Friday, 30 November 2007

()><(((º> Tranquility on the Thames <º)))><()

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A warm welcome back to fishing for memories,it has been a while since my last post.Having just picked up a new area on the Thames to get our teeth into over the winter,my father fell ill sadly for a few weeks with his diabetes and heart playing up badly,however a few weeks later and despite being in pain with neuropathy he decided he wanted to get out on the new stretch we had previously spent sometime looking at,so we decided on a shorter then usual session as Robert was on a lot of painkillers and beta blockers.

On the morning of the off,the weather was more or less spot on,Cyclonic with a light South Westerly and we was looking forward in great anticipation to wetting our lines,when we got to our swims we found the Thames in fine fettle,slightly coloured from the previous weeks rainfall but on the drop with a good flow and a fair amount of leaf debris among other things,so all in all our prospects looked reasonably promising.

I opted for one rod out to an Island on the far bank this took a 6oz lead to hold it there this rod was out with a Rosehip boilie and on a running rig with 10lb Drennan sink braid and size 8 Kamasan Animal hook,My other rod was placed on the near margin shelf about a rod length out on this rod I placed a large low oil pellet wrapped in a curry paste.

Robert Had setup in his swim and had decided to go with boilies on both rods Cranberry on his left rod and Tutti on his right rod.

The day wore on and was very pleasant with only one boat all day late in the afternoon,Robert had a single toner on his left rod,Robert was eating and had one hand with food and the other with a cup of tea he ran to his rod he got to the rod and catapulted his food into the river and was into a solid fish that powered off downstream,after a lengthy battle and having managed to play the fish within two rod lengths out it powered off again and then hit a snag and severed the link. Robert was gutted,we both came to the conclusion it was a very good fish,Carp or Barbel.As the evening drew in Robert caught a few Bream.

My spot had been fairly slow going,a handful of Bream on both rods so I decided on a recast and re baited both areas lightly.The evening drew on and time was ticking away as fast as it always does when your fishing,a couple of vixens called out and not far away an owl announced its presence with a shrill hunting call,the moon had finally managed to find its way out from the heavy duvet of cloud cover and looked splendid.

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Around 10pm my right marginal rod (pellet wrapped in curry paste) bleeped once and single toned off upstream like a steam train,I jumped up and forgot the bank was uneven and skidded down and was into a solid resistance that was off upstream and hugging the bottom,over the next 10 minutes I managed to play the fish back down into my swim and it kidded me that it was nearly ready for the net and quickly decided to attempt to plod off across to the other side,it eventually was nestling in the net and it was a decent looking Barbel.Robert remarked "looks at least 9 or 10 maybe more" I slipped it into the weigh sling and the scales tipped round to 10lb 8oz`s exactly.I was happy to say the least,new stretch and a decent double figure Barbel.

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That was to be the last fish and a very enjoyable session.We packed up at around 11pm and headed off homeward bound.Until next time from Robert and myself Tight lines and good luck to everyone out on the Thames.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

()><(((º> Short Session Soiree <º)))><()

Welcome back to Fishing For Memories,greetings to everyone and I hope everyones enjoying the current fishing conditions this late September,which has continued in being very dry on a whole.

This latest session for Robert and I on the Thames was only a short night time one at the new area which we had fished last time and had been trickling some bait into. We did not get to our swims until late evening 9pm or thereabouts and were chomping at the bit to get down sooner,but alas some real life issues had conspired against us which stopped our session from commencing sooner,Such is life.

We went with the baits that had proven very good this season for us 15/20mm Halibut Pellet and 22mm boilies on running rigs with 2oz grippa weights to 10lb Drennan Sink Braid and size 8 Kamasan Animal Hooks.Robert and I decided on fishing all our rods at near marginal features he settled on a gravel run in between a cabbage patch area and I went with one rod to a tree with its roots disappearing into the water and under the bank like a hollow,my other rod was put to a marginal bush very close in less then a rod length out.

So we were only going to be fishing till around 3am and we settled down into our respective swims and the night ebbed away as it does,feeling very mild for late September with some nice cloud cover,at 11pm my left rod (pellet) rattled off and I was into a lively short sprinting fight from another quality Thames Chub which went 6Lb on the scales

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So a nice solid start to our session had begun and not more then 30 minutes later my right Rod (boilie) tore off from the marginal tree routes and belted off upstream after a short lively fight a common of 9Lb was sat in the landing net

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I was reasonably happy,given the short period of time Robert and I had to play with it looked like we was in for a good session,we both had a chat about the developments of the session and as Robert was opening a pack of biscuits for the obligatory dunking in tea,his right Pellet rod on the gravel patch screamed off downstream and he was into a very solid fight that bored away and refused to come to the surface. The fish then shot out across some dense cabbage patch and the water boiled in front of us,and eventually the fish surfaced and looked a decent Thames Barbel and sure enough it was a new Barbel Pb for Robert weighing in at a cracking 13lb.

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So what a session so far Thames running slow and clear and fish feeding happily under cloudy skies,Robert and I were very happy indeed.At around 2am my right Rod Single toned and blistered off upstream keeping in the margins at the same time.I lent in and was met with solid resistance and power the fish was making its way to another marginal snag further upstream ,luckily I could walk up a little way and took advantage of this to get extra purchase on the fish,eventually I managed to play her back from the marginal snags further upstream and Robert was by my side and landed a lovely Common with a lovely sized tail on it ,no wonder it had belted off,it weighed in at 16lb.

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This was to be the last fish of our short night session,but what a lovely little session it turned out to be,we returned home,only to be even the more eager to get back out again,such is the Thames it is truly the elixir of life to an angler.

Monday, 10 September 2007

()><(((º> New Area New Beginning <º)))><()

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Welcome back to Fishing For Memories a warm September high pressure welcome to you all!

The weather is fine and high pressure currently rules the South of England,the river levels are more or less around summer levels and nice and slow,seems almost ages ago that we had those terrible floods.

Robert and I had been doing some recon work on some new areas of the Thames that we had earmarked but not yet fished,I had trickled in only a small amount of pre-bait over one day,I would have liked to put in more pre-bait over a longer course of days but had not had the time. Robert and I set up for our overnight session in these swims in the late afternoon after much deliberation.I was greeted by the sight of a greater spotted woodpecker in the tree next to my swim and managed to grab a hasty snap of him as he was having a good rummage about for food.

Robert and I decided to fish until 8am the following morning and decided to setup as usual once the boat traffic had eased down a bit,we was both uncertain of what this new area would hold for us,although I had seen a few Carp to around the 20lb+ mark cruising about a few days previously along a nearby gravel run which was between some cabbage patches and streamer weeds which screamed Barbel.Our usual tactics that had proved very successful thus far on the Thames,we employed one rod out on boilie one on large halibut pellet.

The evening passed us by very quickly in the time bubble that is fishing,at first darkness the Bream did kick in a bit in my swim and I had around 8pm of them then my swim fell quiet,both my rods were at marginal features and gravel areas,the same for Robert as well,his swim had been quiet with only a couple of Bream showing at aroun 8.30pm Robert had a hard take on his left rod (halibut pellet) and it bolted off downstream after a short fight a small streamlined Barbel of 6lb was in the net,so the Barbel were about on the gravel run as we had hoped.

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So first blood for our new area and hopefully a sign of things to come.later that night Robert had another solid take on his right rod (18mm boilie) and a dinky nicely shaped Common of 8lb exactly was sat in the net,not our largest Thames Carp by a long chalk,but nonetheless very welcome from a new area for us.

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My swim had gone very quiet since the Bream and remained this way until early morning when I had a very hard and fast run upstream towards a sunken tree,after solid deep running fight my third river Thames Tench was in the net and weighed in at 6lb8oz.

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So all in all it was not an easy going first session on this new section of the River but it paid off enough overall to prove worthy enough for us to decide to pre-bait it again and give it a longer go,we both can not wait to get back out on it and are currently planning our next assault.

Please be sure to check back soon for more reports from myself Mark and Robert at
Fishing For Memories

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

()><(((º> Angling Times <º)))><()

I have been informed by the Angling Times that I have won this weeks Drennan Cup award that they run,with my 14lb8oz Barbel that I captured recently and I must say, I am immensely pleased to have been awarded this.

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Sunday, 2 September 2007

()><(((º> Under The Full Moon <º)))><()

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Welcome Back to fishing for memories,a warm welcome to you all

I decided to head off for a short into the night session on the Thames without Robert on this particular occasion.My hopes were of an expectant nature filled with the excitement that one gets when they go fishing,boosted by the wonderful last session we had,I didn`t get to my swim until late afternoon,and spent an hour after setting up by trickling some extra bait in and then decided to sit back and allow the bait to settle for another hour,as evening set in and boat traffic eased I decided to cast out,baits and rigs were the same as they have been for most of the season for me,halibut pellets and boilies,over small but accurate beds of particle. Rigs were running rigs 12lb main line and 3oz leads were used along with Kamasan Animal size 8 hooks to Drennan 10lb Sink Braid.

The left rod was put out to a near margin weed area and right rod out to another marginal tree.I settled down and took in the nice evening as it drew in,at around 8pm I had a very hard and long run on the left rod (pellet) and lifted into a very solid bullish fight that moved left to right and then sprinted off further out to midstream,after a short stop start fight I was guiding what looked like a very good Specimen Chub to the net,into the net it went and out on to the landing mat,as I folded back the landing net creases I saw a beautiful Chub and it was my largest of this season so far and second 7LB Thames Chub,I was very very happy and
was thinking to myself,"what a start".

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Well after that fish I was feeling more then a little happy and re-cast the rod to the same spot. One hour later my right rod single toned and steadily plodded off,I lifted in and was into a good fish alas the fish was not well hooked and slipped about 40 seconds into the fight,it had felt a very good solid fish and at a guess Barbel or Carp,I was a bit gutted to have that happen,it always makes you feel so hard done by when that happens know what I mean? You get into a good fish only to have the fight cut short its as if you feel you have been cheated.

Anyway The right rod was re-baited (boilies) and re-cast to more or less the same marginal spot,at 9pm my left rod belted off downstream to a nearby snag,I locked up the drag as much as possible and was into a very solid deep running fight,the fish plodded to the middle of the river and then back into my bank but further downstream,I applied some extra pressure and the fish eventually began to come upstream and past me trying to make some tree roots. Eventually it succumbed and a short but chunky pristine Barbel of 8LB with some beautiful proud feelers was in the net.

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Two fish in a short time,a superb start,the left rod was re-baited and just as I was putting the swinger back on the rod,my right rod plodded off and i was into a slow kiting run and very soon a Bream was in the net on the boilie I decided to give it a weigh and it went 8lb8oz

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This was turning into a busy session as before I had my right rod back out my left rod screamed off again this time upstream and I was into another plodding deep running fight,after 6 minutes a Barbel appeared on the surface and then hastily decided to take another excursion back down to the bottom,after a short tussle it met the landing net and was out on the landing mat a slim fish torpedo shaped and 7lb8oz.

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After this fish all went silent till around 2am or thereabouts,I sat back and tucked into a cookie and a cup of tea for my sins,god knows I could do with laying off the sweet foods,Im beginning to look like the marshmallow man more then usual.I recounted the night so far,a tidy result, two Barbel and a quality Specimen Thames Chub at 7lb and a Bream of 8lb8oz,the moon was high and shining down through a tree setting the night aglow with its beautiful bright radiant beam,Billy the bat was sweeping across the water picking up the nights mosquitoes and I was semi surrounded by speckled slugs,seems to be a ton of them around this year.

3am was creeping up on me and this only being a short session,knew I didnt have much time left but was nonetheless very happy,the time ticked on fast as it always does when your fishing, I sat quietly listening to owls calling out into the night with their hi pitched hunting calls. All of a sudden my left rodded belted off again downstream the bite alarm was going into overdrive,I locked the baitrunner and was into a heavy and powerful fish that held bottom and kept deep and downstream and ever closer to a snag which added to my worry ten fold,after a 15 minute fight I had the fish at the edge of the net and sliding it over the cord,another Barbel and this looked a good fish too,I slipped it into the weigh sling and the needle ont he scales settled at 11lb 8oz,another Thames double and my third in less then a week,I was totally ecstatic!

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Well that fish capped the end of my short session off very nicely and what a busy session it was,this season has been nothing short of amazing on the Thames and in my opinion it is one of the best if not best,mixed coarse fishery in England.

Monday, 27 August 2007

()><(((º> Tails of fishy goins on <º)))><()

Hello and a warm Welcome back to Fishing For Memories.

It seems the weather is very settled currently and Southern England is enjoying some well earned heat and sunshine,which makes a change given this summers erratic and some what torrential rain at times.

Robert and I decided to hit the Thames for another 24 hour session,we had been steadily introducing bait over a few days and had solid hopes as I had decided to ring a few changes with the pre-baiting and throw a few different ideas into the mix to get the fish really digging about and having to work a bit more at finding the food,this I was hoping would make them really mooch about,well the day finally arrived for our session,we got down late afternoon so as to give the boat traffic time to ease off from its usual steady pace,needless to say we were both chomping at the bit.The swims looked perfect,the river whilst still carrying a reasonable flow
was looking as good as ever,with the usual bits and pieces of flotsam and weed rafts passing by intermittently.

We decided on the usual tactics that have been working for us this season: One rod out on Halibut Pellet and one rod out on a 20mm Boilie,running rigs 12lb main line and 10lb and 12lb Sink Braid respectively,to size 8 Kamasan Animals and 3oz leads.

The late afternoon ebbed by peacefully and quietly,the last of the boats had started to ease off, my left Halibut Pellet rod which had been casted to a marginal feature signaled a staccato bleep that unclipped the swinger,yet did not develop into a full blooded take,it cross my mind was it some of the large Chub playing their usual quick hit bites,ten minutes later and the same again happened bleee....eeeep and back down the swinger went way to fast to hit,whatever it was was toying with the bait and me at the same time,another five minutes past by timelessly,The old faithful Heron called out in the distance,I watched my rod with interest and amusement,when would I get my answer?

Another five minutes passed by and all of a sudden the swinger flew up hard and true and the reel went into a powerful fast lunging run,I locked up and leant in to find a very deep surging run from a fish that stayed deep just sounding and plodding away tight to the bottom,I thought to myself "this is a damn good fish,whatever it is", part of me said Carp as the fish felt very similar to The Thames Carp I have had,I was edgy the fish was making plans to dive for some marginal tree about 8 meters downstream and the way it was running was not giving me a lot of options,it was gathering ever closer to it,so I tightened up as much as I could allow and let the rod take more of the lunging and pressure,I knew I was risking a hook pull,but this was my only option,doing so worked and the fish changed direction and headed back up my way albeit with more pace,Robert had turned up in my swim and was I glad to see him,he saw the fish as it broke the surface and remarked as I did too "thats a a fair lump of a Barbel",for the first time I caught a glance of her girth and shoulders,I replied to Robert "this is a bloody large double". The thoughts of cracking my Thames pb of 9lb8oz was flowing and ebbing through me,my mouth was dry,she came to the surface again only to lunge and head back down again to the dark depths,eventually she was in the landing net,Robert took a look in and remarked "that is a cracking fish,must be 13lb at least",I was all smiles and akin to that of a school kid all over again,out on to the landing mat she went and into the sling,the scales tipped round to 14LB 8oz,I was abashed and without speech,I had smashed my Thames PB and Barbel PB by a clear 5LB,Robert`s comment was enough as we looked on "that really is some fish Mark"

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So we was off to a spellbinding start,the left rod was re-cast into the same area later that night,I had a stop start sprint and shake run and was into a quality Thames Chub which went 6Lb8oz exactly,could things get any better for us?

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Apparently it could,Roberts rods had been silent but as I chatted to him re-counting the night so far his right rod screamed off downstream,I saw a bow wave as the fish came straight up and sped off downstream, mentioned to him "that is a Carp" Robert was not so sure,but one thing was for certain,this fish was not going to take any prisoners if it could help it and made its way for a weed bed further downstream,Robert muttered "this things steaming along,wonder if its another big Barbel?".Only time would tell,Robert applied pressure to the fish and it kited further out into the river,towards one of the sunken obstructions Robert had found before,he felt it grinding against the snag but managed to bully the fish away and after a lengthy fight a Beautiful Mirror was in the net,I commented as I lifted her,"this is a good fish",she was slipped into the sling and weighed,she went 28LB 8oz.To say we were having a good session would probably be one hell of a gross understatement.

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Well we was ecstatically happy by now,this was a blinding session and we could ask for no more.Later that night however my right (boilie rod)that had so far been silent belted off upstream and across the river,I was met with another solid resistance and a deep surging run,by now I was beginning to think there was a pile of red letter days coming in one session,what was I into this time? The answer was soon forthcoming and it was another double figure Thames Barbel which weighed 12Lb. Robert had joined me in my swim after I had landed the fish and said to me,with a broad smile on his face "can this session get any better?",I replied
"who knows,at this rate it could well be possible!"

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My right rod was re-cast to the same area but I swapped the boilie round for a slightly larger Halibut Pellet,but all remained quiet until the early morning which saw me have another sprinting run on the right rod,that went up along tight to my near margins,after a few minutes of pacey running upstream a pristine,pretty young Mirror of 7lb 8oz was in the net,probably a fresh stocking since the floods,it should grow into a very nice looker in time.

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by now it was around about 6am or thereabouts,so I re-cast the rod to the same area with another pellet on and at around 7am was met with another sprinting run from yet another good Chub which weighed in at 6LB exactly.

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Well what a session for us,two cracking specimen Barbel,a beauty at 14lb8oz and an absolutely beautiful Carp of 28LB8oz along with a Brace of 6LB Chub and a small Mirror of 7lb8oz.

Can anyone ask for more?I don`t think so some how,this without doubt will live a long long time in our memories as a great session for both of us,but thats the thing with the Thames,you end up with such a collection of great memories,as our sessions this season so far have shown.

I think William Wordsworth put it best.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill.
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep.
The river glideth at his own sweet will.
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Summers finally here.......What?!!?

It seems at long last that summer has finally sprung forth as if from nowhere and just when I thought we would not see any after all the monsoon like conditions it finally seems to have settled down nicely,with the last few days hitting as high as 30c,the river conditions are however far from perfect,the water is on the drop but very coloured and carrying a heavy amount of debris.Add to this the fact that we have had such heavy flooding that it has displaced many fish from their usual haunts and patrol routes,despite this the fish when found are hungry and quite happy to feed,so don`t be put off if you find your first few sessions since the flooding quiet or harder going then normal as this will abate in time.

Robert and I set up on our usual stretch of the Thames for our 24 hour session,the prospect was one of brackish coloured water and very strong current even the slack areas were not exactly what one could call true slack areas.We opted on two separate swims Robert opting on what was not a very slack area at all,but had previously produced to him on other sessions.I decided on a slacker area and settled on fishing both rods in the margins mainly due to the fact that it was taking 3 1/4oz to hold bottom in this particular swim.

Baits for me were to be 20mm Halibut pellet and on my other rod 20mm boilie and the same for Robert,both fished on running rigs.

The morning passed without incident with just the company of the Swans as usual,things were as we expected given the recent rainfall,morning passed into afternoon and we chatted about where the fish were possibly holding up,my main reason for picking a slack area was that I had hoped some fish would have taken refuge in this particular area,but it had not thus proved correct,Robert`s swim had been very quiet with just two jacks to show for it both on halibut pellet caught late evening.

as the night drifted on the Bream decided to feed and I had numerous Bream the largest being one of 7lb,with numerous others averaging 6 to 6.08lb.Later in the evening I had a very hard and fast take on my left rod and after a short stop start fight a quality Thames Chub of 6lb was laying in the net recuperating.

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I was counting myself as very lucky by now as the fishing was proving very hard going especially for Robert,whom was finding it very hard going in his pacey swim he had chosen.All went quiet for myself at 2am with not much doing at all and a very cool mist coming across the water,owls called out in the night hunting their prey and bats swooped and dived ballet-esque over my rods,however my lines remained silent.Early morning beckoned with the sun popping up and throwing back its sleepy covers at this time my left rod ripped off from the marginal cabbage patch it had been placed near and bolted off to mid-river,I was into a solid fight with the fish diving into marginal cabbage patch further downstream and hugging the bottom,I was beginning to wonder if I was into a Barbel,after some period of cabbage patch sight seeing by said fish I was rewarded with my second Thames Tench of 6lb,the fishing had been slow but made all the more worthwhile by this extra addition.

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Later that morning at last doors Robert had a belting take which sped off downstream and resulted in a good spirited tussle with a Barbel,which was in great condition given the weather we have had recently whilst far from being the best Thames Barbel he has had,it was in pristine condition and very welcome indeed at 6.08lb exactly.

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This ended what in the end given the conditions we have had recently in England with the heavy flooding and displacement of fish a pretty rewarding session that in all honesty if I am truthful I expected us to blank and badly.

The Thames forever in my heart and to coin a phrase used by Kojak "who loves ya baby"

Monday, 16 July 2007

Back Out Fishing Once More I Spy Sunshine

Welcome back to fishing for memories,it seems we have at last got some summer like weather which whilst not needed is always nice,given how much rain we have had of late I was begining to consider purchasing Noah`s Ark or similar.Despite the rain the fishing has been very consistent out on the river,and paid off very well this last session being very good also.

It was nice to get out again after I had previously had a bad health scare and had been in A&E and had to have some tests run,thankfully these provisionally showed negative.Robert and I got to our swims in the afternoon we had previously pre-baited them and hopes and excitement were running high as ever,the afternoon went by quietly as did late evening with just the usual boat traffic grinding to a halt,come evening time Roberts left hand rod screamed off downstream and he was into a solid fish that made a dash for an underwater tree snag and after a reasonable fight a nicely proportioned Barbel of 8lb was in the Net,This fish falling to 20mm Halibut pellet

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Later that night at 1am Robert had another Screaming take on his right boilie rod and he lent into a solid fish that ploughed off upstream and to a dense cabbage patch after burying itself in the patch and needing some sensible pressure,it moved off again and came back downstream and bolted for an overhanging tree,after a lengthy fight Robert had a lovely Barbel of 9LB in the net.

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My swim up till this point had been very quiet and no sign of any Carp either which had graced me with their prescence the previous session,but thats taken as given on a river like the Thames,even with the pre-baiting it`s no guarantee of getting into them every time,nothing more then a little bit of a banker or light guarantee,that they will peruse your area.At around 2am my right boilie rod screamed off upstream and I was into a very strong fish that deceptively nearly managed to snag me,luckily however,the snag which I presume was part of a rotten piece of wood,snapped and allowed me to gain on the fish,this resulted in a lovely Barbel of 9LB exactly.

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At 6am I had a vicous take on my right rod again and unbeknown to me my bite alarm had died on me,the baitrunner however alerted me to the take,which was just as well gievn the fish had managed to jump the rod off the alarm I was into another fish it felt decent and sped this time downstream and off over to the mid-water area of the river,eventually it was landed and it was another pristine Barbel this time 9lb 8oz.

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Four Barbel in total and despite no Carp showing,it had turned into a good session for us,30 minutes later on the pellet rod I had a stop start rattling run and the result was a perfectly formed Chub of 5lb

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This was not to be the end one hour later and I received a large drop back on my right rod,which then belted of upstream,lifting in I felt a solid resistance that powered off to an overhanging tree,eventually it succumbed to the folds of the net and inside lay my first Thames Tench,which looked like it had never seen a hook and was in immaculate condition,it weighed in at 5LB 8oz.

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we was within 1 hour of packing up when Robert had another run on his left rod,which resulted in another Barbel of 7Lb 8oz.

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So no Carp were about or least not feeding for us,but this was without doubt a superb session,taking 5 Barbel between us,three of which were 9lb or over and with the added bonus of a 5lb Chub and 5lb 8oz Tench and proves that the Thames really is the river that just keeps on giving.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Fishing For Memories A Happy Wet Start To July

Hello and a warm welcome back to Fishing For Memories.

Well the years certainly trundling by fast as it always does when your fishing and it`s now July and still raining,the lakes are full to the brim in the South and the rivers are running high coloured and flooded in places,whatever happened to summer time? Despite this the fishing on the river Thames since the beginning of the season has been good and Robert and I have been having some good sessions.

I can`t help but feel these days many anglers who just go straight into one type of fishing without grounding themselves on other areas of our wonderful sport are doing themself a dis-service,there are many elements of fishing that when learnt can be added to your armoury and mixed up and used when you go fishing for one type of fish ,the significant amount of watercraft you can pick up from other areas of angling that you don`t learn when just sticking to one species or style of angling are in my honest opinion immensely useful,be it running a centrepin and float down the glides on a river after chub or Barbel ,or fishing for shy biting crucians and Roach and learning a different type of finesse as well as studying the water in a myriad of ways.I was brought up as a river angler by my dad (Robert) before branching out into other areas, he taught me a lot of things from the basics of tying a hook to how to fish different methods on the local rivers and what to look for in different weather conditions this I felt helped make me a more well rounded angler and gave me extra perspective and ideas.

Robert and I set out in the evening to do a 24hr session on the River Thames,main targets being Barbel and Carp,we had pre-baited some new areas,the evening was dry for a change with a reasonable breeze and cloud cover,the river itself was looking high and coloured we opted for 3 3/4oz running rigs,12lb drennan sink braid hooklinks and size 8 kamasan Animal hooks,

Bait wise Robert decided to use 18mm boile with a base mix we have been using a lot this year on one rod and on his other rod opted for doppelganger in sweetcorn flavour shaped into a 28mm hook pellet shape.I opted one rod on the same base mix in 18mm and my other rod on donkey choker pellet,whilst most times this can be a dead cert way of getting bream it has also accounted for quite a few Thames carp for us.

We settled into our swims,the evening drew in slowly with the wind easing and trees being just lightly caressed,the boat traffic had eased down,the old faithful kingfisher flew by with a fish firmly lodged in it`s beak,a wonderful flash of metallic blue,radiant in even the most overcast of weather,as the evening wore on it wasn`t long before we broke out the tea and munchies chatting to each other expectantly of what this session might hold,just at this moment my right rod gave a jerky single bleep followed by a solid take upstream,I locked the baitrunner and started playing what felt a livley fish and I did wonder if I was into one of the Thames Barbel after a few minutes of lively fight a nice looking Mirror with a lovely colour of 12lb8oz was sat in the net 1-0 to the donkey choker.

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Robert and I were happy with this start given the colour and flow on the river,the right rod was recast and this time i opted to re-bait it with one of the boiliesfrom the latest base mix we had been using,the evening drew right in and at eleven it started to shower,steadily but remained nice and mild The swans paddled by with their cygnets behind them struggling in the flow,one of them sat on mum`s back taking the smart easy option.

at 10pm the right rod single toned and ripped off upstream,yet again I was met with a solid resistance as the fish went into a marginal cabbage patch and I was worried it would be the last I saw of it,luckily with a little steady pressure and some work from the fish she freed herself and then cruised off downstream to the far bank using the current to its advantage,after a reasonable scrap a long Mirror of 16lb8oz was sat in the net,I was happy,two fish in a short time,

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Robert and I sat back and happily re-counted the night so far,Robert`s spot had been quiet no Carp or Barbel so far,but he felt it would come good eventually later that night about 1am, he had a screaming single toner on the left rod on the doppelganger and the fish bolted off downstream to a cabbage patch and slipped the hook,he was gutted it,had felt a decent fish,so he quickly re-cast his rod to the same spot and half an hour later the same rod bolted off downstream,Robert was into another fish that made it to a cabbage patch,but this time it didnt slip and he managed to bully it out of the patch and into a clearer area of water after 10 minutes of downstream sprinting in the pacey flow and a pristine Barbel of 8LB was sat in the net.

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The next 2 hours past without incident,owls called out in the night with their hi-pitched hunting calls,a fox past by our swims and briefly halted to take a long solemn look before it padded its way off into the night,it may have been a vixen I couldn`t really tell,if not maybe he was off to find solace with one as they had been calling out during the night with their banshee-esque howls.

At around 3am my right rod bleeped once then 30 seconds later bleeped again and the swinger dropped back then in the same action hit the blank of the rod and my alarm single toned and the line ripped off and rod angled downstream,this was a fish on a mission apparently to try snagging me and nearly succeeded as I lifted in and started to take slack on the fish it found an underwater obstruction i was not aware of and the line looped under at a different position to where the fish was running,the only thing i could do was try to make it change direction,I lowered my rod tip and eased down my pressure and the fish then changed direction and ran back upstream and started heading for some tree routes,I quickly applied some side pressure and this paid off and it finally succumbed to the darkfolds of the landing net,out on to the landing mat and a very nicely proportioned spawn laden Common of 20LB was my reward.

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I was very wet and very happy this ended a very good albeit wet overnight session on the Thames for us,a wonderful river you can never tell what is round the corner of each visit to it`s hallowed banks.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Welcome Back To Fishing For Memories

You know there is a special bond between father and son`s with fishing,you may not always see eye to eye at home at times,but this is always soon forgotten when your down by the lake or river bank and the atmosphere soaks into your whole being and you melt as one into the setting and scenery,time is a very limiting fire in which we burn,if you like fishing and get time to go with your old man,try to go as much as you can,they are special memories which will live with you forever.

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We have been fishing and catching with some regularity on the Thames since the start of the season,however it has so far been a very very wet June and no signs of abating yet,rivers are high and coloured with some serious pace,meaning for some of the swims we have fished needing 3 1/4 oz weights just to hold ground,an odd feeling for summer.

We arrived at our swim late evening,my back had been playing up bad the previous night so I didn`t get the sleep I would have liked,the river was up very high pacey and coloured but thinning down nicely at times,only to topped up by more rain and more colour.We both opted for 2oz weights on the near margin rods and 3 1/4 oz for fishing on the gully runs of the river,baits were to be 15mm Mistral Rosehip Isotonics and 15/20mm halibut pellets.

After surveying the flow we both settled down in our swims,amid a light shower my right rod was cast to a near margin overhanging tree and the left rod down stream into one of the gullys.Not too long after and it appeared the bream were about and my right rod trundled off resulting in a plump bream of 7lb8oz

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Then a few moments later the right boilie rod was off with another Bream this time a nice sized bream of 8lb8oz,Having had stillwater Bream to 11lb8oz I still always find River Bream to put up a so much fitter fight then their lake counterparts,as ever due to the fact that they are quite toned due to having to swim against the current,like any river fish.

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Later that evening Roberts left rod screamed off and he was into a hard fighting fish
after calling me down for some assistance it was clear this fish was not going to give up easily and headed off with the current downstream,it hadn`t headed for any of the cabbage patches as so many Barbel normally do so we both felt it was one of the Carp,20 minutes later with some serious calculated playing a lovely 20lb8oz Mirror was sitting friskily in the net.

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The Rest of the night was quiet,until 2am when my left rod hammered off downstream
single toning my alarm in the process,I was at the time filling my face on a sarnie,how many times have you had a run when eating?It always seems to occur. So I jumped up and was into a solid fight which started taking me downstream in the flow to a nice set of underwater roots on a nearby tree,so I applied some extra pressure bearing in mind i was only using 10lb sink braid and managed to bully the fish back up into my swim,that was when it decided having used the current and saving its energy,to surge off upstream on a Linford Christie sprint,15 minutes later and a lovely pristine Barbel of 9Lb was sat in the net.

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Thus ended a very happy albeit very wet,productive session for both of us.

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Monday, 18 June 2007

Start Of The River Season Beckons

Well the river season has just kicked off and have the rivers ever looked better?In a simple answer not in my opinon,with the extra rain fall we have had has made them look lush and rejuvenated,dragon flys and kingfishers graced the bank and of course a few boats as is usual.Robert and I were both chomping at the bit to get down on the river and had been trickling in a little bit of pre-bait on and off,in a few spots.

We got down early on the opening day and decided we would fish into the night a little,as the action always picks up just after dark,especially when the boat traffic dies down,the river was coloured and pacey so we opted for 3oz weights,one rod each on power reflon of 8LB and one of Robert`s rods on 9Lb Black Braid and my other rod on 10LB Drennan sink braid.Bait on Roberts rods consisted of 15mm Mistral boilie on one rod and 15mm Halibut Pellet on the other.For myself I opted on loosely baiting with some mistral but fished two halibutpellets 15mm on both rods.

The day past without incident apart from being a tad windier then we would have liked,mid-afternoon saw Robert have a run on his left rod only for the fish to head down into a cabbage patch and then slip the hook,it seemed like a Thames Barbel.For the rest of the dayour rod`s remained silent,we was graced with the presence of a Kingfisher nearby and as the afternoon wore on two doormice whom apperently now owe me part of the material in my groundbait bag,come back here you thieving vagabond`s!

Evening drew in and at 10pm Robert had a raking take on his halibut pellet rod and the fightwas on as the fish opted for an excusrion downstream and to the nearest cabbage patch he could find.Well the battle of attrition lasted a total of 15 minutes when the fish was finally landed and weighed in at a nice 10LB Barbel a nice fish and our river season account was deemed well and truly open.

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As we landed this fish my right rod rattled off,thud I into a bullish fighting fish that felt a reasonable weight,a short sprint and dash fight later and I had an immaculate summer Chub,better still it was a 6Lb summer Chub,I was very happy to say the least.

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This was building up for one mad hour on Old Father Thames.Not long after the
Chub,then Roberts left rod was off yet again,the fish this time was smaller Barbel yet with a nicely proportioned girth and weighed 8LB

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25 minutes later and during a slight downpour of rain my left rod screamed off downstream to a marginal weedbed and I was into another sprint and stop fight with yet another Chub,6 minutes later it was sliding into the net and out into the weigh sling this fish tipped the scales at 6LB 8oz an absolutely cracking brace of Summer

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Then at final bells for us,my right rod ripped off downstream and a short powerful fight later I was into a smaller Thames Barbel at 7LB a real torpedo shaped slim Jim that put up a very good fight.

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That thus ended our first session of this river season and a reasonably productive one at that.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Gone Fishing

Gone fishing is a short compilation and slideshow of some of the fish Robert and Mark have caught comprising of specimen Carp,Bream,Tench,Chub and Barbel, I hope you find it enjoyable.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Spring & Summer on the Tinca and Carp Trail

Ah do you smell that? That`s the smell of spring time and all the beauty that it holds.

Robert andI got our Tickets for the lake in question and after acquainting ourselves with its occupants the previous season,we had a plan of action and decided to stick to it.

April was one of the driest on record and seemed to set the Tench on the feed nicely and also had the carp on the move and they could be spotted in the more secluded areas of the lake at times either basking or just cruising about,despite being nice and dry the nights as per usual in Arpil were cool ou first session I decided not to take any particles whatsoever as the Tufted ducks were being their usual fun selfs "dive dive" We settled on loosely scattered free offerings and fished one rod on 15mm halibut pellet and the other on a new boilie mix for this season in 18mm sizes.We set up in one of the arms of the lake and loosely baited with 18mm boilies.

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all rods were out on running rig slack line setups with 1.5oz flat pear leads and 10 and 12lbdrennan sink braid hooklinks to size 8 Kamasan animals,the Afternoon came and went without much incident and we sat back and just absorbed the atmosphere,the evening came and as it did the usual Tench activity started a few shy rolls from near the far margins with some nice sized fish around the 8lb+ bracket but alas no bites were to be had during the night,once morning approached my right hand rod let out a single bleep and then went quiet till 9am when it thendecided to single tone,I lent in and this fish felt good,not a carp but one of the big Tench which inhabit the lake,could it be one of the double figure ones? it decided it wouldnt play ball and kept running,for every metre i put of line back on my reel it tore of more,now i decided to bully harder,even then it carried on,I was beginning to think it was perhaps one of the carp as it was just having none of what I was trying,next thing I knew it had me snagged in a sunken willow tree further down which stretches about 12 metres out over a very deep margin as much as I don`t mind swimming out this did not look a wise option,so I moved up the bank as far as I could to the snag,only to see what was a double figure Tench of what i estimated at at least 10LB on one of the branches unfortunately it was not to be and the hook hold in the end parted with me and what would have been my first double figure Tench,I was not happy to say the least, knowing I had lost what would have been a very nice and hard to better pb Tench.

later that day however at 3pm my left pellet rod took off and I landed a new Pb tench of 7lb 10z this went some way to cheering me up.

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Next it was Robert`s turn his boilie rod which was cast to a nearby gravel gully slowly took off he was into a good solid fighting fish,which put in a good fight and turned out to be a new pb Tench for Robert at 8LB 5oz

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we took a total of 19 fish in this session,mainly Bream and Tench,those two being the pick of the bunch,alas the carp were not playing ball.


Well if April was the UK`s driest on record May certainly was a good Noah`s Ark,high winds and lots of rain didn`t deter us from getting out on the lake,always nice to be outthere whilst many other anglers who prefer the sunny days are not willing to venture forth. We decided on the same area of the lake again as the wind was blowing heavily into it and we felt the fish would be on the end of it.

The same tactics and bait were employed once again but this time we decided on one bucket of hemp and one of partiblend which were only lightly spodded on the first night,along with a loose scattering of the boilies over each boilie rod only 20/30 per rod.The weather was absolutely hellish,during the day,gusting winds and heavy rain with just the odd dry spell between each battering.

As expected though,the winds were having a desired effect and I took 6 Tench including three just under 8LB new and a new PB just off 8Lbs at 7lb13oz, all on the boilie rod,the session was starting great now all we needed is one of the lakes carp to come calling and we had high hopes for this as the Tench were really on the munch.

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No more bites were had later that evening except for a single solitary bleep on Robert`s right rod,early morning beckoned and at 6am as the rain had eased and we dozed roberts samerod went into hyperactivity his mx couldn`t seem to keep up with the run of this fish,he lifted in immediately and said "it`s one of the carp" she wouldn`t budge and decided to slowly plod off out of the arm of the lake,not good at all as snags and a gravel bar further out were looming and Robert decided to just tighten up and hook and hold and let the rod do as much work as it could without giving any more extra inches to the fish,this payed off and she turned again this time running back into the area we was fishing and cruised in across my rods which were fully pinned down,so there was no worries of her wiping out my rods and us losing her,she then made another dash for a sunken tree in near bank margins,thankfully this was her last ditch effort and 2 minutes later I slid the net under her,it was one of the lakes bigger mirrors but not one of the orignals which we sought,but we was not going to moan and were smiles all round as i weighed I mentioned she was at least 30LB,the scales tipped to 32LB a job well done Robert and I were both very happy chappys,admittedly I would have prefferred said fish on one of my rods ( haha) but either way we was both happy that our hard work had paid off.

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This ended what was a good session for us,unfortunately I couldn`t get a take from one of the carp on this session and since the end of May and start of June both of us are struggling for runs from Tench or Carp possibly the combination of heavy rain and spawning.

Either way you have to be in it to win it and this month so far (start of June) has been very slow with the other lads on the lake blanking solid on all fronts (Carp Bream Tench) and it is unusual to not see the odd Bream feeding as I am sure most of you will agree.