Saturday, 2 August 2014

July 2014

With a little help from my friends

It was 4.30am when I pulled up to my favourite river, scene of last months Bream exploits. As I drove up the flood bank and approached the usual Bream area I was instantly disappointed. All the colour had gone and being gin-clear I could see that no fish were present, not one. As A token gesture I had a few casts to areas where I couldn't see the bottom but it was fruitless. With the rest of the stretch festooned with weed I gave it best and headed home. As my days off are precious at this time of the year I racked my brain trying to select an alternative venue........

A chance meeting online saw me talking to a very nice chap called Barry Fisher. He used to frequent the other river I fish. After a few chats he was adamant that there were some big Bream to be had in a stretch I thought I was familiar with and gave me a rough idea where I could find them. As luck would have it my old friend 'poacher Ken' had been down a few days before and fluked a six-pounder. "There were loads of them Phil, you'll see where I have cut a peg out'. When I was in the tackle shop preparing for my early morning raid Neil also confirmed the presence of some 'huge Bream' in the river.After a little nap it was lunchtime before I was back out again. A half hour drive later and I was at the River.

I stood on the bridge and peered down expectantly into the depths. The sun was beating down and I could see the bottom pretty much all the way across. The usual rubbish and detritus of everyday life could be seen but, disappointingly, no fish. Not to worry I thought as I negotiated the stile and wandered upstream. I came across some small pockets of Roach and saw plenty of fry as I walked but it wasn't until I reached a small bend in the river that my attention was really grabbed. I neared the inside of the bend and strained to see over the long grasses and reeds. The water was amazingly clear and maybe two feet deep. The streamer weed covered two thirds of the river, wafting gracefully as the gentle flow of the water acted upon it. The nearside was clear from weed though. There were upwards of twenty Bream there. Big ones too.

To be honest even though I had found them I didn't fancy my chances, they were too close in and surely it was too hot and sunny for them to feed? I fired in some maggots, no response. The same happened when I introduced some hemp. Not the slightest sign that they were going to feed. I then fired a couple of worms upstream and watched as the Bream totally ignored them too. In desperation I had half a tin of corn in my bag, it wasn't exactly fresh but it was all I had. Again I floated some down to where the fish were and the response was incredible. As soon as the corn had settled they started hoovering it up eagerly.

I positioned myself half way down the bank and sat precariously among the nettles and reeds. I had spooked the fish a little getting into position but I needn't have worried, they soon returned. I didn't want a tight line in the swim so I fished a one swan-shot link and just watched for the bait to be taken. As I hooked the first fish it shook it's head and powered off downstream. I gingerly worked it back up and a couple of minutes and with a sigh of relief I netted it. I put my keepnet in and it very nearly reached to where the Bream had been feeding. Surely they wouldn't come back with that there? To my amazement they did and another couple of fish later and I was out of corn.

I ran back to my car, leaving my stuff out of sight for a few minutes while I had a rummage around in my boot. The feeling when I unearthed two unopened cans was nearly as good as catching the Bream. I sprinted back to my spot, relieved to see it all my gear present and correct. As soon as the corn went it the fish were on it. It was like magic. As a test I kept trickling in some maggots and hemp but they showed absolutely no interest in it whatsoever. When I had five or six fish in the net, and I swear this is true, one fish actually seemed to be looking into it, wondering what its mates were doing. That's how close they were. After my ninth fish I began to feel a little sorry for them. I have a big Korum net but these were big fish and it was a hot day in shallow water. They'd only been in it for a couple of hours but I decided to call it a day. Nine Bream in total, smallest 6lb 7oz the biggest three were all over 8lb (broke my PB three times also).

6lb 7oz and 8lb 1oz

8lb 10oz

8lb 5oz

7lb 8oz and the 8.5

As I was packing away I became aware of somebody fish-spotting. Within a few minutes he came wandering by, "Caught much," he asked. "Not really a few small ones," I replied. Ten minutes later he walked back..........just as I was taking a photo with two of the beasts. "Bloody hell," he exclaimed. Bloody hell indeed, I was rumbled and I wondered how long they would stay a secret for. Not long I feared.

Turning the tables

Sure enough a week later I eagerly made my way over to the hot spot only to find another angler there. The Bream were still milling about but he hadn't caught any. He was using worms which I knew from my previous experience wouldn't work. I wandered off in search of some more fish but much like my favourite River it was mostly choked with weed. I left without wetting a line. Later on in the day I decided to have another try at my first-choice venue. If I went in the evening maybe the clear conditions wouldn't matter so much? After another half-hour drive I arrived and drove up to my favoured area, spooking some roosting Cormorants on the way. Fifteen of them I counted, all in one tree. I'm still considering whether I should do anything about them, a scarecrow maybe or a string of shiny cd's in their tree. Anyway back to the fishing and the water was still crystal clear but the fading light gave me a chance. The Bream didn't show but I caught a couple of lovely Rudd along with two bristling Perch.........

I did have one more visit in July but apart from a few Perch I had nothing. I did do a bit of fish spotting though and saw all sorts, including two Carp. Interestingly most of the fish are very mobile, marauding up and down, sometimes a fair distance. Bream, big hybrids, menacing looking Pike, Roach and a few Rudd could all be seen, a shame then that the weed makes them almost impossible to catch. Roll on the winter.

A second chance

I did eventually get another chance at those Bream on the second River. Alas, since this capture they seem to have disappeared. I did encounter something else though and suffice to say, I'll be back there just as soon as the weed starts dying back.........

7lb 4oz

7lb 14oz

Chapel Boating lake

With both rivers more or less out of action due to weed growth and time off work at a premium I needed a venue closer to home. I decided to visit my friends at Chapel boating lake for a couple of short sessions. Sensibly they do evening tickets at a very reasonable three pounds. What am I doing there? Big Roach, quite how big I'm not sure. I have had a few on both my visits up to a pound or so. Sorry about the picture, I suffered from 'one last cast' syndrome that night..........

I expected to do well on an early morning visit but I got pestered by Carp. I lost two on the pole before reluctantly beefing up my tackle to remove one of the pests to have a look at. To be fair, it was in fine condition....

What next month will hold is difficult to predict. You all know I want to catch a big Roach, maybe the boating lake will provide me with it. It certainly was a culture shock after fishing those remote stretches of river. It gets busy and there is all sorts going on. The guys that run it though are great. As long as I go in the evening or early morning I should be able to avoid most of the crowds.

Tackle Talk

First of all I'm going to let you into a little secret. I know some of you will think I am mad but I like to think I know what I am talking about. I have a Shakespeare Mach 1 specimen rod, I've told you about it before. It's pretty horrible but it did a job for me when I was catching Carp of the top in matches. It is heavy and the action, although smooth is very wooden. Small wonder then that I ended up with an 11ft Mach 1 Pellet Waggler Rod in my hand while visiting Neil at the tackle shop. Forget the name, this rod is perfect for the small rivers I frequent. It's light, slim and just 'feels' right. The fact that they are flogging them off at £15 each is remarkable. It is a genuine gem of a rod.

Couple of oddities to show you this month. I've moved on from rods and begun adding to my reel collection. This Abu 852 came my way via eBay along with a Mitchell 'Full Control'. Both going to be little used but fine examples of ingenuity.........

While perusing eBay I came across one of those fish pillows. When they first came out they were a ridiculous price. Now they have come down I bought one, just for fun........

One final purchase this month was, again, just a fun item but with charitable intentions. A monkey hat.......

It cost £20 of which £10 went to this charity- You don't have to buy a hat to donate but if you want one then drop me a line and I'll give you the details....


On my visits to the boating lake it has been great seeing so many people enjoying fishing. One thing of note though and it always surprises me is the almost total lack of water craft displayed by some. I know I am preaching to the converted here but seriously, don't they realise their real-tree camouflage clothing is made utterly redundant when they are stomping about like Herman Munster? Fish feel vibrations, they see shadows. it isn't rocket science. Stay low, keep quiet, pick your feet up, don't park your van behind you and go in it 23 times an hour to have a rummage around and slam the doors at every opportunity.

Put it like this- the fish in my pond have never been caught.They have no predators. Despite this every time  I loom over the water they scatter and hide as if I am about to murder them. Fish are naturally cautious. Worth remembering, wherever you fish.

Final Word

It's a shame so many people fish in places that are merely convenient instead of doing a bit of leg work. For the price of a two or three day tickets you could have access to places like this, all year. Suits me though, I like solitude................... 

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