A perfect night

It was a perfect night for bonfire night this year. It had been cold for the past days with very little wind. A full moon arose, along-with a very cold chill.

The display was as good as last year. Being over a weekend, bonfire night and fireworks had been going off for the previous nights. There was a cracking display that was watched from our upstairs window in the comfort of our own home, accompanied by an alcoholic beverage or two. Strangely, no actual bonfire, but the Fire Brigade had turned out?

A Reel Surprise

I saw a good friend of mine fishing with a lovely reel recently it turned out be a reel called a “Speedia”. I like these reels and have fancied buying one for myself for ages.

Watching a few of these reels on a popular auction website, I made a bid for two of them. I only imagined that I would perhaps win one of the bids.

I could not believe it when I checked my account. It seemed that I had actually won both of these reels.

Both of these reels had very poor descriptions in their adverts, but I liked the pictures.

I could not believe it when they came through the post. One was a wide drum, 3.5 inch, silver back plate with black front and was really nice. The second however was a narrow drum, all black, with the best sounding check that I have ever heard.

Who knows what triumphs and disasters these reels have seen in their lifetime? The only problem now is finding the time to christen both of these lovely reels for myself.

 

It’s Been A Good Year For Onions

It has been a good year for onions indeed. As part of an experiment I sowed the first batch mid November 2016 and they grew well. I sowed a second batch on New Years Day 2017. One of each of these I grew in the greenhouse.

The experiment did not go as I would have thought and the onions in the greenhouse went over weeks ago. The largest which was the November sowing only weighing 1lb 11oz.

The onions which I grew in a raised bed on top of a black membrane just kept growing. They had the same treatment as the onions in the greenhouse, including the same feed and at the same times. I did loose a couple of the outside onions, but on the whole they have done very well indeed, with the largest this year weighing in at a whopping 4lb 7oz! I also had a few onions just short of this mark.

I know from last year that these large onions do not store very well, so following a short drying-off in the greenhouse I will give as many away as I can.

An August Wessex Trip

A friend had contacted me to say that he would be fishing on the 16th, the day of my travel. I made my long journey to Wessex via the local tackle shop to purchase some bait, and then to a local inn to gain some sustenance, checked in to my accommodation and then made my way to the ponds.

I found my friend in good spirits and had not intended to fish that night at all. I did give in. Gathering my tackle from the van I set up a couple of swims down from my friend. It was good just to be here again. We fished until the approaching darkness. Tomorrow I would be here in earnest.

I had intended to skip my breakfast and be at the ponds very early on the Thursday morning. However, the journey the day before had taken it out of me, and besides, it was set for rain. A fair weather fisherman now I tucked in to a very good fry up and lots of tea before thinking about my departure.

For the traditionalists, I have not moved over to the dark side; (Carbon fibre) but managed to christen not only a new float, but this rather wonderful R.Sealey twelve foot ‘Match Winner’. This was sold to me as a black cane rod. It is nothing of the sort and is infact very, very dark green. It is made with a Spanish Reed butt section, a cane mid section, and a split cane top section.

I arrived at the ponds around ten thirty-ish and was greeted by warm sunshine. I setup in the swim that my friend had been in the day before, as I knew it had been raked. There were no signs of feeding fish. My float never dithered enticingly, nor were there any bubbles on the surface of the pond. Around twelve my float slowly submerged,  I grabbed the rod which hooped over. The fight lasted all of five seconds; the hook gave way. Damn! Well, at least I know they are feeding. I re-cast and settled down to more tea drinking. I noticed that I began bringing in weed when I reeled in, so around one thirty I raked the swim three or four times, baited it again, and went off to a local hostelry for some lunch.

Returning sometime after two o’clock, I recast. Again there were no bubbles, nor signs of feeding fish in the swim at all. Non-the-less I was very content. Not long after the bells had rang seven times, my float again slowly slid below the surface. Once again lifting the rod sent it into a hoop and a dramatic battle commenced. At this point I had no idea what it was, but it was desperate to get into the bed of lily pads. I gave as much strain as I dared on five pound line. It then changed direction into more open water, saw a wall of weed and then shot back towards the lilies. I thought that I had it under control until it managed to wrap itself around the one lilly stem that was jutting out of the bunch. I didn’t know what to do. I gave as much strain as I dare again and then fish raised near the surface, it was a Tench! Blimey I can’t loose this one. Keeping tension on the line, I tried to reach the stem with my landing net to break it free, but it was just slightly too far away to reach. Total stalemate occurred. I had to give in. Releasing tension from the reel was the last thing I wanted to do as I knew the fish would easily drop the hook. However, this was my only option. Releasing line from the reel sent the fish berserk and it freed itself shooting out of the beds and into open water once more. Keeping it as near the surface as I could, I managed to bring it over the waiting net. This pond is very well known for it’s Crucians, but I fish for Tench here, and was over-the-moon with this specimen. I haven’t caught a Tench in this pond for ages.

I had received a mail to say that two other members were to be fishing on the 18th , so I made my mind to fish another local pond to give them some peace. Again, following a leisurely breakfast, I decided that I would make my way back here to say hello before making my way to my fishing destination. However, when I arrived around eleven there was nobody there. Again I gave in, changed my mind about fishing the other location and went back to the same swim I fished the day previous. Around lunchtime I had the same sort of bite. No bubbles or knocking of the float, it simply slowly slid under the surface. Lifting the rod I knew straight away I was into a good fish and thought it was another Tench. I could not believe it when I drew it over the net, it was a huge Crucian. I did not weigh it, but was easily over one pound. The reel I was using on the day was a three inch Allcocks Aerial Popular ,and can be seen in the picture that the fish must be at least nine inches in length.

I know there to be a military firing range in the county and the ‘booms’ can be heard for some distance. However, today the sounds were quiet and loud, somewhat different to the norm. I was treated to a short shower, then the air turned really cold from what was a nice sunny day. This could only mean one thing – thunder. I was not wrong and did not have to wait long before the next storm rolled in. This time it was much closer. I reeled in and sat in the car as the rain began to fall in rods. I noticed two cars coming down the track, this must be the chaps who were going to fish today. Some time passed before I vacated my vehicle and went back to my swim. I really didn’t fancy my chances after the storm and cold rain. This often stops fish feeding. The two chaps also came round to say hello. One setup on the top pond the other went onto the bottom pond.

I was amazed to see my float slide under around five thirty, and was overjoyed to land a final Crucian before packing up and making the long journey back home.

It was great to be at the ponds again, and it was lovely to witness the Kingfishers fish, whilst I was waiting for a bite.

I can’t wait for my next trip.

The Big Onion Experiment

Last year I managed to grow an onion that was over 3lb. This was grown outside in the raised bed. This I was very pleased with, but I wished that I tried to grow one in the greenhouse to see if it would grow even bigger. Protected from winds I thought I could grow a four pounder!

I was very kindly given onion seeds for my birthday last year and sowed them in the middle of November 2016. These came on very well and did not suffer any damage from frosts in the greenhouse. I was given a second batch of seed at Christmas, and planted the second batch on New Years day 2017. I was hoping that the earlier sowing would benefit from a longer growing season.

The experiment has not worked out as I thought. The two onions that I have in the greenhouse have gone-over so I have had to lift them. The New Year sowing weighed in at 1lb 5oz, while the November 2016 sowing was a little heavier at 1lb 11oz. Not the result I had expected.

The outdoor onions are still growing and are visibly larger than the greenhouse onions. I will lift and weigh them when they are ready, and I’m sure I have at least one three pounder.

Loss Of An Old Friend

Getting time off work is always nice. Even better is finding time in this hectic life to get fishing. Only the second time this season I have managed to get to my local pond. An early night was had in preparation for an early start.

I did not start as early as planned, and sat with a mug of tea listening to the rain hammer down outside, while contemplating whether to go fishing or not, to get a drenching or not?

Suddenly the rain abated and made the decision for me. Soon I was on my short journey too the pond.

I was very surprised to see someone else in the car park unloading their gear. I was even more surprised to see two other anglers (poachers) on the pond before me. I found a place out of the way in an overgrown old swim. A lot of the swims have been left and are now overgrown. Some totally unfishable, but just the place where the fish, or Tench are likely to be hiding.

Armed with the usual tin of corn, I settled down with my flask of tea. As ever at this pond, the Carp were evident all over the surface. Most looked between 2 and 5 pounds, but there were some double figures cruising the surface. After a biteless hour I noticed the rod rock in it’s rest, and the reel ‘sang ‘out it’s loud rasp! Although I was sitting right next to the rod, the fish made the middle of the lake with ease such was the pace of its run, almost as soon as I tried to stop it, the line snapped. A clean break as if being caught on some underwater snag. Normally when this has happened to me the line breaks near the hook, but the line had broke higher up, and I had lost my classic red-tipped quill float that I have had since 2011. That float had helped catch Roach, Dace, Chub, Tench and even 20 pound plus Carp, and now was lost.

Disappointed, I re-tackled with another float and it was not long before I had another bite. This time I was sure was a Tench, but the hook pulled. I re-baited and cast again. Soon after I had another run, clearly this was a Carp and this time I had it under control and managed to keep it near the surface. Landing it was a bit treacherous as I was fishing very close to large reeds and rushes on one side, and a bed of water lillies on the other that the fish knew all about trying to snag me on one and then the other. Eventually I won the day and managed to land a good double figure mirror Carp. Unfortunately the batteries had died in the camera so I could not take a picture of it.

Maybe next time I visit the pond that float will be sitting at the waters edge, just maybe.

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. – "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".

split cane rods

vintage split cane

Kevin Parr

Writer, fisherman, amateur naturalist and sometime Idler...

Farlows in the Field

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. - "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".

The Field

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. - "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".

Vintage Fishing Tackle

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. - "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".

HUGH MILES - WILDLIFE ADVENTURES

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. - "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".

Caught by the River

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. - "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".

WHERE GREEN ROADS MEET

The Wonder of the World, The Beauty and the Power, The Shapes of Things, Their Colours Lights and Shades, These I Saw, Look Ye Also While Life Lasts. - "Denys Watkins-Pitchford".