Friday, 28 February 2014

More fishing!

Rik's place 27/2

I had to visit Pigeon Cottage at North Somercotes,as I hadn't seen Ray and June since their 60th wedding anniversary celebration back in December, and I  owed Ray the back copies of Coarse Angling Today which I have always passed onto him after I had finished with them.
So January to March copies delivered and after a short chat and exchange of pleasantry's, I got down to the ponds.
A few years ago I had helped Rik put in some pretty sturdy fishing stations around his new doughnut pond for match fishing, and also one or two on his old pond.
Those on the match pond were well under water from this spring fed pool, the  deepest it had been since he dug the pond out.Action on Lake 2
I chose to fish the new pond  but two guys already there and they had been for 5 hours had blanked with their long pole methods!.
Never mind I'll give it ago.
So I set myself up on the same basis as yesterday, and was quickly into a perch of about half a pound, followed by a few roach, but it was hard work compared to yesterday down in the valley.
Before setting out I had decided to fish the old pond to see if I could make contact with his "big" perch and
to try my hand at dropshotting. Lake 1 (Reed)
This I did for the last hour before dark, but in the meantime fished with worm catching a few small perch and some olive green bars of soap, young tench.
Caught nothing on the drop shot, but need to give it more of a chance.

Down in the valley

I thought I would pop down late this afternoon to see if my perch had a big sister.
So setting off at about 2:30 my plan of action was to be much the same, and to fish until sunset.
The trip down into the valley along the track through the farm yard, was another surprise,crossing the road in front of me were at least four roe deer. I know the farmer doesn't keep deer so these were wild. I've never seen deer down there before.

I really have a great feel for this place, so natural, I must take some more time to have a good look around.
Anyway,on the pond the wind was blowing from left to right` indication a North Easterly, exactly the opposite to Wednesday afternoon. Surprisingly although the temperature was showing a couple of degrees lower in the shade, I didn't get cold hands tonight.
What I also didn't get was the constant bites I experienced on my last visit, but this time there were carp about. I've convinced myself that the carp follow the wind, and on Wednesday night they must have been at the far end of the pond.
The view from my swim

So worms didn't work tonight, but flake did and my first fish was a very colourful mirror carp.

Followed by a few small roach and rudd and then another mirror of similar size to the first but not quite as colourful.

My swim was full of cruising carp, but that wasn't what I came down here for, so I continued to feed maggot and stuck it out for the rest of the early evening on worm tipped with red maggot, or just two worm.
All this brought me was more roach and rudd.

A completely different trip to Wednesday in all respects!
I shall return, but need to get down to the rivers for the last couple of weeks, so perhaps on Monday, weather not changing too much, I shall visit the Trent.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Shall I shan't I ?


I'm sure most of us have days when we can't decide whether to go out to fish or indeed where too go.
Well I decided I wanted to fish,so at about 10:30, I got my gear on and started to sort my tackle.
Do you think I could make up my mind? Nope!
Faffing about with my tackle, wondering if I should go on the Upper Witham for chub, the middle Trent for barbel and chub ,the farmers pond down in the valley, or drop shotting at my ex neighbour Ray's son Rik's place, over at North Somercotes.
In the meantime Steve Pope called on the telephone, to discuss the need for some more articles/anecdotes for The Fred Crouch special Barbel Fisher.
Anyway, the distraction did me good and I made up my mind, to fish the local pond.
So at around 11 am, I set off  for the two mile tripdown the road. What I didn't do was take a great deal of notice of was the heavy black clouds scudding along on a stiff wind from the south west.
It started to rain as soon as I arrived, in fact it tipped down. So the occasional shower forecast lasted nearly an hour with no sign of let up.

Decision made,I headed back home for a cup of tea and maybe some lunch, I totally dislike setting up in the rain.I shall  go back down later.
Faffed around again, with Pauline getting wound up about me not getting out now the sun was shining.
We decided to have lunch at teatime,around 6o'clock.

A few shots on the track down

I set myself up to try out my new Drennan IM9 matched with my Young's Heritage and a porcupine quill float. I decided to lay on with either dendrobena or flake, feeding the swim with maggots.
I really wasn't certain what I would come across today,I had a feeling I wouldn't be troubled by the carp, but I wasn't certain about the hoards of small rudd.
With 4lb Maxima straight through to a size 10, my first choice was the worms, tipped with a red maggot.

I was very soon into roach, rudd, and perch and then a surprise chub. A surprise because I wasn't aware that there were chub in the pond!

So I continued with worm and the occasional change to flake, when things got a bit quieter.

The best roach on the wrong camera setting!!

the second surprise chub

My second chub was landed after a bit of confusion, my float rubbers snapped and the quill blew down the pond,making me think at first that I had snapped up. I was still in contact with the fish.
By this time,it was getting close to off time, so rather than tackle up again I decide for one last cast and touch ledgering with a double dendrabena.

Almost immediately I got a twitch followed closely by a good tug.
It felt a much better fish which at first I thought was a carp, but,  yet another surprise!
After  zeroing the scales showed my very good perch of just a tad over 3lb.
I was shaking  because my right hand was cold, from holding the rod in strong wind, so after steadying myself, decided to knock the ounce or so off and settled for 3lb.
There had been a few chases close by, that I assumed were perch chasing small fish, but I didn't expect one of this size!

I must get set up for self takes, this shot doesn't do the fish justice.

So after all my messing about the fishing gods were with me at the very last cast. A new personal best far better than my old pb of 1lb12ozs out of the Upper Ouse over 10 years ago.

Tomorrow,  I shall be drop shotting at Rik's place.

Talking of Fred Crouch
I've just ordered this from Paul Cook number 3 of 25.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Australia here we come.

With a second trip to Australia lined up this year to do the east side, I am reminded me that I had been asked to do a write up of our first tour back in 2006 for the local travel company. They fully organised that tour for us,and have again to a lesser extent for our next visit.
I hadn't saved it on the computer, but came across a hard copy in my "pension fund file".

Fred & Pauline on Tour! 

So, we started off in Singapore, (19th January), for two nights.
The hotel Miramar, was pretty good, opposite the river and some new riverside developments, including one very good restaurant. An easy walk to China Town.

We were pounced upon on arrival by the hotel travel representative, so got rid of him, but kept the itinerary!
Our first visit was to the Underwaterworld, a sea aquarium, which was excellent and, as it turned out, in our opinion it was the best of it's kind on our tour.
We contacted the representative in the evening on our return and he came to the hotel next morning.
We arranged a trip for the afternoon and evening to Sentosa Island.
As it turned out, this was a terrific day out.
Firstly we visited The Dolphin Lagoon and were entertained by pink dolphins and a couple of otter.
We then got to Sentosa, which has a terrific cable car ride all the way to the island.
We visited a vast garden, which had a rather nice ornamental lake, and which, as it turned out, was our evenings free entertainment.
A light show in the open-air auditorium, it was a very good show, but if it hadn't peed of rain as soon as the show started, and lasted until it finished it would have been great!
So, all soaking wet, back to the bus.
We highly recommend this trip if you get the chance.
Checking out next morning, I don't know if it was on purpose, but we had  one or two problems with the bill  and an under value currency exchange.
A £31 overcharge on a £60 bill!
Luckily our transport was a little late, so we had a few minutes to check the bill. It was sorted with no problem it made me very wary though

Off to Perth (22/1) for 3 nights at the Grand Chancellor
We were met at the airport, unexpectedly by brother Ted's three daughters and their kids, and apart from our trips out were shown around Perth and district,enjoyed picnics/barbies in the park and loads of alchohol and fresh shellfish.Jeff, the youngest daughters partner is a skipper on a fishing boat.
Our first try of the balmain bugs, delicious!True Balmain Bug (I. Peronii)

For first time visitors, we recommend an orientation of the City, on the "tram", an excellent way of finding your way around, and with a great driver commentating and showing us the sites.
We got off before the end because we saw The English Pub, I fancied a Guinness, it was, a very hot day.
Booked a cruise up the Swan river, saw the test cricket ground and our first wild dolphins, that was before, we did the wine tour and tastings. All round, a good value tour.
We also visited the Sea World.
Picked up the hire car for our journey to Exmouth, which according to my brother "is just north of Perth"!!!!
They are rip off merchants these car hire people, with "you had better have extra insurance, kangaroos crossing etc."
1200km later, and an overnight stay in Canarvon,( no sign of live kangeroo) and we were there.
HOT? Yes, scorchio, burnt to a frazzle without trying, 40c plus!

It was a great short stay at my brothers, most of the time in his swimming pool up to our necks, and always with a drink, then back to Perth for a night (31/1), for more alcohol with the kids.
Lovely city, too many flies!

Indian Pacific train ride Perth to Adelaide (1/2)
Not to be missed. Comfortable beds, good food and more good food!
Not a great deal to see, apart from a stop off at Kalgoorlie, seeing the mine and the old town was an experience.
We were well looked after, in Gold Kangaroo class.

Arrive Adelaide 7.30 am (3/2) taxi to hotel Mercure Grosvenor 3 nights.
Had a good walk around the city and on the circular bus tour.
A rest and lunch in the Botanic gardens. Met our first whingeing OZ. There were a few of them too.

Booked ourselves trips out to a very good wildlife park

The Germanic town of Handorf, Australia's oldest surviving German settlementThen to Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills and trip to the seaside town of Glenelge, with a good tram service back to the city.
All in all a nice experience in this small city.

Off to Melbourne (6/2) 7 nights Mercure and car hire (rip off merchants etc etc.)
Very soon in difficulty, trying to find our way out of the city, signage useless for us Brits. But, we soon got used to it, after a few rows, well my navigator did..... I think!
Great commercial city, with some very good restaurants.

We did some very good touring, to the old western gold rush style town of Sovereign Hill.

The Puffing Billy Railway, no steam engine though, just a diesel because of the risk of fire  still a good outing.

Met our first wild Kookaburra's.
We also found, by accident, the seaside town of Geelong, a very nice spot, and more wild dolphin.
Great seafood restaurant (Fisherman's Pier) overlooking the sea.
Recommendation, get a hotel outside the city and tour from there.
Most OZ whingers here!

Sydney (13/2) 7 nights Travel Lodge.
Very good hotel,not the same standard as our similarly named.
We were looked after personally on arrival as a large group turned up at the same time, early access given to the room very quickly, despite an apparent, madhouse weekend for the hotel prior to our arrival..
Wow what a city, we loved it here.
Everything you wanted to do and, an all-round buzz about the place
Recommendation, buy an All in, Transport Ticket for the stay, it puts you on all buses and ferries.
We did the all the sights, including the Botanic gardens, didn't walk the Bridge, or go in the Opera House.
 A Ferry tour of the Harbour is a must.

Kerry Packers memorial service was held in the Opera House whilst we were there, hoards of the well to do of OZ, we didn't recognise one!

Visited the Jenolan Caves, great to see, if your not claustrophobic.

We also visited Bondi Beach, what a let down, expected so much more,but just a sandy bay, a great cliff top walk away from it.

Great restaurants around the Harbour and the Rocks.

11 :40 flight to Auckland NZ (20/2)
A late arrival, and a hold up in immigration.
On filling in the entry form I said  that we had visited a wildlife park,so on arrival we were checked out for kangaroo pool, which resulted in the removal of my longtime worn sandals being held at arms length, and taken behind the scenes for a spray treatment!.
We were too late to pick up the pre-booked camper van, so we booked an overnight stay, close to the airport, and the Maui hire depot.We would have been cutting it fine, if the plane had arrived on time anyway.
A very nice single level Travel Lodge hotel, good food and rooms
In the morning we picked up the complimentary bus to the Maui depot, on arrival we waited and waited to be booked in.
They do need to sort this out, because when we returned the vehicle, another couple had been waiting well over an hour to get their vehicle.
Another insurance rip off!
We had decided that the tour arrangers itinerary wasn't for us, it looked like we would be driving to a place, sleeping and driving to another place. So we thought we would head north firstly and make our way down to the south.
We visited Ninety Mile beach (which is what it says on the label).
People should be aware, that the car park road is a bit close to very soft sand, luckily, a 4x4 just happened to be passing and pulled us out!
A smashing spot, for peace and quiet and sunbathing.
We moved on to The Bay of Islands and stayed in a Top Ten campsite, in Russell.
In fact all our stops were in these camps, as they were of a good, to excellent standard. The list was in the package supplied by Maui.
We decided to stay a couple of days here and had a day tour of the Bay & Islands on a very fast twin hulled boat.
A terrific tour well worth the price and highly recommended by us.
At least two very good restaurants on the harbour front.
We found that we had a problem with the camper at this stage; we sprang a leak in the water pump, which meant a return south to get it fixed.
In the meantime, we had some excellent drives and stopovers on our way back to Auckland.
The camper was fixed easily and we headed south via Rotorua and down to Napier, by this time we were aware, from the radio, that ferries crossing to the South Island were being cancelled.
We made up our mind, that weather conditions weren't getting any better, in fact it was very cold in Napier and that really camper vans were not to our taste.
We like to be looked after, and a big van is not that convenient for parking
So we decided to head back to Auckland via Lake Taupo to hand back the van early and stay in the city, for our last two nights.
When we reached lake Taupo the waves were so big, they had to cancel the World's Strongest man competition.
I booked the Copthorne hotel on Auckland Harbour, not recommended for a weekend, taxi's touting for customers up until  three in the morning by tooting their horns.
Not a patch on Sydney, but a great little city with plenty to do and, once again some very good restaurants on the Harbour area.

We enjoyed our trips around the North Island, and will go back to see the South some time in the not to distant future.
Not with a campervan though,  we would hire a car and stop off in motels. There were plenty about and with vacancies.

Next stop Bangkok. (6/3)
After a very long day of travel. (A Sydney stop over, may have been worthwhile, what with time changes and waiting about at airports etc.)
We arrived at the Hotel Shangri-La at midnight,to be told we had been upgraded and were shown to our suite.
Well, this two-roomed suite was as big as our house,  pure luxury, but, at 12 o'clock at night, we didn't want to be shown how the curtains, dimmer switches and two tele's worked,
So to bed,  a tennis court with a mattress!!!
Later that morning, we viewed our suite and the river view from the two verandas. Far too good, for a two night stay. A week or so, yes.
What a madhouse of a city. We wandered about through the traffic and the food stalls and felt perfectly safe, well apart from trying to cross the road, and decided once again that our best way to see the place was via guided tour.
So, we booked a canal/river trip, in a long narrow boat with a Volvo truck engine stuck on the back. A terrific experience but, a bit wet from the spray.
Next day, our booked tour took us to the Bridge over the River Kwai and a trip on the Burma railway and to see the War Graves and museum. A moving experience and again, a recommended visit.

Big Bertha!
A delay getting back to the hotel, because of the traffic, put us a bit behind, so we rushed about a bit to get to the airport in time, missing dinner.
The pickup was early which was ok, as by this time we were ready to go home.

We ate and drank well, almost every night, as the credit card bill showed, for the 2 month period during and after our return home.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The otter

Breeding for release!

Now I have always been a little sceptical about reports of the continuing release of captive bred otter into the environment, but that was until I found this on facebook.
So, I have sent the detail to Angling Trust, I am a member, in the hope that they are able to pursue things further than I could as an individual.

Dave Burden

5 month old Otter kit born and bred at the
.................Centre.(Location deleted as it will show up on a search, and may pre-empt any investigations.

So I asked the question,

Fred Bonney Are they bred for release into the wild?

and received this response!

Dave Burden Thanks you Fred Bonney.Yes there are realeased :)))))

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


New auction site 
The Jodi & Ella Memorial Auction

Following a dummy run of 3 lots on facebook, an improved  method of dealing with the auction has been found BUT you do need to register.

Have a play with it before the  Auction Starts: 


There are 31 lots listed on the site at the moment with more to be added. 
This part of the auction will start at 07:00am on Saturday 15th February 2014 and finish at midnight on Sunday 30th March 2014.

More lots will be added, including those already listed below... soon.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Barbel fishing diary 2008-2009

Season 16th June 2008 to 14th March 2009 

17th June – The Bridge- Great Wickenham - Wensum

We had decided to have a few days in Norfolk, so I took my travel rods.
As it turned out, today was the only day that I managed to fish and was on the bank from around 9am to 5pm.
The river was clear and 17c, the weather fine cloud and hot.
Not ideal conditions for fishing. As it turned out, I didn’t get a touch all day.
Spoke to a few anglers on the bank, there had been no reports of barbel but chub were showing well, after dark.
First day reports from everywhere showed that this year was not as good a start to the season as last. No floods!

20th June – Hazelford

Three others down when I arrived at around 2:30pm on a warm cloudy day.
The river was running clear and a temperature of 17c. Air pressure, on the rise from 1016.
I decided to fish in the swim just where the willows start and within half an hour had a chub of around 5lb, on Quest liver boilies, followed shortly after by it’s brother of the same weight.
Both fish were empty and flabby, I hope I meet with them later in the season, they were big framed fish.
I fished until around 11:30pm with just a 4lb chub disturbing me. Not a sniff from the barbel to my chunk of garlic spam down under the willows or indeed the variety of baits tried out in the flow.
Steve Brown had one barbel for his day long effort along with few chub.Hobby blanked!

1st July – Hazelford

Fished the same swim as ten days ago, on a hot sunny day, the river was still clear and at 19c, air pressure falling from 1012.
I set myself up at around 1pm with the intention of fishing into darkness.
It took until 9:20 before I got my first bite and landed a chub around four and a half pounds.
Twenty minutes later, the rod fishing for itself free lined under the willow with the g.spam gives the signs of fish interest, picking up the rod I feel for the positive move off, and it almost instantaneous, so I lift into the fish and it’s off on a slow run out into the current.
A short while later, I’m not one for letting a fish get it’s own way, it’s in the net and resting.
Steve Brown is around yet again, for my capturing of a double, and doing the photography, this fish is 10lb3ozs. 

A couple of weeks into the river season and a double, so I decide to call it a day, and I’m on my way home by 10pm.

As an aside, I’ve been keeping a log of moon phases, is it a co-incidence I wonder, my better fish have been captured around the New moon?

21st July – Hazelford

Guested an FM “mate” Richard Farrow, who had made the 5 hour round trip from Norfolk, arriving at around 2pm, in the hope of catching his first ever barbel. 
The river was low and clear at 18c and running off, on a hot and sunny day. I wasn't confident!

Well, he did succeed his first at 5lb12ozs and two more, the biggest 7lb. He also lost one under his rod tip. He fished beside the weir wall
I caught 2 chub of about 4lb a piece, and two barbel at around 6lb each fishing in my usual swim so far this season..

We left at 9:30pm for Richard to get home at a reasonable time.

23rd July - Hazelford

Pauline fancied a picnic, and who am I to argue? 
So we arrived at the fishery around noon and settled in in the last swim beneath the willows, plenty of room for two.
The water was rising for no obvious reason and was warming from 18c.
We sat in the swim until about 9 pm, during which time the picnic went down very well with a few pots of tea made up with the aid of my Kelly kettle.The fish weren't having it though until just before 8 pm I hit a fish that took me very fast across line parted!
We left for a pint at the Bromley Arms at 9pm.

1st-2nd August - Hazelford

Paul Thompson came over from Hereford, for what is becoming his annual stopover with us.
I met him at the pub and we fished to around 7:30pm. I had 4 barbel all around the 5lb mark from the wall swim and Paul fished below the willow swims and moved further down about 8 or 9 swims, and reported in with 2 chub and a barbel of around 5lb.
On day two we arrived at about 2 pm, Paul dropping down to the last swim he fished yesterday and I dropped in just upstream.We ended at 7:30 for Paul to head home, he jsut had a small bream and me a couple of small chub of a pound a piece.

17th August - Hazelford - The day of the long knives.

Having taken on the editorship of Barbel Fisher and as a result the Communications Chair of the Barbel Society, it was a baptism of fire for me at my first committee meeting.
The meeting was outside Worcester at Callow End, and I was to meet some of the committee in the pub car park to be shown the meeting location in what was then Stanbrook Abbey.

A plot had been hatched to attempt to oust Steve Pope the Chairman by a group of committee men. To cut a long story short, it failed.
I withheld my vote on the basis that I had no experience of Steve's ability as Chairman, and I have to say I was encouraged by the way he handled himself, having been caught on the hop,so to speak!
It was the beginning of the end for me as a member of Hazelford Piscatorials!

Anyway, I had put my travel rod in the boot along with my Purist ll and a tin of garlic spam, so Biggun and I stopped off at the fishery on the way home, arriving at around 7:30 pm.
The level was up from my last visit and running clear at 18c. 
It was a warm cloudy evening with a touch of rain.
I pitched up in the last swim under the willows and Biggun dropped down below me.
Freelining a quarter tin of garlic spam down the inside I was soon into the fish, and  netted a new personal best of 10lb11ozs within 15 minutes of setting up.

By the time I left at 11pm, with no garlic spam left, I had 4 more barbel weighing 9lb4ozs, 8lb1oz, 9lb2oz and 9lb, probably my best  session, size wise, since my start in barbel fishing.

26th August - Hazelford

Took my neighbour Ray Coleman with me for a morning session, we were met by a cool down steam wind and a rising air pressure from 1016.
Ray chose to fish the swim down from the wall I went into the swim from my last visit.
The inside line with spam was my choice for one rod and pellets out in the current.
I was straight away into a fish and thought, here we go again, except this time a chub of 5:10 took it into his head to attempt the big lump. I hooked him fair and square but the lump of meat was up the line!
This was followed up almost immediately by a barbel of 8lb12ozs, but that was all to be had on the inside line.
Out in the current on salmon elips, I took 2 more barbel around the 4lb mark and a couple of 2lb chub.

23rd-24th September Flanesford Priory - River Wye

 We arrived at Flanesford Priory set below Goodrich Castle, we put our bags in the room and set out along the banks of the river to find a suitable location upstream of the bridge.
To say it was wet was an understatement, the field adjacent to the river was planted right up to the bank with beet, and it was still soaking from a fast receding flood.
I decided there and then to give myself a couple of days before fishing, having found a suitable gravel beach under the flood debris laden branches of bankside willows.
I fished two sessions of 3 hours in the evening of the last two days.
My travel rods, of which I now have complete confidence and my 5010's were put to good use, with an open end feeder filled with damp pellet on both and salmon elips as bait.
Overall, I had five barbel between 3lb 4ozs and 7lb,  and a small chub of 2lb.
I did loose two bigger fish,due to fundamental angling errors, a poor knot and too small a hook for the bait.

16th November - Hazelford

My last  barbel fishing trip of the year proved to be fruitless. I fished from 10:30 to 4:30 without a bite. with rising air pressure from 1029 and a water temperature of 10.5c.

13th January 2009 - 12th March - Hazelford

Seven outings over this winter period saw me catching only one barbel of 6:4 and five blank days.
My last trip down on the 12th March turned out to be a chub day and was crowned off with a personal best to match my Adams Mill chub of 6lb12ozs.

Two other fine chub of 5lb6ozs and 4lb made my day.

All in all this season was not my most active for barbel fishing, with two doubles including my new personal best I can't complain.
A final fling for the chub made it worthwhile

The 2009/2010 season was my last at Hazelford. 
Reading my journal it's obvious I had lost interest in my fishing, the daily reports over 15 trips being short, to the extent they were almost non existent. Even my entry of the 7th September where I pulled out 4 barbel between 9lb2ozs and 10lb4ozs, all on the big g.spam got just a couple of lines.

I gave up my ticket and membership of Hazelford Piscatorials at season end.