August 29, 2010

The Burr family did the Bank Holiday thing of having a day out yesterday, we went to the Evesham Festival. Okay, two of us enjoyed it more that the third but democracy and all that. Anyway, Nicky wants me to take her to the jousting on Monday - jousting! I ask you.

I love going to fishing do's, the only thing I miss about the BS is the annual get together and catching up with so many people. But this is a match fishing do and I didn't see anybody I know. It did allow itself to some people watching though. You know what I mean, sniggering at the guys who turn up to shop dressed from head to foot in Realtree and the hapless wives, loaded down with newly bought gear whilst hubby wanders in front of her carrying nothing more than a fag.

We sat and had a coffee just watching the world go by. I was aware of a PA system announcing really gripping commentary such as "I've just been told that Harry Ramsden on peg 9 has just had a bream of about 2lbs, that put him on about 3lbs...." Fascinating stuff. There was then an interview with the town's Mayor. It was at this point that I realised they were sat on a stage behind me (observant or what?), I looked around at the other people chatting, drinking and generally oblivious and not one person was paying any attention to them. I guess being Mayor just doesn't count as celebrity.

I spent a few bob, you know, bits and pieces. There were a few bargains on offer but lots of crap amongst it. The stand giving carp advise was quiet, so quiet they'd had time to fashion a bait of a couple of small pop-ups and a section of foam to make a 'naughty rig'.

Top product on sale was a set of 5 of those T shaped bivvy pegs that screw in, in a smart bag along with a mallet! Hammering in screws - obviously aimed at the Brummy anglers.

August 27, 2010


September is looming and there goes another summer. I can't remember the last summer when I fished less! Actually, I can. It was in the 80's and I couldn't get interested in my usual haunts so I turned to fly fishing. My good mate Chris Newton was delighted as he'd been fluff chucking for a good few years and was eager to teach me the ways of the fur and feather brigade. D'you know what? I did little else for about four years until I got bored to death with catching trout after bloody trout. I gravitated back to my roots and eventually rediscovered barbel.

So here I am, drifting along and looking for inspiration. It will come soon I am certain, I just don't know what it will involve but carp, perch and roach will figure of that I am sure.

My last few trips have been casual affairs. Neil and I decided to have a carp day to try out some rigs and to get our minds on the species as we prepare for our trip. We went to what is know as a 'runs water'. A nice sized pool in Shropshire which you can fish on a day ticket of just a fiver. I lobbed out a method feeder and a second rod with pva bag. Neil fished with two pva set-ups, casting one close to my method rig - the rascal.

It was strange result. I had ten carp to about ten pounds albeit most were much smaller. I also dropped a few probably because the bigger fish had ragged mouths which I hate to see and means (I won't go there again), but as I said, it was not a serious expedition. Despite poaching my swim, Neil couldn't buy a bite and moved to an area vacated by a lad who'd been getting plenty of action. He had one run and missed it. In fact, his only fish came on my second rod which roared off as I landed my largest fish.

We had been using similar rigs and the same bait, why did I catch and Neil didn't? Well, obviously I'm much better than him ;-) but even so. Funny thing fishing, I've sat fly fishing next to a guy in a boat and have caught six to his none. Again, similar set-ups etc but very different results. Tench fishing is renowned for one-sided results when two anglers share a swim. I've also been on the other side of a spanking - but I don't want to talk about that.


I was guiding yesterday, in the rain with a rising, cold river. The Wye can be a fickle miss when the river is rising but we managed to winkle out a few barbel to ten pounds and plenty of chub until mid afternoon when the river switched off and sulked. One chap hooked and lost at the net, a very good fish which broke his hooklink just above the hook. He took it very well and said that he had enjoyed the experience.

I spent most of the day with Mark who has fished for many exotic species in far flung places but who had little concept of coarse angling. He hit what was obviously a decent chub and just let it run and run, well that's what you do with a dorado off a boat. Alas, my urgent request for him to bend the 'kin rod and give the fish some 'kin stick, fell on deaf ears and the fish was lost in a sunken tree. We got our hook back though so no harm done.

We had a chat about it and I left him and his tightened clutch to it as I went to check on the others. I returned to see a long faced angler who had done as I said but the second fish had also found refuse and was lost. This one was probably a barbel and it didn't do the swim any good and Mark had to settle with a few small chub.

I popped down this morning to put a couple of the party into some 'goer' swims then grabbed a couple of hours at one of my favoured spots (one that I don't show many people), and had a barbel and a couple of good chub quite quickly. Satisfied, I went home having dumped a load of bait into the swim knowing that The Boy would be down to try his luck later. Its a swim that has given him a couple of eleven's and a ten pounder in the past so I hope the phone rings this evening for me me to go and do a number with the camera.

August 20, 2010

Crisis Meeting

No, nothing to do with the sinking ship. I'm talking about me having a bit of a chat with myself.

A rather large penny dropped in my world and I have come to a conclusion or two about me and my physical condition. It has occurred to me that I may not be in quite such good shape as I used to be. Time was, when I was working on a particular section in the job, that I had three monthly physical tests. These involved either a mile run in under six minutes or the dreaded bleep test, having to attain level ten.

This was followed a couple of minutes later with fifty press ups, fifty sit ups, the fifty bench dips. I used to do this quite easily - bloody racing snake weren't I.

That seems rather a long time ago and poor health and a lack of energy - not to mention will power - have left this Adonis physique a tad on the soft side. I get out of breath opening the post!

That is why I am typing this whilst breathing hard and moist with perspiration. I've just been wobbling about on a white plastic board connected to a Wii. I never thought I would stoop to this level but my sister has been going on about the damned Wii for ages and I have to admit, it has suitably demonstrated my pathetic physical state.

What next, aerobics classes? Nah, can't see me in leotards somehow. But I am going to try and keep it up.

I've also grown tired of chugging about in a bloody 4x4 so I've chopped it in for an estate which may or may not be a mistake, its rained constantly since I picked it up. Anyway, no more driving to the back of my swim every time, I'll have to walk a bit.

Look out world, a buff Burr is just around the corner.

August 12, 2010


No need for words, just some pictures of us taking the neighbour's kids to the river for their first taste of fishing.

Silver and Gold

A change of pace last evening. Instead of the flowing Wye I spent a couple of hours float fishing on my local carp pool.

When I got there I met the resident carp angler. He rolled up in his Transit about a month ago, set up his bivvies (note plural), plus his toilet tent, TV aerial etc. He's been fishing solidly since apart from a weekly return to Brum to scrape the dirt off and pay the bills. He has caught just 12 carp in that time and I quote, "I think they've wised up to me now". Yet, he seems to have no intention of moving swims! He also said that he would stay there "until the weather got cold". Bloody hell! Is it worth it I ask myself? Living next to the water and waiting for a fish to get so bored with life that it gives itself up.

I decided to ignore the carp. The lake is so weedy it would be difficult to bring a fish in without really cramming the pressure on and I gave up my last syndicate because of the number of parrot nosed carp in there. No, I was fishing for roach and rudd (as it turned out) and had a lovely time doing it.

Its funny, when I was a young 'un, I used to fish with the lightest float I could get away with, this was the way it was done back then - sensitivity was everything. Now I use the heaviest float I can get away with and, of course, correctly shotted they are still ultra sensitive. Another factor is the size of the float as my eyes are no longer up to looking at something the size of a match head at twenty yards. To be honest, I could have use a pike bung, those fish just tore off with the bait as soon as it hit the water. Rudd after rudd, along with a few hybrids, came seconds after each cast. I played with the shotting and got the bait to sink through them. Whenever the bait reached its position just off bottom, the bite would take a little longer to come but would usually come from a roach, although a few perch put in an appearance as well.

I don't know how many fish I caught, it doesn't matter. None of them was big, up to about 10 or 12 ounces I suppose but a very pleasant way to spend an evening. It does however show that when I choose to try for the bigger roach that inhabit here, I will have to think hard about tactics so that I can avoid the hoards of rudd and also the inevitable carp which would cause havoc on light gear. Hmmm? I'll work on that one.

August 11, 2010

Nicky and The Boy were coming back from town yesterday. Neil was in the driving seat of Nicky's aging Celica soft top that rattles and leaks but which is great fun to drive. Suddenly, something swooped low out of the hedge and in a flurry of feathers, was gone.

On getting home we checked the front of the car for signs of damage and the identity of the bird as Nick suspected it was a raptor of some sort. Imagine the surprise to find a young female kestrel, still alive, in the air duct by the front bumper!

We contacted a local and rather eccentric, lady who rears owls and rescues raptors. She was around in minutes but to no avail. Unfortunately the bird's back was broken and she took it to the vet to be put down. That it survived the collision at all was miraculous, but to see such a beautiful bird looking so helpless is always sad. The only saving grace was that it was one of this year's chicks so there was no nest full of offspring left to starve.

This was followed by another trip to the dentist and another afternoon of popping pain killers. I think I'll have 'em all out and some falsies put in.

The evening was much better. We went to the NIA in Birmingham and after a warm up act of Stewart Francis, the Canadian guy that does dry one liners, you will have seen him on Mock The Week. We then were treated to some brilliant humour from Ricky Gervais.

We've been to loads of comedy gigs over the years but I don't think I have laughed as hard or as long as I did last night, it was excellent. If you ever get the opportunity to go and see him then jump at it. Or, just buy the tickets then put them on ebay, they were fetching stupid money!

On the fishing front, I've been out for a couple of very short trips over the weekend and had the odd barbel and obligatory chub. Today I'm off to the carp pool for a spot of roach fishing armed with a couple of pints of maggots, some hemp and a few tares.

August 07, 2010

A fish lost

Not mine, I had yet more chub one of which took me into a sunken branch. The subsequent paddle to retrieve it reduced my enthusiasm somewhat so I finished ahead of my planned time and I squelched back home.

It was a nice fish, over four pounds but one that should have gone much bigger. There have been quite a few like it this season, the head of a five or six but with the body of a tadpole.

The fish that was lost was Neil's. He appeared behind me with a face that I at first thought meant he had broken his beloved cane rod. But no, he had lost a big barbel at the net. A fish that was undoubtably an eleven, probably a twelve........... maybe even bigger.

The circumstances of the loss were due largely to Neil using my old Mitchell 410. I had told him at length that old reels were ornaments not tackle but he wanted to get one on it and it bit him in the bum.

There is nothing you can say to console someone who has lost a big fish. The sensation of loss, sickness and despair is familiar to all of us yet, I've always said that its the fish we lose or fail to catch that bring us back to the river. After a period of hurt the Boy will be back and will fish with a renewed sense of determination and hopefully, he will meet that fish again.

August 06, 2010

The Season So Far

Well here we are in August and I can only remember putting one river fish on the scales. That's not much of a result is it? Trouble is, I'm not really too worried about it.

I can't remember a season like this, the fish just don't seem to be playing ball. Sure, if I was to spend all of the day sat staring at a couple of rod tips, I could probably bore a few fish out but that doesn't appeal to me at the moment. I like to fish short sessions and can usually have a fish or two for my efforts, but not of late - apart from chub that is. I don't mind. I like to catch decent chub and there's plenty of them about but a few barbel would pep things up.

Its not because I've lost the little bit of talent I had though, well, I hope not. Others are finding the same situation, there are obviously less fish about. However, I spoke to Tommo the other day and he's been catching near Hereford. Well, if Tommo can catch - anybody can catch, so there must be loads of fish there ( I think I may get a response to that last sentence). Paul Ashton has come to the same conclusion as me, the barbel are on their holidays, we just hope they will come back soon.

I had a dabble in the week and took some nice chub which put a considerable bend in Bunny's rod. Then Neil and I gave Knightwick a try on the Talbot section. If ever there was a place to demonstrate the lack of Teme fish then this is it. What was previously a prolific stretch is way down on barbel numbers. I had a couple of small barbel feeding in some shallow water but missed the only pull - which I suspect came from a small chub, and Neil had a five pounder after cutting his way into a good looking spot. Other than that it was pants! But a pint of This, the locally brewed ale at the Talbot, made us both feel better. But I had to record my first blank of the season.

I spent most of yesterday with a frozen face after a prolonged mining expedition by the dentist. I did tell him that a capped tooth was giving me right ol' gip but he didn't believe it. He does now because having taken the top of it off, he's found dodgy roots that he then dug out with what looked like a thin baiting needle. I'm back next week for a filling in another tooth then back in a few weeks for the root job to be finished. I hate the bloody dentists and am not looking forward to any of it. The only saving grace is that it is an NHS surgery so my pocket won't suffer too badly.

Looking outside its grey and windy, I think I'll have an early tea and fish for the evening, maybe even staying until it gets dark as opposed to capitulating as the watch reaches 'beer o'clock'. Hopefully, I'll have something of substance to write about tomorrow.

August 05, 2010

Topical Comment

There has been much discussion over the last week or so about a certain group of barbel enthusiasts. Tunes have been downloaded that, in some way, reflect the issue of the day and many have made me chuckle. I thank Monty Dalrymple for all of his efforts to bring humour to this turgid world of ours.

Anyway, here's my five penneth worth, sung by that great countryman and angler Bernard Cribbins who prophetically penned this ditty many moons ago.

August 02, 2010