Tuesday 26 December 2023

Christmas Social

The day before Christmas Eve we went to an Ipswich pub to see three local bands playing rowdy punk rock. All old blokes who would have been young teenagers when it all kicked off in late 70s and still loving it now.

Brilliant evening topped by a raucous rendition of the Clash's "What's My Name ?". Music, like fishing, has been a constant in my life since I was a kid and I still get the same pleasure from them as I did in the early days.

The following day I met Waaaak Baines for a fish and catch up on the Stour after he'd visited family. 

Although the river looked pretty much spot on, we struggled a bit. I put Wak in one of the banker swims and he managed to get a proper wrap round bite but missed it. The day before I somehow missed five "proper" chub bites on the trot, its a funny old game sometimes.

As the light faded I wangled out a couple of nice roach, so not a total blank.

We packed up on dark and swopped wine and floats before heading home.

I was back the next day and had a bit more success with two decent chub, three roach and a dace.

I've found a reliable roach swim but am finding hitting bites on the tip difficult, especially when using a little cage feeder. I'd rather use a swan shot but the cage feeder filled with bread definitely gets you more bites.

Lots to think about.

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Almost Done

Well, time for The Loafer's end of year sermon. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and listen to my self indulgent drivel.

Lots of local Stour trips, a couple to the Waveney and GUC at the beginning of the year to get the ball rolling.

Plenty of sessions on TBS, a three hundred and fifty acre venue very close to home. My tench campaign was a flop, unlike the bream trips which were very successful. A lovely place to fish.

Finally got stuck in to the Fens properly with several camper trips, the quality of the rudd fishing is incredible. Loads of fish to over 2lb, such a great way to start the season.

Mid summer through to autumn and I managed to find a nice quiet part of the Tidal Trent. What can you say, superb fishing not only for barbel but hybrids, silver bream, roach and bream. We had four or five three to five day trips through the summer and autumn and were never disappointed. Great social trips, lots of laughs and tremendous fishing.

Me and S had a great trip to Holland on August. I fished every morning at dawn, back to the van for breakfast, then a bike ride for provisions and a visit to a cafe and back for the evening session. Perfect.

Asp, more barbel, ide, massive silver bream, roach, the Ijssel has it all.

It's all about the places that fishing takes you to, the mates you fish with and the fire in your belly that gets the van loaded and headed for another adventure.

In a few weeks plans and dreams for 2024 will start emerging.

A big Stour chub before the end of the season , some good tench fishing somewhere, definitely asp  fishing in Holland and maybe another big tour of Europe. Oh and a really big roach. From a river ideally. 

We'll see.

Sunday 17 December 2023

Game of Two Halves

Well,  not a game, more accurately a weekend.

Saturday afternoon the river was a bit fast but a decent colour. I set up for "whatever comes along" with a size 10 and small bit of flake, feeding with a bit of mashed bread.

The result was missed roach bites and a solitary chub. Sometimes the method works well but today it was too heavy for roach/bream and not what the chub wanted. Thats how it felt anyway. 

Sunday, with the river in similar, perhaps even better nick, I decided to fish cheese for chub and bait the swims with half dozen bits of paste.

I also baited a roach/bream swim with several droppers of hemp and maggots.

Before I'd cast out I'd walked and baited the stretch. Accurately today.

It looked lovely, the water having been held back by the sluice, the flow slow, smooth with an almost oily look to it. Of course, that afternoon the sluice was opened and the flow increased. Not to the degree it does sometimes and I was confident of a few fish.

First cast the tip went round and a nice chub ended up in the net. Next cast the same. Great start.

I'd baited a couple of new swims further downstream. It was a reed lined, and had a smooth, steady run along the inside, with a sunken tree upstream. I started with a cast upstream and immediately had a bite. Missed of course. Next chuck a nice drop back and another chub in the bag.

Next cast I flicked the bait downstream and within seconds the tip pulled over. Another one. Then another.

By this time I'd had seven chub and with dusk approaching it was time to change tactics and try for roach and bream in the pre baited swim.

I sat there for an hour and a half, listening to the Liverpool  v Utd game. I don't know what was duller, the football or the breaming. No bites but a cracking afternoon in the sunny, mild weather nonetheless. 

When I started fishing "The Forbidden Stretch" I had a feeling it might be the place for a very big chub. Snaggy, deep,  tonnes of cover, unfished.

I'm doubtful now. There are more chub than I thought, in great condition but no sign of anything big. Who knows ? 

One last thing. My mate told me about this handy, simple gadget he keeps in his van. A hand propelled food processor, you can do liquidised bread literally "on the bank". It really does work and it costs a fiver !

Thursday 14 December 2023


Yes, FFS. Poxy rain, it hasn't stopped for two months now and it's doing my head in.

Work has dropped off a bit, but thats fine, more time for fishing. If I could get to the river.

Of course, I've tried a few times in the last week, with pretty poor results. Wangling a few out but you know when conditions aren't right.

On the bright side, forecast is dry for next few days so fingers crossed. 

After finishing the balsa floats and christening one of them with some roach I've started on the Avons.

I walked the two and a half miles to the nearest section of river this morning and was greeted with a very high, very coloured Suffolk Stour. Walking back I changed plans, couldn't be arsed to fish in those conditions so make a big batch of cheese paste.

I'm having to re consider my view that you can rarely beat flake and mash for chub. I'm using cheese more at the moment and with pretty good results. A mate says he gets a better stamp of chub with cheese, compared to bread. Hmm.

I'm going to compare results this season. I've always felt that bait is not massively important on lightly fished rivers, but we'll see. 

Obviously they both work well, just be interesting to see if cheese sorts out the better ones. I'm sceptical but hopeful.

After trashing the kitchen making the cheese paste I decided to make a big pheasant stew. It's cooking right now as I tuck in to a nice pale ale whilst grooving to the Sleaford Mods at extreme volume. 

Saturday 16 December is the big day. Ipswich vs Norwich and Liverpool v Man Utd. Up the mighty Town and let's hope Emporer Ming AKA Derek Ten Haag's rabble get a proper pasting at Anfield. 

And with that pretty non fishy report I bid you farewell until next time, when I'll have fantastic tales of chub and roach.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Farting About

I like drawing and painting. It takes you out of yourself, or as they say nowadays, you're "in the moment ".

I also like making fishing related stuff. When I say stuff, I mean anything that requires a tiny amount of skill and know how, as if its the least bit complicated, I'll mess it up, as I'm total cretin when it comes to DIY or mechanical things.

Apart from "The Day I Put The Shelves Up" in 2012, but I shall not mention that great event.

With the dark nights encroaching I've been making some floats.

It taxes my concentration enough to be interesting but even I can use a piddly paintbrush for paint and varnish. You do what the hell you want too, silly colours, inscriptions, all the things that make you feel like a kid again.

The first lot are done and are about to be sent out to a few mates then I'm going to have a go at some old fashioned Topper Haskins Avon floats.

It's just a bit of fun and whether they're good or crap doesn't matter, I enjoyed doing them. And I'm going to catch some fish on them too.

I'm in the groove on the river at moment, fishing for an hour or so around dusk as often as possible. 

Last night I had a short session late in the afternoon. It was grey and absolutely calm, with the geese and wildfowl's calls echoing along along the river valley. The dank weather put off the dog walkers and I fished alone and content and to top it off the chub fed well and I had four to exactly 4lb.

I'm back fishing tomorrow with Bully on the old man's 70 th birthday.  Can't wait.