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Andrew Pilgrim

British Record Missed by Ounces !!!!!

As you are properly aware we bloggers have a little species Hunt competition this year and I am currently sitting on a grand total of one fish!…… A solitary Chub. This is due in part to two things. 1/ I mainly fish for Chub and 2/ Due to the current restrictions most of my fishing has been done in Suffolk so all the other fish I have caught don’t count.

However my new club membership came through the post this week opening up vast swathes of waters in north Essex all of which can be fished without breaking the ‘Local’ rule.

So armed with my shiny new club card I hatched a plan to target specific species to enhance my laughably meagre tally.

A quick look at the scoreboard so far showed that the runaway leader is young Joe with 7 fish but looking at his catches it appears that he has only managed the ‘Easy’ ones, Roach, Rudd, Carp etc. So I hatched a cunning plan, and to show him who’s boss, I would target one of the harder species. I decided that I would make the most of the remaining time of the river season and focus on what I believe to be for its size, the hardest fighting of all river fish…………………… The Mighty, Mythical, Gudgeon.

Choice of Rig was going to be key. I opted for the rig favoured by some of the best Specialist Gudgeon anglers in the country. A twin pulley- gyro -copter rig fished semi-bolt fashion with a 1/8oz breakaway lead. The hook link was 8oz lead-core floating camo double taper fluorocarbon ending with a super strong forged sizes 26 KamaGuro Tactical Specialist hook. This is not an easy rig to master which is why you see few anglers using it, and I spent many hours in my tackle room before I was happy with the results. My beloved Sheena brought me fresh tea every hour and smiled sweetly as she silently left. I think she is very impressed and probably in awe of my skill, dedication and dexterity.

Nano rig in progress, attempt No 17

So with my rig perfected I needed a rod and what better than my Korunnan 3ft, 2oz TC Gobio Tamers, paired with Shimiawa 200 sized reels………….Perfect!

Now for the bait. As any dedicated Gudgeon Hunter will tell you they can be very choosy and will often drop any bait that is not to their liking. I have over the years perfected my ‘killer’ method which I will share with you now. You hair rig a .25mm cork pop-up ball to which you superglue 3 bloodworm and attach a PVA stringer with 7 bloodworms threaded on. Loose feed is crucial to tempt these shy fish into your swim and I opted for 1/2oz of Nashline 1mm Egg & Lettuce pellets which I would feed into the swim using my home made Nano spod.

I don’t want to give away my secret location, but suffice to say I would be fishing the Essex bank of a Suffolk river near a village called Langham and just above a Flume. That is all I am going to say.

After two days of raking the swim and another 3 days pre-baiting I arrived at my secret location around lunchtime and intended to fish into dusk.

Full moon at dusk, Perfect for Gudgeon.

Why fish so late?…. well, firstly nobody has ever caught a Gudgeon during the afternoon as these rarely seen fish only feed at dusk. and secondly my beloved Sheena had made Shepherds Pie for tea and the thought of an Acolyte insertion wasn’t very appealing should I be late home. I set up my rigs and cast them out and sat back in anticipation. The first couple of hours were very quiet then at around 4pm I hooked into something that tore off downstream and smashed me up, probably a Dace! Another couple of bite less hours and then just as dusk fell my left hand rod burst into action with a screaming run. By the time I had got to the rods the fish was already a good 6-12 inches down the swim and still going. I managed to stop his run and turn him at which point he headed out to mid stream where he could use the current to his advantage, obviously a wiley old fish. This was going to be tough! He ploughed into a weed bed and it took all my angling skills to extract him I can tell you! After a short while I could feel he was becoming exhausted and I managed to get him to the near bank and eventually his head came up and he was ready to be netted. Success! All the hard work and preparation had paid off and a mighty Gudgeon graced my net. Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring my scales but I recon that this fish was only a few ounces off the British record.

Next week, how to ‘Bag Up’ on minnows!

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