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, 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, 5 May 2013

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Scratching Amongst The Catkins

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

Spot The Pole Float

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

Bait Robber

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

Hand Sized Silver

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

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



Sunday, 21 April 2013


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

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Couple Of Trips Through The 90's

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

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Olds Kool Part Three (I'm Back)

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

Its belly felt like a bag of marbles

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

A couple of diary pieces from back then.

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







Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Olds Kool Part Two

Once I had started full time employment in the mid eighties and left my school years behind me my angling days returned to general pleasure days as and when I could but mostly being weekend trips to the nearby Grand Union canal or local River Ouzel upon my bike complete with trailer in tow.
Old school friends had started to spread their wings and make the massive move onto some of the surrounding lakes in my area. Many a first light you would find myself a few others spread a long one side of Tiddenfoot pit, waggler rod in hand, whipping out Golden Rudd by the bucket load with the odd averaged sized Tench,Bream and Crucian Carp thrown in as a bonus.
I remember two old characters that went by the names of Big Bill and Melvyn that are sadly no longer with us that fished the the pit week in week out regardless of the weather. They would float fish but with much bigger baits like corn, meat and bread as apposed to my humble maggot offering. Now these boys knew how to select the Bream, Tench and Crucians and some days their keepnets would be bulging with Kippers! It took a while for us to realise exactly what they were up to but once we did then my mums shopping bill increased a little with extra corn, meat and bread being added to her basket.
Back then the pit seemed huge and deep to us but by today's standards it wasn't as in the last ten years or so she has expanded considerably due to the ever increasing rainfall we all seem to keep getting! Soon our 10ft rods were being replaced with 11ft versions but it would still be coupled with one of my dads hand me downs in the shape of the good old Mitchel match reel.
The evenings before any trips would be spent in the garden with my old mans car washing bucket, mixing a concoction of goodies together that included bread crumb as the base but to this I would add corn,chopped meat,hemp and a big splash of molasses liquid that I ponced off dad while he was still at work, it was months before he realised that the bottle was near on empty!! Maggot tubs would have my chosen hookbaits all separated and at the ready and all this would usually have me excited to the point of not being able to get off to sleep very easily, although most anglers I know now are still like that including myself. By now I was also trusted to have a door key for home so once I was up and ready I would load the bicycle trailer and set off on my way, locking and leaving the "old uns" behind me. I can still remember them saying "make sure you lock that bloody door on your way out and don't be too late home" "whatever" was my usual reply.
One particular day on arrival at the lake, Bill and Melvyn were already in their usual positions, they knew exactly where to sit as their garden chair marks and feet marks were so predominant from all the previous months of sitting in the same old peg, it was like a permanent mold in the bank.I had arrived just in time to see Bill scooping up Tench that must have weighed a good four and a half pounds. Now I was excited and soon enough I was throwing my stuff down the bank and into the nearest peg that I could get away with next to my at the time hero's.
I knew I could learn a thing or two from these boys as they, although basic anglers would catch excessive amounts most weeks without too much of a problem.
At first light I used to love ripping the lid off of my bucket to reveal a bubbling frothy mixture that smelt pure sexy, although I don't think the lads appreciated it too much when ball after ball was hurled into what was once a still and glass like water, especially when they were already bagging fish!
That trip even though the 'old timers' were having their fill, I did manage to hook and land two bream it excited me that much that I nearly melted the tyres on my bike as I couldn't wait to get home (late as usual) to tell ma and pa. The months that past after that trip lead me into purchasing an 11ft quiver rod off some fella that also fished the pit and he was a fisherman that liked to fish with two rods on lead or feeder set ups . Now, Ledger as he was known would catch the same types of species but the slightly bigger specimens it seemed.
Now this ledger fishing lark was a totally new ball game to me really but I had seen it being done not only by 'Ledger' but other anglers that were actually trying to single out the Carp or Catfish that inhabited the water. Soon enough and after plenty of sucking up (yes up, not off!!) I had been shown certain rigs that would hopefully lead me to bigger and better fish?
I would now continue to waggler fish with one rod then the all new but second hand quiver rod would be put out as a sleeper usually with a couple of golden grains on the hook for bait.
I persevered with this attack for as long as I can remember and did manage to catch quite a few good sized Tench with the odd Crucian also pulling at the tip. Bream made up the bulk of my catches in those days, nothing of any size though, probably five or six pounds on average.
The following season I ventured to the lake just for a wander round more than anything and it was whilst doing this that one of those 'Carp boys' had a belting run just as I was passing, intrigued I stopped in my tracks and watched the battle commence. At the time I couldn't quite believe what was involved at getting the said beast to a waiting net but what it did do was leave a burning desire to want to get one for myself!
That sixteen pound Common caused me no end of grief with my dad as it was only him that could help me out due to the fact that he had the gear that I needed to lead me down the Carping path.
Before my actual Carping commenced I did head off with my mates to other waters including Emberton park in search of Tench but I had at least managed to borrow a couple of dads one and three quarter pound test curve Bruce Ashby carp rods that were more used to casting out par boiled potatoes than grains of jolly green. "look after the buggers" was all he said and still to this day they are hanging proud in his garage.
Lovely pair of curtains and a mid double
It wasn't until the late eighties that my carping years got going for real after a change of job and meeting up with a fellow welder and angler Keith (aka The Intrepid Piscator).
Hours were spent in the welding bays knocking up all sorts of contraptions including bank sticks and rod pods. The other added bonus was that being a chair company, every time the arse in my camping bedchair (you know the ones that had either a red or a blue canvas) fell out we would run across the way to see one of the guys for offcuts of material so that we could re cover and keep the buggers going for another season or at least a couple of months more!
Most evenings back then we could usually be found in the kitchen of my then flat, throwing all sorts into a mixing bowl and boiling the arse out of it. Homemade boilies were on the menu back then and our favourite recipe was a 50/50 mix, coloured yellow and flavoured with Richworth butter with a couple of drops of sweetener finishing it off.
We caught loads on these little yellow perils but I have to admit that I was also a little partial to the odd one myself.
It was one of our little yellow butter baits that led to the capture of my first twenty pounder from a local sand pit in the shape of a fish known as the 'Elstow' at 21lbs 8oz. Yellow baits complimented by a yellow tee shirt and bright red ski trousers!! You had none of this modern stuff back then you know "you lot nowadays are bloody spoilt"
A good few years were spent at the sand pit and we soon got to know the certain fish that had names and slowly but surely we worked our way through them, watching them grow as we went.
In mid 1990 things went a little tits up for me on the home front and after a split with my then girlfriend who I had my eldest son Carl with, who is now 23!! I made the decision to flog all of my gear and move to the flat lands of Lincolnshire. This only lasted a couple of years though before home sickness set in and I returned back to my roots.............
................To be continued

Olds Kool Part One

On many occasions I remember hearing my parents say "he'll never have the patience for it".
Well just the other day while digging through the large plastic storage container that is full to the brim with thirty years of patience and angling photos that I have managed to accumulate, the memories came flooding back to me. Below are just a few shots of a younger me looking absolutely stunning and I'm sure that those who knew me back then or those that know me now will smile and want take the mickey just a little?
Picking at a cheese bap, wearing white trainers, camo was not an option back then.
After several years of general pleasure angling the urge to compete got hold of me and soon I was angling for Leighton Buzzard A.C as a junior, before moving up into the intermediates and although not brilliant I did ok and ended up fishing in a couple of nationals for the club.It was the bus journeys to many a different venue across the country that I enjoyed the most, rivers such as the Trent, Derwent,Kennet and Soar to name but a few were visited and even now some of the anglers that were in the team in those days have continued with the match scene and have gone on and still are competing at the highest level with big named teams, but for me it finished once I had left school and found myself a full time job.
A wax suit, silly haircut and your name on the back of your seat box was all the rage in those days and you could always tell by my facial expression if I'd had a bad day or not!
Occasionally I got it near right and good days were had as this bag of river Roach proves.Section wins and even the odd match win occured that led me to a runners up place for two years on the bounce at the end of year standings tables, always losing out to a certain Mr Stan Whinnet (I think it was all in his name).
Runners up trophy being presented by a legend in these parts, Mr Fred Groom.
On looking back now though and how my angling has changed (and haircuts) as the years have come and gone, the knowledge on most aspects of what I do nowadays is all owed to what I had a experienced back in the day of my match years.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The end of season with two twats and a sock

Once upon a time............. in fact only just last week, two angling mad twats had the urge to fish.
Barbel were supposed to be their target species but after the unfortunate turn in good old British weather the day before, the pre arranged trip to the River Severn was abandoned and changed to two days chubbing on the Gt Ouse!!
It was a shame as the previous week a customer and friend (cockney Al) had been in to the shop after a couple of successful days on the Severn by banking several fish to a creditable 9lbs or so (well done mate).
The mild/wet weather then decided to go minus degrees, North Easterly winds swept in and to complete the job snow showers had put pay to possibly any barbel activity. So, last had me and Steve changing the tackle bags and rods over to suite silver/bronze instead of gold.
Day 1.
After pulling into the car park and dressing ourselves up like we were going to the Antarctic, we steadily made our way with a twenty or so minute walk to the far end of the section. In hindsight this was probably a mistake as by the time we had reached our destination we were both sweating like pigs but once we had sat down and started to angle the sweat started to freeze and in turn we became very cold very quickly. (note to self.......when walking long distances with kit on your back, go naked and get dressed upon arrival at swim).
There was a hard frost on the ground and cat ice that covered most margins so care had to be taken when parking ones arse into ones chosen swims.
As usual the plan was to give swims 45 minutes or so before moving on, depending what was happening? Worms,maggots,steak and cheesepaste were all in the bait bag and each and every one of them were set for a drowning at some point during the day!
Now to say that the 25mph North Easterly winds were playing havoc was an understatement not only with my rod tip but  my eyes were also streaming making it near impossible to see the tip waving and bouncing around in the blustering cold gusts, so soon we were moving on to calmer areas of the river. It was plain to see that conditions and temperatures were not on our side and if were going to get at a bite then it would only come if the baited hook was placed right on the ends of their noses.
So to cut a long but cold,blowy story short, it wasn't until some six hours or so later when we doubled up for a chinwag on a sweeping bend with loads of fast, bubbling turbulent water that we experienced our first action of the day.
By now the snow had started to fall and I had just had a sharp pull on a couple of worms that led to nothing but just as I was concentrating on maybe another bite, all I heard was......".What the f####ing hell have I got on here?" I asked if it was a netting job and he replied "I don't think so" and started to laugh!!
On looking to my right all I could see was a wet,black sock swinging around in the wind and snow, did I laugh and take the piss? of course I did !!
It was in the 7-9 range and for sure was Steve's best to date so he was made up by all accounts, a quick video mas made before resting it in the net and casting out again on the hope that the other might just still be in the area.
To be honest it was more than I had caught all day so it was quite a welcoming sight.
No other bites were forthcoming so after a last flasked brew we called it a day and agreed that day 2 would be on another stretch.
Day 2.
After agreeing on a different venue we were soon meeting up in the car park which to be honest looked like a doggers paradise with flunky's and tissues galore so after making a mental note to myself I regained composure and said to Steve "have you been here before mate".
He just looked at me and replied "get your kit on your back, the sun is shining"
This part of the Ouse is a slower and deeper section with the odd tree/bush, the wind was a little lighter but instead of being in our faces it was blowing upstream. After a wander we were soon sitting in our starting positions and both choosing worms as bait whilst spraying maggot over the top. It looked not only chubby but perchy too. It was not a stretch that I was too familiar with but Steve had angled here a few times and assured me there were fish to be had.
The sunshine soon disappeared and changed to darker clouds that started to deposit a light flutter of snow once again (roll on winter I say)!! After an hour or so and not even a tap we decided to up sticks and stroll on to pastures new. Three swims each were tried in total and then the decision was made to move to a different section some ten minutes drive away.
Soon we were walking the path that leads to yet another piece of the river and one that we were slightly more familiar with, known to have done chub to high sevens although not that easy. Earlier in the year I had managed to take a nice net full of perch from here so at least we stood a chance of either species. It wasn't until we moved to our second pitch that Steve managed a proper bite that took the liking to a worm hookbait. On hooking the fish I shouted "is it pulling back or could it be a shoe" "Na its pulling back alright" was his reply as the rod lunged over and the fish held deep in its watery home. By now I had wound in and was marching through the mud to grab the net and scoop the bugger up. Soon it was ours, I say ours as it was a team effort after a hard couple of days and it felt so much like we had earned it.
5lb 6oz was the weight recorded and although he was complaining that his hands were cold I just told the poof to stop moaning and just smile and you can see by the picture that he just about managed it.
We had another chuck and gave it half hour or so but nothing else was willing and I had drawn an end of season blank, still I was pleased that Gaylord had saved our blushes with one sock and a five pound chub.
So that was the end to the season, not the best I hear you say but I enjoyed trying and could easily have stayed at home or gone to work but that wouldn't have been half as much fun eh? A three month river rest will now be had and I'll turn my attentions to a bit of canal Perch or Roach fishing or maybe a lake Tench if this weather ever warms up!!