Thursday 29 December 2022


Bully went fishing yesterday. It was raining and there were high winds, but he still went. Keen for an old bloke eh ?

I rang him and told him that I was going today, in better conditions and before I'd got the words out he said "I'll come too", then added " I'll just fish the afternoon ". I told him I'd be there at eleven ish and left it at that.

This morning as I was getting breakfast he sent me a text "I'm on my way, I'll be there by 10.30".

What a hungry bastard, he just can't get enough.

It was bright and breezy and the river was in good nick. Nice colour, still pushing through quite hard though.

We started in a couple of banker swims. First cast I had a chub about two and bit pounds, but after that nothing, as is usual in this type of fishing. Bully had nothing, the endless stream of dog walkers passing and ocassionally jumping in the water didn't really help. I mean the dogs, not the owners.

Today there were hundreds of them, I mean hundreds. Canoeists and paddle boarders too, out enjoying the countryside and having fun. 

You have to be a grumpy old sod to be annoyed about that. We were. Our own fault, if you want a bit of peace, fish early or late or not in the Christmas holidays.

Many swims where I'd expect bites were dead, I must have fished seven or eight swims but only had bites in two. Luckily I hit them both. 

Bully walked right downstream and wangled one out just short of 3lb. "Where did you catch that ?" I said.

"I don't know, it all looks the same to me" he said. Yes, really.

He walks around with a SatNav so he can find where's he's parked the car at the end of the day. It's very sad.

We ended with two fish each, the one below was the biggest. Not massive but a nice fish.

Great day to be out and you can't grumble when you both have a couple of decent fish.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

And Now....

The Loafer's end of year address.

On his 6Music evening show, Marc Riley continues to play the best of everything, old and new. Try these great choooones....

Wild Billy Childish - Bob Dylan's Got A Lot To Answer For

Orbital and Sleaford Mods - Dirty Rat

Vic Goddard - Up On Top

I think I've listened to The Bug Club more than anything. Every track is a corker. Check 'em out kids.

Watching the final season of The Man In The High Castle at the moment, well it's mid winter, if not now when ? Based on the Philip K.Dick novel ( one of Mark E. Smith's favourite writers ). It's well worth a watch.

2023 plans in very early stages, the van needs repairing first.

Got some ideas. Loose plans. Lots of stuff can happen to help or hinder plans, so you've got to be flexible. 

More social sessions with mates for sure, but apart from that nothing tied down yet, but all being well the trips will be as good as this year. We can only hope.

I've had a few local river trips recently. One with Bully when he managed a new p.b chub.

Remember he's only 4' 10" , so it's not a seven pounder.

I had some nice trotting for roach on one of the very rare occasions where the dicks that operate the sluices didn't cock things up. 

It's a lovely short stretch of river constantly interfered with by "the guardians of the river", but that's another story, which I'll bore you with some time in the future.

Best wishes to all in 2023.

Saturday 17 December 2022

Almost Done

A few days left of 2022. Lots of good things happened. When you sit down on a cold, dark December day it's sometimes hard to remember all the great times, when the sun shone and all the fantastic trips.

Like being parked up in the middle of Sweden in July, right next to a fish filled river. I got up at first light ( 02.30 ) and fished until midday, whereupon I retired to the van for a monstrous breakfast and afternoon nap. And then fished again in the evening. Did this for two months non stop.

5 countries fished.

13 different rivers.

3 canals.

1 Fen drain.

24 different salt water marks.

60 species caught ( exactly the same as 2021, although I may try and catch a rockling next week to beat last year's figure )

Lots of sessions with good mates, Waaak Baines, Bazza, Bully, Cocksy, Shanus and The Chesil General to name a few.

Lots of good weather, really lucky on that score this year. Throughout Scandanavia we barely saw any rain and most were T shirt and shorts days. As me and Waaak say, "Shining Times".

It really is almost impossible picking the highlights, but trotting for grayling in a fast cool river in Sweden, in the middle of nowhere, takes some beating. Especially when a moose crossed the river at dusk fifty yards away from me.

Fishing on a Norweigen fjord with light gear, catching all sorts and finishing the day with fresh mackeral on the barby wasn't too bad either.

Sitting next to Wak in July on the Middle Level getting ( and often missing ) loads of bites from silver bream whilst chatting shite was fun too.

"It's all magic my son". In 2023 I intend to fill my boots every bit as much as I have this year. I've lots of ideas and plans and have no idea which ones will or won't come to fruition, but that's all part of the excitement.

Before the year is out I'll be on the Stour after chub and maybe pike and like I say, maybe I'll target a rockling for the sixty first species of the year.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Strange Times

Strange times ? I think they are and not just because I'm a grumpy old fart.

For the past three or four years I've deliberately removed myself away from "The News". No newspapers, no Six O Clock News, just headlines on the radio, 6Music of course.

I used to be an avid current affairs hound, but I prefer selective ignorance these days.

However, two stories this week had me shaking my head.

Michelle Mone, or "Baroness Mone" ( in Old Blighty it is forever the seventeenth century ), an unelected member of the house of lords, as they all are, allegedly lobbying for a company to supply ( unfit for purpose ) PPE gear during the Covid pandemic.

Not only was the equipment useless, she allegedly pocketed thirty million quid from said company. She may be innocent of course.

Little Rishi said he was "shocked" at the allegations. I'm sure you were. 

In other news the CEO of Ofwat, the water regulator ( don't laugh ), criticised the water companies for chronic under investment in projects to reduce the ( legal ) pollution they inflict on the environment.

Seeing as Ofwat has been in existance since 1989 you would think if they had any balls they would have got the water companies sorted by now. But they are not there for that are they ? They are there to project an image of environmental responsibility that in reality doesn't exist.

The CEO is said he was expecting big improvements. Based on what he didn't say.

The fact that this continues with only few people giving a shit is profoundly depressing.

They say that people become more conservative ( small c ) as they age. Well this old fart is the total opposite of that. I'd have these feckers in prison. The ones I didn't personally shoot that is.

That's enough of that. Let's talk about The Fall.

I've been listening to some old stuff and pondering the genius of Mark E Smith. I fully understand why ninety per cent of people don't like The Fall.

Does this make any sense to you ? No ? Me neither.

Benny's cob web eyes !

More Fall ponderings soon.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Gissa Job

After the productive chub session I went back the following afternoon for another go. Yes, I know, greedy.

It was a strange few hours. Seven fish from three swims, with five from a previously chubless swim. A chubless swim that had an otter farting about for ten minutes too. After it swam off, the fish fed immediately.

Nothing big, in fact lots of small ones around 1.5lb. Bit of fun.

After I sacked off the prospect of labouring on a smeggy site last week I "had a word" with a bloke I know and this week I've been mainly bait digging for him.

It's a fecking killer and I've earnt nothing more than pocket money but I have to say I've liked doing it. Getting up early, on the mud flats, nobody about, lovely.

If I'm going to stick at it I've got to get better and fitter to get enough of the filthy lucre. Who knows what will happen ?

Colder weather on the way, so that may dull my enthusiasm.

I'm doing the outdoor fitness and recently started the guided walks too, so I'm hoping by spring I'll be earning reasonable money. By which I mean I can pay the bills and go fishing in the camper for four months again.

We'll see. I need a bit of jeopardy to keep it interesting.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Back on the River

I finished work by midday ( more of this later ), grabbed a late breakfast and headed for the river. It was at least a foot up but was suprisingly clear, visibilty being about eighteen inches. Bit clear for roach, spot on for chub.

I started trotting for anything that might like a maggot. The answer to that, after trying three swims, was nothing.

I started to think about trying a different stretch but despite just having the float rod and a crappy, crumbling half loaf of bread, I decided to try for chub.

First swim nothing, next one a missed bite and the third resulted in a nice fish around 2.5lb.

The swim in the photo, despite it's Crabtreeesque ( ridiculous attempt at a suitable adjective ) perfection has not produced a single chub for me, ever. But I keep trying, because I, in my know-it-all wisdom do not accept that old Dummkopf ( I'm multi linguel ) does not reside here.

First cast drop back bite. Missed. Second cast same. Missed again. Third cast and I got one. Well pleased.

The river really did look spot on and so it proved, bites in most swims, too many missed, I'm a bit rusty, but I ended up with seven fish in a couple of hours, so a good session to start the chubbing campaign.

For a change I didn't bait up with mash, just a very big lump of bread flake on the hook and that was it.

A very nice few hours.

Friday 25 November 2022

A Piking We Will Go ( Again )

After Tuesday's trip we agreed we'd fish the same place in a week or so, but on Wednesday I noticed that Thursday was forecast to be dry and sunny, so asked Bully Boy if he fancied it.

Of course he did and with my x ray eyes I could see him checking and packing his gear as soon as we put the phone down.

BB is a cheerful, smiling chap, a real gent, but don't be fooled, he's hungry and driven, despite being quite an old bloke ( sorry 🤣 ). He's still got a fire in his belly.

I arrived a short while before him and left him the same spot as he fished, very successfully, on Tuesday. 

After getting set up and having a coffee my right hand rod baited with herring was away, I had the fish on for a minute and then the hooks pulled. Bastard ! Felt a really good one too. Good start though.

Five minutes later, BB's left hand sardine rod was off, the rod really hooped over and the pike and the midget did battle. 

Once again, a really hard fight but eventually the fish was drawn across the waiting net and what a corker it was.

16lb 4oz of prime esox.

It then went dead for a while until BB's left hand rod was away yet again. This  time the run was missed.

We sat there chatting and eating until mid afternoon when, yes, BB's left hand rod was off. This time a jack of around 6lb. 

You won't be surprised to learn the next run came to THE SAME SMEGGING ROD ! This time a low double that spat the hooks half way in. 

That was it for the day. Four rods out, one of the rods having five runs, the other three rods one run between them. Interesting eh ?

Interesting, but also quite poor form from Bully. Greedy git. That's three times on the trot he has outfished the host. It's not big and it's not clever and if it happens again I am withdrawing my kind offer of Stour chubbing on my favourite stretch.

I don't know if he noticed, but on the walk back, both of us loaded with gear, I increased the walking pace to give his new knees a proper workout. Disappointingly, when I glanced back, hoping to see him a hundred yards back trailing in my wake, he was just a few yards behind, digging in and refusing to be dropped. A wolf in sheep's clothing.

Joking asides, another great day and we just missed the torrential rain that bucketed down on the drive home.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Ups and Downs ( Again )

I got a job, labouring at a place twenty odd miles away. Monday morning I left the house in the dark, to be met with a heavily iced up car. 

On the main road, heavy traffic. Ah, I remember this from the old days. I arrived to see a load of blokes donning wellies, waterproofs and hard hats. The site looked like the Somme, puddles and mud, with rubbish and assorted detritus everywhere.

One of the guvnors starting shouting for labourers. Get some pallets down so we can get the low loader to the house, hurry up,  blah, blah, blah.

I looked at scene, froze for a few seconds and immediately fucked off. Lasted half hour. I'm not the desperate for money yet. I do need to apologise to the bloke who got me the job though. 

The next day I arranged to fish the "Big Lake" with Bully Boy. It was bloody cold again and I somehow forgot my buff, gloves and warm hat. Poor show.

I managed to get a spot tucked away out of the wind, which according to the forecast was going to be 8 mph SW all day, but was more like 15 mph. Honestly, this year the forecasting has been pathetic.

We sat there chatting for a good couple of hours before BB's state of the art, four quid alarm beeped ( I've got some too ) and the drop off, well, dropped off and he was in. A nicely conditioned pike of 12.5lb. Excellent.

It looks bigger than 12lb, but he's only a lit'lun at 5' 2" in his Mothercare bib n brace. 

It was rather chilly and as is pretty normal for this place there are long periods of inactivity. In the middle of the afternoon, out of nowhere I was away on a sunken float paternostered half herring, which resulted in a lovely fish around 11lb ish.

A few minutes after returning this one, BB's right hand rod screamed off and he was into a very lively fish. I managed to get a few decent shots as he was playing it and it certainly pulled a bit.

They really are fighting extra hard this season, I've no idea why.

This one went 15lb 12oz and is the biggest BB has had since a thrupenny bit would buy you a pint of maggots and you could get sixpence back on your old Corona bottles.

We sat there until dusk hoping for another one, but that would have been greedy wouldn't it ? Three doubles on a cold late November day is a good session in my book.

I'm looking forward to the next session already.

Friday 18 November 2022

Bring On The Clowns

"Hell Is Other People" 

Jean Paul Sartre

Fecking right JP.

I arrived at the ressie just before 07.00 to find three cars already parked up. As The Pike Guru said " I preferred the place unloved and unfished ". Too right.

It is three hundred and fifty acres, so plenty of space, so I walked twenty minutes to the spot I wanted, only to find somebody already there. FFS, a great start. How dare they ?

I wasn't going to set up next to him, so walked all the way back to the car and drove around the other side, then walked another twenty minutes and set up, grumpy and not very confident. Drank my coffee, eat my food and got bored quickly.

Indicators motionless, wind and feet cold, mood black.

I moved a couple of hundred yards, whacked a bait out as far as I could and within five  minutes the left hand rod was away. It felt quite heavy and put up a good scrap and I was glad when I slid it over the net.

This is where it became interesting. I put the fish on the mat, kicked over my trace box, which resulted in about thirty trebles getting hooked up in the mesh. A total shambles.

No chance of weighing the fish in the net, so I unhooked and returned it without even a photo, but as a guess it was 15-16lb, possibly a bit bigger, but we'll never know. A cracking fish.

It was a bloody circus, with me as Charlie Fecking Corrola. For the next ten minutes I was trying to unhook the trebles but every time I did another one would get caught. Happy days.

You might think this would make me extremely angry, you're right, I was extremely angry.

I sat there for two hours with no further action.

A rather strange day.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

A Mixed Bag

Monday I had a go on the lower river, which was flowing slowly with a bit of colour for a change.

It was a dark, dank day, but with no wind it made controlling the float easy. I caught chub to 2lb, nice dace, small roach and some big bleak.

Not a bite a chuck, but enough action to keep me interested. First what I'd call winter session, really enjoyed trotting for the first time in a long while.

Today I went piking with BB. I bumped in to The Pike Guru in the car park, asked him where he was going to fish which turned out to be where I was heading. By the time I'd unloaded he was on his way and was waiting for nobody. Sprightly old bugger.

TPG is a nice, quietly spoken old bloke i.e older than me, but is also a hungry bastard and knew exactly where he was heading. "I'm going to the right of the tree" he said. Ah, I guess that means I'm going to the left then ?

Within an hour TPG had three fish while my drop offs remained motionless.

BB arrived, set up and then I had a call from TPG. He'd got " a decent one ".

He had. 20lb 8oz and as fat as a pig, unlike many fish at the moment. An absolute beauty.

What a clonking fish. Then the rain started and continued all morning. Good old BBC had told me it was going to be dry and sunny. Fecking useless.

TPG in action

I had to leave a bit early but the scores as I left were...

BB - 2 runs, 1 fish

TPG - 9 runs, 7 fish. One 20, a 14, an 11 and other 7-9lb.

Me - Feck all

How did that happen ? No idea, must try harder. I'm going again on Friday and am not leaving until I catch a few.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Social Piking

I met up with Bully Boy for a bit of social piking on the big still water the other day. Great conditions, mild, breezy and sunshine on and off all morning.

We walked through the chestnut wood to the desired spot, only to see a bloke already set up. How dare he ?

Never mind, its 350 acres, plenty of space. Five minutes after arriving at the swim I had both rods out and a coffee on the go.

Bully finally sat down after an hour and a quarter of messing about, tieing and re tieing traces, adjusting and moving his rod rests, tweaking his chair so it was in exactly the right spot and generally poncing about. We all fish in different ways eh ?

However, ten minutes after settling down he was away with a fish that had taken his mackerel. A nicely conditioned fish of around ten pounds, a nice start. 

He had another run a while later and briefly had the fish on before it shed the hooks. After that it was totally dead. Strange.

We spent the time chewing the fat on a full range of topics including religion, America and some of the cretins that reside there ( yes, Trump was mentioned ), the long black nothingness before your birth and after your death, elderly parents, kids and lots of more light hearted stuff. And black humour of course. 

We agreed that after we croak it, there would be eternal nothingness, so we both used this as an excuse to search the web for new reels to enjoy while we still could.  Quick, buy some more stuff, the end is nigh.

A most splendid day.

Sunday 6 November 2022

Laying Low

My old mate Goozgog always says to me that he hates " the long drag up to Christmas ". What a ray of sunshine he is.

But I know what he means. Dark really early in the evening. Well, dark in the smegging afternoon now and getting darker by the day. Not good for the spirit. Makes me feel lethargic and less sociable ( no smart arse comments thank you ) than usual.

Here's a few totally unrelated old pics for no reason. The one below is the first twenty plus carp I caught from the Suffolk Stour. 22lb 12oz. 

As we enter the new year I feel more positive. Yes, it'll be cold, we'll have spent our money and the world will be a mess, but the evenings starting pulling out and there are plans to be made. There's hope.

Next pic. Forget the roach, look at the hair cut, proper flat top. And brown hair. Ah, those were the days.

As I write this it's a grey, wet November Sunday   ( cue Morrisey ). Can't be arsed to fish. Waiting for a good flood so I can start the river chub and pike fishing, with some trotting chucked in too.

First Ebro catfish, 2 metres 15 cm, estimated 140lb. Dragged the boat two hundred yards down stream. We had a little concrete anchor that wasn't quite man enough.

Planning to pike fish on the "big stillwater" on Tuesday with Bully Boy, a nice leisurely session hopefully. I'm confident of a few fish too.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Every Cloud...

Getting a bit concerned about the lack of work, but on the plus side yesterday I could go out and do what I do best. Loafing.

I say loafing, it was foraging in the morning and after rain overnight there were field mushrooms everywhere. After the box was filled it was into the woods for chestnuts. Again, absolutely loads of them.

Just had to go from tree to tree trying to sort out the better ones. Which means bigger. Do they taste any different ? No, but whether its bait digging, blackberrying, fishing, mushrooming or whatever you're always after the big one aren't you ?

As you can see I got a few damsons too.

After a monstrous lunch of streaky crispy bacon, eggs, baked beans, toasted sough dough bread and some of those mushrooms I went off looking for mullet.

For the first time this season I had a run in with the RSPB man. This time he was polite, I was polite. Last time he was an arrogant prick and I got very, very angry. And I felt a bit of a twat afterwards.  Thought you were meant to mellow as you got older ?

Anyway, I packed up and left and went to another mark which has access through a wood owned by....yes the RSPB. Feck me if a warden in a 4WD didn't pull over and say "You can't fish in the estuary".

Now this somewhat sweeping and factually incorrect statement did, I admit, "boil my piss" and though we had a civil exchange I left determined neither of these people would not ruin my day.

I found a lovely quiet spot, sat down and watched for any surface activity. It was a bit windy for my liking but the occasional fish was showing so I was in with a chance.

Within an hour it had calmed down and the surface had the faintest ripple and more fish were present. One or two bits of bread were nudged and taken which had the effect of turning me in to an over excited incompetent wreck. No, it doesn't take much.

Although they were feeding I couldn't get a take and I was concerned I might have missed my chance. However, after the tide turned they became even more active and for a period of maybe twenty minutes they were taking the bread well.

I missed a really good bite which dragged the float under quickly, a few seconds later I recast only for a fish to take the bait immediately. I made contact with it, whereupon it leaped clear of the water twice before throwing the hook. Bastard !

I thought that might have scared them off, but no, they were still there. Next cast a fish nosed the bread, which then started to sink before being taken. This time the fish stayed on and a very welcome autumn mullet hit the beach ( hit the beach, hit the net, whatever, there's only so many ways to describe it ). Just under 5lb. That'll do nicely.

I was well chuffed. I packed up with the sun setting, the mullet still crashing and swirling in the now ultra shallow water and a huge flock of brent geese wheeling overhead.

What a great day.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Old Mates

Sh(anus) was over from Canada, visiting family for a while, so a trip piking with Waaaak was arranged to the usual "big stillwater".

I say piking, it involves casting out, sitting down, chatting, eating sausages, drinking tea and winding in every two hours to re cast.

When me and Shane arrived Waaaak was setting up and as always they amused me with their greeting, or lack of it.

Haven't seen an old school buddy for years ? Man hug ? Handshake ? Nah, just carry on tackling up and mutter "Alright ?"

Makes you proud to be British.

First cast the rod tapped and the visitor got "first dibs" and landed a welcome, very lean autumn pike.

The next five hours passed off with no further action but the sun shone, old stories were re told and the terrifying £25 on the bank day ticket was avoided.

On the walk back the ageing, overloaded Waaak provided us with more entertainment struggling and sweating up the steep bankside full of tree roots and obstacles. Simple pleasures eh ?

A splendid day.

Last Chance Saloon

Mid October and still plenty of mullet about. Haven't had the hunger to catch them though, but Bazza was down at the sluice and I popped down to see him. 

He'd been down fishing for four hours with lots of fish showing but no takes. He sat down for a smoke."Let me have a go" I said. "Help yourself" replied Bazza.

First cast we spotted a thin lip mullet following the spinner..."Take it ! Take it ! Take it !"

Literally inches from the bank the mullet grabbed the spinner but was so close to dry land that with a thrash of the tail managed to beach itself on the mud ! Oh well, they all count.

The look from Bazza said it all.

We then went off down river in search of thick lips. Conditions were far from ideal, a strong SW wind colouring the water and menacing autumnal clouds on the horizon.

A few fish were showing though. I got comfortable, stretched out and went to sleep.

Bazza was watching and chucking bits of bread in, the occasional fish showing but not feeding.

The ebb started and I found a couple of fish that were taking one of two bits of crust. Out of nowhere the float shot under, I struck and inexplicably missed what turned out to be my only chance. 

Ah well, an interesting session anyway that probably finishes a good summer mulleting.