Tuesday 2 April 2024

Ramblings

Not really caught much of note over the last few weeks.

Saturday I arranged to meet Bully at a little tackle shop in deepest Suffolk.

I had picked up a pair of 1980s rods for Bully, made by a bloke called Terry Smith, from Sheffield. Back in the day he was one of the best and as usual Bully had managed to get a bargain.

These were early twin top rods, with lovely soft fibre glass quiver tips. Think he paid seventy five quid for the pair.

I also had quality second hand gear to pick up, firstly a pair of Fox Specialist 1lb TC rods from the late 90s/very early 2000s. 

The Chubmeister General had been raving about this rod and after I told him I tracked some down he insisted I bought them. Who was I to disobey  ? He was right. They're bloody lovely.



Then it was on to pick up two Fox Barbel Plus 1.75lb TC from the same era,  but from a different village. Oh, and a couple of Daiwa Exceler 4000s. From the same village.

They were lovely too.


They were proper bargains.

We then checked out a small farm ressie which we'd been told held some big bream, plus the mandatory carp. It was truly out in the sticks, not pretty, but very quiet, so a session was quickly arranged for the coming week. 

Talking of carp, or more accurately carpers, whilst on my morning walk yesterday I got talking to a young bloke fishing a small local lake.

He was dressed in standard carp boy gear, hoodie, cotton joggers and white trainers and excitedly told be he was sponsored by the ( carp related) clothing company. The logo was on everything, "Addicted" or "Afflicted", something like that. Oh, he said, I'm also sponsored by a bait company and thrust some brown, stinking boilies in my face.

Try 'em mate, try 'em, they're pukka, they're the bollocks, the dog's dangles, the mutts nutts, had some proper units on them I have, geeeeeezer.

Not interested in smeggy carp said I. He stared at me in a gormless uncomprehending gaze and then repeated his praise of said boilies.

I then told him what my old boss once said to me, "Don't try to sell a one legged man a pair of shoes".

He is, I am sure, still trying to get to grips with the meaning of this.

Next post I hope to have tales of big bream.

Toodle pip.


Thursday 14 March 2024

Serendipity

Those useless feckers at the Met Office had on Sunday told us we'd seen the last of the rain , so don't worry folks, it's going to be a dry week.

By Monday evening it was, erm, Tuesday is going to be wet. Very wet. All day. 

With the local river thoroughly messed up, I headed down to the estate lake. It's part of a carp syndicate and I was told there were "big" perch, roach, a few tench and half a dozen grass carp, along with the prized carp.


It's only five minutes from the house, so I've been having a good look round recently and  deep in a wooded valley, so protected from the worst of the wind. Its shallow, being three, possibly four foot maximum. 

I decided to select four swims, all ultra close in and uncomfortable, so ignored by the carpys and lightly bait them with mixed seed, sweetcorn and chopped worms, then fish them in rotation for twenty of thirty minutes and keep on the move.

First fish was a 1lb 11oz roach, pleasing in size but a really poor old thing, having suffered terrible cormorant damage ( yes, them again ). This was followed by a couple of pound plus perch, thankfully in nice condition.


Before every move a handful of bait was scattered and the swim left to rest. Back in the "roach" swim an hour later I hooked into a much bigger fish that turned out to be a nice early season tench of just over 4lb. 


The swim in the corner, where I'd yet to have a bite, was showing signs of activity with tiny pin head bubbles periodically showing. Nudges and dips on the float but nothing positive until it slid away and a tiny but beautiful mirror carp surfaced. 


He couldn't have been more than a couple of pounds.

More bait, more bubbles and when the sweetcorn/flake cocktail was taken a much bigger fish bolted away with a huge cloud of silt colouring the water in its wake.

I definitely didn't want to end up hooking lots of carp, but there was a chance this could be a grassie so I played it gently on the float rod and perch tackle, more worried about the B983 light gauge hook than the line.

Whatever it was didnt want to come in and my estimate of its size was increasing as time went on. I just couldn't get the head up and was thinking it might be foul hooked. Every time it neared the net it would surge away and there was no way of stopping it on light gear.

With near bank snags I wanted to get it in the net first time and after fifteen minutes or so it seemed to be tiring and with a bit more pressure a head appeared and a massively long body which somehow slid into the, now very undersized net.

A monstrous grassie, it looked huge. Hooooooge I tell you.

The first I've ever seen, let alone caught and weighing 23lb 14oz.



To using my overused expression I was well chuffed or as I believe da yoof say, "buzzin".

Now, do you think I'll be able to get on the river today , for one last try ?



Sunday 10 March 2024

On The Doorstep

Back on the local stretch of river for a couple of short sessions, the first with old mate Waaaaaak Baines, AKA Bureboi.

River in good nick. Mild, great time of year, if you can't catch in these conditions sell your gear.

Waaak turned up fully loaded, holdall, comfy chair, huge bait bucket and trudged in slow motion across the muddy, slippery ice ring that passes for a meadow.


Bites in the first few swims which turned out to be small chub. Waaaak was in a banker chub swim and sat it out, missing a few bites before nailing a nice chub which he played like he was using a 2lb hooklink. 




The fish took advantage of his light touch and snagged itself on some bankside undergrowth before being persuaded out into the net.


I settled in a the next swim and set about catching some roach.


A handful of liquidised bread brought an immediate response which resulted in a lovely  fish.


There was no problem getting bites. Hitting them was a different matter. They were homing in on the micro cage feeder but the jabs and rattles were missed more often than not.

Waaaak left on the long trek back to Norfolk and I continued getting and missing bite after bite.

After getting home a plan was hatched to come back and fish for them with a pole which would give excellent control and a better chance of hooking the roach. In theory. 

Next day I was back on the river just as the light was fading. An over spotted float was held back, slightly overdepth, with a size 14 hook with double punch bread or flake. Sounds professional doesn't it ?

Did it work ? Yes, fourteen quality roach were caught in the last hour despite my untidy and ungainly handling of the pole.



The fish in the photos were in good condition, as you can see. Unfortunately, many others were showing signs of cormorant damage. I love wildlife but hate these birds. Fecking things.

Great couple of trips and always good to fish and catch up with an old mate. I'm hoping for a few more sessions before the season draws to a close.



Wednesday 6 March 2024

Every Last Drop....

With the end of the season rapidly approaching and the local rivers, finally, after months of semi permanent flooding, coming in to prime condition, I've been out fishing. Alot.

Work has been sacked off all week. When it's ten or eleven degrees and the water has that lovely bottle green tinge then I'm going fishing. I'm never going to be rich with that attitude am I ?

Yesterday I fished a stretch where I had big chub and one nice perch last time. It's a deep, slow piece of water with a big concrete structure of some kind in mid stream. It screams out fish.

First chuck in with lobs and the tip went round. A perch, a very nice one in cracking condition.  I had five out the swim, the best three being 1lb 15oz, 2lb 2oz and 2lb 6oz. That'll do.


I moved upstream a bit and again the lobs did the trick with a clonking chub. A young fish in pristine condition with an unusually small head.

Bully Boy turned up and fished a slow snaggy swim just down from me and got in on the action with two corkers of 2lb 2oz and 2lb 4oz.


We were both well chuffed and with good weather forecast and a massive hunger to fish I'm looking forward to another trip today. And tomorrow.

Seize the day folks.


Wednesday 28 February 2024

The Sweet Smell of Success

It's fair to say that apart from two lovely sessions trotting for dace, 2024 has so far been a bit crap as far as fishing goes. 

The Chubmeister General and a couple of his friends have been quietly catching chub on the upper reaches that dwarf the two to three pound fish that we usually get on the lower river. 

In addition to that, the lower river has been in semi permanent flood since mid October last year. The upper, as you'd expect, runs off quicker and conditions are often perfect while further downstream they're hopeless.

Yesterday I sacked work off early and headed deep in to Suffolk, to the upper reaches in search of a big chub. When I arrived, before getting the gear out, I looked over the bridge and checked out the river.

It looked perfect and I hurried off to the first swim, a classic holding area with near bank snag and a nice crease.  After nabbing a three pounder on lobworms I had a recce upstream before returning to the same swim.

After ten minutes the newly purchased (twenty five year old) Drennan Super Feeder quiver trembled, I struck and all hell let loose, as a very heavy fish crashed about heading for the near bank reeds. Dont they always ?

I was thankful for the 8lb line and had the clutch done right up, as I expected this reaction and the last thing I wanted was to give any ground. In no more than about twenty seconds the chub was in the net. I gazed down at it as it lay in the water, it looked massive compared to the three pounder caught earlier. 


I know that "fish on the net" photos are a bit boring and rarely do the fish justice, but I just can't be bothered with self takes any more. Anyway, it just reminds me what a ruddy faced, scruffy old bloke I look.

It went 5lb 4oz and I was chuffed to say the least.

Several other areas were fished without further action but I was almost certain I'd get another fish. Settling into a pre baited swim a flake/cheese paste combo was flicked out with a single swan shot.




Another slow, confident bite and after striking the rod hooped right round as I brutally tried to keep the fish from the snags.

Again, it was in the net in a few seconds and it looked massive.

After repeating "Oh my god, that's fecking huge" about twenty times I recovered some kind of sanity and put the chub on the scales. They hovered just under the 6lb mark and I settled on 5lb 15oz. 




It really isn't about what the scales say though is it ? It's that feeling, when the fish looks so big or its so prized, that you're shaking and reduced to a babbling wreck, like you've done every time something fantastic is caught, since you were a kid.

I drove home with that warm glow you get after a cracking day on the riverbank, endlessly replaying the days events. 




Sunday 25 February 2024

Taking A Punt

I woke up and immediately went on line to see what the latest river levels were like and although not perfect, it appeared the very upper river might be OK.

After a long, slow drive through the tiny winding Suffolk lanes I arrived and jumped out the car and looked over the bridge. It looked pretty good, up a bit but falling and with a good colour.

The legendary IM8 Specimen Float was given its umpteenth outing along with a mini chubber type float, size 16 hook and double maggot. First six runs down the swim resulted in plump dace and one monster gudgeon.  A good start.


I'll not bore you with a blow by blow account of the session but suffice to say I had sixty or seventy dace in two or three hours,  plus a few roach, chublets and gudgeon.



Three or four of the dace were real clonkers and all were in pristine condition. 


I had a recce of another stretch and then a quick go on a nice wooded bit for a roach or two. Four nice fish in half hour was the result before I got hungry and headed home.

A lovely session.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Worming

The Loafer is The Lobmeister.

Here's what you need to know, so sit up, pay attention and by all means take notes.

1. Ideal conditions are just after it's been raining and when it's still mild. Milder the better I think. 

2. They definitely prefer short grass. Somewhere where horses or rabbits graze is good, sports pitches or a well tended garden lawn

My top spot is the local cricket pitch. There's a bowls club next door which I'm sure would be even better, but I don't think they'd appreciate me climbing over the security fence and damaging the green.

3. Don't use a torch thats too bright. They spook badly on full beam. Keep it as low as possible. 

4. Tread carefully and when you do see one, be quick and precise. You've got to be deadly, if you're too slow and slapdash they'll be away quicker than can say " Ooooh, yer bastard ! ".

5. When you do grab one, don't pull too hard, they break easily. If its still got a grip in the ground just hold it until it tires. I mean a few seconds....don't stand there for half hour ya daft sod.

6. The edge of fields, where maybe its a bit more sheltered, are often best. Even on places where there's loads of worms they'll be hotspots. Like fishing.

7. They'll be more worms and they'll be further out the holes, if you go at least a couple of hours after it's properly dark.

8. When you get home and sort them out, don't put too many together. The less the better really. Certainly no more than fifteen or twenty, absolute maximum, in a large bait box.

9. I keep them in strips of wet newspaper. Others use moss or grass.

10. For a day or two after collecting them, check them thoroughly. This is when you're likely to have a few casualties. Chuck any dead or dying worms.

11. Keep them cool. In a fridge in summer definitely, but a garage floor in winter is OK. 

I went out last night in perfect conditions and had a load. If it ever stops raining I might even get to use them. 


Get out there and get lobbing. Good luck.



Sunday 18 February 2024

Happy Days

I joined The Chubmeister General ( AKA The Suffolk Stalker ) on a beautifully mild, late winter day on the upper river trotting for dace.

First glance and it looked absolutely spot on, with what looked like perfect flow and colour. Often, when it all looks the dooh daahs and you get super excited, it doesn't live up to its promise, but today was not one of those days. Oh no sir.


TCG loves his small stream fishing and most definitely had his "Dace Head" on. He's ultra keen ( another hungry fecker ), a bit of a purist and a proper angler, the boy will go far. And he's a mere youngster, being half my age. The bastard.

We had fish from the off, the majority being dace with some quality roach and big gudgeon mixed in. The TCG clearly disapproved of the classic bobber float I was using, which was admittedly rather weighty for the narrow, shallow piece of water. It looked good though and the dace didn't  care.


It really was practically a bite a chuck and every swim we tried held fish, due obviously to our brilliant watercraft. 



TCG also managed a couple of very sizeable chub which tested his light hooklength and size eighteen hook to their limit.


The last couple of swims were probably the most prolific and produced a run of herring sized dace for us both, it was real old style fishing.


Just before dusk we dragged ourselves away, because TCG wanted to introduce me to another stretch that held some big roach that was best fished, shall we say, when it was quiet.

No really big ones but more clonking dace, a decent perch for me and a nice roach for TCG.

Great fishing, good company, and lots of chat and piss taking, days out don't get any better.




Wednesday 7 February 2024

Poking About

I made a rare trip south, down the dreaded A road to hell. Forty minutes of congested unpleasantness and I was on the outskirts of a grubby Essex town in search of dace on a tiny stream.

The stream itself was lovely. Clear, fast flowing, lots of riffles and just a handful of deeper pools.

For the most part it was only a few inches in depth, so it was obvious that the fish would be in the deeper pools. First trot down with the mini bobber and a bite straight away. A minnow. A roach next cast, then another.



Considering how clear it was I caught a large number of fish before they spooked and I had to move on to another spot. The little nine footer was perfect for the overgrown swims. In one place, it was so tight I couldn't even strike and had to wind quickly to set the hook.


One pool produced probably twenty roach and dace, plus a rogue chub that fooled me for a while, thinking that I had a monster dace. Some decent roach, several of which required the net.


Very few snags for a little brook and amazingly I didn't lose any gear, until the last swim when the wind ( my cast was of course perfect ) took my favourite bobber into a tree. It was tantalisingly just out of reach. I was very tempted to take my boots off and wade in and get it.  Old habits die hard.

No really big dace caught, which are rumoured to exist around here but an interesting little session and plenty of fish. Lovely.

Sunday 4 February 2024

The Pits

God, I can't buy a bite at the moment.

A series of totally dead sessions at the                   (allegedly) big perch ponds. I mean not a touch on worm or maggot in good conditions. 

I then blanked yesterday with Cooky, unsurprisingly, on the big stillwater. Not a touch between us.

Today I didn't blank, instead I had four pathetically small perch from one of the ponds in ultra mild conditions. 

Roll on spring, warm weather and ravenous feeding fish.

The misery was compounded listening to a rare Man Utd win and Liverpool losing to Arsenal on 5Live. And that after an Ipswich defeat yesterday. Its a disaaaaster I tell you.

I won't be listening to that little twat Arteta's post match interview either.

In the words of Roger Mellie, "Bollocks".


Wednesday 24 January 2024

Somewhere On The Horizon

Yes, its there in the distance, actually not too far away. Spring.

As I unloaded the gear, the first sound I heard was a great tit calling, followed by the drumming of a greater spotted woodpecker, both sure signs that spring is near.

I had nipped out for a couple of hours to The Forbidden Stretch. The river looked absolutely perfect, that lovely green tinge to it and the air temperature was knocking on double figures. I was very confident of a fish or two.

First job was to bait the bream swim, so in went four several hard balls of groundbait laced with maggots, seed and sweetcorn which I'd leave for at least an hour for them to settle and get their heads down.

I walked a bit further downstream to a deep area full of snags and cover. The weird thing is there is only one swim out of four or five, which all look fantastic, that regularly produces fish.


First cast in the banker swim I missed an unmissable bite. As usual.

Second cast I was on the ball and an average sized, perfectly conditioned chub was in the net. That'll do for the chub, I wanted a bream ( yes, really ).

The wind had dropped, I could clearly hear the "chucking" of the fieldfares as they skipped along a line of riverside alders and in the distance I could just about make out the faint sound of a tawny owl.

First cast in the pre baited swim with a tiny cage feeder and I made a silly mistake. I stood up, unzipped the bib and brace and had a pee and yes, mid piss the tip went round.

Luckily I can multi task, so I gracefully  swooped down, picked up the rod and hit the bite, whilst ensuring the the admittedly not-quite-so-powerful-as-it-was stream of urine continued to end up on the bank and not inside my troosers. Netting a slimey bream with your old man hanging out most definitely warranted a photo, but you will probably be glad that it didn't happen.

Anyway, one of about 3-4lb in the bag.

As the light slipped away I had another a bit smaller before packing up and slipping quietly away along the flood meadows bathed in moonlight.

Lovely couple of hours on the bank.


Order ! Order !

Yes, order. Or more accurately getting organised. 

The "day bags" are not a problem. I've got a lightweight river bag, predator bag, lure bag, fly bag, sea bag, etc and don't take, say, forceps or scales from one to another because you know what will happen when you go to look !

No, its the back up gear, spares, rarely used stuff, etc, that's the issue.

I've got loads of boxes but until yesterday there was no system, it was " in there somewhere".

Also, fishing gear was in the house, some in the garage and loads in the motorhome, so I'd often no fecking idea where anything is. Very annoying. 


I spent several hours creating some kind of order and even labelled the boxes and took photos because the order probably won't last long.



This is just a fraction of it.  Everything from pole floats, mullet flies, several hundred feeders, god knows how many lures and 200lb traces for conger. Some of it will probably never be used again, but "you never know".



As an added bonus, I found many things I thought were lost, including a couple of classic home made drop offs which I'll be using before the season is out. I reckon they must be thirty years old.


I also sorted the rods. I dare not count them, but I do know that the spinning rods alone now number a total of ten. Well, they shouldn't bang them out so cheap should they ?

Can't resist a bargain.

No fish were harmed compiling this post.

Toodle pip.


Saturday 13 January 2024

All Change

Two weeks and I've still got the hideous lurgee. It's making me even grumpier than normal.

I've had a couple of poor sessions on the river. I'm having to acknowledge the dream of big, uncaught chub in these two stretches is just wishful thinking.

There's plenty of fish, but considering the amount I've fished it, the number of four pound plus fish is tiny. 

I need the belief and possibility of the chance of a big'un to really enjoy it and keep the hunger going. 

I can travel forty five or fifty minutes to the upper river for a realistic chance of five pounders with the outside chance of a six pounder. 

The down side is I hate driving for more than about ten minutes for short sessions.

What to do ?


For me, usually it's either fish local or have a proper road trip in the camper for anything from a few days to a month. Roll on the warmer weather so I can get out in the van.

Bit if good news though. I've joined a syndicate with four small lakes within a couple of miles of home. They're ( surprise, surprise) carp orientated, but I'm going to have a go for the big ( well, they look big in the photos ) perch that inhabit at least one of the lakes. I've a feeling the other lakes may have a few too.

I'm told they're are big hybrids and decent roach and rudd too. May be a wild goose chase, but they look nice and are situated in a quiet valley away from the great British public. A good job too.

As soon as this very cold weather fecks off I'll give it a go. Be nice to have a change.


Monday 8 January 2024

Laying Low

Happy new year one and all.


I've been laying low with this hideous lurgee that's going about. It's knocked the stuffing out of me and I've been mooching about like an old bloke. Which I'm not, obviously.

I lay in bed coughing and spluttering the other day. Farting about on the phone, watching fishing videos and I somehow end up buying two more spinning rods which I definitely dont need and some lures. Which also I don't need.

Got a short term boost with the retail therapy from the comfort of my bed anyway.

Felt better yesterday as I watched Liverpool beat Arsenal after Agent Hevertz had sabotaged the Gunners plans. What a bargain, £65 million for a goal shy Chelsea reject. 

River is bank high. That's an under statement, its the highest I've seen it ever. 


It'll be a few days before it's worth fishing.



2024 plans taking shape, lots to do, places to see and fish to catch.

I suffer from cold hands in the winter, especially when I'm flake and mash fishing.

I've started wearing latex gloves which keep your hands dry but don't impede hook tieing and fiddly tasks. It's a total game changer, dry hands and no wind chill equals warm hands.

I don't care if it looks like I'm about to perform a bankside ( should that be backside ?) rectal examination. Try it. The gloves, not the rectal examination. 


The next post may contain fish if the weather gods are kind. Toodle pip.