April 18, 2011

Tinkle Tinkle

No, its not a misspelling of our favourite spring fish, its the sweet sound of revenge.

Last year at about this time, I was in Spain along with five stalwart anglers and friends one of which being the renowned Tony Rocca. We had a great time although the fishing was a tad off the banter ran as freely as the Spanish ale.

There was little in the way of practical jokes but I was the butt of one particular gem when young Tone attached one of those bells, as used on pier rods, to the back of my shirt as I walked into the Carrefore supermarket. My hearing isn't all it could be and I didn't suspect a thing until I walked back to the car across a relatively quiet car park. I could hear the tinkling sound but wasn't sure quite what it was or from whence it came. I stopped, had a good look around then walked on only to repeat the process twice more. When I got to the car the bugger Rocca was crying with laughter along with the rest of the crew. "I'll get you back" I promised.

So, last week I stayed in Tony's flat :-) Big mistake because I'd spent a fiver on Ebay and had secured a number of double bell rod top jobbies. Vengeance will be mine.

I was going to affix one or two to the underneath of his bed to give a little musical accompaniment to his night moves but alas, there was nothing to fix one to without a needle and thread (and I was going to pack one of them). But I found a place or two for some time bombs and I giggled as I closed the door.

Earlier today I had a text from Tony, I quote "It took me about five minutes to find those bells". I sent one back this evening asking how many he's found? He rang me. "I just found another beneath the cutlery drawer", he said. "How many's that so far?" I replied. "Three ....... is there more?" came the voice of a man with shaken confidence. "Keep looking" I said, "You've a few to get yet".

Do you think he'll find them all boys and girls? Will he know when to stop looking? :-)


Its Thursday the 21st. Tony texted me yesterday - twice. Each time proclaiming the discovery of more bells. His total is 7 which, incidentally, is the number that I secreted but, do I tell him? Should I just tell him that I bought 10 and leave him searching? What would you do? :-)

April 16, 2011

A True Gent

Fishing today is filled with controversy and back biting from a lot of stroke pullers and ner do wells, I should know, I fish with some of 'em :-) But amongst the dross there are a few gems, true angling gentlemen that I admire and look up to. One such chap is Dave Steuart and today I made the long journey across to Reading for his book launch.

I've known Dave for a few years now and to see such a gathering of fellow anglers come to his special day was great and completely deserved. He really is a top bloke and when I've spent time on his fishery I usually spend much of it chin wagging with Dave rather than fishing. Having said that, when Dave starts chopsing he's a bugger to get away from!

If you haven't got a copy of his book Minnows to Marlin then you've dipped out as they've all been sold, so you'll have to wait until the speculators start selling them in a few months so, start saving.

Apart from the central figure, this was a gathering of plenty of 'names'. I won't tell you who I spent my time chatting with as you'll accuse me of name dropping although I did find some time for the little people like Jason Speck :-)

I expect that Dave is very tired this evening and his arm must ache from all the signing.

April 14, 2011

Spanish Interlude

On arriving at our destination in deepest Spain, Nicky and I walked out onto the bridge for a quick look at the river. We were accompanied by hundreds of martins and alpine swifts each swerving and diving to catch the myriad of fly life that swarmed over the placid water. They should have tried the flat, there was enough flies there to keep a family of swifts going for a few days :-) Not really, Hobby did some excellent Ninja maggot hunting and only a handful escaped his highly tunes skills, these were dispatched with a few well aimed swipes of the Carpworld magazine.

Anyway, back to the bridge and, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light conditions, I spotted a few small barbel drifting here and there then, suddenly, at the tail end of a pool, a shoal of at least thirty fish drifted into view. A very welcoming sight.

The flat was bigger than I expected, Tony's got himself a brilliant bolt hole hear and we quickly settled in.

Day one was spent sorting bait and provisions as well as a drive to one or two spots on the river to get my bearings, with the afternoon temperature topping 30C there was little point in rushing anywhere.

On Friday we went to the weir, a beautiful fishing location that, were it in England, would have queues of people waiting to fish it. I started catching almost straight away and, after two double hook ups, used just a single rod. I couldn't sort out any of the bigger fish, just loads of little fella's the males of which were in full spawning colours.

Find of the day was a diminutive turtle that was waddling about in the shallows, his shell was the size of a 50p - very cute.

After a dozen or more fish I started to wane. The sun was beating down and the car gauge showed 32.5C when we left.

We were there to sightsee as much as anything and Saturday was taken up with a long drive around the two large reservoirs through a spectacular and varied scenery. We saw plenty of bird life including rare Egyptian vultures.

A stop at one dam revealed some carp. "Go on then", I said to Nicky, "You've seen plenty of carp, how big do you reckon these are?" She paused and gave a considered reply "They're 'kin huge!" I couldn't argue with that, they were.

I only fished for an hour and a half on the Sunday, it was at a spot where I blanked last year (despite assurances as to it's abundance of fish) and I again went biteless. I was not feeling too special so returned to Castle de Tony and fully embraced the local custom of siesta.

It was now Monday and time had passed quickly. We went to an area of the river where matches are held and where, unusually, the fish are used to angler's baits. Within a few minutes of introducing a pint of maggots I was getting bites. I had a few small barbel but the rest were from an annoying little carp that has no doubt been introduced to bolster match weights. These things are small - pasty sized - don't fight very well and greedy. After about fifteen of them, one small common and the barbel, I left. I'd not been there two hours.

We went back to the weir and I had another half dozen barbel up to about 4lbs. No Comizo's this time but one or two of the fish showed that beautiful two tone effect of the Andalucia strain, not as orange as the fish from the south but some bright yellows - nice.

Last day and another drive to catch the scenery. Again, we saw birds aplenty including Spanish Imperial Eagle and we had to swerve around a snake. Off one of the dams we saw hundreds of small carp basking and sipping in flies and some locals catching good sized bass on lures, the potential in some of these waters is incredible.

Wednesday came all too soon and the long drive up to Madrid felt like a real chore. It was a glorious week, cloudless skies, plenty of fish and loads more to see and enjoy. I must say a massive thank you to Tonio for the use of his place and thanks to Faye for the loan of her pajamas...................... not really :-)


Did any of you spot the deliberate mistake? One clever little boy did and has informed me that the fish pictured at the bottom is indeed a small Comizo. Well done Leo but no prizes available on this occasion. I am amazed that such small Comizo's were frantically spawning, I assumed that they would wait until they were a little older but hey, the warm Spanish air, a glass of Rioja and if the mood takes you....

April 04, 2011

A Change of Scenery

I figured that those that have looked in on me of late will welcome a change of scenery, me too but more of that later.

I love this time of year, the new life bursting out of the ground. I had a walk around my new syndicate lake the other day - shhhhhhh! Secret squirrel. The sun was out and basking under the overhanging trees I found a few carp, nothing big, maybe upper doubles but it was really good to get a first look at my targets for the year. Then, out of nowhere appeared a lump. A big, pale mirror that was a pound or two either side of the thirty mark. Now I'm not that worried about size, a double stalked from the margins is always a worthy fish, but seeing things like this can really get the juices flowing. Roll on May 1st.

Alas, Neil can't get a ticket on my water so he's opted for the Cotswold Water Park. If you've never been there, its a vast series of gorgeous looking gravel pits and Neil's ticket enables him access to half a dozen of them with massive carp, tench, bream etc available. We had a wander around a couple of them last week and on one of them we witnessed three carp caught in ten minutes! Now that got the boy's enthusiasm on overload. The best of the three was this heavily spawn bound (on April 1st!) twenty two pounder.

As I type, Neil is setting up his bivvy for a three or four day stint - I hope he has a flyer.

I see that Fish N' Bits fell at the first, an event that makes me feel that there is still some common sense in angling. The idea that there is an 'all new readership' out there is such a flawed business plan it beggars belief that it ever got beyond the planning stage. The other failure was in the 18 to 30 demographic. They should have aimed at years of age rather than IQ but hey, someone's last a bob of two so let's not go on about it.

I saw this above a doorway on the Cob at Lyme Regis the other day........

Looks like I could be around for a while yet then :-)

My change of scenery comes on Wednesday when Nicky and I visit the country mansion of the infamous Tony Rocca. Nestling in the Spanish heartland it will be a welcome change from the UK after such a long and, at times, tedious winter.

I'm really looking forward to showing Nicky the Estremadura region, it has some magnificent scenery and the bird life has to be seen to be believed - can't wait. Our only trepidation involves the welcoming committee. When Tony and Hobby were there a few weeks back there was something of a mass escape from the detained maggot fraternity. Apparently 'Hobby' did some ninja stalking and wrestled many of the itinerants back into their box but, and it is a big but, how many did he miss?

I'll let you know in a week or so.