Saturday, 5 January 2019

Crucian, Carp, Zander, Rudd and Grayling fishing.

In this latest update I will cover some memorable catches made over the last months since my last blog. I have been fishing for the usual species I love such as Rudd and Crucians, but also stepping out of my comfort zone and fishing for a new species I had never caught before.

In midsummer I set off for the long drive down south to Crucian mecca Johnsons lake in Surrey. This was my first trip of the year and I had high hopes of getting into the Crucians and Tench. I pulled into the car park before setting out for a walk around the Lake. It was surprisingly busy for a Thursday evening with very few swims free. After talking to a few of the old boys fishing for the Crucians it soon became apparent the Crucians were not really on the feed. This always seems to be the case when I get down but as I live so far away I just have to go with the flow and try and make something happen.

I settled for a swim on the railway bank. Not one I had fished before and not one of the known hot swims as choice was limited. Time was getting on so I found a nice area about 30 yards out to spod some bait. I spodded a mix of Dynamite baits sweet and milky pulses and spod and bad mix in the hope of getting some fish to feed with confidence at night. I could see bubbling close in so I opted to put out a method feeder filled with F1 pellets with a couple of the matching durable hooker pellets on the hook. Not long after dropping the feeder in on some close in bubblers my alarms signaled a take! Lifting into the fish it felt like a Crucian as the fish pulled up and down on the way in. It soon popped up and I scooped it up in the waiting net. It was a quick bite and weighing in at 3lb 4oz it was my joint biggest Crucian ever!

As the night drew in I replaced the durable hooker pellets on the margin rod with a longer lasting bait. A trimmed down pineapple and banana pop up was attached and the feeder cast back into the margin. Through the night I had a number of Tench on the baited spot with a few more Crucians to well over 2lb. But it was the margin feeder that produced the best fish of the night which turned out to be a beautiful  3lb 5oz pb Crucian! The action didn't stop there and as I was packing up the baited spot gave me another 3lb Crucian to put an even bigger smile on my face for the drive home. Check the link below for a video of the trip.

I only found time for a couple of trips to my local club Lake fishing for Carp. One such trip I took my three and a half year old son with me in the hope of catching a big fish for him to see. On getting to the Lake I found an area of the Lake where there were a few Carp popping their heads out at range. I didn't want to spod bait out and risk pushing them away, so I got my throwing stick out and scattered half a kilo of Dynamite baits monster tigernut red amo over the general area. Two Ronnie rigs with matching pop ups  were soon cast in the area where the Carp had been showing. The fish were in the feeding mood and over the next few hours several Carp fell to my rigs including a lovely 22lb Mirror that my boy was very excited to see on the bank.

On another trip to the same lake I took my mate Lee for a guest session as he was desperate to fish the lake. The club has a very limited number of members so it's not the easiest place to get a ticket for. The Lake had not been fishing too well so I hoped Lee would not leave empty handed. The lake was not busy but the swims I wanted were still taken. As we looked around the rest of the lake we spotted a fish or two show. This was the sign we needed so we took a swim each that controlled the area we had seen the fish show. My tactics were the same as my last trip with the exception of this time I glugged my boilies with the red amo liquid attractant to try and get a feeding response from the Carp. The fishing was slow as expected but I did manage to get three takes through the day. Unfortunately two of the fish fell off due to hook points bending over on new hooks I was trying! But the one that stayed on was a stunning upper double Mirror. I'm glad to say Lee got some action through the day too. He had a couple of mint upper double Commons that took a liking to his monster tigernut boilies.

As we headed into Autumn Zander were to be my next target. I had a few good trips on a local venue early in the previous close season. It made sense to see if I could carry on where I left off so over the space of a few weeks I made four or five visits. Most were short evening sessions but the first action came on a days social with my mate Giles. Runs were thin on the ground but I had a Zander about 4lb on ledgered half a Roach. It was glugged in the Dynamite baits XL liquid worm for extra attraction. Also a few balls of  marine halibut groundbait were thrown in to attract prey fish to the area. A guy Carp fishing not far from me had a Zander take his fishmeal bottom bait boilie too! This highlights Zander are scavengers as much as predators. I had a few more Zander in the evening sessions with the best weighing 8lb. Not a big fish but certainly appreciated. Any Zander caught in Fenland is special in my opinion as they are not so common these days.

It's mid winter as I write this and even now Rudd are a species I like to fish for. Recently I headed out to my local River in the hope of catching a specimen Winter Rudd. I didn't have the opportunity to prebait so I went to an area I had caught from before without prebaiting. I arrived 30 minutes before first light as I have found this to be the prime time for a bite at this particular spot. I was using feeder tactics and my size 10 wide gape hook was baited with a large piece of bread flake dipped in the Dynamite baits XL liquid strawberry for added attraction. 

I started getting bites straight away but nothing was feeding confidently. It was starting to get light when I had my first positive bite. I struck into a solid fish and due to the head shaking I knew it was a Rudd. I played the fish safely to the net and sure enough it was a stunning Rudd certainly over 2lb. I slipped the fish into the keepnet as bite time can be very short this time of year. I wanted a bait in the water as much as possible so to not miss out on any feeding fish. If I was to set up the camera and take pictures I would most likely miss out on prime feeding time.

A couple of Roach followed on the next two casts but on the third I had a massive drop back on the tip! I struck and was met with an aggressive fish shaking violently as I drew it towards me. It hit the surface in the middle of the river and as I was pulling it in it was splashing all the way trying to rid the hook. As I netted it the fish erupted and for a split second I thought it had jumped out of the net! Luckily it remained in the net and I quickly placed it in the keepnet with it's companion. I decided to pack up and weigh/photograph the fish. The first fish weighed 2lb 5oz and the second was 2lb 12oz. I was very happy with that so decided to leave and go home for breakfast. 

My last fishing trip was something of a challenge for me. It was to fish for a species I had never caught before and on a fast paced River I had never fished. The species was Grayling and I was really looking forward to be taken out of my comfort zone and have my skills tested. I was invited by my angling buddy Andrew Sharp to a stunning chalk stream in the south of England. I made the long journey south with Giles the evening before so we could get an early start the following morning. 

So as planned we were up early and on the way to the River. I had my 12ft float rod set up with 4lb line, 4g loafer float and size 14 hook already to cast into the most stunning little River. The lads gave me lots of advice and Andy even let me share his first swim of the day. I was grateful he did as he caught a stunning 2lb 4oz beauty we both thought would be much bigger. It was time to head off on my own and I soon found myself trotting my float and two red maggots down a glide just down from a fallen tree. It was challenging trotting a float down a fast paced River and more so here as the River was fining down and had extra water in it. But just a few trots later I struck into a strong fish that I had to follow downstream! I managed to get the fish to the surface where I saw a Grayling hooked in the tail! It soon came off but I was not put off at all. I went to the next area I fancied and hooked a good Grayling first trot. This fish soon fell off too which was annoying, but I was told hook pulls were a common occurrence. Next trot produced a bite and in the clear shallow water I could see it was a small Grayling. It fought very hard for it's size but was soon netted to be the very first Grayling I had ever caught. I took a quick net shot to mark the occasion.

I went on to catch another two small Grayling in the swim but it was soon approaching lunchtime. Andy suggested I tried my luck in a carrier stream on the way back so I did just that. I fed the first run I came to for a few minutes with maggots. As always I gave the bait a boost by adding a few handfuls of Dynamite baits Marine halibut goundbait. I always do this as not only does it help attract fish it also stops the maggots sweating. First trot down the stream and I had a positive bite. I struck into another hard fighting fish that needed plenty of pressure on it so it did not snag me up. Steady pressure soon saw it in the net and it was my biggest Grayling so far pushing the 1lb barrier. 

We all met up for lunch and a catch up before fishing the last couple of hours or so of light. I managed to up my pb again with of a fish of just over a pound in weight. Not a big fish but who cares when they are so stunning?! I didn't get a picture as it took a long time to recover in the net and I didn't want to stress it any further. It went back strongly and was a very satisfying end to a challenging days fishing. I really hope to get back again when conditions are better. But until then the Fens will still keep me very busy.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Surface Carp fishing, Rudd, Tench, Bream and not sure what that is?!

After the rivers close it always leaves me feeling a little deflated. I enjoy river fishing the most, but it is refreshing to switch to the lakes for a new challenge.

As you will probably know I am slightly obsessed with Rudd?! I decided to target them in a Cambridgeshire gravel pit I had been intending to fish for a few seasons. The pit was perfect for my feeder tactics and so I set up with great anticipation for my first evening on the pit. Two spots were found by casting around and feeling for the drop. One spot was in around 5 foot of water at the bottom of the shelf and the other was slightly shallower coming up the shelf. Feeders were baited with my usual mix of Dynamite baits silver x carp method and frenzied hemp groundbait. Several feeder fulls were cast on each spot to get a bit of bait on the spots straight away.

The action started surprisingly soon and a good Bream of 5lb was netted. The action continued into the evening with four more Bream around the same size and two hard fighting Tench to 6lb. I was buzzing with excitement, but started to wonder if the Rudd would feed at all? It was now way past sunset and my rod was a way again. This time the fish felt very different with lots of head shaking so I knew it was a Rudd. I hoped it would stay on as it felt like a good fish! The weed was not bad so early in the season so no drama was had as the fish slipped into the net. It was indeed a good fish and before I could even get it out of the net the other rod was a away! Again the tell tale shake of a good Rudd was transmitted up the line and was netted a minute later. From experience I knew this was going to be a short and sweet feeding spell so I placed the fish in the keepnet so I could get the rod out again.

As I thought, the feeding spell continued and it was an action replay of the previous two fish with both rods going at the same time! I didn't have time to weigh and photograph the fish separately as I wanted to make the most of the opportunity. The hectic spell saw me catch around ten Rudd in a 20 to 30 minute spell with one or two fish standing out in size from the rest. The action dried up and it was now time to do the weighing and photographs. The biggest fish looked like it would easily beat my pb and sure enough it did. At 2lb 15oz it did so by 3oz. The second biggest fish went 2lb 8oz and another two went over 2lb. I had just bought a nifty bit of kit to help me with my self take photography and now was the perfect opportunity to try it out. It was difficult to say the least to get a brace shot but I'm glad I tried. The pictures came out fantastic and I was very happy with the outcome for a change.

It was now early May and I had to scratch an itch had for surface fishing for Carp. My local club lake was the perfect place for this as the big shoals of fish make for exciting fishing. My mate Giles was joining me for a guest session and we were hoping one or two of the bigger Carp would make an appearance. There was one fish I told Giles about that had been getting bigger over the years and was out the previous season at over 35lb. I joked it would be great to get that out on light floater gear!

We had good conditions for the day with warm temperatures and a slight breeze. We saw some fish show in the middle of the lake so decided we would start baiting that area with mixed dog biscuits glugged in the Dynamite baits Crave bait soak. The fish were not in the feeding frenzy they can be, but we soon got some fishing feeding. It was time to get a hook bait in the mix and I soon had my 40g rocket controler flying out 60 yards or so to them. A fish took instantly and was taking line steadily. As always in this lake the fish was fighting hard, but didn't feel heavy. After what seemed like ages a lovely mid double common was netted. It looked stunning in the mid afternoon sun and even better sliding back into the clear lake margin.

We kept spodding the biscuits in on a regular basis and the Carp would come in on smash and grab raids. They are wary as they do get surface fished for much of the spring/summertime. But they do slip up and I was again holding on for dear life as the water exploded with a violent take and what felt like a better fish was tearing off down the lake! A good hard fight ensued without too much drama with the fish staying deep and plodding around in front of me. With a smallsize 12 wide gape hook there is no point to bully a fish if you don't have to. As I gained on the fish and drew it to the surface, sure enough one of the lakes better fish came into view. Giles expertly netted it and a fat mirror rest in the margin for a few minutes while the mat, sling and sclales were made ready. Hook out and anti septic applied the fish was weighed in at 29lb 8oz before a few snaps were taken and returned safety back.

Giles was getting in on the action too with some lovely Carp ranging from beautiful scaley mirrors to bigger leathery mirrors to mid 20's. The action was not as hectic as it can be, but it made it easier to appreciate the quality fishing we was getting. The day was getting on but the fish were still smashing the mixers.

I soon had another victim hooked and from the off this fish was in a different league. Even 60 yards out it felt heavy and I could not do much with it! When it decided to kite right towards the snaggy margin there was not much I could do except not to panic. It was only 30 yards away now, but unfortunately for me it was under so many marginal snags! I could feel the line ping occasionally until I managed to coax it under them towards me. When I got the fish under the rod tip it was still 20 foot down so I could not see it just yet. Remembering the small hook and possible line damage I was a nervous wreck whenever it made a run! As I gained on it and brought it up in the water I saw the fish and recognised it straight away. It was the fish Giles and I were talking about at the start of the session! So now I knew it was a mid 30 the nerves were even worse! When after what seemed like an eternity, the fish was netted and I let out a cheer of relief! She looked big resting in the net and felt heavy as I lifted her onto the cradle. She weighed in at 36lb 8oz and was my biggest surface caught Carp ever! After she was slid back I did not have any energy left to fish on. I sat down and just took in the whole experience for a while until it was time to leave.

Bream are not a species I target too often, but on light gear there really are a pleasure to catch. I had fished a Cambridgeshire gravel pit a few times over the Spring and caught a few nice ones to 7lb. I had an afternoon spare so went to the same venue with them in mind. Tactics were my usual feeder tactics with the same Dynamite baits groundbait mix. I went to a swim I knew from previous trips so dropped the feeders in the same spots.

The Bream were obliging from the start and a fish of around 5lb gave me a good fight on my soft rods. With the first fish returned a second soon made an appearance. Another Bream around the same weight. Several more fish fell to the same tactics with the best one going 8lb 4oz. This was the biggest I've had from the pit, but I know they go into double figures so will definitely be a target again at some point.

Once again Rudd were my target and so I found myself back on the Cambridgeshire gravel pit. It was to be a short evening session, but as I knew from previous experience the action could be crazy! I cast the feeders out to the usual spots and sat back for the sun to dip behind the tress and mayhem to break out! Like clockwork the Rudd came on the feed like expected and the first Rudd of the evening was shaking it's way to the net. It was a good fish and certainly over 2lb so in the net it went so I could cast out and make the most of the action.

It was action packed and intense for a short period of no more than thirty minutes! Around a dozen fish fell to my rods with around half of them looking 2lb plus in weight. This was confirmed when the weighing was done and I had six 2lbers from 2lb 4oz to 2lb 12oz! Short and sweet and shows if you can get to know how your target fish behave in your chosen venue, the rewards can be had without sitting behind motionless rods all day.

The moment I had been waiting for all season was almost upon me and it's safe to say it did not go as I had hoped! It was June 15th and I was on the River baiting up for the Carp. I got there early and heard a splash not far from the baited area. I was at first excited to see a Carp, but then realised it was in a group of fish spawning! Not what I wanted to see just before the opening! But as I could not change the situation I just enjoyed watching them and checking if there were any biggies among them. There were some lovely mirrors to mid 20's among the smaller commons. Definitely encouraging even though I knew they would not be on the agenda this trip.

We set our camps up anyway and just took in the atmosphere. The bbq was lit, burgers ate, cider drank and all was good. Midnight came around and as the Carp stopped spawning the previous day we dropped our rigs in hoping rather than expecting. Sure enough the next morning the rods were as we had left them. That was until late morning a cracking Tench ripped off after taking a monster tigernut pop up hook bait. At 6lb it was by far the biggest River Tench I had caught.

We reeled in and decided to target the Rudd that were hopefully going to visit the baited spots. Bread crust dipped in Dynamite baits XL liquid strawberry, fished zig style four feet up was the chosen method. It wasn't long before a Bream was in the net! It wasn't what I was hoping for, but it was action none the less. The Rudd were obviously not in the area as the Bream continued to take the bait instead. One fish was different and when I saw it in the water I thought I had hooked a massive Roach! When it was netted however, I could see it was a hybrid of some kind. It has been suggested it could be a s Silver Bream/Rudd hybrid due to it's very silver body and reds fins? It was a lovely fish to catch either way.

Some Rudd did move through the swim, but most were small. A better one did eventually turn up and was a cracking 2lb 4oz specimen. Although the Carp were not in the feeding mood we caught other fish to keep us entertained. We left without catching our intended species, but did have the rare chance to see them spawn and see what special fish are there for us next time we get on the bank.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Late winter in the Fens. Zander, Pike and Rudd fishing.

The Winter just gone has been a bit of a grueler for me and many of my friends. A colder one then recent years mixed with warmer spells in between must have played with the fishes minds. To find consistent action from the predators in particular was very hard indeed! Towards the end of the Winter though, the action certainly increased noticeably which is usually the case given the longer daylight hours.

With the birth of my beautiful daughter in January it meant that fishing around this time was thin on the ground. I did manage to get a midweek day out on my local River to kick off my Pike fishing season. I started on a section that was kind to me the same time of year the previous season. I got there before first light eager to make the most of the limited time I had. Three rods were soon spread out across the River hoping to locate some fish. Every 15 to 20 minutes I would re position the rods to try and drop a bait in front of a Pike. After an hour or so it looked like my effort was not getting me the reward so a move was in order.

There was an area I wanted to try but it involved a long walk with a loaded barrow to get to it. No pain no gain I told myself as I made my way to an area with moored boats that just screamed Pike! 15 minutes later I reached my destination and just stood there for a few minutes to get my breath back! The 1st rod was soon in place and swiftly followed by the 2nd. As I was getting the 3rd rod ready the sweet sound of an alarm was ringing away after a fish had pulled the line from the clip. The fish was pulling line steadily from the spool so I engaged the bail arm and hit into it. After a short but spirited fight a lovely Jack Pike of around 8lb was netted. The bait was probably in the water 2 minutes max before it was taken. I was covering the baits with a generous helping of Dynamite baits XL predator liquid and it must have been triggering a feeding response as over the next four hours had several more Pike using the same tactic. Nothing bigger than the first fish came along but great action when it was looking so bad in the original area.

I was suffering from Rudd fishing withdrawal and the River season was ebbing away too rapidly! Waiting for perfect weather was not an option because I did not have time on my side. I planned a morning session before work and pulled up to the River to find the field in front of it not only flooded but frozen too! It was not going to stop me so gingerly I stepped onto the ice and hoped the water below would not be deeper then my Skee tex wellies. It was touch and go but I made it to the River and deposited my gear in the swim that had been kind to me a year earlier. Bait was good old bread used as flake on the hook and crumb in the feeder boosted with Dynamite baits XL liquid strawberry. Not long after casting I had a good fish on but it fell off not long after. This happened a couple of time and I was not happy about it! I assumed with the water being so cold they were not feeding hard. I didn't want to lose another good fish so I changed to a beaked point hook from a straight point hoping this would hook the fish better. Sure enough this did the trick and the very next fish stayed on all the way to the net! It pulled the scales round to 2lb 10oz and I was over the moon to eventually land a good fish. Several smaller Rudd fell to the same tactics before it was time to pack up and onto work.

I had unfinished business with those Rudd and another trip soon came around. I was to be joined by friends Giles and Chris who were arriving by boat a little later. Using the same tactics as before I soon had the rods out and was into a fish straight away! I wanted to make the most of this feeding spell so popped a hefty looking Rudd into the keepnet ready for pics when Giles and Chris turned up. Another two bites came in quick succession seeing two more nice sized fished popped into the net. Not long after I could hear a boat coming from up River and Giles and Chris soon made dry land ready to join in on the action. After the guys had got settled and started catching it was time to check the golden beauties I had waiting for me. One fish stood out due to it's size compared to the others. On the scales the fish went 2lb 10oz and I was very pleased to have such a good fish early on. The other 2 fish didn't quite make 2lb but who cares when you've just had a lump?!

Giles and Chris were getting into some fish and a flurry of 2lbers fell to all of our rods before the action got slower around lunchtime. That was a good time to sit back and relax for some much needed lunch. Giles and Chris headed off to the pub for a good feed but I stayed back to make the most of my time. I had a fish or two while they were gone but no biggies. The action was very slow for the rest of the day but there was still time for a surprise or two! I had a drop back bite and as I hit into it I was met with a solid resistance. I thought it might be another sizable Bream as I had several earlier in the day? This fish however started running upstream and taking line! Not many Bream do this so I suspected it was a Carp? Well it was not stopping so I shouted for Giles to follow me up River while I held on and hoped the fish didn't snag me up or break me off. Although it tried it's best the Carp was still in Winter mode and didn't give me too many heart attacks and was eventually expertly netted by Giles. A high five or two followed to celebrate before the stunning low double common was unhooked and safely returned.

The best was yet to come and the odd big Rudd slipped up to find their way into our nets. Chris carried on leading the way and netted a big fish. I could see from a distance it was something special and when I saw it i knew it. Chris weighed a very plump looking Rudd which pulled the needle to a weight of 2lb 14oz and was yet another PB in a day where he broke it at least a few times! It was a pleasure to not only share that experience but the whole day with two like minded angling friends. If memory serves I think we had around twenty 2lb plus Rudd that day. For me personally it was a day that took me to just shy thirty 2lb plus Rudd for the season. With the best a PB of 2lb 12oz what a season it was.

It was now the last day of the River season and and predators were to be the targets. I was joining Giles for a day afloat on a local River where Pike and Perch to specimen proportions lurked beneath moored boats. As you know the end of the season was a very wet one and the chance of the River being in bad condition was playing on our minds. Sure enough the River was up high and pushing hard! It was not fishable so we payed a quick visit to a Marina for a smash and grab raid. Giles was first into action on a hard Jerkbait lure. The fish was strong and put up a good fight and we were not surprised to see a mid double figure Pike pop up and duly netted. I had a small Jack on a big soft plastic lure and before the local residents could get on our case we decided to abandon the River in favor of a Lake.

We were not kitted out for bank fishing so we made a detour to mine to grab the vital bits of kit and of course bait. With the car loaded we set off to our chosen venue. It was a lake with a chance of Pike and Zander so Roach was the bait of choice. To give them a boost of attraction a good covering of Dynamite baits XL predator liquid was applied to the Roach. Another way to boost attraction was a few balls of the Dynamite baits silver x Roach groundbait over the top to attract prey fish into the area. It was quiet for a couple of hours but eventually one of my rods had the line peeling off the spool but as I pulled into it I was met with no resistance! Typical of a Zander bite but it was a good sign feeding fish were in the area. Within seconds of winding the rod in my other rod was away! This time I pulled into a fish and after a short tussle a Zander was in the net. It was a fearsome looking schoolie of 6lb or so and looked fantastic with it's dorsal fin standing up in defiance.

The activity went as quickly as it came and it was sometime later as the light levels were dropping another take occured. From the off I knew it was a much bigger fish. It was stronger and less erratic in the fight which told me it was most likely not a Zander. Sure enough a lovely low double figure Pike proved to be the culprit and was netted by Giles. As I was getting the mat ready the fish was trying it's best to escape. It actually made it half way out of the net before I dived onto the floor to scoop her up and catch her for the second time within minutes! We laughed our heads off for minute until we were composed enough to take a couple of pictures. That was the end of the action so it was time for home. Although not the end to the River season we wanted it was a great days fishing none the less.

I could not get Zander fishing off my mind for a couple of days after this. Knowing the conditions were yet again turning cold any day I soon found myself back at the lake. It was 16 degrees centigrade when I got there and I worked up a sweat getting to the swim. I got three rods spread out in front of me using the same tactics as the previous trip. I could now relax and enjoy the lovely warm evening. Well not for long because not long after the sun went down the temperature had dropped to 4 degrees centigrade! Not only that it also started raining then snow! Well as I sat there feeling sorry for myself I had a take out of the blue. I struck and felt a solid connection and quickly netted a schoolie Zander of 5lb or so which put a smile on my face. Now trying to take self take pictures in the windy, rainy and snowy conditions was next to impossible so the result was a blurry Zander. It was a new camera so it was good practice I suppose?!

I did not have to wait too long until my next take. I could feel this was a better fish and it had the typical head shake of a Zander. I drew the fish closer to the net when out of the blue the fish went crazy and refused to go in! After what seemed AGES in it went and it was certainly the biggest Zander I had caught in a long while. Much to my delight the needle settled at just over 10lbs. Again I attempted to take some self take pictures and managed to get a couple of half decent shots. The fish was soon back in it's cold watery home and I wanted to get back to my warm dry one! This was one of those sessions where it was worth the effort and discomfort as the end result was more than worth it.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

River Carp fishing to Reservoir Perch.

It's been sometime since I last wrote a blog so this is going to be a re-cap of the last six months fishing. As always with my fishing it's been all about variation. From River Carp to reservoir Perch and everything in between. I have enjoyed every second of it and that's the way it should be!

I started the season on the hunt for Carp on my local Fenland River. There had been lot's of hard work clearing swims and pre-baiting with Urban Bait Nutcracker in the close season and it was now time to hopefully reap the rewards. I won't go into too much detail as this will be written up in a fourth coming issue of Big carp magazine. On the opening day of the River season myself and angling buddy Giles were camped up ready to cast in at midnight. With that done all we had to do was wait and see what, if anything came our way? Early morning saw me hit into a savage take and after a strong fight land a stunning 17lb Common Carp. It was just the start I hoped for and it was to get much better the following morning! I had a drop back bite and duly wound down into a Bream. Well that bream soon turned into an angry Carp and made off down River! After several runs Giles did a great job netting a very special fish. The most stunning Mirror Carp I have ever caught was soon photographed and weighed. At 29lb 8oz it was a pb River Carp for me and will always be one of the best fishing memories i'll have!

It was a few weeks into the season before I started Rudd fishing the River. The Carp fishing had taken priority and it was now time for a change. As I live so close to the River I could maximize my fishing time and target the Rudd for the last couple of hours of light. This is prime time and much better than killing yourself in the heat of the day fishing at the least productive time. My first evening out saw me sat by the River trickling in bread crust to get the Rudd feeding. As the sun started to dip behind me the fish started taking crust off the surface. They would only take the bait in the most awkward place possible. It was a muddy cattle drink with thick Reeds and a further Lilly bed in front of that. I had no choice but to cast where the fish were even if it meant a wet foot! I dipped my crust into the Nutcracker dip for extra pulling power and cast beyond the fish and dragged it as close as I dare! Within seconds a fish slurped down the crust and I hit into it. I held the rod tip high to keep the fish out of the Lilly's and managed to pull it close to the Reeds. Sure enough one wet foot later I managed to scoop the fish up into the net! It was a good fish in mint condition and weighed in at a new pb of 2lb 12oz. Well worth a wet foot hey?!

The evening sessions continued and the Rudd kept coming. In about half a dozen evenings I had another dozen or so 2lb plus fish. All falling for waggler fished bread crust on a size 8 hook and 4lb line. I dipped the crust in the Urban bait Nutcracker dip every time as the extra attraction i'm sure gave me an edge over plain crust. One particular trip didn't really go as planned but some cracking fish were still landed. Carl and Alex of of Youtube fame came up for a session hoping to bank a Rudd or two and maybe a River Carp at night. The weather was far from ideal with strong winds, rain and cool temperatures! I managed to bank a nice 2lb plus Rudd early the first morning just before the lads arrived. I was fishing good old bread crust but suspended three foot off the bottom on a running lead almost zig style. The lads were very happy to see the fish and get at least one nice fish on film.

As predicted the Rudd fishing was very hard going through the day and we could not buy a bite from any specimen sized fish. We hoped the evening would bring on the fish activity and sure enough Carl saw a fish top in the swim and duly caught a nice Rudd about 1lb 8oz in weight which was a new pb for him. Alex also got in on the pb action and bagged a 2lb stunner on the "bread zig"! It was however the action at night that really made the session one to remember. Through the night we caught another five 2lb plus Rudd to 2lb 9oz and I even managed a mint little River Common Carp to cap a very enjoyable session off.

I had been intending to have a trip to Pitsford water for a Perch session since it opened for lure fishing in May. It was now late July and a day afloat on the reservoir soon came around. The water level was low and it had not been fishing well prior to now. That was not going to put me off so I was soon anchored up at the first spot ready to cast in various drop shotted rubber lures. It didn't take long before I started getting taps on the lures on a slow retrieve. A solid bite came along and I struck into a hard fighting fish! As I got the fish to the boat and near the surface I could see it was a big stripey. At this point it decided to make a surge under the boat and towards the anchor rope! Well I was forced to pile on the pressure and sure enough the hook slipped and the fish gained it's freedom! Gutted but not deterred I carried on chucking rubber and was soon in with another take. This time all went to plan and a lovely Perch was my reward. Several more good sized fish were boated by me and Giles but the monsters did not want to make an appearance. But there is always next time.

It was now early October and I had not done much lake Carp fishing up to now. My local club lake was the perfect place to go and get some action so I was soon there looking for fish activity. Soon enough the fish gave me the nod and I scattered a kilo of Urban bait Nutcracker boilies about 40 yards out to hopefully get them feeding. The boilies were glugged in the dip to pull the fish down to the bottom of the deep lake. Rigs were my ever reliable Ronnie rigs with size 4 wide gape hooks fished helicopter style and 15mm Nutcracker pop ups. The action was almost instant and I was soon bent into a very hard fighting fish that was stripping line and kiting to the right making it a nerve wreaking fight! Eventually I had the fish in the net and it was a leathery lump. At 28lb it was a fantastic start to the session. Scattering the Nutcracker little and often throughout the day kept the bites coming and several more Carp succumbed to the tactics including another two 20lbers to 24lb. A great session to see my Carp season out. Check the link below to see a video of the session,

Now we were into early Winter and it was prime predator time. A day afloat with Giles was soon organised on a Fenland River where Pike and Perch were the targets. It was a cold and windy day but when we started casting big plastic lures for the Pike we soon warmed up. The Pike were obviously not on the feed as many casts were made with no response. Eventually I had a hit and was into a fast fish zipping around in the shallow water. As is the hazard with boat fishing the fish zoomed under the boat and the severe angle saw the hooks thrown from the Pikes mouth! It was a low double fish and would have been nice to boat but I enjoyed the fight at least. It was clear the Pike were not on the feed so we turned our attention to Perch. Drop shotting worms was the chosen method and with lots of moored boats along the River there was lots of cover for the fish to hide. We located some large Perch under two boats. A flurry of fish came to the boat with several good 2lbers with the best fish being just short of 3lb. A couple of jack Pike took a liking to the worms too and gave great scraps on light tackle!

Fishing will be on the back burner for a while as it's just a matter of days until my second child is born. I think that will keep me busy for a while! I have some great fishing planned for the new season including more River carping. Hopefully I will have some more blogs coming out in the not too distant future.