Wednesday, 27 November 2019


Last week i fancied a spot of sea fishing on my local River Crouch so one evening set about getting the gear ready for a little first light dangle at a local mark. I like to tie a few rigs at home so i don't have to fumble around by the water so a few 2 hook flappers, for the whiting and small fish, were made up as well as a couple of big hook pennels for anything larger swimming by.

The temperature gauge in the van was reading 0 degrees as i drove the short distance to the river and the heavy frost crunched under foot as i walked to my chosen spot just as the sun was just rising over the horizon making getting out of bed early worthwhile. The tide was already 3 hours down from high water and i had only planned to stay for a couple of hours so the rigs i,d tied the previous evening were quickly attached and launched out at various distances. Bait was strips of mackeral and squid as well as some frozen black lug on the small fish rigs and a cocktail of large fillets of mackeral and squid for the big fish.

 From the off the rods were rattling away and after missing a couple of bites i connected with a small whiting. A quick unhook and back out went the rig. I then proceeded to catch at least one, sometimes 2, whiting on every cast to the flapper rig with only the odd whiting to the bigger bait, but they were bigger whiting.
 One of the larger whiting had this small 'goby' protruding from its throat so i carefully eased it out and thread it onto a hook and cast it back out, and i caught another whiting on it too. The bites started to slow down as the tide flow eased and after 2 hours of quite busy fishing i packed up and headed home for my breakfast and a nice cup of latte. I lost count of how many fish i caught but it had to be a couple of dozen with a dozen or so sizeable fish taken home to make into fishcakes for 'Her Ladyship'.

I was quite surprised that only whiting showed up in my catch, i would of expected a couple of pouting or maybe a basslet or two as well.

A beautiful couple of hours spent by the water catching a few fish, what more can a guy ask for.

Friday, 8 November 2019


At the beginning of this year i fished a small river in Essex, which i had been meaning to try for a few years, in hope of catching some nice perch and chub as i,d heard a few reports and walked the river and it looked good for both species. Luckily i did pretty good on that session and caught both my target species, and not bad sized ones too. Well last week i decided i fancied another trip there to see what else this tiny little river had to offer.

My target for this short afternoon session was the perch, probably my favourite species to fish for over the past few years. Now that i know the river holds a couple of decent specimens i feel that its worth putting in the effort to see what size these sergeants actually grow too. Arriving at midday i set of on the 1.5 mile trek to a small side pool, which i had caught small roach, rudd and gudgeon from on my last trip, to tempt out a few small silvers to use as live bait on the main river. Arriving at the pool it was obvious that no one else and fished there in a long time as the bankside vegetation was untrodden so after a little clearing i had a lovely flatfish spot to stand and fish from safely. I say safely as i knew the water was quite deep, turns out its around 6-8ft at your feet, and there was an inlet pipe running heavily into the pool next to where i was standing so slipping in would of been quite a serious error.

 Quickly setting up a little trotting rig a dropped the bait just out from my nearby bank at a depth of roughly 3ft, baited with a single red maggot, and literally before the float had time to settle it slid away and i happily swung in a tiny chublet, result. Over the past hour i caught a good few dozen chublets, roach and rudd with 10 or so going into the livie bucket and the rest being returned. I was enjoying myself immensely catching these small fish and for some reason thought i,d deepen the rig and see what was lowered down in the water column, now that was a real game changer. First chuck in and my float side away as per usual but as i lifted into this fish i was met with some good resistance and something pulling back hard on the other end of my line. A short battle and up popped a lovely roach off around a pound or so in weight but as i went to slide the net under it the hook pulled, bollix. Annoyed at losing a decent fish i dropped the bait back in roughly the same place and almost immediately the float shot of again and i was into another strong fish which turned out to be another good sized roach. The next half hour was spent catching quality sized roach upto three quarters of a pound, wish i,d taken pictures of them now, until the action just stopped for no apparent reason.  Now for some reason i again decided to deepen the rig and first drop in i hooked and landed the reason, i was soon to find out, why the bigger roach and the smaller fish earlier had 'done the offs'.

It had turned out that deeper down in my swim was a hoard of good sized perch, probably curious as to what all the commotion had been over the past couple of hours. Every drop down with single red maggot resulted in perch upto half pound snatching the bait. Now this was great fun catching perch of this size but i did wonder if maybe there was any bigger specimens swimming amongst its smaller brethren so i changed tactics and dropped in a small live bait to the same area as an experiment. First little trot and the free roaming chublet attracted a slightly bigger perch of maybe just a pound in weight, great i thought and persevered onwards with another little livie. More perch followed but nothing over a pound in weight and i was beginning to think that maybe 1lb was the ceiling weight for them in this tiny little pool.

 I,d just turned to grab a bottle of drink out of my rucksack when out of the corner of my eye i saw my float shoot under again and a quick strike met with a pull back at the other end of my line. Now this fish pulled back a lot stronger than the previous fish and too be honest by the way it was fighting i thought i,d hooked into a small jack pike, but i was over the moon when just below the surface i saw a big perch twisting and turning trying to tangle me in the nearside vegetation. Eventually i slid the net under a cracking perch or possibly 2.5lb in weight, it was exceptionally thick across its back, quick picture and i slide her back and i was happy. I was tempted to up sticks after this fish as it had run around the swim a lot and my thoughts were that maybe it had spooked everything but i had noticed another perch below it as i netted it so though ill have another cast just in case. Straight away my float disappeared and i played another good perch in of around 1.5lb. Happy days, thought i, ill carry on fishing but for the next 15 mins or so there was not even a tug on my line.

Have you ever had that feeling that something was wrong in your swim, when for no apparent reason you feel as though the area had just emptied of fish? Well that was how i was feeling now so thought it was time to give the main river a try when out of the blue my float slid across the surface of the pool. Now this was different as all the other bites had been sharp pull under bites but this time the float was sliding along just below the surface, i was pretty sure i knew who the culprit would be. I applied pressure in the opposite direction to which the float was going and all hell then proceeded to break loose. Whatever was on the other end shot across to the other side of the pool, then back to me, then back to the other side before trying to snag me in the nearby reeds. I was right in thinking that a pike had taken my live bait but i wasn't expecting it to be one this size in such a small body of water. It took a good 15 minutes to finally get this powerhouse of a pike into my waiting landing net, which it only just fit in as the net was only meant for perch, after numerous attempts at wrapping me around the weeds at my feet and a couple of overhanging branches nearby but i eventually managed it. What a beautifully conditioned, well proportioned pike of 13.5lb she was too with not a blemish on her flanks and a full mouth of needle sharp teeth, i,m pretty sure that she's not been caught before. I was one seriously happy bunny after this capture and after a quick photo session i slipped her back into the pool and then proceeded to flop down in the grass and have a breather as i needed it.

I fished a couple of areas on the main river afterwards, with no joy, but to be honest my heart wasn't in it now after the sport i,d just had in the previous few hours, i was already more than content with what i had caught and the 'need' to catch anymore was just not there. I got back to the van just as it was getting dark and sat in the back reflecting on the afternoons fishing whilst sipping a latte and thinking how can such a small piece of water produce so many good size fish in such a short time. The eco-system must be perfect in there as all the fish caught were in excellent condition and fighting fit. I will return to fish the river again soon but ill rest the pool for a while to let it settle back down.

Tight lines guys.................