Thursday, 30 August 2012

The garden

Agitated tit!

We had just finished our Crastor kipper and breakfast, and moved back into the kitchen to clear the cooking smells away.
The windows were already wide open, to assist with this, and we could hear the sound of an agitated great tit.
We've not seen the tits in the garden recently and thought that perhaps there was a cat about, attracted by the smell of our cooking!
He was flitting around in our apple trees and calling with the sound that sounds like the tapping of an empty milk bottle, and then we saw the reason.
I say he, because it stood out as a big brightly coloured bird with almost a complete black breast, the extra wide bib almost covering his whole chest.
He was ridding our apple trees of rather large bright green caterpillars, and was not as appeared agitated, but we assumed looking forward to a big juicy meal. We saw him drop two to the ground, but he didn't follow either of them down. Instead he kept searching, and found another which appeared to stay welded to the underside of a leaf stem, making it easy for him to eat.
His appetite satiated he moved off.
Having had large caterpillars in the garden last year on our fuchsia, I was curious to see what type we had this year. I picked one off the ground, it was definitely a hawk moth of some sort, as it had the tail horn that differentiates them from other large caterpillars. Last years being  an elephant hawk moth.
My first reactions from childhood memories identified it as a privet hawk moth, but on second thoughts, they may have been bigger.
So I delved into our copy of  the1984 Readers Digest Field Guide to Butterflies etc etc; and had a search.
I'm still not convinced what variety they are, but plumped for the eyed hawk moth, because it's known to cling to the underside of the leaves of apples and other fruit trees.
All hawk moth caterpillars seem to have a row of pink spots according to the pictures in the book, these didn't show any spots, but had the blue coloured horn, noted to be part of eyed's identification characteristics.

The culprits

Last years variety

Food from the garden

Some failures this year, apart from the apple trees, blueberries and raspberries bearing no fruit, our florence fennel, lettuces  and celeriac have all bolted, and the carrots, despite a second sowing following earlier failure, we have....three!!! 
We had a good crop of charlotte potatoes despite, I assume, some form of blight, which also affected our pink fir apple, so I took the tops off them and left them in the ground. We have been left with a fairly good crop of small potatoes.
Still, we have an excellent showing on our grape vine, who knows we may be able to make something of them this year.

Glad to see

I'm told a certain little yorkshireman still reads my blog, and takes notice of my writings. Glad to see he still finds me interesting enough to join in with his Maidenhead mate and to mention me.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Still here ( two)

Health warning

Had to re-jig my fishing day with Rob for mid-September as I had a first thing appointment with the Doc this morning re my bp readings and it cocked up the timings he had in mind..

It really confirmed my expectations that my readings after a week of taking my own, were borderline!
I told the Doc I had no wish to be taking pills for the rest of my life and that I was now determined to improve my life style following the earlier diagnosis..
He's given me two months to clean up my act!!

Relocation of venue

If I wasn't going to the river I thought, I'll pop of down to lake two.
So, I remembered my hempseed which is letting of a bit of a pong and got out some dead maggots. Determined to see a if there are any roach in this lake and how big they are.
Arriving at 4:30 and decided to fish the north bank,which I found was the shallow end! Just about two feet, but never the less I thought, if your after the roach give it a go.

A few handfuls of hemp and dead maggot and I settled in my swim, which is a bit closer to the larger of the two small islands in the lake. Close enough in fact, that I could see within the wooded growth what appeared to be large eggs, so I extended the lens and took a snap, they were and it looks like a goose has abandoned it's nest, or not returned after the day trip out for food!

I sat there for about an hour with just a few taps, but mostly piddly rudd attacking the float.So I moved down towards the east bank but stayed on the same side and found about 5 feet of water.
A few handfulls of bait again and dead maggots on the hook, from about 6o'clock until 8 o'clock I must have had about 40 roach mostly about this size, some a bit smaller and some just a tad larger and got towed around for a little while and all I got for my pains was a carp scale.
As it turned out I was quite happy not to have had the carp move in and was packing my bits away when this one took me for a long trot into the darkness. It's about the biggest I've had out of the lake at just under 10lb.

I was wondering on the way back if I had seen a barn owl this year yet, they used to be about all the time, they must have suffered over the last two winters up here, because I couldn't recall seeing one at all.
But, I did catch a glimpse of a tawney and a little owl and heard both their call during most of dusk time.So many linnets about this year too.
On my way back a heron lifted off across the front of me and slowly beat his way into the field and landed, looking back at me as I drove past.
The hares were about again, just two tonight, both did the silly jagging run just in front of me back out to the main road through the farm lane.

This lake may have a surprise in store for me, but although I have a great deal of anticipation as it starts getting dark no real specimens to show for it!

What to do ? The rivers are beginning to call me


The bedside clock reads 01:15, I'm awake thinking about those silent rolls with the flash of silver, those scattering fry when topping up the loose feed and I'm thinking thinking, I wonder?
02:15 still tossing and turning, same thoughts, sod it I'll get up before I wake her up and have a look through my books.
First one I grab is Angling Essays Graham Marsden's latest as I'm half through it at the moment .Mark Wintle has a chapter on roach and Graham has a chapter on rudd.
Mark's is no good, it's a history type chapter, Grahams helps a bit, so I then pick out John Bailey's Roach the Gentle Giants, that doesn't help. "Faddist" Roach fishing now that may help, it does a bit, then I turn to John Wilson's Method manual, that confirms a few things, then back to bed in the hope of some sleep it's 03:40!
Tossed and turned until about 06:50, got up and made a cup of tea...Maidenhead man's on time, his daily ritual, he'll be no good.
I wonder if Dick Walker's Coarse fishing will have some more clues ? Sun's shining, grass will be too wet to cut from the morning's dew.....why not ?
Breakfast first!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Still here

I should be in Greenwich

Well our "mate" Brian, it was his 67 years birthday bash celebration today, but on Thursday afternoon he cancelled our third of the year drink meet of the International Drinking Society.
"I have to work"
He's a stocktaker and his boss has had to go away for a family emergency in the Ukraine so he's in charge.

I have to say we were quite happy as none of us really fancied a trek to Greenwich, so we decided not to travel down to celebrate without him.
We always choose our own location, pub and eatery on these days out.
It's unlikely because of commitments we will be able to rearrange, but the next, Dave's do, will be early October almost certainly in Petersfield.

Back on lake two

 It was obvious as I approached the second lake that although part of the wheat field was being harvested,  the graylag geese were at home, there must be well over a hundred of them spread around the banks of the lake.
I rarely see them in the water until they fly back in from their grazing at about 8pm.
The banks are covered in their crap and it was particularly noticeable at the top end, the western bank, which was my chosen spot for the day.This is a barren spot with no marginal weed but as it turned out just a tad deeper at around 5feet.
I decided to go down a bit earlier so arrived at around 3o'clock.
Once again on arrival, I noticed  I had left something on the garage worktop, my defosted hempseed!
Bugger, shall I go home and pick it up, or use some feeder hali pellets. Decided on the pellets, which may have been a mistake as they appeared to become, during the day, the only thing the fish would take.

Anyway I took along my Shimano 14 footer and my Shimano 1000 and decided to  float fish, with flake and the hookers.
Although there was activity on the bottom, I couldn't buy a bite until the odd individual bubble started to rise to the surface, the bream had moved in but were only interested in the pellets and the odd piece of flake.

In the meantime, and my camera wasn't ready, a combine harvester approached and I had a flight of geese take off from the bank to my left, right over my head at least 50 of them. It would have made a great shot, but a my batteries gave up the ghost!!!

So for 5 plus hours I sat it out, hit about a dozen bream all in cracking good bronze order and about a pound apiece, all unhooked in the net, I really am not a fan of snotties! Oh and one carp about 6lb.
The geese never came back, the combine was doing the circuit of this massive field getting in as much grain as possible as the intermittent rain showers came and went.

I'll give two another go at least later next week the north bank is a bit more attractive and seems to have abit more gravel in the soil, so maybe the hempseed will find me some roach?
My landing net had an overnight in the garden!

Tuesday will mean a day on the Trent, with Rob Hilton as we relax a bit. That's always assuming Rob get's back ok from the Leeds match and the CAMRA beer festival in Peterborough over the weekend.
With a good part of the first of the membership years Barbel Fisher edited, done and dusted, ready for it's mid September issue, time to breath a bit whilst we gather our last minute loose ends, and await an important bit of BS information still to be confirmed.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Who needs a free weekend ?

Tiger, tiger...................

We have over a number of years had the opportunity to visit many foreign parts, including China, Sri Lanka, Equador and the Galapagos Islands, South Africa and Kenya  to name drop a few. Maybe I'll tell a few of our stories in future blogs, I certainly have plenty of photographs on disks and sticks.

Anyway none of our exotic trips stick in my mind more than a visit to India in March 2010 for my 61st birthday, in fact the actual day of my birthday. Primarily because at crack of dawn we set out to spot tigers after a few days of fleeting glimpses. Pauline in fact demanded that our guide gave me a birthday present. And so he did, no doubt in fear of his well being.
Shortly after we turned into the reserve there he was in all his glory spread across the track! He ambled along the track for some distance allowing to take many photographs before heading off into the forest.
A sight that will be with me for the rest of my natural.                                                                                                          
                          It would now appear that the Indian government, not able to listen to people, much like our own government, are wanting to stop tourists tiger spotting.
Whilst on our trip we had many discussions on this very subject with people from The Corbett Foundation and our guide Harendra Singh. They told us that despite many tourist paid for game wardens there were still poachers working the reserves from time to time, and shipping of the parts of tigers for big money. Mostly in China for "medicines"
The view was that without tourists there would be no money for wardens to protect the tiger, and as a result poachers would very quickly wipe out the dwindling population.
So from today's Guardian some disappointing and sad news. I hope that good common sense prevails.

From today's Guardian

March 24th 2010

Monday, 20 August 2012

One more go!

Back to the first lake

I decided to give the first lake a couple hours tonight and set myself up next to the island.
I also decided that I would try my very best to test out for the size of the roach and crucians.
Stuck with bread flake for the two hours into darkness and fished laying on.
A buzzard was overhead mewing for a while and a kingfisher put in an appearance, bloody woodies getting on my nerves with their tussles in the branches around me. It would appear that there isn't a market for pigeon flesh, because there has been a population explosion around these parts, no interest to the shooters perhaps?
No crucian, but a few roach of no real size.
Only disturbed by one carp and it took me for a good run around for a while,  because I had hooked him in the tail. As soon as I realised what had occurred, brute force became the answer to getting it into the net or a hook slip. Netted eventually a 6lb mirror!
So, I'm pretty certain there aren't any good sized fish in this lake, probably stunted because of the large rudd population. I think I will probably give it a miss for the time being and have a look at a couple of the fairly local day ticket fisheries and give the second lake a bit more exploration, before heading back to the rivers.

Look what I've found

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Barbel Society Merchandise

                                     New merchandise store: Now open

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Peace, noise,harvesters and nibblers!

Quiet tonight!

I left the house at 5pm this evening for another few hours down the second lake in the valley.
Arriving lakeside it was noticeable that there was not a single water fowl to be seen, very quiet except for the constant cooing of the woodies. Not any real sign of fish either apart from the hundreds of tiny fish dimpling the surface.The wind was blowing a bit down the lake and there was rain in the air, then I remembered I'd left the bread on the work surface.
Ah well time to try out the Pallatrax paste and what was left of the Tiger hookers and perhaps the plastics.
Well, not a nibble! Tried everything not a touch.
It rained a bit, but not enough for me to dash back to the car for water proofing, blown on the wind and away pretty quickly.
Decided I wasn't going to give up, so kept on trying, it wasn't until about 8o'clock that I got my first fish, a carp  and very soon was into a couple more, all on the paste. By 8:45 I was thinking about when to call it a day, but sat listening for a while as a lone tawny owl made his way along the wood line behind, giving out his plaintive call but getting no response.
There was a church bell going all out in practice no doubt, somewhere in the near distance.
Then the geese started their noisy way back to the lake, firstly in small chattering groups of four or five then in larger numbers, I wonder where they had been? The mallards came wandering along the bank and out of the wheat field about the same time, so noise everywhere.
Anyway, it was now very difficult to see the float and I decided to call it a day at about 9pm.
The lake is about 2/3 miles from my house, along a back lane just about fit for two cars to pass.
As I approached the long straight I could see in the short distance a row of vehicles, lights flashing, it was a convoy of the harvesters finishing for the night. I needed to be in a position to let them pass, fortunately they waited for me at the right angled bend.
I of course gave them right of way and very shortly trundled on home,passing the White Hart and nearly dropping in, but I was good, I have to think of my health!
I was hoping for something different to come along from this lake, but it appears the carp in all shapes,colours and sizes are the main inhabitants, although activity close to the opposite bank gives me an idea that the may be a rogue trout in residence taking insects for most of the evening off the surface film, and occasionally scattering the fingerling's.
bottom half goldfish!!
Back to lake number one I think!

Home again time

Maybe is wasn't!

Needed to dig up all my onions and shallots the other day because most had been eaten down to the bulbs!!
Blamed the slugs and snails, but maybe it was something else!!

Lucky it was too small for a meal!!

Monday, 13 August 2012

This and that and some fishing


Don't think I've mentioned it, but I decided back in January that it was about time I really lost some weight, so I went on the cut down on carbohydrates diet. So no spuds, no rice, no pasta and no bread. I've strayed a bit over the 8 months, two holidays didn't help, but I've managed to get 2 stone off.
Anyway a couple of months ago I received a letter from my doctors practice offering an "MOT", having had company medicals for most of my working life, I thought that after ten years that I should take up the offer.
So last month a went for the tests which included a fasting blood test, a glucose tolerance test.
Primarily this is to check out if I had diabetes, as my younger brother suffers as did my mum. This is among the other stuff when you're getting on a bit, they have a look at!
The levels weren't looking that good, so I had to go back this month for the same fasting test, basically you don't eat or drink from 9pm, arrive at the surgery at 9am get a blood sample taken, and then drink , 410ml of Lucozade as fast as you can, then go and sit quietly for two hours.
This I did and then had another blood sample taken. This is sent off to the lab and you get an appointment with the diabetes nurse set for a fortnights time.
Basically the nurse tells me a fortnight later that  I do have type 2 diabetes, not bad enough to require treatment, but a change of lifestyle is needed.
The diet I'm on covers most of this, and if I stick too it will get my weight down and so that effectively is the easy part, just less fat.
The drinking has to be reduced and I'll have a think about that, the 3 bottles of wine at the weekend will be easy to half, the beer we shall see what is needed.
So wish me luck, not that I need it, just need to put my mind to it.

Old friends

During the last month we have been to Alcester and to Milton Keynes to see old friends who have not been seen for about five years.
Plenty of excuses for the long delay, mostly down to me really, as I went through one of my five year life phases. So friends reinstated and plans for more meet ups in the not too distant future.

I was beginning to think up excuses not to go down to London to see my old International Drinking Society mates at the end of this month, but thought better of it. So a trip to Ivan's on the 23rd is lined up for b&b and meeting with the ol'boys at a pub, yet to be decided by the host on his birthday, but certainly  in Greenwich


Well, that's the first part done and dusted without any of the problems so well publicised by our doom monger press. We really must all give some consideration to those areas of the press who do very little to raise the confidence of the people of this country, or indeed our sportsman. The easiest way is to not buy those negative organs of doom, or better still fill the internet with some form of protest against the ill will generated by them at every opportunity.
I'll have a think about that.
In the meantime, thanks to the Olympians, the volunteers, and also to the BBC, they got it it right!
So come on people, less negativity and it would all be a much nicer place for us to live.

Counting sheep

Another 6 sheep joined the 7 already in the field next door.
They all  showed  the appearances of being tupped with a blue dye across their backs.
It would appear to me the existing flock may be getting a bit old for lambs, so I'll try and find out what the intentions are, maybe my lamb will be a hogget!

And finally

I took the opportunity to fish the 2nd lake again this evening arriving just after 4pm.

As I turned towards the lake from my parked car, I bumped into this little group!
Their cousins the canada geese were on the lake.
I also found a new entrance with less of a rutted road and almost ran over a Water rail on the way in,I'm now able to id them with certainty!


Anyway the fishing I moved down the bank a short way, and will keep doing so to get a real feel of the water. Still the same depth here, so I tackled up with my Young's 1.3tc barbel rod and my Purist ll a small quill straight through to a size 12 barbless.
I decided that I would concentrate on bread flake to try and see what may be in here. After a few rudd, not so many of the hoards in this lake, and a couple of small roach the carp moved in.
During all this time I kept hearing behind me a bird call that I thought sounded like quail, they were in fact partridge, I had never heard them before, they strung out along the woodland boarder along the field giving and getting answers to their territory calls.
Anyway I was regularly in contact with the carp and stayed until just after 9pm and landed the biggest of the day at just under 10lb, it gave me a fair tussle on the gear. I do like the control the centre pin gives.

About 6lb
I think a change of tactics needed to try and get to the bottom of what this lake holds.

Nearly time to go

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Another one!

New lake

Although I haven't really fathomed the depths of the lake in the valley, I've been introduced to another.
I got a call from the farmer asking if I wanted to fish another lake(is pigs arse pork?)
So I said yes please,so he gave me directions and said meet my farmer mate "here"

Arriving at 8pm  I was introduced to my new lake. It looks to be about 100 yards long by 50 wide, so about the size of a football pitch.

The lake is a "reservoir" dug out by the farmer about ten years ago, it has two islands about half way down and around the centre of the lake.
It has been stocked with carp,tench, roach,  rudd ,bream & crucian and has been fished,although only occasionally.
The place is again in a valley and spring fed not too many miles away loads of geese, both Canada and greylag,all appear to have large broods as do the mallard and coots. The only other bird life I can hear are woodies, with the occasional unrecognisable call,so my binoculars will be part of my kit. I could have sworn I heard quail too!!
No rods with me but I decided if I woke up early I would pop down at dawn for a couple of hours.

That is what I did.
I woke up about 5:15 this morning and found it a cracking looking morning. Said see you about 8o'clock to Pauline, had a quick swig of orange juice, tackle in the motor and off down the road for a couple of hours.
Reached the lane down to the lake, and followed three hares down the track, them weaving from side to side for some distance before they left one by one into the wheat fields on both sides of the track.

Arriving at the lake I disturbed a good few geese and chose the swim at this end of the fishery.
6am (BGE)

I tackled up my 14 foot Shimano Match rod with a 1000size reel filled with Maxima 4lb bs, decided on a size 12 Pallatrax barbless and thought that a couple of handfuls of dead maggot that I remembered to get out of the freezer last night, would be a good starting point.About 4 feet deep here.
Two deaduns on the hook and straight away a small perch.

Plenty of roach and rudd later all small, I put on the Sonu Tiger hookers and was straight away into a small carp, another 3 of those and a hook pull from something a bit bigger!

All about this size


Is it safe?

I switched to plastic maggot which again put me in touch with the small rudd but then had a small skimmer. All the time the wheat field opposite was spilling out it's overnighters with geese and mallard families coming out into the warming air and the light, feeling somewhat safer no doubt from the dark night spent in the cover.

Time for breakfast
So two hours didn't tell me a great deal, I think I prefer the dusk anyway, so another visit, probably next week now, as we have a busy weekend,starting tonight with a pub quiz.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Getting to like this fishing on the doorstep lark!

Out again

Another trip down into the valley.
I set myself up at the other end of the lake where it narrows to an island, with the sole purpose of trying to catch some of the crucian. So I used my 11 foot 1.3 RW Youngs barbel rod, to deal with the carp and my Purist ll for the fun.
 A stubby quill float and a 2AA shot about 6 inches from a size 10.Fished about a rod length from my bank
I stuck to bread flake on the basis that any worrying to the bread would be minimal as it went straight down.
Fed hempseed  and just took it as it came.

 Caught loads of roach, rudd, a couple of small tench & four crucian all about the same size, just under a pound, so none to any great size. I picked up a good few commons up to about 6lb, this was the smallest about 4lb I suppose !
Stayed until about 9:30, no hares about though, perhaps my headlights kept them in the fields tonight.
Enjoyed that!

Profile pictureDon't think I've mentioned it before, but after threatening to do it for some years, I recently joined The Campaign for Real Ale just to see what it's all about and because I like proper beer!
They must have told Mick the landlord of the White Hart, as he was being a bit nicer than his usual self...still not bought me a pint though, so I'll have to prompt him about the village pub of the year vote!!


Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and Elton John were walking over a bridge.
Kylie trips, and gets her head jammed between the railings.Without a sideways glance,         Robbie pulls aside her G-String, and bonks her senseless! He stands back and tells Elton, "Your turn!"Elton bursts into tears.What's up?" asks Robbie. 
Elton sobs, "My head won't fit through the railings!"

Tic toc

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Oh bugger!!

And again

Ventured down to my lake for about 3 hours, and fished a different swim.
Thought I would try little pieces of bread flake, even though there are farsands of little rudd, the idea to get it down to the bottom as quickly as possible.
The first 3 bites were good fish, but each one ended with a hook pull, my Shimano 14 foot match rod may need to be beefed up too. Anyway, I upped the hook and bait size and immediately landed a carp of nine and a half pounds. (9:9 on the scales)
It had brilliant golden fins and tail, and this is where the oh bugger comes in, my camera wasn't in the bag, and it wasn't in the car. Then I remembered it's in the office batteries recharged and forgotten!!
Still no problem, I fished on, switching from flake to hookers, I think they're Sonubaits Lion something or other. I bought them at the weekend for the Aces v's Chavs match. No, I remember(quick Google check) Tiger Fish, don't ask me what they have in them but they work fine.Main Page image
Some cracking fish all about the six pound mark, mostly natural commons and a couple of mirrors.
Will somebody remind me to take the camera when I'm next down ...please!
Oh yes one bream about 3lb.
Driving back through the wooded valley road, I tagged so many hares. I've never seen so many in such close proximity, they just kept running in front ,stopping looking back, running again, then darting off into the fields.
Now, this lake is a good way downhill and as I came over the rise I saw tonights moon, straight in front of me. I thought Christ what is that? And almost immediately knew exactly what it was, classic full silver moon beaming down on me. It made me feel good to be out.
 I'll see if I get much sleep tonight, I've been waking up at about 4am for the last few days, instead of a fitfull couple or three hours, I may well get up and wander down to my valley.

How big is yours ?


You have been banned for the following reason:
By agreement of the BFW Team
Date the ban will be lifted: Never

I was gazing through the above site as I do on a fairly regular basis, looking for a decent thread to follow, and came across one in particular where the question was whats your pb barbel ?
It was all going ok until the tarnished fox came on board and started spouting his, how great I am bit, and what I've caught, he completely changed the subject.
By the way, I'm told on good authority he was spouting off to the barmaid at a certain barbel function and was told to quieten it down a bit by the podium! This was after he stood up and fired off half a dozen scripted questions and then gave all the answers and buggered off to the bar.
He likes the sound of his own voice does the grey fox.
Now I don't know Geoff Blakesley from Adam, but I like the cut of his jib. He obviously can see through the  shit that surrounds the man..
Ol' fox thought I had goaded him into it. Not me ol'son, I warned you that there are plenty with tales to tell.
I'm the fat bearded one by the way, that's his new name for me, I don't know, kids today!!
Anyway, then we see Napoleon come charging in with his "ban him" stuff, that's about all he ever puts into that site, and then has the cheek to start calling for people to be banned.
He, the one who was banned from Fishing Magic, and was childish enough to try and get back in....he tried 22 times in fact, using all sorts of names.
You know those annoying little dogs you get, the ones that shag peoples legs, he sort of reminds me of them. I hope the sheep are ok up by the Trent?


A bit old now but saved for that rainy day.
Before Napoleon swanned off on one of his trips to Spain to his new house, no doubt purchased out of other peoples waste, he handed the keys to the fishery over for good.Well he thought he had.
Whilst the cat was away though, all hell broke loose leading to the private forum being shut down by their benefactor. The wolves were at each others throats, no doubt a power struggle.
I heard that Napoleon is now back in charge, with the threat to cut the dissenters fishing off ! It may have already been done? No doubt my source will confirm.

By the way Tony, did you get EA approval to move the fish from the pond over the road ?