February 24, 2011

Well Spotted

I've got 9 miles of the Wye to choose from but when I have, for whatever reason, my heart set on just one swim, its uncanny how often the only other angler for miles is sat right where I want to be. This happens way too often for it to be anything other than a massive conspiracy probably backed by the KGB, CIA or KFC.

So, when I decided to fish a sheltered spot for perch I was not too surprised to see the other angler already there. He'd not faired well and, to be honest, I wasn't surprised as the water was a bit lower than I expected and it is flood water that forces fish into this area. He was about to move on to pastures new but rather than fish that swim I moved around the corner to a place where I have seen plenty of perch activity in the past.

Circle hook, ideal for predators and worm fishing

Overhanging trees and a blustery wind made my float difficult to control so I took it off and paternostered a worm on a two swan shot link. I used the float rod and set it between two rests with a mud bobbin for bite indication - all very advanced stuff ;-) The hook was a size 10 circle which is great for worms. I love circle hooks for my predator fishing and it again proved the right choice when I had a drop back bite. The fish roared off at a phenomenal speed, surfacing twenty five yards away before I could tighten the clutch. It was a trout, out of season and an unintentional catch but a magnificent fish none the less. At over 3lbs I'd love to get it in May on a fly but these old fish are as wily as you like, until they see a big fat lob worm that is. The hook was, of course, lodged in the scissors and he went back none the worse for his little adventure.

I had every intention of staying into dark but Neil, who was fishing downstream despite suffering all week with a virus, faded somewhat so we packed up early. Not to worry, there's rain on the way and next week I'll be back for another go - lone swim pinchers permitting.

February 17, 2011

The Thick End

Whilst the bacon cooked we tackled up, me Mike and (newly retired) Pete were sharing a day on the delightful river Wylye that runs through the Wiltshire water meadows on its way to join the Hampshire Avon. Its been a while and I felt quite rusty as I sorted my self out. I kept hearing Mike shout "The thick end!" and eventually cottoned on. Its been so long since I've fished I was holding the rod the wrong way around.

Anyway, with a belly full of bacon butties we set off to a new section (for me) and I settled into a glide above a sluice. It looked spot on but my trotted bread and maggots failed to get a response. Its the problem with grayling at this time of the year, they are often tightly shoaled and can be hard to find but, once located, they are dead easy to catch. Pete was beyond the sluice in a little pool and his rod seemed permanently bent.

I leap frogged past Mike who had found a few good grayling but my wanderings were rewarded by a solitary trout and the sole falling off my wader boot.

A couple of hours later we moved and I returned to a tiny pool on a tributary where I had a score to settle. Last time I fished it, a couple of years ago, I lost a good fish so I wanted a rematch and this time I came armed with those superb grayling hooks - the Guru QM1's.

Mike trickled a few maggots in and suggested that I fish close in rather than the attractive main flow. I took his local knowledge on board and tucked the float right against the nearside rushes in a little back eddy. First go and I had a small trout. Next 'trot' and I had what I had come for, a proper grayling. It looked all of 2lbs in the water but in the net I estimated it at about one and a half. It may have gone bigger but I didn't bring scales, they don't seem relevant some days.

More grayling and trout followed over the next half an hour before we had a tea and cake break. We then moved to the bottom of the fishery where a few coarse fish are on the cards. It looked really nice and I couldn't wait to run a small piece of flake through a slightly deeper section I had found. I only had one bite but it came from a beautiful roach that may have reached a pound in weight. To be honest, I was satisfied and went for a chat with Mike and Adrian, the river keeper. When I got back to my swim I knew I'd had enough, I ached from the exertions of the other day and a three hour drive separated me from a hot bath and a glass of wine so, rather than fish into dusk, I bade farewell and drove home fully sated.

February 15, 2011

Danny Glover

You know him, the black bloke in the Lethal Weapon films who played alongside the anti Semitic drunk one. Well, his catch phrase was always "I'm too old for this shit" and yesterday I had my Danny Glover moment.

Nicky and I were driving in Leominster when two yobs ran out in front of us carrying large bouquets of flowers. Their speed, an alarm and the shop assistant in hot pursuit were all indications that they had not fulfilled the standard prerequisite purchasing procedure.

They legged it down an alley so we had a drive around the other side and saw them disappear into some derelict buildings. By now I had reverted to my old instincts and after first checking they had not come around the other side, went to see if I could find them. I did and it was then that I realised I had made something of a schoolboy error. I didn't have a clue as to the name of the street or how to describe my location to someone sat in front of a computer screen in Birmingham. Whoops!

I bluffed it out and, when they reaised I wasn't going to leave them alone, one legged it whilst the other tried to vault a wall. Well, he was easy to grab but the momentum of him coming off the wall at a rate of knots was enough to make me tumble. I was then running like a fat lunatic after two chavs. Nicky had blocked their exit and gamely grabbed the tallest - exchanged a few pleasantries - but could not stop him from getting away. Seeing dearly beloved in the clutches of another man - on Valentines day - I increased my wobbly speed but before I could get there I fell ass over tit in the most spectacular way. They both escaped.

Police arrived, we found the shop where the theft had occurred and were greeted with the underwhelming response of "Oh, I never fawt we'd get them back". They even looked a little disappointed that I had bled on the ribbons.

One of the baddies gave himself up at the local nick and will have a 'Community Resolution' which basically means that he will have to apologise to the shop keeper - big bloody deal. Whatever happened to the stocks I say.

So here I am this morning, I've lost skin and gained bruises to my hands, knees and side and last evening my left elbow was the size of a cricket ball! Was it worth it? Yes. Little shits that commit what are deemed 'petty' crimes should be hammered as, in my opinion, the little crimes that go unpunished are the ones that effect society the most. Would I do it again? In a heart beat but and I really mean BUT, next time I'll stand back and let the current police officers do the difficult bits because I really am way, way too old for this shit.

February 05, 2011


I had some bad news in a phone call the other day. Paul Ashton rang to say that there had been a fish kill on one of my old carp waters. It is suspected that the prolonged ice lid on the pool had lowered the oxygen level to a fatal level and carp, bloated with gas, had popped up to the surface all around the water. To see those enigmatic fish distorted by death was sad and one wonders how long a water like that will take to recover. Still, its given the otters plenty of easy meat.

It has happened all over the country of course and this last winter will remain in our memories for a long time to come.

Still haven't been out. The river has had that green tinge which means tough fishing and the lakes are still pretty dire. My self imposed angling break will continue for a bit yet.

That doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about my fishing. I've been pouring my laptop and have been deep in preparation for the coming year. I have plans aplenty and they have been kick started by a visit to my new syndicate water. Now, unfortunately, there is a total publicity ban on this water so I will not be able to report from there. This is a pity as it is a venue that will inspire many words, it is quite simply stunning and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to fish there. So, if the blog gets a bit thin (again) in the summer, there's a reason and you'll just have to guess at the joy I'm experiencing ;-)

I've booked a trip to Castle de Tonio in sunny Spain for April. Nicky and I are going to mix a bit of sightseeing and fishing for a week, I only hope that its a bit more productive than last year when I was put in all the bad swims. I am extremely grateful to Senor Rocca for the use of his Iberian abode and promise not to treat it in the same manner that he treats his hire cars.

Castle de Tonio

May will see me in France for a bash at the rivers and I've bought a set of Harrison Chimera 3.25 tc rods for just such an occasion. Phil, Bunny and I are making up the party and are aiming for the Seine, well, you may as well go big and there's no bigger river in the country. I'm doing my homework and have picked out a few areas that look right for our needs. We will, however, travel with an open mind and should conditions require a rethink due to high water or whatever, then its just a case of driving on to plan b, c, or wherever feels right.

June is set aside for a trip with Nicky back to France. We intend touring and sussing out a few more venues for future exploration. I'll have a couple of rods in the car at all times ;-)

As you can see, I have been busy without actually wetting a line and there will be much to report on later.

For now, I'm looking at getting off my ass and wetting a line this week. I fancy a dabble for perch but I've got a horrible feeling that most of them have perished but there's only one way to find out. I'll also take some maggots along and try for some roach.