Thankyou for taking the time view my mutterings.

"We sit on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and possess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams, which we now see glide so quietly by us"

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Scratching Amongst The Catkins

After having a few weeks away from the bank I decided it was time to go and have a dabble, I was unsure not only where to go but also what target species to angle for? Day sessions confuse me a little during the close season especially at short notice and even though it has been slightly warmer for the last week, waters across the country still seem to have a wintry look and feel about them. I contemplated Tench fishing on a small lake that I managed to sneak a couple out of last spring but with the water temperatures still very cold I decided against the idea and thought a visit to the Grand Union would fit my needs with Roach,Perch and any other species that might just fancy a little munch.
I arrived just on 7am and plodded a short walk to a spot that had given me a little success on odd previous trips, the forecast for the day was supposed to be up to twenty degrees, what tosh that was!! a cold wind was blowing straight across the cut and hitting me straight in the face, oh well angle on and have a go were my thoughts.

Spot The Pole Float

Two rods had been packed, one was my 11ft float rod that was coupled with my trusty Rapidex pin and loaded with 3lb mainline, a light pole float was attached, shotted to a dot while a size 18 hook to 2lb line completed the set up. My other rod was to be a Daiwa connoisseur feeder rod with the 1oz tip attached, the reel was filled with a 4lb line and this would be fished with an SSG shot clamped to a short tag of line and held in place with a couple of float stops, a size 10 hook to a 3lb hooklink completed the job.
Bait for the day would be either hemp or pellet for the float rod and lobworms or prawns for the ledger. Maggots had not been considered on this occasion as I didn't want to be distracted for the slightly easier option(maybe) in just fishing for bites from anything that swims!
The tip rod was baited with one and a half lobworms and a fake maggot just to stop the buggers wriggling off and flicked to a small bay that lay between some hawthorn bushes, A couple of pouches of whole and chopped prawns where then fed over the top via the catapult,this rod would be left to do its thing while I concentrated on the float rod in search of some Roach.
4mm hooker pellets were my starting hookbait for the float rod, and I gathered that because the water temperatures were still low that the way forward would be not to over bait and just go gentle with the loose feed to begin with, so a small pinch of feed pellet would be fed roughly every other cast or so.
The first couple of hours passed by fairly quickly and all that I'd managed to muster were three hand sized pale looking Perch on the worm rod and a couple of small skimmers on the float. Not only were the bites on the float hard to come by but I also had the increasing problem of floating catkins that were being blown on the wind and drifting every time the locks were opened.

Bait Robber

 Masses of them started to cover the surface and in turn cause me problems not only with presentation but also on striking thus causing me to miss a few finicky bites where they had built up around the line between the rod tip and the float. Close by and on the opposite bank were a couple of swims that had probably been made and angled  by the younger generation during school holidays, the wind would be coming from behind but more importantly it was it was catkin free and soon I was gathering my small amount of kit and walking back over the bridge and nestling myself amongst the bankside foliage.
It didn't take me long to re adjust to my new surroundings and soon the same tactics were being applied. Either side of me had trailing bushes and foliage draping over and touching the waters surface and although shallower than the opposite bank I just had a feeling that the extra cover could hopefully provide me with one or two bites.
The worm rod was flicked just along the bank to my right and left to sleep, while I sat and concentrated on the float which had been placed just off of an over hanging hawthorn bush slightly to the left of me. By now the boat traffic had increased and so had the clarity of the water, as thick plumes of silt bubbled and smoked its way through the water column.
I had just poured a brew from my trusty and well loved flask when from the corner of my eye the quiver tip displayed a jaggy pull round and soon I was removing the hook from a nice Perch of around twelve ounces. Bites then came on a fairly regular basis to the worm rod but nothing of any size, the majority of the fish were all in the region of half a pound or so. The float rod on the other hand was still being difficult, I had missed a couple of bites that to be honest looked unmissable and the decision was quickly made to drop down to a size 20 hook and a slightly finer hooklink.
Shortly after placing the float back on the spot and flicking a few pellets out the float sailed away and a nice conditioned Roach was being swung to my palm, half a dozen more were quickly taken and then the swim went dead, I'd obviously caught them all??

Hand Sized Silver

I persevered, kept flicking bait out and playing with the depth and even moved the shot around, It was harder than going to work you know! The next bite that I received came when I had just taken my eye off the float to watch a jogger run past on the opposite bank (that will teach me) when the next thing I saw was the tip on my rod being pulled to the left while line was being taken from the centrepin. After a not very spirited fight I was soon scooping a Bream of roughly 4lbs into the folds of my net. Now Bream to be honest don't really float my boat but on what seemed like a fairly hard days angling it had managed to get me slightly active!

A couple more small Perch and a rather large Crayfish were taken on the tip, but the Bream had killed the float fishing to near dead, couple this with half a dozen more boats and the easy decision was made to sod off home and annoy the wife.



Sunday, 21 April 2013


The angling front has been a little quiet for me over the last few weeks hence my last few "Olds Kool posts". You see I have been a little busy at home, my head has been filled with the manic state that is trying to sell and buy a house, on top of this myself and the good Lady have been sneaking around for the past few months organising what was to be our "big day".
So with everything set in its place apart from some witnesses, we headed to Worcestershire and the town of Evesham to 'tie the knot' as it were. "Why there" you may be thinking? Well Mrs Burr as she is now known likes the towns and villages in this part of the country with their cobbled streets,old buildings and lovely little shops that are usually hidden up side streets or alleyways. For me though its the heart of our river systems and their gorgeous surroundings so it all seemed and felt perfect.The slight edginess of lack of witnesses was thankfully eased by three lovely lady's that were staying at our hotel for a short break so a big thank you and our glasses are raised to you.
Warwicksire Avon at Stratford
The Salford Hall Hotel
The biggest toast though (I'm now raising my tea cup) goes to all my family and friends who were so understanding and happy for us even with all the lies we had to tell (sorry), although it did make it a little exciting.
Mr and Mrs
Last and not least I must thank my gorgeous new wife (Jackie) for a perfect couple of days,and for taking on a stinking ageing fisherman!
Here's to us.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Couple Of Trips Through The 90's

After leaving Broggy in 1993 the decision was made to settle back down on the sand pit, regular baiting proceeded in a handful of swims throughout the complex for a good period of time and into the following season. It was this 94/95 season that really kicked my thoughts and efforts in after I managed to catch the first ever thirty to come from the lakes with a fish aptly named 'the pig' at 32lb in late September.
The red trousers and yellow Shirt were no more
Myself and a few other regulars/mates fished right through that winter all working together, to be fair we did manage to get amongst the better Carp. All too soon they started to receive names after the repeat captures from us all over a period of time with a certain few standing out more than most.
1994 also turned out to be the year that would see me venture across to France for the first time to 'Lac Des Settons' on a drive and survive trip for a week of unknown on a fairly large expanse of water with good friend 'Shaky Lee'. The wives (mine at the time) also travelled with us, staying in a lovely little cottage that overlooked the lake while me and Shake took to the bivvy's for four nights angling.
Twenty two fish between us my diary is saying with four fish over the thirty pound mark and the biggest going 37lbs. This trip was probably my most memorable ever for overseas angling, I think it was just the unknown side of it that made it just that little more exciting.
'Good times' from the unknown
The winter picture below shows just how mad we were back then, this was actually a session to celebrate my 24th Birthday in mid November and if I remember correctly the temperatures dropped to -12, no shelters just good old fashioned army sleeping bags. A bottle or two of Merrydown cider was all we had to keep us warm while we talked about the stars and rocket ships etc, which at the time were really playing mind games with us, that night between three anglers and six rods we caught bugger all but I had a good birthday even if it was a tad on the cool side!!
If I had rocket
During the close season of 1995 I became a member of the C.C.G (catfish conservation group) and not long after I had joined there were a few places left for a trip to Schnackensee in Germany so up went my hand and soon enough I was joining ten other hairy arsed Cat anglers on a 14 hour road trip in a clapped out mini bus to the other side of Germany and that I can tell you was an experience on its own!!
There were a good bunch of lads on the trip and most of them I am still in contact with today and most of them are still as daft as they were back then. One of my main memories from the trip was that of the arrival, we pulled up at the site next to four big skips, on stepping foot out of the bus our nasals were instantly hit with the pong of rotting fish and as it turned out this was to be were would have to pitch our digs for the week as night fishing was not allowed, next we were greeted by a short but bearded little German fella that I can no longer remember the name of, it was raining heavily and he offered to walk us around the venue. Now bearing in mind the lake was boasting Cats up to and around 170lbs just to see such a beast would have been an experience on its own, Our first sighting of a Cat was literally five minutes in to our stroll with the beardy man, a mid double wrapped in wet grass and lying on the bank waiting for a trip home for the table and that evenings dinner!! Any Carp, Cats or the like that weren't above a certain size had to be  knocked on the head and slung in our neighbouring skips, hence the whiff!!
Us English anglers were not going to be involved in any of that shenanigans, I know its their country and their rules but the looks on their faces when we were seen slipping fish back in to their watery homes was a picture and probably just as well we couldn't understand a bloody word they were saying/shouting in our direction.
The weather in this particular week was a typical May week for Germany,heavy rain as stated on arrival but also during our five day stay we experienced, hard frosts, sleet and also snow! Not ideal Catfishing weather to state the obvious but we tried our hardest and one of the lads Jason Stambridge dragged in a six footer that took the scales round to a creditable 125 pounds. Another big fish was banked by a German lad that was guesstimated at 160 pounds but it was foul hooked and after he had wiped the whole lake out in the hour and a half that it took him to get it to the net not a lot happened for the rest of the day after that incident.
Unfortunately I banked a total of Zero Cats but did manage to bag a few Carp on the coldest of days, and in fact my 25lb 8oz mirror was the biggest out of the lake for the week, a few grass carp also dropped my way, nothing of outstanding sizes but good fun when on the bank!
Big fish and any fish come to think of it were celebrated with small shot bottles which burnt our throats as it travelled through on its way to warming our bellies. A grand total of three Cats were landed by our party, one small, one medium which if I recall was also foul hooked and one extra large. Ken Bishop aka Butler the bus driver manage to hook and land a 35 pound Marble carp, you know the one with the upside down heads? So in general we had an eventful week, one where friends were made.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Olds Kool Part Three (I'm Back)

I moved back home on New Years day 1993. Bearing in mind that although I had been out of town for a couple of years I had stayed in touch with Keith so I semi knew what had been going on with the pit and its captures and I had also kept buying the weekly and monthly magazines just to keep up with the trends (for that week/month at least!!). I had missed my family and friends so spent the next few weeks catching up with them and their tales, I also managed to get my welding job back on the chairs. The same old faces were still there including the few that were anglers so tea breaks more often than not were spent talking fish and the urge to get angling again soon rushed through me, but I had the problem of  lack of kit! My plan was to get fishing again in June at the start of the new season so the next few months were spent begging,stealing and borrowing kit from where ever I could.
Evenings after work and odd days over the weekends were spent walking round the waters that were local to me and all the the time the urge to fish kept increasing.
I was missing the days like this brace of Nineteen pounders for me and Keith.
L.B.A.C and W.M.C tickets were obtained and the decision to fish Tiddy for the start of the season had been made after bumping into Coxy, an old school friend that was mad about his carp and cat fishing. The week leading up to the new season saw us building a new point swim that could be doubled up in with the added bonus of controlling a fair bit of water including the back of the shallows and nice bay swim to our left. Spots were chosen, raked and baited with our home made Pukka Salmon boilies during that week leading up to the kick off and to say I was looking forward to angling again was an understatement!

Its belly felt like a bag of marbles

Now, I'm not ashamed to say this but that summer was spent solidly beneath my wavelock brolly complete with a Nashy canvas overwrap between the months of June right through to early September with me going to work for the days and popping home for a shower in the afternoons then returning to the lake each evening for the nights. Every few days or so I would move swims depending on what was happening and who was there so that I could leave my tackle with them while I attended work, but in all it was four months of solid fresh air and a nice tan to boot!
Some evenings after the rods had been cast I would just sit there and roll more bait while enjoying the summer evenings, boilies were mainly being used on one rod while the other would be baited with little livebaits like Rudd,Roach and occasionally Perch for the cats. Back then the cats were just scraping over the thirty pound mark not like today's standards with the fish being nearly seventy pounds!! The carp were also a lot,lot smaller back then, with the biggest somewhere in the region of twenty six pounds or so and being of the common variety. Every now and then there would be a mirror that would scrape over the so called magical twenty pounds but in reality an upper double was a good one. As I look back at my diary that I started that season and that I still write to this day, of all captures and findings while bankside it shows the fish count from June16th to September 2nd was thirty eight with twenty of them being Cats to 26lbs and the rest being Carp up to 19lb 12oz( caught twice, once off the top and once off the bottom), occasionally I caught the odd Tench with some of them going a very respectable five pounds or so to which I didn't sniff at and still wouldn't today.

A couple of diary pieces from back then.

14th Sept 1993
  After moving on from Tiddy I spent a week in a proper bed before booking a weeks holiday off work to have a five day session on a very large and windswept water that goes by the name of Brogborough pit. At just over a hundred acres she looked very daunting, but after the stories we had been told by a couple of lads it was well worth a punt.
Myself and Coxy along with a dingy and a shed load of bait were soon pitched at the more attractive end of the lake, in more attractive I mean it had two very small islands up one end that were a good 200yds from the bank which was a roosting spot for the ever increasing cormorant population.
We knew sod all about this lake really
As far as we were aware there were only really two regulars that fished Broggy and they both went by the name of Dave! A secretive pair by all accounts and fair play to them because to be honest the last thing they would have wanted was two young upstarts from Leighton Buzzard turning up on their patch and spoiling the party.
As daunting as it seemed at first we soon settled in and decided that the four rods between us would all be placed in the vicinity of the nearest island with one rod each on the face and one each on the outside edges. To be able to do this would mean a row out to the island to place the baits via the inflatable dingy (yes we had life jackets) and this itself was a major ball ache especially when there was a good chop on the water! One rod each on the pukka salmon's and one rod each on peanuts was the fare on offer and complimented with a sloppy/hempy groundbait mix that had been fermenting in a bucket within the old mans greenhouse and had managed to blow the lid off on at least a couple of occasions!
The first couple of days were quiet but at midday on the third my left hand rod burst into life and soon I was playing my first Broggy carp, and after what seemed like forever before we got her back to the net she was soon being weighed, cuddled and kissed. A common just over twenty pounds was the culprit and just as I was holding her up for a couple of pics my right hand rod bounced and danced its merry jig. Quickly I placed the fish back on the mat and left Paul to look after her while I attended take two. 'This feels different' I remember saying and soon I was to be proved right when a dirty great slab skimmed across the waters surface. 
Brace of Broggy kippers
At the time it was certainly the biggest Bream I had set my eyes on and after a quick weigh that revealed 10lb 8oz it was only right to have a trophy shot of the pair, after all we might not have caught another bugger!
After returning my prize's, both rods were re baited and taken back out in captain pugwash style and once I had returned to the bank we celebrated with a 'good ol brew up'.
This turned out to be the start of a good few days for us and what we had noticed was that it had all kicked off once the windsurfers had taken to the water, it was as if the fish were moving to our end of the lake for a bit of peace and quiet? Over the next few days we went on to land eleven Carp and two Bream with four of the Carp being over twenty and the biggest being a mirror of 27lb 2oz that fell to one of Coxy's peanut rods while my best for the week turned out to be a long common of 24.04.
Long lean and pug faced 
I decided to have a couple of weeks at home after this particular session as I was feeling a little weathered and worn out from being waterside for near on four months plus working.
But fear not, I was soon to be back out and on land that was sand........................