteen to be precise and these have been split between personal sessions (9), features (3) and guiding (2) and have totalled around 75hrs bankside with a bait in the water. I get the feeling that February will see much of the same, yet I am thinking about thinning these sessions right down as other things are playing on my mind and I feel that for the rewards of actual fish on the bank compared to time spent preparing kit, travelling to venues and then actually fishing may well be worth knocking on the head so that other more important fishing related material can be produced, material that will free my time up considerably for many months to come.
I also think that (SAD) Seasonal Affective Order is beginning to get to not just myself but loads of others and after writing some ‘straight to the point’ words here on certain things in the angling world, I’ve decided to remove them, bite my lip and say nothing which is a shame as the inaccurate weighing of fish, hybrids being reported as something else, non publishing of articles really does need to be addressed, but there are plenty of people to do this for me and as for the articles, well everything I do from now on will be published I can promise you.
1/01/16 – Spent a few hours in the office witting up things such as end of month report, however it seems I have some technical issues with my Mac so time to get it sorted.
2/01/16 – The rain has arrived and its forecasted to continue all weekend so having Monday allocated to an article thought that I would get this sorted whilst the weather is so bad and then use Monday to fish.
3/01/16 – Article writing, this time a Venue Expert on Wylands in East Sussex for Anglers Mail.
4/01/16 – Arrived at Frensham at first light and both pike rods out by 7.45am. Very little happening which isn’t surprising as the constant weekend rain has probably lowered the water temperature. Strange pick-up after just ten minutes but probably a liner as quite a few small taps on the rod tip for the first hour or so, probably from fish moving n and out of the marginal rushes. Just about to pack up at 11am and finally a run but it’s just a small jack.
Back at home and after some lunch set about rigging up some rudd rods for a return this evening.
Back on the lake at 3.30pm and both rods out at 4pm. Really good to be back rudd fishing however will be lucky to catch as many swims flooded with extra water, yet still clear. Atmospheric pressure incredibly low at 983mb and with the odd thundery shower forecasted, yet amazingly stayed dry for once. Managed just three bites which resulted in two rudd weighing 1lb 15oz and 2lb 3oz. Good to be back!
5/01/16 – Completed a European article before heading to the river, however on route Chris calls me to say it’s in flood and impossible to access so turn the car around and head to Stanford end. Rivers up around a foot and coloured but fining down. Only fished a couple of hours at dusk and managed a chub around 4lb.
06/01/16 – Spent the day in the office, mostly backing up files as I’m thinking that I’m going to have to wipe my computers clean and start again very soon.
07/01/16 – This weathers now beginning to get on my nerves as I was being treated to a day on Testwood Pools with a good friend, however with so much rain overnight we were given the option to rearrange which we did late in the day. Unfortunately with wedding appointments in the evening this create no time to get much kit ready for another option, so with a couple of feeder rods rigged up and waiting to go it was decided to head to Badshot Lea Big Pond for a spot of bream fishing as I needed to create an ‘On the Bank’ article for the Mail anyway. This lake hates overnight rain so I just hope that around twenty hours grace might just give us a chance or
08/01/16 – Everything is against us today, loads of cold rain water in the lake, an overnight frost with the temperature only rising to a chilly 6 degrees and very little wind and what there is in from the south east. Arriving at dawn we knew it would be tough, but it was actually impossible and neither of us managed to get a touch. The odd cold shower did little to lift our spirits either.
11/01/16 – On the bank early, this time to create a Venue Expert at Broadwater Lake. Everything went smoothly and I was home by 12.20pm which allowed all the text etc to be written up and sent by the end of the day.
12/01/16 – Another early start but this time it was office duties that called as I needed to write up another article, again for the Mail. Come midday I headed up to the River Kennet just to take a photograph for a Tactical Briefing. Headed to Badshot Lea Big Pond mid afternoon, just for a couple of hours and managed five bream around 5lb on the helicopter rigs so everything looks good for tomorrow morning, albeit going to be -1 overnight!
13/01/16 – Up at first light and back to Badshot Lea to get the images for the ‘On the Bank’ article. Managed eight modest bream by 1pm and then back in the office to complete the job.
14/01/16 – Today was spent initially get Colin Davison an Anglers Mail Blog on Casting, before settling down to answer some AM Answers and Questions.
15/01/16 – Winters really here now and after a meeting with my accountant I headed to the river Wey for a few hours trotting. Can’t believe how busy this tiny river is and glad I’ve found somewhere new to enjoy my trotting. Headed up stream and although tough found a few fish including three surprise roach, plus a couple of trout and a few dace, the biggest, once again 9oz!
16/01/16 – A really early start as today was an exploratory trip to a new stretch of river, some miles away so after picking Chris up on route we headed west, finally arriving on the river around 8.30am. The river was brimming its banks, at least two feet up, but the clarity wasn’t that bad which was encouraging as our target for the day ahead were grayling. Another pleasing point was that no other anglers were there and with a hard frost encapsulating the surrounding fields we took a stroll in the hope of finding a few areas that we could fish. Unfortunately the flood plain to the sides of the river were doing their job and the areas available to fish were limited due to the flooded fields but first cast and Chris was into a good fish that turned out to be a grayling just short of two-pounds. He continued for the next hour or so taking the odd grayling, and all good fish, but kept falling short of the two-pound mark. I managed the odd fish, again all grayling, and all over the pound so things look really encouraging for the next few sessions when we can explore the whole stretch and hopefully find some monster grayling that we are sure are around.
18/01/16 – Another early start, this time to meet an angler on the banks of the River Blackwater to create an Anglers Mail feature of trotting for roach.
19/01/16 – I would love to be heading to the river for a bit of barbel fishing yet last night was the coldest of the winter so far, -5, in fact as I look at the lake at the bottom of the garden its frozen solid. Knowing how hard it will be on the river and with two days trotting planned later in the week, today will be spent wisely tapping away on computer.
20/01/16 – Another full day in the office, this time answering a number of questions for Anglers Mail.
21/01/16 – After a rare full English at the parents myself and brother headed down to the river Frome at Wareham. First lesson learnt; if you are heading down here don’t leave at 8am as it will be a good 2hr trip. We finally arrived around 10am only to spot the only other angler right next to the swim Chris located a few grayling in last week. Although he wasn’t in the swim, fishing etiquette states, well in my book, to give the angler some space and with two or more miles to explore we headed to pastures new. In short it was tough going as the river was still bank high and raging through but after taking the odd modest grayling here and there I located one that just screamed fish and my thoughts were confirmed first trot down. This swim seemed to have lots of grayling in, the best once again agonisingly short of two-pounds but every time the float buried and the rod tip bent our hearts were in our mouths as each and every one felt far bigger than they actually were. Luckily the drive home was far smother than the one down and with another swim located it was job done.
22/01/16 – Now I could write an article on Testwood Pool, in fact I have in the past, yet today was once again a treat to me from a customer for helping him out over the past year. Unfortunately we had picked a day of rain and come midday I was on my second set of overalls, it was that bad but the fishing certainly made up for this as fish after fish graced our nets. I was fortunate to find some quality dace and recorded two personal bests over the day, the biggest, well that would be telling! The roach unfortunately didn’t want to play ball and the closest we came was from a hybrid that Alan landed. As always in-between the coarse fish numerous sea-trout grabbed either our sweetcorn or bread flake offerings, good fish up to 8lb along with plenty of brownies and the odd rainbow. More grayling were around than our last visit as well as the odd salmon par and chub to 3lb 8oz and come the end of an arm-aching day we probably had more than sixty fish between us.
Testwood Pools can be hired out at a cost of £160 for two anglers. I’m not allowed to guide or make money from this venue but if anyone would like to hire the pool and allow me to accompany them then I promise to impart all of my knowledge, catch them plenty of fish as well as supplying bait and tackle if needed and driving them there and back. If you are interested then let me know and I will forward the river keepers number.
25/01/16 – After a break from the barbel campaign myself and Chris were keen to get back. We would have continued over the past few weeks but we soon found out that when the river floods we are unable to get to the river and then when the cold spell hit felt it unnecessary to bait so with the river back in its banks and the temperature at a mild 12 degrees we resumed our quest for a monster. Chris sat it out whilst I roved around and although things were as always slow, we did get a bite between us, but was it the right bite?
26/01/16 – Knowing the rain was on its way I decided to spend the day in the office. I have to admit at getting a bit frustrated with the angling world of late as I have written numerous articles that all non carp anglers would appreciate reading but they just don’t seem to get published. What do I do, keep supplying these only to see my time wasted or concentrate on other avenues of income. Well today has been spent promoting myself, once again as a wedding photographer, an area the angling world has forced me back into. Will I be such a reliable source of material in future, well this depends on how the photography world goes and if the articles that are being held are used!
25/01/06 – Big Fish Session
29/01/16 – Big Fish Session
30/01/16 – Up early to meet a new customer who needs some help in pike handling, so headed to Frensham Small Pond as this is usually quite reliable for a few Jack. The overnight rain had flooded the local roads, however this had now passed and although it was forecasted to be dry at the same time the temperature was going to drop. The mild night had encouraged lots of carpers to be out and we had to drop into an area close by, but not exactly where I wanted to be. Sardines were cast out and we awaited the action. In total Neil received five runs, one was dropped, one was missed and the other all converted which created the opportunity for him to handle the fish, remove the hooks and learn all the basics needed to head out himself.