Monday, 17 July 2017

Carp and Gumbys

Essentials only for guesting sessions

Pualus in his new swim
Had a fish Friday evening in a new spot, a bottleneck separating two areas of about four or five acres each. Put a couple of handfuls of cut maize out and immediately had a few fish stirring up the bottom. Unfortunately, it took a good two hours before I had a take. How does that happen ? I could see the buggers sending up clouds of silt for ages.

When I finally got one it turned out to be another " white one " of about 10lb.

The bottleneck
Pualus then had a real screamer which was out of control even as he pulled into it. Seconds later his heavy trace was broken and the fish was off. See, it's not only me that they run ragged. He is a cheery, happy fellow but he was not pleased.

And that was that. No further action. We listened to a couple Gumbys camping and talking total shite on the opposite bank, collecting wood and making a massive fire on the parched ground. I said to Pualus they'd leave all their litter and crap after they packed up. I popped down the next morning with a bin bag and they had. Pea brained morons.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fire Up The Camper

Last weekend me and Lady Bong headed up to north Norfolk in da camper.

Our first stop was at a little place on the outskirts of Cley. I told Wak Baines to pop in on the way back from work for a chat. " It's about three hundred yards past the pub on the left, you can't miss it".  He turned up driving the car in that haphazard, slightly careless way of his ( like he fishes really ), shouting out of the window as he came to a Holt ( geddit ? Fecking hilarious eh ? ). " Three hundred yards ? Three hundred yards ? It's miles further than that ! "

After a chat I got on the bike and headed down to the shingle for a bit of mackerel fishing, only to see Wak coming the other way in the car. The pedant had gone to the trouble measuring the distance from pub to turn off. " 0.45 miles " he said proudly. No doubt he made a note in his diary that evening.

The following day we had a wander around several different places having endured the terror the Coasthopper bus being driven at breakneck speed along the thin and winding roads. All the old farts on the bus were relaxed about it though.

At the campsite a bloke came up to me and started questioning me about my T shirt. Nice old bloke, we ended up talking about Tom Mann, the Spanish civil war, the Moorish empire and touring Spain by camper. Most excellent.

The sun shone, we drank wine, eat good food and I didn't catch many makkies. That'll do for me.

Poking About

Had a walk around a lovely looking water yesterday. Islands, shallows, weed beds and reed beds. And most of all loads of carp.

My mate told me the owner messaged him today saying it was a syndicate water, but there were no signs of anyone having fished it recently.

I had a good look round and there were so many tempting spots and loads of fish bubbling, crashing and cruising.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017


Right, time to blog. It's raining and this is the first time I've been inside at seven in the evening for months.

The poaching pit. When I first watched those fish and walked around and had a recce of the lake I thought it would be a nice bit of easy fishing. The fish looked decent sized, not big, but big enough to make me want to catch them.

It hasn't been quite as straight forward as I expected.  I'll tell you about the last two sessions.

On Thursday me and Pualas went down for a few hours in the evening. Conditions were not perfect, but these are uncaught easy fish aren't they ? I'd pre baited the previous day so we just chucked a few handfuls of maize and tigers.

An hour later and despite fish rolling and liners we'd had nothing. Then, out of the blue, my rod whacked round and all hell was let loose. There's a massive bow wave and eruption on the surface, the clutch screams and a few seconds later I'm standing there with a slack line as the 15lb trace is broken. How the feck can you be broken on 15lb line ?  It all happened so quickly. Bastard.

Lord Pualus

Five minutes later the same thing happens and this time the hook pulls. We inspect the hook and a size 6 ESP Raptor is pretty much straightened. These fish are brutes. Their speed and ferocity is amazing and not something I've come across in carp before, except very occasionally on the river, where again, you're dealing with uncaught fish. Yes, the Bill Keal quote comes mind ( I paraphrase ), " Wild ? They were fucking furious ! "

After seeing some fish rolling about twenty yards out I chucked a pva bag and four grains of maize on top of where the activity had been. Just when we were about to pack up, this rod roared off and fifty or sixty yards disappeared off the reel in seconds. Pualus was telling me to clamp down on it as it was beginning to kite towards an snag infested island. Luckily I turned it and soon it was under the rod top where Pualus expertly scooped it up,

What an amazing looking fish. Very broad, scale and fin perfect with a definite ghostie look to it. Absolutely immaculate.

We though it might go 20lb, but it went just under 18lb. Well chuffed.

 Pualus secured his third blank on here in a row and he's no mug. Not as easy as we first thought..

Yesterday evening we were back again. Flat calm where we were, not what we wanted but not many swim choices on this pit. Five minutes and I'm into a spawn bound common around 10lb. It's shape means it waddles rather than swims.

For a couple of hours we sit there with no action, then I'm away again and as per usual the line zips off as the fish bow waves across the surface, ripping through the sparse weedbeds. I'm thinking that this is another fish approaching 20lb, but no, a mirror of 10-12lb is scooped up in the net. Again, in superb condition.

Me and Pualus are talking a few minutes later when he has a take so savage that, as he picks the rod up he's unable to raise it so the full bend of the rod is cushioning the line, The fish is hacking off at high speed straight out and then turns and heads towards the dreaded island whereupon Pualus is snagged up. He slackens off and miraculously the carp swims out of the snag and into open water and minutes later I net a common in low double figures.

As he puts the fish back Pulaus says " If these feckers were 25-30lb you'd have no chance of getting them in " . He's right.

It goes quiet for half an hour and then I have a take, it comes to the surface, speeds off and again I'm snapped off on 15lb trace ! Gravel bar, snag, I don't know, but I'm upping the trace to 20lb braid next time.

These are not by modern standards big fish, but they are savage, angry buggers when hooked and beautiful unmarked creatures when you get them on the bank. And they've made monkeys of us so far.

We're going back for another go later in the week.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Back In The Groove

" Don't be sad it's over, be glad it happened "

Ian Brown ( and lots of others )

Back from our French barbel trip and I've got the hunger back for freshwater fishing, probably helped by the fact that sea fishing is dire at the moment.

First session at the big ressie for a while. Looks lovely down there, water level dropping, giving access to lots of swims. Sat there for several hours watching the terns, grebes, kingfishers and pike chase the roach.

Out of the blue I had a determined take, bent into the fish and the line snapped. On inspection it looked like zebra mussels had badly damaged the line. Bastard. Apart from a suicidal roach which took three grains of sweetcorn that was it.

With Lord Pualus of Clacton on holiday I decided on a lone early morning session on "The Poaching Pit", just a quick couple of hours before the dog walkers appear. The previous evening I'd watched a big group of  ghostie types cruising about and occasionally going down on the bait, so I was keen and confident of a few fish.

I arrived at first light, which this time of year is in the middle of the bloody night. Several handfuls of maize and tiger nuts and I was settled and fishing.

Within ten minutes I was in. The usual savage take and crazy fight and a few minutes later a nice mid double mirror was in the net.

Shite photo, but it was dark and the flash didn't go off
A while later the rod suddenly whipped round as a very unusual looking litlun of around 5lb sped off at a rate of knots. Strange colouration, browny orange ghostie. Much smaller than anything I've seen so far.

I then immediately had another take, on bending into the fish it was obvious that this was much, much bigger. It rocketed off through several weedbeds and didn't stop for fifty or sixty yards. I managed to turn it and it started to kite around towards open water. It felt like "the one" I was after. Then the fecking hook pinged out. I was not amused.

After that it went quiet for an hour or so. A few more handfuls of maize and I had two fish in quick succession, one of which swam round in circles in a strange manner. When I got it in I could see why. A chunky mid double mirror with a freakishly small tail. Take a look.

Six takes and four fish in three hours, not bad, so I packed in and sneaked off, unseen and already looking forward to the next session.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

French Barbel

" But best of all I love the barbels because they roll like big brown and white cats upon golden shallows and sing in the moonlight with the joie de vivre of June. And because, so, they are all Thames to me and wild rose time and streams running down from the weir "

Patrick Chalmers
At The Tail of the Weir

The Mighty Turdster said to me a few weeks ago he'd like to catch a barbel, a fish he'd never caught before. It's been ten years since I caught one too, so it seemed like a good idea. I looked on the internet at a few stretches of the Wye and Severn and then stumbled across a video of a very boring man catching loads of barbel on a beautiful French river.

It turned out to be the river Meuse in the Ardennes region of France and after a bit of further investigation I tracked down a B and B right on the banks of the river run by a bloke from Norfolk.
A phone call later and we were booked up for mid June.

Ade, the B and B owner, said it was a big, powerful river and recommended heavy gear. 15lb main line and long rods capable of throwing 3-5 oz feeders. I put my engineering head on and modified a sea fishing tripod with a little bit of help. See photo below. This ranks alongside the shelves I put up in 2014 as my greatest feat of DIY.

Sod's law prevailed and our trip coincided with boiling hot sunny weather with temperatures in the early 30s. Never mind, better than rain, although it was too hot ( for me anyway ) to fish in the middle of the day.

The first evening I managed to lose a couple of barbel and catch a load of bream. NeXt morning Turdster and me both got off the mark with two barbel each, not big fish, maybe 3-4lb, but a start.

It certainly is a beautiful area. The far bank is very heavily forested for miles. We saw three different types of buzzards, peregrine falcons, kingfishers and a wild boar bathing on the opposite bank.

A local French bloke we spoke to had caught carp to 45lb and cats to just under 100lb in the past few seasons, so there's some big fish there.

We managed, barbel, chub, dace and gudgeon, but there are roach, ide, sneep, pike and zander too.

On the last evening we went back to our favourite swims. I baited with half dozen big feeder fulls of sweetcorn, pellet and seed and left the swim to settle for half an hour. Turdy fished his swim straight away and was instantly into bream. A day or two ago he loved those bream but by now wasn't keen on them at all.

My first cast resulted in a screaming take and a barbel about 6lb ploughed up and down the swim before hitting the net. A few minutes later I was in again. This continued as the light faded and in that magical hour around dusk I managed six barbel, a nice chub and a few bream, as well as losing something big to a hook pull ( may have been a cat I think )

The Turdster had a couple of barbel and lots and lots of those lovely bream.

Considering the conditions we did pretty well I think. I'd like to fish it in the autumn when it's got a bit more flow and colour. We learnt plenty too and I've got the hunger back for freshwater fishing.

Another great trip.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

In Like Flynn

Me and Lord Pualus the Carp King have had a couple of short "below the radar" sessions at my new favourite pit.
First trip was a very quick evening session. Nice and warm, wind pushing in to our bank, spot on.
We managed three between us, plus I lost a decent fish on the last cast. Best one to Pualus, a common of  around 14 or 15lb.
A few days later a very early morning trip was planned. We were set up by 03.15, with dawn just beginning to break and a full moon glowing.

A few handfuls of maize was spread around my area, with Pualus opting for tiger nuts because "I only have to bait up once in the session ". Fair enough.

I was in first with a nicely conditioned mirror, shortly followed by another. Then another.
Pualus hadn't had a touch. He decided that action was required, so flicked out his bait a bit further, right on the edge of a slightly deeper gully, chucked in several handfuls of tigers and within two minutes had a screaming run.

To say these fish go mad when you hook them is an understatement. They tear off at such speed you can here the line zipping through the water. Forget trying to backwind, you can't keep up with them.
The fish Lord Pualus is holding in the picture above went so crazy we were laughing our dicks off as he tried in vain to control it.

All the fish were again in absolutely pristine condition. Surprisingly, despite 80 or 90 per cent of the fish we've been seeing being ghostie or metallic types, all the fish this morning were "standard" commons or mirrors ( though that description does them an injustice ).
We finished up with six between us, best again around 15lb and sneaked off without being seen for coffee and breakfast in the garden. Happy days.

Pualus "holed up" under a bush