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, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas

With the mixed weather conditions our beloved country has been experiencing over the last couple of weeks not once have I managed to get out and angle. Being an all rounder that lobs his baits out for most species at some point as the season goes on, at present as I sit and tap my keyboard I have the urge to get out and go chubbing but my local Ouse and Ouzel are up to their gunnel's with copious amounts of flooding water so I'll just have to wait.
The Christmas period is now with us so a few days away from the shop might just give me the odd opportunity to get to the banks of a waterway somewhere and although my part of the country isn't experiencing the scenes that we are seeing on the news in the Southwest parts, sometimes you have to make the decision for the right reasons and stay safe, I'll just have to sit tight and see how the 'good old British weather' pans out!!
So can I just take this opportunity to say thanks to all that have clicked on to this blog and followed my findings for 2012 all be it not a brilliant season, I have still enjoyed my time on the bank chasing the many different species about while still learning as I go after thirty five years or so as an angler.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Added to the ever growing collection

A great anthology for all barbel fishers.
First released in 1987 
Published in 1962 for the price of five shilling. 
To catch your Perch you must study him first. A bold and simple fish he seems and indeed is,but no fish is so simple as to give himself up. You must learn his nature,his way of life, if you are to catch him. 
Adventure indeed it is,because to the dazzled eyes of a beginer no other fish can have quite the same bewitchment.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Birthday treat and a wet Wednesday

This past week saw me another year older and unbeknown to me the lovely Lady J had organised a nights hotel stay in Warwickshire with days out planned pottering about in nearby towns and villages.
Our digs were situated in the sleepy little village of Market Bosworth so after our arrival we headed half hour up the road to Burton on Trent(yes, near to water) and spent the rest of the day ambling the shops which included various little antique shops that were dotted about the town.

After our nights stay at Bosworth Hall a forty minute drive was then made to the delightful Warwick Castle with a dungeon visit included in the package. What a place, I was finding it hard to put into perspective how things really were back then in the day.The only complaint I could make would be  the amount of steps and spirals the place had, we must have done somewhere in the region of a thousand of the bloody things and boy did our legs know it, Jackie's probably more so than mine as hers are shorter but we were both aching by the time we got back home later that evening.
 It was pleasing to see just how well the gaff had been kept restored for us to see to this day, the dungeons were an experience to say the least with certain things that had us leaping from our skins on more than one occasion although Jackie would not admit to be even slightly scared I knew she was. A trip to the Mill house was also made and once again I could not resist a quick peek at the river Avon as it rushed by the Castle grounds and was looking lovely.

Thanks for a good couple of days Lady J. I loved it.

Back on the angling front and my Wednesday trip once again saw me head back off to the grand union canal, conditions had been very similar to my previous trip with heavy rain being interrupted by a night of hard frost two days leading up to my Wednesday excursion and on my arrival to the waters edge I did not know what I would find? As I left from home it was tipping it down and the wind was blowing better than a hooker that's on red bull!! I was in two minds whether to go or not but I did.

A thick chocolate soup was running hard from left to right with rafts of debris speeding past at a good running pace! From the off I knew that the pin and float wouldn't be coming out of the bag due to the conditions so the roach would just have to wait a while before they could meet me.
Prawns and lobworms would have to be the order of the day and perch would be my target species once again.
The stretch was busy on the barge front, not moving I hasten to add but parked up for best part of the section and it was between two that I decided on parking me bum. Two rods were grabbed from the quiver, one was to be the perch bobber that would be fished laying on close by to the nose of the boat to my right and the other was my usual tip rod,link ledger and big hook approach with big fat lobworms as the offering.

After two hours or so still no bites were had and then all of a sudden the float down the inside edge disappeared and I was soon unhooking a Barry bream of three pound or so and returning him to his watery home. Just after plopping him back to the water and on sitting back down and the tip rod took on a sharp jaggy bite and I was soon sliding the net under fish number two, a chunky perch of 1lb 14oz "that'll do" I muttered to myself in my sodden state.

I angled on for another couple of hours and managed two more bream , one on each rod, two bites were missed and my brolly got turned inside out but by half two I was back home and soaking in the bath after calling it quits.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

This is angling

Now this is angling and what it should be about.
Brian (my dad), Jason (son) and Louis Lee on a recent trip to a local lake fishing for anything.
All day long was spent catching small roach and perch on mixed methods while being harassed by Mr pike!! Eventually late on in the day they nailed him and the picture below says it all.
These smiles are ANGLING.

Friday, 9 November 2012


Since my last postings I have visited the river a couple of times more, only to find it very different on both occasions. On the first it was a raging torrent with all kinds of debris and flotsam coming through and although I did manage a few small perch to around the half pound mark and a couple of chub of roughly two pounds or so, it was difficult angling and only slacks could be fished semi comfortably.

My next two trips coincided with the school holidays so a couple of days early in the week were booked off and I then planned for myself and Jason to have one day on the river and the other on the Grand Union. The river was totally different to the previous week as it was low and clear and it was bloody cold!!! We kept on the move and did manage to stumble upon a few small stripeys and again a small chub that all fell for a couple of juicy lobworms.

1lb 12oz for young Bob Nudd

On the cut the following day the fishing was a tad calmer and more of a relaxed affair but Jay was taking it very seriously. He was on the float fished maggot and after anything that would take his grubby offerings, I on the other hand refused to even touch a wriggler let alone impale one and used the pin,berry and pole float approach. Now, he was whipping probably ten fish out to my one but as I kept telling him "I'm after quality young un" . Small perch, roach and gudgeon were falling to his method and he was happy and content thank god as there's nothing worse than a impatient 13 year old!!
I was bringing the odd roach to hand with an average size of about 6oz I guess but in all honesty it was a slow job. The ribbing then got worse from my left as the 'young un' netted two perch of 1lb 4oz and 1lb 12oz. "keep up dad and get on the maggot old man". I laughed and let him have his moment then I swiped him round the back of the ear!

Bang on 2lb

In my quiver was my specie tip rod that had been used the day before for the chub on the river, I had a plan!
It was already set up with a light link ledger complete with a size 10 hook so all I had to do was load it with two of the biggest lobworms I could find in the pot before flicking it out to the far bank in likely looking spot which turned out to be a small bay between some rushes and a trailing tree branch.
I then reluctantly pinched a couple of pouch fulls of 'his nibs' maggots before spraying them above the hook bait. After a good half hour or so I was sitting there snatching the odd roach when from the corner of my eye I just managed to see the thin white tip pull round in a savage manner that could only spell perch.  It soon become apparent that this was not a tiny fish with eyes bigger than its belly either and as I played it to the net I could clearly see that it was worth having. I kept my mouth shut for a change as I knew that it looked slightly better than the two that young Bob Nudd had landed to my left. 

Sure enough when put on the scales the digitals read exactly 2lb, I was happy not just by the fact that I'd had one but more by the fact that I might not have bothered to try. It was more of a chance and try than a do nothing job and it had payed off all be it a little lucky. Now a 2lb perch is nothing to shout about in this day an age but I'm sure the potential for a three or maybe even a four is there, only time will tell. We angled on, Jason kept catching on the maggots and nearly landed a pike that had snaffled a small perch when winding in but on the third attempt of netting it decided to let go! I managed to land a couple of snotty bream around the three and a half pound mark and also a few more silvers on the berries. All in all we had an enjoyable couple of days and it was a pleasure to see the smile on  my lads face when every fish came to hand.

This weeks Wednesday trip turned out to be totally different to the previous, we'd encountered heavy rain down here in Bedfordshire from Friday through to Sunday and then come Monday morning we were woken to the sight of a heavy frost so by the time Wednesday came round I was a little unsure as what to angle for?
Steve, one of my angling buddy's was joining me and after a brief telephone conversation earlier in the week and the talk of the perch potential it was decided that we should head back to the canal as he hadn't fished the cut for a long time or the stretch that runs through my home town.
We crossed the bridge to be greeted by smoke rising from the waters surface, it looked good but at the same time looked cold!
I told him a little about the section and how I had grown up on and that it was the first stretch of water that I ever cast a line upon. As it was his first time there I decided to dump his fat arse into the peg that I had tempted old stripey from the previous week while I dropped in just down to his right. We had both chosen to fish one tip rod and one bobber, worms and prawns were the baits of the day complimented with red maggots and a few castors just to spray.
Surprisingly, after three hours or so of trying we were still fish less and had both only received the odd nibble between us. We battled on and chatted constantly while wetting our lips and emptying our flasks of tea, telling story's and planning possible trips to possible places. Just as we were half way through a tale Steve's tip rod pulled round and he was soon bringing a worthy perch to the folds of his net. A curiosity weigh was made and at 1lb 12oz old fat arse was happy and smiling, we left her in the net for time being rather than returning and risking spooking anything else that might be in the vicinity. Forty minutes or so passed and I was still on a total of zilch when once again Steve's rod sprung into action, this time a fish of 2lb 3oz had taken a liking for his worm hookbait. A quick couple of shots were taken and once again the fish was left to chill in the net.
Bugger lugs had to be away by 1ish so whilst I was still on a big fat blank I took the opportunity to move some fifty yards or so up the bank as I had planned to fish until 2.30 or so before heading off to see my grandson for his second birthday. Anyway, I tried and tried but all I could muster for my efforts were two small stripes of about half a pound or so! One thing I noticed was just how cold the fish felt compared to the week before, drastic changes in the weather had slowed the fishing that's for sure.
Never mind, there's always next week and the unknown is quite exciting.


2lb 3oz

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Since returning from the gorgeous surroundings of the River Severn and its barbel, the last few weeks have seen me roaching on the cut and perchubing on the Great Ouse.
Although no monsters have crossed my palm, enjoyment was still had, a welcoming amount of pristine silvers were caught from the canal and once again were all taken on the pin/pole float and elderberry approach to an average size of roughly six ounces or so with the odd ten/twelve ounce fish a bonus beauty. Personally I think there is an unknown potential lurking somewhere within our canal systems and it might be there on your doorstep just waiting to be caught. Get out there and try your local, you never know!

Pictured above is a section of the Great Ouse that is only a short 25 minute drive from my home but until recently I had never cast  bait at it. I suppose Its known more for doing big chub than anything else, occasionally it throws up the odd barbel from a very,very small shoal. The perch potential is a little unknown to me but I can see no reason why a big three or maybe a scraper four shouldn't be there for the taking. So with perch and chub set firmly in my mind and the nicety/excitement of fishing a new stretch, my last two midweek sessions have seen me exploring a new challenge at least for the time being.

 My chosen tactics consisted of a tipped specialist feeder rod and my trusty cardinal reel. Two swan shots pinched to a short section of line before being pulled through a couple of float stops and onto the 6lb mainline and completed with a size 8 hook and two/three big fat juicy lobworms as the hookbait. A move was made every half hour or so unless bites were forthcoming or if I had one of those angler feelings that I might!

I had just moved into swim number two but immediately made a mistake!
Fifteen yards to my right on the opposite bank was a large overhanging tree, it looked sexy and worth a cast but after fifteen minutes or so only a small tap on the tip had registered even after a couple of lift and lowers of the lobs. Five yards out to my left and right were some pipe reeds which created a nice slack beneath my feet, it was in this slack that I noticed small fry leaping and dimpling the surface as I sat there with a cup of tea and a cigarette. I thought to myself that I'd give it another fifteen minutes in the swim before strolling on but decided to move the bait into the slack water.
On positioning the bait and placing it on the rest a small pinch of red maggots was deposited every couple of minutes, shortly after I was soon landing a nice stripe around the half pound mark.
The next half hour that followed saw me catch a dozen perch to just under the two pound mark with a couple of fish also bumped off before the bites dried up and forced me to move on.
Conditions were bright and sunny and the wind was quite strong, far from ideal but enjoying it I was and the fish I had managed so far had in my eyes made the day worth while.
Swim three and the last of the session produced four more perch to roughly 12oz or so before I headed back to the truck and called it a day. In hindsight I think that if I'd have taken the float rod then a few more fish would have fallen but at least now as long as conditions are on my side then I know my tactics for next week.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Down Shropshire way

It was Saturday 8th of September, myself and Lady J were heading up the M40 to destination River Severn for a weeks chill out. My Brother and his partner(Mel) were in tow and we were on course to meet up with my parents for a full English at 9am at a cafe in Bewdley. After all arriving safely we were soon tucking in and filling our stomachs to brimming point before heading off to grab some supplies (food etc) and then it was off to the pub up the road for a quick pint before heading to our bank side lodge that was to be our home for the week.
The lodge is in the most beautiful of settings, fifteen yards from the front door to the rivers bank down a private single track lane surrounded by tall trees leading to open fields with an abundance of wildlife complete with as much peace and quiet you could ever wish for (including hit and miss phone reception) lovely jubbly. Fifty or so yards behind us sits the historic Severn valley Railway that chugs and smokes its way for 16 miles between  Bridgnorth and Kidderminster following the course of the Severn as it goes.

Daytime's were to be spent out and about with the good lady and plans had been made as to where we fancied visiting during our stay. The evenings were to be my main fishing hours although a couple of early morning sessions were also snatched while leaving little Miss sleepy head all tucked up.  
Bridgnorth,Kidderminster,Shrewsbury and Worcester were all on the hit list as was the West Midlands Safari Park and any other little stops that we fancied along the way.

Bridgnorth cliff railway

Just briefly while on the subject of the safari park, to the amusement of Ma and Pa who were situated in the rear of the truck ( Dad wouldn't take his hairdressers car in case it got licked to death) certain obvious areas we were allowed to have the car windows open and others ie... the lions and tigers etc.. we were not! As I pulled up to a free roaming giraffe I casually put the window down to look up at my new found friend only for the wind to gust and blow my cap clean off my barnet, leaving the car was a little intimidating to say the least but fear not I did survive.

This fella was after one of my rhubarb and custard boiled sweets!!


Back to the fishing side of things and as I said earlier, most evenings after filling my belly I could be found situated in one of the many beautiful swims that stretch through the nearby fields and each time I ventured out I would at least try to fish a different peg unless I felt otherwise or had one of them hunches us anglers get. Lady J joined me on most evenings and by the end of the week she could still be found out there well in to darkness and intensely watching the rod top and even admitted that she was enjoying it and could see why us men have ten last casts!

In her greens.

Over the years usually one calamity will happen and this year was to be no different!
The time was roughly 9ish and all was quiet apart from the owls occasionally hooting, myself, Paul and Dad were all spread out with about twenty yards each between us, the two girls were out there with us also.
All of a sudden Dad let out a cry and was laying on the floor but because we couldn't see we could not get the full effect of what had just happened. It turns out that Dad stood up and stepped up a ledge to take a pee but in doing so his foot slipped into a crack in the ground and he fell over on to his back, to make matters worse he'd got the little fella in his hand and was mid flow, so all we heard was "oh no I've just pissed all over myself "!! Laugh? we nearly pissed ourselves.

All three of us caught on most evenings, sometimes one,two if not three or so barbel with the odd chub thrown in too even Jackie got in on the act and wound a splasher of about three and a half pound or so in on the last evening when four fish came to my net in a couple of hours angling

It was refreshing to see fish of this size.

All in all we had a great week that as always is over too quick, between the three of us we managed thirty or so barbel and half a dozen chub, Dad knocked out the best fish at 9lb 12oz followed up by Paul with one bang on 9lb. My best of the week just scraped over the 8lb mark, not massive but still made me smile and gave me the buzz that the bite always does.
Talking of making me smile, Thursday evening while sitting out under the stars watching the isotope on a clear night while sharing a coffee poured from the flask with Lady J,(ain't I romantic) I said those four little words "will you marry me" and thankfully she obliged with a "yes" .

My best of the week.

All in all the week was very enjoyable, with gorgeous surroundings and great company.
And the little lady did say "yes"

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Respect your elders

 The barbel gear has been packed and readied for my trip to the River Severn this Saturday coming, it is a yearly affair with the family that that lasts the week and coincides not only with my daddy's birthday but also my parents wedding anniversary. Days out in oldy worldy towns,walks, pub grub complete with a few beers and hopefully a few barbel to look forward to so I'll keep you posted on that one.

My latest efforts have been just a couple of short trips back to the Grand Union canal in pursuit of its unknown roach potential, just how big could the silvers be in this dirty old strip of water?
As mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I have had the odd dabble with punched bread but this time out I had decided to take out a gift that was given to me a couple of weeks ago in the shop by a customer.
"These are what you want for roach boy" as he placed a dusty old jam jar on my counter. "35 year old they are" I looked at him a little bewildered and proceeded to try and take the lid off! "elderberries" he said " give them a go and if you want anymore I have five more jars at the ready" .
Sunday and Monday past I decided to take my berries along with a jar of hemp just as feed to two different sections of the canal and had very promising results. Sunday was a family affair with Lady J and two of my boys complete with a picnic to the park in Berkhamstead which just happens to have canal on one of its banks so it'd of been rude not to throw a couple of rods in the truck, one for the boys to share and drown a few maggots and one for me to give the berries their first outing.

The boys sat there thrashing the water to a foam and pulling gudgeon and perch out on the maggot probably six fish to my one but as I kept telling them "its quality and not quantity lads, tortoise and hare, tortoise and hare". Pictured above seemed to be the average size of silver that was crossing my palm so I was more than happy with that.
Monday morning I headed to a section that is just a long jump from home, again just armed with hemp and berries and nothing else so I wasn't tempted to stray from the plan. The peg that I chose to park my bum consisted of quite deep water due to a run off sluice that was situated behind me so the water in front of me was roughly 4/5 feet deep. The sun was just breaking through and the cut was very still so after plumbing up and flicking a couple of small pinches of hemp out I carefully chose a berry for the hook.
It was probably twenty minutes or so before the pole float bobbed under and the first roach of the day came to the net. I was now content and over the next few hours a steady flow of roach were caught and were of a good average size of six to eight ounces or so, two fish stood out though, one fish of 15 ounces and an absolute mint conditioned 1lb 8oz corker that  had me not only smiling from ear to ear but also gave me faith in my new found bait that will now be in my roaching armoury as another alternative. Please excuse another picture laid on the grass as due to me travelling light I have not been taking the camera and just using the phone for my shots, still it saves my ugly mug ruining the trophy shots eh? 

1lb8oz Berry good


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

You may notice there is no heading, it's been left blank because that's exactly how my latest session on the Gt Ouse ended today. Three swims were fished, I got piss wet through,blown to bits and struggled to buy a bite. I felt like I had fished well enough and enjoyed it but still as yet no Ouse barbel for this season so far.
I'll be out fishing the cut for silvers on Monday with a secret bait that might just tempt a better stamp? Then a week on Saturday myself and the good lady are off to the Severn and its scenery for a weeks holiday and a chill out, oh and hopefully one or two golden beards.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Everything bar the kitchen sink and barbel

I was up at first light and Gt Ouse bound, armed with my trusty 11ft Fox fx and good old fashioned Abu Cardinal 55 for a spot of intended barbel fishing. On my way down the path to my first choice of swim I stopped off and dropped a little bit of bait in to another that might just hand me my first Ouse barbel of the season. The river was low and clear and the sun was due to shine and it duly did, not ideal conditions to say the least but if nothing else it would be pleasurable.
The first swim of the day saw me sat beneath a canopy of trees, it felt and looked quite fishy to be fair but damp and nippy with it. Conditions had dictated me to only take some some small pellet and hemp to compliment my chosen 8mm hookbaits. A 30gm blackcap feeder with an equal amount of each free sample was my way of depositing the said bait to the riverbed. Not long after the first put in, a tell tale sign of a chub bite had me answering its call and my instincts were proven right as a small fish headed to my waiting hand. I unhooked it, admired for a second before taking it on a short walk and released her some twenty yards or so downstream. The next cast was soon made, a brew was poured and as I sat there watching the sunrise, almost instantly the rod top started to move a little but this was no proper bite, this was Reggie Cray and he was that mahoosive a saddle wouldn't of looked out of place on him!! I can't say what happened next so I'll move on swiftly. I managed another small chub from the swim and decided it was now time to move on and try the other area I had baited earlier on.
Ten yards below where I was now situated was a large tree that kicked across the river at an angle towards some pipe rushes and the pace of the river was increased as the river narrowed. Just above me was a smaller bush and as the flow hit this it formed a nice crease between the two areas so it was on and half way down this crease that I decided to place the bait. I didn't have to wait too long for a bite but again it wasn't what I was after and this time it turned out to be a dace and another one quickly followed too. Dace number three wasn't quite so lucky though as not long after hooking it, it got heavier and a jack pike of around four pounds had engulfed the poor little fella only to let go right at the net and this had left it in a serrated state to say the least. The last bite of the day turned out to be the pick of the bunch and I even took two minutes out to weigh and photo her as you can see below, at 1lb 2oz it's no record breaker but it was absolutely mint and worthy of it. It mattered not a jot that it as was silver and not gold coz I love em!!!!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

From calm to madness

I had managed to get two days back to back away from the tackle shop and with the permission of my good lady a trip was planned with a customer to have one day near Bewdley as a guest of his before we moved further up the coarse to where we would be staying for the night and ending our trip the following day near Highley.
The middle Severn was to be our destination and with the two stretches being roughly twelve miles apart, a bed and breakfast was booked for the night in between.
The drive to Kidderminster seemed to fly by and the journey was completed in an hour and forty minutes ( I wasn't speeding gov, honest!!) So 85 miles later I was parked up outside Mal Storey's tackle shop awaiting the arrival of Alan and Spike (Graham).
After getting the appropriate day tickets we then set off to find a good old greasy spoon for a bacon sarnie and a mug of coffee just to get us going of course! By 8am I was following in pursuit of a silver van that was high tailing it down a single track lane with a little bald fella in the driving seat swiping the tree branches as he went with his wing mirrors, a mile or so later we were parked up at the end of the lane surrounded by high trees and a bridge, Severn valley railway was directly behind us giving out its whistle and puffing smoke as she rattled through.

The two lads that I had tagged along with were a little more match orientated than my good self so it would be interesting to see their ways and maybe learn a different angle to snare a barbel or two.
After unloading the gear a short walk was made to a steep declined and nettle high path that lead down to the waters edge. As we descended what seemed more suited to mountain goats than humans, Spike muttered " take it easy, it's slippy as arseholes" well with those famous last words all that could be seen was poor old Spike laying on the floor impersonating only what could be described as a dead fly, myself and Alan rolled about laughing and giggling like school boys and of course offered our sympathy only to be told in a roundabout way to " piss off". Still chuckling we made our way along the path that followed the rivers edge with the two lads both advising me that peg10 was well worth a go.
The swim looked quite tasty, in fact it seemed to have a feature for every occasion, with a slack margin leading into quite pacey and bubbly water from ten yards out to right across to the other side to where two big trees where leaning over giving shade and cover.
I had made my mind up in the days leading up to the the trip that I wouldn't be taking a mass array of baits but instead stick to my guns by just using a meaty/chilli based groundbait to which I had added some small pellets and a tin of hemp,this was to be used for plugging the feeder. Rig wise it was just a case of a simple free running swivel clip with a blackcap feeder with the bottom cut off, stopped by a buffer bead and swivel while 3ft of 8lb maxima and a size14 hook finished the set up. Single or double 8mm pellets were my chosen hookbaits and depending on how the fish were reacting on the day it would be one or the other?
To begin with my first couple of casts flew right across the river to where the two trees had tempted me but this turned out to be a mistake as after about an hour or so with only one small chubby type tap it soon become apparent that I had been suckered in by the trees and maybe I should be fishing the bubbly,faster water fifteen yards or so out?
As a pinch of pellet was added to the feeder before being plugged with my chilli concoction a kingfisher flew by with the usual hurried look about him. With the single 8mm bait now sat only a short flick out on to the bubbly crease I felt happy,content and confident as it landed with donk on the riverbed.
Five minutes or so had passed by and just as I had started to pour some tea from my flask(why does this happen) the rod tip just buckled over and tried to keep going, I kept as calm as I could, placed the cup on the ground and swept the rod air bound with a good 'whack'!!
Just as the fish tried to make headway downstream I stepped left by a foot only to kick my brew straight over but luckily the cup stayed on the bank and not in the drink. A couple of minutes later after a spirited fight, there laying in the folds of my net was a pristine, typical sized Severn barbel of about 7lb or so.

There always seems to be a little bit of added pressure when visiting a new stretch for the first time, especially with new angling friends so getting that first pull relaxed me nicely. A quick photo was taken on the mat before placing the fish back in the margin to rest up for as long as it needed. It had fought hard the weather was hot and these fish really DO need as much recovery time as possible plus an extra five minutes.
I lassoed another pellet on after checking the hook and link and all was fine, the temptation was there to remove the hooklink and load the spot with a few feeder fulls of goodies but I resisted and thought I'd just wait and see what happened in the next half hour or so? As I sat there chilling and taken in the surroundings Alan appeared to reveal that Spike had caught two and he had caught one but was on his way back to the van for a change of clothes after having fell off of the log that he was fishing from and knocking his maggots,castors and a bait box full of feeders straight in to the wet stuff!
After taking the piss a little and calling him a 'cock' he bode me farewell and went on his way to drier climates but he was happy that I had managed to bag one.
Life settled down again and over the next few hours I managed to hook and land another couple of fish with the biggest going just under the eight pound mark which both fell to a pair of 8mm glued elipse pellets.
As the afternoon wore on I decided to take a stroll down the section to see the calamity's and also the rest of the stretch. Spike revealed that he had caught five, two on castor and three on pellet while Alan was still on one and having a mare due to losing feeders every other cast on rocks and snags.
I let the two lads know that my intentions were to fish till 4pm and then I was going to head to the B+B for a freshen up, a pint and a bit of tucker so this I did and they followed not long after but first they had to stop off at the tackle shop so Alan could replenish his feeder stock!

As I pulled into the car park of my digs for the night it soon became obvious that the area was quite busy, not all were anglers but most were. Couples on breaks,walkers and also the odd local made up the rest of the traffic. I decided to book in, order a pint before going back outside and claiming a table to sit and chill out for a while and overlook the river. It was now late afternoon and from my view point on the decking it was plain to see that nearly all the swims were in use and feeders could be seen sploshing at least every couple of minutes or so from one swim to another!
My intention was to sort the tackle in the back of the truck so it was ready to just grab, before going up to my room and taking a much needed and refreshing shower and then ordering some food from the 'early bird menu' it's cheap at half the price. Ham,egg and chips was the order of the day washed down with another pint. Alan and Spike had now also pulled up and joined me with a pint and we sat there and chatted about the days events and what our intentions were for the rest of the stay.
The two lads were not going to fish the evening but instead choosing to freshen up, have some grub and then have a few pints. I on the other hand decided to hit the river when most of the other anglers had chose to pack it in for the day and retreat also to the pub for their dinners/pints and leaving the river in a semi peaceful state once again.
I made a short walk from the car park and descended the bank in to a cosy little swim which also included a staging to fish from (I'm not a fan of pallets if I'm honest) and high Himalayan balsam which cocooned me and offered a little cover. Faster water was just an under arm's chuck out so after gluing three 8mm pellets to the hair I was soon angling once again. Fifteen minutes or so had past and a hesitant,sharp jaggy bite had me swiftly striking but from the off I knew this was going to be a chub and my instincts were proven right as I slipped the net under a long and very lean fish of about 3lb ish. Soon it became dark and I had just looked at my watch which read 9.05,on looking back at my rod there was a slight movement and then it just buckled over 'thats a proper bite' I remember muttering to myself and soon enough I had it wallowing under the rod top, just as I was about to net it Alan appeared from behind with a delivery for me "a pint of the wet stuff for ya fella" "ah good ol boy" I replied " I'll just get this baby in the net and I'll be with you".
"How on earth can you see what your doing in this light" he said "carrots" was the only answer I could come up with which lead him in to calling me a "tosser" I laughed and scooped the barbel up at the same time "that ain't a bad un" I said as I readied myself and sipped my pint. The scales revealed a weight of 8lb 15oz and rounded off the day nicely. I could of had another cast but instead chose to be sociable and go and join the other two for a glass of red before retreating to my room,calling the Mrs and getting my head down.

Day two turned out to be a totally different day. We had planned to all meet for breakfast at 7.30 as Allan insisted that he was always awake by 6.30 "yeah right"!!
On getting up at just gone 6.30 I soon had the kettle boiling away and made myself a brew and also rolled a smoke before heading outside to get some fresh air and to see who was about? Spike was out by the van but Alan was nowhere to be seen? " where is he then"? I asked, "snoring like a pig" was his reply. He'd stayed downstairs and had a couple of late ones, this only added to our amusement and gave us some more ammunition to throw at him, and that we did.
After throwing a good old fashioned English fry up and a cup of coffee down our necks we were soon back outside and loading our backs with tackle by 8am. There was already the odd angler perched on platforms right outside the pub so we decided to head up into the next field and on being the first up there we had the pick of the swims. We all spread out to give each other plenty of room but this turned out to be a big mistake as angler after angler dropped in between until more or less every peg was taken from elbow to elbow right through the stretch!! Spike managed a fish not long after settling and before the crowds started to arrive but by midday I had had enough of the mayhem. Why people drop in so close really does baffle me and then when you speak to them all they do is moan that they have had bugger all, I Wonder why??
I made decision to call it a day by lunchtime and go walk a stretch just down river that I am quite familiar with due to family breaks as I am back there in three weeks time. Alan and Spike headed back to Bewdley for the remaining hours and managed a few fish between them and I headed back to Bedfordshire.

Cheers for the company lads it was a pleasure.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Punching the cut

Today Lady J was booked to go hair cutting so I took the opportunity to grab a few hours on the Grand Union Canal and although the river was calling me I just knew that I'd spend most of the session clearing weed and debris from my tackle as the Ouse is still near to bank high after the recent two months of rain!!

My local section of canal was a no go due to a match taking place so a short drive of five minutes or so was made and I was soon pulling up at a stretch that I had not angled for quite a few years. A shortish walk was made and soon I was settled on a nice sweeping bend that had the added bonus of some near bank cover of high grass and nettles combined. Just like my previous session all I had taken was the 11ft float rod complete with the pin and the plan was to fish the nearside ledge on a light pole float with bread punch and white crumb and the occasional pinch of hemp for added attraction.
After settling down and plumbing up I was soon enjoying bite after bite as small roach and the odd gudgeon were coming to my waiting paws. Now, with it being a Sunday the towpath was busy with joggers,dog walkers,ramblers and loving couples all passing by me at regular intervals with the odd one making all the usual comments like 'have you caught enough for your tea yet' or 'I didn't know there were any fish in here' but the best one being 'bloody hell that's a tiddler'!! With barge after barge also passing by the water itself was also moving backwards and forwards a fair bit but the fish didn't seem put off by the ongoing traffic and soon I had lost count of the amount of fish I had caught.
The nice thing with fishing this way and with it being an open waterway is you never really now what the next bite might be or even how big?

The morning was passing by fairly quickly, I was enjoying the warm sunshine (which makes a bloody change from all the rain we've been experiencing), five last casts were made and within them came the largest fish of my few hours which turned out to be a prestige looking silver of roughly ten ounces or so which left me feeling quite content with my mornings work.

I'd like to end this piece with a word of warning......... Poo is present at a stretch near you so Be Aware! Just as I was packing my kit away I'd bent down to pack some things into the tackle bag and on placing my left hand to the ground it slid from beneath me and soon become apparent that this was not mud, mud does not smell like this mud!! "Shit" I muttered to myself but maybe just maybe it might have been lucky shit so off I went vowing to buy a lottery ticket.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

One day, two canals

The alarm rattled its normal annoying tune this morning and nothing had been prepared apart from loading some 4lb line upon my Rapidex pin and coupled with my 11ft float rod. I had to be home for an appointment for 1.30 with the estate agent so time was short, the decision had been made to stay local and revisit my youth.
The Grand Union canal that runs through my hometown was in fact the very first place that a fish graced my hand when I was five years of age. I remember it clearly, a small gudgeon from under the town bridge while sat on an upside down shopping trolley!!
Soon I had the small amount of tackle sorted and was on my way to the cut, a whole three minutes away.
Light rain was falling as I crossed the foot bridge but as I looked left just a shimmer could be seen on the waters surface. The only thing that has changed in all these years are the trees, chopped,butchered and slaughtered.

A light 4x10 pole float was attached and shotted while a size 20 to a 2lb bottom completed the job and was soon being swung out to just over a rod length from my feet. Just as I had lent over to grab a pinch of maggot from the tub, from the corner of my eye I watched as the the tiny bristle just sailed away and on striking I was soon attached and swinging in a small skimmer bream which fitted my hand perfectly. Maggots and a small amount of hemp were being fed every cast and soon I was receiving a bite more or less every chuck.
Skimmers, roach, perch, daddy ruff and not forgetting the beloved little gudgeon were all visiting and at one point I even thought a carp was going to hit the list but unfortunately that had other ideas and spun the centrepin for roughly twenty yards before the hooklink parted and she was gone.
I had forgotten just how busy the canal could be what with runners, dog walkers and kids that were on their way to school and not forgetting the obvious barges.
I was enjoying myself so much that 20 or so last casts were made and nearly made me late but in the end I gave in and told the cut that I'd be back soon.

Now all I had left to do was meet the estate agent and ready some grub for me and the little lady before heading  back to the dentist for a different canal job, a root bugger!! **** my luck, I had not been to the canal to angle for years and yet today I had two visits to attend and I loved it!!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Pulled Out

The traditional season is just about 3 weeks old and so far I have managed to grace the banks of my beloved Gt Ouse for three shortish sessions with very little to show for my efforts.
As the season kicked off the whole country was experiencing extreme flooding and my local was to be no different. Opening weekend I managed to get out on the Sunday for a late evening that was followed up by kipping in the truck before once again gracing the river with my presence at first light to angle for the first few hours of the day. Apart from the odd chubby type tap most of the session was sat there taking in my surroundings but it was nice to be smelling running water again.

The following Wednesday I was back in the field, tucked away down the bank and surrounded by head high grass, to be frank I felt like I was nesting! The water level had dropped back a few good feet in the few days that I was away but was still holding a nice tinge of colour.
I had decided to start the day with two glued 12mm elipse pellets as hookbaits to a size 8 hook c/w pva bags of mixed elipse and a 2oz running lead completing the set up. As always I try to set my rod as low to the waters surface as possible (even if  backleading).
Half hour or so had passed by and apart from two egrets on a fly by and a couple sharp jags on the rod tip, nothing else had moved. A decision was made on a whim to scale down a little, I now had two 8mm pellets glued to a  knotless knotted size 10. First chuck in and the tip bounced and bounced again and on striking my first thoughts were telling me a small chub was going to be the culprit but infact it and the next bite both turned out to be pristine roach in the 12 to 14oz bracket, not what I was there for but nice all the same.
Bite three came 45 minutes or so later and a slightly more definite bite turned out to be a dark old bream of around six pound or so.
I rested the spot for half an hour after depositing some more bait via a small dropper and wandered off downstream with a brew and a marmite sarnie for a look/see. It always amazes me how things change from year to year, tree's move in floods slightly creating new creases and flows, reeds and rush beds become thicker and swims can be created in new areas and all this just seems to add a new life to our river systems.
Back in my swim and just after placing my bait back on the spot and  parking my bum back in the chair a cormorant crash landed in the centre of the river some twenty yards or so to my right before realising I was there when once again it clumsely took flight and buggered off elsewhere to destroy someone elses stock!
Perhaps ten minutes or so passed by when all of a sudden the rod just buckled over with no warning what so ever. On lifting the rod I knew straight away it was a barbel as it flat rodded me on its first downstream run, after what seemed like a minute or so the fish turned and tried to make for the tree on the far bank and the roots that come with it, I instantly applied pressure and briefly thought I would win when all of a sudden the hook pulled! It left me swearing a little and also wondering if I should have stayed on the 8 hook and in hindsight I probably should have considering the situation.
I fished on for another hour in the swim but nothing else was forthcoming so off I did trott and a beaten man to say the least.

Session 3 was today, the 27th and on pulling down the track to the carpark I couldn't believe my eyes, I had been beaten to the water! Usually Wednesdays are quiet on most of the stretches that I fish but here on the mill its very rare that you see a soul. I now had a gut feeling that I wouldn't get back in the swim that had produced the bite the previous week and although I dont like to keep fishing the same holes week in week out I did feel I had unfinished business.
I had guessed right, out of two fields the fellow angler was in the nest, so I chose not to disturb him and just quietly dropped in two swims up to his right. Here the water runs fast under your feet and falls slack on the far bank in front of what is probably the biggest tree on the stretch. I had decided to go back to my size 8 hooks but had lenghtened my hooklinks to roughly 18", the reason for this was a 50gm blackcap feeder with hemp and 3mm pellet was to be the order of the morning but still continuing with two glued elipse on the hair.
An hour or so had passed with just the odd twitch occuring and just when I had turned away to view fishy splash's to my right, from the corner of my eye I saw my rod tip bounce round a foot and just hold there.
On striking I could tell it was more likely going to be a chub and soon after a steady plod she was guided in to the waiting folds of the net. On first view she looked every bit at least a big five but the scales confirmed 4lb14oz of spawned out chevin. It wasn't a barbel but I was happy as the slight change of tact had produced another bite from what is quite a tricky little stretch.
I only had till 12.30ish today as I had an appointment at the dentist for a different kind of pull........A wisdom tooth was to be pulled out and if i'm honest I was dreading it but it had to be done.
Nothing else happened apart from the the odd tippy tap that progress into nothing. On getting back to the truck the other angler had already left so must of crept back past me and left me also undisturbed.

So there you have it, the opening couple of weeks in the life of Derren complete with a couple of different pulls.........2x roach, 1x bream, 1x chub, 1 lost barbel and 1 lost tooth!

Whats next?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Idiot Abroad

While on my recent Holiday to Tenerife with the Good lady it was soon made apparent that I was already there before the plane had touched down on the island.
"Is that you or Karl Pilkington, The Idiot Abroad?" She asked politely while snapping away with her camera.
"God I love her"

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sprucing,preparing and planning

Time seems to of past by fairly quickly since the traditional river season ended and although I have been out in reality they have really only been half hearted attempts for short periods. Maggots,pellets,worms and corn have all been drowned in an attempt to catch any one of a number of species from a vast selection of different sized waters ranging from 90 acres down to 1 acre pools.
A few nice roach,perch and a seldom tench have all graced my net but speaking honestly I'd say 'its been difficult'.
With only a few weeks left and a week in the sun looming for me, the new season will soon be upon us.
At present the whole country is experiencing a deluge of rain and boy was it needed, how many of us would love to be out there now on running water? I know I would.
My local haunts are all bank high and the fields are sodden while the well needed flush through and top up is taking place.
Our scaly friends should be having a munch and readying themselves for the next good warm spell where hopefully they can take part in some sexy times and have the best spawning session they've ever had.
I'll be keeping a close eye on the weather over the coming weeks in the hope of seeing the above taking place just so a rough gauge can be made as to what my chosen stretches of the Gt Ouse might contain for the coming season.

For me the next few weeks will be spent cleaning down the gear,stripping line off and replacing with new, tying rigs and emptying my tackle bag of old sarnie wrappers and crisp packets.
Occasional walks will be made the nearer we get to the sixteenth of June in the hope of getting a glimpse of a golden torpedo complete with that tell tale orange glow as it twists and turns in the flow or maybe a big old pair of white lips as a chub glides out from beneath a far bank snag or a streamer bed to inspect the gravel glides.
We all enjoy the thought of something to look forward to and after sitting and jotting this piece together it has certainly wetted my thoughts and appetite for the glorious 16th of June even more.
The Gt Ouse will as normal get the bulk of my attention but my mind is also set on trips to the Rivers Teme, Severn,Warks Avon and the Wye.

We'll see where the season takes us but one things for sure..........Catch or not, as always I will just enjoy loafing in the great british countryside.

Monday, 9 April 2012

My little black trailer

I remember as a young boy (I was roughly 12, I think), loading up my little black trailer with my seat box, match style rod bag and keepnet bag before attaching it to the back of my Raleigh BMX bike. My daddy had made me this little trailer especially for the purpose of me being able to get to the grand union canal or the little River Ouzel that runs through my Bedfordshire hometown.
It was made from a proper angle iron frame that supported the main body, which was made from plywood, before being sprayed black. Then from what I can recall, a bar came out and up before being attached underneath my saddle somewhere and was somehow able to swivel (for obvious reasons) allowing me to deviate left and right.

This little trailer meant that during weekends, school holidays and days that I decided to 'bunk' off, I could still get to destination water for a days fishing.
I think the 'old man' decided to make it for me so that I didn't pester him all the time for a lift there and back at every given opportunity. I was mad for a bit of angling even in those days ( I'm talking roughly, 30 years ago ).
I remember dad calling me to the garage and slowly opening the door before exposing it, and saying " now make sure you look after the bloody thing" . He then proceeded to read me the highway code complete with tips on towing a trailer!!
"Remember, your twice as long now, so give corners, roundabouts and old ladies a wider berth than normal,
and make sure your loads strapped down good n proper".
I can recall a certain day that I decided to cycle to a place that we call orchard mill this was roughly five miles or so from my house and consisted of negotiating a series of hills. Before getting to the road part of the journey I first had a couple of miles of canal towpath to travel, and on doing this I picked up a puncture. The tyre managed to stay up for the five miles there but I did not realise until setting off on my return journey. Luckily dad had equipped me with a pump, so every ten minutes or so I had to keep stopping to blow in more air to see me home. I used to know roughly how long it would take me to do certain journeys so I'd keep having that "one last cast" and leave it right to the death before packing up and setting off, but on this day I had not allowed for the every ten minute blowing time and returned home into dark and received a bit of a bollocking from the parents (oops).

I can't remember what happened to my little black trailer, but what I do know is, without it I'd have been "knackered for bunking off for a days angling" .
I'll see if I can dig out a picture.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Floats of beauty

Whilst flicking through one of the monthly mags I stumbled across a sight that has beauty written all over it.
The time and effort that must go into the making of these.

I might just have to treat myself .

Monday, 2 April 2012

Carl....... "you da man"

Mid afternoon on Sunday past I received a phone call from Carl (my eldest son), you could tell by the tone of his voice that something big had happened.
 He said "Dad I've just nailed the biggest water pig in the lake, all 31 pounds of it".
This was in fact the first time he'd actually wet a line at the low stocked water, so after turning up, finding a couple of fish, lowering a bait from his rod tip and then slipping the net under the big fat apple sliced mirror, he was a little more than elated.

So through this blog I would just like to say again.........


Friday, 30 March 2012


A man joins a very exclusive nudist colony....

On his first day there, he takes off his clothes and starts to wander around. A gorgeous petite blonde walks by, and the man immediately gets an erection.

The woman notices his erection, comes over to him and says, 'Did you call for me?'
The man replies, 'No, what do you mean?'
She says, 'You must be new here. Let me explain. It's a rule here that if you get an erection, it implies you called for me.'

Smiling, she leads him to the side of the swimming pool, lies down on a towel, eagerly pulls him to her and happily lets him have his way with her.

The man continues to explore the colony's facilities. He enters the sauna and, as he sits down, he farts.....

Within minutes, a huge, hairy man lumbers out of the steam-room toward him, 'Did you call for me?' says the hairy man.
'No, what do you mean?' says the newcomer.

'You must be new,' says the hairy man, 'it's a rule that if you fart, it implies that you called for me.' The huge man easily spins him around, bends him over a bench and has his way with him.

The newcomer staggers back to the colony office, where he is greeted by the smiling, naked receptionist, 'May I help you?' she says.
The man yells, 'Here's my membership card. You can have the key back and you can keep the £500 membership fee.'
'But, Sir,' she replies, 'you've only been here for a few hours. You haven't had the chance to see all our facilities.'

The man replies, 'Listen lady, I'm 68 years old. I only get an erection once a month but I fart 35 times a day!!'

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Visited by the doctor

On unlocking the gate and entering the fishery, with ground frost crunching beneath my feet, the day had been forecast to be 18C at its warmest and as I trudged my way along the footpath and through the trees I was still pondering as to where to park my bum to wet a line. I'd already decided to walk past the first lake and on to the second as it's a little more secluded and intimate with trees and rushes separating almost every swim. The quality and quantity of the fishing is a little unknown to me and only snippets can be found on who, what and why but it all adds to the excitement of what the next bite could be. As I have said before, these two little waters are just filling the gap of the close season so anything that I do manage to catch will be bonus captures of whatever species.
Anyway, back to the "doctor". I decided to stop half way along the bank and the said swim is natural but large but plenty of open water could be covered if the need arises, to my left is a bare but quite large tree that hangs a fair way out from the bank that I am on, and on putting my gear down although I was facing the wrong way, a small splash was heard and on turning round the ripples could be seen at about thirty five to forty yards straight out  in front "that'll do me" I grunted to myself.
The plan was to blackcap feeder fish with maggot/hemp as feed and either maggot or castor as hook baits, I also had some jolly green giant and my faithful tub of pets (lobworms) with me just in case I fancied or needed a change of tact.

I took my time tackling up but every now and then I would grab the catty and pult some castor's and a few grains of corn to the front of the tree on my left, the idea was to do this and leave it for as long as possible until I could resist no longer, this was to be angled with my trusty 13ft power float rod and after taking the depth I just left it in peace until I was happy, and that something might just fancy a corn breakfast.

Three feeders of maggot and five of hemp were deposited without the rig attached, roughly on the line where the earlier splash had taken place, and soon I was sat back in the chair awaiting a sign.
It was probably fifteen minutes or so, before I had the first bit of interest. A quick jag on the tip indicated that something was after my two wriggling reds, seconds later it pulled round enough for me to think "strike", and strike I did. A small roach was led to my hand, admired and gently put back. For the next couple of hours this seemed to be the trend, as roach and the odd Rudd to around the half pound mark at best ( they were all one handed jobbies) found there way to me.

All the time I had kept on trickling, little and often to the margin tree, and after a brief cuppa complete with a sarnie and an egg of the scotched variety the decision was now made to drown a golden grain beneath a float. A cast was made just past the baited patch and pulled back into place and left to cock and settle. Just at that point three geese came into landing straight out in front of me, from then on peace had been shattered as they had decided it was "fruity time". On looking back at my float it bobbed before sitting right up and lying more or less flat on the surface, on lifting the rod I was soon met by a plodder.
A heavier,slower fish hugged along the bottom and was trying to gain the sanctuary of the tree or its branches. With pressure applied control was soon had and after a spirited fight there in the bottom of my net lay "old red eye", due to the colour of the water it did look a little pale, even in the sunlight. Not the prettiest of samples as you can see by the picture, the "doctor that needed a doctor", rot on the tail had set in.
A quick weigh, not that it mattered really, was taken and five pound twelve was the reading.
A couple of Rudd took a liking to my corn offering on the float but then the bites just dried up on me so it was back onto the feeder gear.

The pattern that followed was almost like for like with the mornings events until a different bite occurred.
I was just on the phone to the "better half" when the tip took on a solid arc and on connecting with the fish, straight away I knew it was different. A slow and steady fish was taking me basically where it liked but after a while I did manage to get to within ten yards of my bank and this is when the line fell slack! Harsh words were muttered and on swinging the feeder in I could see that my five pound hooklink had broken half way up, with the fish taking my size 16 hook. Tench or carp? who knows?
After that the swim went quiet, my arms and neck were burnt and the flask was dry and with that I packed it in and shouted to lake "I'll be back, you owe me"