Thursday, 28 October 2021

The Jumper

I thought I'd better mention it before you did. Before you take this piss further I'll have you know my mum knitted it. Makes my forearms look like fecking Popeye's.

This is about 1982-3 I reckon. Fishing a small very shallow area in early spring  with a "spratanoster" on an old ABU 223. Ten feet of light red fibre glass and mega through action, I loved it.

I can't remember the exact details but I do remember getting a fifteen pounder and another decent fish one mild day in March on the spratanoster.

The pit never has produced a really big pike, though there has been plenty of prey fish at various times. Poor genes perhaps ? Who knows.

Piking in the Old Days

The old days being forty odd years ago. It seems impossible but it is so.

Id fished the pit since I started fishing as an eleven year old "skinball". Anyone remember that charming phrase ? Pike started off as a bogey fish, I just couldn't catch one, until one day at the end of the season.

I'd walked right round to "Number 24" after school on a silent, damp, dank day in late February. This peg was notable for two things, a great place for roach and pike and a place where porno mags ( that's what we called them ) seemed to be dumped on a regular basis.

Obviously after setting the gear up I'd have a read and bank the images for later use as any self respecting adolescent would do. But not today. No, the light was beginning to go and although I'd blanked every other time I was strangely confident. I always was. And am.

The green and yellow plug was worked along the reeds, trees and any cover and then out of nowhere a whack and what felt like a bolt of lightning through the rod as a pike hit the lure. It thrashed, mouth wide open on the surface but soon succumbed to the pressure and was in the net and my first ever pike was landed.

Amazingly I had another two fish in the next five minutes before dusk fell and the mist thickened. I walked back to the bike with the only sounds the random calls of the resident coots.

The sweaty cycle ride up the hill past the burnt out church was hardly noticed as I peddled home head in the clouds high on success.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

This, That and Yes the Other

Last week I did a couple of days grape picking. Well, they can't get any foreign cheap labour now can they and those lazy British people just don't want to work do they ? 

Well, not when you tight bastards are paying 9.50 an hour for temporary work lasting a few weeks they don't. Anyway, it was alright to begin with. When I say begin with I mean the first hour.

Nah, I'm exaggerating for comedy effect. I lasted two days before bailing out and going fishing.

Piking to be exact. Another slow session, yet again one fish. That's five sessions in different areas with one fish each time. Bizarre.

A few days later I decided to try for a late bass in the river with GG. It's a low water mark and you only get two hours fishing, so you have to make the most of whatever bites you get.

First fish was a schoolie, followed a big slackliner which I missed, then a weird un-bassy bite, which resulted in a dogfish, the first ever this far up river. And in the next two casts....more dogfish. 

As you can see they weren't "returned unharmed", they're heading for the pot.

Today I've been doing yet another different job, a bit of garden clearance and maintenance. It was almost enjoyable, so much so that I'm going back tomorrow.
After that job is done I'm going back piking for a quick session and I'm having a multiple fish trip. Hopefully.

As you can see, it's a boooootiful water, which is just as well as at the moment nothing much happens when I go piking.
Moany old git.

I made a quite magnificent chilli with Turdy's venison mince the other day. The accompanying naan breads were thoroughly burnt and inedible. However, with a bit of imagination I managed to turn them into my version of Edvard Munch's painting " The Scream ".

Wunderbar, eh ?

More of this nonsense soon.


Monday, 11 October 2021

Hev You Got A Poike Boi ?

I think I might have the pike bug back. 

At the back end of the river season I enjoyed some consistent, interesting sport on the local river, with some nice fish to low double figures.

So far, I've had two sessions on the "big stillwater" and had two good soized poike boi. No other runs but sometimes that's the way it is here.

It's an interesting place with the chance of fish to over twenty pounds. Not fished too much either which is a prerequisite for me.

Today I had a plump lump which ripped my thumb to shreds. It's still throbbing.

Had a nice chat with DD, who has good results doing it his own way and has done so for donkey's years. Good ol' boy.

Takes a while to get back in " the groove" but next time out I'm confident of some more action. Many of the takes come in deep water a long way out and I've a bloody brilliant idea on how to get a bait out further. Without a ridiculous bait boat.

Yes, the pike season has begun.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Shining Times

The road trip to the canal started well, the camper chugging along steadily and uneventfully for three hours. Pitched up at the riverside campsite, kettle on, all was well with the world.

Things got even better when Wak rang. " I don't know where the fuck I am, I've done three circuits of Huntingdon and I can't work out how to get back on the main road "

This pleased me greatly.

This is Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, not the Yukon or Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter, but those old Norfolk boys do get confused moving into a county with tarmac roads and electricity.

Anyway,an hour or so later he made it safely.

After a cuppa we had a bit of a walk ( that's always how I describe a hideously long hike to buddies ) to a lock that was a dead cert (thanks Mick).

Conversations with Wak are a often a bit confusing, as he's a constant mumbler and you just have to pick out odd words and guess what he's just said, especially when he's loaded up with half a tonne of gear and winter clothing and is blowing out of his fat arse.

The dead cert was in fact a dead cert, as I drew first blood with a schoolie zander after missing a couple of runs.

The rest of the session was a bit unpleasant, with a cold blustery wind making things distinctly autumnal. A couple of dropped takes and that was it.

We were glad to get back to the van and tuck into some curry and a few drinks. We chatted the usual cak, all manner of subjects covered including the current mob in power ( let's just say Wak's not keen), old friends, Lidl-Aldi wine and cheese ( good ), fake rock bands ( yes, you Killers, Stereophonics and several more ) and " what was the best gig you ever been to ? "

I can tell you Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Neil Young, Savages, The Fall and The Smiths were, in football parlance, " there or thereabouts ".

Next day a bit warmer and we had a bit more action. We met the The Canal Zander Guru on the bank, had a good chat and found out what had been going on during the past few months.

Nothing massive caught but we had several zander and a pike, so we were pleased enough.

A very quick session the next morning resulted in a small zander for me and an absolute cracker for Wak. We didn't weigh it but it wasn't far short of 5lb and made the long ( ger than necessary, sorry I can't help myself ) trip worthwhile.

All in all an enjoyable couple of day. Shining times indeed.

Oh, and he got lost on the way back too.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Don't Forget To Smell The Flowers Along The Way

The wonder of the world

The beauty and the power

The shapes of things

Their colours, lights and shades

These I saw

Look ye also while life lasts

I've been so lucky to have been to so many fantastic places and met so many great people. Best take time to ponder and acknowledge my good fortune.

There's no "best" place, they've all got their charms, from the understated gentle landscape of the canals to the wild splendour of the Atlantic coast. And closer to home too, those desolate mud flats and marshes of the Essex and Suffolk estuaries. I love them all.

So, hurry ye not, lean on that gate post, stop, contemplate, stare and reflect that in a universe of billions of uninhabitable stars, somehow you're here, alive.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

The Big Bang

Well, the big bang as far as I'm concerned.

A dusty field in North Essex, sometime in the summer of 1974. 

My mum pulled onions, picked fruit and sorted potatoes in those fields, along with a group of other women.

We played in the bits of woodland, an old rusty tractor and built dens. You know the score. 

But today was different. My mate going to show me how to fish.  I remember this with perfect clarity.

He had a gold coloured solid glass spinning rod with an American style closed face reel. They were better " because they don't tangle ".

I had a bamboo cane ( but you know that didn't you ? ) a perch bobber float, cork coloured apart from the orange top with white border.

Ted's pond was a little irrigation reservoir full of roach, perch and what somebody said were bleak ( I don't think they were ).

What I remember mostly clearly was that after my mate packed up I carried on, missing bite after bite as those tiddlers struggled to get the oversized hook in their mouth. I finished with five roach and perch and I was....yes, hooked.

At the weekend, we got on the train to go to town to get maggots ( " quarter of whites please mister " ) and some floats and hooks. The station was barely two minutes from the shop so we could be back on the same train we arrived on ten minutes earlier.

" A packet of Model Perfect size 10s please " my mate said. 

" What you fishing for " said the tackle shop owner.

" Little roach " was the reply.

" You don't want size 10s, you want 16s " he said.

We took the size 16s, moaning as we walked back that he wouldn't give us size 10s.

Down the pond with the small hooks and five fish turned in to twenty or thirty. Mow how did that happen ?

Forty seven years later the fire in my belly burns as brightly as ever.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Fishing With Goozgog

I was in deepest Dorsetshire, somewhere in the Purbeck hills. After a week of  "wild" camping the relative sophistication of campsite bogs and showers was most welcome. I won't elaborate on that.

My oldest buddy, Goozgog, was coming to visit and fish for a few days. When I say oldest I mean I've known him since we were kids, not that he's ninety years old.

I remember when I was ten and a mere beginner Goozgog was the guv'nor. He had an East Anglian Rod Co Ivan Marks float rod and Mitchell Match reel. He'd been in the Angling Times with a 6lb bream from Alresford pits and had caught a hundred fish from Ted's pond in one day. Oh yes, he was the guv'nor for sure.

Since then he's regressed so much that right now in 2021 he is a proper noddy. Where did it all go wrong ?

Anyway, who cares, he's a top bloke and great company. First session, a quick two hour trip on the rocks with light float gear at a place he'd blanked on his family holiday.

I did my usual micro management, barking out orders on what to do. Hugely irritating I'm sure but I can't help it. First cast he was in, a little corkwing wrasse, then a tompot blenny, more and more wrasse until he ended up with over forty fish.

A great start eh ? After an evening of chewing the fat, eating, listening to old chuuuunes and drinking we decided on a day nodding about on the pier.

Plenty of action from the off with various mini species, three types of wrasse, including several ballions, dragonet, pout, pollack, two types of goby and a beautiful tub gurnard for Goozgog and a plaice for me. A lovely day.

The next day we had an evening on a rock mark with "difficult access". I had a new drop net to christen,  so we were on a mark after an undulate ray. On a mark seventy foot above the sea. I forgot to mention that to Goozgog.

Suffice to say it was crap, with only three conger to show for our efforts. No pictures of those turds.

The long hike back in the dark was interesting. Shall we leave it at that ?

On the last day we decided to fish for the pot at the eastern end of Chesil beach. The forecast 7 mph SW wind turned out to be more like 15-18 mph, which made fishing difficult. No matter, there were fish about, big mackerel and black bream, ideal for the barby.

Just before sunset, the beach was filled with amazing soft orange light. I stood staring in wonder and managed to get a few good shots in between catching fish.

On the last cast I put a big mackerel head out in the surf no more than ten yards out, hoping for a bass. This tactic has worked well in the past for me and just as we were starting to pack away the rod whacked round as a bass snaffled the bait. It wasn't massive, but good eating size, a good way to end the evening.

A great few days fishing and putting the world to rights with me old mate. Can't beat it.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

This Much I Know

I'm struggling to catch much at the moment but This Much I Know.

1. I have an absolute hatred of small conger. They are the stinking turds of the fishy world. I was hunting an undulate ray last night and these little shits made it impossible. 

2. In fishing, you can't get it right all the time. Or even most of the time.

3. The hunger for fushing is a fire that never goes out. It may die down a bit but always comes comes back.

4. Marc Riley has the best show on the radio.

5. As a former news hound who read a paper every day and listened to the news, one of  the best things I ever did was remove myself from trying to keep up with that shit. I totally ignore it now and feel liberated and distanced from it. 

6. Arsenal are a second rate soft touch and have been for ten years.

7. There are approximately 30-40 million too many people in this country. Too busy, congested roads, over development, etc. 

" Good for the economy ". Ah, that's alright then.

Bah, humbug.

8. I am a grumpy old man.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Lessons From The Guv'nor

I like to think I'm a reasonable angler, but sometimes you fish with people that give you a reality check and give you a proper lesson.

I bumped in to The Chesil General earlier this week. He's a proper gent and has been helping me out with info on his patch in Dorset. 

It was a slow day, very pleasant but after a couple of hours I was biteless. The General then had his first fish, a red mullet, a fish high up on my "want list".

Next cast he had a double shot, a dab and a plaice. Hmm. Still nothing for me.

I was casting a fair old way but was dropping probably ten or twenty yards short. Sometimes a few yards makes the difference.

We both then put fresh mackerel out for a ray of some kind ( I need spotted, undulate and the much rarer blonde ). Half hour later The General leans in to a decent fish which turns out to be an 11lb blonde. Superb.

I was just a tiny bit envious. I finished up with the consolation prize of two black bream. Much better than nothing.

I picked up several ideas and it made me realise how meticulous some of the very best anglers are.

Next day I was back and had a better day. I wangled a thick lipped mullet on bread after drip feeding them for an hour. So exciting in gin clear water. Lost another better fish too.

The bottom rods remained motionless until one of the tips gently nodded. Felt like a decent bream but turned out to be a rare codling. Excellent.

An hour late it was dark and the poxy strap congers were about in numbers. My chance of a red mullet had gone, or so I thought. A slack liner and it felt nothing like a eel. It wasn't, it was a red mullet. Well chuffed.

Fishing has not been easy, but there's enough around to make it interesting. I need one of those rays next.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Helping Your Buddies

An interesting week. Hungry Boy Chris came down to try for his first mullet on Monday.

We started with trotted, twitched or popped up maddies and after half an hour watching fish ignore our offerings I suggested a change to a baited spinner.

This really can be a deadly method. The drawback is that it can put the fish down after a short period. First cast I had a follow. And the next. Then hungry Boy shouted that he was in on his second cast. A few minutes later his first ever mullet was in the net. Chuffed ? I'll say.

I had two takes, both of which failed to hook up, then later on lost a decent fish on the popped up rag.

Anyway job done and everyone happy.

Thursday me and Conc drove to Norfolk, a 4.5 hour round trip in pursuit of bass. Perfect tide, decent weather....very very slow fishing though.

However, the silver lining was that Bureboy Waaaak Baines joined us to try and catch his first bass and we spent the evening chatting and catching up. The tide was making the rod tips nod and Waak enquired as to whether they may be bites. No, you'll know when you have a bite.

About an hour in, his pike rod whacked over viciously as a decent bass took off at speed. As he played the fish I shone the headlamp in the margins looking for the fish. I was somewhat surprised when he wound a 3lb bass to within a foot of his rod tip, in the manner of a rank beginner ! 

As expected, the fish fell off into the surf, I thrashed around trying to grab it, getting soaked in the process. A wave took it away, never to be seen again. But never mind, first bass ever in the bag ( not literally unfortunately ).

Half hour later he was in again, this time properly landed and photographed.

Good work chaps.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

It's Not All Wine and Roses

Oh no sir, not at all.

I needed a sand goby for the species hunt and found out the Colne and Stour are full of them. Loads in the brackish marshland ditches too. That's all I have to say about the sand goby.

Yesterday me and Conc fished a pool on the river for bass, mullet and if we were really really lucky, a sea troot.

I got a tiny bass, lost three sets of gear and had a snotty eel,  which was another for "the hunt". I don't want any more though.

The lack of both bass and mullet was surprising as we've been catching regularly in daylight.

I did have a crashing take on a spinner in full darkness. I'd like to think that was a sea troot, but who knows ?

Here is a picture of a horrible eel. 

This coming week the targets are a thick lip mullet and some proper bass.

Toodle pip.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Far From The Madding Crowd

Well, almost. I exaggerate, but this last week in August has surprised me a bit. Yes, in the usual spots it's heaving, but walk a bit and you will avoid most of The Great British Public. Damn good show too.

I'd caught a couple of tub gurnards on the bottom rods so decided to try and catch one on the light spinning gear. I cut off a couple of sabiki type feathers and baited them with a tiny bit of mackerel and worked it various ways through the water.

I'd only been fishing a few casts when I had a hit and the first gurney was on. Pretty little fish which are great fun on light gear and very aggressive. I ended up with five all around the same size. Good fun.

The following evening I got my sole, plus a plaice, some decent mackerel and some scad, all of which went on the barby for a fishy extravaganza.

Pics a bit crappy but was pleased to have those flatties in consecutive casts.

Next day was a mini species hunt which resulted in dozens of corkys and ballens, tompots, rock gobies, dragonet and at last a ballion's wrasse. Another one on the 2021 species list.

That's it for a while. Well, a few weeks anyway 😆

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Win Some, Lose Some

Despite it being kid's holiday season I'm back out west, in the camper in a field five minutes from the beach for a eleven quid a night. Not bad eh ?

I was aiming to increase my species count as it's coming up to prime time now.

Tides are building, high water around dusk, just about perfect. First hour passed without any bites, then a couple of knocks that resulted in a tub gurnard. Only a litlun, but another species added.

Shoals of whitebait were being harried by predators so a light spinning rod was set up and very quickly I was catching some big mackerel and the occasional scad. Lovely.

As dusk approached I started catching dogs, pout and the inevitable, hideous, slimy turds that are strap conger. After a stream of these creatures I had a different kind of bite and as I wound in I was convinced I'd got a big sole. Twenty yards out it went solid. Snagged. Bastard !

Snapped off, cheesed off, I called it a night.

Next day I was back in glorious evening sunshine on an almost deserted beach. In southern England. In August. I'm glad people don't like walking.

First cast with a huge fillet of mackerel, hoping for a undulate or small eyed ray and within a couple minutes the rod tip pulled down and sprung back. Great start, the rod hooped over in a satisfying curve with just the odd thump on the tip in typical ray style.

As the fish appeared in the surf it had changed from a ray to a bloody great bass. Well chuffed !

Cracking fish. I think I'd swap it for a big sole though.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Down In Da Hoooodzzz

Bit of urban fishing. Not really my thing at all, but there's some monster thick lipped mullet feasting on the tasty turdy titbits.

We head to the shite pipe, in the heart the rundown city, where feral yoofs roamed unhindered by the feds. 

Actually, it's that run down there's nobody at all about and the interesting aroma from the pipe probably discourages 99.9 per cent of the population from coming within a mile of here.

There were loads of mullet about, cruising around, swirling and generally sticking two fingers up at us. I drip fed bread mash for a couple of hours but no interest whatsoever.

We did have some ridiculously small flounders though. We were hoping for a goby or anything to add to the species list.

Back to the south west in the camper on Friday, standby for some proper reports.

Can't wait.