Andrew Pilgrim

Blanking for Fun.

Two blanks on the trot!… Bloody weather!……not only is this frustrating as an angler it also means that I’ve very little to write about this week, so let me ask you a question. 

How dedicated are you when it comes to fishing? 

When you have blanked you sit at home staring into the distance whilst deep inside you are contemplating what you could have done better rigs, tactics, choice of bait?  

Do persevere when things aren’t going well or you are not catching? 

How many blanks would you tolerate at a venue before you decided to fish elsewhere 3?.. 5?.. 7? 

How about 18 consecutive blanks at the same venue?

Dear readers allow mw to introduce you to my very good friend Mr Richard Barber. 

Back in Sheffield in the 1960’s I was but a small boy and my Father & Grandfather introduced me to out noble art and luckily enough a few doors down lived Richard whose Dad was equally keen on fishing so most weekends we were whisked off to local pond for some kiddie perch bashing. As we grew older, we would get home from school on a Friday and Richards Dad would drive us an hour to such exotic places as the Fossdyke and River Till in Lincolnshire for a few hours fishing. Richard and I became firm friends and not only fishing buddies but also travelling the country in pursuit of our other passions, Trainspotting (not as dull as it sounds) and Football (less said about that the better). But fishing was always our first love. 

I moved ‘Dar’n saaaf’ in the late 80’s and our fishing since took different paths with myself getting into Carp and then Match fishing whilst Richard likes targeting many specific species. These days my fishing, although quite varied is predominantly river fishing for Chub whilst my poor friend has sadly developed an acute case of OCD which is beginning to look like it may be a terminal illness. I shall explain.

Richard now lives in Nottingham and has a large gravel pit close by that has a few good-sized Carp in it but little else. These are of no interest to Richard but he heard of huge bream being caught by the carp anglers, only maybe once or twice a year but these were BIG fish, 16-18-20lb and maybe bigger. He has convinced himself that there is a small shoal of these massive old fish, maybe 6 -12, in this huge gravel pit and he is determined to catch one. He has fished day sessions, night sessions, short sessions and long sessions. Fishes light, fished heavy. Used boilies, worm maggots, pellets and sweetcorn. Fed heavy and fed little. Fished close and at range. He bought a Deeper Sonar to map out the contours of the whole gravel pit. He has invested an obscene amount of money in tackle to enable him to fish at extreme range if needed and to date he has been rewarded with a total of 18 blanks… Eighteen!!  But wait it gets worse… Not only is fishless but in those eighteen sessions he has not had a bite, that’s right not a single one. No Carp and even when fishing with maggots no bites off silver fish. I am undecided as to whether he needs a medal for perseverance or help from a therapist. 

We are still in touch and chat regularly and he is currently preparing for his ‘spring assault’ on the water. To give you a better idea of this man’s genius/insanity below is an excerpt from this week’s WhatsApp discussion on rigs……. Enjoy. 

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Today I’ve built up my rigs for the spring campaign at *****. Been thinking about edge fishing with sweetcorn. I thought you might find it interesting so took pictures at stages. It takes nearly 2 hours to build a rig, and I bet it costs £20.
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The hook. With widget to hold bait below the bend, and kicker to increase point attack angle. It’s a Korda size 8. To 15Lb Trickster braid 2″. Then a hinge joint. Ball of tungsten putty balances the pop up corn.
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Then 6″ of 0.6mm mono stiff boom. Loops made with crimps. Then a safe Lead clip on a number 8 swivel. Then 30″ of Nash Dark Matter, heavy sink braid. Its supple and lies along bottom contours.
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At the end a 3.5g olivette with float stops and a bead. Ends with a quick link and anti tangle sleeve.
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Thinning the hook behind the barb. Then get it razor sharp with a stone and oil
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Bait test.
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The finished rig. PS in the dark I’ll take the putty off and use real corn. Flat on the deck. Rig has to have 20Lb+ Carp in mind. Theres a lot more of those

Me…………………….“Richard, have you considered free-lining? 😂

I knew you would say that LOL. Well free lined corn would be great, but I can’t watch for a bite for 8 hours. When I know there’s a 95% chance I won’t get one.

So there you have it, I have left out the videos of the rig testing to check how it lands on the bottom and the ones showing how to load a PVA bag so the bunch of worms or maggots on a ‘Medusa’ rig will present themselves ‘just right’, but I think its a good insight to the mind of a truly dedicated top angler who deserves to catch his monster Bream, and I truly think that he will succeed. And if/when he does I guarantee you two things firstly that he will never fish that water again, ever!, he will move on to another challenge,he’s ticked off Pike so maybe a big Chub or Roach or maybe a 1lb Dace or a 6oz Gudgeon… who knows. Secondly, you will not see any mention or picture of the capture on social media or in the press, he fishes only for his own ‘enjoyment’ however I will, with Richards permission, keep you posted.

Just reading this blog back it makes me ashamed of my ultra simple Chub fishing rigs consisting of a hook and SSG shot. However last night we discussed at length some interesting, and fairy radical, ideas for catching Chub that I shall be testing over the next few weeks. After all I can’t do any worse than my recent sessions.