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"

Monday 4 May 2020

Little did I know

I’m taking you back to New years eve 2009 and the Christmas period when most of us get a little extra time off work and maybe a few angling plans set out. This particular year was another wet one, not only that we’d also had a bit of the white stuff, the gritters had been out and my local Great Ouse was up to its neck with a mass of chocolate salty water!

Probably like most of you, when I feel the need to go angling, I just have to go!

Luckily for me, on leaving work pre the Christmas break I had taken some maggot and Lobworms home with the mindset that if the inevitable happened then I could just go out angling for a bite from anything and not necessarily a specific species (maybe just drop on to my local Grand union canal if push came to shove). Anyway, with all the festivities done and dusted and work looming fast the urge to angle was upon me, my brother was also itching to get out so between us we hatched a plan to get out and grab a bit of fresh air.

The Ouse was a definite no go, so I decided to head to a local lake that’s just a short drive from my home where I used to angle for Carp/Catfish. General coarse fishing wise, not that many anglers tend to bother with it but it holds all the usual suspects from Tench, Bream, Perch and Silvers, silvers that I had caught all be it by mistake on 12mm pop ups whilst fishing for Carp during previous springs and summers!

Leading up to this particular day, I had readied a tip rod, an Avon type rod with a 1.5oz tip, 5lb mainline, black cap maggot feeder stopped with a quick change bead and the hook link was a self-tied 2lb 80z to a size 16 hook with the intention of fishing a chopped worm tipped with a red maggot.

On arrival at just after first light it soon become apparent that half the lake was frozen solid so with only 5 swims maximum to choose from I carefully selected one that would not only be comfortable but also that sat on the back of the chilling wind.

I knew the lake quite well in regards to depths and features etc and in this particular peg at about 20yds or so the depth changed from sixteen feet to ten (a hump, quite a large hump) and this was to be my chosen distance. An empty feeder was then cast and clipped up, I then cast still with no hook link on five or six times just to get a little bit of maggot in the swim.

Shortly after, a baited cast was made and I sat back and chilled out with a brew from the flask.

We had decided to fish until mid afternoon and apart from me striking at thin air to a tentative pluck at mid-morning all else was quiet.

At about 1.30pm just as I was tucking in to a cold turkey and pickle sandwich, I had a knock, a little attention as I like to call it, the tip pulled round at a steady pace, little did I know what was about to rise and be pulled over the net cord? On first glimpse I can remember saying to my brother “I’ve got a very large silver dollar here”

Safely netted and unhooked, we then set about putting a number on her and neither of us could quite believe it when the scales read out a very pleasing winter 3lbs 8oz!!

A quick couple of pictures were taken before slipping her back and toasting with a sloe gin from the hip flask. We angled on for another couple of hours but no more attention was forthcoming and we headed for home to see the New year in.

 The moral of the story is…. If you need to change tact or species then do it, you never know what that next bite might be!

Tight lines



Tuesday 14 April 2020

Covering my options

We've crept into April, the world is currently fighting Covid-19, many people are doing our country proud, the key workers, and of course the NHS that are working all hours trying to save lives! Society has all but shut down, social distancing is in place and we're only allowed out of the house for essential items and an hours exercise. It's tough times for sure, the majority of the country are pulling together as one but there are as usual one or two that think they're invincible!
Please Stay at home and Stay Safe.

                                 Covering My Options.

Now, I love my Chub fishing and would probably say that over the last half a dozen seasons along with Perch they've fast become one of my favourite species, plus I love late Autumn going in to the winter. The banks can be quieter, foliage starts to drop back opening up more water to angle and spots that look dull in summer often become fish havens once a little extra water has dropped in.

Some of you that follow my footsteps on social media may well think that I'm out on the bank at every given moment, I can assure you that I'm not, although I do try and tread the banks twice a week if I can. For the majority of all of my trips they're three maybe four hours long at best.
I constantly try and keep ahead of the game, keeping an eye on the weather, the levels and the conditions in general.
Through the winter months when it's dark early, I'll load my car before going to work, put my shift in and head to my chosen section, sometimes that'll be right as daylight is fading. It's a rush but  rewards can be had. The same goes for my early morning trips, I'll be up at silly o'clock depending on how long my drive is and aim to be walking the field or towpath so that I'm creeping into a peg just before first light but more often than not I'm home before lunch.

Many parts of the Ouse through Buckinghamshire/Bedfordshire and beyond hold spectacular sized Chub, from small chublet right up to a magical six, seven and even odd eights if we're really lucky!!
I personally have a few membership books that offer some great chub fishing, and I do mix it up a little depending on where my hunch is telling me to head.
Minimal kit is taken and that will consist of one bag with a built in bait compartment and clips to take my unhooking mat, one quiver holdall (usually with two rods, bank sticks and my net handle) and my lightweight chair, oh... and my flask!


Usually armed with a rod of around the 1.5t/c with a spliced tip of 2oz maximum, a six pound mainline fished straight through to a size 8 or 6 hook that is anchored to the bottom using a light link ledger incorporating simplistic float stops.
Worm fishing while spraying maggot on the river is more of an early evening thing, but mainly aimed at perch just as the sun is dropping from the sky, although I do catch the occasional chub along the way, but to be honest it's aimed more directly at Perch.


Pellet, boilie and my spiced up luncheon meat are usually my choice of baits come winter with the latter being my first choice come either darkness or floods.
My pellet or boilie offering will be combined with a pva bag which has a mixture of both baits within and these would be potentially tied up a few weeks in advance, this will indeed slow the melt rate of the bag down once it has hit the river bed and I prefer that rather than a breakdown as it's potentially falling through the water and maybe ending up further away from my baited hook?

When pellet or boilie fishing, my hook of choice is a reliable Korum power hook in either an 8 or maybe a 10 if I think I need to scale down a little, but I personally wouldn't go any smaller if there is the chance of either a Barbel or a Carp as there is in certain stretches.
10lb or 15lb smokescreen is the hook link of my choice, again this may seem a little heavy to some but on many sections, swims can be tight with foliage, needle reeds and of course trees/snags.

Rod choice is usually decided depending on the flow and conditions so again I will pack a either a 3/4lb avon style or a 1.5t/c with a 2oz tip. With the Ouse being the width it is, I find an 11 foot rod in most situations a perfect length for sneaking in and out of what can be tight holes as sometimes I am literally just lowering straight from the tip of my rod and donking down!

If the river has extra water on or the conditions look good for the chance of a Barbel bite then I have no problem whatsoever in packing the more heavy duty type Barbel rod with a test curve of say 1.75. Ok so I may not see the more finer bites that may occur but generally I find in these conditions that a couple of dinks tells me that something is sniffing. More often than not I will receive a full blooded bounce/bite and that is probably down to the one thing that I have changed this past autumn/winter, from a running lead with longer hook links to a lead clip system and shorter hook links of  5 to 6 inches with baits set as tight to the hook as I can get them so it gives a claw type effect no matter the size of the  bait or hook.

Come early season and through the summer I revert back to my free running set up and longer hook links of about 14"- 20" just to get the hook bait away from the lead and where the line enters down through the water, but again this depends on levels and water clarity.
My rod positioning again is dictated by the flow and the conditions, low water levels and my rod would be as low to the water as possible and the angle will be set at 10 o'clock if my bait is set roughly at 9 o'clock. In high water levels then my option is to fish the same angles but with the rod pointed skywards and if allowed then a large bow of line is released from the reel just to ease the pressure on the line.
Lead size in all situations is dictated by the flow and could be anything from 1/2oz up to about 3oz but more often than not a 1oz would be my favoured size for a free running set up while a 2oz would be my choice if a bolt style set up is being used.

                                                   Swim Selections.

As a rule, a typical session for me is about four hours or so, within that I let the tip tell me how long to sit in any particular swim. We all have sections, some short some long, we all have favoured pegs on certain stretches in certain conditions ( a bit like a Carp angler would on certain winds at a certain time of year) and over a period of time and the more knowledge we have gained this can then automatically give you a head start on where you think you should start to angle.

Now, there's no rule with this next bit.... generally there are two types of river angler, your bait and wait type or your roaming angler, I tend to be the latter of the two especially with my short sessions.
This would be my typical session on the Great Ouse (on the larger rivers like the Trent, Severn and Wye I would probably set my stall out as a bait and wait but only to a degree and If I felt the need to move then I would be off , at it and on my way)………..

I've arrived at a section at say 5.30am, it's just started getting light, I know the section, I know how far I need to walk to my furthest first choice peg given the conditions, so with that in mind I generally will pick three or so other swims on route, have a quick look and if they feel/look right I will then trickle just a little bit of feed in and walk on quietly and continue to choice one.
At choice one, my first job is to hand feed just a little bit of bait in, not masses but a light taster, my rods are already made up so just need slotting together and my chosen bait attaching, this will be done out of sight and away from the waters edge and quietly, there's no need in spooking anything that might be home before you've even dropped a bait in!
As stated earlier, most sections of the typical Ouse is only so wide, but positioning of the bait is mainly dictated to by the features and probably more importantly by the flow.

I love nothing more than being able to gently lower a bait in to the water just off of my tip or not much further than that, it's minimal disturbance and with the right size lead choice depending on flow, you can more or less get it fishing with hardly a splash.
Rod positioning to me is quite important, I try to set it away from the waters edge or on an angle that would give me the best vantage point if a bite is received, especially if I'm around heavy snags or foliage that a fish will almost certainly head for (which as we all know is typical, especially of chub) if they can get under your feet then they undoubtedly will!
As for myself, I always try and be discreet as possible, either on my chair or sat/laying on my unhooking mat but always on the rod within quick grabbing distance (common sense I know but I have been caught out on occasions in years gone by and there's nothing worse especially if your fishing for a bite in limited fishing hours).
As a general rule I'll let the tip dictate the longevity that I'm in any chosen swim, if within 30 to 45 minutes maximum I haven't had as much as a tap then I'm off to swim two, and the same process starts again, but if I have received even a slight bit of attention then I'll sit on my hands and play it by fifteen minutes at a time and see what happens.
If by luck I've put something in the net, I'll then weigh up my options as to whether or not its worth another chuck or move on. Sometimes I have had two and even three fish from a peg before moving on but I rely on my gut or a hunch to dictate this to be honest, as there is obviously no written rule.
Some days or trips, I may only fish two swims but others it maybe four, it all depends on the day and the situations that unfold.
My late afternoon/evening trips are set out exactly the same and nine times out of ten I can be found moving around in the dark for one or two possible swim choices to have half an hour in before venturing off home hopefully with a fish or two in the bag.

                                                         Give It A Go.

All this "Works for me" and I have confidence with it, it suits the hours that I juggle with, and I get in to a rhythm.
So, next time if you're debating going but do not think you have enough time then just think about it for a little longer and push yourself no matter the intended species, pick the hours that you think best suit, put minimal kit in the car and go for it.

Good luck and more importantly in these times that we are facing Stay safe and I'll look forward to bumping into or angling with one or two of you once this horrid storm has blown over.

Saturday 15 February 2020

It's Been A While.

It's been seven years come March since I last sat down and wrote on these pages, it wasn't that I didn't want to write anything, I was just out of the habit so to speak. You know what its like, I was moving house and changing my job slightly back then, and that took me off in a different direction for a while.
 I've very often thought over the last few months of getting the blog back up and running so here I am, I just hope that some of you are still about to peruse my mumblings? So where do I start?
I'll kick things off with a tale of an afternoons Perching trip to my local canal, pre winter while I was waiting for the Gt Ouse chub to hopefully fatten up.
It was a Thursday afternoon, the weather had been changeable to say the least, and I remember checking the forecast on my phone over the latter end of the previous week. low pressure was upon us, thick black clouds were being swept by with the increasing winds and intermittent heavy downpours but I had booked the afternoon off so was adamant that I was going regardless of the conditions, I'd just have to chance my arm and if need be, hang on to the brolly if things became to bad to angle without (I hate using umbrellas).

There's a particular section that draws me back, a section that I grew up on as a young lad, spending most of my school holidays and weekends there during my early angling years, in to my teens and beyond. Anyway, the section of canal is a rather long pound, probably from lock to lock I'd guess at around 3 miles as the crow flies so all that swims could potentially be anywhere along its length. In the weeks leading up to this trip I had been trying my luck a little further up the towpath but had started to get the odd repeat capture so the decision was made to move a good half  mile or so and this is where I'll begin.
If possible I'll nearly always try to find a swim that gives me at least a couple of options as sometimes a quick change of tact can bring that one bite that turns your trip in to a successful one.
Marinas, far margin trees, bushes and brambles, but  more often than not I'll always try and find a marginal boat that has been moored up for at least a few days and if no one is present even better!

Minimal kit in the form of a lightweight chair in which I slip my pan net, a rod bag, small tackle bag and a small brew kit type bag that carries my bait.
Speaking of bait, the majority of my Perch trips are very often with light tip type rods 9-11ft so I tend to keep things simple with an old school worm and maggot approach. I'm bullish to a degree, a five pound mainline directly through to either a size 10 or 8 hook, a small running feeder bead with two rubber grip type stops determine  my hook link  length (that'll be the match lads squirming).
Two full Lobworms (just nipped off) are held in place with a red rubber maggot "simple"
Angling is all about the enjoyment, and I absolutely love fishing behind tip rods no matter the species I'm chasing, Perch, Chub, Barbel etc......

Anyway, back to the day in question.... If I can, I try and give myself a couple of hours continuous baiting before the witching hour (the last hour before dusk) very often the tips have not moved but as soon as that last 45 minutes to an hour arrives then things potentially start to come to life and this day was exactly that.
I remember sitting there spraying maggots, a pouch full down the side of the boat to my right margin, and a pouch full to the far bank bramble, right up on the far shelf, and it was at this point as the maggots were still in mid flight that rod on the boat took on a jig jagged, tell tale pull round.
The little 9ft wand is magical when playing a decent sized Perch, and from the off I could tell that I was connected to a good un. A typical feisty battle pursued but all went well and I soon had my first 3lb plus canal Stripe in the back of the net.
I unhooked and weighed her quickly, she was in perfect condition and at 3lb 2oz I was content, I then placed her back in the net and laid her down the margin to rest up.

3lb 2oz of pristine pizza slice.
It was now a little after 4pm, and I knew that my eldest was finishing work so I dropped him a text to say that I'd had a good fish and he kindly diverted to the towpath to come and find me.
Whilst Carl was on route, I rebaited the hook and placed the rod back down the margin  along side the barge and once again sprayed more maggot over the top, the far margin also received a pouch full plus a little lift n lower trick, I do this if the spot has been quiet and then give it another five to ten minutes and if it still doesn't move, I then wind in, check the worm and hook for debris before recasting.
Shortly after resetting the far side rod,  I had literally just screwed the lid back down on the brew flask when a quick sharp bite registered once again down the near edge, then it settled again and went quiet!
Three or four minutes later and there was no mistaking that something had taken off once again with my free worm offering?
The fight was short lived and soon my second chunky Sarge was being bundled in to the net, this turned out to being a little tricky as its sister was still in there. All went to plan though, I then unhooked, weighed and gave her a number of 2lb 12oz " fantastic" 
My tea was near cold by now, but before sitting and taking the moment in, I once again rebaited both rods and shortly after that Carl arrived. " I've had another mate" he smiled and replied "Go on boy"

Back to the flask and we sat there chatting, catching up whilst having a cigarette when you've guessed it..... but this time it was the far margin rod that had been quiet since my arrival that sharply pulled round before falling slacker and slacker. On picking up the rod and feeling that initial head shaking I knew once again that a Perch was doing its very best to rid the hook. Carl looked at me, shook his head and said " You're a jammy git" I just laughed and said " get the net, but be careful"

On picking up the pan net to prepare for landing I could tell that he was a little like " what am I supposed to do here then? 
Thankfully all went ok and a third was slipped in to the folds, high fives made and Sarge was unhooked.
The scales revealed 2lb 3oz and I muttered to boyo "that will do me for today"

With that the photo studio was set up, I quickly did my hair,  put my hat on and was soon smiling for the clicker before returning three glamorous stripes back to their watery home.  

Me? Well I quit while I was ahead, myself and Carl said our farewells, I threw the kit back in its respective bags and made the short journey back home delighted with the outcome of the afternoons Autumnal events.

Until next time.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Back On The Bank With Chub And Udders

Its been a bit of busy and mad year for me so far and things on the fishing front haven't gone quite to plan!
Married in April, honeymoon in May and five gruelling months of trying to move house!!
Its now the second week in October and I'm relieved to say that things seem to have settled down again in the world of the Burr.

During the summer period and with the majority of my tackle packed for moving I decided on some lake therapy. Feeder and waggler fishing for bits a pieces made a nice change with some good bags of silver fish being caught and is something that I intend to do a little bit more of now and then.
In the last two weeks though on my day off I have managed to get out and back on the flowing water of the Great Ouse for a couple of day trips.

A Hunch.

Armed with just a small amount of tackle and bait I was soon unlocking the padlock on the gates just as darkness was turning to light. Black clouds were rolling past above and the weather men were giving heavy downpours as the day progressed.
Surprisingly the river had a slight tinge of colour to it but it was desperately low so in fairness the forecast for rain wasn't a bad thing. As a starting point I decided to head for a swim that I had done ok in on a few previous trips and that I knew had a little more depth of water running off some shallows with the added bonus of a bit of tree cover.

Considering I hadn't stepped foot on the river since July I was feeling quietly confident of a bite or two but maybe that was just the buzz/excitement of actually being out on the bank again after my little break away?
I intended to give swims an hour of my time and if nothing occurred I would move on. By 10.30am after presenting baits in three separate swims the only attention I had received on my rod top were from the crayfish and instincts were telling me to head for a different stretch a few miles further up the road.

Why I had this feeling I don't know? But what I do know is, if you get an angling instinct then act on it, the amount of times that I have had the urge to be somewhere else or to try something different and its paid off for me.
After a short drive up the road I was soon pulling into an empty car park 'lovely' I thought to myself, I had the stretch to myself so decided to go for a quick stroll and a look/see to view any favourable areas. A couple of swims caught my attention where a shallow run of water became a slightly deeper pool with trees positioned at the end of the run, hopefully holding a fish or two within its cover?
Just as I was taking the kit from the car the heavens decided to open and let me have it, luckily the swim had some high reeds on my bank so that I could position myself under the brolly and out of sight of anything with a fins view.
The pace of the water was very slow so baiting with a few loose pellets was fairly straight forward and also with minimum disturbance, hookbait was once again two big juicy lobworms (my take anywhere to catch anything bait), a bait that I have massive faith in. A small P.V.A bag of pellets is then attached to a size 6 hook, not only for the added attraction but also to help lay the rig out on descent.
With the bait placed, I was soon sat back and taking in my new surroundings with a brew in my hand, happy days!
Lunchtime soon passed me by and as yet not a single quiver, tap or pull had taken place, do I sit tight, bait and wait or do I up sticks and trot on? The rain was falling steadily and the comfort of the brolly made the decision for me, I was to stick it out where I was positioned in the hope that the foliage would maybe come up trumps?
At around 2.30pm another light scattering of pellet was placed near to the area before once again settling back in the chair. Just after 3 o'clock and just as I saw a pair of kingfishers darting from left to right at great speed, from the corner of my eye I thought the rod end had tapped sharply? Had it? Na couldn't have, could it?
Within the next few seconds or so it happened, the rod whacked over as something bolted for freedom on the other end whilst trying to take 11ft of carbon with it!
Straight away I could tell it was a reasonable fish as it was doing all it could to tuck me up, but after the initial couple of lunges the best it could come up with was to try and gain sanctuary in the margin rushes that were positioned just down to my left. It was at this point that I realised that the culprit was that of a Chub, and a good Chub at that, thankfully I began to win the battle and after one more short but spirited bid for cover she was skimming the net cord, 'white lips an all'.
Right on cue the rain instantly stopped as if the tap had been turned, it was as if somebody knew that I had a job to do?
I left the fish in the net whilst I gathered the necessary tools for a weigh/mug shot, she looked big but how big?

 On unhooking her, my first thoughts were she might just go to the magical seven pound mark, she looked every bit of it but soon the scales were reading a very pleasing 6lb 7oz, camera on the pod, smile and jobs a good un!
A celebratory stewed tea from the flask was poured and swigged down whilst I packed the gear up before heading for home a 'happy angler'.

The Cow Run.
 This, my most recent trip had been planned with 'Old Man Burr' aka Daddy a few days earlier while we were at work, he fancied a trip to the river but couldn't make his mind up as to where he fancied going. I had already planned in my head a stretch to try and once again it was one that I knew very little about and had angled only once before and royally blanked!
As planned we met in the parking area just on first light and were soon loading our backs with the tackle required. The stretch is known to hold a small head of Chub and Barbel with the added bonus of the odd better one if you get really lucky, not the easiest but its fishing and you just never know? 'In it to win it and all that'.
Before we got our first glimpse of the river though we had a good length of field to cross and one that was full of cuddly things with udders! Now my old man bless him, hates cows with a passion so off we set with him staying rather close to my side like a big girly thing just in case one took a liking to him. I'm sure he won't mind me saying that he's no spring chicken any more, but he can still put a quick stroll on when there are cows close by!! 
Once we had reached the waters edge it would be fair to say that we'd both got a sweat on thanks to our little power walk but at least we had made it and we could now angle knowing that the heifers were in the first field and we were in the second.
After placing our kit on the ground we then had a quick gander to view potential swims, shallows, deeps, trees and rush beds, the section has the lot. Pops was given first dibs on swim choice and I then decided to drop in some 40yds above him, both choosing to fish swims that had the advantage of a bit of cover and a slightly better depth.
After tackling up further up the bank behind some high nettles and well out of view, I was soon to be creeping my way into the swim with as much care as possible so not to spook anything that might just be waiting for a nice lobworm breakfast. This part of the river is fairly narrow so just a gentle underarm cast was all that was needed, and one that hardly made a splash. My eleven footer had been set upon the rest as low as possible to the waters surface and was more or less facing the baiting position, the line from tip to lead was hanging limpish and I was feeling confident of a pull round. Twenty minutes or so must have passed by when with no warning whatsoever the rod just whacked over and soon I was connected to an angry hooked Chevin that had its heart set on reaching some heavy looking roots and branches that were situated on the far bank.
After a little side strain and pressure was applied, I soon had the fish turned and heading in the direction of my waiting net. Once again she looked a half decent and was left resting in the folds while I sorted the necessaries out. 
The scales revealed a weight of 4.12 and left me feeling quietly satisfied, a short walk upstream to release her was made before I strolled down to tell Daddy of my success and also to see how he was doing while my swim was having a breather following the commotion.
On arriving in his swim his first words were 'where's them bloody cows'? I chuckled and said 'your alright their still in the top field' followed by ' I've had one' 'what a cow?' he muttered. I then chuckled some more and began to tell him the events of my capture while enjoying a brew.
As it turned out, his swim had been quiet be he had seen a couple of half decent rises just down from his position. Shortly after I left him in peace to ponder cows and returned to my swim.
The next cast I made was left in place for a good half hour or so but all seemed quiet and once again I had that feeling that I should perhaps shift.
Ten yards to my left was yet another bush, a somewhat small bush but it looked inviting due to a bit of pacier water that was hitting it and kicking off across the river and causing a slight crease, it wasn't long before I moved and had just settled back in my chair when suddenly I was sitting bolt upright with my right hand hovering above the reel seat following a couple of sharp jagged plucks. For probably another two minutes things settled down again until I decided to grasp my cup and just at that point it happened, the rod hooped over and I was once again connected to what felt like another
reasonable fish, all went smoothly for me and soon she hit the back of the net. Shortly after netting the culprit Dad came ambling by with his kit in tow looking for a move above me, but before he went I asked him for a quick hand in sorting my prize.
She was an immaculate, scale perfect fish with a bit of a belly on her and looked stunning in the October sunlight, her weight was agreed at 5lb 4oz and soon we were once again releasing her.
Dad carried on his way to a bend just up from me while I chose to put out some more free offerings before making my way up to him and once again let things settle down.
The cows by now had shifted a little and were now in our field but still a fair way away, Dad was aware of their position but just chose to moan and grumble 'bloody things'.
I headed back for another go but only fifteen minutes or so had passed when Dad appeared with his kit on his back and he was looking a bit edgy! 'What's up?' I asked, 'them fecking cows are getting closer' he snorted. By now I was struggling not to piss myself but deep down I know that he really doesn't like them so made the decision to call it a day and get us out of there before Dad needed new pants!
At least we had the chance of beating the rush hour traffic and the old fella would get the colour back in his cheeks. I was happy for my efforts and doubly happy that Pops survived the cow run and couldn't wait to get home for my roast beef dinner.
Cheers Dad for amusing me, it was indeed a pleasure.

Monday 12 August 2013

Long Hair vs Grey Matter And The Feeder

 After the excitement of the river season kicking in, I have to admit that my fishing fell a little flat on its face what with one thing and another. Although I did manage to grace the banks of my local Great Ouse on three occasions right at the very start of the season and banked half a dozen Chub to up and around the four pound mark before the weather turned blisteringly hot and the levels dropped off.
Coincide this with the fact that I still have the problem of "we have not moved house yet", purchaser pissing about, solicitor pissing about, so in turn my head and thoughts have been everywhere bar angling which is difficult to say the least especially when you work in the trade!
Things seem to be heading in the right direction now though and a completion for early September is on the cards so things should (I say with baited breath) start to settle down in the coming weeks?
With most of my gear now packed, I have made sure a little has been left to hand just in case; a just in case  'grab and go' session could be made as and when I fancy and time prevails?


Less Kit Is More.
So over the past couple of weeks I have been grabbing and going, the nice thing with angling in this manner is only a small amount of kit is required. One bucket bag to park my bum on which carries the minimal amount of tackle that I require for a few hours fishing. Half a dozen feeders which consist of three blockend and three open ended in a variety of weights, a spool of hooklink mono, a couple of packets of spade hooks in size 14 and 16, a hook tier and some quick change beads complete the end tackle.
 Bait/feed is also a simple affair with groundbait, castors, maggot and corn being thrown into a large bucket and mixed to my requirements once I am at the waterside.
The rod is prepared at home, broken down and strapped to my landing net handle with tip tops and apart from my net bag and trusty flask, that is the lot, happy days! 
Choice Of Water.
The water is only a short twenty minute drive from my home and although I had fished it many years ago during my Carping years I had yet to angle it in this manner. At 75 acres it is more often than not a little windswept, it holds all your everyday species from large shoals of Bream and Roach to Tench, Perch, Gudgeon and even the odd Chub shows every now and then so with the prospect of just fishing for bites, potentially it could just about throw anything up at any time and who knows to what size?

Session One.
I arrived at the lake just after first light and the wind was blowing a fairly steady South westerly and as I plodded my way along the bank I soon become aware of fish topping in an area some 35 yards or so out on the choppy water "bonus" I muttered to myself. Having located some fish the next thing to do was prepare my sweet, sticky and dark groundbait mix and once done it was soon being loaded into a 50gm feeder and complimented with a double castor hookbait mounted on a size 14 hook.
First cast to the area and I was clipping up and taking note of a distant blot on the landscape for precise accuracy. Second cast in, the tip pulled round good and slow and soon I was netting a nice size skimmer of roughly a pound and a half and this was to be followed up in consecutive casts by a couple more just slightly smaller. My first Roach came to hand after what was probably a dozen casts, it was a nice sized little fella of around seven ounces, immaculate and mirror like, I could almost see my reflection looking back at me!
From that point onwards the silvers just kept coming at me, sometimes the feeder would have only just hit the bottom and on clipping the bail arm over the tip would be taking on its healthy arc.
I had to be away just after 2pm so after what was probably twenty last casts I finally pulled the keepnet in for a last glimpse of my prizes. Roughly 30lb-35lb of silver gems lay in the folds of the mesh with a couple of them being just over the pound mark, with that I left the lake that day with a buzz of excitement and already itching to get back.
A Pristine Silver

Session Two.
After returning to work the following day and reporting my findings to my colleague and buddy young Daniel. It soon became apparent that he was up for a bit of a social session with the hope for a repeat of my findings. We decided that an evening after work would suit just fine so settled on the coming Monday. This in turn gave us a couple of days plus the weekend to throw banter backwards and forwards and wind the job right up! The same tactics including the bait would be used by both of us as he decided to copy me, but at least it made sense.

 The Whipper Snapper.
Monday evening arrived and I was soon collecting Bob Nudd from his hideout, a quick pit stop in MacDonald's for an on the go burger n fries was made and by 7pm we were angling. We had settled in a couple of swims just up from where I had sat the previous session, positioned some twenty yards apart so not only could I see him but I could also smell him!!
With only two hours angling in front us and after all of the build up and banter we had given each other the anticipation for that first bite was getting bigger and bigger. After what was to be Dan's third chuck he received a bite and just as he was pulling it over the waiting pan my tip also bounced round. His first was a mint conditioned Roach and mine turned out to be a striped sergeant, we were now up and running.
Large black clouds were rolling our way but we were catching steadily but soon we were hiding beneath our brolly's and hanging on as the wind picked up its now increasing blow, it was inevitable that whilst holding on to the brolly spike that I would receive a good gentle pull that wanted to just keep on going, on striking I knew that it was a better fish, a fish that turned out to be a Bream of roughly 4lbs or so. The next three casts I made produced three more of our snotty friends of similar size and it was just as I was placing one in the net that I looked down the bank at my little hippy friend only to see him walking the bank to retrieve his brolly that had decided to go air born!!
I took the piss a little and he came back at me a two fingered salute that I just shrugged off and launched another feeder out, shortly after the rain eased off and all seemed comfortable again (I hate brolly's). Dan was picking up some nice Roach which to be fair made a nice change for him instead of the shelter. Time was now ticking on and with only about half hour of daylight remaining I was soon to be playing what turned out to be a nice little Tench that weighed somewhere in the region of 3.5lbs  and by now all I had to do was give a cheeky little cough and that was enough for him to give only a head shake back at me. Ten past nine arrived and we were calling it a day, pleased with our efforts (me more so than my young apprentice), we had had giggle and caught some nice fish.
That's what angling should be.

'Cheese Danny Boy'

Friday 14 June 2013

Good Luck

As I sit here and tap the buttons we are just a mere one day away from the glorious 16th of June.
The wait is nearly over, so if running water is your game or your Stillwater still carries the traditional closed season may I just take this opportunity to say.........HAVE A GOOD ONE!
I'll be sure to keep you posted on the events and findings of my Footsteps.

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.