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


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".