Wednesday, 30 July 2014

THAMES BARGE

On one of my recent walks with my dogs i watched as this beautiful Thames Barge slowly sail up the local River Crouch. The video doesn,t really show how tall the sails actually are....


BIRTHDAY FISHING....

It was my birthday a couple of Sundays ago and as a treat i thought i,d spend the day fishing the local River Chelmer for whatever happened to take  my bait. My trusty John Wilson Avon Rover rod, a light lure rod and all the associated tackle was loaded into the van saturday evening for an early start. Unfortunately the weather report was not too good as heavy rain was forecast for the morning so instead of the crack off dawn start i was originally planning, i opted for a more leisure get out of bed when i wake up approach. This actually worked in my favour as i managed to miss most of the rain, only most though as i,ll explain later.

After a nice bacon sandwich for breakfast i surveyed the sky outside and saw not a cloud in sight, so much for the weather forecast. On with my boots, a quick drive to the local shop to stock up on water and a bit of nosh for later and i was speeding round the country lanes, well maybe more like ambling round the lanes as my old escort van has seen better days, on my way to the river. For the first couple of hours i fished a spot beneath a bridge on a stretch i,ve been meaning to fish for years. Its a nice stretch of river with plenty of overhanging bushes and bankside vegetation for the fish to hide and feed from, so i though i,d give this area a try with the ultra light lure gear in hope of a perch or two. Well after the thousandth cast i decided to hop back in the van drive to another stretch of the river as i hadn,t even had a tug here, i did wonder if it was because the river was running fairly hard due to the earlier rain. Talking of rain it was whilst fishing here that i got caught in an almighty storm that swept over quickly but fiercely breaking causing me to run for cover under the bridge. It was so bad that i actually chucked my rod up the bank away from me as i didn,t fancy getting used as a lightening conductor. Once the rain had passed i opted to have a quick walk up river and try my luck for 5 minutes in front of a few river boats as moored boats always seem to attrack fish. And boy was i in for a surprise when i got there, there was a shoal of a dozen or so huge roach just slowly gliding up the center of the river, dimpling here and there. I stood there watching them and made my mind up to go back to the van and change my gear to a light float and fish maggot on the drop, then a door swung open on one of the boats followed by a very sharp call from the boats owner 'there,s no fishing here mate, theres a big sign up on the bridge saying you can,t fish so you shouldn,t be fishing'. What a bummer, as i,d walked up from the other side of the bridge i didn,t know there was a no fishing sign. Well with my tail between my legs  i walked dejectedly back to my van with the boat owners beady eyes watching me to make sure i left. I was tempted to just ignore this chap and fish there anyway but thought that i couldn,t be bothered with the aggrevation. Nevermind says i, on to pastures new and away i limped in the trusty rust bucket.....

After stopping at a couple of different stretches i decided to take the long walk to a favourite lock gate and cut of mine. I,ve had some good fishing here for pike on small livebaits, no ,monsters but plenty of jack action to make the looonggg walk worthwhile. The spot also looks good for a perch or two but as yet i,ve not managed one to either the little livies or the ultra light lures, i was hoping it would all change on this trip. I fished a couple of nice spots on the way to my final destination and did have a couple of small pike and lots of follows from small perch but i just couldn,t seem to get them to take my lure. It was most frustrating fishing but good to watch them chase the little Super Sandra around. The sun was high and bloody hot by now, no cloud cover as the weather men had predicted, and i was sweating buckets, but i enjoyed the yomp along the river bank and spotted some nice chub as well as an absolute monster of a perch which try as i might took no interest of my lure what so ever. Eventually i arrived at my spot and slumped onto a step, made to reach the wooden staging at the waters edge, and had a drink and got my breath back before attacking the river with my lure....

 The temperature must of been mid twenties by now and i was starting to flag, i,m not the best in the heat, but i did manage to catch a few of these wee little beasties on the Super Sandra which i thoroughly enjoyed. I was tossing my lure into all the usual dark and shaded areas as you would of expected the fish to be there but they didn,t produce a touch. But when i flipped the lure up the middle of the river thats when i was getting takes by the micro pike, no perch though.
I moved to above the lock and fished in the actual lock stretch, i can,t for the life of me remember what this section is called, and managed another couple of micro pike before another heavy down pour of rain hit. I sat out of the rain beneath a big oak tree for 15 minutes or so until the rain had passed and the sun had come out again, and decided that i,d had enough of fishing with the lures and it was now time to try my had using the float and good old maggot as bait. I,d seen quite a few small silvers and chublets just of the white water area at the bottom of the lock gate, theres a hole at the top of the gate which creates a cascade of water to fall and create qa white water area below which is always a good spot to fish, so i tackled up the Avon, plonked my ass on another step and started to trickle in a few maggots on the edge of the turbulant water.



 From the off, action was brisk with plenty of small chublets and bleak falling to my deadly single maggot approach. I havn,t a clue how many i actually caught but none where any bigger than you can see in the pictures, but it was good fun catching them. I did hook into something a bit more sizeable but it managed to shed the hook as it tore up the middle of the river, i,m pretty sure it was a bigger chub. I caught no perch though which was quite strange i thought, surely there must of been some stripies patrolling around the edges of this shoal of bite size fish.
After an hour or so the sun had started to really get to me and i was feeling exhausted, and with the thought of that long walk back to the van i decided to call it a day and pack up while i still had a little energy. Originally i was going to keep some of the smaller silvers and use them as livies for perch as the sun went down, but it was 6pm and i was knackered and quite simply i couldn,t manage to stay the extra few hours. After the long exhausting walk, which seemed twice as long as before, i arrived at van and dumped my kit in the back and sat down by another lock gate and watched some nice cub and roach ghost in and out of the cabbage weed. I,d had a cracking 42nd birthday and was happy but exhausted.

I can tell you now that when i got home i showered, ate my dinner and then collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the night being unable to move as i was shattered, and seriously aching. Boy did i sleep well that night......

Sunday, 6 July 2014

DECISIONS DECISIONS...........

I love fishing...
I love water...
I love all things fish related.....

And there lies the problems for me. I can never make up my mind what or how i want to spend my free time. I drift between different fishing principles constantly. I can never decide if i want to take my kayak out for a paddle or maybe my aluminium dinghy out on the broads for some predator fishing, or my fibreglass dory out on the estuary for some bass fishing. Should i grab my sea rod and go fishing for bass and flatfish, or maybe my float rod and catch some rudd and roach. I could take the big kit and camp up for the night in hope of a carp, or throw a little bag over my shoulder and a light rod in my hand and go ultra light lure fishing on a river. Or should i make a packed lunch and take the dogs for a good walk along one of the nearby rivers. I really do struggle to make up my mind sometimes.

I,ve always liked fishing, ever since i was a kid and used to pester my Dad to take me with him. He took me and taught me well in the art of catching fish from both freshwater and sea, and also to treat mother nature with the utmost respect.  Dad also took me shooting with him and taught me a lot about the countryside and everything that resides there. I think sitting quietly and motionless in the bushes with my Dad on a balmy summers evening waiting for the rabbits to start popping out is one of the best experiences of my life. Sitting with Dad on Canvey sea wall in freezing conditions at night, fishing for cod and whiting,  with only the light from a hissing tilley lamp is also a memory i will keep with me forever. These memorys and many more have made me passionate for our countryside, our trees, fields, hills and valleys. Our lakes, rivers, shoreline and estuaries. Our birds, reptiles, mammals and of course our fish....

When i,m not concentrating on my work all i can think about is water in one form or another. I have so many places that i would like to visit, not just to fish but just to be there. Theres so many species that i would love to catch, they don,t even have to be big, i just want to catch them so i can hold them and admire them for all their beauty and then slip them back into their watery home. Sometimes fishing, to me, is about the location that your actually visiting. There are some magnificent places on our small Island that i want to visit, the highlands and  lochs of Scotland are definately calling me, as is the rugged coastline of the South West. The flatlands of Cambridgeshire are truly amazing, the feeling of solitude when your a few miles along a drain can be quite spooky, and the Broadlands of Norfolk, well i can,t even put into words how i love being there.

Theres so much more about water and fishing that i could ramble on all day, but i,ll save that for another day.

As i once wrote in a local paper 'WATER IS LIFE' and it certainly is to me...........





WALKING, WALKING AND SOME MORE WALKING

 I havn,t been able to get any fishing in for the past couple of weeks as work and other commitments have been getting in the way. The closest i,ve got to actually fishing is walking the dogs along the River Crouch at Creeksea on Walleasea Island. It was well worth it though as walking along this river reminds me how beautiful the Essex countryside can be.
 This beautiful old building greets you as you drive onto Wallasea Island. I,m guessing it was used by shellfish catchers in years gone by.

Remnants of an old boat in one of the little creeks.
Looking along the Creek towards Creeksea on the opposite bank.



Oscar surveying the area whilst sitting on a lrge tree section that someone has placed for a seat.




I,ve taken a few videos here as well, just messing about with my phone to be honest but the videos have come out pretty good i think.


Harry having a swim and Oscar having a paddle. For some reason we can,t get Oscar to swim voluntarily










 A little panoramic view from Burnham on Crouch to Althorne.