Saturday, 1 January 2022

We're Off !

The darkest day hath passed, 2021 is no more and Christmas is just a memory. Let's crack on then.

Got a smegging leak in the camper, appears to be in the seal from windscreen. Hopefully anyway. Need it fixed because there's plans afoot for the spring.

After plenty of rain the river has been in flood for several days. I've been watching it and each day it gets a bit better, slowing and clearing, slowly but surely.

A few days ago with the river still in flood, me and Cocksy fished the dyke, an offshoot of the main river where the fish pack in during high water conditions. As expected it was a bite a chuck. Three otters went through my swim and the fish continued feeding a minute or two after they passed.

Today I fished the main river, the flow having eased and the colour absolutely perfect. I set up a wire stemmed Avon float and first trot down the float buried and a chunky roach hit the net

I had hardly any maggots so couldn't really feed properly but it didn't matter, almost every trot resulted in a bite. Mostly good sized dace and roach, with the occasional perch. I only fished for an hour or so but had a cracking session. It really is hard to beat a nice bit of trotting in perfect conditions.

I think I might try for a chub or two on a different stretch tomorrow. Boootiful.

Needs Must

On 58 species for the year and I needed a dab and a rockling to make it 60, so off me and Cocksy went to Harwich. We had some revolting bait, frozen lug, half dead ragworm, very dead ragworm and salted ragworm.

First drop down amongst the jetty supports and the rod tip started bouncing. Double shot, a flounder and a dab. That's target number one sorted. Whether the bait was dead, alive or salted seemed to make no difference. Handy if salted baits work though, no need to take up freezer space.

Next hour resulted in loads of dabs, whiting and flounders for us both, but no rockling. I'd not normally target these hideous slimy turds, but I've sold out to the species hunt and needed one quickly.

A change of venue five minutes down the road, with Cocksy putting me in "the swim" and second cast  very welcome slug hit the shore. Wunderbar, job done.

One was quite enough and we bogged off home as the light started to fade, the lights at the port of Felixstowe twinkling in the distance across the flat calm water.

A nice afternoon chewing the fat and tiddler bashing. 

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Back on the River

Back running and back on the river. Had a niggly injury that's been stopping me from getting out running properly, but, fingers crossed it seems to have cleared up.

I text Trotty and asked if he fancied a longish slow run and being the keenie he is he said yes. We started at the tidal end of the Stour and headed up river, we'd had plenty of rain so the water had flooded the meadows.

I took the opportunity of setting poor old Trotty up to cross streams and ditches that were thigh high in water..."don't worry, it's not deep" . He is the epitome of stoicism, uncomplaining and with a never changing poker face. Total opposite of me haha.

I bloody loved it running through the water and the mud, proper trail running and one of the best things about winter for me.

Looking at the river, up a couple of feet and pushing through hard, I reckoned that in two or three days it would be about spot on. Midday Tuesday the new chub rod was taken out of the bag and ready to be christened.

The river was still a day off perfect but I was still ultra confident of a few fish.

Bit of mash chucked in the first swim, then I baited a couple more places before getting ready to cast out. Big lump of bread flake, couple of swan shot swung out in to the steady water adjacent to some snags.

I expected a bite immediately and was ready when the new quiver pulled round as something unseen snaffled my bait. Strike. Missed. Same thing happened next cast. Poor show.

Third cast and I made contact and the rod hooped over in a pleasing curve before a chunky chub hit the net. Wunderbar.

I had fish out the first five swims and was on a bit of a roll. I've done alot of chubbing over the years and do think they're quite easy fish to understand and catch ( usually ) if you do certain things right.

Bait. You can't beat bread, on the hook and as feed. Don't give that old balony about your special recipe cheese paste being the doggies dooh daahs either. Seriously, I think bait is one of the least important things when it comes to chubbing.

I ended up the six decent chub before somebody pulled the plug at the downstream end and turned a near perfect river into a muddy torrent. I'd caught enough by then anyway.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

The End

The end of 2021 that is.

December. Darkness creeping in by mid afternoon, feels like things are slowing down, drawing to a close.

It's been an interesting year. That can mean many things simultaneously.

I've spent a total of more than four months away in the camper and enjoyed every day. The GUC and Kennet-Avon canals in spring,  bass and tope fishing in north Norfolk, rock fishing and mini species in south Devon, chub and barbel in the Wye valley, the west coast of wales and an amazing couple of weeks on the Llyn Peninsula, a truly stunning place.  

On the very tip of the Lynn, running low on supplies and not being keen to move whilst the weather was gloriously hot and calm, I lived on barbequed mackerel and pollack for a week ( washed down with cider ).

Five of my mates came out for a few days fishing over the course of the year.

Turdous for tope fishing in Norfolk, Chris B for bassing and drinking ( "Shall we have another" ?  ), again in Norfolk. A huge walk across " the desert " just to reach the water, but what a feeling, standing in the surf with breakers crashing all round you.

Goozgog joined me in Dorset on the rocks in mid summer and then later in September. Lots of chat and loads of fish.

Trotty also came to Dorset, for trail running, not fishing. Let's just say he was not prepared for the severity of the hills. But he loved it. Finally, Wak Baines got a two day pass in October for a trip to the GUC , where he nabbed a cracking zander in the last chance saloon. As we always say, " Shining Times ".

By the end of the month I'll be on sixty species for the year. I got as big a kick out of catching the gudgeon, ruffe and mini species in the sea, as the big stuff. Perhaps more so. I spent endless hours in rock pools in south Devon, peering in to the gin clear water watching and catching various gobies, sea scorpions, and wrasse. I love it.

I spent over a week without moving in one place, the camper parked on the edge of the beach, watching and hearing the sea change and fishing every day. One evening meal consisted purely of fish and nothing else. Red mullet, mackerel and bream. Bit of black pepper and lemon juice and that's it.

I've missed loads of stuff but don't want to bore you any more than necessary, so to finish I'll give you a list of some more good things in 2021. 

Aldi Cheddar and Chilli crisps ( and their sea salt and black pepper ).

Woodgate cider.

The Man Utd soap opera. Especially the episide when they lost 5 - 0 at home to Liverpool.

Empire by Jeremy Paxman. Well worth a read.

Going to the first gig for eighteen months. The East Town Pirates ( singalong pirate punk ) and Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons. A great night, no face masks, no silly ordering by app on your phone. 

A Hero's Death - Fontaines DC

Singularity - Jon Hopkins - ANNA remix....yeeeeeahhhhh boiiiii

Holm Sound - Erland Cooper

Chaise Longue - Wet Leg

Anything by Bicep

There's loads more stuff but we'll be here all night. Pour yourself a glass of something, have a listen to those and then tell me yours.

Lots plans for 2022. Well, not plans, hopes really.


Sunday, 14 November 2021

Brekkies, Buddies and Roaches


Lots of this and that this week. Whatever that means.

Bit of work gardening, walked there and back, a twelve mile round trip. I was channeling the pre Victorian peasant groove and oddly satisfying it was too.

I've been over the hooooge reservoir piking and roaching. Plenty of them there roaches but I really am having a tough time on the pike.

The shoals of roach are enormous, despite being hammered daily by hundreds of grebes, cormorants, herons, egrets and kingfishers. I've even seen an osprey twice this autumn, hovering and then crashing down into one of the bays. It's a beautiful place.

I also took Pezza and his dad Ken, two newbie anglers, sea fishing. They have both been out several times unsuccessfully. I knew just the spot, a little promontory in the estuary. With high tide falling on dusk I was confident of a few fish. Well, actually I thought they'd have a shed load.

For the first hour, not a touch. As expected with the clear water. " How often have you fished here and not caught anything ? " said Pezza. Tut tut, no room for negativity, all will be well as darkness falls.

The sun sank over the Essex marshes and within a few minutes the rod tips were rattling. For the next hour and a half carnage ensured as whiting came ashore two and three at a time. Some really chunky fish too. Job done.

Very enjoyable evening for everyone.

I also spent a couple of mornings "supporting local business" at the legendary Manningtree Station Buffet. Family run business employing local people, English breakfast with two coffees £4.50. And it's top quality stuff. Try it yourself.



Monday, 8 November 2021

"It's Nice Just Being There"

├Łes and it's a bloody good job it is too because I'm not catching much right now.

The pike pit really is one of those places where that old chestnut is true. You can get well out the way of everyone and just take it all in.

My criteria for choosing a swim this time of the year is as follows....

1. Is it out the wind ?

2. Will it get the sun most of the day ?

3. Will it produce pike.

Ideally I want all three. Can't be getting cold these days.

To be honest I am catching a few, just not enough. Never mind, I'll keep trying. Hard life isn't it ?

I have cooked up a different plan for the next trip in a couple of days. Fingers crossed for a bit of success.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

More Poike

Yes, more poiking. Took the moon faced Bomber, Bazza along at the weekend.

He wanted to catch his first decent pike. I warned him of my recent run of one-fish-per-session. No worries he said, I'm happy sitting down waiting, chatting and cooking bacon and sausage sandwiches. Perfect.

I set the rods up, cast then out and ten minutes later Bazza saw the rod tip knock. Take it I said. He wound down, said it felt like weed and a few seconds later it surfaced thirty yards out, a ferocious explosion as it thrashed and then took off, ripping line of a very tight clutch. This happened three or four times and went as hard as any pike Ive had in ages.

It then kited round, a big head appearing on the surface and just as the head shaking started I scooped it out.

A fookin' clonker. Was he pleased ? Just a bit.

We then sat there all morning eating and talking with no more runs forthcoming. Not bad though, eh ?

More piking tales soon.