Sunday, 19 March 2017

Slim pickings

Had hoped to  tempt some of the better roach on the ressie today but wind and limited access meant I ended up in the willow corner and it was a struggle.

Still, fish were caught and though windy it was fairly mild and my Vitamin D levels were boosted. Water still cold though.

Used up a few sardines and this little'un sort of ends my piking for a while.

Tips down  for a few months.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

What a difference a dace makes....

Still had those 2 pints of reds and lamprey from yesterday's out West social an just a few hours let of the proper season. Ha d thought about the pool below the Plantation but the thought of  a return visit from Jasper Farqhuart Brown-Mug sent me down to the Iron Bridge. Lord Lite was getting more and more depressed in a cold grey Brighton and I could hardly buy a bite though thesee dace did brighten things up slightly. You know it's nearly spring when the celandines appear.

A slightly better fish from the nursery pool and the last on the pin for a while. Can see no point in using a trotting reel on a still water.

Not big but  a gudgeon, a species Lord Lite really wants to catch again.

Things were getting crowded on the beat and just as I was about to up sticks the lamprey float bobbed twice and shot away. Subdued fight but a lovely plump  fish none the less.

Two of the increasing numbers of members arriving  had also recently had Jasper Farqhuart Brown-Mug upstream, but both reported similar heavier weights than my given 5.04.

I was up by the Bungalow bend in 20 minutes determined to flush out the Lost 20 but also to have a bit of solitude. The remain 1 and  a half lamprey were by now macerating in their own blood, having been in and out of the freezer for every pike trip for a year or more.

Lord Light had cheered up having taken 5 plaice up to 1.15 home from the South Coast and I had just texted him  about hoping for the Lost 20 when one of the blood dripping lamprey sections was picked up in the spot. The fish stayed low and heavy and when it did turn across the flow the tail looked  a long way away from the head. Eventually the fish was in the net and  though not the Lost 20 was a very nice fish indeed.

The thing of beauty weighs a dead 1lb when wet so the deduction left 14.08. Getting the hang of the remote release now.

A bait tucked right in Shangri-La failed but a recast  just feet further down stream quickly came up trumps.the fish bolting strongly downstream, luckily under the other line.

Not  a bad end to the season at a very pleasing 12.05. And I still have half a macerated lamprey left for the autumn....

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

(Not) Salad Days

Off up to the wild west today for a RV with Lord Lite and fine print maker John Richardson, aka half of the Two Terriers and latterly The  Star of the Small Screen. Briefly keen Lord Lite had decreed a possible earlier start to snatch a fish or two but when I got out of the charabanc I was greeted by this friendly welcome.. it was cold anyway so decided on a tootle round instead.

Ended up at Three Holes with the intention of a few shots of the Popham's Eau and Sixteen Foot Junction when I spied a familiar car dealer logo. Lord Lite was sunning himself and almost begging for a coffee. He did also hand over an armful of goodies as well. I think he needs an eye test as he missed the intended left turn. It seemed too small a road he said..

I shepherded the old fool to the mile long gravel drive leading up to the paladian ancestral seat of the Two Terriers dodging peacocks and bent old retainers, mole skin trousers held up with faded Norfolk bog door blue baler twine.  With much bowing and scraping Lord Lite handed over his dues of Essex roker wings, hastily tucking the flip flops, fishnet tights and rucksac out of sight.

The other two terriers were fairly quiet allowing a decent conversation about the idiots who hold and use weapons when perhaps they shouldn't and of course Jasper Farqhuart Brown-Mug, the stoopid brown troooot who recently shoved Keith the pike off his perch. Lord Lite also premiered his witty charcoal demolition of my character. Got the Percy Sugden hat spot on though..

We were granted a tour of the print room and The Star of the Small Screen's vintage press and of course some lovely preserves were produced by the Star's carer and secretary as if by magic, as well as some splendid (non) refined bread  as befitting the status of The Star of the Small Screen before heading off to the now not so secret spot.

The Star of the Small Screen cast a worried eye over the quiet surface of the Drain, usually riven asunder by fry feeding pike and perch and set about catching some fresh bait.

Lord Lite opted for static dead baits and I headed a little way down to see if there was any flow to trot down. It was minimal but I winkled out 3 small perch for the live bait bucket.

As I headed back for a rethink The Star of the Small Screen was putting back a small pike taken on a drifted live bait so I headed  a little way up with my "bucket" of bait to a likely spot.

A scatter of fry and my float was heading off briskly. On long enough to see it was a little better  at about 7-8 lb then off, the 1/0 Aberdeen having not found sufficient purchase... this was too much for Lords Lite and he was soon galumphing down my intended leapfrog run.

I would have ignored his constant texts to put the kettle on had I had the phone volume up but hunger from the early start trumped and in short order I had the camp galley up and running. The sausages were returned once as they were deemed a little pink inside  and Lord Lite nearly choked as he only had half a pint of milk in his tea and it was too strong.. . 

He did attempt a desultory half hour on the whip, agreeing he was amazed that a ham fisted gumby like me could ever catch anything.......

but as the sun continued to beat down he soon adopted his  more habitual pose

I ignored  a blunt hook for about an hour before retying a new Kamasan 520 #18 with an instant reward

We decided then that tea drinking was perhaps more  the order of the day and so it proved. Dental work the following day  meant it unlikely that The Star of the Small Screen would add to his total of 90 pike for the season from the spot. Lord Lite had designs on some Brighton plaice and I had a couple of pints of reds and some festering lamprey to use up.

A kingfisher bade us farewell and  as we neared the town stretch the roach started to dimple the surface in increasing numbers. Toodle pip.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Meet Jasper Farqhuart Brown-Mug

Fired up by Chris Turnbull's chapter in his Harper published Reflections about  a 29lb pike from the top end of the Syndicate stretch I set forth with a plan to pike for 2-3 hours then trot the pool below the bridge as a recce for the last day. 

Some what dismayed to find a pair of anglers making their way down the stretch in a boat that nearly scraped each bank so intimate is the river up here.  Smug  probably better described them than my more colourful language.

I stomped off up the meadow and put a half a smelt out above the first bit of far bank cover below the mill. Very narrow up here and lots of clean sandy runs. Which meant hunkering down out off sight, and not staring at the smelt on one of those clear runs

Had just set up the  net (not the thing of beauty, that is being saved for the Fens tomorrow) when the float showed signs of life. 5lb or so, plump and a game scrapper. As well as leeches it was carrying a dragon fly nymph.

After several fast dropped takes  a smaller pike, all tail walking and head shaking hung on long enough. Perhaps he was trying to get some protection from the otter 

Otter  or not a good lob to the head of a raft produced an instant result. Surging up and down it revealed a yellow belly and spots. A decent brown that took a dislike to the net. Probably looking for one of those tiny cane spoon nets with  a 12 inch handle.

Had  had a run in with a pike or an otter recently but a very firm 5lb 4 oz. That is the imposing Oxnead Hall in the background and could easily be a location for something like Endeavour.  

This pool could be on the Kennet

On the phone  sorting out an early start with Lord Lite tomorrow when the downstream  half a sardine was away. Big spade tail showing during the fight in shallow, fast water then a  familiar white wound and  it seemed  that Jasper Farqhuart Brown-Mug really did prefer a  brutish working man's cod net. 

 I have always said trout are stupid.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


Tying up a few more traces for the last couple of days. And boning up for my next forary.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Roach porn

Forgive my indulgence and the rash of roach pictures at the moment but I frankly don't care for naysayers. The last I'll put up from yesterday.  3 (poss 4) more stabs at running water for at least 2 weeks. Then it is river trout. As well as bream and tench and more roach from gradually warming up waters. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Hemp and maggitt

In early off early.. and straight on to the Res with a tub of hemp and 2 pints of red. Looked lovely but the wind was bitter and hacking down the Res. This made things complicated as the wind was blowing the loose fed to the right and the tow was pulling to the left. Until it switched to the right. With the wind. 

None the less, ringing depth and shot pattern changes meant I kept in touch with the fish and apart from 3 perch and two skimmers or hybrids had mostly netters, and in total a nice neat 12lb. The fish went well in the deep clear water a couple of rod lengths out.

Ol stripy for Lord Lite

General stamp of the roach.