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"

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!!