Tag Archives: fishing

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.

 

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.

My Favorite Wessex Pond

My new season fishing trip was going well, and very hot. I had been looking forward to a trip to my favorite pond for some time. I knew that one of the ponds is surrounded on all side by trees, so I would be able to shelter from the blistering heat.

I found a lovely swim, with a nice breeze blowing on my back which was fantastically cooling, taking the temperature down a couple degrees was very welcome.

There were initially no signs at all of feeding fish, and I really did not expect to see anything, nor catch anything in these hot temperatures.

I had brought along with me my very first split cane fishing rod that I had squired, an un-restored Mark IV, and a little Aerial Popular that I had recently christened with a Roach on this trip.

The moment my first cast hit the water I was getting little bites. Piranha-like, the hook bait was gone very quickly and reeling in to a fish-less, empty hook.

Perseverance prevailed, and soon after the float shot up and laid flat on the surface. I struck lightly and was in contact with a Roach. A good Roach too.  Again I cast into the baited swim. Things were quieter now with no bites. I wasn’t paying attention to the float and was looking at the various plants that adorn this lovely lake when I heard the little Aerial Popular ‘sing’. By the time my hand was on the rod the fish had made the middle of the pond. I was convinced this was a Tench. A little disappointed that there was no resistance when I picked up the rod. However, as I reeled in it seemed that there was actually still contact. It turned out to be a big Roach that thought it was a Tench, or even a Carp. I don’t think Roach are meant to run like that? but it seems at this pond they do. This is not the first time I have experienced this phenomenon.

I cast again into the same swim and all was quiet. I sat and enjoyed the bird song which seems especially loud at this little pond. Soon after my float dithered, not a positive bite as such, but I struck anyway and made contact. It was one of the fine Crucian Carp that reside in this lovely pond, what a corker!

As the afternoon drew on, the pond took on a rather sinister feel. There were no signs of feeding fish anywhere and I had stopped getting bites. Out of the gloom, from time to time, the Grass Carp surveyed its kingdom. Nice to see, but un-catchable today.

 

One day like this a year will see me right

The new course fishing season seemed to have taken ages to come around this year. I have not been able to cast a line for a trout in the interim., I have either been too busy with work, or too busy at the allotment.

The weeks forecast ahead for the opening day was enjoyment; with high readings on the thermometer to boot. I would have to pack sunscreen along with all the fishing paraphernalia.

I arrived on the 15th at a favorite lake in Wessex, to be greeted by blistering heat. Fishing would be hard-going in these hot conditions.

I met another member who was there in advance of the glorious 16th who would be camping out in order to get the first cast at midnight.

Following a leisurely morning for me, and devouring a cooked breakfast with a large mug of tea, I arrived at the lake around 09:30. There were only two members there, which was amazing.

Temperatures rose during the day, and the fishing was tough. I had been advised to rake my swim as the lake had a fair bit of weed growth due to the recent warm weather and the low water levels. I did not like the thought of crashing a rake through the swim making so much noise and disturbance in the process. In the afternoon I gave in. I fetched the rake and began wielding it through the swim for about ten minutes dragging lots of weed out of the way. I did however pick out any oxygenating plants that I had dragged up and returned them too the water.

I could not believe it, the fish were far from scared off by all the commotion and were back feeding in the swim within half an hour.

All day I had watched what I though to be a pale mirror carp go back and forth between patches of lillies. Another member came round for a chat in the evening and we both stood and watched this fish approach my float, then stop. He said “grab your rod, hes going for it”. We could see the fish nose down and a patch of bubbles arose. Straight from the pages of Mr Crabtree  “strike!” and the lake erupted. It was immediately apparent as soon as I saw the fish briefly out of the water, that this was not a Carp, but a Golden Tench. The angling gods were indeed looking down as I had dream’t of a Tench from the very last day 14th March of the last fishing season, I could not believe it.

End of Course Fishing Season 2017

I have been really fortunate this course fishing season being able to get out fishing as much as I have. The lakes have been good to me, so too has the river.

I had taken a few days off work prior to the 14th in order I could get some fishing in, just in case the river flooded and became un-fishable, which is common-place at this time of year.

Working in Wessex again, I only had a two and a half hour drive too the river. Packing my car to the gunnel’s on Saturday morning, I set off in good weather looking forward to catching a Roach on the river Stour, with four days to achieve this I was hopeful of landing at least one.

I was on the river by late afternoon, via a detour to a local tackle shop to purchase a pint of their finest ‘mixed’. The river was in good shape, but there was rain forecast for the Saturday evening, with no real indication of how much precipitation was to fall. This could easily scupper the fishing for the next few days, including the final day if a real heavy downpour was to occur.

I was joined by my friend who is the river bailiff for this stretch of the Stour. I setup at my favourite swim that I like to call ‘the beach’. I first mixed up some groundbait and fired it across the river towards a deepening channel on the far bank.

I set my vintage Aerial reel onto my Fred J. Taylor rod with a small cage feeder and cast out. It did not seem like one minute had passed when the top of the rod began bouncing around; I had my first fish! I could not believe it? A Roach on my very first cast. Very small, but a Roach non-the-less.

I caught Roach after Roach, and was having an absolute field-day. The wind made it impossible for float fishing and very difficult getting the feeder into the same position each time, but I was not bothered, I seemed to still be able to catch. My friend had moved swims and was now in a corner just downstream of me. He came running up to show me a huge Roach he had just landed, what a corker! Strangely we did not weigh it. This was gently returned, serenely swimming off as if nothing had happened. The day ended with thickening cloud and a threat of rain. During that night the rain fell. It fell so hard that it woke me up. That’s it, I thought, the river will be knackered now.

Arriving at the river on the Sunday, I was met with a total surprise, the river had actually fallen in height. Yes, it was very coloured, not ideal, but still totally fish-able. Once again I fished late afternoon and into evening and was treated to some nice Roach, and also a good soaking due to a cloud-burst or two. As darkness fell I latched into what I first thought was a huge Roach, but it did not have that noticeable ‘jagged’ fight. I then thought it may be a small Chub, as it seemed to be making its way towards every snag in the water that it knew. It was not until I managed to get it near the surface when it rolled to reveal I had hooked a huge Perch.  A Perch so big I have never seen before. I did not weigh it, but did take a couple of photos before I gently returned the splendid Sargent. I was kept company by a nearby Woodpecker hammering away randomly. I can only imagine that it had quite a headache by the end of the day. Great to hear a Woodpecker again, and I was also pleased to be accompanied by the Kingfishers which are always a delight to see.

Monday began with a call from the river bailiff to say that river fishing was over due to the river now had actually risen quite dramatically and was very coloured. Disappointed, but not put off, I went to the river in the afternoon. There were still lots of slow glides available to fish. Another friend joined us that afternoon and we all caught some lovely Roach, Dace and Gudgeon, even though the river was now far from perfect.

The 14th arrived, as did perfect weather. Cloudy and rather mild for this time of year. The river was still very coloured. I fished the same spot as yesterday, and watched the bailiffs’ brother land an absolutely huge Roach, without weighing it and nonchalantly returning it as if it was common-place to land such a big fish. I, on the other hand, was catching minnow after minnow after minnow. The odd Roach did grace the river bank, as did a small Chub and a couple of Dace along with the odd Gudgeon. A good friend brought along a superb fruit cake that was made for Christmas. It had obviously matured beyond Christmas and was very, very tasty indeed and was a welcome accompaniment with a mug of tea brewed from a Kelly kettle.

A number of other fishing friends joined us in the evening for a pint to celebrate the end of this cracking season.

The traditional course fishing season is over, I can look forward to planning my allotment, sowing vegetables for the coming year, and looking forward to June 16th with a dream of a Tench.

A Winter Roach

Working again in Wessex, I planned another fishing trip this Sunday to the River Stour.

The weather forecast for this weekend was certainly more favourable than the last; with better temperatures and no easterly wind. Although there were high winds and rain forecast, I did not let this put me off.

Sunday morning arrived.  as I peered out of my window and it was clear that the weathermen had done their job this week. It was grey, cold and raining, I’d better wrap up warm.

A friend of mine, (who is actually the bailiff for the stretch of the River Stour I intended to fish), telephoned in the morning to say that there was a competition match on the river . Ah no! I could not believe it. Unperturbed, he advised that there was a stretch further up river where the match-men would not be, and that we could go, and more importantly, the fishing there was really good. I advised that I would be parking up in the usual spot, assess the situation and would plan an attack from there. Travelling via the tackle shop again, I arrived and parked up. I was very pleased to note that there were actually only eight people fishing the match, so was confident that I still could fish the area I wanted, undisturbed.

Creel, slung on the shoulder, grabbed a flask of tea, along with the rods and began my trek across the fields. The first spot I wanted to fish was taken by a match angler. A little disappointed I continued on, I stumbled upon an area that I had actually forgot about. Almost like a beach, sloping slowly down to the waters edge, hard under foot, and gravelly. The only downside being that I was not out of the wind, which was actually blowing rather fiercely. I know that Roach love gravel areas, and at the other side of the river I knew there to be a deep channel where the river slows up, a classic Roach swim.

I had intended for fish with two rods today, one trotting a float down the swim, and the other on the river bed with a swimfeeder full of groundbait. At first I prepared some groundbait, mixing it with water from the river. I made quite a solid mix and threw three or four golf ball sized handful’s into the desired spot. Letting the swim develop and leaving the fish to hopefully enter the area, I began setting up my ledger rod. I put together a rod that I named the ‘little tinca‘. I had it made purely for Tench fishing but thought that it would have the power to hold a swimfeeder full of wet groundbait. Thankfully it did, and before too long I had cast into the swim. Using my new Aerial I had to be very careful as even with my cack-handed Wallis casts, I knew that I would hit the opposite bank. Instead opted for the ‘Nottingham Style‘ cast which employs paying off line from the reel and cast from there. Much easier to determine distance.

After some time I reeled in to re-bait and re-cast to find that I had indeed hooked a small Roach. It was so small that the rod tip did not indicate any bite. I re-cast, and this time saw the very slightest of bites, and again had hooked a very small Roach. With the swim like this I did not bother to set-up a second rod to float fish and stuck to ledger tactics. I did miss the sight of my quill float sailing nonchalantly through the swim. I can’t remember the last time I ever used ledger tactics? but it seemed to be working today. I did however change my rod to my Fred J Taylor, which, although is still strong, has a nice action tip so I could see more clearly bites when and if they arrived. I also realised that I had christened my new Aerial reel, and it had been done in style, with a winter Stour Roach.

My friend joined me some time later and he set-up round a bend in the river just downstream of myself. He had some huge Roach and said he hadn’t had a day like it in ages.

As dusk began to fall I lost two big Roach, one after the other. Half way across the river flow they simple fell off the hook. Of course I was disappointed. All I had caught all day were small Roach, but I really had no terms for complaint as I had lost count of the Roach I had caught and had a fantastic day. After reeling in a nice Dace it was evident I had a Pike, or a number of ‘Pike’s’ in my swim. That was one of the luckiest Dace around, as not fifteen feet from the bank, the river ‘erupted’ as a Pike made tracks for this Dace, narrowly missing it and spooking on the sight of me. I began to get hefty knocks on the rod tip and reeled in to find no fish. Sometimes, as I was reeling in a Pike was actually attacking my empty cage feeder.

Pike stopped play, and my friend also had Pike trouble. We called it a day, but what a day.

I look forward to getting to the river again for the last few days of this fishing season, and who knows what awaits? I only hope the river is in the same mood as she was today.

I must Be Mad!

I had promised myself another trip to the river this weekend.           Watching the weather a week before the trip, it did not appear encouraging. Easterly winds all week, and possible snow by the weekend. Thursday came and went, Friday came and went, and the forecast did not change, Sunday was going to be very cold and windy.

I awoke on Sunday morning to a leaden sky and the sound of the wind howling down the chimney. What am I doing, I thought? Only an idiot would go out fishing in this weather. The thing was that I had psyched myself up all week to go fishing on Sunday, no matter what, I was determined to go fishing, even if it was two degrees with a wind-chill factor of minus four!

Car packed, and with extra layers of clothing, extra jumpers and jackets. The moment I turned the key to start my car the snow began. Fortunately, it was very fine snow and did not trouble me.

I was looking forward to my two and a half hours Sunday drive to the river. On my journey, I could see the tops of the hills were pure white. Should I turn around, go back home, light the log burner and put the kettle on? Drinking tea all afternoon in front of the fire would be very appealing, but I had some fishing to do!

After a detour to a tackle shop to purchase some bait, I arrived near the river. Parked up, unloaded the rods, put on another jumper,  a jacket and made my way across the fields to my destination. I know of a stretch of river that is accessible down a small bank. Here I had hoped to be out of the wind. When I arrived I was very pleased to see that my intentions were correct, and indeed the wind was blowing over the top of the bank above my head. Down at river level I was actually quite comfortable.

I had brought along with me a new trotting reel, an ‘Adcock Stanton’ that I was keen to try out. Not a true ‘pin’, as it is assembled with ball bearings, but I was amazed at how well I could Wallis Cast with it, getting a little too close to branches on the opposite side of the river on more than one occasion.

I tried trotting a worm down the swim. I tried trotting a bunch of maggots down the swim. I even tried the deadliest of Roach baits ‘bread’, none were successful. It did enable me to try out this reel though, which I was very pleased about. I also enjoyed being by the river, despite the cold and the high winds.

I had brought along with me my new Aerial reel that I was also very keen to try out. My lake is about a half hour drive from the river, so after about two hours on the river, I packed up and made my way up to the lake where I would try for a winter lake roach, or even a winter Crucian.

Again, when I got too the lake there were plenty of swims where I could get out of the wind. The lake looked very different now that all the lily pads had died back.

The new Aerial looks very good on my Fred J Taylor Roach rod, even though it did not spin once today and my landing net remained bone dry.

On my way from the lake, I stopped by a local Inn and treat myself to a Sunday carvery. This warmed me up nicely. I drove home elated that I had made the effort , and was surprised that I had enjoyed the cold day so much.