A Cyprinus yuletide.

19th December 


Its less than a week till the big day,the weather was clear the temp a barmy 10 deg C with little or no wind so we were up early for the last session before christmas,Charlie was not feeling too good so Samuel volunteered to be my ghillie for the day.

Once we arrived at the pond i set Samuel up with a small roach wip ,a homemade balsa and quill float and a size 12 circle hook baited with maggot,today i set up with a goose quill and wood float hooked and baited the same as sammy and a drop of 6 feet or so.

We baited our swims with a blended groundbait,we waited and waited for the tell tale bubbles of methane to be disturbed from the bottom by feeding fish,the cold was not helping much and it took a full hour and a half for the first fish to be landed,sammy landed a lovely perch fingerling and this started his continuous catches for the rest of the day,all perch and all fingerlings,he was best pleased but was hoping for a carp apparently.

It took a bit longer but eventually my float started to wobble and after a short pause then it gently ducked under the surface as i struck into the fish.Clearly this was no monster but fought well all the same and within a just a short while my pint sized ghilli was netting my fish,a small but pretty common carp.

I baited up the rig again adding a handful of ground bait and waited,and waited and waited,no bites but there were clearly fish feeding in the baited area.Time to switch tactics,this time an arsley bomb a #12 circle hook and a homemade strike bobbin to show bites as the sun was glaring off the surface of the lake making it difficult to see the tell tale twitches of the rod tip

No sooner had i set the rod down and clipped the bobbin on the bobbin shot up signalling a take.I struck and connected with a fish i could tell it was not a huge fish but by the way it was fighting i knew it was a carp of some sort,in no time my diligent ghilli was eagerly netting this fish again,photos taken it was gently released back to the murky depths,little did i realise this wasn’t to be the last time we met that carp today,in fact i would land this same fish three times in a row,its distinctive 2 scales missing being its identifying feature.

This friendly picatorial buddys appearance paused by a nice crucian carp which is always a nice appearance,a sturdy solid fish photographed and returned gently to the lilies they like to frequent.

Within a little under 20 minutes the strike bobbin stood to attention signalling another bite,upon connecting I immediately i knew this was not a carp and i suspected that the bream had come on the feed,and i was right,instantly my giggling ghilli was grabbing the net making comment of ‘oh not one of those slimeys!’

Within a short while our lift home had appeared and it was time to pack up and head off home,it was starting to get a little perky as the sun set towards the west in a watery yellow yuletide sky.

There were no excited recollections to his siblings from sammy,as soon as he got in the car with the heater on he was asleep with a little cheeky grin of satisfaction of a good days fishing on his face.


Leviathan of the Dorset Stour.

11th December 2018

it has been relatively dry for a few days and the river levels are dropping so i thought it would be a good opportunity to visit the Stour at highbridge mill again today,the temperature was hovering around 12 deg centigrade,the wind a mere breeze from the wsw,ideal conditions.
given that the river was still quite coloured i decided to fish on the bottom using a size 10 circle hook and a swim feeder,for bait it was some European flat worms aka dendrobaena.
being a bit muddy and not having a seat i collected an armful of reeds from the bank and fashioned a crude but effective mat to sit on,then it was down to business,opposite my swim and a few yards down stream was an over hanging alder,i knew if i could get my bait under that without snagging the tree it would be a good spot.
After an hour or so of steadily feeding the swim bites started to show,tentative and infrequent,i assumed it was roach and sure enough after a short while i was landing a nice bar of silver of about 10 ounces,off to a good start.
I cast out again,getting the bait right under the branches and into the slack water,i tightened the line and placed my split cane rod on my antler topped rod rest,nothing….then i started to pour a coffee and there was some small twitches ,probably a minnow i thought,shrugged my shoulders and poured the coffee,with that the rod tip pulled around as a fish hit hard,after a scalding only a chap could appreciate i struck into the fish,bang bang bang,fish on! i started reeling in and some line stripped,then the line went slack,the rod stood to attention,the fish was off,disappointed i reeled in to find half a minnow!
clearly in this swim was a predator,maybe a perch? or a chub?
with an amount of eagerness i recast a nice big worm under the tree again.After just a short while the rod bent again,this time it was hooked well,again line stripped and i was sure i would get to see what was there,sadly this leviathan of the stour was having none of it,it dived deep and into a submerged snag,again this fish eluded me.
within an hour again the scenario played out again ,fish in the snag! i couldn’t believe my luck,then suddenly and unexpectedly the fish came out of the snag,the beast stayed deep and went up and down the swim nodding left and right occasionally stripping line.After a fishers eternity my nemesis was tiring and as it did it came closer to the surface,a bar of gold,it was a chub of about half the size of its fight just shy of 4lb,soon it was netted ,pictures taken and then gently released back to the dark depths of the stour.
I fished for another 2 hours picking up a few nice roach and a bream each time i struck into a fish i was hoping it would be another chub but alas today it was not to be.
A fine days fishing,i am eager to get another day on the stour soon,maybe a barbel next time?

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6th December 

We had about three hours spare today so charlie and I returned to two counties lake.The weather was mild and a 12 mph south-west wind was blowing in our faces,the odd spot of drizzle but nothing too bad.when we arrived we found we had the whole lake to ourselves.
We soon set up,today choosing to use swimfeeders on the bottom and a size 12 circle hook baited with big juicy European nightcrawler worms,basically a small lob worm,a killer bait for most freshwater fish.
Today we had our own made groundbait too,a mix of breadcrumb,digestive biscuit and pureed worm,it had to be a good groundbait,the water was cold and the fish lethargic.
To say it was a slow few hours would be kind,we managed just a couple of bites between us , however late afternoon my split cane rod bent round hard and i struck and connected to a small yet beautifully scaled mirror carp,no sooner had I put it back then Charlies rod bent round too hesitantly he tightened up the line and connected to a very fine hybrid crucian carp.
A quiet day topped off by two great fish and smiles all around!

Trotting along lords Walk.

Well what a days fishing we had yesterday,I fancied a bit of grayling action on the Hampshire Avon,instead of choosing a stretch familiar to me like Stratford sub castle or the nadder at harnham i decided to fish a bit that had a good reputation years ago,Lords Walk in Amesbury,the highest coarse fishable stretch of the avon before it becomes the abode of the dryfly snobbery.
back in the day it was a half mile of council owned fishing which meant anyone with a rod license could fish it,known for its grayling and wild brown trout you would think all the fish would have been taken for food but it didn’t seem that way at all,the banks were clear and trees manages.
Oh how things change! in the intervening years the council had given up managing the rivers they owned and had let them to a local fishing club,two things happened,the swims became neglected and the fish disappeared,like it isn’t bad enough that the only free fishing up that far on the Avon became the property of a club but for them to let it get as bad as it is now is terrible,there was no bailiffe,i saw 2 club officials who had never seen us before and didn’t ask to see our tickets or memberships.
Still we managed a couple of small fish,i managed a small brown trout ,too small for a pic but charlie did much better.



what a lovely bit of weather today! an edge of high pressure keeping the lows over the continent,this can only mean one thing……fishing!

So Sarah dropped myself and charlie over to gillingham on a stretch of the stour downstream from our last foray.The stour has many faces,last week where we fished the stream was not more than four feet across in places,today it went from 8 feet across to 30 and from 6 inches to six feet in depth.

This part of the stour has seen little attention by the fishing club that own  in years looking at it,many willows fallen across the river here and there,a lot of overhanging branches ,snags and the odd trolley,but here and there there are a few fishable places,one such was a small deep pool where the water circles I was sure this would hold some fish.

We set up eagerly ,charlie getting the hang of setting himself up now takes the pressure off a bit,today he was trotting with a home made goose quill trotting float weighted with 3 BB shot and tipped with a size14 hook with red and white maggots,my set up was pretty much the same but my float was a vintage Hardcork trotting float from the 1960’s.

We fished the pool for a couple of hours in all,it was a nice spot we were north facing with the hot sun on our backs and good shelter from the cold wind,the temp was 6 deg c but to be honest i think it was a jumper warmer that i needed and almost contemplated taking a layer off.

It would appear this short section of the stour was a sort of nature reserve,the odd bench here and there with clearly defined paths.Opposite us was a light copse mostly willow and Alder,the trees were full of small birds,titmice of all the varieties a few robins in need of anger management classes and a few territorial but quiet blackbirds hopping around in the lower branches.The occasional splash caught our attention as a coot or moorhen entered the water calling as they went .
There was on the river a light hatch of Caenis flies which had the smaller fish feeding occasionally,one or two leaving the tell tale bubble of a grayling or two.

Charlie was the first to bank a fish today ,a nice Roach ,the sun glancing off its silver flanks was stunning,a super fish and after pics were taken it was slipped back into the pool where it made for the depth in quick order.Whilst the bites were frequent hooking the fish seemed difficult for both of us,i assumed either the hook was too big for the fish or we were to slow on the strike,i suspected minnows,confirmed minutes later when charlie successfully hooked one of them,soon followed by another Roach.

It was a bout 20 minutes before pick up time that i actually caught i fish ,it was thiiiiiis big,sadly the picture didnt come out ….lol

With a couple of hours spare today charlie and I went to do some river fishing on the upper reaches of the River Stour at Gillingham,from past experience i knew it contained some roach and other silvers as well as one or two pike and perch.
The order of the day was to travel light ,basically what we could fit in or small shoulder bags,and it was going to be a float fishing session.
Once tackled up Charlie started the session with successive small roach to maggot on a vintage Grayling float,i fished maggot on a vintage cork trotting float,I too managed some nice silvers,before we knew it mum arrived to pick us up ,a short but fun winter session on the Dorset Stour,we cant wait to get back on the banks there again soon.

Another chilli day on the bank today,the east wind was chilling and the temp was hovering above freezing all day with the wind chill factor.
The cold was keeping the fish deep and lethargic,we used 4lb of bait and ground bait to produce just 2 fish.
Charlie managed a nice bream to brandling worm ledgered on the bottom, sadly Ben blanked despite his best efforts on different baits,and i nearly blanked to ,just before sunset the carp were tentatively feeding on bread crust in the margins,i spotted a common carp feeding about 10 feet from Charlie’s bait and cast a crust on a size 4 raptor i had bought from Steves Tackle this morning just in front of its nose,one slurp and 10 mins later it was on the bank,much to the consternation of Charlie as apparently it was HIS carp! lol