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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. 

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.
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.
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.
At the end a 3.5g olivette with float stops and a bead. Ends with a quick link and anti tangle sleeve.
Thinning the hook behind the barb. Then get it razor sharp with a stone and oil
Bait test.
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.

Categories
Tom Baird

The Nightmare – KHV

Evening Anglers and a Happy New Year. Well kind of. With the new lockdown now in force, 1000’s of anglers now have to live in the workshop, garage or shed avoiding a divorce sorting out tackle. Your tackle is never going to be so organised and clean.

I am about to move home, but have been avoiding the packing of fishing gear until the last moment. I have no excuse anymore and will now have to pack it away, to be ready after lockdown to get back out there.

Sunken eyes on the left

In my last blog I spoke about Black Spot and it seemed to go down well. I have spoken to a few of you and I was asked to discuss KHV. Most of us know about this dreaded disease, but thankfully if the fishery is run properly and measures are put in place you will never come across this nasty infection.

So, Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (also CyHV-3, koi herpes virus or KHV) is a species of virus causing a viral disease that is very contagious to the common carp (Cyprinus carpio).

The disease is mostly found in ornamental koi, which are often used in outdoor ponds or as feeder stock. Unfortulantly we see Koi be added to fisheries as a dream fish to catch. Which I must admit I have caught a few in my time and they are amazing. But this is where we put our other stocks at risk and the heart break seeing a dead 40lb mirror or common is devastating to the angler, but more so to the owner.

The first case of KHV was confirmed in 1999, after a report in 1998. KHV is a DNA-based virus. After discovery, it was identified as a strain of herpesvirus. Like other strains, KHV stays with the infected fish for the duration of their lives, making the recovered and exposed fish potential carriers of the virus. Fish infected with KHV may die within the first 24–48 hours of exposure.

Symptoms of KHV include:

  • Gill mottling
  • Red and white patches appearing on gills
  • Bleeding gills
  • Sunken eyes
  • Pale patches
  • Blisters

Changes in the fish’s behaviour may also indicate the presence of KHV. Behavioural symptoms may include

  • Disorientation,
  • Hyperactivity
  • Isolation, in which the fish detaches themselves from the shoal.

You can help control the spread of disease if you:

  • follow rules for imports – Health checked stock
  • perform regular health monitoring to spot disease early
  • contain outbreaks as quickly as possible
  • use good husbandry practice
  • follow rules when moving fish – EA will help advise you
  • put in place and follow a biosecurity measures place i.e., dip nets/dry nets etc.

If you come across an infected fish or shoal you should inform the owner or club etc. Then you need to report it to –

CEFAS – Email: fhi@cefas.co.uk,  Tel: 01305 206700

Environment Agency – Email: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk, Tel: 0800 807060

I hope you found this helpful and if you’re new to angling you can do your part.

Categories
Tom Baird

What a Plank

Evening fellow anglers and what a day. So, after a few jobs this morning I decided to have a few hours fishing at a venue recommended and blogged about by fellow blogger Andrew Pilgrim. I arrived at Bobby Georges lakes at 10:30 and I was the only one there. I went to the back lake where the island runs down the middle of it.

Looked around for a while to see where the fish were and chose my spot. I used the good old Darent Valley Specialist rod by Tackle Box. Put on a simple rig and these new boilies that I’m testing out for Baylys Baits, 11mm Blackcurrant Twist. Soft but durable boilie and the smell is amazing. I took some photos obviously for my blog and sent them to the team.

First Joe noticed that my hook was bent, so back in came my tackle and sorted it out and then Andrew sent me the rules of the lake. Which clearly states no hire rigs. This is where the Plank bit comes in. WHAT A PLANK, I only looked at the rules the other day. After I spammed myself and had a word in the mirror. I reeled in again and decided to go to the float.

Before this I was getting lots of attention on my line and this was from the blackcurrant oozing out in the water. I had only put these on my hook and a few in the water. No ground bait or tones of bait piled in, small and often. This means they must be a decent bait, but had to bring in due to the rules.

Now set with a float, I only had fake sweet corn, so put that out and there wasn’t much. Until a knight in shining armour, a true and knowable angler came to the rescue. Andrew Pilgrim had arrived with worms and a tin of sweet corn. I could not let down my hair as I have none, but he managed to make it to my swim.

I put some corn on and we had a really good chat about fishing in general and some of the amazing places Andrew has fished. I had some interest but still nothing. Andrew then went of on his noble stead and left me to it.

I was in front of some Lilly’s and my reel screamed off, thank god I was in. A nice 10lb 2oz Common. What a save from blanking and thanks to Andrew for rescuing me.

Lovely Autumn colours

What are the lessons for today, do your research, read the rules and be more prepared? Also, what a lovely fishery.

Tight Lines……..

Categories
Tackle Reviews Tom Baird

Tackle Box Darent Valley Specialist Rod

Review

I was asked to test out this particular rod which is one of 10 in this range of Darent Valley. As an active angler I decided that I would test the rod with Carping and Float fishing. So, over the last four weeks that’s what I have done.

First let’s look at the design of the rod. When you first pick it up you notice it’s a very light rod. I like that its light, this makes it easier to carry if walking a River or equally a large Lake. The slim line length and the carbon black finish really sets the rod off in the sun. The Cork handle gives it a bit of class whilst fishing. I do like a cork handle. Its like fishing with history with you. Also, when you’re reeling in you have that soft but durable handle.

The eyes go from 25 near the handle to 8 at the tip. The line moves freely and smoothly through the eyes. Just before the cork handle is a hook keeper, which allows ease when moving swims or location depending where you’re fishing.

When transporting the rod, it folds well into two sections and comes with a rod sleeve, which has a Velcro strap near the reel area. I would like to see an extra strap at the top end of the sleeve to make it a bit more secure. 

The length is 11ft 9inches which is a good size for Carping and moving up and down a River. The 2.25lb test curve is powerful and still allows that amazing bend and play for the fish. The thought in the carbon technology in this rod really does show when landing that prize.

So, the first test was Carping on one of my club waters. I used a bolt rig with a 4oz weight. The cast was good and I felt comfortable in the flex of the rod. After an hour I was in with a 7lb Common. It was a great play and the bend was good. It took me back a few years to when I caught my first Carp.

Next was the float test. Out came my Guru 0.14oz torpedo float, which goes far. There was a good flick on the cast and was fishing at about 6ft depth. I was fishing for Roach and they were coming out thick and fast. Again, a good curve in the rod and a great play bringing them in. I had 42 in total and the rod performed well with every fish.

This rod is usually £74.99 on the Tackle Box website, but at the moment there is 20% off, making it just £59.99; an absolute bargain.

https://www.tacklebox.co.uk/rods-en/specialist/specialist-rods/tackle-box-darent-valley-11ft-9ins-2.25lb-specialist-rod.html

Categories
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….

Categories
Tom Baird

Surface fishing with the Walsh’s

Bank holiday Monday was upon me and after speaking to my old mate Matt Walsh who hasn’t been fishing for long, we decided to do a family day fishing. Now that’s four adults and four kids and Baby Pippa. So, in the morning I went to Clacton Angling and got 4 guest tickets for my local club water, as the Baird clan are all members and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Then we met the Walsh Clan at the chosen lake. Matt was happy and we set off down the farm track to our desired location to fish. Now the Walsh Clan haven’t surfaced fished before and have never caught anything over 2lb, so I wanted them to catch some nice Carp from the top.

On the way to our chosen swims, we spoke to a few anglers who must of thought what the hell was going on lol. Once at our swim, I threw some floating pellets out to test out the water. Bang the Carp were on a feeding frenzy. It was great to see Max and Poppy looking at all the Carp on top and they definitely couldn’t wait to catch some (fingers crossed).

As I know this water and its quite easy to catch, we only had two rods working at a time, as we would be running around like headless chickens. So Max was first to cast out, the water started to move and bang! He was in. Max had a new PB, a 6lb 5oz Common. Well done Max.

Next was Harry and it wasn’t long before he was in. Another 6lb Common. Harry loves a Carp and a photo opportunity too. Poppy was up next, it took a bit longer and we had to build up the confidence of the fish, as they had cottoned on to what was happening. Bang she was in with a lovely 8lb 7oz Common. Sophie was next and the girls were winning on weight so far. She was in another Common at 5lb 4oz.

We just kept on going around, all of them caught three fish each. Now it was Matts turn and what a turn. This man wasn’t having any luck and it looked like he was going to throw a strop. It took 7 attempts for him to land a fish, one by one they came off while trying to land them. He was blaming me, the rod and life in general lol. I could not stop laughing and then it happened. Finally, he was in and we managed to land the fish of a life time for him. A lovely little Common, which was the smallest fish of the day. But it was his fish and a new PB for Matt at 5lb 2oz.

We had so much fun and all the kids loved the afternoon fishing. We went back to mine for fish and chips and had a good catch up. Oh, and Matt while at Tesco getting some wine for the wives, accidently headbutted the safety glass at the till point. I have never seen someone jump so much than the poor shop assistant. I was crying with laughter.

Make sure to check out Tacklebox above……..

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Tom Baird

It’s a Family Affair

So today I went fishing at our club water with my Son (Harry), my daughter (Sophie) and my Father-in-law (Stan). I like the day ticket waters and there are some really good ones out there. But I do love my club waters, you know exactly which lake does what and you get to know other anglers on the rounds. Also, you look out for each other and have a good old fashion chat.

So, todays lesson was surface fishing for Carp and I new just the place. A lovely lake in north Essex, where I knew they would catch. So, a simple set up, nothing too hard or technical. So main line then a bubble float (the one you add water too), stopper and a hook, then on the hook a rubber band. I used a floating pellet.

I always chuck a few out whilst setting up, test the water etc. Almost straight away they are on the surface, that lovely gulping sound when they are trying to eat the bait. So, cast out and within a few minutes we are in, amazing. Sophie is first in with a 9 lb common. No photos, as she doesn’t like it.

Next is Harry with another common at the 6lb mark, this boy loves a photo lol. Photos done and goes back in. That was it for a while and the kids started to get a bit bored. A little argument later and we have a float rod out with Mags on the end, 14 Perch later they are happy again and peace is back in the world, phew……

Stan and I still haven’t had anything and I could see him twitching out the corner of my eye. Then I was in, bloody lovely a nice common at 8lb 3oz. Now Stan is twitching up and down and for a 74-year-old, I have never seen him move so fast plopping his bait in everywhere. Then it happened, another common (safe to say they were all common) 9 ½ lb. He took his time, but he caught two during the day and no one has blanked. All in all, a good day fishing and that’s what’s it all about. Until next time my fellow anglers. Tight Lines…

Categories
Bailey Payne

Growing up Fishing

I started fishing when I was young, probably around 5, from what I can remember anyway. My Dad is who introduced me to the world of Fishing. When I look back on my view of Fishing as a kid, it’s so niave, I thought there was only one way to fish, just the way my Dad done it. I owe him a lot for showing me how to fish, it was such a nice way to pass the time and truly just think. I first started Fishing the Pole, which in Essex is a bit of a dying art. Just catching whatever species came my way, my early memories are Fishing Gloucester Park in Basildon, and arguing with my dad about unhooking an eel, why would I want to unhook a water snake?! And then as I got into Fishing more, we joined the Billericay Club, 4am mornings to get to the Southminster pits I loved, catching bags of small Perch and Roach, such an innocent start to the sport. The joy of catching a Tench on part of my peanut butter sandwich is one which sticks in my mind. I think those days as a kid, enjoying catching anything, shaped me as an Angler, in those early days, I learnt a lot of love and respect for the fish, and it made me enjoy catching anything, and to this day, I still don’t care what I catch, whether it be the smallest fish in the lake, or a new personal best, as long as it bites, it would put a smile on my face.

I guess the whole point here is to set the tone of what I am about when it comes to Fishing, and what you guys should expect moving forward with my blogs. And the truth is anything really, I love catching anything, on any day. Admitingly, at the moment I am loving my River Fishing, but, I have done so much more, I Pole Fish, Fish on the Tip with a Feeder or on the Bomb, I have a Fly Rod (Won’t say I can Fly Fish, yet!), Will be Lure Fishing too and will have trips Sea Fishing. I will talk about the gear I use, which is best descriped by Budget gear! The hope is to continue to grow as an Angler, and share my growth with you guys, and hopefully I can teach someone else something, or just spark a bit of passion to go and pick up a Rod, or to try something new.

I will leave you all with a few pics from the last year or so of some different catches, which is a bit of a mixed bag really! A few of the trips are recent and may get their own blog so if you see them again just go with it!

Bailey.