The migration back to hunting Cyprinids

It’s had been almost 4 months since I stepped foot on my syndicate, those that have read any of my previous blogs will understand the bass took over my summer with a final tally of over 500 ranging from fish smaller than the 130mm lures to just over 4lb.
The river hadn’t had me as hooked as it did at the start of the year. vast amounts of weed, gin clear water and an abundance of smaller perch not only made it hard to find the larger residents but to actually then try and fish through the wasps too. On numourous occasions i was landing 50 perch with none over 1lb

A photo of a fish from my syndicate popped up on Facebook whilst I was packing up to leave work to go hit the river, well I had changed my mind and a walk round the lake followed.

I walked and sat in every swim on the lake, what a difference from my last visit, the Canadian had returned with vast rafts of surface blanket weed highlighting the weed beds and obvious patrol routes of the carp.
As I turned to go down the out of bounds bank a huge eruption had me running back to the previous swim to see the aftermath of what was undoubtedly a carp!
The itch was back and my head was already thinking about swims, baiting spots, sorting out rigs.
I got home that night to dig the gear out and stripped it all back to see what I needed, hooks, bait and new braided mainline were ordered with the intent to fish the following weekend. That week my braid arrived and my bait so I spooled up the rods and prepped the bait, 25kg of hemp was soaking 20kg of boilies chopped crumbed and whole laden with glug ready for the pre baiting campaign!
I took a rod with me that first bait up just to have a lead around and find some likely spots. There was 1 other angler on so I went to the furthest swim away to re acquaint myself with the swim. Half hour later I found 4 spots 1 around 40 yards the other 3 all within 3 rod length of the bank. the furthest spot had 3 catapults of whole boilies introduced whilst the other 3 spots had a mix of the chopped and crumbed with just a few whole boilies added.
Back at work the next day all I could think about was getting back down for another hit of bait, at this point the hemp had been soaking for 2 days so a quick recce then straight home to get the cauldron fired up and the hemp cooked.
That nutty aroma filled the kitchen for days much to my girlfriends disapproval. But by that Friday I had baited the spots 4 times knowing there would most probably be someone fishing the weekend I have a bigger hit using half the hemp and boilie mix around 15kg between the 4 spots with the aid of a spod.
The weekend was over and I went back down on the Monday after work with the leading rod just to see if the fish had been on any of the spots. First cast to the long spot and I was met with the same dull thud as I had the previous week, my heart sank. They hadn’t been there and in my head there was probably 3kg of bait sitting there. Quick reel in and reclip to the close in areas, a simple underarm was all that was needed, this time the lead went down with a mighty crack! The sinking feeling I previously had was gone I had been cleared out to the point where the silt was no longer present and they had sifted through it to get every morsal of bait I had put out! Game on. The next spot was slightly firmer but still not as clear as the one just 12ft away from it, the last spot was also met with an almighty crack. I had 2 spots rocking with the 1 to my left being the larger of the 2 I had a plan to fish 2 rods on there and just 1 on the right hand area.
That week I baited a further 3 times putting the last of the particle and crumb out on the Thursday leaving around 1kg of whole 18mm boilies for the weekend. Knowing I could make that kg last and not wanting to bait heavy whilst actually fishing I had a plan to fish stringers and small mesh bags of crumb.
Well Friday came and I couldn’t leave work fast enough. Getting to the lake just after 1pm to find I was the only one on, my girlfriend was meeting me down there later that evening but was going to fish the lake behind meaning I had about 40 yards of bank to myself if I needed to move for any reason.
Well the atmosphere was electric I couldn’t keep my eyes off the spots I was expecting a take any second, as I went to sleep that night I was sure I would be awoken by one of the old residents. Well as I woke up I had that gut wrenching feeling as I hadn’t had a single bleep, I swung my legs off my bed lit the Coleman ready for the first brew of the morning the sun hadn’t started to rise yet it was around 4:30am when my right hand rod let out a single bleep my heart was racing, then another bleep and another, the bobbin held against the blank as I shone my head torch to the rod tip I could see it just nod, I picked the rod up and lifted into it, I could feel something there bit it had weeded itself straight away. Keeping the pressure on it came in really easily a small amount of weed had broken away from the main raft but I Could no longer feel the fish, the sinking feeling was back until I saw a bright red eye peering at me through the weed, a bloody tench! My double 18mm bottom bait hanging from its lips. Not the intended species but knowing there were only half a dozen of these in the lake all around the 5-7lb mark it wasn’t to bad.


As I slipped the fish back my girlfriends rod burst into action, a short tussle later she had a beautiful tench too! We couldn’t believe our luck!
The day passed with nothing for either of us and I was deflated. How could my spots be cleared yet all I had to show for almost 2 weeks of baiting was a tench!
My girlfriend was in once again this time to her shock and disgust was a rather nice eel around 3lb she pulled faces and was adamant she would not hold it, well I made sure she did as every capture counts!
An hour after that eel the same rod was away for her and it resulted in a pristine 21lb 13oz common. Spirits were lifted and I was over the moon she had caught one, she hasn’t fished since before lock down so for her to land 3 fish got the fire lit again.
She went back to bed and I sat there watching the sunrise over the trees.
I had just made my 3rd tea of the morning when my left rod screamed off, kicking my tea over and grabbing rod I was flat rodded instantly and within a second it all went slack! I had been properly done, a hook pull of what felt like a good fish, but they all do when we lose one. I went back and sulked, a bacon sandwich was consumed and I knew it was almost time to start packing up.
I had come to the conclusion I wasn’t going to meet a carp that trip when the same left hand rod screamed into life again this time the clutch was just lose enough to allow the fish to take the minimal amount of line possible. The fight was incredible the fish darted for the main weed bed again flat rodding me but this time the hook hold held. It kited right and picked up my other rod on the spot. I tried to untangle it but to no avail so undone the bail arm and watched as the line peeled from it as I slowly gained some valuable yards.
Around 10 minutes had gone by and I had the fish just out of netting distance in the thick marginal weed, without hesitation my girlfriend donned the waders grabbed the net and went straight in gently pulling the blanket week away to try and scoop the lot in, there about 4ft behind the weed we saw it, a huge framed mirror, big custard cream belly to a gorgeous bourbon brown back, in my head it was 1 of 2 fish both of which would beat my personal best!
To say I was bricking it would be a slight understatement. But Catherine done a sterling job clearing the weed and netting the fish at the first possible chance. Oi dropped the rod and got straight in the lake to see my prize! It was the big mirror! The lakes second largest resident. It had been out 7 weeks previous at just over 36lb post spawn so unless they had done the dirty without anyone knowing, there in my net was my pb, there was no mistaking it’s size when I put it in my retainer whilst we got the camera kit ready.
On the scales she went 37lb 1oz I was buzzing! Grinning ear to ear as I held her up. Cat got some cracking shots both on the mat and in the water, she even added the obligatory bucket of water.


As I clambered out the lake and got a huge cuddle from my girlfriend her middle rod absolutely melted off! She was in a long 25 minute battle ensued as the fish led her on a merry dance to almost every weedbed in front of her swim, I returned the favour and got my waders on and grabbed the net, as the fish surfaced I turned to look at cat to be met with “that’s a big fish” I recognised this fish to again a lovely long mirror and 1 of the A team from this lake, she went in the net first time and as rolled her onto her side could tell this would be very close to her pb too. Well if mine wasn’t enough cat had a new pb too of 31lb 8oz of course I returned the favour of giving her a proper soaking, much worse than what she gave me may I add.


We packed up that Sunday lunch time elated.
I couldn’t wait to get back down there and had decided I would mait up again on the Monday with the plan to fish the Tuesday night, I only had around 50 baits left so another order went in knowing it would be with me Thursday.
16:00 Tuesday came and I was back down the lake just before 17:00 the swim I was in that weekend was taken so opted for one of the first swims closest to the car park as I was to be off my 5am the next morning. At just after 19:00 the middle rod was away a short battle and a lovely 23lb mirror was in the net some self takes and off she went.


I changed my mind about doing the night and enjoyed a lovely Indian. That weekend I was due to be on my local reservoir in search of the perch but the 50mph winds stopped that.
My mind was still thinking about the syndicate and I had to get back down, I had my bait order arrive the previous week so some prep was needed and the Monday night bait up followed.
Again I thought I would get down and do a quick night that week this time a Wednesday. Again I arrived at the lake just before 17:00 and again just after 19:00 I had a fish and yet again it was the 23lb mirror I had the previous week. then just before midnight the same rod was off again this time a rather long 27lb common I couldn’t belive it, 2 fish in a few hours. I went to work with a spring in my step and 2 20lbers under my belt.
I baited up the following day and waited for the following Monday as I had arrangements for the weekend. Monday was here and 16:00 arrived I was in my van and at the lake in super quick time. There was 4 people already there so I slotted in a swim in the middle of the lake. 19:00 came and my left rod was away! There was a bite time for sure. A lovely 23lb common was photographed and returned just before the heavens opened. At just after 1am the middle rod pulled up tight I watched as the bobbin dropped then lifted and dropped again just as I thought it was a liner it smacked the blank and held on the tight clutch just a slow tick tick tick as the line started to leave the spool, I leant into the fish which had already found sanctuary in the weed steady pressure got the fish moving and with a small bit covering its head she was less like a dog on a lead straight into the net a long dark mirror lay in the folds of the net, it looked lean but was broad across its shoulders. She spun the scales round to 30lb 2oz, 2 30s in 3 weeks with 4 20s added for good measure.


I was back down the lake that Friday just for the evening just after 17:00 I had another 23lb mirror then like clock work the 7 o’clock bite came and another long scaly mirror lay in the bottom of my net, up on the scales I couldn’t belive it my 3rd 30 in exactly 3 weeks!


That bring us up to the Friday just gone (1st October) and as I write this I’ve just tied up some rigs, sharpened some hooks and got the bait out the freezer ready for a Wednesday night bait up and evening session!

Tight lines and wet nets


The humble bass addiction

As I stated in my first blog I’m relatively new to lure fishing and lure fishing for Bass was something that i had never even thought of.
It all started around this time last year after meeting a rather good local lure angler. In the lure world he is pretty well known and has even fished for England.
Wayne Fletcher has become a very close friend and I have a lot to thank him for (if he reads this i will say I didn’t write it) I can talk all day about how he has shown me tips and tricks to target the dozens of species I’ve now caught on lures, but this is about Bass.
Going back to the first ever session for the humble bar of silver, we arrived at a very nice and secluded section of our local estuary. We had a plan to target them on the surface so I acquired an array of top water lures ready for the session, what I didn’t have was a rod that could actually impart the action needed for such lures, it was too “soft” well I didn’t think much of this and had to use what I had.
Now many don’t like to talk about blanks but that’s a huge part of our fishing I believe, its also a great way to learn.
Well I blanked that session and the following two! The rod was way to soft and wasn’t setting the hooks properly. I also learned not to strike, a huge learning point that I now tell anyone who comes out with me, let the bass and rod to the hard bit you just keep that lure working!
That 4th session when I swapped rods was one to remember, we hit the water straight after work on the flood (incoming tide) the weather was clear skies and a lovely 23° with a 4mph westerly. We watched the bass coming in from the distance and after 20 minutes Wayne had landed 1. Next cast he had another and then so did I, we were hitting small schools every 15-20 minutes and each time landing 4-6 fish we only stayed there for about 3 hours as my girlfriend was rather hungry and as we know us men don’t want to have to deal with a Hangry missus! We ended up with 31 bass between us and I couldn’t wait for the next session.

Fast forward to last month and I had asked my neighbour if he wanted to come bass fishing, he is a carp angler as probably many of you reading this are but and angler none the less we donned our waders I set him up a rod and off we went well 1st cast for Lewis and he only went and bagged 1 a lovely schoolie. To say he was hooked from that first fish would be an understatement as he then had 2 more fish that evening and was grinning ear to ear. I had a text from him the following day “any chance we can go again tonight mate?” of course I obliged and that week we went 4 times and landed over 30 bass between us. Not bad going when the sessions were only just over an hour each due to the tide. Lewis has now got his own set up and still comes with me at any opportunity!

July 23rd after a brief meeting with a like minded angler Darren we were planning a perch fishing trip on the river. The day before we were due to go the weather had changed and we had the first day of the heat wave, knowing the perch would be shy biting I asked if he fancied giving bass fishing a go, he had never caught one and didn’t realise they were readily availble on his door step. We had wicked conditions that evening not getting to the water until just after 5pm, the wind was slightly up on what the weather man had predicted but it was blowing the right direction so we had a nice wind with tide scenario where the water is almost like a mill pool and a slight overcast sky it looked great. The bass were deffiently biting but if we could call them bass I’m not sure, we had fish just bigger than our lures being super aggressive and trying to eat them, luckily the single hooks were sharp and we had half a dozen fish up to around 30cm within the first hour.
The wind had started to pick up as the low pressure front crept in and with that the bigger ones came onto feed. Darren landed his 3rd pb a healthy fish around 34cm and I had 2 of similar size.
Then Darren had a take that had me reaching for the net, an explosive hit that pulled drag as it turned and went with the tide, although we are using stiffer rods there still fairly light with mine being a 10-30g and Darren’s a 7-20g, the rod was bent the braid singing in the ever increasing gusts and as it surfaced Darren’s face lit up, to many all out bass anglers this is a schoolie but for where we are fishing its a really nice fish and at just over 40cm an absolute cracker! It was a stunner dark olive green back petering down to an almost golden flank and a snow white belly what a fish, just like Lewis Darren now enjoys joining me for a session and today (August 7th) he is picking up his new bass rod!

Just 3 days after I took Darren out for his first encounter with the bass I had some friends coming down who also fancied their chances with the bars of silver that surround the Essex coast. Rob and Sam.
Now these gents know there way around a lure rod fishing the Thames and surround London rivers for all manor of species, this session was actually me repaying the favour as they had taken me on a wild brown trout hunt in their urban environment!
We had a whole day planned with the first high tide at 05:30 we planned to fish the ebb down to low and then change marks to fish it safer on the flood. They arrived at 5:30 and by 5:45 we were down at the mark, there were mullet everywhere and the odd bass creeping through the weed too. We all opted to start with surface lures but after 20 minutes we were all routeing around for a different lure to try. I now don’t take more than a handful of lures I’m the worst for chopping and changing and not sticking to a lure long enough. Sam’s zara spook was deployed and as we watched the sun rise over the marshes we saw the awesome sight of the bow wave coming from right to left which then sunk down just before Sam’s lure and then erupt as the fish came half out the water shaking its head. A hairy battle ensued as it darted for every bit of weed it could find but finally Rob had it in the net, what a start to the day! The fish was another cracker around the 40cm mark.

The fishing went a bit stale after that fish and as we followed the tide out I noticed something that got my heart racing and my little legs pumping even faster through the waist high water.
At this point I would like to say I know this mark very well and wouldn’t recommend doing this if you don’t know the hazards that are out there where you’re fishing! I wouldn’t fish this mark on an incoming tide as I feel the risk of injury or worse is increased tenfold.
But back to my excitement. We had Gulls diving! This is something I’ve only seen when out on the boat and never this close to the shore line. All 3 of us were wading as fast as we could trying to get as close as possible, we could see from about 200m away the fry leaping out the water followed by big bars of silver! We knew we had to get to them! The closer we got the further out to safety they drifted, we reach a point where there were still a few birds working and we peppered our lures along there, nothing for 4 casts, lure change (I’m terrible for this) first cast with the illex water monitor and I was in, the fish felt really good but with the speed at which the tide was retrieving it was hard to tell. It surfaced and I was elated, a fish pushing 50cm was a brilliant bass for the area I now wanted Rob and Sam to get in on the action, I held the fish in the net to recover hoping one of them would snare another for some brilliant photos after a few more casts from them, nothing! I pinned the net between my legs and flicked my lure back out I had just put the bail arm over and started to turn the handle when the rod tip arched right round, I was in again! 2 casts with the illex and 2 fish, this second fish was bigger too just over the 50cm mark I had a brilliant brace shot thanks to Rob and we carried on until low tide!

We had fished around 4 hours and between us we had managed 11 bass what a start.

We went back to mine where we had breakfast waiting thanks to my girlfriend.

We hit the road and drove the 20 minutes to the parking area, unfortunately we stayed and chatted for to long over breakfast and missed the point of tide I was aiming for, but that didn’t matter after a fruitless hour and the wind picking right up to almost 25mph we decided we would explore further along the coast, presenting surface lures was now impossible and we had changed over to shads and metals to allow us to punch through the wind and still give us a chance of a few more fish, well we fished hard for the next 5 hours and although we all landed a few more they were alot smaller but still good fun. I had now found a potential new mark that needed some more exploring and the twins were more than happy with their efforts for the day! We finished on 17 bass with loads of new skills and alot of laughs. I will end on the equipment used but please remember this is more of a guide, if your local shore line is littered with rocks and snags step it up a bit, I also enjoy fishing light. I have a 7ft 10-30g which covers me for most lures and a slightly heavier and longer one for fishing metals and bigger shads. The 10-30 is my go to for surface fishing I use lures between 90-120mm mainly heddon spooks, illex water monitors and the gunki megalon. Braided mainline is a must as it cuts through the wind and pick up off the water much easier than mono. I have 2 sizes, still heavy ish but I use 16lb on my lighter rod and 20lb on the heavier. Fluro carbon leader this is what changes the most depending on where I’m fishing. I carry 3 spools with me 10lb 14lb and 16lb each have their uses in different situations. Most of the time I find the 14lb my go too I would rather have a slightly heavier leader just incase I do get snagged or rub against a rock, it could be that slightly thicker line that means you land that fish! Reel wise you’re looking for something around the 2500-3000 size for beginners I can highly recommend the daiwa ninja in 2500 it’s what’s on my surface rod. Then after that it’s all down to how much you want to spend.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to drop me a message on any of my social media’s, I may not be a pro but I will help where I can.

Tight line and wet nets

My life of angling

Fishing for me started almost 27 years ago, at the ripe age of 3 when I am pictured with my Grandad float fishing on the River Lea.
Since then I’ve targeted hundreds of species from all over the world.
I would say the passion really took hold when I was around 10 and I found myself constantly asking my parents to take me to the local rivers and lakes. I was happy catching anything perch on float fished worms, carp on luncheon meat (isn’t that an under used bait now days) tench on the ever faithful sweet corn you name it I pretty much fished for it (fresh water wise)
I had moved to Suffolk at this point and attended a school in Bury St Edmunds where I met my first fishing partner in crime.
We fished almost every weekend predominantly targeting carp, but didn’t care what picked the baits up.
I had grown to love carp fishing and I would say I was a carp angler from the tender age of 14 up until I was 25/26
But in my early 20s I travelled to Australia this is where I got my first real taste of lure fishing.
I met my Girlfriend out there and we would fish the Murray River still targeting the carp but the fish that really peaked my interest was the Murray cod. It took me almost 6 months to actually catch one, casting 12″ lures and having 3 to 4lb carp hit them got rather frustrating. I got there in the end with a fish around 35lb I couldn’t belive it.

There is a varient of our perch out there and there larger cousins the yellow belly that were also great fun using lip less cranks and halco poppers!
The year we came back from Australia we attended The Big One show at Farnborough where we saw a really cool stand Amazon Angler. The two gents there were Gareth Purnell and Steve Townson we got chatting and I said my number 1 bucket list fish was an Arapaima. It took all of 5 seconds to pay our deposits as Steve showed me some of the wild ones they had caught from the Amazon and its Tributaries.
The following year we were on our plane and heading to Guyana. To say the trip was a success would be an understatement, I landed my target a stunning fish around the 175lb mark with loads of back up species and my Girlfriend landed pretty much everything else, ending up as top rod on the trip.

That winter I turned to pike fishing, not with baits but lures only, and big lures at that!
We found a honey hole near to where we lived that was stacked with good sized Jack’s and pike to around 18lb this was the perfect place to get my confidence up with handling and techniques.
We are probably around 2017 at this point and we had just moved to Essex. Not knowing the area we joined a club and as it was spring carp and tench took hold once again, that was until October! The pike were feeding I was eager to beat my pb (14lb) and the lake we were on had rumours of a 20! Well I never did land a 20 but did have a very ill looking 16lb 4oz new pb pike which I came to the conclusion was the big girl but on her last legs. For my birthday that December my girlfriend had brought me the ultimate gift a St croix bait casting rod and an okuma citrix reel! That was it pike were my new favourite and that’s all I wanted to catch…..
Fast forward to February 18th 2019 and I had the wonderful idea of entering my first ever predator match on a local river that I hasn’t really fished but though I have to start somewhere!
Well I blanked for the entire match and was just near the final meeting point and gave it a few last casts with an over gunned perch outfit 2 casts later I was looking at a 2lb 6oz Sargent a new lure caught pb.

The Perch was now my New Favourite species…..
I went back just after a week from that competition and fished that same swim, and at just after 5am I rudely awoke my girlfriend to ask (tell) her I needed her to come to the river and photo a fish for me.
At 45cm and 3lb 10oz this perch was like no other fish I had seen, people say they are the best big fish and my god are they right!

The pike took a back seat as I found myself entangled in the new world of bfs/ul fishing for perch. Later that year there was another predator comp I landed the biggest perch again at 42cm and 2lb 4oz and a lovely 82cm pike which secured me 2nd place! Not bad for less than a year targeting the species.
The love for perch is still as strong as ever but December just gone I got absolutely blown away with the best birthday present I will ever receive, again my amazing girlfriend had pulled it out the bag!
A 2 week trip to Brazil but with 3 days Marlin fishing. I don’t know what I expected but told the skipper Shawn Wallace I would be happy with a 200lber he laughed…… They wouldn’t even call it a marlin its a rat!
I won’t drag this on much longer as I could write half a book on this trip but we had our first Marlin to the boat Catherine my girlfriend was the capture and the fish weighed 800lb then I had a 750lb fish along with a Dorado and a sail fish (day 1)
The next day we set out and cat had a 80lb white marlin a few bonito on my medium pike set up and then I had it, the Holy grail of Marlin fishing a 1000lb+ blue we couldn’t believe it but it didn’t stop there i had an 850lb that day too.
The final day afloat, in all his years being a skipper Shawn has never had this whilst fishing me and cat consecutively landed 2 1000lb+ blues I still get excited thinking about it and find myself rewatching the footage and staring at the pictures all the time!

This brings us nicely the the roller coaster of 2020. The year had started well with a social at farlows where I landed a 29lb carp, then the filling week I was on my synidacte and landed another 29lber, hit the river once again for perch and pike to land 2 15lb pike whilst after the perch 6 2lb perch and another 3lb 10oz monster. (I’ve just realised I have missed out my actual perch pb of 4lb 1oz from the reservoir but my ramblings are endless)
As I am writing this all those fish are at the back of my head as at the minute for me it’s all about Bass fishing.
This was meant to be just an intro and I hope it comes across OK to you guys and girls reading it and when I next get a spare hour will put the rods away and talk bass fishing
Tight lines and wet net