Sunday, 30 June 2013

Unde-turd - Of stinging nettle rash and mosquito bites

Come June 16th I was looking forward to my first river trip of the season and planned to fish overnight on the Loddon, unlike some I have never really felt the urge to be on the riverbank  ready to cast out at 12am, rather preferring to venture out on the opening day itself.

It was a pleasant day and as I made my way to my swim of choice I took note of a wheelbarrow in one of the swims downstream, the occupants of a bivvy, rod pod, bed chair and everything bar the kitchen sink, seemingly sound asleep. I guessed they had been there for the start of the season although part of me can't help but think they were there before this too..

Now I have nothing wrong with this style of fishing and many times have done similar on the larger rivers, such as the Thames and Lot in the past, but on the smaller waterways I do wonder why the need for it. Granted I do fish at night, but an umbrella, seat and small rucksack is all I have ever felt the need for.

I took my time setting up whilst watching the kingfisher speed up and downstream and a family of swans and cygnets paddle on by. Ten minutes later the water was abruptly disturbed, by not one but two Cormorants erupting through the surface and taking flight. I was not too happy and decided to let the swim rest for an hour before making my first cast of the season.

The afternoon and evening were a quiet affair, the rivers surface peppered by the movement of smaller fish and a rapier like bite to the pellet rod which seemed to come from a chub was the only activity. By now the occupants of the Alamo downstream had finally gone home, I find it odd to bivvy up and then pack up on opening day, I think you might agree?

I decided to wind in, take a carrier bag with me and take a look at what damage may have been done in the way of litter left behind. On reaching their swim I was grateful to find no rubbish whatsoever, instead a large fire had been left behind, "could be worse" I said to myself.

On taking a look right next to their swim it was a lot worse, shit laden toilet roll and the contents of their bowels had been dropped right in their own swim, all uncovered and strewn in and around the surrounding area, fuming was not quite the word to use, I was bloody livid with anger. With so much better areas to dig a hole and then cover it should you get caught short, why the hell you would take a dump in your own swim beggars belief and to leave it uncovered too, worse than animals.

Thirty minutes later and having collected all the faeces covered toilet roll up using a stick and then covering it all with two kilo of soil I was still fuming. Worse than scum and it now comes to light that they are both local, so perhaps I have more of this to look forward to in various swims? Well we shall see, I will take great pleasure in rubbing both your faces in it should we ever meet again.

I walked back to my swim, the feeling of such a beautiful place being sodomized by people like this, the term "angler" not something I would use to describe such vermin. The night was peaceful, but partly ruined by the thoughts of what had occurred and how often it might in the future, I took consolation in the fact that she can be a moody and mysterious river and how that might put such people off from ever returning.

Both rods were cast back out into likely areas, one on a pellet soaked in anchovy plus, being a pre-drilled pellet I always prefer to plug either end with a piece of wood and then glug them, as this slows down the ingress of water some what which can normally hinder drilled pellets quite badly, the other rod placed out on a Thames baits TB1 boilie chop.

Now this is the first time I have put them to use this season and I'm quite interested on finding out how they will perform, they however look and smell great.

Crayfish spent the night teasing off my bait stops and chipping away at my bait, I figured the fish were still very much into spawning and at first light I had a slow bite on the TB1 boilie, resulting in a lovely looking Bream (7lb 15oz), it was covered in spawning tubercles and partly milting, a very welcome fish and a nicely conditioned river slab at that.

Back home I considered my next trip out and whether I should perhaps venture to a new area of the river, a land of stinging nettle and mosquito, a place where not so many anglers tread, no sign of use and abuse or litter louts and those whom only concern themselves with targets to achieve and little love for much else.

Come the following weekend I had made up my mind where to angle, this was to be a short trip of around 4 hours, to rove or not, I decided to opt for the latter, but surrounded with so many features I began to wonder if it would have been wiser to rove instead.Getting to the swim at 6am, I settled on a shallow area with an overhanging tree and a couple of sprigs of reed mace, this area also near a run of cabbage patch, not too deep at around three to 4 feet in depth. The rain that was forecast was on and off, the sun playing hide and seek between the clouds.

About two hours into the fishing trip, my rod wrapped round, fish making a surging dash upstream, after a very energetic and spirited fight, the first barbel of the season was recuperating in the net. A short fish (7lb 2oz), bearing some distinct red spawning marks on its belly and tail, this fish falling to a Thames baits TB1 boilie.

I was overjoyed, a new stretch and the first barbel, although I was apparently keeping the local mosquito populace happy too!

In the four hours that I fished they managed to rack up 50 bites on various areas of my body, at least not on my gonads this time! Unfortunately I am allergic to deet based repellents and usually go the garlic route, sadly not this time, Instead thinking I would try and get away with it, not the best of ideas and I am surprised that I did not require a blood transfusion by the end, but along with the stinging nettles and mosquito hoards there was a most welcome reward at the end, I went home lumpier than usual and rather itchy, but very happy.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Oiling the gears vlog

Oiling the gears - Update 1

It has been a while since I last got around to an update, having decided to leave it longer than usual to do so.

My first trip was a couple of days prior to the start of the river season, I decided to head down to a very pretty and peaceful lake, one I have only fished a couple of times in the past, it really is picture perfect, beautiful marginal features, turbocharged carp slurping on the nearby reeds, a nice head of silver bream, roach and enigmatic crucian carp, granted the lake does not have a large populace of these creatures, but catching just one from here would mean a lot.

I planned to spend the day fishing on the stick and pin and at one end of the lake in particular, a feature packed area with an island, overhanging trees and bushes, a bit of a mangrove in places.

Maggots, red worms, lobworms, corn and a light amount of groundbait. I had also brought some inexpensive surface baits with me in the shape of  haribo marshmallows, popcorn and bread (imitation and real).

The day was sunny, but the fish fed well from the beginning, maggots taking roach, silver bream and even the odd small rudd, which until now I was unaware inhabited this lake, bite followed bite. Inbetween these fish, I was getting some very light taps and knocks, were they from the odd crucian?

I changed hook size, finer wire and one size smaller, chopped and changed from maggot to bread flake and brandlings and back to maggot again, but these particular bites remained the same, I was a tad puzzled. During the day, lean silhouettes drifted in and out of the tree line and the sound of carp slurping a nutritious smoothie of insects was to be heard from the far bank.

Switching to half a lobworm it was not long before the float slid away and the first carp of the day made a powerful dash for the safety of the snags, now these fish fight like their life depends on
it, the tussle was an exciting one, it eventually succumbing to the net.

Naturally I became preoccupied and picked up a few more of these scrappers, each and everyone putting a solid bend in my rod and tearing line from the pin, never knowing when they were beaten.

Around late afternoon I decided to pop open the bag of marshmallows and I have to be honest I did indulge myself with three or four before deciding to start using some small pieces, lightly balanced with a little heavier shot nearer the hook.

I have always found these a superb and economical bait, one which carp generally cannot turn a blind eye to and they certainly did not fail me on this occasion.

As late afternoon melted into evening and under the discerning eye of a Heron and half asleep Mallard, I managed to pick up a few more of these little powerhouse's, each and everyone giving myself an enjoyable and at times arm aching test.

Lean and mean, largest of the trip (6.1)

Alas no crucians, but with, roach, silver bream and these lean mean fighting machines it was the perfect way to spend the day and warm myself up for the start of the river season.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Sea Dogs Vlog

Sea Dogs

I have always wanted to go out on a chartered boat for a days sea fishing but held back due to the expense of such trips, however I recently got the chance to pick up a days boatfishing with the anchorman via groupon for around £59, which I thought was good value and included food, drink as well as bait and tackle.

Leaving home at 5am I could tell it was going to be a very settled day, miniscule amounts of cloud dotted here and there and plenty of sunshine, by the time we arrived at Hythe marina it was already 22c and feeling very warm, accompanied by a deceivingly pleasant sea breeze.

Having spoken with the skipper Dave Mumford earlier in the week, he told me to expect a variety of species including smooth-hound, bass, mackerel, dogfish and black bream. I have to admit I was rather looking forward to connecting with any of these, but really wanted to catch a bream or two, as I had been told that they are an enjoyable fish to catch and rather tasty too!

There was supposed to be eight of us in total, but the other four people who were Chinese had managed to end up at the wrong quay and were too late for departure, so off we headed without them. It was a real mixed bag of clientele, ranging from coarse anglers and those whom had never fished before, to people who had boat fished but had not done so for many years.

Leaving the marina behind I was rather glad that I had taken some travel sickness tablets as despite the sea looking rather calm, my land legs were beginning to tell me otherwise as we bounced across the sea to the first of our fishing marks, the sea spraying up at regular intervals meant a change to head cam only, as I did not wish to risk my main camera.

It took us around one hour to get to the first area, passing Cowes and the Isle of Wight, as we did there were many likely looking fishing spots along the headland and sure enough every so often you would see the odd angler, rods pointed skyward awaiting some interest.

having traveled around 24 miles we eventually reached our first fishing spot which was in the direction of Christchurch, the crew set about getting the rods and everyone into position and slivers of squid were made ready as bait for the day.

The skipper Dave went through a few of the basics with me and also informed me that when I did receive bites from any black bream to not strike as I normally would when coarse fishing, but instead let the fish feed freely on the bait until it more or less hooked itself, this certainly seemed rather foreign to me, as did using a reel with right hand wind.

Not long after fishing had commenced one of the chaps had two bream in quick succession, a superb start and he was rather happy as he had never done fishing of any type prior to this trip, not long after this I also had my first fish, a mackerel which took a liking to the bait on the retrieve.

The day was turning into a hot one, sun reflecting off the sea which sparkled like a bed of diamonds, there was the odd fishing boat dotted about nearby, yachts passed by every so often and regular banter was shared between the crew, one such being about how I would be left with a large white stripe round my head once I had finished filming with the head cam and sure enough as I am typing this I have a pure white area round my forehead.

It was not long before one of the crew Steve, started catching what was to be the majority of the black bream, taking around 12 during the days fishing! What I did notice was that he was casting a lot further than most of us who were fishing just a rod length out.

As the day sped on I eventually connected with my second fish a vividly, speckled dogfish and it seemed as if a shoal of these had moved into the area as everyone began to catch one or two, Steve however did not seem to be best pleased and mentioned how he would rather be catching more bream.

We moved fishing marks a couple of times during the day and a multitude of species were caught, including wrasse, smooth hound, mackerel, black bream and pouting.

But not everyone caught bream, out of six of us, three connected with bream, around fifteen in total and twelve of which caught by Steve, he did tell me that he felt they were being a little finicky with their feeding and he did consider quite a slow days fishing for them. Although I did not connect with any of the bream, I was kindly given a couple by Steve and have to admit they made for a very tasty supper!

I really enjoyed the days fishing, even more so as it is an area I have never tried before and it has now got me thinking about doing some shore fishing from some of the beach marks around Southampton.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Intoxicating Preamble

Well it has been a while since my last post, I have been spending the last few weekends watching the rivers and enjoying the extra flora and fauna, made even nicer by the fact that the sun has finally graced us with its presence and I have to say the rivers look rather nice.

A tasty morsel

The fish were certainly gorging themselves on Mayfly, chub, perch and trout all getting their fill, natures food bank creating a ready supply of tasty treats.

Damselfly's were to be seen everywhere, taking flight as I past them by, their colours like a metallic confetti, whilst they fluttered about in that haphazard style that only they have, before evenutally settling back down again.

Meanwhile aerial battles were also taking place, Jackdaw vs Red kite, which ended in a rather one sided affair, as usual the fearless tenacity and brash personality of the Jackdaw winning the day, Kite turning tail to hit the thermals, before gaining an altitude advantage and the solace that comes with it.

There is something about the close season hiatus and the way it creates an ever stronger bond between angler and river, I must admit that I am very much looking forward to once again being intoxicated by the flora and fauna that abounds such places and perhaps a fish or two also.

Tight lines and the best of luck for this coming season to all you river anglers out there.