Saturday, 4 November 2017

Monthly report October 2017

Monthly Report October 2017

Another really mild month that has seen the transformation from summer to winter species really difficult to make however the last Sunday night of the month saw the first frost which means I can at last forget about summer species and start concentrating on winter targets, perch especially.
Godalming Angling’s Johnsons Lake was where I spent most of my spare time, yet the venue was very unpredictable. One day the crucians would be relatively easy as would the carp, the next almost impossible. After a successful day guiding a couple of members, Scott and Will I was confident of catching some crucians for a Nash Video, but try as I did the crucians were just not feeding. I did catch one relatively small crucian straight away then spent the rest of the day catching everything but. The Nash video duo, Carl and Alex were with me and I’m sure will make another Oscar winning production but the day just proved how difficult and unpredictable our sport can be. Also on Johnson saw me hook seven carp in just three hours before having to jump in and save a cygnet. The following day I was back with my dad in the hope he would experience such fine fishing but the wind had turned and the fish gone. Later on in the month and again having one last go for the carp, unsuccessfully, I had to sit and watch a cormorant swallow what almost certainly was a two-pound plus roach. It took around fifteen minutes to swallow it then for the next two hours look uncomfortable as it digested it. If it were my fishery I know what I would do as this is just not sustainable and one day I fear that Johnsons will be an all out carp venue as watching three cormorants work the water on a daily basis is seriously going to make an impact sooner or later. As you will see from my daily posts I love the wild life around me and will do everything to save a suffering bird, but cormorants as far as I’m concerned need to be controlled any which way.
Apart from the Johnsons session I have started to travel further afield and enjoyed a brilliant day on the Bridge Pool with my good friend Lewis Deek’s along with travelling once again to the Wye and back in a day and during the first couple of days in November to the Thames and a commercial in West Sussex in hope of a specimen perch. November is going to be almost all about perch with the occasional roach session and maybe a day targeting carp. What with my weekly Anglers Mail ‘where to fish’ column and the continual feature writing for magazines in both this country and abroad its sure to be another action packed month but one I’m looking forward too.
Book sales have been manic and with just a small stock left if you want one for Christmas then you need to put your order in now. Just email me and I will let you know how you can get your hands on a signed copy.
Another idea that is always popular as a Christmas present is to get your other half to buy a ‘guided day voucher’ from me. Vouchers will be posted out and can be placed in your Christmas card as an added surprise and then be used anytime throughout the year. Again just email me for prices etc.

Day to Day events.

01/10/17 – A guided day at Johnsons to help member, Scott Poulter and his son Will fine tune some methods to help catch more and bigger crucians. Fishing off the Railway Bank and starting at 6.30am the first fish to fall for Scott was a mirror, known as The Peach and probably the best looking carp in the lake at 29lb 12oz. Not bad on a size 16 hook and 5lb hooklink! The day progressed in a steady manner with the odd fish falling to both but it was far from easy and regular casting and accuracy played its part in keeping the fish coming. Come dusk, 6.30pm when we called it a day Scott had landed a dozen tench, another carp of around 11lb plus two crucians, the biggest 3lb 5oz. Will who tried his luck for carp at the start then switched to crucians later in the day managed two crucians, the best a personal best of 3lb 11oz!

Testimonial from Scott...

Having fished for the best part of 35 years, I have generally had a clear sense of targets in my fishing but for me it has never been just about catching, or measuring success merely in pounds and ounces, more about a sense of enjoying my surroundings, and working things out for myself so that on the odd occasions that I catch a decent fish I gain that sense of reward that comes with having worked for the prize.
However with my time increasingly at a premium due to family and work commitments I realised that if I was to get the most from fishing then a little help along the way would do me no harm at all and I booked Duncan for a day’s Crucian fishing at the beautiful Johnsons Lake, what a great decision it proved to be.
               My objective for the day was simply to learn as much as possible so that I could translate those lessons and try to apply them to my own fishing, but I gained so much more than just that. From the outset I found Duncan easy to communicate with, prepared to freely share his knowledge and information built up over years in his own fishing, generous with his time and generous with the use of his own tackle if I wanted or needed it, and he worked hard all day to try and ensure we caught.
               On the day I also took my son with me, who is showing an increasing interest in the sport, and is beginning to learn and carve out his own direction. Duncan was great with Will and was equally adept and patient communicating with a relative beginner.
               Whilst the success of the day was never going to be measured by me in what we caught, more by what we learned and we learned absolutely loads, we did nonetheless also bag a few. I managed a pb Mirror of 29lb 12oz on a small critically balanced piece of fake corn fishing with the pellet cone, and also came within an ounce of my Crucian pb with a 3lb 5oz fish. This was backed up with Tench, Rudd, a slightly smaller Crucian and a Common. However it was one of Will’s fish that stole the show, with a stunning 3lb 11oz Crucian, a new family pb and I was very proud of my boy.
               Duncan took it all in his stride and expressed a degree of slight disappointment that it had been a tough days fishing and was genuinely sorry that we hadn’t  enjoyed more success. It is precisely this mind-set and that sentiment that separates the top anglers from the average guys like myself and drives them to keep refining things until they have truly cracked it. The difference being that many of them understandably keep the knowledge won through their hard work to themselves, whereas Duncan is one of the guys who shares it freely.  
               I cannot recommend Duncan highly enough, I will be booking again myself in the future.

Scott Poulter

02/10/17 – Up at the crack of dawn once again and back on the banks of Johnsons to meet Carl and Alex to create a Nash video. Can’t say too much about this apart from we gave it everything, fishing an hour into darkness to catch our target species, succeeded but it was far from easy. Link to follow.............
04/10/17 – Headed down to Barton Court fishery to produce an Anglers Mail opener. Fished the stick and maggot for plenty of bites from surprisingly dace along with lots of brown trout and minnows!
05/10/17 – In the office all day writing up yesterdays feature and my weekly ‘where to fish’ column.
06/10/17 – A very sad day as we lost one of the families pet, Snoopy from old age. Struggled to get my head around anything serious after having to lay her to rest in the back garden but at least we can talk to her everyday and remember her for all the happiness she bought us all. Hopefully the dace will keep my mind occupied tomorrow on the Bridge Pool.
07/10/17 – A treat from a very good friend and previous customer off mine Lewis Deeks was a trip to the famous Bridge Poll on the river Avon at Christchurch. Arriving at my home at 6am we had the luxury of leaving the van in the driveway and travelling down in the car and after a good journey down we arrived at just after 7.15am.
Unfortunately the weather was as comfortable with constant drizzle and a brisk westerly, yet after a few hours this cleared, the wind dropped and the maggots were able to come into play. Lewis was quietly making his rod up but mine was already set and ready to go so after asking for his permission (he did pay) I guessed a depth, placed a piece of corn on a hook and a few yards down the pool saw the float dip and the rod bend double. Lewis just laughed as I tried to get some sort of control on what was obviously a decent sea trout, yet the hook pulled. A few casts later and still with Lewis setting up saw the second sea trout hooked and this one after an immense fight saw what we thought was what’s known as a ‘taker’ in the net, yet two inches oversized (22inches) and weighing around 5lb she was set free to pull another string. That was the end of the sea trout action for me (a few were hooked and lost) and although plenty of quality dace came to hand it was the master that stole the show as it soon became around 10 sea trout to my two! The tide plays a massive part in catching and around lunchtime and with the tide at its highest the bites dried up as did the constant jumping from the trout. We continued to try and get bites but it’s like a switch being hit as just as the flow starts to ebb out to sea the trout and dace start to move again and with this so do the floats. I think we ended up with twenty-six sea trout, Lewis had 16, myself 10 and although I landed three on the trot I just couldn’t match his centerpin line control and expertise at placing them in the net. What a day and an experience I highly recommend.
10/10/17 – On the bank of Johnson Lake come 7am to meet dad and Mick in the hope that the crucians may have switched on. Conditions great with a nice S/W wind blowing into the ‘Chicken Bank’. I had made the mistake of saying I would be arriving at 6.45am so they took advantage of this and duly bagged the best swims at 6.30am, yet an hour later they were on the back foot as it was four nil to me. Three tench and a 3lb 7oz crucian had graced my net so I thought it time to help them out, tie up some new hooklinks and hope this would bring them the odd bite, which it did. Come 1pm when we called it a day I had taken one more tench, another crucian, again 3lb 7oz plus dropping one which looked far bigger at the net along with the standard double figured common. Dad managed two tench, one over 6lb and Mick three crucians to 3lb 5oz and a tench. All in all an enjoyable session but rather cold. Winters just around the corner.
11 & 12/10/17 – Back in the office for a couple of days, this time creating a Catch More feature for AM as well as starting this week’s WFT column.
13/10/17 – Another early morning this time heading to West Sussex to meet my good friend Rikki Cooper who was confident he could put a 20lb plus pike on the bank in a morning session for the camera! Did he do it? Well if you want to know, and the venue he fished then you need to keep buying your copy of Anglers Mail each week!
15/10/17 – Tried to have one last go at the carp off the top but with the lake too busy settled down for a few hours in the less populated areas in the hope of a big crucian. Conditions feel great but white cloud and high atmospherics (1019mb) usually mean it will be tough and it was with just four bites coming from the four hour session. Those fish were three crucians, 1lb 4oz, 3lb 7oz and 3lb 8oz plus a 6lb tench.
16/10/17 – In the office all day writing the pike feature for Rikki and Anglers Mail.

17/10/17 – Wanted to be on a lake roach fishing at first light but after a sleepless night due to a few fishy related things on my mind decided that I’d grab the carp kit and head back to my local lake for one last go with the zigs. Swim free at last and soon had a few carp mouthing around and just twenty minutes in landed the first, a 14lb common. The action was then quite manic with five more carp falling plus one lost from a hook pull. These weighed 15lb 13oz, 15lb 15oz, 17lb 7oz, 18lb 3oz and 20lb 3oz. Not bad for just three hours in the water. Might off had another but with just thirty minutes to go before heading off to pick the girlfriend up noticed a cygnet in distress. Yes, your all saying that they are a pain in the arse but no one likes to see an animal suffering so there was nothing else for it but to jump in the lake, get my knackers wet and cold and save the swan from any pain. She was trailing sixty yards of line that was attached round her next with the rig well out in the lake. After biting the line she still had line around her neck and by this time had jumped out of the lake and was heading down the track so

chasing her I managed to corner her, jump on top before removing the line and placing her back where she belonged, in the lake.
18/10/17 – After such a fantastic day yesterday I had to take my dad back to experience such great fishing however after arriving at first light it wasn’t long to realise that something was different, the wind. Yesterday it was a nice S/Westerly yet today it had swung 180 degrees and was now coming from the N/East. Although we worked hard and got the odd fish showing it was obvious that they really weren’t having it and come midday, some five hours later we threw the towel in and headed home. How two days can be so different! Back at home it wasn’t long before I was picked up by Thames fanatic Alan Muller, this time heading to one of his favourite swims for barbel at Sunbury Lock. If you want to know how we faired then keep buying your copy of Anglers Mail as all will be revealed.
19/10/17 – In the office all day writing my AM column along with getting the tackle sorted for a day’s guiding on the river Wye tomorrow.

20/10/17 – Arrived at the river rather later than would have wished which probably the reason for not catching as many as we would have liked as all year the river has fished better in the morning. Things looked good, but the water temperature was really cold and I’m guessing it colder as the day progressed as the action tailed off also as the day wore on. Out of the four barbel hooked just one of 7lb 5oz was landed, I even lost one after doing all the hard work, getting it away from the snags only for the feeder to lodge in a snag mid river! Even the chub weren’t feeding with just one showing and come 5.30pm the river looked dead.
23/10/17 – It’s been a bit of a roller coaster couple of days; however a situation that had me seeing the odd sleepless night has now been rectified for the best and I can now once again relax and get my head around things. I was supposed to have been shooting another feature for the Mail Saturday just gone but the weather forecasters had sent out weather warnings about Storm Brian. To be honest I was somewhat disappointed as I had more wind in my underpants than Brian did! Sorry another case of the weather forecasters over exaggerating exactly what was coming in certain regions and making us all batten down the hatches for no reason at all. Thanks!  
On a positive note my book sales have gone mad and I have been constantly writing messages and signing the latest batch printed before posting them out. Looking at my stock I’m going to have to make another call to my printer tomorrow to get enough in for Christmas. If you want a copy then you need to get in touch now, just email me at – and I will forward everything you need to know?
24/10/17 – In the office all day catching up with fishing related paperwork.
25/10/17 – Chris my fishing mate wanted to have one last go at the carp on over-depth zigs and although I told him it probably was too late in the year he insisted and in all honesty with a gentle S/W wind and temperatures almost twenty degrees I thought that we might just have a chance Things looked good an hour after arriving at first light with a few carp cruising around and moving under our spodded out slop but an hour later it looked like one got away with the rig, created a big swirl on the surface and that was the last thing we saw of a carp so at 2pm threw the towel in finally for this tactic this year.
27/10/17 – Spent the day in the office writing features. Managed to get two Anglers Mail features completed, my WFT column and a ‘Catch More’ on weir pool barbel.
28/10/17 – Another office day, this time compiling a European roach article and tidying the tackle shed as now it’s turned colder I can finally start thinking about perch, grayling and roach.
29/10/17 – Oh my god, does roach fishing get any better as just returned from Waggoner’s Wells, had the place to myself and using bread punch two rod lengths out caught 32lb of roach to just over a pound in an amazing three hours. I would have caught more but Dad came and sat with me and I asked him to tell me when it was 1pm, however he hadn’t put his watch back and having so much fun didn’t realise until I got back to the car! I think my timing was perfect as today is the last mild day and tonight the temperature is dropping away, we may even get a frost in the morning. We did!
30/10/17 – Typical Monday in the office writing up features.

31/10/17 – The first frost of the winter has seen me sorting out the rods ready for perch which will be one of my main targets this winter and with the next two days to spare I will hopefully get off the mark either on the tidal Thames or down south on Passies in West Sussex. 

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