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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.

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Tom Baird

Midweek Blues

Afternoon fellow anglers, I hope you all had a great Christmas and you were happy with the fishy bits you received as presents. So, its that time between Christmas and New Year’s. The Turkey has finally run out and looking forward to a lovely joint of roast beef on New Year’s Day.

I haven’t been fishing since last Wednesday. I know it has only been a week but it seems much longer and I was getting the itch to go. Last night we agreed it would be a family outing. But I found myself going on my own. Even though I love fishing with the kids and family, it was nice to hit the banks on my own and reflect on a busy and unusual year.

I was in two minds whether to hit the river or go to a club lake. I thought I would check the river first to see how it was. To my surprise it was quite calm and a steady flow in a certain section. I spoke to some fellow anglers who were already battling the cold and felt it was going to be a good day.

I went up river to a nice spot and started to fish. I hit a nice pocket of Roach and pulled in 17 fish, not bad I thought. I also had a lovely Perch which was a nice treat on red maggots. What I did notice with the Roach, is that some had Black Spot. I thought it would be a good opportunity to explain what Black Spot is and how it ends up on a fish.

Black Spot is a parasitic flatworm that appear as tiny black spots on the skin, fins and flesh of fish. There is no method of control to eliminate this problem. This organism does little harm to the fish. The main problem related with black-spot is the unsightly appearance it may cause.

What is remarkable is the life cycle of the parasite which is quite complex. It starts when a fish-eating bird (Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher) eats an infected fish. The black spot or worms are released and grow to sexual maturity in the bird’s intestine.

The adult worms pass eggs with the bird’s droppings. When the eggs reach water, they hatch into free-swimming organisms which then penetrate snails for further development. Finally, after leaving the snails they burrow into the skin of fish and form a cyst. The fish scales surround the cyst with black pigment that gives the disease its name. If an infected fish is consumed by a bird, the cycle starts again.

I hope you found that interesting or useful. Obviously if the fish is riddled with Black Spot, take as many pictures as possible and report it to the Environment Agency. They should then look to see how serious it is.

Until Next time, Tight Lines…….. Happy New Year…….

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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……..

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Bailey Payne

Trip to Lake District

Well, around July in 2019 me and my partner decided to go on holiday to the Lake District, the little town of Glenridding on Lake Ullswater. And going on holiday by a Lake, it’s rude not to put some Fishing gear in the Car! At this point, I didn’t have much gear, was only bring a tip rod with me, and hoped to get worm or maggot when I got up there, however, I couldn’t, so had to settle for luncheon meat from a small local shop, looking back not sure why I didn’t get any corn! So my method was some groundbait and meat, not the ideal mix, however it was more of a taking in the scenery holiday! So wasn’t too bothered whether I caught, of course, I wanted to though!

There is definitely worse places to Fish! Sitting in the mountains with a beer, the peace was amazing! The lake acted like an ocean, it’s waves hitting the rocks. When your partner is happy to be Fishing to you know the scenery must be good! Although I think sitting on a rocky beach with a BBQ probably helped! (Luckily I wasn’t trying to catch dinner, had some nice burgers bought)

Rose manning the Rod’s while I cooked!

It didn’t take long before I started getting a few indications and the first bite followed soon, a greedy little Perch! And this was the pattern for most of the time Fishing in the Lake District, little Perch! They had lovely colours on, and was a joy catching them.

I know…I have a great taste in swimming trunks!

I was hoping to catch my first Trout on this trip, however never got one sadly, don’t think meat was the best choice, corn may have served be better, but was a shame I didn’t have maggot or worm as I would’ve caught a lot more, next time I’ll bring some, however since this trip I have a fly rod and a lure rod, so I should be able to catch a few more and get some wild trout from the lakes!

On the last day of my trip, I did manage to get a proper pull round, and a Fish that provided a nice little Fight! I was so thinking this was it, my first Trout, however, when it surfaced, I saw a long green shape, and it was unmistakably an eel. Only a small one, but gave a good little Fight, and was a nice catch, although took a while to unhook him, but always nice to see the Fish dart back into the depths.

I’m excited for the next time I go to the Lakes, new gear and have learnt a lot since then, I hope to be able to catch more Perch and Trout while there. Overall, was a lovely break and was great to top it off with a few Fish!

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Bailey Payne

Bag of Crucians

Due to the scorching conditions it’s a weekend I won’t be Fishing, but in spirit of the great weather we are having (although a bit too hot for my liking!), I may as well talk about the perfect summer Fish! The Crucian!

Now, I am lucky enough that my club lakes stock Crucians in some of their lakes, and these ones aren’t timid at all, and have started to put a nice bit of weight on! Makes them a pleasure to catch, and you can have days of catching quite a few of them mixed in with a nice bag of Skimmers too!

Funnily enough I believe this was July/August last year, I decided to take a friend who was just getting into Fishing to my club lakes so he could bag up on the Carp and Barbel which are in there, and I could have a day on the Pole targetting the Skimmers/Bream/Roach/Crucians.

I was Fishing about 10m into a bit of a deeper hole, was using the Sonubaits worm groundbait with dead maggots and casters mixed in and using dead maggots and casters as a hook bait. Dead maggots are personally one of my favourite Crucian bait and they are also fantastic for the Skimmers. Pole was equipped with hollow blue elastic (can’t quite remember the brand!) and using light mainline with one of my homemade 0.4g diamond floats with a bulk of number 10 stotz down to small sized hook (again can’t fully remember, the session was a year ago!).

I started off by cupping in a few balls of the groundbait mix and then let the swim rest for about 5-10 minutes before I started Fishing it. Perfect time for a quick tea!

It wasn’t long before the Skimmers were there in numbers, catching one after the other. In the early part of a session when on the Skimmers I always start to think about management, as I was only Fishing the one line, I wanted to manage this one nicely and keep it ticking over all day with the most I would have to do to follow the Fish back. This meant quickly working out how often and how much feed to put in, this being all trial and error, it seemed to be that one small nugget after every 3/4 Fish was a good amount, and it kept bites coming consistently.

I find mixed in with the shoals of Skimmers on this lake are the Crucians, and they seem to feed together, and mixed in with the Skimmers, the Crusty Crucians started coming! Always obvious when you hook a Crucian, their tell tale swimming in circles, and then the pop of gold as they surface! Seeing this beautiful Fish surface never gets old!

Mixed in with the Crucians and Skimmers the Bream started to show, however not in any numbers, the peg I was on is more known for the big shoals of the Skimmers rather than Bream, this helped me start putting together a nice weight. Although I was more focused on catching as many of the Crucians as I could!

The day soon fizzles away when you are on a nice shoal of Fishing catching all day, and it was great fun! Ended this session with probably around 20-25lb, having caught about 40 Fish on the clicker of okay size Skimmers, Crucians and the odd Bream.

In the end I had a nice bag of Crucians as well! So couldn’t help but get a photo with my bag of gold!

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Bailey Payne

My River Roding Curse!

Today (Sat 4th July 2020), marked my first early start for a while, arriving at my club River for the first time this season at an early 8am. I decided to Fish a stretch I haven’t yet, haven’t even walked this stretch before. After rain last night and a bit during the week I was hopefuly I’d catch the River at the right time, and it looked good, still had a bit of colour and had good depth. The worrying thing about fishing a stretch of Essex River for the first time is how overgrown is it going to be, am I going to be able to Fish it?

The first spot I decided to Fish looked good, it was just the entry to a small weir pool, although I’m not sure how I’d manage to Fish the weir pool, I can Fish just before the River runs into it, there were some nice reeds so I thought it was worth a shot. I used my normal aim towards River Chub Fishing, blended bread in a cage feeder with breadflake on the hook. My instincts were repaid quickly, missing a very soft bite after a few minutes, I rebaited, recast and waited with anticpation. However, it went quiet for a bit. Always in these moments you wonder if you lost the chance and should move on, that is until a few little knocks, which eventually turned into a forceful bite came along, after a good little scrap I managed to land the featured Chub, no record breaker, but a beautiful condition Fish one I was very happy to catch.

Now, my River Roding curse came back, It seems I am only ever able to catch one Fish from this River each session, I’m happy I don’t blank, but would love to be able to get a few more! My task now was to try and break my curse! I walked down and found some amazing looking swims, which must have been home to a few Chub

But frustratingly, this is where it ended for me, I had a few more knocks, and missed another bite which still baffles me when I think about it! However, for a quick morning session, all I was looking for was to catch, but, my curse continues…

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Bailey Payne

River Wid – Unexpected Catches

At the end of my previous post “Exploration of the Wid”, I wondered what different species I could catch from the Wid and the size of them. A few trips will be crammed into this post, as I done some quick evening sessions with different setups.

Tactic #1 – Bread Flake

My first tactic is what I think is the best way to catch Chub, Bread. Buying a cheap loaf of Bread from Asda for 60p was all I needed for this session. I saved 2/3 slices for hookbait and the rest got some treatment from the blender to create some liquidised bread. I used a simple link ledger rig and decided to hand feed the balls of bread. The first spot I wanted to fish had some dog walkers sitting by it, so decided just to fish close by ready to jump in to claim the spot when they left. The first spot, wasn’t very deep, so didn’t expect any monsters, although while on my walks I did spot some maybe half a pound Chub which I thought could provide some good sport. It didn’t take long before I was getting notifications, although looking back, I think this was the sheer amount of small fish pecking at the bread flake, eventually, a Chublet managed to get in before the smaller fish and take the bread. This fish was only small, but was a good way to spend the time while waiting for the dog walkers to move on. Finally being able to get to the spot I had my eyes on, I had to decide what feature to fish first, it had a lovely over hanging tree and a bit of an undercut bank so was spoiled for choice! I first tried the over hanging tree, and weirdly the pecks from the small fish had stopped, but after a while and only a missed bite I decided to try the undercut bank and from a bit of luck I managed to drop the bread flake on top of a Chub’s nose, and he took it on the drop, providing the best fish I’ve caught from this stretch of the Wid on date of posting. This fish is the featured image Fish.

I then moved to another spot I saw which looked fantastic, as the River was bending and loads of reeds. I chose to stay in this spot a bit longer to see the evening out. It provided me two quick Chublets and then it went a bit quieter, and I was getting very weird bites, each one leading to being snagged. Eventually I managed to catch the culprit of these weird bites! It was a good size Crayfish! The Crayfish must have moved in after they got wind of the bed of blended bread on the bottom of the River, a first for me catching a Crayfish, the hook somehow managed to stay in its claw!

Tactic #2 – Float & Maggot

My next method is also as simple as it can get, I used one of my homemade Pole Floats, a number 10 shot and then a small hook length with single maggot on the hook. I planned on just Fishing the one spot to build up the fish feeding and just catch anything that came my way.

This method provided constant bites, and reminded me of my childhood Fishing experiences, just catching anything no matter what the Size, and it was a good hour or so, catching loads of Fish. I probably caught over 30 Minnows on this session, some of them with beautiful little colours, they’re a fish not targetted a lot, but do have some beauitful colours, my girlfriend also quite enjoyed catching them! The Species I was able to rack up using this method are; Minnows, Roach, Dace (My first and PB) and Rudd (Not photographed) – I was disappointed not to see any little Perch as I was expecting at least one. However, it was a good session with a lot of Fish.

Overall, I’ve loved the evening sessions I’ve had on this River and with it being so local and full of Fish it is definetly one I will see myself going back to often. And hopefully I can find some bigger Chub there too!

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Bailey Payne

Exploration of the Wid

During the close season of the Rivers, I wanted to prepare and explore some new local Rivers I haven’t fished before to try and find maybe a hidden gem in possibly ignored Essex waterways. Now a lot of you may say, the River Wid isn’t an ignored Essex River, infact it’s quite well known. That’s true, at least the stretches around Writtle and Chelmsford are more well known. However, I was scouting a small stretch just behind Billericay. Which from what I found while searching the web, hasn’t got a lot of info about it.

On Arrival it was a typical small, overgrown Essex River, in the Essex spring time it wasn’t showing many of it’s secret spots to fish, unnaccesable from the lush foliage. It weaved around, fast shallow patches followed by slower, deeper looking areas. The River on my first walk around was quite clear and a bit lower than I expect it would normally be, but took this as a good opportunity to see some of the fish clearer.

Whenever I scout a new River I like to bring a few slices of bread, in the close season the Chub aren’t shy about showing themselves to enhale some free offerings of Asda special bread. Looking down on the River from a small seemingly unstable wooden bridge, I decided to drop a few flakes of bread to see if there was any interest. Straight away the offerings of bread were darting around from small Chub, Roach and I guess the odd Minnow grabbing and trying to quickly swim off before being chased by the rest of the pack. I thought it was a good sign to see so many juvenile Fish.

After a few minutes of feeding these, soon their bigger brothers started to show, after some confidence was built I assume. The Chub I was seeing weren’t monsters, however, they would definetly provide some good sport come the Rivers opening.

Walking the River only showed more the sheer amount of Chublets around 1-5oz, feeding them and seeing the frenzy of a flake of bread hitting the surface was good fun, and it was reassuring seeing a bigger Chub appear inbetween demanding a flake of bread from the surface. The stretch of the River I walked only had a handful of fishable swims, unless I decided to battle past the stinging nettles. I was confident from this walk I could get good sport from this River, from the smaller Chublets, but also the chance of some of the bigger Chub I saw.

A few questions were left from my visit of the Wid, How many big Chub was there? Could I battle through these Chublets for some bigger Fish? How many Species could I catch from here? The answers to these? Will be found out soon…

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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.