Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Short Stories

I've been talking a lot recently about writing which has spurred me into action. No pictures, no catch reports just a few short stories from blogs past. Enjoy........

Winter Pike fishing

It was one of those crisp winter mornings where the air was unusually still and the river incredibly flat. The stillness soothed the senses and I sat in my chair bathing in a requiescence that you can only experience when fishing alone in a remote spot. This is usually punctuated by several false alarms, those glances where for a moment, you can't see your float and then suddenly, disappointingly, it appears in the place you always knew it was. The expectation is almost burdensome. Mrs P asks incredulously why I am tired after a day fishing, if only she knew what we all go through.

Then it happens. The float dips, dragging the water under surface tension with it until it pops back up. Perfectly concentric ripples move outwards from your float like an aquatic bellow. The physical attributes of the water spike the senses. The mind starts to race- How long should I wait? Just how big will it be? In an instant you double-check everything, this is the moment, the one moment where nothing else matters in the world but replacing that vision of a float tip with a fish in the net. Our prize for all that supposition.

A Caged Panther

The light was fading ever so slightly as the summer evening sun lowered slowly in the sky, its bottom edge just kissing the horizon. I looked to my right where Andy was watching his motionless rod tips intently as he had been for the previous three hours, maybe three and a half. Mrs P had just left for home with the dogs. "I hope he catches something, he's come a long way," I said as she went. "He's a grown man, he can handle it," she replied as she disappeared over the dunes.

Fishing in company can be incongruous. I spent almost as much time observing my comrade as did my own rod tips. Time dragged on, tugging on my conscience as Andy sat motionless. I could almost see the angling fervour in his head packing its bags and heading back to the car. Nothing was happening, a mannequin challenge before the term was even invented. He was too far away to speak to over the lapping waves. Certainly too far to throw an arm around his slowly drooping shoulders.

Andy sat staring up at his rod tip. Without the slightest warning it suddenly hooped over. His rod butt lifted off the floor, big pit reel and all. Andy's body tensed and he readied himself to pounce. As his rod reached the horizontal there was a slight pause. Andy hesitated while his rod teetered on its axis. A split second later the rod was clean off the rest and being dragged down to the waters edge, the reel handle ploughing a small but alarming furrow in the soft sand. Far from slowing it down the outfit seemed to be actually gathering pace as it neared the point of never seeing it again. That is probably a bite I thought to myself as the shell-shocked Andy finally sprang from his seat and gave chase.

In search of Bass

As I crested a tall dune an expanse of sandy marshes dominated the view. With a strategically placed hand shading my eyes I could just make out the surf in the distance. On the far side of the dune the odd sunbather, picnickers and couples had their own little space where they were whiling away a few leisurely hours, basking in the early July heatwave and enjoying the solitude of a secret beauty spot.

The serenity was shattered that day by a my good self and the chaos twins. In a melee of licked sandwiches, wet noses, wagging tales and a heavily laden breathless angler we made our presence felt. Being Labradors the twins were cute enough to placate the sun worshippers, I however was looked upon with suspicious eyes. He's not going to carry all that stuff all the way to the sea surely? He must be mad. Little did they realise I was on a very important mission.

With the dune behind me I cursed my ridiculously impractical flip-flops as the fine mud sucked them off my feet at every opportunity. A rugby field sized patch of samphire was slowly negotiated before we reached firmer ground and continued on towards the still distant shore line. Not many people come here that's for sure I thought to myself. A place where you can see almost nothing in every direction. A beguiling tract of land. I stopped briefly, arrested by rapturous solitude.

Just my luck

I crept into place as stealthily as I could. The river was quite low and clearer than I would normally prefer. Through the surface glare of the early morning sun I could just make out some dark shapes in the shallow water. They were holding in the flow, waiting to pounce on any morsel of food that came their way. I couldn't quite make out what they were but experience told me they were either Roach or Dace, some big ones too. I trickled some maggots in upstream while setting my float rod up with a small wire-stem stickfloat. The silence was deafening. I was careful to the the extreme, even down to carefully opening boxes and the like. The fish were close and one wrong move would see them scatter. I was hunkered down in my low chair, at the bottom of the bank. They wouldn't see me against the skyline but my movements were still very slow and deliberate. Finally I was ready. Everything was in place and the next lot of maggots would have my hook bait among them. I catapulted a few out and was just ready to cast over the top.

"Caught owt mate?" shouted someone behind me.

I nearly jumped from my chair, bow waves dominated my swim as any fish within ten yards departed, at speed. I turned around to see an old man standing on top of the bank right behind me. Lovely old fella he was. Completely ruined that particular peg but there were plenty more to go at. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, these things occasionally occur I comfortingly kidded myself.

Pet Hate 

It's a Sunday afternoon in 1993. A Passion for Angling is being beamed into millions of living rooms. I actually watched one episode in a nightclub that was the base for a match I'd just fished. I digress, with Hugh Miles' stunning camera work and the watchable japery of Messrs Yates and James it transported us into a different world. A world where the warming tones of the inimitable Bernard Cribbins told us 'that sometimes just being there is enough'. It captured a moment, it was exquisite, for we wanted to be there too. Fast forward twenty-three years and that phrase accompanies every (usually rubbish) fishing photograph people take when they aren't catching anything. The phrase has been reduced to nothing but a platitude. The next time you are out fishing and you think that just being there is enough wind in and see if you feel the same. If just being there was enough we'd all be ramblers, or worse, play golf or something. Being there is nice, it can be magical, serene, biblical or any number of superlatives, it can never be enough.

Morning Glory

The walk to the waters edge from the dusty car park was short. It was ridiculously early but even though the very tip of the sun was barely visible it was still t-shirt warm. As the sun rose the scene became illuminated, lightened a shade with every passing second. Hues of blues, pinks and oranges slowly dominated the sky. A laser beam tract of light shimmered on the surface of the water, a scintillating white path formed, starting at my feet and ending beyond the limits of my imagination.
The body of water in front of me that morning is vast. Two friends of mine have recently joined a large water. At a little over two hundred acres they could happily fish it for the next ten years and still enjoy a certain amount of mystery surrounding its occupants. This water is roughly eight hundred and fifty thousand times bigger than that. If you could it walk across it and briskly paced for twelve hours a day you would not reach the far bank for nearly ten days.

Luckily I had some help that morning in the shape of our friend Lee. With the baits out we pontificated at length, trying to keep each others spirits up. An hour passed without incident. Deep into the second hour something finally happened, something rather magical. I watched agog as my rod tip thumped over (it is worth bearing in mind that in my sixteen previous visits I hadn't seen any bites whatsoever).

After the initial hit the tip sprang back and I rushed over to the rod, by the time I had covered the short distance the tip had taken an alarming curve. My eyes fixed momentarily on the spool as it spun, the twenty pound braid being pulled as if it were cotton from a reel and the metallic noise of the drag pierced the still morning air.

Dog Day

I knew Archie was trouble as soon as I saw him. He was far too interested in what I was doing, nosy bugger.........
 I'd travelled fifty miles to fish a Perch venue for a couple of hours. It was a fact finding mission for an upcoming project. The plan was to walk along the stretch with a lure rod to try and find some fish. Being a canal type venue I took the Chaos twins, my Labradors Daisy and Harriet. They never stray very far and are well used to the fishing regime, keep quiet, no paddling and most importantly- definitely no swimming.

We had walked about half a mile and left the towpath to fish a secluded spot behind some thick undergrowth next to a bridge. "Sorry, sorry, he loves fishing. He's obsessed with it" came a voice from the bridge above. I felt something on my leg and looked down to find a young Collie by my side, ridiculously excited. His name? Archie. He craned his neck with every cast, teetering over the water. His owner was a nice enough chap but had no control over him. None. 

For the next twenty minutes Archie was a right royal pain in the arse. The Chaos twins barely noticed him. Being typical Labradors they view these jaunts as food hunts, looking for anything remotely edible (Goose poo anyone?). Eventually I decided to head back to the car. The water was as clear as I have ever seen it and just as I was about to head into the carpark I saw some dark shapes near the far bank. 

The first cast produced a Perch of around a pound. The next cast saw a slightly bigger one come to the net. I soon hooked another one and this one was better still. It put up a respectable fight but was soon on the surface ready to be netted. At that moment Archie came bounding down the bank. He could see the Perch in the water and without hesitation launched himself at it, doing a huge belly flop as he hit the water. With my help the Perch escaped. Archie had a frantic swim all over the canal before he had to be rescued by two passers by. The owner was all of a fluster. I didn't have another bite.

On the long journey home with just the sound of snoring Labradors emanating from the back seat for company I consoled myself with the thought that no matter how many more times I go fishing in my life, save for personal injury, no other session will be as disastrous as that.

Till next time


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Winter part 3

Pushing my luck

It wasn't that late I told myself. One of my usual Chub swims had just been completely obliterated by a turbo-charged fish of 4lb 12oz. I needed a plan b to try and get an elusive five pounder, maybe an ultra rare six.
Regulars will remember my dealings with a local farmer over the years. It was a love/hate relationship. I loved him, he hated me. A curmudgeonly, rude, vituperative old sod (not me, him). Anyway should he catch me in what he called 'his garden' then he would relieve me of a fiver for a day ticket. Day being the operative word. By the time I pulled into the layby it was pitch black, I knew this because I'd switched my headlights off for stealth. I was pushing my luck.

A tip rod, some cheese, forceps, scales and landing net were taken from my car and I blundered my way through the undergrowth and finally reached the worlds noisiest gate. I could see the farmers house, the lights were on, nice kitchen I thought as I crawled through the gate and into position. A hump on top of the bank was just bulbous enough to conceal me. I had a tiny Korum starlight on my tip. He wouldn't see that I thought for I could barely see the bloody thing from nine feet away.

It's amazing how darkness heightens the senses, that and the thought you could be shot at any moment. I cast a lump of cheese blindly into the water and almost immediately the rod hooped over. A spirited three pounder was very nice but not worth having to remove lead shot from my buttocks for a month. On the second cast I had to wait a bit longer, maybe a minute. As soon as I hooked it I knew it was a better fish. The 6lb Drennan Double Strength held firm as I coaxed it back towards me. Unintentionally I did my very best to knock it off with the net as I jabbed around in the gloom. Luckily it went in eventually. Not massive but a very nice fish of 5lb 7oz. Mission accomplished and I left without a trace.........


The ridiculously acrobatic 4 12......

Greta Garbo and Monroe, Deitrich and DiMaggio, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean...........

We left off last time with some Roach from my local drain. I went again but only had a spare hour. This was the result.........


The biggest was probably a pound and a quarter and they were all in mint condition. My friend Antony saw some pictures I'd been posting and asked me if I would do another feature for the Angling Times? Of course, I jumped at the chance. I don't usually fish it very often and neither does anyone else. The local Cormorants had been taking advantage with the lack of humans present and as well as some nice exposure for myself it would do the venue good too.

When the day arrived I was slightly concerned to see frost on the ground. Fortunately it soon warmed up enough to melt it away. The drain usually flows at a steady pace but on arrival I was disappointed to find it stood absolutely still. Never mind I thought, we'll just see what happens. The first twenty or so bite less minutes were nerve racking. When you have a journalist travelling for two hours to meet you blanking is not something you want to endure. My steady feed of liquidised bread finally attracted something and I struck my first glorious bite and it felt like a good Roach. Then it fell off. As did the next one.
After that somewhat shaky start I finally put a few fish together. It actually turned out to be quite incredible. They just kept coming, one after another. Big fish too. I must have had around twenty over the pound mark. The biggest went 2lb 2oz but sadly had mixed parentage. All the really big ones seem to have either a bit of Rudd or Bream in them. I say really big I had proper ones to 1lb 12oz. That's still a big Roach in my book. As ever it takes a couple of weeks to get in the magazine and I tried not to think about too much. I'd been incredibly lucky to get on the cover before, could I be as fortunate again? With massive thanks to my friend Antony, yes, yes I could........


Just a quick report from another local drain. A place where a couple of years ago I saw the biggest shoal of silver fish in my lifetime. A couple of match anglers had been posting pictures of massive bags of Roach and I knew straight away where it must be. I remember thinking at the time I couldn't really see any fish that got my specimen hunting juices flowing..........and after a quick visit my thoughts were proved right. Even upping to size ten and a large bit of breadflake the small fish were ripping it to shreds. Nice fishing when you only get one day a week to be told where to fish in a match, not really my thing though. I left after a couple of frustrating hours......


Perch News

Every angler has that one moment. The take of a lure; the scream of an alarm; the disappearance of a float; the jagged jerks on a quiver tip. For me it is the sight of a big fish on the end of my line. Both 1lb 14oz Roach have had my heart in my mouth upon first seeing them. The 2lb fish was a total shock because I wasn't specifically targeting them. The first sight of an angry Perch always gets me the same. Anything around 3lb has my adrenaline running. Hard to explain but increasingly it's what I go fishing for.  

The problem with big Perch is that they move, a lot. I've said this many times and it doesn't just apply to Perch- big fish are actually quite easy to catch just very difficult to find. Thanks to the watercraft of Martin we'd actually found some bait fish shoaled up on a Lincolnshire canal. Knowing the venue holds large Perch too it deserved some of our attention. Our friends Jamie Potts, Carl Arcus, Phil Kenny and Leo Heathcote all joined in on the fun at various times. Here's my highlights and if you are new to this blog, don't sneer at the weights, any half-decent fish from a new venue is worthy to me

2lb 9oz and 2lb 13oz


The worst picture of a 2 5 ever.......


The best picture of a 2 9 ever......

2lb 14oz......


Over now to a lake nearer to home. A bogey water for me. A couple of friends had caught three pounders from it but the best I had managed was 2 15. Time to sort that out I thought. Winter is the perfect because the Carp angling fraternity would be absent. How pleased I was then when I equalled my venue PB with another fish of 2lb 15oz........ 

The next session produced smaller fish but included a fine 1lb 5oz Roach.......


My last session turned up a fish of 2 14 and I began to wonder if I would ever break the three pound barrier. I needn't have worried. I finally did it on the next cast. 3lb 3oz.........

Bit of breaking news now. I've very recently had a 3lb 11oz fish. Lets not beat around the bush, I've caught a lot of 3lb Perch, a lot. This is my forth biggest ever. I'm not saying I'm good, I go Perch fishing a lot and it was fairly easy to catch. The point I'm trying to make is that fish of this size are rarer than is commonly perceived. I was absolutely made up to catch it........


Others

I had a brief Pike fishing trip with Benidorm Dave. For once I got the better of him. Five fish in a couple of hours the best a very thin 13lb 12oz.........


Attaining my 20lb target from a river earlier in the winter has sort of spoiled my Pike fishing. I'm not really interested in catching loads of twenties. It was a target I set myself and one I was very happy to achieve but it has sort of taken the shine off my Pike fishing mojo. I'm sure it will return at some point.

A day Roach fishing with Martin was mostly taken up with catching greedy Chub but we did manage a few roach to 1lb 7oz.....

SHUK News

Some of the guys made the long trip down south to a famous chalk stream and had some remarkable fish. Andy Wilson here with a lovely Grayling........


Nate Green with his new PB of 1lb 14oz.....


Dave Owen with his new PB of 2lb 3oz.......


Darren Clarke with the best Grayling of the trip. 2lb 8oz.......


Carl Arcus with a fine Pike from one of our canal trips........



Nate Green again with a lovely Perch of 3lb 5oz.....


Nate again with a hard won and beautifully marked Trout reservoir Pike.......


Martin Barnatt with a new PB Pike from the fens. 26lb 4oz.......


Barry Fisher with his new PB Pike of 18lb 11oz.............


Will Barnard and another Trout Resevior Pike. Weight unknown.


Andy Loble made the long trip to Scotland to catch this fine double figure Thornback Ray....


Lee Fletcher with his PB Roach of 1lb 10oz.....


Last but not least we have our friend James Aris with his best ever Chub. A magnificent fish of 7lb 1oz........


Apologies for the lack of Tackle Talk and Photography but the end of the season is looming large and time is of the essence.

Till next time.........







Friday, 13 January 2017

Winter Part 2

Looking Back

Let us start off with a quick look back at 2016. The general consensus among the specimen hunting fraternity is that, overall, it was a tough year.
For myself, diversification has been not only been enjoyable but also quite productive. I beat my Perch PB by a solitary ounce at Pitsford with a fish of 3lb 13oz. My two 3 12's from the river will always be more special but it was nice to creep ever closer to my ultimate goal of a four pounder. I had five over 3lb that day, sharing the experience with friends made it one of the highlights of the year. Other PB's included a 15oz Dace and a modest 2lb 10oz Eel. I broke my Rudd best three times in January with fish of 2lb, 2lb 5oz and 2lb 11oz. A new PB Rainbow Trout of 8lb 2oz was taken on a fly and I caught some new sea species too. A tiny Weaver fish wasn't particularly welcome but my first Thornback Ray was. Not having a sling with me means the weight of my biggest Smoothound in 2016 will remain a mystery.


While it seem voguish to highlight personal achievements I have come to realise that some of my fondest memories from 2016 were not necessarily related to exceptional captures. A blazing summer dawn on the beach with our friend Lee sticks out, we didn't catch much but it was a marvellous couple of hours. Benidorm Dave choosing to spend one of his precious days off from his work and young family with me at a tricky Pike venue. A day with Andy on his boat on an exclusive Perch venue. The list goes on and on. Progressively I've come to realise that a successful outing is one that you simply enjoy. Isn't that what pastimes are all about? In a social media world of a few thousand catch shots the enjoyment factor is often lost. Worth noting.

Scratching my head

Chub can be most obliging, even in the most atrocious of conditions. They can also be the most recalcitrant little sods in the river. I spent a few days targeting some big fish on a local stretch and it was as hard as I've ever known it. It isn't a big river, far from it. I know the Chub are there and while I don't credit any fish with human-like intelligence it did leave me wondering if they knew I was there trying to catch them, such was their obstinance.
The usual method was employed, link-legered cheese. Starting off at the bottom of the stretch a few free offerings were scattered in various spots along the river before I methodically worked my way back down. Bites were incredibly hard to come by. In three trips I caught three fish, a poor return. They were a modest size too compared to the usual stamp. Last season you'd be unlucky if you caught one below five pounds. It has never been exactly easy but after three sessions I decided to leave them for a while in the hope they become more eager to feed. My best of the week was this 4lb 13oz fish.......

Feeding frenzy

In total contrast to my Chub exploits the Pike on a different river were displaying an almost suicidal tendency to feed. Deadbaits, lures, it didn't matter. I had a great morning on a lovely mild day. I caught six Pike in total to just under 14lb. They all fought like crazy, particularly the biggest one that refused to concede for a good few minutes. I have switched to braid for static fishing and it certainly magnifies every lunge and run. The Super PE I recommended last time is what I use, opting for the dark green in 40lb. That might seem like an overkill but it's quite fine and I like the extra security of the higher breaking strain. It's often wise to replace your mono with braid of a similar diameter. While it offers little in the way of presentational benefits you get the reassurance of probably never having a breakage. With the braid I recommended it works out as cheap as mono. A no-brainer.


Finally afloat

At the start of the winter I bought a small inflatable from my good friend Andy Loble. As usual it took me a while to get organised before I was ready to give it a try. Now the elephant in the room is the use of an inflatable for fishing with sharp hooks. In reality it takes little care in avoiding a possibly catastrophic scenario. You really would have to do something incredibly stupid or deliberate to puncture the ultra-tough rubber. The advantages far outweigh any misgivings. I can transport it in my car boot and launch it almost anywhere. This opens up a plethora of new opportunities and on my maiden voyage I overheard a couple of bank anglers professing their desire to get one after seeing the freedom it had afforded me.
The venue was the river Witham at Tattershall bridge. A big, wide river, ideal for exploring in a boat. It took me about twenty minutes to pump up with an electric pump and get everything organised. A couple of hours spent around the bridges produced nothing so I went downstream towards the Bain mouth to try around some moored boats. Again this area was unproductive and I was beginning to doubt the usefulness of my new purchase.
As I worked my way back upstream I bounced a 10g Jig Head with a 8cm Battleshad off the bottom, mid-river. Almost immediately I started to catch. I had four Pike to around 8lb in quick succession. By then the light was fading, time was running out and I was keen not to break my new rod on turbo-charged Pike so I concentrated on trying to find some Perch. In the end I had four to just over 2lb. Hardly earth shattering but great fun for my first trip.


I had another trip to the Witham with similar results minus the Perch as I had to go before the witching hour. They certainly seem to be very elusive in full daylight on that river. I'm sure they are there, they just don't want to feed.

Feeling I was becoming quite proficient with my new craft I decided to take it to a smaller, more intimate river. I wasn't sure how the fish would react to a boat over their heads in shallow water but there was only one way to find out. After motoring about a mile upstream a made my first cast. The plan was to drift down with the gentle flow, targeting spots unreachable form the bank. The plan hit a slight hitch when I snapped an inch off my rod tip on that first cast. Now normally I'd just cut the carbon back to the next eye but the rod was quite pricey and I could glue the tip ring back on after a bit of preparation when I got home. This left me with an almost unusable casting tool, the braid wrapping around the tip at every opportunity.
I can be arrogantly stubborn when it comes to fishing in adversity. Probably harks back to when I went on a fishing trip with my brother and his mate when I was very young. Halfway there I realised I had forgotten my reel and started to cry, like a baby. In the end I caught more than both of them put together by using my 7ft rod as a pole, line tied to the end ring, the downfall of a multitude of Perch down the edge.
Anyway I soldiered on. I lost a couple of Pike and then what felt like a decent Perch. Not only was my equipment conspiring against me, the fish seemed to be revelling taunting me. One cast, that's all it took. Behind me, where I'd seen some reeds moving. Before the lure had hit bottom the line went taut. I struck and was almost instantaneously disappointed because it felt like a Pike. It charged around for a while and then as I drifted down, I caught a glimpse of it. It wasn't a Pike! My best Perch of the winter at 3lb 6oz.......


We have company

After a rather unproductive feature I did with the Angling Times on the Fossdyke canal I thought I'd share the experience with fellow Lincolnshire all-rounder and our friend Martin Barnatt. Arriving early at my usual starting point we both enthusiastically gathered all our gear together and made our way both up and downstream casting our lures expectantly. It was rubbish, really rubbish. Neither of us had a touch. A quick look on google earth provided a couple more potential areas to try and we took to the cars. As the day passed we finally found a few fish, well Martin did. Martin is typically self-effacing when it come to lure fishing. He spotted some small fish scattering on the surface some way upstream though. Within minutes we were both on the spot and into Perch. A small Pike gave Martin a few nervous moments before he saw it. In the end he managed to bank a fine Perch of 2lb 3oz. I didn't fare so well quality wise as the bigger fish eluded me. Still a nice day and while it isn't exactly local every trip gives me another bit of venue experience to draw on.  



Our next trip was to try for some Roach on a different venue. I can barely write about it. The river contains some stunning fish included a Dace Dave and I saw a few weeks ago that would threaten the British record. I'm not exaggerating, it was enormous. Despite the obvious stocks it fished terribly. Martin had a Roach of 1lb 3oz and I chipped in with a few smaller examples. Quite what the problems are I can only speculate on. They do get fished for quite a lot which is, in part, my fault. It is shallow and clear and they are very cautious. I remember reading John Bailey's account of fishing for big Roach and enduring 33 blanks in one particular spot before any success.



Whether that was artistic licence or not, if that's what it takes then count me out. I can only look back with fondness on my first ever visit there just last year and catching a Roach of 1lb 14oz on my first cast along with a few of its friends..........


 Closer to home

A far more reliable Roach venue is my local drain. I often overlook it in pursuit of really big specimens but it really does offer some great fishing. My first visit was only for an hour or so but I was soon catching quality Roach every run through. Feeding a little liquidised bread the swim was alive with fish before they backed off a little. They don't get fished for very often and as such are remarkably obliging. I had a couple of short forays and plan on utilising it for limited time sessions a little more in the future.........





Toft Newton

Toft Newton near Market Rasen is a Trout water that allows any method fishing for a few weekends of the year. Martin and I really fancied a trip to try and find some Roach which we knew would be a needle in a haystack type affair but we couldn't have picked better conditions for it. It was very cold but a very light wind made it tolerable. It took my own motor so the price of the boat and a days fishing for both of us worked out at a very reasonable £13 each.
In the morning we started off with the lures. Only one other boat was out and they too were lure fishing. After a couple of hours we only had a few Perch to show for our considerable efforts. The other boat had drawn a blank.


By midday we chose a spot to anchor up in and fished baits on sliding floats in 18ft of water. Martin soon hooked into an absolute beast of a fish on lobworm. We never saw it but as it bit him off a couple of minutes into the fight we can only presume it was a Pike. What little wind there was had totally subsided by then but even so the boat was swinging around, slowly but enough to make fishing the float a chore. After an hour or so of inactivity we decided to go and explore some other areas. After another fishless hour we succumbed to the Trout which kept rising in one particular area. It provided a welcome dose of entertainment on a bitterly cold day. We had a bite every cast until we exhausted our desire to get our rods bent. Hardly becoming of a couple of supposedly dedicated specimen hunters but we had a great time and they all went back unharmed.




Back at the dock we found out the two other lure anglers blanked. It is usually quite prolific for both Pike and Perch. I can only speculate that the cold snap had diminished their desire to feed. If the following weekends get warmer and more settled I shall go again but otherwise the window of opportunity will be gone for another year.

SHUK round up

A quick trip around the country now to see how the other members of Specimen Hunting UK have been faring.......

Andy Wilson has been making the most of some twilight Perch action. On this particular water in the midlands he says fishing in broad daylight is almost futile. As soon as the light fades though the stripeys go on the hunt.....


Darren Clarke travelled to a small Welsh river to catch some superb Grayling including this fine fish of 2lb 2oz.


Martin Barnatt again. This time with a near 18lb Pike from a Cambridgeshire drain.




The much maligned Mike Lyddon with a PB Roach of 2lb 5oz shortly after catching a fish of 2lb 4oz from a southern stillwater (an easy one).


Small but perfectly formed. No, not Nate Green, the Perch.....


Ash Bradly with a bostin' Chub from a midlands river.....

Last but not least is James Aris with this 5lb 10oz specimen from a home-counties river.


Tackle Talk

Since Fox Rage stopped producing mini-fry in the gold-glitter pattern I've been on the look out for an alternative. These shads from DAM Effzett are a perfect replacement. They have a great action and have already accounted for lots of Perch. Pay around £6 for 10.


I fear I am a little late to the party with these but having used them for the last few months they are fast becoming the first lure out of my box. The pattern is devastating for both Perch and Pike. As ever colour is largely down to personal confidence. The Firefly seems to catch me most fish while others swear by the salt and pepper. The 8cm Quantum Battleshad.


When James Aris and Andy Wilson say they might just have discovered the perfect Perch rod you have to take notice. With a favour from Andy Loble I was able to get one at a discount. A Daiwa LRF 8ft 3-10g hollow tip was soon at my door and on removing it from the box I was impressed by its slim blank but also slightly concerned. I'm not the most delicate of individuals and had a feeling I might break it. I was right. I did break it. It was my fault though. So what can I conclude? It feels very nice in use but then again for £75 it should be. The fittings are impressive and it has a super fast action. If you are light of touch and have a need for a new rod in that weight range then have a look. James and Andy have the lighter versions, James also broke his, so for me, the jury is still out. A shame because they are beautiful rods.



Photographs


A couple from Toft Newton. Just as the sun was going down the Red Arrows decided to have a bit of a practise. A truly spectactular sight. Lastly is a shot I took while playing a Pike from the river.





Till next time............