Thankyou for taking the time view my mutterings.

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

Monday, 4 May 2020

Little did I know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines



Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Covering my options

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

                                 Covering My Options.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

                                                   Swim Selections.

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

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

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

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

                                                         Give It A Go.

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

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

Saturday, 15 February 2020

It's Been A While.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time.