As I retrieved the lure up through the margin it appeared. Suspended in mid water staring at the creature bait. I held the lure suspended for a single moment then gave a little twitch, with a movement of its tail it attacked, I stuck. Fish on.
For a while I have need to increase the weight of my rod, I have been using a 0.5 to 6g but struggles casting bigger lures, so I have purchased a Spro Light Jig up to 14g.
Along with some Lmab Kofi Bleak lures to start with and some Lmab Finesse filet craws I was good to go. All these were purchased from Predator tackle. https://predatortackle.co.uk/
With the river season now open I was back on the Chelmer for my first session. With my new rod and new lures to try out, I had been looking forward to this session for a while. Starting late Saturday morning and walking through a few locks was on the agenda.
First on was the Kofi Bleak as I walked up the river, except a few knocks I had no takes, until I dropped down the side of one of the locks and on the retrieve, it went limp, no, bitten off probably by a jack lurking in the depths.
So, a change of lure to the craw and I continued walking,
With the river flow on the fast side due to the rain for the past few days it was hard going with no actual takes until I had almost got back to my starting point and was desperate for at least one bite.
I found a little deep spot against one of the margins where a small flick into the still water and as with my starting statement one in the net. A new PB of 27 cm was landed. Well happy after a photo then an upload to the lure competition. UK Lure Series. https://uklureseries.co.uk/
I moved to the last spot where I unfortunately lost one.
When I was thirteen in 1977 and living with my parents and younger sister in Chingford, north east London, a brother in law called Steve with a Triumph Herald and a spare rod introduced me to angling. And for that I forgave him his tendency to grind his teeth whilst driving, blank me throughout the entire journey and smoke Players that filled the car with carcinogens. Passive smoking was my next favourite hobby after fishing.
Being thirteen and without transport, not even a push-bike, I didn`t have a particularly large fishing catchment area. Highams Park Lake was a fifteen minute walk away, the River Lee at Cooks Ferry an hour by bus and feet but that was about it.
Having Steve on side was without doubt a major advantage when it came to discovering far-flung fishing-well far-flung to me anyway. Copped Hall lake in Epping (my first carp, a common, fit and five pounds;) Hollow Pond, Leytonstone (my first specimen tench, a shining olive-green and coincidently, five pounds, a big fish in 1978), and the captivating Norfolk Broads, (my first bag of bream and my first fishing super store, Lathams at Potter Heigham, like a million Christmases rolled into one.) And during a session at Hatfield Lakes in Essex, Steve briefly crawled out of his shell, exposing a dash of true colour. A bullying bailiff, who refused to believe I was under 16 and therefore a junior, demanded we pay the full adult day-ticket rate. This riled Steve considerable. I remember the exchange had the two men referring to each other as “chief” frequently; the word punctuated almost every sentence in guttural explosions of derision.
The tete a tete eventually culminated in the bailiff storming off and threatening us with the police, totally convinced I was at least 25 (I was big for my age, and the beard didn`t help.) Later on that day he almost caved his skull in whilst pulling a hung-up tree over with a tractor. We saw it all and we laughed, leading to a good many more “chiefs” being thrown around like grenades. I think if the bailiff hadn`t been bleeding from a head wound, he soon would have been.
I`m convinced Steve let off a enormous head of suppressed anger and vexation that day. He was actually whistling to himself on the way home and tapping out a jaunty rhythm on the steering wheel, behaviour I`d never witnessed before.
But our piscatorial adventures couldn’t last, under the circumstances. Steve was always fine to me but he was, essentially, a fairly disturbed individual. Despised by my mother and younger sister, barely tolerated by my dad, he was indifferent to his two young boys and his wife, my elder sister, who limped along permanently stressed and barely able to make ends meet due to the inadequate house keeping he afforded her.
The final straw came when it became evident that he spent more money on tackle than he did his family, and thereafter, it just didn`t seem right to accept his fishing invitations, which eventually fizzled out altogether.
A pal called Nigel suggested I join his fishing club, Intrepid Angling Society, to compensate for the recent decline in fishing opportunities, so in the autumn of 1977 I did just that.
Before I knew it I was a fully paid-up junior member of I.A.S and attending my first club meeting. They were held at a factory’s social club off Lea Bridge Road, Leyton in a massive brick building that looked like an asylum, and it appeared to me that one or two of the inmates had infiltrated the ranks of I.A.S.
Around a rectangular table in a tiny room filled to the rafters with eye stinging fag smoke, I was welcomed into the fold by a character who would have made a fine Worzel long before Jon Pertwee.
Albert Challice dripped straw-coloured hair from every visible orifice, his ears especially were a haystack. His invisible lips permanently sucked on a No6, and his copious beard and tache were the colour of a public bar`s ceiling. He wore what could only be described as Jethro Tull`s cast-offs, (not the father of modern farming, but Ian Anderson, the front man of said band): a tight fitting tweed waistcoat; a rather flouncy but extremely grubby white shirt, and worn to a shine brown Corduroy strides. And whenever he moved, it sounded like a bead curtain in a boutique. Bangles and necklaces of wooden beads, glass beads and various exotic totems adorned his wrists and neck. This was the only outfit I ever saw him wearing. Even when he was fishing his clothes were the same, all but for the inclusion of a decrepit waxed jacket if it was cold or raining. He looked ancient to me, at least eighty, so you can imagine my surprise when I was introduced to his dad, Pop Challice, a man who looked so old he could have drowned worms with Izaak Walton.
It wasn’t long before my very first outing with I.A.S dawned, although in truth dawn would have been preferable, because the agreed pick-up time was 2.30am. It was to prove an unforgettable experience.
The night before, my mum hadn`t allowed me to store maggots in a bait box in the fridge to keep them cool and inactive, so I had stupidly left them in my creel in the front passage along with my rods and nets. When I dragged myself out of bed, bleary-eyed and groggy, I discovered hundreds of sweating maggots doggedly scaling walls and traversing skirting boards. They had escaped from an unsecured bait box. Green bottle flies were happily emerging from the house`s numerous nooks and crannies for weeks afterwards, alighting on us, our furniture, our breakfasts, lunches, dinners: it drove my family barmy.
That was just the start. Due to the maggot exodus I nearly missed the club`s behemoth of a coach and had to run in the dead of night, sweating and clattering with prodding, jutting fishing tackle: I just made it. It shuddered to a squealing stop in a monstrous belch of nauseating fumes that, along with my recent exertion, had me gagging. I was deftly parted from my fishing gear and hauled aboard like a shipwrecked sailor. Suddenly, I had entered another world and was assailed by a fug of tobacco smoke and a maelstrom of undulating voices, like an expectant football crowd. A middle-aged man with mutton chops that bordered on the lycanthropic was sat near the front sucking on a Meerschaum pipe. This was George Fitzpatrick, the Feeder Man, because that was the only method he ever used, a maggot feeder the size of a jam jar. Generally, the float boys would out fish him, but occasionally the vast quantities of maggots he had liberally fed to the river would attract attention. I remember witnessing a George caught net of Thames chub the likes of which I’d never seen before or since. I can’t remember the weight or number of fish but it needed two men to haul the net from the river. When it broke the surface, the water exploded into a seething, foaming mass of silvery flanks.
My pal Nigel waved at me to join him and the blue swirling haze parted briefly as I made my way towards his trademark tartan cap.
‘That was close, you nearly missed us. I told `em to hold on a bit for you. Bleedin` long way to walk, Purley.’
For that was our destination, the middle reaches of the River Thames at Purley in Berkshire.
Somewhere near Chiswick the beast of a coach required sustenance, and I was mighty relieved to get out and purify my lungs as well as stretch the legs at an all night petrol station. As me and Nigel stalked the confectionary section, I witnessed a display of practiced pre-CCT thievery that fascinated and appalled me simultaneously.
While keeping their eyes on the ageing pencil-browed blond on the desk, two brothers, Alan and Keith systematically fleeced the shop, artfully concealing cans of oil, spark plugs, crisps, sweets and thrash mags within the gamekeepers pockets of their fading Barbours; I looked on in disbelief.
‘Don’t stare you prat, you`ll draw attention,’ whispered Nigel. ‘Just stuff that Mars in your coat and move towards the door.’
Back on the coach, Alan and Keith jovially distributed the spoils of their labours and somehow I ended up with a copy of Hustler in my lap.
‘Feast your eyes on that’ smirked Keith, a bit of a step up from your usual Kays catalogue underwear section ain`t it?’
It certainly was. The dusky brunette on the front cover was enough for me. But it was nothing compared to the jungle of eye popping gynaecological gymnastics on the inside. The models sported hair everywhere: great tussocks of it. It was after all the Seventies, when a Brazilian was merely a citizen of a South American country. I was disgusted. But given the hair-trigger nature of an adolescent’s loins, I shot my bolt straight into my new khaki fishing trousers.
The river at Purley was beautiful, utterly beguiling. My perception of the Thames up to that point had been of a colossally wide, tea coloured urban watercourse flanked by world famous landmarks. But the Thames I fished that day was draped in a veil of eddying autumnal mist, soon to be replaced by flakes of gold leaf sunlight as the day warmed. It spoke a lilting, liquid language I would come to know well and to this day whenever I have the good fortune to fish it I’m reminded of that first encounter.
My swim was next to a gnarled willow amongst a drift of nodding Bulrush. It took me a while to set up my fishing tackle as I was so enthralled by the teeming life around me.
As it turned out I caught very little. Only three tiny perch, striped like a sergeant, graced my keep net. It would take many years to acquire the watercraft and piscatorial know how to do this river justice. But as I watched a pulsing, electric blue damselfly balance artfully on my rod tip, catching fish was merely the icing on the cake.
It`s May 1978 and my very first Intrepid Angling Society’s Annual Dinner and Dance. I looked hip and swish in my Travolteresque white shirt, cream jacket and black strides, although future examinations of the photos my mum took would prove otherwise.
By some fluke I`d managed to secure a prize: The Junior Roach Shield for Best Specimen Roach. On a bitterly cold day in January, when every inch of me was an icicle, I caught a roach of 1lb 12oz that shone like an ingot of freshly minted silver with eyes and fins a deep blood red. It was the best fish I`d ever seen and it was mine, and to this day still remains my personal best.
The Half Term Campaign Chapter 4 – ‘Chance of That?’
Last week I had a week off from online school. Me and my friend Jack decided to take advantage of our last free week before the close season to target anything which swims in our local river (except for ducks of course). This the fourth and final blog about our adventure so if you’d like to check out what else we caught throughout the week you can check out the other blogs below.
The day started early, at the same time as our other missions, 7am. We headed straight to the pipe swim and as it was Jack’s turn to fish, he got his rod in the water armed with a few maggots on the hook. We fed a few pellets and maggots over the top and within 20 minutes a small carp had slipped up. I’m not sure whether the fish was scared, had eaten a lot, or both but it left its stool all over poor Jack.
It was now my turn to try and catch one. I used the same tactics that we had been successfully using all week but the fish just hadn’t turned up. I think, being the fourth day in five that we had been fishing the river, the fish had been hammered at this spot and grown wary. After an hour or so without success, we baited up a little more and headed upstream to the tunnel swim.
It didn’t take long at the tunnel before my float disappeared. I was on my phone calling a friend and struck late, into nothing. I got the bait back out and then missed not one but 2 more bites. I decided my hook was too small and upped from a size 16 to a 14. I got the bait out and after 5 or so minutes waiting for a bite, I finally hooked one. The result was a small chub of under 2lb. The fish had a big dent / scar in it’s skull, my guess is that this little guy had survive an attack from a bird of some sort. I’ve seen kingfishers, herons and white ibis so it could have been any of those.
After I caught that chub, Jack had a go in that spot but wasn’t too confident. He left me and went for a wander downstream. Just as he got back, I hooked into a little mirror. It gave me a good run around before spitting the hook and shooting back off into the depths of the river. We decided it would be best to give the tunnel some bait and a rest before heading back to where Jack caught the carp.
After my catastrophe missing 3 bites and losing a carp, I let Jack have the first cast after we moved. Unsurprisingly it didn’t take him long to catch one. It was another little common, typical of this river. I definitely think the fish were becoming wary because within the next hour, we didn’t have another bite from that spot. Consequently, we moved back up to the tunnel.
Just like usual, it didn’t take long to get a bite after giving the swim a rest. Funnily enough I missed it, AGAIN! Fortunately, I was given another chance and hooked into a little common. We persevered by the tunnel but the fishing had died off and in an hour of trying, we caught nothing. On our way to the pipe, we decided to give a few different spots along the river a go, trotting maggots about a foot under the float. In one spot, Jack managed a little roach and in another spot I managed a little chublet and a little roach, the other spots proved unsuccessful.
Once back at the pipe, it was Jacks turn to fish. While he was fishing, I had a wander along the river through thick brambles and brush. I found a few ok looking spots and just ahead of me I could see a perfect looking meander. It was then that I heard my name being called by Jack, he’d managed to catch a small but beautiful chub.
I really wanted to see what was upstream so I headed back through the brambles to the meander. After nearly falling down the bank, I heard my name being called yet again. Jack had managed another chub from the river. I headed back to Jack to take some pictures for him in the sun. We fished a little longer by the pipe but the fish had obviously spooked so we decided to head back to the tunnel.
It was my turn to catch one but bites were slow. After half an hour of trickling in maggots, my float shot under like a bullet and I struck into something which felt big. The fish was holding in the deep water by the entrance of the tunnel and not showing himself. The fish felt heavy but wasn’t swimming around frantically like a carp, more slow and steady. After what felt like an age, the fish popped to the surface and I slipped the net under it. We weighed it and it weighed in at 3lb on the nose, it was a new PB chub for me.
After taking some celebratory photos, Jack had a cast. It only took 15 minutes for him to catch one. On closer inspection, we realised it was the same chub I had caught that morning. It had the distinctive scar on its head. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, the fish had miles of river too swim around and it had stayed in the danger zone we had caught it from. We slipped the silly thing back before heading to the pipe for the last hour of the day. Jack stayed behind and chatted with a couple of anglers fishing a neighbouring lake while I headed to the pipe.
It didn’t take me long to hook another fish, this time it was a bream. I left her in the net and gave Jack a call. After he came, we got the fish on the bank and realised it was the same fish I had caught 4 days ago in the snow. It had a black mark on its shoulder about the size of a pea and after comparing photos we realised it was the same fish. What are the chances?
Despite fishing for another half an hour, we caught nothing and it was time to leave the river behind us. It will likely be the last time we fish the river before the closed season due to online lessons resuming, schools opening soon and me being busy with working at the garden centre. I think we’ve near enough completed the river now, Jack’s caught a 5lb chub and 10lb carp from the river and I’ve caught what we believe to be the only bream in there along with a good number of carp, chub and other species. I hope you have all enjoyed reading this series as much as I did fishing the river. Don’t forget to check out our social media links below.
The Half Term Campaign Chapter 3 – ‘The Day for Firsts’
This is the third part in a mini-series of blogs I’ve written this week about fishing a small local river with my friend Jack. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest checking out the first couple of chapters. They can be found here.
We gave the fish a break on the Tuesday before heading out at 7am on Wednesday for our third session on the river. We didn’t think it could get any better but boy were we mistaken. The morning which followed was spectacular.
The previous night, I had prepared some bait which I think made all the difference that day. I liquidised a few slices of brown bread and added some sweetcorn and crushed up Baylys Baits God’s Gift boilies. I then gave the whole mix a good dose of glug before leaving it in a warm cupboard overnight to get the mix active and the bread fermenting.
As soon as we got to the pipe swim, I sprinkled in a handful of my mix and some maggots before setting up the rod, giving the fish some time to get on the bait. Within 5 minutes of lowering my maggots on the spot, my float shot under and I was hooked into a hard fighting little common. On the cycle to the spot, we had decided to take it in turns fishing the magic spot which we had found the previous day. The swim is only small therefore we thought that this would be the fairest way to fish.
After slipping my fish back, it was Jacks turn. It only took 10 minutes before Jack had caught the second fish of the session, our first mirror from the river.
After the second fish, it was my go again. We had put some more bait in after both fish so I’m unsure weather it was a case of overfeeding them, spooking them or both but it took another 45 minutes for the third bite of the day to come. The result was another small common, typical of the river.
We decided to give the swim a rest and head to the tunnel swim further upstream. Within 15 minutes, Jack had caught our first gudegon of the week and a few minutes after, I caught a little roach.
As soon as I had slipped the roach back, Jack was into a chub which weighed about 3lb. All the fish caught so far had been on maggots, so I decided to switch over to using some corn on the hook while Jack persevered with the maggots. Neither bait worked in the next hour and after out floats remained motionless, we decided to head back to where we had caught the carp just over an hour earlier in the hope that we would find them already feeding.
Since I had caught the previous fish in the spot, it was Jacks turn to fish there. I’m not joking when I say within 10 seconds of his float hitting the water it shot towards the middle of the river. He struck and a massive shadow appeared under the surface of the river. The battle which followed was epic with the fish diving for every snag in the swim. We had no idea that fish of that proportion were in this river and so we had only brought small nets. After too long trying to scoop the fish up, I managed to get it in the net.
We were both in complete shock, we’d only ever seen fish up to about 5lb and caught them up to 3lb. Whatever was in that net was easily twice that size. Luckily, I had brought my scales and the scales tipped round to 11lb 12oz. That meant that the fish was 10lb 10oz due to the net weighing 1lb 2oz and our first double from the river. You may be reading this thinking wow, you caught a 10lber I’ve caught hundreds. If you saw where this fish lived, you would see why we were so impressed. We took some photos before slipping the fish back.
We were in complete awe of what we had just caught. We decided to put some more bait in and head back to the tunnel spot. We gave it 45 minutes in that spot but caught nothing. Still elated from Jacks carp we wanted to head back to the super spot by the pipe and try for another carp. It was my turn on the spot and once again bites came almost instantly. This time however it was a small perch, our first one of the week. We decided not to count the perch so it was still my turn in the swim. After waiting another 20 minutes, I was into a carp for the third time that day. The result was my biggest carp from the river, a 5 1/2lb common.
After that fish, we returned to the tunnel and ate some lunch. Jack managed to catch a chub of about 2lb which obviously wasn’t too happy about being caught and jumped from his hands back into the river before we could take a photo. After an hour we headed back to the pipe to find someone else fishing there. He’d obviously only just got there and after a quick chat decided to head upstream to a place we hadn’t fished since the summer but knew held fish. We fished a couple of spots but only managed to tempt a couple of small roach.
After an hour or so trying our luck in the relatively new territory we headed back to the pipe to find that the man who was fishing there had left. We jumped into the swim and within minutes Jack had hooked another chub of over a pound.
It was now my turn and within 15 minutes I was hooked into a big chub. It looked bigger than anything I’d caught before and after giving it a quick weigh we realised it was a new PB for me at 2lb 10oz.
Bites were slow for the next hour but we didn’t want to leave to try anywhere else in case the swims previous occupant returned. Just as it turned 4 pm, Jack had another bite which resulted in his eighth fish of the day. The result was his smallest chub of the week at a still respectable pound in weight.
The swim was mine once again however the following hours fishing resulted in just two rudd. It wasn’t the big carp or chub that I was hoping for but it was my first rudd of the year which meant another point in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt, taking my total to 6 and putting me in the lead. If you’d like some more information about our species hunt, then you can check out the species hunt tab at the top of the page or click here.
That brings us to the end of the third chapter about my weeks fishing. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it, as always, any feedback is much appreciated. Don’t forget to check out our social media links below.
Also here’s the website for Bayly’s Baits (the boilies and glug I used in my mix)
This is the second part of a little mini-series of blogs. For me, this week is half term which means no sixth form (online lessons) and therefore, lots of fishing. You can check out the first days fishing here if you missed it.
I’d checked the weather the night before, I think every fisherman does this right? and it looked like it was going to be clear. My friend and I decided to meet at 7 again and get to the river early. When we woke up it was absolutely hacking it down. We had planned to fish for a while before cycling 10 minutes down the road to the tackle shop to pick up some maggots when he opened at 9. Due to the rain, we decided to leave at 8:15 instead and head to the tackle shop straight after putting a bit of bait in a couple of spots.
I decided to set up my rod with a small pole float and size 14 hook. The previous day I’d used a ledger with no luck while Jack had caught a few on the float. For me, switching to a float seemed the best option. I dropped my float armed with a few maggots on the hook into position and fed a few maggots over the top. I didn’t have to wait long for the float to shoot under, the result was a small chub of about a pound. It was a new species for the year which meant another point for me in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt. After that chub, the spot died off and another hours fishing resulted in nothing.
We moved to a bridge upstream and I climbed around the precarious ledge, rod in hand and maggots in my pocket. I hoped that I would be able to fish some water which you’re unable to fish from the bank. Considering I nearly fell in, the one little chub I caught wasn’t really worth it. I have a feeling I spooked most of the fish with my monkey business but I guess it’s a lesson learnt for next time.
After a while at the bridge without much luck, we moved back to our spot downstream. I caught a roach and another small chub however Jack was still blanking. We moved back to the bridge and within 10 minutes of moving, Jack managed to catch his first fish of the day, a nice chub of about a pound. Once again, after our initial success, it died off and after a couple hours without a bite, we moved again.
We fished in the swim which we had first visited and I caught the chub on my first cast. We were still using a float with maggots however I had switched over to a slightly heavier waggler style float. The river was quite flooded and the tide was coming up meaning the small pole float was just getting washed away. I had baited up in the edge with maggots and corn and was fishing a few maggots on the hook. After 20 or so minutes, my float was away. I struck into the fish and it pulled back hard. I was connected to my first river carp of the year, a hard fighting common. We trickled a few more maggots in before we took some photos and slipped him back a little way downstream so as not to disturb the swim.
The minimal disturbance obviously worked because within 20 minutes of getting my float back out, I was away again with another carp. This one was slightly bigger but a hell of a lot uglier. It had some carp pox which are harmless to the fish but don’t look too appealing.
With Jack only catching a couple of fish, I felt pretty sorry and thought I ought to return the favour he gave me the previous day when I caught the bream with his float and rig. He dropped onto my spot and 10 minutes later he was hooked into his own little river carp.
It was getting dark so after that fish, we packed up and headed home. The next day (Tuesday) was meant to be pretty wet and miserable so we decided to give fishing a miss and give the gear a sort out ready for Wednesday when the weather was meant to be a bit dryer. Wednesday turned out to be an even better day than Monday and I’ll talk about that trip in my next blog. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and thanks for making it to the end.
This week is half term and for me, that only means one thing. Fishing! Although I’m at home all the time at the moment due to online schooling, I still have work to do so I haven’t been fishing much. This week I managed to hit the bank most days so have a few blogs lined up. This first blog will be about my first days fishing a small tidal river in Essex.
I spent the Saturday preparing my gear and bait. I was hoping to catch some of the chub that reside in the river and after talking to fellow blogger Andrew, I decided to make some cheese paste. I wanted to try something different and Andrew suggested adding anything which is bloody or that absolutely stinks so I blended up some lamb liver and mixed it in with the cheese before adding the spices and flour. It absolutely stunk and I had loads of blended liver left over so I mixed it with breadcrumb to use as a groundbait. I made a few batches and added different spices to each including garlic, cumin, chilli and turmeric.
With the gear prepared and packed into just a rucksack, I headed to bed.
Me and my mate Jack woke up early on Sunday and cycled to the river, getting there for about half past 7. We started the day by cycling the length of the river to the weir where it meets the saltwater part of the river. We had never ventured this far down river and wanted to give it a scout out to see if there were any deeper parts. We had a look and a lead around and ended up fishing for about an hour. I opted to use my cheese paste on a light ledger and Jack opted to do the same but with pellets. After an hour without any bites we packed up and decided to head to a stretch upstream where we had caught fish before.
The next spot was a stretch of river separate to the stretch we fished before due to another weir pool. The main feature of this stretch is a bridge / tunnel. Unfortunately, you can’t fish the upstream side of the bridge and trot under it because it’s on private land however you can access the downstream side, this is where we were fishing. Jack switched over to the float and opted to fish with sweetcorn in a small eddy just at the exit of the tunnel under the bridge. I fished underneath a small overhanging tree and decided to persevere with my cheese paste on a ledger. We waited a while but we were confident in this spot. Jack managed to hook a fish after about half an hour in this spot but unfortunately it came off. We hoped that it hadn’t spooked the shoal and luckily it hadn’t. After about another 20 minutes, Jack was in again and he was off the mark with a chub of about a pound. After that fish, we gave it another half hour but with no results decided to put a couple of handfuls of bait in and head off to another spot which was about a foot deeper than the rest of the river.
This next spot is quite a squeeze and can just about be fished by 2 people at once. There’s a pipe running across the river and I took the inside left slack and fished with my cheese paste and Jack fished the right hand side and trotted down the middle. It wasn’t long before Jack had caught another chub. Not long after, I got a bite however missed it because I was checking the weather forecast. I recast to check my paste hadn’t been stolen and waited eagerly. Jack’s float edged under the pipe towards my swim and he apologised for entering my water. It was a good trot, so I told him to leave it and not worry. Well within 5 seconds of me saying that his float shot under and he was connected to something bigger than the rest, it was a nice 2lb chub.
We thought that after all the commotion, we may have spooked the fish so put a few handfuls of corn in and decided to head back to the bridge. When we got to the bridge, we found someone else fishing there so decided to head back to the pipe swim. At this point, I was losing faith in my cheese paste and Jack was feeling sorry for me.
It was nearly the end of the day so Jack offered to lend me his float and rig and corn for the last half hour. I positioned my rig exactly where Jack caught the big chub and waited. After 10 or so minutes the float shot under and I lifted into the fish. To my surprise a bream popped his head up. We’d never caught a bream from this river before and only ever thought we’d seen one. I was finally off the mark in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt with this bream. We grabbed some photos and slipped him back before packing up and calling it a day.
We were buzzing for what the next day had in stall for us and rightly so, the fishing was even better. Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second part of this mini series so I hope to see you again tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek of what the day had in stall for us.
Firstly Hooray I managed the hit the bank this week! Whilst it was only for a short couple of hours, time on the bank is always an exciting time. I didn’t manage to get out last Friday as I was hoping due to the life of being an adult (It really does suck at times doesn’t it.)
I did manage to get to my local stretch of river this Tuesday, with the bitterly cold weather slowly sneaking in, its become harder and harder to convince my wife to go fishing, but in all fairness to her she never says no and off we went!
Following on from my last session to the river and having a talk with the bailiff it was quite clear I had to move up the river more and we proceeded to go to the spot he recommended last time, it has been a few weeks thou so I was hoping we would still get amonst some fish.
As I stated before I am a complete novice when it comes to anything outside of Carp fishing so all and any advice is more than welcome. Once again my trusty fountain of knowledge came to aid me with a few tips, the trusty fountain of knowledge being in the shape of Bailey, he is far to modest to admit it but he really does help me out with anything I ask.
With Bailey’s advice in hand I set my couple hours out to have 1 rod with a basic carp setup as I am itching to get my very first carp out of the river, with the other rod setup up to ‘Trott’. Now admittedly I have never heard of this method before and always believed Trotting is the outcome of a very dodgy curry the night before.
With a list of items that Bailey recommended purchased during the week I was excited to try something new and hopefully get it right ready for the Essex Anglers Species Hunt.
Unfortunately for myself the couple of hours I spent didn’t suffice to anything and a blank was on the cards, however a new skill learnt is always a positive and as long as I get all my choirs done this week I get to go fishing next week! YAY!
With that session wrapped up sadly this is a very short blog this week. Fingers crossed next weeks blog can be that little bit more invigorating and a lot more fishy!
So, as the title says I have never fished a stretch of River in any of my fishing, I have always fished lakes and mainly for carp, however with the Essex Anglers Species Hunt coming up soon I thought I would try my hand at other variations of fishing.
I believe I have mentioned before that I sadly no longer reside in Essex, I currently live in Lincolnshire and have never utilised the lakes and miles and miles of river surrounding me, all of my fishing has been with Jack & Family members in Essex, as that is where they all live and its easier to relocate myself then its to get all of them up to Lincolnshire.
With this in mind the current Lockdown seemed to put an end to any social fishing trips, and with myself living well outside the County any chance of me travelling to Essex for fishing is a huge no no.
Now with that, I decided to utilise my local river stretch and join my local angling club. Today was finally the day where I took advantage of my membership and took a long overdue trip down to the river. I have taken a few walks up and down the bank to find a few spots etc but again with my knowledge of rivers being non existent im not too sure what im really looking for.
After finding a spot I liked the look of I set about my day having 1 rod out for carp (Cant take the carp fisherman out of me) and a waggler rod out for anything and everything that would entertain me in preparation for the Species Hunt.
Just over an hour into the trip the Bailiff turned up to check my book and have a nice chat, as I stated before local knowledge is one of the best sources of information anyone could ask for, with that in mind I picked away bits of information that I could get, unfortunately it turns out that I was in the wrong place for the day and he gave me some valuable advice that I will take into my next trip which is hopefully next week!
Taking that on board within the next 30 minutes i was packed up and the wife and fishing gear returned to the car, unfortunately there was some very heavy rain last night so the field where you park your cars was a little boggy (Huge understatement!), so obviously the car got stuck and needed a helping hand, this would be fine in any normal circumstances however my wife decided to give the car a lovely wheel spin and gave me a VERY unwelcome mud bath from head to toe! Whilst she found this highly amusing I can tell you I wasn’t best impressed.
So that is the end of this week’s blog, nothing to report other then mud is quite good for your skin. I have a good feeling that next week will be more successful so make sure to tune in for that.
Just a quick side note, we are holding a giveaway over on JT Carpers Facebook page once we hit 1000 followers (Currently at 970+) so be sure to click the link below and get yourself involved!
Last Thursday, my mate Jack and I did a quick afternoon session on the River Roach. We were on our bikes so had to pack light, a rod, reel, net, some bait and some end tackle was all we needed. The Roach is a small river, running from the River Crouch near Paglesham to the outskirts of Rayleigh and all the way into Southend and Priory Park, where it is known as Prittle Brook. Not much of the river is fishable for course species, only a couple of miles and access is difficult throughout most of the stretch. Most notably, the river is connected to Rochford Reservoir via an inflow and outflow. This means that there is a constant exchange of water, but also when the river floods the two bodies of water connect and the fish can move between the two. This has led to numerous carp being trapped in the river, including a rumoured 15lb carp!
We started by fishing a swim by the outflow from the lake into the river. I started with simple tactics, a size 8 hook freelined with a little bit of bread on the hook. A carp came up and snuffled the bait as I let it flow through the deeper part of the swim but it quickly spooked off. I let the bread drift through another 4 or 5 times with no results. I had caught a carp and a chub with this tactic before here so I decided to switch up a bit and opted to use a few casters and a couple of maggots on the hook instead. I pinched a small shot about 6 inches away from the hook and cast into the deeper part of the swim. After 20 or so seconds the rod tip started to tap and I had caught my first fish. A lovely perch.
Because the swim is so tight, only person can fish it, so after my perch I let Jack have a go. He opted for a small pole float, a size 16 hook, and two maggots (a bit more finesse than me). After a couple of trots down he had one, it was species number two, a lovely little chub. Meanwhile I was changing over to a float and size 12 hook. Although freelining had worked, the bite detection was poor and I thought a float would give better presentation.
I tried for another ten minutes but the spot had gone dead so we decided to move a bit upstream to a swim known as The Pipe. It’s probably the deepest stretch and holds the most fish, I’ve seen videos of big chub there and have seen numerous carp there myself too. It was also possible for both of us to fish at the same time. Jack caught a few roach and rudd, and I had a small chub, but I think we spooked the bigger fish.
We moved further upstream, where the river passes through woodland and fields. Jack caught another small chub, but I didn’t catch anything else. All the fish we caught that day were on maggots and casters. I’ll definitely be back to the river soon and next time I think I’ll need to be a bit stealthier. River fishing is something completely new to me so I still have so much to learn. But I’m making it my mission to catch a 2lb chub from the river this year.
Be sure to check out my Instagram @joec.carp and Jacks Instagram @jacks_angling_life and stay tuned to hear about my recent sessions at Rochford Res and North Benfleet Hall Fishery.
I must have caught a few dozen sea bass in my life before. Nothing massive, the biggest probably a couple pound. Most were caught on bait and a few were caught jigging feathers. I’ve always wanted to catch one on a lure, the light gear and constant movement involved in lure fishing is what drew me in. A couple years ago I bought myself a designated lure rod, for pike, perch, and bass. It’s weighted at 8-20g, although I have thrown heavier lures without any issues.
I finished school at half twelve and the plan was to do a few chores around the house while my dad finished working from home for the day. After my chores were done and my dad finished work, we jumped in the car and headed out. The tides were perfect for late afternoon and we estimated that we could probably fish until the light faded around 8.30pm. The venue in question was the River Crouch. It’s only 10 minutes away from us and we’ve had mixed results there before. We’ve probably fished at South Fambridge 5 or six times in the last couple of years, always using bait. We’ve never really bagged up there, blanking a few times and catching a few schooly bass, eels and whiting on other occasions.
We arrived at the river for around 5.30pm, and we were fishing within minutes. That’s the beauty of lure fishing, you just attach a reel to the rod, a lure to the line and cast out. High tide wasn’t until 22:20 so initially, there weren’t many places to fish. We started by fishing just by the steps as you can walk right up to the low water there. Elsewhere along the river with a few exceptions, its mostly thick horrible mud that sucks the shoes from you’re feet if you step in it. I was looking where I was stepping due to the uneven rocks and out of the corner of my eye saw a flash of gold. I went for a closer look and it turned out to be an iPhone, it had obviously been there a while as the battery had expanded and the screen popped off, but it was still pretty cool to find a phone that some poor soul had probably dropped in the water.
We walked for a little while stopping and fishing every few minutes wherever the shoreline allowed. It was nice and cloudy but still warm and flat calm with a nice breeze, perfect fishing conditions. We stopped for a drink and tasted some fresh wild samphire that grows along the river before fishing at the last spot which is the Saltings – a long, deep grassy bank that pushes out into the river by 30m or so. I kept casting my lure, trying different retrieves, fast, slow, stop and go.
I then cast a lure out really badly which went out about 20 yards. Unhappy with the distance I reeled in as fast as I could so that I could recast. As I was reeling in there was a flash of silver in the water and an eruption near the surface. Fish on! My heart was beating out of my chest and the fish kept zigzagging left and right. It was a precarious descent to the waters edge and I prayed that the fish stayed on. I brought it in and found only one hook remained, clinging onto its bony mouth. I grabbed it by the lips and pulled it out of the water. We took some quick photos before putting it back, ensuring it recovered and swam away strong. I estimate it weighed around 2lb but gave an excellent fight on my light gear.
We continued fishing for a couple hours, making our way back towards the car. We saw a few fish show in the marginal weeds, but our lines remained slack, and there was nothing else to report. Although we only caught one between us, (and it was my dads eighth blank in a row for both sea & course) it was still good to get out for a few hours in the evening and we both learnt a lot on what was our first lure session in UK waters. Anyway, his luck was about to change on our next session, check back tomorrow to find out how he beat three PB’s in one session.