Friday, 1 December 2017

Monthly Report November 2017

Monthly Report November 2017

Well this month I’ve been here there and everywhere and it doesn’t surprise me to see that I have been on the bank on sixteen occasions. Many of these have been short sessions targeting a big fish at key times, such as roach at dusk and a few hours into darkness. I haven’t had much success at the moment but I know that the venue fished has the size of fish I’m looking for I just need to be there at the right time and put my hook in the right fish’s mouth. It’s not all been short sessions as my guided days are for up to 10 ten hours fishing and add travelling time onto this, some of which are an hour and a half each way you can see why with my diverse style of fishing where each day could see a different species targeted, getting out every day is impossible. I think something else that some anglers don’t take into consideration is preparation time, sorting kit and bait which all takes additional time. Perch are one species that are capturing my imagination and my target, a four pound plusser this winter, was rocked somewhat as when a big one slid in my net at the back end of the month and on a river my heart jumped a beat, however she came a few ounces short at 3lb 9oz but it was still one hell of a fish.
Guided days have also been successful with customers catching plenty of fish including personal bests, perch again along with learning new skills and techniques along the way. Feature writing is still taking plenty of time up, however I have now decided to limit myself to two a week which includes my WTF column for Anglers Mail each week which will free up some valuable fishing time.
Perch are the new barbel in my eyes as trying to catch a barbel on my local rivers to order is almost impossible but perch are far more reliable and a species that seems to be gaining in for availability and prices, however I have to admit that quite a few dates have already gone.
popularity. Chub and grayling are also very much obliging in these cold conditions that have now set in so if you are interested in being guided then I’m going to increase my guiding days to two a week for the next few months. Email me at –

I’m also looking forward to my once a year trip to Testwood Pools next month and will be putting in a few short sessions on a local commercial, one that each year turns up perch to over 5lb. Will keep you all informed, tight lines.

Day to Day events.

 01/11/17 – It’s a real shame that anglers like myself, with relatively little spare time have to work around the ever busy roads. This often dictates not just the species that you want to target but also the venues fished. Today I was teaming up with my mate Chris for a walk around the tidal Thames, more as a day to gain information than to catch fish as although rods were taken we knew that we would be arriving at the worst time of the tide, low tide. Some would disagree but with the draw-off underway actually casting a line at this time of the tide was almost impossible. We had to sit for hours waiting for the river to start filling up yet when it did it was time to leave, yes in order to miss the traffic. All was not lost as although neither of us could tempt a bite we did watch an angler head into the weir at high tide and catch a few fish. Most of these were pike to around 10lb, so it almost told us what we already knew, that the numbers of perch that once thrived here weren’t around, however what are left are big. It also proved that in order to get to the fish you have to get afloat and this was what the visit was for as with a small boat at my disposal it’s now time to start getting it ready for its first voyage in years.
02/11/17 – The next day, again with Chris we headed south to Passies Ponds in West Sussex. Unfortunately every time we go perch fishing it seems to coincide with far from ideal conditions and with a grass frost, bitter N/W wind and bright blue cloudless skies (once the heavy fog had lifted) it was always going to be tough. Watching carp being caught, off the top on the ribbon lake did little for our confidence either but we both fished hard for five modest perch, the best 2lb 6oz.
03/11/17 – With a guiding trip on the Loddon having to be rescheduled and with my perch head on I used a few hours of the day to check out a local stretch of the river Wey but nothing tickled my nuts so to speak and although I did cast a line in the odd swim nothing was forthcoming.
05/11/17 – With a few hours once again to spare I met Chris once more for a quick three hour session at a local lake, once again for perch and yes once again we were greeted with a frost and bright blue skies. Again we knew it wasn’t going to be easy but Chris did get two pick-ups, one that he missed and the next, definitely quite a good perch was lost.
07/11/17 – After dropping the lady off I headed to the Loddon to meet up with one very brave angler who had hired me for the day to reveal all of my secrets on one very difficult stretch. It wasn’t surprising that we never received a bite or saw any signs of fish but they are there and I hope that what he learnt will be put into good use and that he will be rewarded with a couple of very big fish over the coming months. Good luck Graham!
09/11/17 – A mega early morning, 4.45am to be precise as this time I was heading to a small club lake in Kent to meet my customer Ian for a perch session. When we arrived at first light I was surprised to find carp up on the surface and moving around as it had been another cold night with temperatures hovering just above freezing! Float fishing prawns and spraying maggots soon created a few bites, but although some of these were from our target species, no monsters were landed. We also caught roach to around a pound plus rudd, bream and even a gudgeon that took a prawn on a size 10 hook! By 2pm the clouds that had given us confidence had moved on and the sun was out and with this the lake died. Come 3pm and once again not wanting to hit the M25 traffic we threw the towel in. It was then that I realised why it was so tough and those carp were up on the top, the atmospheric pressure was 1024mb!
10/11/17 – At long last a day in the office sorting out fishy related jobs.
11/11/17 – Spent the day completing my WTF column, getting a few Anglers Mail Tactical briefings finalised and sorting the kit and bait for a day’s perch fishing tomorrow.
12/11/17 – Off to West Sussex this morning once again to team up with Chris in our search for a big perch. This session was to create an Anglers Mail ‘Where to fish’ Opener. How did we get on after last night’s torrential rain that saw all the lakes at Coloured Ponds full to the brim? You will have to keep buying your copy of AM each week to find out if we succeeded in landing a few stripy’s.
13/11/17 –This afternoon I headed to my local Gold Valley Lakes to team up with a local match angler, Ashley who has been framing quite a bit of late, to create an Anglers Mail Catch More feature, before sorting the tackle for a guided trip to the River Itchen tomorrow morning.
14/11/17 – On the road early to meet up with my customer for the day, Terry who wanted to try using a pin and perfecting the art of trotting a chalk stream for grayling. Conditions weren’t bad apart from a slight tinge in the water but this didn’t seem to put the fish off as every swim we tried we caught, mostly small grayling to around 1lb 6oz and brown trout to 3lb. Come 3.30pm Terry was knackered and was struggling as his arm was hurting from catching so many fish but
left a happy angler and with a new style of fishing away from his normal fly fishing he will be back enjoying the explosive action soon.
15/11/17 – In the office all day writing up the Anglers Mail WTF opener shot on Sunday.
16/11/17 – Once again office bound for a few hours before grabbing the tackle and heading off to a lake to see if I could tempt any bites before the cold weather arrives. Literally had just three hours to spare and five minutes before winding in both rods were away. One was missed the other produced a roach around 1lb 6oz. At least I know when to arrive in future!

17/11/17 – Once gain in the office, this time writing up my weekly ‘Where to fish’ column.
20/11/17 – Was hoping to have a full day perch fishing at a new venue but things went tits up yesterday afternoon leaving me with just the afternoon and evening to fish so I headed to a local lake to see if I could tempt the odd rudd. Arriving at dusk, just in time to set up and bait up before the suspected feeding spell started I found myself sitting through the expected 5pm switch, yet come 5.30pm the first bite came from the right specie but of the wrong size, around a pound. It was one of those occasions when I could have fished late into the night if the fish were obliging, yet in really mild conditions, 12.5 degrees and a nice SW wind, and with only two more similar size rudd in the net that both fell around 6pm I decided tonight wasn’t the night and headed home.
21/11/17 – In the office, this time writing a Catch More feature on winter carp for Anglers Mail.
22/11/17 – Up at 2.30am, no not to go fishing but to drop the girlfriend of at Heathrow as she’s off Christmas shopping for a few days! Don’t worry, haven’t told her yet but planning a few days away soon looking to catch a monster stripy! Back at home by 4.30am, sleep till 9am and then in the office with matchsticks holding my eyes up all day completing not only a Catch More for Anglers Mail but my weekly ‘Where to fish’ column. With pretty much everything done it’s now time to get the rods out! 
23/11/17 – Up at 5.30am and on the road with my customer John Merriman in the hope of a big Passies Pond perch. Taking a chance we headed to the Match Lake, once again in blue cloudless skies and come 11am a couple of F1’s had fallen along with a personal best perch of 2lb 5oz. We then headed to the Main Lake and had to scale everything down to get bites but during a short feeding spell John managed a further four perch, all around 2lb along with losing a couple.
24/11/17 – On the road early again, this time heading to a commercial fishery in Berkshire in the hope of a monster perch for myself. The fishery isn’t a prolific perch fishery and only produces a couple of perch each winter but when they come out then they are capable of smashing my 4lb 10oz personal best. Fishing till 12.30am, again in bright cloudless skies I blanked but I’m going to have to get used to these on this fishery. Back at home and after a couple of hours work I swapped the perch rods over to rudd rods and headed to a local lake at dusk, casting out heli rigs and maggot in the hope of a big rudd. Five bites came my way by 8pm which resulted to four fish which included three modest rudd, the best around 1lb 12oz. Leaving the lake it looks like winter has arrived as the temp had fallen below freezing and my tackle showed signs of frosting up.
25/11/17 – Two mornings of heavy frost and bright blue skies meant that I didn’t see the reason of going perch fishing so stayed at home, sorting out the lighting in my tackle shed. In the evening though I once again grabbed the rudd kit and headed to my local lake for a few hours. The weather is raw, atmospherics really high on 1023mb and a breeze making it feel far colder than the 5 degrees stated. My mate Chris went in the normal swim, had two chances but somehow mucked both up. By 8pm and with no further action we decided it wasn’t going to happen as most fish come between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
26 & 27/11/17 – In the office both days sorting a few fishy related items including my weekly Anglers Mail ‘WTF’ column and an Advanced Grayling feature for Anglers Mail website.
28/10/17 – After picking the girlfriend up at Heathrow and knowing she needed some sleep slipped off to a new stretch of river for a spot of perch fishing. Second cast produced one of my biggest ever river perch weighing 3lb 9oz but disaster then struck as in my haste to leave home I realised that I had left the camera at home, so all I could do was take a quick picture on the mobile. An hour later in a new swim saw a 2lb 9oz perch in the net and yet another mat shot taken. Between the next bites (I missed two) I decided to explore my iPhone and when the next perch, again 2lb 9oz hit the net I was able to take a rather amateurish self take, shame the two 2.9’s didn’t come first!
29/10/17 – If you want a three pound plus perch then you have to strike whilst the irons hot which is exactly what one of my regular
customers, Alan Muller did when he read my latest Face Book entry showing yesterdays perch. Booking me for a guided day we headed back to the venue, however after a heavy frost things took a while to get going but after a couple of small fish he struck into a much better fish which turned out to be a new personal best perch weighing 3lb 4oz alone with following this up with another slightly smaller in a hectic few minutes.

30/10/17 – It’s been a busy couple of days and once again I was up early, this time to meet new customer Ryan who was looking to catch a big chub. Normally I wouldn’t have worried about the weather but last night was cold and with a heavy frost once again on the ground and temperatures not getting higher than 2 degrees along with a strong and chilling N/W wind we headed to an old hotspot at first light. The once known ‘banker’ swim failed to produce on cheese paste, as did the next three, also past productive swims, so we switched to a lump of flake. This livened things up, however the first bite came from a pike! Roving around the next swim produced a chub of around a pound so although we were now getting bites they weren’t from the size of fish desired. A couple of swims later a better chub graced his net, around 3lb 8oz, still not what we were looking for however giving a few swims what’s known as ‘quick fire’ visits we were running out of river. Our plan was to settle in one swim that I know produced chub to almost 7lb last winter but before doing this we tried a small depression in the river bed and starlight away a bite came from what we hoped was a big chub, however when a barbel showed we were both amazed as it took bread and came on the coldest day of the winter so far. Although the big chub never showed, four bites on this difficult ‘big fish’ stretch of water is good and would have normally produced a five pound plus chub, however with new skills learnt and knowledge of the river I’m sure it won’t take Ryan long to land a big chevin.
With just three weeks left till Christmas if you fancy buying your angling partner a ‘day out with Duncan’ voucher or one of my signed books for Christmas then you need to do this soon. I still have a few books left so just email me with your address along with payment for just £10.99 plus £4 P&P and I will get a copy in the post straight away. A guided voucher costs £135.
Payment can be made by PayPal, a cheque or direct into my bank account.

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