Archive for January, 2012

After such a long trip on Tuesday, I wanted to fish a bit closer to home.  So Geoff, Kevin and I decided to pay a visit to Longshaw Farm, near Herne.  We have fished it many, many times in the past.  It is reputed to hold some very big roach.  We can certainly vouch for it holding large shoals of roach, as we have caught quite literally hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of roach from here.  You tend to get quite a few around the 8oz – 1lb mark, with a few pound plus fish thrown in for good measure.

Today, the water had a rather unusual green tinge to it.  The water was also very cold.  We settled in to a few likely looking spots and started fishing.  After about an hour of struggling I decided to move to a slightly deeper spot.  I also changed from a 16 hook to 3lb hooklink to an 18 to 2lb.  This seemed to help.  I fished a single maggot and a small insert waggler.  I kept a trickle of bait going in but that didn’t seem to help.  So after that I would put in some hemp and maggots every few casts.

I started picking up fish almost immediately, albeit fairly small ones in the 2-3oz bracket.  By the end of the day I had managed about 70 roach with a few nettable ones to maybe 12oz.  I also had a couple of bream to about 3lb 8oz.  Meanwhile Kevin was having a similar sort of day.  His biggest roach was probably a pound with a few other reasonable fish.  Geoff on the other hand seemed to find the carp.  I think he ended up with 5 to about 7lbs and he had the biggest roach of the day at 1lb 5oz.  Sadly though there was a casualty of war, as during a fight with a carp of around 4lbs, the top section of his rod snapped clean off!  I’m sure when he talk to the manufacturer they will get it replaced asap.

All in all not a bad day.  Certainly not ones of Longshaw’s better ones though.  We normally get a lot more fish with a better average size.  No doubt we’ll be back at some point for another bash at those big roach.

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Once or twice a year I get to fish with a great mate of mine, John Kemp.  For the past couple of years we have tried to get up to Buscot Weir on the Thames.  You here a lot of pessimistic stories told of the Thames these days, especially in this area, where otters have had a large impact and silver fish decimated by cormorants.  How true this is, I can’t say.  What I can tell you is that this area of the Thames is beautiful.  It’s right on the edge of the Cotswolds in the most wonderful, inspiring countryside.

Things didn’t start well.  As we left Edenbridge with a frost on the cars, the skies clouded over quite quickly and by the time we hit the M25 the rain started.  The forecast was grim; heavy rain from mid morning to mid afternoon.  By the time we hit the M4, the rain was very heavy and things were looking a bit depressing.  We decided to stop at Membury and had a coffee and a toastie.  As we headed back to the car we stopped in the entrance and looked out at the almost torrential rain.  We debated whether to stay a while or move on.  We moved on and things were not looking good.  Of course we are forever the optimists.  We were confident that the rain had arrived much earlier than expected and would therefore stop much earlier than predicted.  Things were looking better, the sky was looking lighter, we said.  It was brave talk as we drove nearer the venue in heavy, persistent rain.  But perhaps miracles do happen.  As we pulled into the Buscot car park, the rain eased right off and then stopped.  We had some slight drizzle for maybe 15 or 20 minutes and then it stopped completely and we had a lovely, mild day.

The river is fairly narrow and there are tons of features, from thick beds of rushes, streamer weed, gravel runs and an abundance of overhanging trees and bushes.  So it’s rich in fish holding features.  Of course there are also two weirs here, one that creates an enormous pool and the other, much smaller weir.  They are separated by the lock and this creates three sections of the river,  with two islands in between.

The main weir creates a huge pool.  It’s pretty deep out in the middle but with shallow ledges around the edge.  It holds all of the usual species and is a nice spot to start out.  Its tree lined for the most part and as it exits back into the main river, it narrows up and offers lots of far bank cover to cast to.

We generally start our session here.  Fishing a large piece of crust in conjunction with some very smelly cheesepaste and anchored by enough weight to just hold bottom.  Using a big bow of line helps to dislodge the bait occasionally and send it bumping off downstream a little (in a straight line).  Bites are normally very confident on crust and the chub are generally hooked about an inch inside that cavernous mouth.  I often use very little free offering, but you can use some nice mashed bread to feed the swim.  I like to keep moving and present the bait in likely looking spots.  Casting upstream, with a bow of line, helps to move the bait downstream and thus covers large areas.  Crust is obviously buoyant and even using two or three 3 x ssgs helps to balance the presentation nicely.The cheesepaste just gives it that extra dimension in terms of flavour and a scent trail.

After around 15-20 minutes I had that tell tale knock on the rod top followed by the usual slow pull round on the quiver tip.  The resultant strike met with a solid resistance and what felt like a decent chub on the end.  It was a thick set fish, which looked like at one time it could have been a real lump.  Still it went 4lb 2oz on the scales.  Neither John or myself had any more bites after another 30-45 minutes, so it was time to move.

We kept mobile, fishing likely looking swims for a period of around 30-60 minutes a swim.  I missed a bite in one spot, due to not looking at the rod, typical!  Mind you the scenery and wildlife do offer a lot of distraction, so that’s my excuse.  I tried about 6 or 7 swims throughout the day and only had that one missed bite.  John managed a small chub and lots of sharp bites, which may well have been roach.  I think that the combination of a frost and then the heavy, cold rain had made the fishing particularly tough today, still we were enjoying ourselves, so we made the most of it.

We decided to finish off back in the weir.  I fished the narrowest section and john a bit lower down.  Just as the light was failing that tell tale knock then developed into the full blown pull round on the tip and another nice 4lb+ chub was the result.  That was my last bite and at about 5.45 I packed up.  I wandered down to John who had not had any indications.  Just as he was about to call it a day the rod tip went round a a beautiful big chub graced the net.  At 5lb 14oz it was the highlight of another wonderful day at beautiful Buscot.

Unfortunately after my tackle theft recently, I am left without the means of capturing a few photos, so my apologies.  I would have loved to have shared this beautiful part of the river with you.  Next time then.

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Thought I’d have a cheeky pre BFW grayling day at Britford this week.  It was the four Musketeers in action; Kevin (Aramis), Dan (Athos) and Geoff (Porthos…or Poor Sod)  and of course myself.

Conditions were good and I just hope they stay that way for February’s visit on the 15th.  The river level has increased since the drought like conditions of earlier last year but the level is still perhaps a foot down.  The clarity was good, with just a hint of colour.

It looked like a good day for maggots and worms.  I headed off to the lower section, below the lower sluices, for a dabble and immediately hooked and then lost a big chub.  I stayed in the area for a while and managed to loose another fish (yes, very careless, I know) and then banked a small brownie.

So, along with Kevin, I decided to start making my way upstream.  Both Kevin and I decided to drop into a few likely looking swims along the way.  The river is still fairly low but we found some nice runs.  The dace were throwing themselves on the hook.  I couldn’t begin to guess how many we caught between the four of us.  Most of them were fairly small but later in the day a few better quality ones showed themselves.

I couldn’t seem to find any grayling and neither could Dan, despite our best efforts.  Kevin started to catch a few to a pound+ and lost one particularly good fish at the net.  He said it looked every bit a 2 pounder.  Great shame.  Britford does hold some stonking grayling but they are few and far between at that sort of stamp.  Kevin sadly lost two other big fish afterwards, which is starting to get a bit careless, if you ask me.  Hard luck Kevin, we have all experienced it and it’s bloody frustrating.

Stuart the river keeper was on hand as always offering advice on swims.  He put me in a swim that provided me with half a dozen nice grayling to just short of the pound mark.  Geoff found a few decent chub and some grayling and Kevin’s swim dried up.  Dan finished on a high taking some very good quality dace on breadflake.

A reasonable day as ever at Britford, where fishing is always enjoyable and offers the tantalizing opportunity of some very big fish.

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Well after a horrendous start to the week, I managed to get out fishing.  On Monday morning I discovered that my garage had been broken into and the vast majority of my fishing tackle had been stolen.  I was totally gutted.  It takes years to build up a collection like that and in just a few minutes some selfish waster has had the lot.  Luckily they missed a few bits and I had a couple of items locked in the car.  I also found some old rods and reels in a storage cupboard, so all was not lost.  I could still get out fishing.

So on Wednesday we headed to the Ivel.  The conditions looked pretty good.  The river was up slightly on our previous visit and there was just a slight tinge of colour.  I opted to float fish for most of the day and then swapped to the quiver later on.  I went for a slightly higher mainline than normal, in case of barbel.  So setting up with 4lb mainline and a 3lb hooklink, I opted to fish 2 maggots on a size 16 barbless.  I also used a 6 BB float.  This helped pull line off of the reel and through the rod rings better.  I wouldn’t normally have a problem of this sort, if using the Drennan, but alas that had been taken.

I tried numerous swims but the fish were not really responding well to these tactics.  Eventually, having waded out to fish a nice run off of a bend, I found a shoal of small roach.  Having kept the feed going in, the roach started feeding quite readily.  I ended up with 16 or 17 in a very short period of time.  I then swapped to the feeder in an effort to find some decent chub.

I moved into a good glide, of reasonable depth.  I set up a quiver rod with 6lb mainline straight through to a 4 hook with a large piece of crust.  This was anchored using 2 size 3xssg shots.  They held perfectly in the flow.  Over the remaining hour or so of the session I had a few taps on the bread but no real bites were forthcoming.  However a small muntjac deer appeared on the opposite bank and settled down to feed for a while, quite oblivious to me watching on.  It was a nice distraction to what had been a fairly poor session.  So eventaually we called it a day at about 5pm.  Geoff had just missed a really good bite but had at least caught a small chub.  Kevin had taken 2 small chub on the float plus numerous roach and gudgeon.

The day was a little disappointing, considering the conditions, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I would like to thank everyone who has offered help with fishing tackle, having heard my bad news of earlier in the week.  My friends and acquaintances in particular at The Association of Barbel Fishers and Barbel Fishing World, being particularly supportive.  Many thanks to you all.

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