Sunday, 28 June 2020


Since the lockdown was lifted and we have been able to get back out on the bank i have been to the big water 3 times. First time was for a recce and to purchase my yearly ticket and get a key for the various gates situated around the water. I,m glad i took the time for a short walk around as i,ve settled on an area that i will be fishing for a while, which i know, and has also been been confirmed by a regular angler, holds carp, or at least they past through the area regularly. Situated well of the beaten track in a very difficult to access spot, and i,m pretty sure, judging by the lack of trails, that no one fishes this particular area.
 It has been fished in the past though as there was a few, very overgrown, swims cut into the bankside undergrowth. I had actually found this area last year and thought it looked good for a session or two and did clear one swim to fish for a day session. I didn't catch anything then but i did log the place in the 'Old Memory Banks' for exploring at a later date.

                                                           Anyways the following weekend saw me pulling into the carpark at first light and loading my barrow with enough gear to last a week let alone the 2 nights i had planned to stay. Pushing the barrow along the track was no problems at all but it was soon to become apparent that as soon as i wheeled of the solid pathway i was to experience issues. Now i knew it wasn't going to be easy carting all my gear to the actual swim through all the undergrowth but i didn,t realise just how difficult it was really going to be. within 10 yards the barrow got stuck in soft mud causing me to unload everything and carry it all to slightly higher and drier ground before the barrow could then be moved. Then due to there being no track i had to carry the rest of my gear to the swim area, through the tangled undergrowth, roughly quarter of a mile away. This took four trips to do and after half an hour i collapsed on the ground, next to a mountain of kit, a big huffing, puffing, sweaty mess.

Lesson 1   Take less kit.....

After a life saving latte and a stomach filling sammidge was consummed it was time to get stuck into the task at hand, clearing somewhere to actually fish. Tucked in my bag i had a pair of pruners and a fold up garden saw and using these it didn,t take too long for me to clear a nice swim to fish and a nice area to pitch the basecamp. Next job was to clear a pathway through to another swim, and clear the swim itself, just a short distance away. This was so i could keep my options open as to where i was going to place my rods. An hour later and this was also done. Next i turned my attention to making the trip to and from this area easier to access, so i set about creating/clearing a pathway through the undergrowth from the swims to the access track. Not quite upto the track though as i didn,t want it too easily seen, i want to keep this area a bit 'Secret Squirrel'. All of this work had taken me into the early part of the afternoon and now it was time for another latte and a bite of lunch before getting the marker rod out and finding out what was in front of me.


On with waders, which i,ve now found out leak, and out i splashed to edge of the trees either side of the swim. Water here was just below wader top depth but it gave me a good view around the trees, and it was a good spot to chuck the marker float out from. A little point to note here is that if you are planning on wading around in the margins of any lake or river it is worth doing so with a wading staff so that you can probe the lakebed checking the depth in front of you, and also to find out how soft the bottom is, as you ease forward. A staff is also handy to help you keep your balance if you stumble or get stuck in silt. My staff is actually a shooting stick i found a few years ago whilst walking the dogs locally. It was left leaning against a bush near a a small layby that was used to park in to access the fields beyond. I left it there for a couple of weeks before returning and seeing as no had returned and claimed it i took home. So waste deep in the lake i spent next the hour or so markering around the area to find a grand total off nothing of interest. The bed was pretty uniform and clean except for a big band of weed that reached out from the margins for roughly 4.5 wraps until it hit about 8ft in depth. So the decision was made and two spots at 5 wraps were liberally baited with spombed particles, groundbait and chopped boilies. I then moved along to the next swim and found roughly the same, except for a slightly rougher patch situated 7.5 wraps out in roughly 10ft of water. Out went more mix with the spomb before i baited up and chucked out my rigs in the 3 chosen spots. It was now late evening, i,d taken my time with all this preperation as i didn,t want to rush around, and i was knackered and hungry so out came the stove and on went a big fat ribeye steak for my dinner. Dinner quickly consumed it wasn,t long before i was away with the fairies..

Nothing happened overnight, just a few bleeps on the alarms, in fact nothing happened for the rest of that day. I spent the day clearing more of the undergrowth to make the area more comfortable to fish and relax in, trimming down branches that were in the way and stacking some of the windfall timber that litters the place. Evening arrived and i re-baited and  recast the rods to the same spots as well as giving them some more spombs of groundbait over the top. Nothing else happened that night or the following morning which was a bit dissappointing as expectations were high initially, but i,m not too bothered really as it was only my 1st return trip and it was also a newish area to me. hopefully better luck next time. Mid morning it was time for the gruelling walk of shame back to the van with all my kit, fortunately a little lighter with less water and bait to carry. Rather than just drive straight home i popped over to another area and had a little explore there to see if it might be worth a trip there, it is.........


I did take my bait boat along but only used it early on the last morning as i didn,t really want to give away where i was located. I ran her around the swims and right out to the middle of the lake searching the bottom but, as i,d already found with the marker, there really wasn,t anything of interest out there. Not to worry, this means that i don,t have to bring her again, to this area anyway, now. It was good fun to play with her though and i love the echo sounder feature i had fit on it.

The following week i was back in the same swim but this time just for an overnighter. With my kit trimmed down it was a lot easier to transport everything to the swim, but still bloody knackering. The previous week i had noted down in my phone where the spots were that i had found, so it was a quick and easy process to wang the rods out and bait over the top of them. In all i reckon i was fishing within 2 hours of turning up in the carpark. I,d arrived late afternoon this time,  as i had been to a river on the way up, so after setting up and downing another nice ribeye steak it was time for some shut eye. Around midnight i had a bream like indication on one rod but seeing as nothing else happened i left it alone and went back to sleep. I was, shortly after first light, sipping on a lette watching the water but other than small stuff rising nothing of note was seen. I had a little clear around the track and inspected another swim further down before reeling in and packing up at 10am. Interestingly the rod that had the bream rattle had the hooklink bitten through, i reckon a pike had taken a silver and picked up my rig by accident before its teeth cut it clean through. The walk of shame again before i set off to explore another area to fish in the future, there is so much water to go at here.

So to sum up ive fished 3 nights so far for the total of zero fish, of any shape or size. I,ve learnt more about the water each visit though, so i,m not disappointed, and i,m now formulating  a plan of attack for future visits.


Friday, 26 June 2020


On my way to do an overnighter on my syndicate this week i made a pitstop at a small river located  en-route. My aim was to have a wee chuck around with the micro lures for a perch or maybe a chub if  my luck was in. Well i didn't catch anything, my excuse is that it was too hot and too sunny,  but enjoyed a couple of hours stalking along the banks of the crystal clear water and spying on anything resembling a fish. I did have a few follows from micro chub and small perch but no actual takers. I wasn't,t bothered though as i had a great time just watching the fish hold in the flow, before darting for cover as i peered closer.
 A large part of the river seemed totally devoid of fish where as other parts were teaming with roach and chublets. I did find a couple of nice size chub, around the 3lb mark i reckon, but didn't manage to get a picture of them. I also watched what i thought was a near double figure carp slowly drifting in and out of some streamer weed until it came closer and i realised it was a huge bream. The only one i saw, a right old 'Billy No Mates'.

The stretch i was walking runs alongside a golf course and considering the amount of golfers walking around the amount of wildlife going about its business was astounding. There was a couple of Buzzards constantly circling a small copse of trees as well as 2, i,m pretty sure they were different birds, kestrels hunting over the bushes and scrub on the opposite bank. A kingfisher was regularly heard, and seen, flashing up and down the river and there was a couple families of canada geese drifting along with the flow. I spend so much time marvelling at these sights that i forget to try and take pictures of what i,m looking at.

Later in the afternoon i arrived at my syndicate and couldn' believe how many roach/bream fry there was hiding around the marginal weeds. The picture doesn't do justice as to how many there actually was, thousands of the wee things i reckon. Hopefully a good percentage will survive  to bolster the, already increasing, fish stocks.
I love being an angler, you get to see sights that the 'average Joe' doesn't get  to witness....

Saturday, 16 May 2020


So due to the Covid virus lockdown, and prior to that  being too busy, i actually haven't bee fishing for over 4 months, and i,ve been gagging to get back out and wet a line. Fortunately this week good old Boris started a 5 stage lockdown lift and this week was stage 1 and allowed us back out fishing as well as other hobbies which can be carrie out whilst applying the social distancing rules. This meant that i could dust down the fishing gear and get myself out there fishing. I just had to decide what i wanted to fish for as i have a quite a few options locally. In the end i opted to go to the local saltwater river and try for a thornback ray before they moved out of the river for the rest of the year. Luckily enough i had prepped all the necessary gear, and stocked up on frozen bait,  before the lockdown was brought into force. So yesterday armed with 3 rods and a rucksack i walked the half mile to my chosen spot which was a marshy platform which jutted out into the river and is a popular mark for the thornies. Half  hour later i had 2 rods set up and fishing for the rays and an old carp rod set up as a scratching rod in hope of luring anything that might swim by.


Baits were whole squid, herring chunk or a cocktail of the both fished on pulley pennell rigs for the rays and just a basic 2 hook flapper baited with frozen black lugworm and strips of squid, herring and mackeral fished on the scratching rod hopefully a school bass or maybe even a flatfish. I,d only just got all the rods out when my rod fished to the righthand side registered a pull down followed by a slack line, text book ray bite, which i duly grabbed and wound in the slack line until i felt some resistance followed by a small knock, signalling there was life on the other end, which i then pulled into. A heavy weight was felt followed by a couple of knocks and something pulling back, fish on. Heart thumping i carefully played the fished to the  marsh edge, fortunately there was no dramas getting the fish to the shore, before being able to hand line it up the final couple of feet of marsh 'cliff' and place my prize at my feet. Result!!! I had caught what i had came for, a beautiful little male thornback ray of maybe 4lb. Neatly hooked in the side of the mouth the hook was easily removed before i took a few pictures and slipped him back to his watery home.

A quick rebait and out went that rod again in anticipation of further action to come. I,d love to say from that point on it was constant bite a chuck but unfortunately that wasn't to be. Every 15 minutes or so i,d reel each rod in to check if there was any bait left but most of the time the hooks were bare, stripped by the crabs. Its only to be expected on this river as the river bed is alive with crabs of all sizes not to mention all the micro fish species that must be living in its depths. I,d arrived shortly after high tide, and it was only a small tide too, so really didn't expect to be able to fish the marsh spot for more than a couple hours as there is a big shallow area in front of the marsh drop off which does dry out at low water. So just as i was thinking of packing up as the mud was showing in from i noticed a little judder on my lefthand rod followed by the tip pulling steadily downwards. Initially i thought some weed might of snagged my line as there was quite a lot of it floating with tide but i then noticed a couple of knocks on the tip and quickly picked the rod up ready to feel if there definitely was a fish attached to my line. After a few seconds i felt another 'knock' on the rod tip followed by a steady pull so i reeled tight and pulled into another fish. A similar fight to the previous fish, heavy weight felt with a few knocks, and after a couple of minutes i had another small male thornback beached on the mud to the left of the marsh area. Happy happy boy was i.....


 After that fish i decided to pack up the kit and make my way back to the van as the water now pretty low and the sun was getting pretty hot. I,d enjoyed my few hours fishing and managed to catch 2 of my target species which is always a bonus when you set single species fishing. The one thing i did find strange was that i didn't even have a little knock on my scratching rod and that technique pretty much gets some action every time i use it in the river. Oh well i,m not going to complain though, two skate and a morning fishing in the sun in beautiful surroundings was plenty good enough for me.

The tides are getting later into the evening next week so I'm hatching a plan to fish one evening into the dark at a location on the river i found a couple of years ago. I fished it last year and had some good bass fishing on a bright and breezy day but i reckon that fishing there into the hours of darkness could result in a bigger bass or two being present.  Its a cracking spot with an outflow from a small lagoon which spills over some rocks into the river on one side and a lovely big slack water, on the dropping tide, area on the other as well as access to deeper water close in. It screams big bass to me so i,m planning on giving it a good try this year. The only downside to this mark is that its a 2 mile yomp to reach it, which isn't too bad if i don't have any kit with me but when laden down with all my fishing gear makes it a bit of a grueller.