Sunday, 1 September 2019

BIG WATER BANGER

A spur of the moment decision saw me pulling up to my syndicate water just as it was getting light 2 weeks ago with a mind to catch a carp, well lets face it to try and catch a carp. I opted to fish an easily accessible swim because, to be honest, i was in a lazy frame of mind and didn't really fancy pushing my barrow full of kit very far. I have fished this swim once last October and unfortunately had lost a fish late one night due to a hook pull so know it has form.

I,d brought Choccy along to keep me company and he was quite content chilling and soaking up the sun as i went about setting up my home for the night and making myself comfy. Once this was done out came the marker rod and i started to thrash the water to a foam as i searched for 3 likely areas to target the old mud suckers. I wasn't too bothered about the disturbance i caused as my marker was dragged through the swim countless times, or with the depth charge water eruptions as my big balls of boilie crumb and goundbait hit the spots, or even with the splashing and clouding up of the water as i waded around baiting and casting, as i wasn't expecting any action, if any, until later that evening going into the night. Once all the disturbance was over i sat back and promptly fell asleep for a few hours.
Nothing happened throughout the day, as i expected, but coming on 7 o'clock i decided to recast the rigs and rebait the areas ready for hopefully some night time action. I had my left rod cast across a bay to my left to the area where i lost a fish last year, my middle rod was only 20 yds out in front of the swim just past the weed line and my 3rd rod was cast to the base of a bridge leg which screamed fish. All rods done and it was time for a nice dinner of italian meat stuffed pasta in a creamy cheese sauce washed down with a nice latte followed by bed as i couldn't keep my eyes open. About midnight my middle rod let out a few bleeps followed by a slow run, which after tripping out of the bivvy, i eventually lifted into. A nice weight was felt on the end of the line which kited to my left followed by a couple of head nods and everything fell limp, i was gutted, i,d lost another fish. Upon reeling in and inspecting the broken hooklink it was pretty obvious that i had hooked a pike and it had bitten cleanly through the braid. Not so gutted now i tied on a new blowback rig using a virus bottom bait and trimmed down pastel yellow pop-up and recast to the same area.

 Just before first light my middle alarm burst into action waking me from a deep sleep and by the time i had reached the rod my spool was slowly ticking away as it gave line to whatever was on the other end of my line. Lifting into the fish it was pretty obvious it was a carp as it powered off away from me taking line of my tighten clutch and flat rodding me in the process. I loosened the clutch a little as i didn't want to bully it and pull the hook out of it's mouth. A few minutes passed before i saw the beastie roll in the weed and wading out to my knees a carefully slipped the net under my first carp from this huge water. I was elated at this capture and to be honest was a bit dazed as well so i sacked him up, made a coffee and set up the unhooking, camera and weighing gear. A quick weigh, a few photos, an admiring glance or ten and i slipped him back to his watery home. He weighed slightly over 17lb, not that his weight is of any importance as he was a little beauty and i,d managed to catch a carp from over 350 acres of water. I've been walking on cloud nine ever since.

Shortly after returning my prize and downing another latte i packed up my kit and made my way home a very happy man indeed.
As a little side note, the margins of my swim were littered with dozens of empty snail shells and as you stood and watched the edges of the marginal weed you could see hundreds of snails of all sizes slowly moving around on the gravel and weed fronds. Perfect food for any hungry carp passing by and i reckon that the fishy, oily ground bait i was using around my hook baits would probably of  been covered in these snails making it even more attractive to them.

BASSTASTIC....

So a couple of weeks back i had some time of work to do some more work on the house but decided that i needed to have a little dabble for some bass on my local River Crouch as rumours were they had been showing in good numbers. So armed with a couple score of ragworm and a pack of squid i made the long walk to a mark i,d fancied fishing for quite a while now.

On the way to my chosen spot i stopped at a nice creek which i have seen fish topping in before when i have been waking the dogs along there. Out went a 2 hook flapper to see if there was anything lower down as well as another rod fishing a ragworm 3ft or so below a float. I've been wanting to try catching a bass by float fishing for a while but just hadn,t gotten around to it. I gave the area an hour, as i wanted to get to my main spot, but didn't,t have so much as a tip dip.
 Another 1.5 mile walk and i was at my chosen mark, a point in the river where it bends and also alongside a nice inlet/outlet for a wildlife pool behind. This spot has water at all states of the tide and a lot deeper than i thought it was. I,d arrived just about  high tide so the tide was proper pushing through, as it does on the Crouch, but it was still fishable as to my right a lovely crease had formed as the tide ran out which created a nice big slack area close in to my bank which screamed 'fish me'. First rod out was my flapper rig, which i cast just to the inside of the crease where i thought the bass might be patrolling, and before i had picked up my other rod the tip was rattling away unfortunately i missed that bite but it was good sign that something fishy was about.


As the tide was still pretty strong i changed the float rig for another flapper, as the float was shooting off with the current at such a rate that i thought it would be too quick for a bass to notice, and dropped this rig in 10 yards out just past what i thought would be the rock/weedline. Just past the rocks and weed is one of my favourite spots to fish for all species of saltwater fish and is usually my banker spot. It does produce smaller fish most of the time but does throw up an unexpected lump now and then. Anyways this rod had not been in the water for more than a few minutes when the tip whacked round and i was attached to a fiesta little bass. Result, target achieved, and expectations were high for a couple more fish.


More bass of the same stamp took a liking to my ragworm and squid cocktail as the tide was on the way and gradually easing up in strength. Bites were quite even between the close in rod and the one along the crease. I was actually hoping to catch a flounder or possibly a dab but didn't manage any, just basslet after basslet. At one point i had a huge slow pull down on the crease rod and upon lifting into the it stayed deep, heavy and slow moving for a minute or so before it got snagged and my hook link parted, bollix. I reckon it was probably a thornback due to way it was moving, but seeing as i was only using a lightweight bass rod it would of been a struggle to get in to the rocks in the heavy flow.




 It wasn't,t long before the current slow started to slow down so i changed rigs on one rod to float fished ragworm as i did earlier in the day. I started to fish this along the crease but after a half dozen or so fruitless trots i opted to fish it just out past the rocks slightly to my left where the inlet/outlet from the wildfowl pool behind had left a channel in the visible mud. First couple of tries and nothing then the a couple of quick dips on the float got my heart racing, this was then followed by no action for 10 minutes. I was still getting bites and landed a couple of bass on the flapper rig whilst i was watching the float. A recast just a little further out with the float saw it slowly trotting down stream on the inside of crease when all of a sudden the float was gone. Shocked it took me a couple of seconds to realise what had happened before i struck and was met with a sold resistant and a head thump. Game on i thought as the fish gave me a good battle on my old carp rod until up she popped a few feet from the rocks. Carefully i guided her to a nice spot in-between a few rocks where i would be able to reach down for her and with a couple of final thrashes i beached it on some seaweed before stumbling down the rocks to grab my prize before it escaped back into its watery home. I was over the moon as i really wanted to catch a bass on a float again, i hadn,t caught one on a float for over 20 years, and weighing 3-3.5lb it was the biggest of the day.


After that fish i had a couple more small basslets before calling it a day wit a total of over 15 small bass and the bigger one, which i took home for the 'other half' dinner.  All in all i had a great few hours fishing, best sea fishing i,ve had for quite a while now, and Sharon got the pleasure of eating fresh sea bass steamed in foil with spring onions and lemons. She was impressed....





Saturday, 20 July 2019

ESSEX JELLYFISH

So a few weeks back i was returning from a nice walk with the dogs and as i was crossing a tiny little tidal creek i glanced down and saw, quite to my amazement really, a solitary jellyfish 'swimming' along with the current. Now i,ve seen plenty of jellyfish whilst on holidays down in the South West as well as when i have been out boat fishing, i,ve also seen the odd one washed up dead on the shore but i have never seen a live one swimming up a creek in Essex.

I had to get a little film of it so out came  the trusty iPhone and i captured a couple of minutes of the wee beauty and put it up on my Youtube channel. The link is below if you fancy a looksie.
Cheers guys, tight lines and have a good weekend......

Saturday, 15 June 2019

LOCAL DANGLING

So lately i havn,t had a lot of spare time to go fishing due to work and the ongoing attempts to complete the extension i,ve built on my house, this has meant that i havn,t been to my syndicate for a few months so the limited fishing i have done has been very local and only for a couple of hours at a time. Now i,m not complaining too much about fishing short sessions locally as there is some not too bad waters nearby, and i have caught ok, but its meant i,ve had to scale my tackle down considerably to allow me to be more mobile and chase fish down rather than wait for them to come to me. This has been good fun as i used to be very mobile when i first started fishing and its quite nice to do so again.


With two waters being within 1 mile away, another around 3 miles, and miles and miles of  the River Roach and the River Crouch starting within 2 miles away i thought it would be a good idea to kit out the old mountain bike to use as my mode of transport for fishing these venues. I purchased a set of panniers for the back and also some luggage straps to hold the rods and set about converting a knackered old bike into a prime fishing vehicle. The bike needed a bloody good service first as it hasn,t been ridden for nearly 10 years, so once that was done on went the panniers, front and rear lights, mudguards, new pump and my now scaled down carp kit. I was ready for the off the following weekend to the local park lake.
A little after first light saw me gently cycling around the water before pulling up to my chosen swim and damn near falling off the bloody bike as i swung my leg over the back and got caught up on the rolled up unhooking mat. Fortunately there was no-one around to see this minor mishap as i chuckled to myself whilst setting up my rods. I could see a few carp moving 20 yards out in front, hence me choosing this swim, so out went a ronnie rigged Eclipse Virus pop-up coupled with a small pva bag off crumbed virus boilies in hope of attracting a carp down in the water to have a munch. Once that rod was sorted i started to catapult out some mixers as this water is always good for a bit of surface action. After 15 mins or so i had a couple of carp regularly feeding on the mixers that the masses of ducks weren,t nicking when my alarm sounded and the clutch started to tick. Leaning into the fish i thought i,d have a small carp attached as it wasn,t really doing much when all of a sudden up popped a bream of around 4lb with my bait hanging out of the side of its mouth. Not my chosen quarry but at least i had caught, unhooked, returned and back out went the rig.

I was having a lot of trouble with the parks ducks getting to my mixers before the carp, and even going for my bait, so i had to put the old thinking cap on to try and stop the little thieves. The end result was a virus pop-up super glued to a Fox floater hook and then attaching a pva mesh bag with 6 mixers inside to the hook and casting this to any rising carp. This resulted in the ducks not really noticing that there was any freebies floating around, also i was catapulting some mixers of to my left to help deter the beasts from my hookbait. This worked well with a few rises to my bait but no hookups until i had a couple of bleeps on my alarm which i glanced over too before turning back to see my floater rod nearly disappearing over the reeds it was resting against. Grabbing the rod and leaning into the fish just made mr carp very angry.

FISH ON GAME ON...


After a cracking fight on my 9ft Sonik stalker rod i finally landed my prize, a lovely mirror carp of around 12lb. Unhooked, a quick piccie and he was slid back into his watery home. This disturbance basically killed the swim so after another 30 mins of firing out mixers and very little showing i decided to pack up and head home for some breakfast.

A nice little result for a couple of hours dangling.....

THORNIES

Around May time thornback ray start to show up in catches from the shore and boat, in my local River Crouch, as they migrate into the shallower water to spawn i believe. This gives us the chance to catch a few for a couple of months before they drift away to wherever they go to. For the past few years i seem to of  been too busy to fish for them locally and on the the odd occasion that i have had the time to wet a line i havn,t been able to connect with one. Well i thought i,d have another try a couple of weeks back as the weather was due to be nice and i just fancied having a dangle in saltwater. Weighed down with all my kit i stumbled the mile  or so along the sea wall to my chosen marsh area that i thought might produce the goods. After nearly falling 'arse over tit' over a bramble and then having to 'hop' over a small adder as it crossed my path i finally dumped my gear down at my chosen spot and sat on my bucket a huffing, puffing sweaty old man.

After a few minutes i,d gotten my breathe back and set about getting my rods tackled up and fishing. When the tide isn,t pushing through too hard here i like to fish with 3 rods to give myself a better chance of catching something. I set 1 rod as a close in rolling rig with 2 hooks baited with cocktails of worm, squid and herring, and drop this out no more than 10-20 yards so it can fish at the bottom of the rocks and quite often catches some nice bass when they are in the river. The other 2 rods were baited with herring  and squid on pennell rigs and cast from 75-100 yards out in hope of a thornback or even a decent size bass.

The sun was strong and there was a slight breeze which was lovely to sit in but like most fishing situations not great conditions. After 3 hours of tide up and another hour of tide down i hadn,t even had a rattle on the rod tips, most disappointed was I. Sharon had come down with the dogs for a walk and had just walk further along the bank when my distance rod baited with a nice big herring fillet registered a nice tap followed by a steady pull down. I grabbed the rod and lent into whatever was on the end of the line, half expecting it to be a big clump of weed, and whatever was on the other end pulled back.

Fish on - Game on..

After a few minutes of  giving and taking line, i played it like a pussy as i was sure it was a ray and i didn,t want to lose it, up popped a nice little skate at the bottom of the marsh drop-off. I hand lined it up the clay and lay it on the marsh before unhooking the lovely prehistoric looking creature. I,ve not caught many thornback rays but always admire the beautiful patterns across their back and the evil looking thorns along the length of their tail. Fortunately Sharon had returned from her walk and took some nice pictures before i slipped the wee beauty back to its watery home. Before anyone asks, yes you can eat them, sold as skate wing in the chippy,  but i don,t like the taste of fish and would much rather return them to grow on and breed to produce more fish to catch at a later date.
I fished on for an hour or so after the capture and possibly had another bite that didn,t materialise into anything before packing and going home for dinner.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED...........

Sunday, 31 March 2019

FISHING BUDDY CHOCCIE

So any of you who have read my Blogs before will know that i have 2 spaniels, Paddy a Sprocker and Choccie who is a Working Cocker. Well i,ve always wanted a furry fishing buddy so have decided that i will have a go at teaching Choccie the ropes at being a 'carp dog'. He has the right temperament for it as he is very obedient, doesn,t roam too far and can quite happily keep himself entertained. i,ve taken him, along with Paddy, on a couple of sea fishing excursions on the local tidal river and both have behaved well so thought it was time to take it to the next level.

Instead of just throwing him in at the deep end i thought it best to ease him into fishing so i took him along for a mornings walk around my syndicate as i marker float around a few areas to get an idea of whats under the water. Well i have to say i am really impressed with him as he settled in nicely as i spent time casting around various areas, i did originally think he might be jumping up at anything i was trying to cast but he wasn,t bothered really and just looked on with a 'what ARE you doing Daddy' look on his face. Obviously his favourite part of the morning was walking between fishing areas but he was quite content with snuffling around and chewing sticks while i thrashed the water to a foam. I,m really happy with how he handled the day and will be taking him with me soon for my first carp session of the year.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

ROCHFORD, RIVER ROACH

So just up the road from where i live is a small public park with a nice lake of a few acres which is run as a day ticket water. I,ve fished there a few times for the carp as it is relatively easy fishing and you can always manage to winkle out a fish or two in a couple of hours dangling. Alongside this lake is a small stream, the River Roach, which is only shallow and  an be jumped across quite easily, but at the far end of the lake the is an inlet from this stream to keep water flowing into it and to do this a small weir has been built. above this weir is a small pool of no more than 50ft long and 20ft wide which also flows out of a small tunnel beneath the railway track above.

I,d heard rumours that there was a small head of silver fish in this pool and thought that i would have a little explore one morning, so armed with a little ground bait, a pint of maggots and my feeder rod i made my way along the path from the road, then along the lake itself and finally over a small railing to an area that i could set up and fish comfortably. The water was pushing through quite fast as it exited the tunnel and all manner of debris was floating by so i opted for a small swim feeder approach stuffed with a little grounbait and maggots with a size 18 hook loaded with 2 maggots. First chuck to just in front of the tunnel resulted in a couple of knocks on the tip followed by a good pull down, which i missed. A couple more of the same gave me confidence that there was indeed some fishy life in this small pool.


I concentrated more and when the next rattle happened i struck and was met with a good little bit of resistance which turned out to be a lovely pristine roach. A few more tidily roach followed being another half decent roach ended up in my hand. I was pleasantly surprised with the results for the first half hours fishing as i was getting a rattle on the tip almost every cast and the roach that i did catch were in a beautiful, bright silver condition.
I decided to flip the feeder along my bank tight to the wall of the bridge to see if there was anything lurking there and found it was a bit deeper also. After a couple of minutes i had a rattle and set the hooks into something that just powered around the small pool, i began to think it was a really big roach when up popped a small carp of 1.5lb or so, who,d of thought there would be a carp in this tiny river but being next to a lake stuffed with the things i guess its possible. After the disturbance created by this little brute the bites went quiet for a while and i was contemplating going home for a bite to eat but thought i,d have a cast to the opposite side of the tunnel first.
The feeder had hardly settled when the tip wrapped over and i was attached to another powerful fish running around the pool. I presumed i was playing another small carp but i could,t believe it when eventually a big pair of white lips appeared just in from of my landing net, it was a chub and a half decent one at that. On the bank and it weighed around the 1.5-2lb mark as it was a proper little fatty and, as with the roach, it was in mint condition. After a quick photo and a final admiring look i slipped him back into the pool before packing up my gear and heading back to the van.




So from a tiny little stream/river that no-one but the ducks pay attention to that runs alongside a park lake a stones throw from a town centre i managed to catch a couple dozen beautiful silvery roach, a chunky little common carp and a pristine gorgeous looking chub and its only half a mile from my front door. What more can i ask, i will return...