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Tom Baird

The Beach was Calling

Evening all. Now we are coming to the middle of lockdown, I thought it was about time to dust off the beach casters. Off I went down to the local beach. Now I am quite lucky I live in a coastal town and have this facility on my doorstep.

The hightide was at 09:30 this morning, so I was ready to go. I went for a pully rig today, which was already made up. It was windy and the waves were crashing, so chose a breakaway weight. This then digs into the sand and helps my bait stay where I cast it.

My bait for today was Rag, lug worm and squid (Bait was from Colchester Bait & Tackle and Clacton Angling). Once fishing I sat back and soaked in the amazing sunshine. Even though it was windy, the sun was out in all its glory. There were quite a few sea anglers out today, which is always great to see. But you do think that they might strike into a shoal and not you lol.

First on the line was the beloved Bass, what an amazing fish. That amazing silver shimmering in the sun and the fins on display. Hook out and admiring over, back it went. Then another Bass came in, this one was smaller but still put up a fight.

Then came the Whiting; 6 in total. I love their little teeth and how soft they are to hold. Reminds me of holding a Tench. Nothing big, but great to have two species already. Then I had a fish I had never caught before. It was a nice little Pouting. At first, I thought it was a Codling which I haven’t caught in years. But was happy that I had ticked off a Pouting on my list.

Sea fishing has changed over the years. With different habitats these days you are more likely to catch a variety of species. Some say we have lost fish like Cod etc. Have they just moved on to colder waters or are they really in decline? Some blame the wind farms and some say they act as an artificial habitat, which attract fish like Bass etc. The amazing Tope, which was once in abundance around the East Coast is now hardly seen. But we do get Thorny backs, Dogs and Smooth Hounds. Let’s hope we see these amazing creatures return to our area and that sustainable fishing helps in some way.

In total we had 10 fish, which isn’t that bad really. It was better than blanking and 3 different species was good. Hope you are all staying safe out there and might see you on the bank.

Tight Lines…….

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Tom Baird

Dead Bait and Lure set up’s

Evening all and I hope you are all well and safe. Thank god we can still fish and get out there to free our minds from the troubles we are all facing at the moment. I thought I would share my setups with you for Piking. So, come the 1st October my rods are ready, so I can fish at a moment’s notice.

Now every angler would have their favourite brands or some might use a mix of brands. Me being the way I am, I have to have the same brand for the species I’m targeting. I know it sounds nuts, but some of you will be in the same boat. I have to have matching everything lol.

So, for my Pike set ups I use Fox. I just like the styles and the way the rods handle when fishing. The rod I use is a Fox Warrior S. I find the bend and the play in the rod really suits me. My reels are Fox ESO 12000, now these are a chunky reel, but when you’re fishing for Crocs you need a good system you can rely on.

Now I need to equip my tools with Braided line, which I must have for Pike fishing. The braid lets you feel the whole take and enjoy it more. You can find all sorts of braid out there. Go into your local tackle shop and see what they recommend. You will get valuable knowledge and at the same time support your local business.

Then I look at my wire traces with triple hooks on them. Now you can make your own and there are some great videos out there, or again your local tackle shop might show you. I was lucky I had someone show me how to do this. If you are feeling lazy or just don’t have the patience, you can get them already done. So, look for dead bait Pike rig which is around 20 inches in length. The length is important because if the Pike roles then you want that extra length on there.

There are plenty of dead baits out there and each water works differently. So, speak to other anglers to see what works. Could be Markell on one water or Roach on another.

For my lure and spinning I use the Fox Warrior Rage Spinning rod and the same reel. What a lovely rod. Its light and amazing to handle. Again, braided line and a wire trace with hook clip swivel which makes changing lures and spinners quick and easy.

I find there are lots of techniques out there for bringing your lures in and making them more attractive for the fish. Watch a few videos and the go and try them out. Also, if you know someone who is skilled in lure fishing see if you can tag along. Once you catch on a lure or spinner you will fall in love with that style of fishing. Moving to different spots or trolling up and down rivers until you get that strike on that rod. Remember you are being hunted by the ultimate hunter fish.

Until next time, Tight Lines……

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Tom Baird

A change of venue

Its that time of week again when you hear what I have been up to. So, today was planned last week to fish the Chelmer. This was due to the uncertainty of lockdown two and if we were allowed fishing. I wanted to get a river session in before the worst-case scenario happened.

I left home around 06:30 and popped into Tesco to pick up some tiger bread (mmmmm), as the father-in-law was making us a bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches. I then got on the lovely A12 where there had been an accident. Now I hope everyone was ok in the RTC which was northbound and I was going south, but why do people just gawk and not move. This had delayed my fishing so wasn’t happy.

Finally got to my spot on the Chelmer and to my horror, the spots I wanted were taken (1hr 10mins driving, instead of 40 mins). The other anglers looked happy and fair play to them I hope they caught. Time for a new plan. So, called my father-in-law and agreed we should fish our club water. So, back I went another 50 mins in the direction I had just came from. The joy of the A12 lol.

I arrived at our club water, which I thought was going to be busy, as we were waiting for the news if we can fish. Not a single soul was on the lake (wow). After staring into space for a while, I chose a swim and started to set up. The father-in-law arrived and went in the next swim up.

I knew the water would probably be best for Roach, so float with red mags it was. After a few lovely Roach I decided to fish under a tree to see if anything else was about. Bang straight into the tree and my best float came off. I could have cried; the line was in the tree but the float was heading away from me. I even tried tying spare line around my net to get it back. It was gone, floating in the middle of the lake.

Set up again it was and after sulking to myself I was back out and catching Roach. Every now and then I would look up and see my float heading further away. It then came to lunch time and the amazing wedge of bread full of all the bad stuff mmmmm yum.

After eating my lunch, I looked up to reminisce on my float that left me and to my amazement the wind had pushed it to another swim opposite me. What luck, I reeled in and went to retrieve my float. Absolutely made up with getting it back whoop whoop.

As we fished into the late afternoon the fishing were coming out one after another. It then came to that time when eventually have to pack up. Was a good day, 42 in total, shame it wasn’t a match lol.

Until next time, Tight Lines……

Coming soon the Essex Anglers Species Hunt.

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Tom Baird

A weekend in wellies

Hello there my fellow anglers and I hope you are all safe and well. So, this weekend saw me fishing both days. Which was amazing as I only have time for once a week usually. It started after work on Saturday I met up with fellow blogger Bailey.

Bailey wanted to have a go at lure fishing for Pike and choose me of all people to teach him the ways (poor man). We met at Heybridge and headed inland with lures in hand stopping at different points along the way. We started just past the last mooring, which was quite weedy due to strong flows and dead weed off the bottom.

We soon bumped into fellow anglers and exchanged some banter and catch reports. They seemed to be doing much better, as we had 0 catches. To top it off, fellow angler Russ caught a cracking Perch whilst chatting (well done Russ). I was like an excited little school kid, offering my net to help out.   

Well done Russ.

Once we had parted ways, we carried on trying different spots along the navigation, recognising the areas mentioned by the other group. Which was ok as Baily was getting his style of lure fishing together, which is always great to see. I was giving a few pointers every now and then, but he was doing fine. Sometimes you have got to do what you are comfortable with and what works for you.

We got to a nice section of river and Baily was doing his thing and I was a few swims down and bang, I was in to a nice little Jack. The way they take a lure still amazes me. As we landed it, the baby crock decided to do a famous death role in the net. The lure came out and tangled up in the side of the net. Which I wasn’t worried about, as I was more concerned about the Jack. Checked him over and all was good. After some photos, put the little fighter back and he swam off perfectly.

Whilst sorting out a nightmare of a double triple hook lure in my net, Bailey was in, his face was like Charlie from Willy Wonka finding the golden ticket. He played it well and we landed it very carefully, as my lure was still tangled. I was so happy that he had caught one. The pressure was off. I couldn’t blank with him again lol.

Unfortunately, that was the only fish we were catching that day. Bailey did have a few more takes which come off, but he was still a happy bunny.

On Sunday me and Harry decided to hit the River Stour again. Wellies on we headed to the mill pool, had about half an hour there and nothing. So, we decided to head on up river. Found a lovely spot and had a few casts out. We had to stop for a little while, due to a swimming group going past. Had a good chat, but obviously fishing had died off by that point. Now I could say Harry got caught in a tree, but it was me. I was trying to get to a difficult spot where I know some nice pike had been caught.

I passed Harry my rod and went to retrieve my line and lure still attached to the rod. After fighting a jungle I was finger tips away, the bank gave way and my whole welly went in. Harry had thought I had gone in. The poor boy of seven didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Once he knew I was ok, then the laughter happened. My whole right leg was drenched from groin to toes. Our fishing session was over. Back to the car we went with a squelching sound with every step. The water I emptied out of my welly was quite impressive.

Once at the car we had some cheeky custard creams and made our way home. My boots are still drying out in the garage.

Until next time fellow anglers, tight lines….

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Tom Baird

Fishing Mind, Body & Soul

I was asked a question the other day, which really made me think (I know a vein did pop out on the side of my head). I was asked, what does fishing mean to me?

In France 2019, Harry chose fishing as our day activity.

At first, I thought what a silly question, then you ponder on it and what does it mean. I believe it might be different for everyone. I feel fishing is my life, yes, my life. I can always rely on it and turn to it at any time. It never gets old or tiring, it remains the same. Yes, you have different techniques and styles. But the basic is still fishing. From boy to man I can always go.

A very good friend Steve, who is no longer with us. Miss you mate.

No matter how much stress you’re under from work and home you can always reflect whilst fishing. Once you are in those surroundings, whether it be a lake or river, you can be at one with yourself. I’m not trying to be all philosophical (big word), but it’s true for every angler. Otherwise you wouldn’t go if you didn’t enjoy it and unwind.

Man love out at sea, good old Jeff.

As I said you can reflect on whatever’s on your mind at that time. From finding out you’re going to become a parent or that argument you had with your partner. You can make sense of it all. Some anglers might even give advice when needed or just listen. I always come away from it refreshed and positive.

Sophie’s first go at fishing with her big brother James. 7 years ago

Out in the fresh air and with nature around you. There’s no better place in the world than being next to the water. Then you go and catch, it makes it even better. I think that’s why I like going with my family or friends. Every time is different, one minute you’re trying to get your kids line out of a tree or reed, then the next you’re having a good old laugh (usually at my expense).

Fishing in Norfolk, with some amazing friends Feb 2020.

I honestly think that fishing is good for your mind, body and soul. Take care out there and see you on the bank.

Tight Lines…….

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Tom Baird

Tom & Bailey the Fish off

Hello fellow anglers. It has come to that stage where me and fellow blogger Bailey decided to have a fish off. It had been brewing for a few weeks and a lot of banter had been dished out (mainly from Bailey) lol.

We both agreed on a venue which was Newlands Hall near Chelmsford. We wanted to fish this location as we had heard a lot of different reviews and wanted to check it out for ourselves.

Arrived at the fishery at 0730. It was heavy rain, so thank god I remembered my brolly. I got my tackle together and headed to Moat lake. Had a walk round and decided to set up in swim 30. Swim 29 was also free, but swim 30 is in a nice corner of the lake with reeds and trees over hanging. I would say a fishy spot.

Put a small bit of ground bait out and went for the Quiver. Had loads of knocks, but my boilies weren’t working so went to the trusted corn and still nothing. At 08:45 Bailey had graced me with his presence, I still had nothing. Maybe this was karma for taking the better swim.

After Bailey had finally set up his contraption of a chair (It was like an air fix kit and I really do believe glue was used at some point), he cast out. Within minutes the boy was in. My face must have been a picture. Within the first hour he must have had 5 Carp.

So, I did what any angler would do at a time of deprivation. I ordered food. I called the Rig (The tackle shop and Café). I had a Bacon, Sausage, Egg and Mushroom French stick with red & brown. They even deliver to your swim (Heaven). I also ordered the top shot one too, as I’m not bitter about the whole experience.   

Come 12ish still nothing. I had even used Bailey’s ground bait, corn and the rod. But they weren’t having any of it. I was starting to get a complex about the whole thing really. Maybe Bailey had popped down during the week and netted my swim area.

So, I reeled in and went for a walk around the fishery. On the other side of Moat Lake there was a memorial match on. It was great to see all the guys and girls remembering a fellow angler in this way. Then I had a walk over to Brook Lake and people were catching there, which made me feel even better.

Eventually I braved it and returned to my swim. There he was the Cheshire cat himself. He had done well during the day and he was on the 16th catch of the day. I then decided I cannot blank. I went to my trusted float rod (Mirage John Wilson) and Rovex reel. Put a float set up on and caught 6 Roach. Still a lovely fish, but know desperate times call for desperate measures.

In all Bailey had 20 lovely Carp all between 3 – 5lbs all common, apart from one lovely mirror. Well done Bailey. You still owe me for the food, just saying lol.

Tight Lines all….

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Tom Baird

The Young Angler

So, its no secret that I fish a lot with my son Harry. I enjoy every moment of it, even the arguing about where to fish and what set up we are going to use. Now Harry is only 7 years old and he runs rings around me at fishing. He has a list on his wardrobe of coarse fish that he is targeting before he’s 8 years old.

This week we had to target the Pike. After school I took him to a lovely spot on the River Stour with spinning rod in hand. We did have two rods set up for dead baiting, but some silly dad forgot the dead bait (what a numpty)

It had been raining on and off all day, but Harry was really looking forward to going after school and I was too. So, we went for it. We got to the river at 16:00 and was planning to stop at around 18:30.

We looked like two drowned rats. I have showed Harry how to use lures and spinners before and he loved it. Standing in the shallows in his wellies, jigging the line as he reeled in. I was a happy Dad.

Then the heavens opened up. What a down pour it was, the rain was running off my waterproof and down my trousers. Harry found this very amusing, as it looked like I had wet myself. After trying several lures, Harry chose a spinner, yellow and red. He loved how it moved under the water.


After around 10 minutes of casting BANG Harry was in. He played the fish so well, another happy moment. He had caught a lovely Jack.

There were several high fives and fist bump. We got the little croc onto the mat and took the hook out. Harry was perfect telling me how to handle the fish and what would happen if I got bitten.

When putting it back, Harry was instructing me which way to face the fish to get the oxygen into its gills and so it can get its bearings. Then off it went never to be seen again.

What an amazing memory to have with my son. That’s what’s it’s all about.
Now for the next species and until next time……

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Tom Baird

Father-In-Law strikes again

Today I went fishing with the Father-In-Law and what a session it was. I was on the river by 05:30 sharp and not a soul to be seen. It was lovely, I love that time in the morning. Just me, the river and the nature around you.

I had lightly baited the area with ground bait (banana & coconut) mixed with sweetcorn, hempseed and some mussel flavouring with maggots mixed in. Then a few handfuls of mixed maggots to top it off.

Again, a simple float set up, but I have found these Guru floats in my local tackle shop (Clacton Angling) which are amazing. I call them the torpedoes, but have no idea what they’re actually called. They fly through the air and hit the water with such grace. Float sizes are 14mg and 8mg which are just right for the way I fish.

I had nothing, loads of swirls all around my float and area, but nothing on the end of the line. So, the line came back in, I checked the depth and the set up and back out I went. Otter came and said hello, which was nice of them and a few kingfishers. Later my Father-In-Law showed up.

Once he was fishing, we set about sorting out his new chair. Well it was more like putting up a tent, there were poles everywhere. Once up, he sat on it and slid off towards the water. Inside I was laughing my head off and to be honest on the outside too.

I ended up going to the car and lending him one of my spare chairs. Thank god we sorted that and that I had a spare. As most of you would probably agree Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance (the 6 P’s, always remember them).

Within ten minutes he was in, I was not impressed lol. I felt like I did all the donkey work and he had just swooped into my fish. (Love you really Stan). He had a lovely Gudgeon and then a Roach. The irony is that I set his rod up for him too.

So, for five hours my amazing Father-In-Law was catching and I had nothing, not a peep. Come 10:15 I was thinking of packing up, as the rain started to come. The cloud was just over me lol. 11:20 came and I was in, thank god for that a Roach. Nothing amazing, but not a blank and then another. Then a golden beauty. Was loving life again.

We had four different species today, which was great to see. So, Gudgeon, Roach, Rudd and Chub. What a morning session. Now getting ready for my next trip on Saturday with the Essex Anglers team, so watch this space. It will be a test of skills and I think my fellow blogger Bailey and I have a little match going on too.

Make sure you check out Tackle Box above, Tight Lines………

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Tom Baird

Fishing the Stour

So, it was an early start today. Was fishing by 05:45 and made the rookie mistake of setting up my rod once I was at my swim. Still a bit dark at that time and took me a bit longer to thread the line through the eyes lol (getting old).

I was in the Colchester area and found a lovely mill pool, it was just the right spot. I used a basic float set up. So, stopper on first followed by my choice of float, a shot either side of the float and then a size 12 hook at the depth I needed and three maggots on the hook and I was out. The mill pool was teaming with life. So much fry around, which was great to see.

The first fish of the day was a tiger (Perch), as I was told it was fin perfect. Such a great fish to start the session off with. Then came some Roach nice sizes too. Then as I was taking a picture of the Roach, out the corner of my eye I felt someone or something watching me. As I turned, I could not believe it. Three otters just staring at me and me at them.

Now I know there are lots of mixed feelings about this creature and don’t get me wrong I agree with some, but it was amazing to see the two cubs and the mother together. They went in the water and swam to the other side of the pool.

Now obviously it was nice to see, but it had now messed up my fishing. I was in two minds whether to pack up or hang it out. So, I hung it out and I was glad I did. Whilst waiting for the fish to return, I watched a Kingfisher in the tree next to me and sorted out my tackle box.

After about an hour they returned, had some more Roach, Perch and a lovely Gudgeon which is my first in Essex. Very happy with that. It was only a short day today and was back home by 11:30. Unpacked my gear and cleaned my net etc. Until next time fellow anglers. Tight Lines.

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Tom Baird

For the love of Tench

So, I love Tench/Tinca’s, what a fish and what a fighter. There’s nothing like seeing the fizzing in the water and know that the green beauty is down there. I usually fish for them early morning or late afternoon. From 11am to 3pm I never have much luck.

Now over the years I have caught some amazing fish and I’m very lucky in some of the places I get to fish. Its all about knowing the water and what works in that particular place.

Now when I’m at a certain lake, I use a method feeder rig with Squid and Krill red size 10mm boilies or an inline feeder with maggots. Now there is no need to bait the area to death. Just a small amount of ground bait with around three boilies stuck into the ground bait, so it looks like a traffic light. Once casted in the desired location, a few more boilies around the area near your bait.

Now I’m not teaching you to suck eggs or anything. So, find what works for you and try different rigs/setups. Trial and error are always the best way to learn. Even when you want to give up, keep going and one day it will pay off. It took me 7 years to catch from my local river, now I know where and what to do in my location.

See, on the River where I love catching these majestic creatures, I find a simple float set up works with mixed maggots on the hook. Few mags and ground bait chucked out around the float. They seem to love the margins, right under your feet.

Now I use Barbel rods for Tench fishing 1.75 lb test curve. That’s what I have been showed and used time and time again. It’s a better fight and seems to keep the fish on better. But again, do what works for you.

I’m sure you will catch some amazing Tinca’s and enjoy the amazing colours from deep dark green to a golden colour. The big fan tale and the red fiery eyes. Everything about this fish makes it all worthwhile.

I would love to see your Tinca pictures, so please put them on Essex Anglers Community and a little background of how you caught the beauty.