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Stuart Gardiner

Bring back ‘ Burbot ‘ ?

Burbot, Lota lota, aka Eel Pout, Lawyer Fish, Lingcod are a holarctic species native to the cold fresh waters of the Nearctic and Palearctic regions found between 40 and 70 degrees North latitudes. Burbot are demersal fish found in deep temperate lake bottoms and slow moving cold river bottoms between 4 and 18 degrees C. Primarily found at depths ranging from 1 to 700 m, these fish prefer fresh waters but are also found in some brackish water systems. These fish often dwell among roots, trees, rocks, and dense vegetation. The last recorded UK caught Burbot was back in 1969 a £100.00 Angling Times reward for spotting it remains unclaimed to this day and now a costed reintroduction plan is being drawn up for Natural England, the government’s conservation watchdog.

From the above data the UK is slap bang in the middle of the Burbots habitat area.

Burbot are large fish known to grow to as much as 1.5 m in length and 34 kg in weight. These fish are yellow, light tan, or brown with dark brown or black patterning on the body, head and most fins. The underbelly and pectoral fins are pale to white. The first dorsal fin is short and is followed by a long second dorsal fin at least 6 times the length of the first and joined to a rounded caudal fin. Burbot have neither dorsal nor anal spines and have 67 to 96 soft dorsal rays, and 58 to 79 soft anal rays, gill rakers are short, pectoral fins are rounded, and caudal fins have 40 ray Like other cods, burbot are also characterised by a single barbel located on the chin. The burbot is the only member of the cod family that lives in fresh water. For several months a year burbot can be trapped under ice – they need cold temperatures to spawn but all that slime and flabbiness provide excellent protection. The are a very voracious predator.

Burbot could also be a beneficiary of, beaver reintroduction which has already taken place in Scotland, Essex, Kent and The Forest of Dean, but these are in fenced controlled areas not fully wild as of yet. Beavers create burbot-friendly habitat which surely must be a win win with one reintroduction species supporting another. The fish has been successfully reintroduced into Belgium and Germany, and there were several river valleys in the East Anglian Fens with good floodplains that could be ideal habitat. Unlike beavers, lynx and sea eagles, they haven’t been gone for long; only about 50 years. Maybe there will some Anglers who still remember catching them ? The cause of the burbot’s disappearance remained “a bit of a mystery” but was a combination of pressures including the disappearance of natural “messy” edges to rivers, including pools, flooded areas and back channels. People did used to eat them ( as with many other species ) but it’s more likely to be water quality and habitat quality slowly degrading since the second world war that caused their disappearance.

Much as changed in our rivers and lakes since 1969 since the last recorded burbot catch in the old west river, Aldreth in Cambridgeshire. I was surprised that this location doing research for this blog was its last sighting. I spent many a happy hour as a youngster fishing the old west and the drains around it in the late 70’s through early 80’s remembering its unspoilt wild stretches it does not surprise me this was this the venue of the last sighting.

Old West River, Cambridgeshire

A few questions from an angling point of view I ask myself with the 50 year gap since its last UK sighting is the burbot suitable for reintroduction, especially since in that time the non native zander has established throughout our waterways as an alternate predator, did the burbot’s demise enable the zander spread ? Should Natural England start to reintroduce would lakes / fisheries stock them ? they could under strict rules by the EA like Wels catfish, I would love to catch them personally as they are a lure and bait caught species that love a cold weather like this arctic February day especially. What self respecting angler wouldn’t fancy catching these on a drop shot, fly or bait set up.

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Stuart Gardiner

Keep the bites coming in winter

Well January certainly has not disappointed when it comes to being a trying month, the cold weather, the heavy rain rendered many rivers flooded and un-fishable so its down to the lakes to get some fish in the net. Of course fishing in cold / freezing conditions requires a different approach and generally is hard going but fish can still be had with the right approach

I was fortunate last week to catch a day off at the end of a 3 day mild spell with overnight temperatures around 6-7 degrees and westerly winds so no frost or ice breaking, remember that one old saying that is a great tip ” when the winds in east the fish bite least ” . I am lucky that even with covid restrictions on my venue to fish is Redbridge lakes being 5 minutes from home.

The water was fairly clear another sign of the fish feeding sparingly so I set up my light waggler rod with a 2BB fine antenna with 4 x no.8 stot shots string out about 10 inches apart the first shot 8 inches from the hook, I find using stots as my dropper weights much easier to use and they stay in situ better than split shot i find and more user friendly to mono should you need to adjust your shot pattern using 4lb main line to a a 20 barbless Preston SFL pattern hook ready made hook length. I fished approx 3 rod lengths out where the lake has a gradual sloping shelf bottoming out at approx 6ft of water in line with a rush lined spit going out into my swim. I set my depth at just a few inches off the bottom to start with.

I made up a small bowl of black mixed crumb groundbait that i find better in winter and clearer water conditions. I put in 2 golf ball size balls of ground bait to start with approx 15 pinkies in catapulted over the top with 2 pinkies as hook bait . It did not take long for the first bite with a succession of plump small perch which are always a welcome sight

Every 2-3 casts i put in 1 golf ball size of ground bait and 15 or so pinkies over the top hoping to draw the skimmers in which after about an hour they arrived catching a steady stream around the 12oz to 1lb mark keeping to the same feeding pattern of very little and every few casts, the bites from skimmers were nearly all lift bites. I tried single maggot no bites, bread punch and small piece of chopped worm same no bites, double pinkie was the go to bait of the day.

Although no monster fish it was still a most welcome session with good sport on light tackle and rod, but it shows with the careful approach and light feeding in tough conditions the fish can still be had.

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Stuart Gardiner

What is it about Gudgeon ?

As a traditional angler who enjoys catching all species of fish myself especially gudgeon in the past catching a net full on the grand union at Lady Capels ‘ gudgeon alley ‘ Im sure a few reading this will remember that venue and more recently at Birds Green Lakes had some real plump ones. There is something very different about our humble yet mighty gudgeon (Gobio gobio ). So what is it that brings a bigger smile when landing one of these to so many. For one it probably is not the fighting qualities of this small fish and they can be easy to catch in lakes, rivers and canals alike. The current record of 5oz caught back in 1990 caught in the river Nadder, Wiltshire still stands, there was a more recent monster one caught out of the river Wandle in south London but not verified at 6oz plus in 2016 according to the scale count etc, the picture of it shows below it most definitely is a whopper.

As a species the gudgeon has a pretty hard life being the go to choice for food for all the predators they share the water with and in Victorian times considered a fine dining delicacy. Fortunately these hardy fish do seem to ever thrive in good numbers throughout our waterways. The dictionary defines the gudgeon as ‘ a gullible person…One that will swallow anything ‘. One can apply the same to these voracious little fish as they will oblige the wide variety of hook baits offered. Research back in 1962 on the river Mole showed that they possess a strong homing instinct. After a number had been transferred as far as a third of a mile up or downstream, over 50% of those recaptured had returned to the home range within two of three weeks.

Gudgeon fishing was once regarded as a social grace and some gallants even went so far as to say that ladies made better gudgeon-fishers than men; their light touch, it was thought, fitted them for delicate strike – the slightest twist of the wrist – required to hook a gudgeon. Dr J.J. Manley author of the 1877 book ‘ Notes on Fish & Fishing ‘ was quick to point out the dangers of taking women to the river bank, he noted that ‘ Many a heart has been irretrievably lost when gudgeon fishing ‘ . There was occasion when the humble gudgeon caused the irretrievable loss of a bride. When in his youth the Rev, George Harvest of Thames Ditton a remarkable fisherman for his time was betrothed to the Bishop of London’s daughter, but on his wedding day while gudgeon fishing he overstayed the canonical hour; and the lady, justly offended, broke off the match…..

So what is the magic to catching the mighty but humble gudgeon, all I know is the joy of catching one is on a different level and brings a hearty smile seeing this colourful hardy little bruiser of a fish in the net, perhaps this is the magic and needs no further explaining. Having gudgeon in our waters to catch is a good thing and are a most welcome catch anytime.

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Stuart Gardiner

Why We Fish ?

While we still in this awful pandemic and even though fishing is allowed the distance, area and weather we can go to is fairly limiting for so many at this time, I myself am looking forward to brighter, warmer and drier days ahead in the months ahead when fingers crossed some new normality returns. Fishing as an essential means to survive has been around for 40,000 years with skeletal remains of Tianyuan man in eastern Asia regularly consumed freshwater fish as part of the hunter gatherer life back then.

The sport of angling now in current times is very a ingrained pastime as opposed to and essential means to survive, our sport is ever evolving and has to be unique how people become hooked into the sport, for most I am sure it started for many as being taken out as a child with a parent to the waterside given a rod with a float and maggots or worms catching roach, perch and gudgeon etc.

This was my own path into fishing and was very fortunate my Father was a keen outdoors person whose own path into fishing was completely different, going over the river Lea, Springfield Park Lake and Walthamstow reservoirs catching predominately Eels which were abundant and a staple East End food for the table at the age of 6 along with his friends during the blitz and rationing of WW2. He can still to this day recall walking from his family home in Muston Road E5 down towards Springfield park and the marshes with his fishing pals collecting shrapnel along the way from the days previous air raids and seeing the houses of his neighbours gone.

Now in 2021 Angling has come a long forward but the basic reasons to partake remain the same and since covid seen a dramatic increase in participants with many new but most resuming after a lengthy break with 100,000 increase in Rod Licence sales last summer after the lock down. My personal thoughts on why we fish are below back up with a few stats as described.

Conservation. the overwhelming majority of anglers care about the environment they fish in, and spend there money on licences, day tickets on club membership etc that allows for the up keep and continued natural health of the waterways we fish. The ones who leave litter through laziness never fall into the true angler category. Angling is an important wildlife management tool. For more than 100 years anglers have helped to contribute to wildlife and fisheries management efforts. Anglers also have a vested interest in and support many efforts to preserve and protect all species and the environment-all the while helping to increase biodiversity.

Social and Solitude, The social part of angling now especially on the carp scene is a huge part of the fishing experience with many fisheries offering 5 star swims and facilities to host long stays at venues. The social aspect of our sport is one of the great benefits if you have friends you meet up with regularly to fish together, or family members you share the hobby with, it’s a great way to spend some quality time together.It can also be a great way to bond with people you may not know so well if you share the same hobby, such as a new friend. The solitude aspect on the flip side is a perfect tonic if you need some peaceful downtime away from the daily grind.

Health & Wellbeing, The health benefits both physical and mental are now first and foremost espcially championed by the Angling Trust in the past year promoting the positive benefits so much so that even geting fishing allowed in current covid circumstances. Fishing and being outdoors increases your vitamin D reserves. A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Walking in nature or simply spending time under leafy trees prompts “electrochemical changes in the brain” which lead to a “highly beneficial state of effortless attention”. There are now many superb organisations like iCARP helping armed forces veterans with PTSD. This is huge bonus for the face of angling and a even a bad days fishing still beats a day at work or tending to domestic duties. Fishing offers you the chance to improve your self-esteem through respect for the environment, mastering outdoor skills and achieving personal goals. Fishing can also play an important role in ones personal and social development. Fishing is a lifetime skill and activity that can be enjoyed at any age. Just ask a youngster who reeled in their first fish how much fun fishing can be.

The Economy. Freshwater anglers contribute an estimated £1.4bn annually to the English economy, supporting up to 27,000 full-time equivalent jobs, through their spending on the sport. This is according to an Environment Agency a major study of angling activity and expenditure has taken place. The Environment Agency study, ‘A Survey of Freshwater Angling in England’, examined the spending patterns and behaviour of 10,000 surveyed fishing licence holders to build a picture of the market value of freshwater angling in England. The study found that angling for coarse fish was the most popular activity for the nation’s anglers, accounting for 19 million days of fishing with carp the most sought after species with an estimated 7 million days fishing time. Game anglers spent 1.6 million days fishing for salmon and trout. The Report Findings –

  • Across all types of angling, almost 70% of all angling days were on lakes, ponds, reservoirs.
  • Most coarse angling trips took place between 5 and 25 miles from the angler’s home. Anglers travelled significantly further for game fishing, with most salmon anglers travelling at least 50 miles from home to fish.
  • Anglers each spent an average of over £400 on tackle and around £110 on club or syndicate fees.
  • A clean and attractive environment with minimal disturbance was more highly valued by anglers than the size and abundance of fish.

“All income from fishing licence sales is used to fund our work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries. This includes improving habitats for fish, facilities for anglers and tackling illegal fishing. We also work with partners such as the Angling Trust, Get Hooked on Fishing, the Canal and River Trust and the Angling Trade Association to encourage people to give fishing a go.”

“The Angling Trust, working with the Environment Agency, are focused on protecting and growing angling not only as an important contributor to our economy, but also to our society as a whole. Over the last three years we have worked with the Environment Agency to reinvest millions of pounds of rod licence income in improving facilities for anglers, providing information about how and where to fish, together we have helped over 77,000 people try fishing for the first time.” Who doesn’t like browsing around a tackle shop or looking online for a bargain.

And finally the and for everyone what its all about the ” THRILL ”. Fishing has a way of fulfilling an age-old need of pursuing and catching. The thrill lies in the challenge, in all 3 angling disciplines, course, sea and game such as stalking an elusive wild trout or matching the hatch, to casting to that perfect spot you have been patiently baiting and the single tone scream of the bite alarm going off and then landing a PB. Wether you see the float dip, quiver tip go around or retrieving a fly or lure there is no doubt the excitement of hooking a fish is what it puts the icing on the cake. Many will be quick to profess that it’s not the catching of fish that’s important, but the immeasurable life lessons that you will experience along the way and being part of the angling community as a whole.

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Stuart Gardiner

The Redbridge Return

While we all enduring our current frustrating fishing time I have been reflecting on my own personal return to this great pastime after a 25 year break 3 years ago. Thinking back I am scratching my head as to why I left fishing for so long but easily done with life turning different corners like career change, running a business, marriage etc.

My inspiration for my return to angling was watching Matt Hayes and the Duke, Mick Brown in their various shows on TV and thinking yes why not I have missed the whole fishing experience. I still had all my fishing gear gathering large amounts of dust etc in the garage so of course first stop was to a large national fishing store to get more of what I do not need, walking in and being absolutely swamped and overwhelmed with yards and yards of boilies and carp end tackle etc after 20 minutes of head scratching a rare occurrence of myself walking out of a tackle shop not having spent a penny.

Frustration level to maximum conceptual meter , 3d rendering

Then by luck mentioning to my father I was going fishing again he mentioned Redbridge Lakes, Woodford Green in Essex which is on my doorstep so off I went to check out this 2 lake complex. I was greeted by Gordon & Dave who could not have been more friendly and accommodating and an extra bonus of having a well stocked shop on site full of stuff I understood with the great benefit of buying bait also making it a easier for even spur of the moment trips. I did not hesitate upon seeing on first impressions to join as a member for £50.00 which pre covid was a £5.00 per day saving on a day ticket as well as discounted food and drinks in the superb licenced cafe on site.

What struck me is that Redbridge is one of the most un-commercial ‘ commercial ‘ man made fisheries I have visited to present, the fishery is 12 years old now its previous life was a frequently water logged unused sporting ground in the Roding Valley, this has to be the ultimate environmental recycling project turning this area into a now thriving natural area supporting a vast array of wildlife with a large area of the lakeside left for beehives ( the end product available to purchase ) nature trail, bug hotel, tadpole pond and kingfisher pond. The non fishing nature parts of the complex that again pre covid was utilised by schools and disabled groups being able to enjoy nature and the great environment in a safe easy accessible way.

One aspect that the owner Gordon needs much praise for is setting up fishing platorms near the cafe that go out into the lake this is enabling many youngsters and older alike to sample an hours fishing with all bait and tackle required on site for a small outlay supervised by Gordon or David to deal with tangles etc and helping first timers to catch there first fish and then hopefully into the full time addiction angling is if you catch the bug. The platforms too I have fished off may times and are ideal for a quick couple of hours fishing with minimal tackle and enjoying a nice coffee at same time with good fishing too.

So a few days after visited for my first session on a bright and mild march afternoon, Gordon gave me some good advice on a few swims to try setting up a waggler and feeder rod half way across in 6 feet of water, it did not take long to catch with a steady stream of quality ide, roach, skimmers, perch and plump 12oz goldfish, using simple tactics of loose feeding few maggots each cast with odd ball of groundbait. I was definitley hooked again into fishing. For me the lake set up with the superb natural man made swims with each one having a set of lily pads to the side of each swim and rushes going out approx 5 metres the other, making great spots to alternate giving lots of different options to fish to during the warmer months which makes for great pole and margin fishing. feeder fishing towards the central rushes too on the opposite bank another great way to catch. This unique swim set up even when busy still gives you peace and quiet with out the hassle of people encroaching into your swim, and in the last year making it very covid secure on this 2 lake complex. There are regular matches each week on one of the lakes ( when covid rules permit ) so there is always a swim to found for a leisure sesson.

The lake boasts an impressive 25 assorted species to be had it is not a carp focused fishery like far too many now in my opinion, but they are there to be had up to 18lbs and more. It is perfect if you enjoy like I do not knowing what species you can catch. If you like old school coarse fishing then Redbridge is a great go to place using pole, waggler and feeder tactics.

Since that first visit I have spent many many enjoyable hours there catching quality fish and enjoying the surroundings and nature that surround you in this well kept complex. check out the lakes very informative website https://www.redbridgelakes.co.uk/

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Stuart Gardiner

A winters day at Churchgate Lakes

I have been following Churchgate lakes on Facebook a while now and could not help but notice how the owner was very clearly putting so much time, effort and expense in making the fishery really top class. For me seeing fisheries put back investment into venues so as to make the whole fishing experience better for anglers is a huge plus in deciding where to fish.

This was also emphasised in a big way when booking, contacting the fishery on how to book etc I could not have been helped enough even down to booking me a decent swim with the option of changing it should I not fancy it as this was my first time fishing here, I did not need this very kind gesture as the swim booked was perfect with the choice of 2 islands to fish towards with a decent depth of 6-8ft. The very impressive tackle shop on site was well stocked with all the major brands stocked for carp & coarse fishing with fresh maggots and casters etc available also. I think pre booking and paying for a designated swim is a welcome bonus and saves the mad bun fight rush at most fisheries that do not operate a smooth user friendly system like this.

My approach for this cold December day was going to be medium size 30g method feeder around the islands using 2mm micros and groundbait mix with a 10mm mainline bread boilie helped with a dash of sweetcorn goo which i find a pretty deadly combination, but sadly not today casting every 20 mins as not wanting to over feed i tried several spots around the islands trying to find any feeding fish not so much as a liner.

After 3-1/2 hours I changed tactics fishing towards the furthest island in open water using a small open end feeder with ground bait plugged maggots inside with 2 red maggots on a size 16 on a helicopter rig. Bites came fairly quick landing 3 nice bream from 2lb-5lb the biggest, all things considered 3 nice fish on a hard winters days is excellent in such pleasant surroundings. I will most definitely return in the new year.

Best wishes to everyone and lets look forward to a better 2021 and many more tighter lines.

https://www.churchgatelakes.com/

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Tackle Reviews Stuart Gardiner

Darent Valley 9ft 3lb TC Specimen Rod Review

I was very fortunate and humble to win one of these rods in a raffle in the summer and after seeing various reports on other models in the Darent Valley, Tacklebox range and was very keen to christen it with a suitable specimen fish fitting the rods description.

With work and the general covid chaos that’s thrown every ones schedules out this year it was not until October I had the chance to give this rod a go. So I ventured to Slough House Lake as there had been plenty of good reports of nice carp and few cats being caught, set up my 2 heavy cats rods as the cats were active on the surface etc when I arrived and the Darent Valley rod set up for the carp using a 15mm cell pop up with pva bags about 2 rod lengths out by a tree overhang that looked very inviting

The morning past without a sniff on any rod, so I changed tactic for the carp on the DV rod, casting with 2oz lead 3/4 way across the lake, the casting was a dream with little effort involved casting and very precise feel and handling, the slim cork handle was very comfortable to use with a nice secure reel seat, the rod finish and whippings have a very high quality, super quality guides with a 40mm butt ring. At present they are on offer for £48.99 which in my opinion for the money is fantastic value for a rod that would suit the vast majority of smaller venues or a great stalking / roving margin rod. Would I go and buy another ? most definitely the quality alone sells these rods in my opinion, the zip rod / reel cover too is very good considering most other rods come with the conventional 2 pocket style rod bag which for myself usually ends up consigned to a darkened corner of the garage never to be found again in todays age of rods being pre set up before each session.

I was able to christen the rod at Slough House, not by a carp but a 32lb Cat, which gave the rod a pretty extensive workout in its 15 minute battle to land, playing the fish the rod has a great through action and handled the hard fighting cat superbly. To sum up looking for a quality sub £50.00 versatile rod with a high quality finish and use, this gets my vote for sure

https://www.tacklebox.co.uk/rods-en/carp-rods/tackle-box-darent-valley-specimen-rod-9ft-3lb.html

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Stuart Gardiner

The Eagle Was Landed

I have never been a serious Carp fisherman not on todays scale anyway but the first carp I caught is to this day a memory very ingrained in my fishing favourites. TBT to a July evening in 1978 at the Eagle Pond Wanstead.

Back in the good old days of simple safe urban free fishing I spent many hours sitting on bank at the Eagle and on rare time it was full a 5 minute walk through the forest to the Hollow ponds was a great alternate spot. Most summer days and evenings the road bank was always with busy with anglers along its entire length catching the abundant roach, bream, tench, perch that were prevalent throughout all the Epping forest ponds in those days before the cormorant plague took hold in the Lea Valley.

The fishing was simple either a waggler for the perch and roach or swim feeder packed with bread and maggots using a swing tip casting further out for the bream and tench or if lucky with that weeks pocket money Kestrel groundbait, this groundbait was pretty much only commercial groundbait at this time and had the consistency of hardened concrete, but worked pretty good.

Had the usual fun evening session with roach and skimmers a plenty, with about an hour to go and dusk falling I decided to try for a tench so set up my ledger rig comprising a 3/4oz arsley bomb slid on the mainline, size 8 hook barbed of course in those days and AAA lead split shot very firmly bitten 18 inches from the hook as a stopper on 8lb Bayer Perlon line, that was as about as sophisticated a rig at the time, not even a whiff of chodd, ronnie, spinner hair rigs back in those days. So with the rig ready a big fat juicy lobworm was cast between the two islands.

Removing my swing tip as I was now specimen hunting and using of course at the time the most high tech bite detection at the time the humble red fairy liquid washing up bottle top after a few minutes wham ! bottle top going into space and the tip bending around it was fish on big time and to be honest it was a fair bit of luck the fish decided to swim away from the island a stressful 5 minute battle ensued with a crowd gathered behind me and thankfully netting a whopping dark scaled common carp. It weighed around 15lb mark thanks to the older angler along the bank using his brass salter scales and keep net to weigh it in. I could hardly speak with excitement at landing it but then of course those days in 1978 digital pocket photography was many many years ahead so sadly never got a picture. What drew me to write this fishing memory was recently finding the rod and reel I caught it on in the loft, the rod was a Richard Walker Mk IV Avon 10ft split cane by Bob James of London and a bulletproof Mitchell 300, this set was my prize possession as it was a previous Christmas present from Mum & Dad. Now that I have refound this classic rod time to get another whopper on it fingers crossed in 2021 .

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Stuart Gardiner

Method Feeder Fun

I was lucky to take advantage of a mild November Friday for a session at Crow Green on the small lake before the venue closes for its winter break, this fishery is by far one the tidiest well run venues I have fished with non muddy banks and excellent platform swims throughout.

My approach here is simple a 20 gram large size method feeder fished to far side rushes and overhanging trees, its only about 4-5 rod lengths so a simple flick with the feeder then clip up the line once I get the distance. Bait is fairly simple 2mm soaked micro pellets with a 10mm white pellet soaked in Sweetcorn Goo. I find white pellets in commercial coloured waters best for myself throughout the season. 8lb main line to a 6lb size 12 quick stop end 4” hook length, coupled on my 9ft Daiwa Yank & Bank feeder rod its a fun set up for this type of fishing.

1st cast after few minutes had a nice 4-5lb fish, then followed by a plump brown goldfish about 2lb and several bream up to 4lb again all good fun on balanced tackle I was using with real rod bending bites on the tip

I had bites regularly throughout the day landing a dozen carp up to 11lb and fishing close in on the float plenty of decent roach, perch and skimmers on worm and maggot. A decent days fishing for November at a superb well kept fishery

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Stuart Gardiner

Summer Rudding

A Red Letter Rudd Day

Sitting with the dark afternoons at 4pm now this is a blog on my best late summer session at Thornwood Springs, Epping chasing the massive Rudd that frequent there.

It was a perfect mild day with prefect light breeze north easterly direction which made for perfect presentation in the swim I fancied that day.

Setting up fishing towards a boom that separates the lake with a 2AA waggler fishing just off the bottom approx 6ft deep with 4 x 6 stots and 1 x 8 stot strung out using 5lb main line to a 3lb hook length to a size 16 barbless. Bait for the day is sweetcorn, fake casters and Dynamite baits soft hooker white pellets 6mm, I like using these as as durable bread punch substitute as they withstand small fish taking them off the hook . Groundbait is simple, I liquidise 2 white loaves add a tin of corn and a pint of soaked 2mm pellets, the moisture from the corn pellets and bread is more than enough to bind perfectly without need for any water and breaks down perfectly as it drops through the water.

I started off with a single grain of corn and got bites almost immediately with a steady flow of 8oz to 1lb golden beauties.

After a couple of hours of steady fish the bites stopped, so I decided to move to the smaller lake behind that has plenty of fish in, using my 14ft acolyte and centrepin with pole float on in approx 3 fit of water a rod length out just off the rushes, had a few hours of non stop bite a cast using fake casters as hook bait feeding same groudbait a small golf ball size every 10 minutes or so.

The average stamp was nice ‘ goer ‘ size up to a good handful of 1lb plus fish

Returning back to my original swim on the bigger lake there was a nice ripple which enabled the float to hold nicely off the boom across a few small fish followed again on single corn and white soft pellets, bites were few and far between but the conditions were perfect for the style I was fishing. After a couple of hours I struck into a fish at first I thought it was a brown trout as it tore off and stayed deep after a few minutes and a great fight I saw the red and gold flash of a Rudd and was fortunate to land the 3lb 2oz beauty in the picture below was in superb condition and just a perfect day fishing.