Tag Archives: reel

A Cold Snap On It’s Way

It recently dawned on me that it was August 2017 the last time I managed to go fishing, what with work commitments and one thing and another.

Setting my sites on a trip before the final day of the course fishing season, I was to be disappointed  that the Wessex river I so much like to fish was in flood. Second to this, I was unable to secure accommodation for the couple of days as the kids were on their term holidays and everywhere was booked up.

Keeping an eye on the weather forecast and keeping in contact with the river bailiff, I was pleased to see that their was to be a rise in temperature and that the river had fallen and was just about fishable.

Accommodation booked, I was on my way.

A great couple of days were spent with mixed results but managing to catch some lovely Dace and some great Roach, the final cast on my last day producing a Roach of 1lb 9oz, not a monster these days but certainly the biggest Roach I have ever caught.

On top of this great trip, I managed to christen a new float and three new reels.

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.

 

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 new Lease Of Life

It is always a risky business buying an item without seeing it “in-the-flesh”, first hand.

Fishing recently with a good friend, he showed me a new reel he had acquired, an Aerial 4.5 inch, and used it on the day to catch some cracking Roach on the River Stour.

I have always fancied one of these reels myself. Seeing one for sale online, I bid for it and made a purchase. Upon receipt, I was a little disappointed to be honest, as it wobbled like a granddad at a Christmas party. Non-the-less, I did get it for a good price. After cleaning the reel further, i found it spun well, and now gleams!. It still requires a bit of work to get rid of the wobble, and I can’t wait to try it out next time I get down to the river.

The previous owner very kindly sent me a series of historic pictures to show its development. The final picture shows what it is like now. Apparently, it is quite literally a barn find, and was found in Ireland. Skeletal-like, cobweb bound, It can be seen from the first photographs that it was found loaded with Salmon or Trout line. The previous owner has had it for a number of years and done a great job bringing it back from the dead. Now I own it, and a new chapter will begin, hopefully being used to catch a 3lb Crucian, or a 20lb Carp, or even a 4lb Tench; who knows? watch this space….