Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Looking Back Part 4

Here are some stories of mine l did for a facebook page. Not my usual stuff and please be warned there is some swearing.

Early nineties. River Wreake, Hoby, Leicestershire.

I have known Mark ever since I can remember. While not a serious angler Guff (our mentor) and I tempted him into a night session after big roach on the Wreake. To get to Hoby bridge you have to go over an unmanned level crossing. We thought it was unmanned because we never saw any trains using the line. We negotiated the crossing and selected our pegs.

Guff was above the bridge, me below and Mark right under it, perched on a patch of gravel. Mark had to stoop to go under the low, heavy, steel bridge. When he finally settled and sat on his Efgeeko seat box he had a few inches of headroom. We all set up and had little action until the light started to fade. A few small Roach were taken by Mark as Guff and I struggled for a bite. I was jealous, he was obviously in the best spot. It soon got fully dark.One of those inky black, still Autumn nights. We were under strict instructions from Guff not to make a sound. So as well as being pitch black we all sat in total silence. I wont lie- it was very spooky.

About an hour into darkness I started to feel slight vibrations in the ground. Faint to start with but they got increasingly strong. Before I knew it I was nearly shaken out of my seat by the longest, loudest, heavily laden goods train I had ever seen (or to be more precise-heard). It seemed to take an age to pass over. Now I was thirty yards from the bridge and it freaked me out. "Jesus fucking Christ," came a cry from under the bridge. It was Mark. "What the fucking hell, Jesus Christ," he added. I could hear him crawling about on the gravel. He was temporarily deaf for about fifteen minutes. That was just about enough time for me and Guff to stop laughing our heads off. He could keep his peg, we still had all our senses.

Nanpantan Reservoir, Leicestershire, early nineties.

I didn't fish for carp much, still don't. I always preferred fishing for the bream in the Lake as I was nearly guaranteed to catch. They were like peas in a pod all between a pound and a quarter and maybe if you were really lucky you'd get one of two mighty pounds. The only time I would have a go for the carp was when they showed on the top. Get a sunny day with a slight ripple and you could find them basking just under the surface. Sometimes they would be close in, other times you needed a full bubble float to reach them. I'd told Mark about these easy-to-catch Carp and his eyes lit up. He was having some of that..............

 The next warm, breezy day and we were up there in a flash. We wandered round and found them not to far out in a quiet corner away from the other anglers. They were big fish. I couldn't be sure but by my reckoning Shoulders, the Football and the Mini Football were all there along with some high single-figure fish. Still big fish for us so any of them would have been welcome. It was a race to set up. I had a barely filled bubble float while Mark put on a telegraph-pole sized waggler. An hour passed with not a single take off the top, either hook baits or freebies. We swapped the chum mixers for bread with still no luck. Help soon came to hand in the form of Guff. He whispered some tips to Mark and he reeled in quick to let Guff alter his set up. He then cast out confidently with a bit of slow sinking bread fished three feet deep in fourteen feet of water. Sure enough his waggler righted itself and disappeared from view. A mighty strike followed and he reeled in......................a five pound Bream!

A few weeks later Mark did actually catch a Carp and it was the fighter. Everyone that hooked it wished they hadn't about twenty minutes in. The fighter wasn't massive although it was just into double figures. Mark took an hour and half to land it. It was hot day and Mark had his top off. Guff tormented him about his hairy back for the whole fight. He had gathered quite a crowd by the end though and he calmly took the plaudits from the dog walkers and the like for being such an obvious angling expert!

Early nineties, Leicestershire, River Soar, Little Meadow.

Back in the eighties I held the record for Soar Barbel. A rubbish claim to fame but wait till you hear the weight- 8lb 8oz! Anyway I caught it from the gully peg in the little meadow. I had a few days spare a few years later so I went back to re-acquaint myself with the mighty beast. I rang my mate Steve and we went down one summers evening with our dogs. Mine was a young labrador called Floyd and his was a massive Doberman called Gemma.

Now you used to be able to fish the gully from the peg at the top of the run and it was easy because you could get right down to the waters edge. A massive bush put paid to that on this occasion so I elected to fish from the top of the bank a few yards down. It was a shear drop of about ten feet to the river. I cast out my rig and thought nothing more of it as Steve and the dogs wandered further downstream. After about an hour they came back up after having no luck. They brought me some luck though as my rod was nearly dragged in by an unseen leviathan. It soon became apparent that my old alloy landing net handle wasn't long enough to reach down to net the fish. Not that the beast was even remotely ready as it was fighting doggedly. I laid flat on the bank and tried reaching the water with my net. No joy. "Hold my feet Steve, I'll inch over the edge, I don't want to lose this one- it's a monster!"

He was only too happy to help and sure enough he held my feet and I had half my body over the bank, rod in one hand, net in the other. As I did this my tracksuit bottoms rode down and exposed my bum cheeks. It was too much for my young, uncastrated Lab to take and he started humping my leg. It wasn't dry humping either- he was dribbling slobber on my bare cheeks. Steve started laughing and his grip loosened. My commando manoeuvre had also exposed a large lump of luncheon meat in my pocket and Gemma began attacking my other leg in an attempt to free it. It was too much for Steve and he let go to roll about the field trying to stop his sides from splitting. So there I was, sliding down a bank getting humped by one dog and attacked by another while playing possibly the best fish of my life. Steve did eventually gather himself enough to shoo the dogs away and re-grab my feet. A few minutes later I netted a fine Barbel of pounds.

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

Friday, 4 October 2013

Fishing Diary September 2013


I am really pleased with how the dairy is going and if you have just joined us I'll give you a brief overview. This is an account of my fishing experiences mainly around the local area. I hope to provide not only a bit of entertainment but also some advice and tips. You can always contact me by email if you have any questions or want to share some of your local catches or simply to say hello at-

September 2013

It got to near the end of the month and I realised I had only been fishing once. Sometimes we all lose the love. It's especially hard when you are used to the summer matches in the mainly lovely weather and when you know all your mates (and Tony) are going to be there. Going out on a wet Autumn day on your own just doesn't have the same appeal........or does it?


9th- 12th September River Wye, Herefordshire

I won't dwell on this trip too much but it was nice to get out of Lincolnshire for a few days. Three days of canoeing down the beautiful River Wye with some friends from work was just what the doctor ordered after a busy summer season on the coast. We paddled forty miles in total. I saw loads of fish on the way and if ever you are planning to visit the river I'll tell you where I spotted a really massive Barbel. One the first night I managed to have half an hour with my telescopic rod and some luncheon meat. Alas no Barbel were forthcoming but I did catch some nice Chub. They were queueing up to be caught and despite the ridiculous amount of cormorants I saw along the way the river seemed alive with fish. Shoals of big Chub under overhanging trees, Pike striking, the occasional leaping Salmon and I even saw a Trout chasing a small fish.

Opportunities to fish were slim on the rest of the trip but Canoeing is very similar to fishing in the regard that sometimes just being there is enough.........

Woodlands Lakes, Spilsby, Lincs

Three weeks into the month and I realised I needed to get into gear. It wouldn't do to have a fishing diary about canoeing in another county. I emptied my seatbox and transferred my tackle to my bag and dug my comfy chair out. You can't match fish from a chair and nobody would 'pleasure' fish on a seatbox.

Woodlands is close to my home and having a couple of hour spare one afternoon I popped down to Hawthorne Lake to try for its large resident Perch. Stopping off at Sainsbury's I bought a pack of prawns and coloured them up with some predator plus liquid. Probably makes no difference but once you have one good experience with these colours and flavours it becomes a confidence thing. How did I do? Er......well it didn't quite go to plan. Not only Perch like prawns although I did manage one in the end (a bit smaller than I was hoping!)......

The Carp were still very active......
......and the Bream!

My prize, a four pounder (in about ten years!)
It was good to see the owner Eric and despite having a great afternoon I still wasn't super enthusiastic about going out again. A hangover from the buzz I got from the summer matches. I needed a fresh impetus and it came from an unlikely source. Ken the piker is a friend from work and true to his name he usually fishes for Pike. He had, however, been down to local river I had never fished before and caught some Perch and Chub.

River Lymn, Spilsby, Lincs

I must have been over this river hundreds of times over the years. I had heard it was good fishing but it always looked too small to me. As I pulled up to the road bridge just outside Spilsby I peered down and was greeted by the sight of a rather disappointing trickle of a waterway.....

Still, Ken had assured me it got deeper and wider a bit further down. He'd also shown me some pictures of the fish he had caught and I have to say I was impressed (don't tell him). I hopped over the barbed wire fence with my little leger rod and a few bits and bobs. I rang ken to double check I was OK to fish- "Oh yes, the farmer even gave us a cheery wave as we walked along," Ken replied. I wasn't so sure, barbed wire is usually a bad sign. As I made my way downstream I did eventually find a small pool that I tried for a while. I had a few bites but was cursing myself for not bringing some small floats. On these small rivers it's sometimes good to search all of the peg and I couldn't do that with my small link leger. Half an hour later I decided to move further down. I negotiated another barbed wire fence and got a wet foot from a small side stream. My mood wasn't great and with the farm looming over the next field I was pleased to see another likely looking pool. First cast I had a small Perch...
Followed by a few small Dace....
The leger still wasn't right though and I headed back to the car after a short time vowing to return with some more suitable equipment. If any of you have any information about fishing rights I would love to hear from you. Interestingly the pools I fished weren't the ones Ken had tried. He was closer to the farm and it really would be prudent of me to find out if we are actually allowed to be there before either of us goes back.
The Secret River, Lincs
Inspired not only by my last outing but also my canoe trip I decided to try my luck on another river. Although it can be very challenging at times I really have had some exceptional days on this venue. Usually weeded up in the summer months I hoped they would have died back sufficiently for me to get a bait among some fish. The target- big Perch. One day last winter I had six Perch over two pounds from one including two beasts over three pounds.
A quick stop off at the tackle shop in Spilsby saw me leaving with a big box of worms and half a pint of red maggots. Half an hour later I was pulling up beside the River. Being a chalk stream the most important factor is colour- if it is heavily coloured you may as well go straight home. Luckily it was clear, maybe too clear I thought as I carefully positioned myself at the top of the stretch. Setting up two tip rods with three swan shot link legers I cast out two worms on some size twelve hooks. Perfect I thought as I sat back in my chair and waited for the inevitable bites. I fed a few maggots over the top sporadically to no avail. Two hours passed without so much as a line bite.
My confidence plummeted so I partially packed up and had a walk downstream. Boy was it overgrown though. I battled my way to the waters edge half way along the short section and peered into the water. No sign of life and to be honest I didn't fancy battling with the foliage. Something caught my eye a little further down though. A small fish topped. I watched intently and sure enough another swirl appeared. I made my way down to the activity and handily somebody had cut a peg out so I set my chair down and watched for a while. Lots of fish were visible and they were attacking the floating weed that was coming down the river. That meant the leger gear was going to be useless so I did what any lazy bugger would- cut my swan shot off and attached a small dumpy waggler instead. Bear in mind I was using heavy line too.
I still had a few maggots left so I fired some in mid river and cast over the top with my improvised set up. What followed in the next hour I can scarcely believe myself. Never have I seen so many fish in a wild environment in my whole fishing career. I had a Dace or a Roach every cast until I ran out of both time and bait. There must have been thousands of them. Even when I did a ropey cast (easy with a quivertip rod and a float) miles from the feed it would go straight under. I was stunned to say the least.......

That night I had made my mind up. I'd get up early and do everything I had to do and then get back down to the river to see what I could catch if I did it properly. The passion was back. I bought some more maggots and headed down into the river valley. I followed it right from its source and I always wonder how many two pound Roach I travel past on the way. I certainly pass hundreds of Grayling and I've never caught one of them either!

The sun was out when I got to the river although the weather forecast on the radio had informed that would soon change. I set up a simple three metre to hand pole rig and cast in expectantly. The action wasn't instant like the day before but careful feeding soon had them queueing up again. At first Dace and then a few small Roach. I had decided that the only way to try for the bigger ones was to feed the smaller fish off so I upped the rate of feed. The wind wasn't making it easy however but eventually it started working as this fine Rudd shows.....

The fish really were pristine and next put in I had a perch and then the bigger Roach showed up. This was despite a ruddy great Cormorant landing just downstream and disappearing straight under the water. I shook my head in disbelief as my float went under again and again- all Roach in the 8-12oz class. It really was turning out to be a red letter day and I was sure that something special would turn up if I carried on. As I had that thought it started raining. Coupled with the howling wind it was blowing straight in my face. It wasn't particularly cold just really uncomfortable. I set up my umbrella and had to anchor it down with a storm pole to stop it taking off. Then the bites tailed off. I was just picking up odd Roach from all over the place. Something was amiss. Half an hour later it became more obvious. The rain eased slightly and a large, dark shape appeared near my float. It was moving downstream. to be honest it was that big it startled me. It stopped by the reeds in front of me and made its way towards my keepnet. A bloody great Pike. I tried to scare it by splashing my pole tip and it backed off before slowly edging forwards again. I stood up and it went off again. I could just see it though and it was directly below where I was bringing the fish in. With the rain getting worse again I decided to call it a day. Very frustrating but there will be another time and I might just catch that pike too..........

Final word

On both the River and the forgotten lakes I have caught Roach/Bream hybrids but never any true Bream- most odd.

At Woodlands I had a wander about and stumbled across one of the more natural lakes there- Elm. The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice but it looks fantastic. Not sure what the deal is in regards to fishing it but go and have a word with Eric and I'm sure he'll accommodate you.

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