Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Job's a gudgeon

No sooner had my knee returned to normality than my back went on me. Thankfully it eases off as the day goes on and by lunch time I'm mobile enough to pick up a rucksack and some rods. That was what I did yesterday afternoon. At last I was on a gobio hunt.

The pond was quite busy but I found a swim where I could stick a carp bait down the edge while I fished a float for the gudgeon. The hunt was soon over. I don't think I actually needed to put in any of the groundbait I'd found in the freezer and thawed out, or the handful of maggots I'd scattered over it. First swing out with the float and single white maggot and there was a gudgeon on when I lifted out to reposition the float.

That was the way things continued. Drop the float in, wait a few seconds and there'd be a gudgeon on the hook! Some were among the tiniest gudgeon I've ever seen. None were as large as I used to catch when I was younger. All were too small for pike baits.

I missed one or two bites. Probably because the little buggers couldn't get the hook in their gobs. When I tried a red maggot things hotted up. No longer did I need to wait for a bite to show. As soon as the bait touched bottom the float was on the move. The bottom of the pond must be crawling with gudgeon.

After swinging in a dozen or so of the little fish I put the float rod away and dropped two grains of fake corn over the spot I'd been feeding. I had a liner to the other rod before the corn rod sprang into action. The culprit being one of the pond's skinny chub. Back out with the corn and shortly after a small carp hung itself on the same bait.

Around four o'clock a song thrush began to sing high on a black-budded ash tree. Such an English sight and sound it's no surprise Thomas Hardy found the thrush's song an inspiration for a poem.  Listening to it certainly cheered my soul on a gloomily overcast and chilly afternoon.

After banking the carp I put that rod away and reverted to the float for the last half hour before the thought of food tempted me back home. First put in and the float buried. No gudgeon this time but a hand-sized carp. Had the pasties moved in over the feed and pushed my little friends out? The next cast proved they hadn't as another gudgeon was swung to hand.

If it had been warmer I'd have spent more time gudgeon bashing, in an attempt to find one that wasn't minute. Then again, if the water had been warmer I reckon the nuisance carp would have been more active and annoying. It was still an enjoyable afternoon. I'm not sure I'll be repeating the exercise as I think I've got  gudgeon out of my system for now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


It's not so long ago that I couldn't think of anything better to do with my time than go fishing. These days I tend to go fishing when I've nothing better to do.  Jim Gibbinson called fishing a 'glorious waste of time', and it is. But as you get older, and knees and things don't work like they used to there's a sense of that time running out, and a desire not to waste it. So when I do go fishing I want it to be enjoyable, and productive.

Yesterday a delivery arrived and a collection was made in good time to give me a free afternoon as there was varnish drying and no blanks to work on in the delivery. My options were to risk the knee schlepping round the muddy pike pit, and then clambering up and down the banks as I move swims; take a chance on a carp lake that resulted in eighteen blank rods over teh weekend; or hit the railway pond for a couple of hours. That last option looked best on the grounds of a nice easy bank to make a short walk on, and the best chance of a fish.

I was going to travel light, two of my new rods, two sets of sticks, a landing net, chair and rucksack. Dead easy to get sorted. Except it took me twenty minutes to track down the banksticks. Eventually I found them hiding deep inside in my overnight rod sling. Bait was more easily found in the bait cupboard. One of the advantages of this sort of fishing is that the bait is easy to store. And it lasts a long time. I would have got the roach rods out, but that would have meant almost an hour wasted getting to and from the tackle shop. At least with c*rp you can go any time, just like barbel. Even the feed stores well if you rely on pellets.

Spring is certainly starting to make an effort now. My pond is alive with frogs, and almost a quarter full of spawn. Daffodils are in bloom and alder and hazel catkins are in evidence. When the sun shone and the great tits chinked it felt great to be out. Although the air temperature was in double figures the wind had a lot of east in it. Even so I opted to fish into it, choosing a corner swim where I could fish to the reed edge and take shelter behind some trees and reeds.

Another reason for me forsaking the pike was that I don't get itchy feet when fishing stillwaters for other species. I'm content to sit in my chair and wait for the fish to find me. I don't know why. I even found myself ruing the fact I hadn't taken something to read.

As usual my rigs were nothing fancy. Simple hairs that are extensions of the hooklink fished in conjunction with in-line leads. I have no understanding of 'rig mechanics', and these fish are extremely dim anyway. The right hand rod started out with a wafter - chosen because it smells nice, and the left hand rod had an ancient shellfishy boilie on the hair topped off with a bit of orange fake corn. The corn was mostly there to fill the hair up.

After three quarters of an hour the left hand bobbin jiggled a bit. Something must have been moving over teh handful of freebies I'd scattered around the hookbait. Ten minutes later it did a bit more than jiggle and by the time I grabbed the rod it was hooped round and a carp was crashing about in the reeds.

Most of the old geezers (they're older than me so they must be geezers) lose the carp that take them in the reeds. Why? Because six pound line is fishing too heavy. Fifteen pound mono and my tarty new rod saw the fish in open water in no time, and although it plodded around a bit, like a dog on a long lead it it couldn't get anywhere.

Thankfully it was a little common. If all carp looked like this one I'd probably have spent a lot more time fishing for the blighters over the years. I still can't understand what anyone finds appealing about fat bellied mirrors or leathers. No matter how big they are. If I had my way there'd be a nationwide cull on the horrors.

This time of year can be a bit frustrating. Although the evenings are starting to lengthen, enabling short sessions like this from three onwards, they fall during that time of day when my belly starts to rumble. Having made a hasty, and unplanned,  get away I hadn't packed any food. With still an hour of daylight remaining, the sun breaking out too, I packed up and headed for the chippery.

One lesson learned from thsi session, although re-learned is more accurrate, is that rod bands and I don't get on. How people manage to be mobile strapping their rods, net and sticks together is unfathomable to me. A lightweight rod sling is much more convenient. I feel a purchase coming on, and the sorting out of a small bag of essential gear to enable me to make more of these hit'n'run sessions. Some on waters with bigger fish. And not just carp either.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


At first it was work that was keeping me away from the bank. Then it was photographing poultry. Then I did my knee in and have only just started to remaster the art of kneeling down again. Pah.

While gathering the stuff for the Hardy 'tribute' rods (which the owner has now christened, by the way) I got hold of a few different coloured threads. One of which I rather fancied as a subtle tipping shade for the handles of the 'carp' rods I wanted for myself. They could double up for eels and pike. Athough probably not as I can never be bothered swapping rigs about, and i prefer braid for the predators. They're rather nice. Eleven foot (as is my current preference) Torrixes with a 3lb test curve, Alconite rings, and tarty reel seat. There are too many, and too small, rings on mine for any carp angler to look twice at, but they suit me.

In my quest for the ideal eel rod a few years back I built a pair of Baby Ballistas - also eleven feet long but with a 2.5lb test curve. These are not the same as my P-2s, which it turned out I preferred for the eels. The test curve is, to my mind, a little optimistic, and the action very forgiving (i.e. not really up to casting pike baits). What they did prove good for was chucking method feeders for tench and bream. They'd also make a decent rod for small river flood water barbel, and even small water carp - which is what they were designed for.

I've decided mine are surplus to requirements and are up for sale for £200 for the pair. Carriage included. They are fitted with six Alconites, Rover Ringing style, 30mm butt to 10mm tip. Black thread, Ultra Matt finish, full X-weave shrink handle with Fuji Rubber butt cap, DNPS reel seat with black collar. SOLD - 30/03/16

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Return to the dark ages.

Unbelievably in the 21st century the gill nets are going back in Ireland in their futile attempt to rid certain 'trout' loughs of the verminous pike. Decades of this wanton destruction have failed to achieve their aim yet still they persist.

The incompetent fish handling in the video below, filmed in 2015, is almost unbelievable. You'd imagine that the people involved had never handled and returned a pike in their life before. Oh, hang on.....

If Kenny Sloan hadn't been there with his camera it doesn't take a genius to imagine what the fate of the pike would have been.

Click through to read Kenny's description of what went on. It's farcical, incompetent, and outrageous. Almost beyond belief that a fishery agency can carry on like that in this day and age.