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Saltwater Small Fry and the odd surprise

The long school holidays of my youth are times when I developed my unrelenting enthusiasm for sea angling and one particular fish comes to mind from those early days of angling and that is the humble and unfashionable Pouting. I recall a lovely little deep bodied fish that fed voraciously down the sides of my home seaside pier and often in large shoals. Even now I look upon a pouting in my hand as something to admire, and to be enjoyed as it is a great looking fish straight out of the sea, especially the larger ones with backs of copper brown, vertical bands of colouring etched on the shimmering flanks and white undersides; a memory of those early days of angling. As a lad, fishing with my mates we would have competitions to see who could catch the most.

The fish would often often congregate in the corners , nooks and crannies down the side of the pier seeking protection from larger predators. The larger pouting were always caught in the vicinity of the timber piled section at the pier head. Bottom fishing with rigs that included booms presenting baits on size 6 hooks at different depths would catch them. But there were also times when they would be caught using float tactics presenting a bunch of small harbour ragworm with the tails moving attractively in the currents.

I still pick one or two larger pouting from time to time during cod fishing sessions, when fishing over rough ground and these can weigh as much as a pound and a half, although I have seen larger. In those early days there was often confusion over species identification and the diminutive poor cod was often mistaken for a small pouting.

On the pier, pouting and poor cod would turn up in bags of other desirable fish like the sand smelt, which could be caught in large numbers and are now popular as Pike dead baits. The sand smelt is a small fish, averaging about 175 to 200 mm in length, that descend into the inner harbours towards the end of the school summer holidays in very dense shoals. If you caught one it was likely that you could go on to catch a hundred. As with the pouting, my mates and I would have competitions to see who could catch the most. We used six or seven foot long solid glass spinning rods that cost a couple of pounds in those days and a small coarse fishing reel, such as the intrepid Black Prince or one of the early cheap Daiwa models. Terminal tackle comprised of a small corked bodied float terminating in a size 10-12 freshwater hook. In common with most small prey fish the smelt would congregate in great numbers wherever there was a corner or deviation in the pier wall which offered quiet sanctuary out of the main tidal current.

The pouting and smelt hotspots can clearly be seen, directly down the side of the wall in the corners. The heavy seaweed growth on the bottom landing of the steps provided harbourage and was particularly attractive to the smelts. As bass have become more numerous they now patrol these areas looking for prey.

Every so often a larger smelt species would turn up smelling of cucumbers, which gives the fish its popular name, the cucumber smelt. This species tended to show up a bit later in the year and I have caught one or two subsequently when fishing for smaller fish such as dabs during that quiet period for shore angling following the New Year. The sand smelt, is a species of wide distribution, but is very common in harbours and estuaries on the east coast. The smelt is now of angling interest again due to the popularity of light lure fishing and club species hunts. In earlier times matches were held in the Lincolnshire saltwater creeks with anglers using coarse fishing tackle to catch the heaviest bag of smelt…reminiscent of the gudgeon fishing parties held on the River Thames in Edwardian times.

A fine sand smelt specimen caught by my good friend and fellow blogger, Alan Stevens, on lugworm bait recently during a boat fishing session. Notice the size of its mouth which is pretty impressive for a small fish.

Angling for smelts provide an easy introduction to the sport for kids and the coarse angler is extremely well equipped to enjoy some fun fishing. A fast tipped match rod suitable for roach fishing, with a matching reel loaded with a three pound breaking strain line would be just perfect, with the float type and size dependant on location and prevailing sea condition. A wide variety of baits can be used including tiny pieces of shrimp or fish.

Occasionally the business of catching small fish was interrupted by a hungry grey mullet that would take a fancy to the enticing hook bait and a soft strike with a turn of the wrist would be answered with a screaming run and bow wave as an angry mullet made for the timber piles of the pier. This was a frequent occurrence when fishing in the tranquil waters of the Yacht Basin at the bottom of the pier, on the harbour side. More often than not the fish would reach the security of the wooden piles and break the anglers’ line, however, I did manage to land a four pounder one evening that caused a few anxious moments, as I had no landing net with me. I had to play it out gradually easing it towards a set of concrete steps where I managed to scoop the spent fish out of the water with my hands. I also hooked and landed a small number of smaller mullet, but I certainly lost more than I ever landed. It made for exciting fishing!

The weed festooned steps which was the best hotspot for smelts and other small fish and the where I would hook into mullet every so often. A galvanised steel security fence now prevents access to this great spot.

It is unfortunate that so called progress has resulted in the gentrification of Yacht Basin and it is now called a marina, which has meant that there is no longer access to the general public.

A second fish that used to upset the equilibrium and push the smaller fish aside was the odd coalfish, that reached a maximum weight of a couple of pounds. These were good fun to hook on light tackle as they would crash dive to the sea bed with some power for a small fish. These tended to congregate in the deeper water found at the pier head.

I sometimes wonder if those small fish are still there in large numbers again just waiting to be caught, but there so many more serious fish to target in the summer months now. It would be a shame for my Grandchildren to miss out on the fun, so perhaps, I need to have a bit of a rethink and factor in some time with the small fry.

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Bass from the Suffolk Shore

As Spring arrives and the inshore waters begin to warm up, my thoughts turn to the prospect of seeking out that game and handsome bar of silver, the Bass (Marone Labrax), that populate our coastline and estuaries on the East Coast during the warmer months. After a hard season of poor cod fishing it is great to have such a worthy adversary to try and catch in really pleasant warm conditions. Bass stocks on the East Coast appear to be relatively stable with large numbers of 30 to 40cm fish showing last year and hopefully enough of these will mature as breeding adults in the future.

A typical sized bass of the present stock at around 40cm which must be returned, but nevertheless it gave good sport on the appropriate light tackle.

It is important that catch and release principles are adhered to with such a slow growing species of fish. The majority of the stock is undersized and must be returned, but it should also be a consideration that bass take a long time to mature and the large fish of seven pounds plus are probably only at the start of their breeding cycle. It makes sense that large fish of a breeding age are returned safely and carefully to the sea, allowing fish time to recover sufficiently to enable them to swim strongly away. This way a healthy stable stock can be sustained.

Bass have not always been as prolific on the East Coast and it took me nearly twenty years of angling to hook and land my first decent bass, which weighed five pounds. It was taken by accident in May 1985, as I was hoping to find a few late season codling feeding. I had always wanted to land one of the silver beauties as one of the great angling books, ‘A Tide of Fish’ that I read as a youngster had captivated me with both the author’s elegant prose and his description of bass fishing in West Wales. The author Clive Gammon was a journalist angler who worked in the United Kingdom and the United States as a sports correspondent. He also wrote articles for the important angling weeklies and periodicals in the United Kingdom. So with that catch of a five pound fish a dream had been fulfilled. My love of angling has been fuelled by such wonderful inspiring books over the years and if my enthusiasm ever flagged I have retired to my well filled book shelves for inspiration.

Before I caught that fish, it seemed to me that regular catches of bass were a fairly rare and random event in my part of North Suffolk. Perhaps, it was a case of angling intuition, but I decided to target bass at the same location, the section of seawall which was overlooked by the Coastguard Station, for several weeks throughout the early summer of 1985. I ended up taking fifteen bass weighing up to just under seven pounds, although the majority of fish were smaller and around the three pound mark. The successful tactic was peeler crab presented on a running leger rig fished at low water in onshore wind conditions, which gave rise to some moderate tables of surf. I would cast cast a maximum thirty yards to the back of the second line of surf as it rolled in. I never caught more than a single fish in a session, but was successful on most occasions fished. The water was really shallow and the instant response from the largest bass as it was hooked was to trash on the surface in fury. The tip of the old fibreglass ABU464 bent over in a fighting curve and I had a few anxious moments as the fish tried to bolt towards sanctuary in the form of a wooden breakwater. I had the foresight to include a carp landing net and long handle with my equipment so I managed to land the fish without fuss once it lay on its side, played out.

Over time our summer fishing has changed and in my early years of angling, it comprised of soles, mullet and eels and not much else apart from the occasional accidental encounter with other exotic species, including the off chance of a bass. In more recent times the bass has become an important viable target and one which is greatly valued.

One of the most prolific venues close to my home is the Lowestoft South Beach where the fish are often found at very short range. It’s a shallow clean beach comprising of sand with patches of shingle where light tackle can be used, although the tidal flow is strong at times. I will often fish classic surf bass style by dispensing with a rest and hold the rod, feeling for bites. A light weight rod is preferred and a carp rod with a two pound test curve will suffice, partnered with a small multiplier or suitable fixed spool. Terminal tackle is simple again, with a running leger using a two ounce bomb lead and a size 1 fine wire hook. I prefer conditions where there is a bit of surf.

Tom Porter with a fine conditioned five pound bass caught on the Lowestoft South Beach. He caught a second almost identical fish the same session. On this occasion the author blanked!

The bass can be very prolific here at times if the conditions are right although the majority of fish are school bass, but the larger fish are certainly present at times. There are occasions when conditions dictate that heavier conventional beach fishing tackle has to be used, but to maximise my fun and excitement I always try to fish as light as possible.

A typical South Beach bass, which was one of seven caught in surf conditions.

My grandchildren do not miss out on the fun and have enjoyed their own bass catches on the South Beach with mainly small fish so far, but I hope to see new personal best fish landed in the coming months from the venue.

Just to the North of Lowestoft sits the holiday village of Corton and it is from the beach here that I believe the best chance of catching a large local bass exists. It came to my attention several years ago that a local fisherman living in the village regularly netted big bass into double figures during the May to June period. This small window of opportunity has yet to be fully exploited by me, but I managed to catch a couple of large fish both in early May, with one at eight pounds twelve ounces and a second one at just a couple of ounces over ten pounds. The former measured 74cm and the later 80cm and both were returned carefully to the sea. The fish were caught about three years apart, but the potential is clearly there. The water is deeper here, the tides run fast and the bottom is rough in places. Offshore is a popular mark for the charter boats who take out parties to fish and good bass often appear in those catches.

Corton Beach stretches into the distance. It has also provided very good cod fishing over the years for me and my personal best fish of most species have been caught here.

There are other locations where bass can be fished for and I will hopefully cover these another time. I will finish with a brief look at float fishing for bass, which is a technique I have neglected for years. This summer past I used a sliding cigar float to some effect amongst the sea defences at Ness Point, the most easterly point in the British Isles. It is a bit of a disappointment to view, as it is heavily industrialised and has not got the natural beauty of other national landmarks.

The Lowestoft seawall with the low bulk of Ness Point in the distance. The granite boulders have been a positive in that it has proved attractive to fish, however, care must be exercised, so I tend to fish areas where I can avoid climbing out over the rocks. Personal safety must always come first.

The local Council has attempted to improve the area, but left it far to late in the day to turn it into a spot that could be remotely described as attractive. But there are fish to be caught and bass have taken up residence amongst the man made granite rock breakwaters, which are never completely uncovered by the tide. The granite boulders provide a rich larder of food for the bass to harvest.

A typical sized bass caught on the sliding float technique amongst the granite boulders at Ness Point.

So it’s time to dust off that light tackle and check out those locations close to you in readiness for the return of that truly game fish, the majestic bass.

Tom Porter with a bass caught using the sliding float technique at Ness Point. Note the large boulders that form the sea defence protecting the existing concrete seawall!
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An Angling Memory of a Forgotten Fishing Club, a Bitterly Cold January Evening and a Codling

Most anglers at some point in their angling lives will join a fishing club and depending on their individual circumstances and interests, some will happily remain within a club structure for many years, or others will decide to move on and fish solely freelance. For young anglers and beginners it was and still is always a good option to join a club to tap into the accumulated knowledge of the membership. Clubs are good for social contact and perfect for the more gregarious angler who thrives on banter with his mates.

I must admit to have preferred not to match or club fish because of an idea that formed early on that matches are often fished either at the wrong time or at the wrong venue. Catching my chosen target fish has always been my raison d’etre for fishing rather than accumulating a catch of species that were not my focus at a particular time. Although it has to be said that we all have to compromise at times.

I joined the now defunct Lowestoft South Pier Angling Club in 1970, as a very keen fifteen year old. All clubs have their share of both interesting and colourful characters within the membership and my club was no exception. The Chairman was a local angling legend, Sam Hook, who held the British rod caught cod record for fifteen years with a fish captured off the Lowestoft Claremont Pier in 1945. The demographic of the club was interesting at the point of my joining as the average age of the membership must have been close to seventy years. I joined along with three or four other teenagers and our arrival must have been a bit of a shock for the membership, but we were welcomed as overnight the club had a thriving junior section. I can remember one of the female members, Olive Scriggins, remonstrating with us as we starting messing around when fishing was quiet. She fished with her husband Harold and son Ronnie, and she had a voice that lives on in the memory as she admonished us. The club held regular Sunday morning matches throughout the year, with an additional Wednesday evening match in the winter season. Some of the members were difficult to beat match fishing their favoured venues such as the South Pier or the Lake Lothing (the Port inner harbour) with harbour ragworm for flounders, soles and eels.

I was an active member of the club for three months and won my second match on a very cold evening in January when beach fishing had plunged temporarily into the seasonal doldrums.The venue chosen was an odd one at the time because it was the shallow stretch of beach located between the two piers and in those days it was not considered a viable option by most local anglers. The South Pier marks the north boundary of the beach and parallel to the beach is the main promenade.

On this particular evening, with a moderate but miserable cold wind blowing from the North West, it proved to be almost hospitable, with a substantial seawall providing shelter as a wind break and the promenade lighting illuminating the beach. There was a bit of sleet in the air and even in the lee of the wind behind the seawall it was still bitterly cold. I chose to fish a spot close to where a statue of Triton, the Greek Sea God, still stands prominently on the promenade.

I fished with and shared my heavy tripod rod rest and Tilley lamp with Mervyn, who I had known since my first day at primary school. I had set up my eleven foot honey coloured hollow glass fibre beach casting rod with its comfortable full cork handle and screw lock reel seat. Although the rod went from my ownership many years ago I still have the reel, a classic Penn Surfmaster 150, equipped with a plastic spool loaded that evening with eighteen pound Gantel monofilament line with a thirty pound shock leader. The rig was simple comprising of a single 4/0 Mustard Aberdeen hook tied to a blood loop paternoster and a five ounce fixed wire lead. I could manage a consistent sixty to seventy yard cast, using a simple ground cast.

As the rising tide was pushed even further up the beach by the biting wind causing us to huddle under the seawall the prospects did not seem too bright to young inexperienced eyes. Despite multiple layers of clothing the evening was chilling and after a couple of biteless hours, we began move around mainly to keep warm and secondly to exchange banter with each other. It was Mervyn that first saw the bite on my rod develop as the tip, which had been painted white gave a couple of knocks and remained in a static bent position over the rod rest. A fish had picked up the bait and bolted, hooking itself at the same time. I grabbed the rod and experienced that exhilarating response from feeling a fish kick to regain its freedom. Standing in the wash from the surf taking in a boot full of water or two I gradually eased the fish towards me. It wasn’t a big cod but it was a modest codling of just over four pounds. I landed it using a wave to good effect, and it lay flapping on the wet sand with its mottled yellowish green flanks and white underside illuminated by the promenade lights. I think that it was the only fish caught in the match and the thought of my success made the walk home ladened with fishing tackle a breeze.

I still treasure the memory of that evening despite catching many good cod from the shore during my fifty six years of shore angling for the species. Even now in my retirement every time I walk past that particular spot on the promenade the memory of that evening match still brings a smile to my face.

It goes to show that this sport is not always about catching the biggest fish, but there so many other elements which combine to give great pleasure. It is, however, also a cause of sadness as two of my young friends are no longer with us.

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Carping On with Steve Quinlivan

My Fishing Journey, by Steve Quinlivan

My first memory of ‘fishing’ was crabbing with my father and brother. Ok, not what you would call fishing today, but that was nearly 30 years ago.

I then got into fishing a bit more seriously at school where we had our own lake, mainly stocked with silvers and bream, but one legendary carp called Big Bertha. I never did catch Bertha, but did spend most of my free time silver bashing with a simple set up, hook and a little stick float and using bread moulded around the hook.

I did however, manage to win a school fishing match, with 1st prize being an old keep net, by catching a dinner plate sized bream. Once I left school for college, the fishing died off as I focused on studies and life.

However, the fishing shows on TV – Matt Hayes Fishing etc. soon had my interest peaked and I went carp fishing a couple of times with a friend and loved it, but didn’t have the money to get any kit. My father knew I really wanted to do it and managed to find an almost complete carp starter set up 2nd hand off of eBay. That was it, I was down the bank every moment I could.

Not really knowing what I was doing, throwing out big balls of ground bait wrapped around a method, with sweetcorn on the hair. I would manage a few carp every now and again, with the biggest being around 18lbs. While I was waiting for the alarms to scream off I would have a little whip, and amuse myself silver bashing. Due to work, life and getting frustrated with not really catching, I eventually reduced the amount of time on the bank and finally stopped, chucked the gear in the shed and forgot about it.

Move ahead about 10 years and I moved house and found the gear in the shed, most of which the mice had gotten to, but thought why not go out on the bank again. So, I visited the fishery that I had previously been to. It had all changed, new owners, landscaped, new fish stops, lakes redesigned.

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy it as before and didn’t catch. This led me to visit the local Angling Direct store to ask for advice. Not only did they point me to my now favourite commercial fishery that is 2 miles from my house, but also introduced me to Steve, an amazing angler who works at Hinders Baits, who also happens to share my name. With his advice and direction, I caught some carp on my 1st trip. Nothing to call home about, but enough to get me hooked on the sport again. I met Steve a few times on the bank and his tips and direction, especially around tight, accurate and consistent casting, soon had me catching more carp but, I wanted more. So I booked a personal 1 to 1 tuition with Steve, not only did I learn a lot, but I had the best days fishing of my life (up to that point!), catching some stunning carp.

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We ended the day on 37 carp on the bank. From there and with Steve taking me under his wing, I have been consistently improving. With my average day session catch rate going from 7 carp to 50.

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About a year later, I met up with Steve for day session at the local fishery and he surprised me with the opportunity to join the Hinders Bait family as a Product Field Tester, which of course I jumped at. Just after that, I was doing some promotion work with Steve at the local fishery, getting some video content for some new products. The aim of the day was to do some filming, not really go for the numbers and get the content we needed. This quickly changed to one of the best sessions of my life. While we got the content, it soon became apparent that the conditions were perfect, the carp were on the feed and we were in the right spot. 9 hours later, a few retakes on camera, and I had landed over 120 carp. My arms hurts, my back hurt, but the smile on my face said it all. A day I will never forget.

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I also had the opportunity to do some proper carp fishing with Steve at Linear Fisheries, with the direct aim of beating my old PB of 18 Lbs. Which over 2 nights / 3 days we managed to do, not once, or twice but 3 times in succession, with my new PB now standing at 25Lbs. What an amazing session. Since then I have been learning and absorbing all the angling knowledge from Steve and Hinders so that I can improve my techniques and catch rates.

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That’s my fishing career up to now. Still more to learn, new fisheries to visit and more fish to catch. Feed tight, Fish tight, Steve.

https://www.facebook.com/carpingonwithsteveq

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A Passion for Tench

I began fishing with my late grandfather when I was six years old. Usually, I played gilly in the earlier days but even that was a right buzz for me! Just spending precious time with my grandad was enough but the fishing was an extra bonus. We’d usually fish the Basingstoke canal or a local estate lake called Stoneham. Stoneham was what gripped me and what fuelled my passion for angling it was a glorious place to fish! It had two lakes a larger top lake which held larger sized carp and the bottom lake which was more of a mixed fishery. Both had giant trees all around them and various types of bushes. The banks were surrounded in vegetation. The lakes had pads in almost every swim. It really was a magical place to be!

My grandad was a traditionalist and always fished a float rod coupled with a centrepin. I used the same set up minus the centre pin as I couldn’t be trusted at the time. My grandad would always fish the swim next door so he could keep a close eye on me. One particular session I could remember an eruption of bubbles around my float! My grandad explained to me that it was tench behind the jacuzzi. I’d never caught a tench so I was super keen to hook one! I can remember missing several bites. At the end of the session, my grandad asked how I got on and I explained the situation and the next session he set me up on the lift method and explained in great detail on what I had to do and how I could go about catching these mythical red-eyed creatures that turned my swim into a jacuzzi!

That trip I was sat on the edge of my seat box rod in hand eagerly awaiting for that float to rise up! After a generous amount of 6mm halibut pellets were fed into the swim a short while later the bubbles began to break the surface. I attached my sweet corn hook bait and lowered the float into position. It was now down to me. The half-hour or so later the float rose out of depths and I struck into my first hard fighting tench! Luck was on my side and I landed my first ever tench! As soon as the tench graced my net my grandfather patted me on the back! I was over the moon! And overwhelmed at the age of ten id caught my first ever tench. After spending many years catching roach, Rudd & perch hooking a tench was something else and that’s what planted the tench seed!

Time to move on to pastures new After years of angling on local estate lakes catching tench around the 6lb mark, I really wanted to target some seriously big specimen tench! Each year I’d fish for various species suited to the time of year they favour the most. So springtime was set aside for the tench. As fate would have it a ticket came up which held some monster-sized tench this got me very excited indeed! A friend showed me a handful of photos of some doubles he’d caught whilst carp fishing before my first session which got the fire really burning! It was early April and the weather was still cold. This didn’t dampen my spirits as it’s always exciting to fish a new venue. I arrived late morning and due to the northeasterly winds, I didn’t see anything in the form of tench rolling etc. I had a good lead about and dropped in the deeper end of the lake. By this time it was getting on. I favoured a hard area amongst some silt situated next to some weed growth.

The spot was the size of a brolly big enough to place two rods. Due to the weather and it still being cold I was dubious on whether the tench would feed at all so I didn’t want to overdo it on the bait so I put out six spombs which consisted of red maggot and hemp. My chosen setups were to use my two trusty Drennan MK1 Bream and tench rods coupled with Shimano bait runner reels loaded with 10lb esp synchro. The venue was weedy and held large carp so I wanted to be safe than sorry! My end tackle consisted of two large Drennan maggot feeders fished helicopter style with two short three-inch hook links with size fourteen Drennan super specialist barbel hooks. My chosen hook baits were two red maggots on each. I taped each feeder up with black tape to slow down the distribution of maggot. The rods were out for a short amount of time and the left rod screamed off and I was into my first tench from the venue. It was Spritely Male which weighed around 6lb I was very happy indeed! The first fish from a new venue was always a special one!

Night soon fell and the Male was the only tench to grace my net that evening. It was a sleepless night wondering how my first session would pan out. Before long the sun began to rise and the anticipation of the morning ahead left a sickly taste in my mouth where the adrenaline began to kick in! I recast my feeders fully loaded with juicy maggots onto the spot. During the night the easterly wind dropped off and it was a lot warmer I was feeling very confident! I began to see a few tench roll close to my baited area! A short while later and the left rod tore off and I hooked into what I thought was a large carp! I was wrong!

When I eventually got the fish close to the bank the fish rolled and it was a large tench! I was in bits! I hoped and prayed that it didn’t fall off and fortunately for me, it didn’t and on my first trip I’d landed a decent tench! It went 9.8lb which at the time was a new personal best I was over the moon! A new personal best tench on my first trip! It was a happy drive home indeed! I thought the season ahead would be a lucky one! I was wrong very wrong!

Time to rethink my tactics As the days went on the temperature rose as did the water temperature with this came the eels! And there were heaps of eels! My favourite tactics when fishing for tench are maggot feeders with maggot hook baits or worm. On this venue, it was impossible the bootlace sized eels were relentless. I’m not afraid to admit this but I chucked in the towel that season and pursued crucians. All the time I targeted the crucians I had a bitter taste in my mouth about the tench venue!

Carp anglers would send me pictures of monster tench they’d caught which only rubbed salt into my wounds. The whole year I plotted in my head how I’d tackle the venue the following spring. Soon enough spring came around and I’d binned the maggot and worm approach and opted to fish boilies as the carp anglers would sometimes struggle to feed off the tench some mornings!

The venue is silty and weedy so my new approach was to fish Drennan open-end feeders helicopter style with three-inch hooklinks with size ten kurve shank hooks and my chosen hook baits were dynamite baits source 14mm hardened hook baits heavily glugged in matching liquid. I’d fish my new approach over a big bed of hemp, pellet and chopped and the whole boilie. I’d also add a generous amount of liquid worm extract. I was unsure of how this new approach would fare but time would tell. I also found regularly recasting wasn’t doing me any favours either! So I’d fish like carp anglers do also. Heavily bait up when I arrive and cast out and leave the rods out until I get a bite.

My first session with my new “Carpy twist” was a gamble but I didn’t have anything to lose. I fished a new area in the middle of the lake and found a spot again close to some fresh weed growth. I bailed heavily with my chosen mix. It was May and the temps had been consistently in the twenty’s for a while so I knew the tench would be active and would be game for a feed! I put out ten medium-sized spombs with my chosen bed of bait. I cast my feeders out with optimism. It was a quiet night but I knew that the majority of tench fed from first light to lunchtime anyway. I recast my feeders onto my chosen area and waited to see how my new plans would pan out.

That morning was a hectic one and I lost count on the amount of tench I’d caught! Could this be a fluke? That spring was a successful one indeed but no doubles graced my net but at last, I’d cracked the venues code! I knew it would be a matter of time before I landed my intended quarry in the form of my first double from the venue! And the following spring I upped the anti! I pre-baited a couple of areas when I could with hemp, pellet and boilie. Before a session, I’d also make sure I heavily pre-baited which meant when I wished I’d just fish the feeders and in turn try not to create a lot of disturbance.

That spring again was a successful one and I got my first double from the venue in the form of a 10.8lb specimen. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

When the going gets tough I often find if you really start to bang your head Against the wall on a venue it’s sometimes good to take a break and fish other venues just to take a break and clear your head! I’ve found when doing this you can some times have some red-letter days! One spring I took a break away from fishing my usual tench venue as I fancied fishing my favourite Maggot and worm approach without getting eel’ed out! I fished a gravel pit a little further from home. Using my trusty maggot feeders fished heli style with short hook links with worm hook baits over big beds of hemp and maggot I landed several big tench weighing over 8lb 9lb with the biggest going 10.3lb. Sometimes having a break can relight that fire! And potentially land you some special fish. The fish of a lifetime.

Spring 2019 was a fruitful one indeed! My shortest tench campaign to date and the most successful to date in terms of catching special tench! This particular spring I’d only managed to get out for three overnight sessions but on my third, I landed a fish I only ever dreamt of catching! I arrived in the afternoon around 5.00 pm. This trip I decided to not put out any boilies in my spomb mix! Just purely hemp and pellet. My thought process behind this would be that my boilie hook bait would stick out like a sore thumb! I did what I usually did and put out around ten spombs onto the chosen area in the afternoon. After out went my feeders.

The night was a quiet one as was first light but the weather was bang on! Warm, overcast and drizzly! My favourite tench conditions! Around 7.30 am my right rod absolutely melted off! From the off, I thought I was into one of the lakes larger carp! And if I’d of lost it I would have said to everyone that it was a carp! The fight was intense and my 2lb test curve tench rods were taking a beating indeed! The fish flat rodded me on several occasions before eventually slowing down and making its way towards my net! It engulfed the surface and I knew it was it was truly something special! When I lifted the net I struggled I then knew it could potentially be 11lb+ but when the scales spun past the 11lb mark I couldn’t believe my eyes! When it settled on 12.8lb I was even more in shock! Three years of graft every spring all for this special moment! A dream come true!

The Spring that we thought we’d never see 2020 Like everyone else due to COVID and the lockdown, all anglers didn’t think we’d get to see spring! I honestly thought I wouldn’t see a tench that spring! But good old Boris gave us anglers the “green light” and indeed that meant I could target my favourite spring green giants! What unfolded I could of never of foreseen or predicted! I fished four overnight sessions for heaps of tench! 7s 8s 9s and two doubles going 10lb and 11.4lb Just when all hope was lost anglers all around the UK graced the banks.

Favourite tench baits Depending on the venue depends what bait I’ll use. If the venue holds eels I’ll opt to use sweet corn, pellet or fishmeal boilie hook baits Such as the ever-faithful source. I’ll use open-end feeders with a fishmeal ground bait such as dynamite baits halibut pellet ground bait with a generous lashing of salmon oil for extra added attraction. My spod mix will contain dynamite baits frenzied hemp, 6mm halibut pellet and whole and chopped source boilies. With a generous amount of liquid worm extract. If the venue doesn’t hold eels then I’ll opt to fish maggot feeders with worm and maggot hook baits. I’ll fish this method over big beds of dynamite baits frenzied hemp, 6mm pellet, dead and live red maggot and chopped and the whole worm.

How I go about tackling a new venue and how I start a new campaign. I’ll walk a new venue as much as I can looking and watching and taking everything in! Your eyes are the best piece of tackle you’ll own! That and a marker rod! I’ll always lead about and write down in a notebook the number of wraps to clear areas or features. This saves you time when you actually turn up to fish. If you put in the groundwork beforehand you’ll maximise the time you can actually fish! If I can I’ll also pre bait this to will enhance your chances of catching. Tench are very nomadic so take note where you see them rolling as that’ll be where they like to feed.

My favourite features for tench are underwater. Clear areas next to weed beds. If you see plenty of tench feeding and rolling amongst the weed either rake the area or heavily pre bait it and make it fishable. You don’t need lots of time to tench fish. The first light to lunchtime is a great time to catch tench and I’ll often just fish these times. Walking lakes around this time is also a great time to spot fish and where they like To feed.

Variety is the spice of life I couldn’t think of anything worse than just fishing for one species of fish. So every year I get out my calendar and set out what time of year I’ll be targeting what species. January, February and March I’d be on the rivers if they were fishable fishing for chub, barbel and roach. And when the rivers closed in March I’d fish for still water perch until April. April, May and June id fish for crucians and tench. July, August and September I’d fish for eels and Rudd then come October onwards I’d be back on the rivers again. Varying my angling keeps everything exciting and it’s always a challenge especially when fishing new venues. Fishing for everything is what fuels my fire.

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A Season to Remember

As an all-round angler, the start of each season brings excitement and new challenges. Plans that have been made, start to become reality, as tickets are purchased and new bits of tackle are unpacked in hope they will be the tools to help me achieve my dreams.
A couple of seasons ago I prepared more than I had ever done before, in terms of having several venues selected and targets set. Spring, summer, autumn and winter fishing was organised in my head and I couldn’t wait to get cracking. But life and work always has other plans and right at the start of spring, before I had even got the tench and bream rods ready, my wife unfortunately slipped a disc badly in her back. On top of that the fisheries I run, had really kicked off and were at their busiest.
Suddenly all my big plans were up in the air and I started to except the season was going to not be as I planned and just getting out fishing for anything would be a bonus. That’s the reality for most of us, so it’s not a sob story or a whinge. Going fishing always has to put in perspective and family and work must come first to achieve a happy balance.
I just had to work around my problems, so my fishing time was kept to short, often first light, morning sessions, before the school run. Or, I would do overnight sessions, arriving in the dark and packing up before rush hour. Every now and again I did manage to get away for an afternoon and the rare, luxury 24-hour session.
But what I did have on my side was picking the best conditions to go in, along with venues which I knew could produce the specimen fish I was hoping for. I’ve always said that timing is more important than time itself. And if you have a flexible life or job you can make the most of it.
It actually took me a while to realise how being self-employed was a huge advantage to catching more specimen fish. I probably put in the same amount of rod hours I did when I had a “nine to five” type job, but I now can put my precise time into the best conditions for the species I’m after. That sounds simple and sometimes it is, but I still get things wrong and sometimes the weather conditions promised are different to what comes along.
My spring campaign started out on a couple of local gravel pits just to get the dust off the gear and enjoy catching an few tench or bream. Nothing big, I just wanted to build some confidence up before I tackled the more challenging lakes, which held my target specimens.

I was happy with my tench rigs and really confident with my method feeder mix and rig for the big bream. I then had to pick the best morning or night to try my luck for monster.
Bream thrive in rich gravel pit waters, but the lake I had plans for was not the most naturally rich venue. Instead it was a specimen carp water, where the “nuisance” bream had got big on the high protein carp baits. I didn’t know the lake, but I knew enough to head there confidently and target the open water, big clear areas, where the resident bream would surly move regularly across. These were the main swims, which see a lot of spombing, so a great location to catch bream, which most anglers on the lake were trying to avoid.

It was one of those lakes and plans that just went so well. I ended fishing the place for just three overnighters and couple of day sessions and got rewarded with some lovely double figure slabs including two over 16lb.
My big rudd hunt was also straight forward for once. I knew a crystal clear pit, which had a good track record of producing giants. It only had a handful of rudd present, but they could be found by walking and climbing trees, so I popped over there one afternoon for more of a look than a go. Second lap round had me running back to the car for the waggler rod, corn and net. I had spotted two monster rudd, not very far out.
I crossed my fingers as I made one delicate cast towards them. The first rudd definitely spooked quickly, but the second looked interested and swam up to the corn and inhaled it. I couldn’t believe my luck. most pristine rudd was soon in my net and it weighed a staggering 3lb 6oz. This fish equalled my personal best, but looked so impressive on the bank, it was a an absolute honour to catch.

The tench plan was the opposite, the venue I was hoping to fish was mega busy, most anglers doing long sessions in the decent swims. I had to find somewhere else with less angling competition so I could get a swim for starters. The lake I picked was a very hush hush little pit. Another carp lake, which an old friend had tipped me off holds a few big tench. And a few is correct, I knew this place was all or nothing, but I craved a decent double and was prepared to blank until the magic bite came.
The trouble was, time was running out, my wife also had her back surgery booked in and I knew getting away to fish was going to rare treat in the next month. The lake I was fishing was also two hours away. I had almost written it all off, but perfect conditions in late May were on the menu and I found myself in the middle of the night driving to the lake.

I knew where I needed to be and headed to the weedy corner bay, waiting for first light. Worm kebab style rigs were flicked out with feeders packed full of attraction. and just a little spomb over each rod of caster, maggot and pellet. It was my last chance and nothing happened for hours, but at 10am I was in to a fish and the hardest fighting tench Ive ever played.
I was praying for it to not fall off, it weeded me up a few times but I managed to get it moving. It came up to the top, slap its big paint brush tail and dive down several times. Heart in the mouth stuff, but eventually I won and a huge, fat 11lb 11oz tinca was mine. I just couldn’t stop looking at it. This was a specimen I had dreamt about for years and one I never felt like I would catch. It was a big, personal moment for me, I really felt on top off the world.

I didn’t fish for while after the tench as things were busy at work and my wife was recovering from surgery. The break was good for me though and I had achieved all three spring targets, which felt amazing. And I had to prepare myself for the next challenge, which I was certain was going to be the hardest one to achieve; a big Eel.
Catching a big eel the previous season had driven me mad. I put more effort and time into trying to bank a big Snig than I had done so for any other specimen. I had learnt a lot as well, mainly from my mistakes. Big eels are like no other species and certainly require more patience, effort, good angling and luck than any thing else.
Any venue can be worth a try, old gravel pits or estate lakes are my favourite, but even commercial match lakes and canals can produce monsters. Last summer I had selected to fish a small, deep gravel pit, which I heard may contain what I was after. It looked and felt right, but I wasn’t sure if there was even an eel in the pit.
All of those doubts soon went on my first session as I landed the biggest eel I had ever seen, at 6lb 9oz and its girth was an incredible nine inches. Half of a small dead rudd produced the bite and the fight was ferocious. It real did not want to come out of its home. Even on the bank it was angry, I really couldn’t believe my luck.

I did go eel fishing a few more times that summer, but the hunger wasn’t quite there because of my early success, which I was not expecting. I also enjoyed catching / stalking a few carp out form some local lakes and taking my kids for a few overnight sessions. But my next serious target was a big still water roach.

I had joined a carp syndicate, a deep reservoir, which had a good track record for throwing out a few big roach each season. Most of the big roach were caught by accident by the carp anglers and it was late august, early September, when I started to see a few of these mistake captures being made on social media. My original plan was not to start on there until October, but I couldn’t wait any more.

I even took my 11 year-old son, George, for my first night there at the end of the summer holidays. My approach was to keep things simple and just fish 10mm boilies on scaled down rigs. The first night produced a few missed bites but eventually a few roach hung themselves and the best one went well over 2lb. It was the confident start I was hoping for and I couldn’t wait to return.
A week later I arrived early in the morning and I had time to stay until midday. Action was instant on the little boilies once again, but this time biggish bream and double figure carp were responsible. They were hard fighting, lovely fish to catch on my light roach outfit, but not what I really wanted. The morning session had nearly come to an end when the tip pulled round like another unmissable bream bite. But after a few seconds it felt different and started to kite down the bank, I knew I was attached to a big roach.
Once more, whenever a dream fish is on the hook, my heart is in my mouth and I’m praying the whole fight that it stays on. You can’t rush big roach as they have such delicate, soft mouths, so I was playing it so cautiously and it really did fight hard. Eventually I scooped it up and let out a yell of delight. I knew it was huge and the scales confirmed 3lb 2oz. My first “three” and it was a roach I had longed for.

I hadn’t finished there with the roach as my next target was to catch another big one, but this time from running water. Big river roach are extra special and unfortunately very rare in my area of the country. However, I did know a couple of spots on my local river Waveney which may still hold the odd 2lb plus specimen.
There is no room for for error when approaching and trying to temp one of these shy big river roach. The conditions have to be in your favour, definitely overcast and a little bit of colour in the water. Not too much flow, but enough to move a bait through under a float in a natural manner. Fine gear is also a must, but it cannot be too light as the river is overgrown and a touch snaggy.
I used my favourite centerpin reel to trot a piece of bread flake through the channel to where I suspected the roach were waiting. I had a couple of modest sized fish before my third bite produced a river monster weighing 2lb 9oz. A lovely fish, which had obviously been through a lot to make it to old age and size in that particular river. It was a privilege to hold for a brief moment and I made sure it swam away strongly.

With winter approaching I was hoping to stay on the rivers targeting dace, grayling, chub and pike. Conditions were testing with so much rainfall and plans were being made and cancelled most weeks. I spent many afternoons with my ultra light gear trotting or tip fishing for fast biting dace. I was really enjoying it, catching several decent ones on most outings, but unfortunately I lost a monster one, which I couldn’t get out of my mind. I remember pike fishing the next week and still thinking about that huge dace slipping off at the net, so I couldn’t let it win and I returned for more afternoons sessions before I eventually got rewarded with a 15oz and 1lb 1oz brace. Once again rare fish to see these days, but I knew they were there and I putting the effort and time in paid off in the end.

My dream of a big grayling would require a long drive south or north as we don’t have many in East Anglia. I opted for the Scottish borders as I had been tipped off by a mate where big ladies of the stream lived. Myself and good friend Chris, shared the drive and headed up to the beautiful highlands during the hours of the night.
After lots of coffee and McDonald stops we eventually arrived at first light at the most exquisite bit of river I have ever seen. We were so excited to start, the lack of sleep was soon forgotten. We walked up and down the banks looking for likely spots in the fast water where the grayling could be. I love travelling light and roving around so I was in heaven.
We soon caught a few pristine grayling and they stared to get bigger with several around and over the 2lb mark. Then I hooked one I couldn’t stop, it was so powerful my beloved pin reel was screaming as it raced off. I think the fight lasted ten minutes before Chris scooped her up. An incredible sight, over 3lb and 50cm of long, lean muscle. A grayling of my dreams was quickly held up for the camera (they are very hard to hold) and carefully returned to recover and swim away.

The last couple of the months of the season were mainly spent pike fishing on stunning but difficult Norfolk Broads. A mixture of lure and dead bait fishing kept myself and boat partner Lee entertained in the picturesque scenery. The wildlife on the Broads is special and every trip is exciting even if we blank.
Between us, we managed some decent pike, Lee had the biggest and I chipped in with some crackers to over 20lb as well. Some days were hectic and other days were biteless. It is certainly not a place for the faint hearted as there are hundreds of acres to explore, many of them without fish. But his season I plan to hopefully devote more time and effort in to achieve my dream of a 30lb broadland esox. If I don’t succeed, it will be good fun trying.
The last couple of weeks of the season saw me having some fun chub fishing on the Waveney. Once again travelling light with just a pocket full of bait and tackle bits. Stinky, garlic infused, cheese paste is hard to beat on most winter days, especially as the Waveney is usually quite a coloured river. The action was pretty good and I banked a good dozen or so chub in three short trips to over 6lb. I never get tired of watching that tip pull round.
Looking back at last season, now feels like a blur and along time ago. I certainly had my share of luck, but I think the planning and timing of each trip was a big part of the success. I’ve fished with many top anglers who make me feel feel very average, but I know if I keep things simple and get on the right venue at the right time I stand a decent chance. And if things don’t work out it always makes me more determined to get back out and try again.

Be lucky, Rich

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The Night Chub

Even though we are at the end of January and the days are getting longer, by the time work is done it doesn’t leave much time for midweek forays to the river bank. It’s not very often night fishing is required. I seem to do just as well, if not better, in the daylight hours. But on this occasion that is just what I am about to embark on.  After several work meetings it’s 4.23pm before I am in the car heading off to the local River Wensum only two miles away. During the five minute drive the sun sinks into a dim pink grey hue. Fortunately it looks to be a clear and cloudless night, the warmest day so far of 2021, feeling mild in comparison to the previous snow and ice filled sessions I’ve had recently.

Pulling into a sandy layby opposite a rusty five bar gate, I grab the tackle, hop the fence and set off. Two meadows separate the road from the river and at this time of year they are just above welly boot height, donning waders is needed to avoid damp socks. In the distance half a dozen swans are cruising and feeding in the deeper water of the second meadow, their brilliant white standing out in the growing twilight. I can hear their honking chatter even above my splashing as I forge through the knee deep water.

The river curves round on my left, this section is fast and deep with the extra water churning through. I was hoping the level would have dropped more but the water is still running from the river into the fields, I will likely be ankle deep the whole session. I am heading to a spot I have previously done well at landing a PB chub and roach just before Christmas. I have to cross a stile and another field of rough dense vegetation but arrive with plenty of light still in which to set up my rod and organise my bait.

The spot I have chosen is a swirling slack just off the main fast flow in front of an overhanging bush and with an undercut bank on the near side. This is a perfect winter holding spot. Despite the extra water a light feeder still holds bottom, this is stuffed with liquidised bread and a large piece of break flake moulded on the hook. While this won’t last long in the current, the big visual bait might land me a quick fish before darkness.

Unfortunately there is no activity from the river. As the sun sets there is some excellent bird watching to be done as they seek roosts for the night. I spot an egret framed against the distant pale winter sun. This location being close to woodland an owl can be heard off in the distance but it doesn’t make an appearance and as the darkness deepens. By this time I have attached the little glow stick to my rod tip, forgetting my holder I electrical tape it on. Tape is an essential in my fishing box, usually being applied to my fingers as a plaster substitute.

The green glow stick eases side to side as the line is pulled by the rhythm of the current and my eyes accustom to the repetition of this. Waiting for the out of time pull that will signal a fish taking the bait. I check the time, having switched to cheese paste, happy to leave the rig in position for longer knowing the bait will stay on the hook. My plan is to rebait the feeder approximately every 15 minutes to keep a small amount of attraction tempting fish out from under the snags. Now is time to settle in and wait.

Once you overcome the oppressiveness of the dark that limits your vision, other senses seem to expand. The gurgling of the river seems louder than before and slight creaks that would not be noticed in day now emanate from the reeds and trees. Occasionally the swans gaggle and splash in the first field and a moorhen clucks. The moon is bright and full and after sitting for a while the general shapes of the landscape can be seen well, even casting feint silver shadows. Just over an hour into this swim and a fish is looking unlikely, experience of small rivers says it’s time to move.

It takes a second to pack down and move upstream looking for another spot to test. On short sessions I like to pack light; one rod, net, fold out stool and a simple backpack of tackle and bait. Manoeuvrability is key, especially in the dark as I don’t want to be bogged down with bulky kit as I may need to move several times to locate a fish holding spot. While you can use watercraft and target likely areas, fish still have an air of unpredictability. Furthermore, at night, fish cautious by day may explore more widely, feeling safer from predation in the darkness.

The next spot is deeper, faster, but has a large willow on the opposite bank providing respite for fish from the winter flood. Flicking the feeder upstream to the opposite bank the current takes it down to rest close to some overhanging branches. The moon is climbing higher and mist starts to form in the low lying land away to the right. I am brought back from watching the night by the slightest rattle on the rod tip, something is having a go at the bait! Letting the bite develop, another slightly harder tap follows, I attempt to set the hook and connect to the fish. Unfortunately nothing this time.

Suspecting we are dealing with a smaller fish, possible a shy biting roach, I make the substitute to maggots on the hook and add some maggots to the ground bait. This all goes back into river on the spot near the snags. After waiting for some time without any indication I decide to switch back to cheese paste again. A short time later the small taps start again, then a bigger knock and we have a fish on!

I flick the head torch on but with the mist I can’t see much, suspended water droplets from the mist reflect the light and dazzle with a shifting white haze. Reeling a couple of turns onto the spool, the rod is bending downstream as the fish pulls and tries to get in the weed on the bank edge. I push the rod out away from the bank to try and pressure the fish back into the main flow. Fortunately this works and I reel in quickly, extending the net I slipping it under the fish. A nice chub, shining bright in the torch light. Being about as long as my forearm I guess a weight of around two to two and a half pounds. This is a very welcome chub and certainly makes short trips like this one worthwhile. Deep in winter, the fish is freezing cold and I lay it in the net ready to slip back. As I move the net away, the chub lingers in the water motionless for a moment then flicks its fins and goes down into the green tinged water.

Despite the fullness of the moon its light is dimmed by the thickening mist starting to engulf more of my surroundings, so I decide this is probably a good time to head off, having caught one fish and not being completely disoriented by the fog. Upstream I hear a loud plop and see an otter rising and then diving again, a black shape against the silver surface of the water. Through the dedication of time on the river bank it is the privilege of the angler to witness such natural spectacles as the sleek otter, shy water voles and iridescent blue king fishers, not often seen by non-fisher folk.

Folding the rod down all the kit is soon stowed away and I am back across the scrub land, over the style and back into the meadows. As I splash along this upsets the swans and they run before taking off, beating wings and whooping. The final obstacle is the gate and then I am back at the car and on my way home.

Ewan (River Foss Fishing)

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Fly Tying – Montana Nymph

The majority of angling career had been for carp and coarse fish….until quite recently. For years I’d always been intrigued about fly fishing, so just over a year ago I decided to bite the bullet and buy myself a cheap off the  shelf fly combo.

After catching a few decent trout on flies tied by a friend,  I decided to jump in two feet first and buy a basic fly tying set up from a well known Scottish angling shop, and some basic tying materials and got to work. When it comes to tying flies a lot of people say to me they haven’t got the patience or finesse to tie flies. but as my friend Julian says nature isn’t exactly perfect and the trout aren’t going to know.

After a few youtube videos and reading a few books I was well on my way to tying my own flies confidently. So during lockdown 1 I was happily tying flies most days and when we were allowed to go fishing for the time I put them into action either for trout or carp! 

It was a feeling of great satisfaction catching on my own flies, the same as carp anglers feel catching of home made rigs or bait. As I never thought I’d be able to tie flies I thought I’d run a quick tutorial on how easy it is to tie a fly. this one isn’t the simplest of all flies but easy enough even for an amateur.

Fly – Montana Nymph
Hook – long shank size 8 or 10
Thread – black 8/0
Tail – black marabou
Body – lead wire, black chenille
Thorax – yellow chenille and black cock hackle
Head – build up of thread and varnish

  1. Start by thread medium lead wire up the shank (this adds a good amount of weight to the fly)
Step 1

2. Wind your black thread starting at the eye up the shank over the leader. Take a small pinch of black marabou and lock it in by thread a few turns over it.

Step 2

3. Take 7.5cm of medium black chenille. Lock it in by taking a few threads over it. And start to wrap forward towards the eye. Tie this off by doing a few turns and snipped the waste off.

Step 3

4. This is probably the trickiest bit of the whole fly. Take a smack cock black hackle feather. 5cm of yellow chenille. And 5 cm of black. Lock them all in in-front of the body just where you snipped off the last bit of chenille.

Step 4

5. Lastly wrap the yellow chenille around towards the eye. Follow by the hackle. Then take the black over the top. Tie off and whip finish you can snip off excess and neaten up as required. And put a blob of varnish on. People spend a fortune on varnishes but nail hardener works well at a fraction of the price.

Step 5

The finished fly should look something like this.

Finished Product!

Don’t feel that your limited to yellow. I’ve seen black and green. Black and red. Black and pink. The world’s your oyster.

After a year of fly tying I’m still on a learning journey but one piece of advice I will give to anyone wanted to try it is. Have fun. Enjoy it. And be creative.

Stay safe everyone. And tight lines.

Sam

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Using Bread as a Fish Finder

Bread is such a cheap bait to have on your side tray or even have a couple of slices in your bag it always gets me a few extra fish on these winter days where the fish are not moving around much and you need to search around your swim to find them. Back to the club lake as it is always a challenge to get some fish on the bank and I love experimenting to get the most from the day, my chosen swim with peg 2 front lake lovely swim with depths of 7ft-12ft and this day I had a mild wind blowing into me which I didn’t mind as from past trips to this venue the fish follow the wind so I was very confident I was going to get a few bites.

My plan for this day was to use the bread as a fish finder to catch a fish then hopefully make mental note of where I caught the fish with the distance and the time it took to get a bite from my stopwatch awesome piece of kit to have with you. Started 16m straight in front of me with 3 8mm discs of bread on a 15″inch hook length not a indication so fished same range but swapped left and right of me once again not a sign I didn’t panic as 1-30 in I had no fish or indications so moved out to 20m and I had a small fish pluck the bread reeled in bait gone so that got me thinking so next Chuck I slightly fished it to the right and at 8minutes I had a decent bream which was great to get off the mark this led me to fish exactly same spot and I nicked another bream at 6minutes another positive bite , as I found a few fish I swapped to a mini hybrid feeder with cell micros and pink wafter on the hook as I wanted to build up an area for the fish to have a bit feed if and this decision payed of I managed to land 4 more decent bream in a hour then it died off so I knew I had to get the bread back out, Moved to 24m 1st cast I had a decent tench so a different species which was mega to get and unfortunately that was my last bite for 2hrs with continues casting and searching with the bread bomb I don’t mind casting a lot with bread as you’re using it to mug a fish , then the wind got a bit stronger and a bit chilly as the day was coming to a end but I was still confident I was going to get a surprise as this lake can throw it up at any time which is always exciting.

Decided to come back to original spot at 16m to try as the wind was getting worse and worse , 3discs of bread and at 10mins on the stop watch I had a little pull and drop back so I lifted into it and the rod was hooked up to an absolute beast I knew this was going to be a big fish , slowly taking my time to land this took some time as deep water and roots very close and the fish knew where to try get me into but with me putting slight pressure without pulling too hard it was a struggle with the wind too the fish slowly came up and one big gulp of air the fish was in my net with some shuffling but the fish was in absolutely made up with this result, estimated around 18-20lb on a size 18QM1 was a brilliant way to end the session.

Thank you for reading my blog hope you all enjoy this one I certainly did making it 🙂 , Tigtht Lines x

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Lady Fishing Beginners Luck

Thanks for reading guys, This is my first time doing a blog, so here goes…..

I started fishing back in June 2020, and didn’t have a clue about any thing to do with fishing, just used to go for something to do….I met my partner and started to go with him all of the time. Then I started getting the bug………

I saw someone catch a thornback ray which at the time I said to my partner “I want to catch one of those spikey ray things”, and with that, a week later I had one, baited and cast myself weighing just under 6lb! I was over the moon didn’t even know the right name for it, there was no stopping me after that, was so excited!

At this point I was addicted!!

3-4 times a week i fished locally, Medway rivers through the summer, Isle of Sheppey and all across the North Kent coast with my dad which some of you reading this may know, Shane Pullen, who has been fishing all of his life, which I kept on to him to let me go with him and him saying “Not a chance” then with that we now don’t do a trip without one another.

I have had some lovely catches over the past 6 months, from eels and bass to smooth hounds and thorn back rays,  and hoping for some nice plaice over the next couple of months, and maybe a double figure ray! I post on Team Sea Angling on Facebook and will definitely be writing more blogs!

Tight lines everyone!