Sunday, 1 September 2019


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.


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 only gave the area an hour, as i wanted to get to my main spot, but didn'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 is 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 no more than a few minutes when the tip whacked round and i was attached to a fiesty 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 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's' 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....