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.