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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

Christmas Rush

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, Hope you are all well and keeping it together. This week is full of emotion and mixed feelings. As most of our county has been put in tier 4, I’m one of the fortunate ones that are still in tier 2. But as I write my blog, I have just learned we will be joining you as of Boxing day.

Enough of that, this week I was off work as I booked leave. I have an amazing wife who is really organised and we are ready for Christmas, so not much to do. Apart from going fishing and as much of it that I can fit in lol.

Started off on the River Chelmer and had two amazing Pike on the lure. I used bright colours as the water is still up and murky and this seemed to work. Next was a club water of mine and the whole family went as we are all members.

We didn’t do so well there and Unfortulantly we blanked. Which was a bit disappointing due to the amazing day the day before. But that’s fishing for you and was grateful I was with the family and enjoyed the lunch the wife prepared.

Today saw me back on the river, this time the River Stour at Dedham and there was a fast flow and it was up. Whilst there I saw a friend and his Son fishing. So, keeping social distancing in mind we fished the same area.

Again, today was a blank as the heavens opened and we decided to pack up. It was great to see my friend Dariusz and his son Lukas. Lukas is fishing mad and has come on leaps and bounds in just a year of fishing.

The last three days have been great getting out on the bank and enjoyed every moment of it. There was only one bit of the three days that was disappointing and it wasn’t the bit blanking either.

I bumped into two walkers, who stopped to talk to see how we were getting on. They started talking about how Eastern Europeans have been taking fish out of the Rivers and Lakes around the area. Only if they knew that Dariusz and Lukas are Polish. Now Dariusz didn’t say anything, but it must have made him feel mad.

Not all Eastern Europeans take fish and kill them. Dariusz has always had a licence and knows the law behind fishing. Not even all English anglers know that, as I have met so many without licences. We need to take a look at ourselves before we judge and stereotype others.

Sorry for ending on a bit of a gloomy note, but felt it needed to be said. I genuinely wish you all a Happy Christmas. I hope you get the tackle you wanted lol.

Until next time, Tight Lines……

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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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Tom Baird

The Humble Tackle Shop

Today I was driving through Horndon on the Hill and saw this tackle shop. So, I went in to have a look. What a little gem. Met the owner Graham and the guy was full of knowledge. As this wasn’t my normal tackle shop, I asked him how business was? He said it was very quiet and not much trade has been through.

It took me back a bit really, with all the new anglers out there this year I thought business would be booming. This made me think “what does a tackle shop mean to me?” Obviously, I order online sometimes (Sorry Paul, owner of my local tackle shop). But I love going into my tackle shop to have a look around and have a good old-fashioned chat with people who I can relate with.

I love it when I say to the wife “just popping to the tackle shop”, she knows I’m going to be gone at least an hour. But we always say “see you in five”. Just walking through the doors and seeing the shop full of other anglers, young and old is amazing.

I have seen some shops fade over the years and never heard of again.  All of them have their own characteristics and flair. Its like the TV programme Cheers. You have Sam the owner, every tackle shop has a Woody lol. Then a few regulars who are retired or so rich they live in the shop lol.

When we have our chats its not all about fishing, its every day stuff too. Work, family, ok mainly fishing. I like seeing what’s new or even that odd bit you need that hasn’t been sold in years. Paul will have it in his magic box in the back. Online shopping is good and its amazing you can have it by the next day. But you don’t get that all-round service, as you do in the shop.

I suppose what I’m saying is, get into your local shop and have a good look round. Speak to the staff and get to know them. Its amazing what you might find or deals that are on. Fishing is an amazing sport/hobby but we need these tackle shops for our baits and tackle.

You can’t smell boilies online or get a feel of a rod. My tackle shop is Clacton Angling, what’s yours?

Please also check out Nuts Tackle & Bait, Brooklyn Farm, North Hill, Horndon-on-the Hill, Essex SS17 8QA.

Tight Lines…….

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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

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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

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….