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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Mirror Carp

Heres two of 4 mirror carp I caught from North Benfleet Hall fishery on Friday 19th February. I used Baylys Baits God’s Gift and Secret Sauce boilies to tempt them. Rigs used were the German rig with a size 8 curve shank and a simple hair rig with a size 8 curve shank.

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Joe Chappell

‘The Day for Firsts’

The Half Term Campaign Chapter 3 – ‘The Day for Firsts’

This is the third part in a mini-series of blogs I’ve written this week about fishing a small local river with my friend Jack. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest checking out the first couple of chapters. They can be found here.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

We gave the fish a break on the Tuesday before heading out at 7am on Wednesday for our third session on the river. We didn’t think it could get any better but boy were we mistaken. The morning which followed was spectacular.

The previous night, I had prepared some bait which I think made all the difference that day. I liquidised a few slices of brown bread and added some sweetcorn and crushed up Baylys Baits God’s Gift boilies. I then gave the whole mix a good dose of glug before leaving it in a warm cupboard overnight to get the mix active and the bread fermenting.

As soon as we got to the pipe swim, I sprinkled in a handful of my mix and some maggots before setting up the rod, giving the fish some time to get on the bait. Within 5 minutes of lowering my maggots on the spot, my float shot under and I was hooked into a hard fighting little common. On the cycle to the spot, we had decided to take it in turns fishing the magic spot which we had found the previous day. The swim is only small therefore we thought that this would be the fairest way to fish.

After slipping my fish back, it was Jacks turn. It only took 10 minutes before Jack had caught the second fish of the session, our first mirror from the river.

After the second fish, it was my go again. We had put some more bait in after both fish so I’m unsure weather it was a case of overfeeding them, spooking them or both but it took another 45 minutes for the third bite of the day to come. The result was another small common, typical of the river.

We decided to give the swim a rest and head to the tunnel swim further upstream. Within 15 minutes, Jack had caught our first gudegon of the week and a few minutes after, I caught a little roach.

As soon as I had slipped the roach back, Jack was into a chub which weighed about 3lb. All the fish caught so far had been on maggots, so I decided to switch over to using some corn on the hook while Jack persevered with the maggots. Neither bait worked in the next hour and after out floats remained motionless, we decided to head back to where we had caught the carp just over an hour earlier in the hope that we would find them already feeding.

Since I had caught the previous fish in the spot, it was Jacks turn to fish there. I’m not joking when I say within 10 seconds of his float hitting the water it shot towards the middle of the river. He struck and a massive shadow appeared under the surface of the river. The battle which followed was epic with the fish diving for every snag in the swim. We had no idea that fish of that proportion were in this river and so we had only brought small nets. After too long trying to scoop the fish up, I managed to get it in the net.

We were both in complete shock, we’d only ever seen fish up to about 5lb and caught them up to 3lb. Whatever was in that net was easily twice that size. Luckily, I had brought my scales and the scales tipped round to 11lb 12oz. That meant that the fish was 10lb 10oz due to the net weighing 1lb 2oz and our first double from the river. You may be reading this thinking wow, you caught a 10lber I’ve caught hundreds. If you saw where this fish lived, you would see why we were so impressed. We took some photos before slipping the fish back.

We were in complete awe of what we had just caught. We decided to put some more bait in and head back to the tunnel spot. We gave it 45 minutes in that spot but caught nothing. Still elated from Jacks carp we wanted to head back to the super spot by the pipe and try for another carp. It was my turn on the spot and once again bites came almost instantly. This time however it was a small perch, our first one of the week. We decided not to count the perch so it was still my turn in the swim. After waiting another 20 minutes, I was into a carp for the third time that day. The result was my biggest carp from the river, a 5 1/2lb common.

After that fish, we returned to the tunnel and ate some lunch. Jack managed to catch a chub of about 2lb which obviously wasn’t too happy about being caught and jumped from his hands back into the river before we could take a photo. After an hour we headed back to the pipe to find someone else fishing there. He’d obviously only just got there and after a quick chat decided to head upstream to a place we hadn’t fished since the summer but knew held fish. We fished a couple of spots but only managed to tempt a couple of small roach.

After an hour or so trying our luck in the relatively new territory we headed back to the pipe to find that the man who was fishing there had left. We jumped into the swim and within minutes Jack had hooked another chub of over a pound.

It was now my turn and within 15 minutes I was hooked into a big chub. It looked bigger than anything I’d caught before and after giving it a quick weigh we realised it was a new PB for me at 2lb 10oz.

Bites were slow for the next hour but we didn’t want to leave to try anywhere else in case the swims previous occupant returned. Just as it turned 4 pm, Jack had another bite which resulted in his eighth fish of the day. The result was his smallest chub of the week at a still respectable pound in weight.

The swim was mine once again however the following hours fishing resulted in just two rudd. It wasn’t the big carp or chub that I was hoping for but it was my first rudd of the year which meant another point in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt, taking my total to 6 and putting me in the lead. If you’d like some more information about our species hunt, then you can check out the species hunt tab at the top of the page or click here.

That brings us to the end of the third chapter about my weeks fishing. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it, as always, any feedback is much appreciated. Don’t forget to check out our social media links below.

Also here’s the website for Bayly’s Baits (the boilies and glug I used in my mix)

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Joe Chappell

‘Poxy Carp’

The Half Term Campaign Chapter 2 – ‘Poxy Carp’

This is the second part of a little mini-series of blogs. For me, this week is half term which means no sixth form (online lessons) and therefore, lots of fishing. You can check out the first days fishing here if you missed it.

I’d checked the weather the night before, I think every fisherman does this right? and it looked like it was going to be clear.  My friend and I decided to meet at 7 again and get to the river early. When we woke up it was absolutely hacking it down. We had planned to fish for a while before cycling 10 minutes down the road to the tackle shop to pick up some maggots when he opened at 9. Due to the rain, we decided to leave at 8:15 instead and head to the tackle shop straight after putting a bit of bait in a couple of spots.

I decided to set up my rod with a small pole float and size 14 hook. The previous day I’d used a ledger with no luck while Jack had caught a few on the float. For me, switching to a float seemed the best option. I dropped my float armed with a few maggots on the hook into position and fed a few maggots over the top. I didn’t have to wait long for the float to shoot under, the result was a small chub of about a pound. It was a new species for the year which meant another point for me in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt. After that chub, the spot died off and another hours fishing resulted in nothing.

We moved to a bridge upstream and I climbed around the precarious ledge, rod in hand and maggots in my pocket. I hoped that I would be able to fish some water which you’re unable to fish from the bank. Considering I nearly fell in, the one little chub I caught wasn’t really worth it. I have a feeling I spooked most of the fish with my monkey business but I guess it’s a lesson learnt for next time.

After a while at the bridge without much luck, we moved back to our spot downstream. I caught a roach and another small chub however Jack was still blanking. We moved back to the bridge and within 10 minutes of moving, Jack managed to catch his first fish of the day, a nice chub of about a pound. Once again, after our initial success, it died off and after a couple hours without a bite, we moved again.

We fished in the swim which we had first visited and I caught the chub on my first cast. We were still using a float with maggots however I had switched over to a slightly heavier waggler style float. The river was quite flooded and the tide was coming up meaning the small pole float was just getting washed away. I had baited up in the edge with maggots and corn and was fishing a few maggots on the hook. After 20 or so minutes, my float was away. I struck into the fish and it pulled back hard. I was connected to my first river carp of the year, a hard fighting common. We trickled a few more maggots in before we took some photos and slipped him back a little way downstream so as not to disturb the swim.

The minimal disturbance obviously worked because within 20 minutes of getting my float back out, I was away again with another carp. This one was slightly bigger but a hell of a lot uglier. It had some carp pox which are harmless to the fish but don’t look too appealing.

With Jack only catching a couple of fish, I felt pretty sorry and thought I ought to return the favour he gave me the previous day when I caught the bream with his float and rig. He dropped onto my spot and 10 minutes later he was hooked into his own little river carp.

It was getting dark so after that fish, we packed up and headed home. The next day (Tuesday) was meant to be pretty wet and miserable so we decided to give fishing a miss and give the gear a sort out ready for Wednesday when the weather was meant to be a bit dryer. Wednesday turned out to be an even better day than Monday and I’ll talk about that trip in my next blog. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and thanks for making it to the end.

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Joe Chappell

‘Snow Bream’

The Half Term Campaign Chapter 1 – ‘Snow Bream’

This week is half term and for me, that only means one thing. Fishing! Although I’m at home all the time at the moment due to online schooling, I still have work to do so I haven’t been fishing much. This week I managed to hit the bank most days so have a few blogs lined up. This first blog will be about my first days fishing a small tidal river in Essex.

I spent the Saturday preparing my gear and bait. I was hoping to catch some of the chub that reside in the river and after talking to fellow blogger Andrew, I decided to make some cheese paste. I wanted to try something different and Andrew suggested adding anything which is bloody or that absolutely stinks so I blended up some lamb liver and mixed it in with the cheese before adding the spices and flour. It absolutely stunk and I had loads of blended liver left over so I mixed it with breadcrumb to use as a groundbait. I made a few batches and added different spices to each including garlic, cumin, chilli and turmeric.

I won’t go into detail on how to make the cheese paste but if you’d like to know more you can check out Andrews blog on it. https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt3/

With the gear prepared and packed into just a rucksack, I headed to bed.

Me and my mate Jack woke up early on Sunday and cycled to the river, getting there for about half past 7. We started the day by cycling the length of the river to the weir where it meets the saltwater part of the river. We had never ventured this far down river and wanted to give it a scout out to see if there were any deeper parts. We had a look and a lead around and ended up fishing for about an hour. I opted to use my cheese paste on a light ledger and Jack opted to do the same but with pellets. After an hour without any bites we packed up and decided to head to a stretch upstream where we had caught fish before.

The next spot was a stretch of river separate to the stretch we fished before due to another weir pool. The main feature of this stretch is a bridge / tunnel. Unfortunately, you can’t fish the upstream side of the bridge and trot under it because it’s on private land however you can access the downstream side, this is where we were fishing. Jack switched over to the float and opted to fish with sweetcorn in a small eddy just at the exit of the tunnel under the bridge. I fished underneath a small overhanging tree and decided to persevere with my cheese paste on a ledger. We waited a while but we were confident in this spot. Jack managed to hook a fish after about half an hour in this spot but unfortunately it came off. We hoped that it hadn’t spooked the shoal and luckily it hadn’t. After about another 20 minutes, Jack was in again and he was off the mark with a chub of about a pound. After that fish, we gave it another half hour but with no results decided to put a couple of handfuls of bait in and head off to another spot which was about a foot deeper than the rest of the river.

The first fish of the day for Jack

This next spot is quite a squeeze and can just about be fished by 2 people at once. There’s a pipe running across the river and I took the inside left slack and fished with my cheese paste and Jack fished the right hand side and trotted down the middle. It wasn’t long before Jack had caught another chub. Not long after, I got a bite however missed it because I was checking the weather forecast. I recast to check my paste hadn’t been stolen and waited eagerly. Jack’s float edged under the pipe towards my swim and he apologised for entering my water. It was a good trot, so I told him to leave it and not worry. Well within 5 seconds of me saying that his float shot under and he was connected to something bigger than the rest, it was a nice 2lb chub.

We thought that after all the commotion, we may have spooked the fish so put a few handfuls of corn in and decided to head back to the bridge. When we got to the bridge, we found someone else fishing there so decided to head back to the pipe swim. At this point, I was losing faith in my cheese paste and Jack was feeling sorry for me.

It was nearly the end of the day so Jack offered to lend me his float and rig and corn for the last half hour. I positioned my rig exactly where Jack caught the big chub and waited. After 10 or so minutes the float shot under and I lifted into the fish.  To my surprise a bream popped his head up. We’d never caught a bream from this river before and only ever thought we’d seen one. I was finally off the mark in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt with this bream. We grabbed some photos and slipped him back before packing up and calling it a day.

We were buzzing for what the next day had in stall for us and rightly so, the fishing was even better. Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second part of this mini series so I hope to see you again tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek of what the day had in stall for us.

Part 2: https://essexanglers.co.uk/twilight-delight/

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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Rudd

One of two rudd caught today from a small local river. Tactics and bait were float fished maggots.

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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Perch

A tiny perch caught from a local tidal river on maggots.

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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Common Carp

A small carp caught from a local tidal river not long before packing up. Tactics and bait were float fished maggots in the margins.

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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Roach

Caught from a local tidal river. Tactics and bait were float fished maggots.

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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Chub

A small chub caught in a local tidal river. Tactics and bait were float fished maggot.

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Species Hunt

Joe Chappell – Bream

A nice bream caught in the snow from a local tidal river. Tactics and bait were float fished sweetcorn.