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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

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

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

Back on the River

On Saturday I attempted the River Chelmer again near Baddow Road. It’s a nice part of the river and this time my friend Jeff asked if he could bring his god son along to have ago at fishing for the first time. I was in two minds about going Saturday, as I knew the weather wasn’t going to be great and also didn’t want to put any stress on the fish, due to temperature change etc.

But I hand the bug to go fishing, so met Jeff and Josh at 08:00 sharp in the car park and set up the poles for the kids and got them fishing straight away. Well this was Josh’s first-time fishing ever, so wanted him to catch. Also wanted Harry to catch, as he loves this stretch.

Within 5 minutes, Josh was in with a Roach. What a great way to start fishing and catching most people’s first ever fish. Josh was so happy and was loving every second of it. Once Josh was back out fishing again, I set up a float rod for Jeff, as he hasn’t been fresh water fishing for years (now a sea angler).

Whilst I was sorting out my tackle box, as it was all quiet on the western front, Harry caught a lovely roach too. Thank god he wasn’t going to blank; I would have had a 7-year-old turning into teenager mode lol. With that I heard a splash coming from Jeff and Joshes direction. I could see they had caught a Tench, wow what a second fish to ever catch.

As they were bringing it in to the net, you guested it, it came off. The poor look on Josh’s face, he was excited and so sad at the same time. I was even a bit down about it and Harry was too. We explained that the one that gets away, will now be on your list to catch next time. Lesson learnt and back on with the fishing.

The rest of the day went very slowly and could see the kids were getting bored. Then the heavens opened up and any of you fellow anglers who were fishing around the Chelmsford area on Saturday know that it poured down. That’s when we decided to pack up and call it a day.

Josh and Harry were still happy with their catches, and me and Jeff, well we were just wet. Until next time guys. Have a safe one and 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

Rudd-y Hell!

An early start brought me to a rural Essex Lake in hunt for Rudd! This lake is known to have some big Rudd in, some of which are 4lb! However, this was a perfect chance for me to set a possible PB (anything over half a pound would’ve done that! I don’t target Rudd a lot!), with the risk of a thunderstorm looming, I knew I didn’t have too much time in not the ideal conditions for Rudd, however, thought I’d give it a go! After some of the locals trying to intimidate me I started Fishing!

Local Geese trying to Intimidate me for free Bread!

My tactics today was a simple waggler setup Fishing about 3-5ft deep changing depending on the swim, spread shots to slowly let the bait sink to the bottom and either bread flake or corn on the hook! Simple and hopefully effective! I worked my way around this small lake targetting the lily beds, in very overcast and drizzly weather, I wasn’t too hopefully of big Rudd showing and feeding aggressively, so was hoping to nab one where they live!

I started on Bread flake to no luck on the first lily bed, and after about 30 minutes, I headed to the next peg and lily bed and opted for corn this time (I never went back to bread, however have loads of liquidised bread now!), after setting the float in position on the edge of the pads I quickly got a bite, and quickly missed the bite! Frustrated I quickly went back out in hope the Fish was still there, and it was, managed to get a lovely condition Rudd, probably 8-10oz (You may disagree, I didn’t bother weighing since it wasn’t clearly big! And I’m not very good at judging!) I quickly added to this one Rudd and managed to get two more in about 5 minutes! All similar size and lovely condition! Great Fish to catch!

It soon went quiet, I decided to move on again, and went a bit round the lake to a lovely looking bed of lilys! Straight away on first cast I managed another small Rudd! Followed by one a bit smaller who I deemed non photo worthy!

A lot of time then passed with no more action, I decided to move down to an aerator, where I had seen a lot of Fish top and was hopefully maybe some bigger Rudd where here! Missing a lot of bites eventually became frustrating before I connect to a rather angry Fish! A nice little scrap, and was happy to see the lovely golden scales surface of another Rudd! I weighed this Fish as it was a lot bigger than others, weighing in at just over a pound, this is my new PB Rudd! A lovely Fish, and a good bar to set to hopefully in better conditions get some better ones!

I had another quick Rudd after this, but back to the small size, and then the weather turned and rain got a lot harder! It was a good morning session! And decided was a good time to go home and not get too wet! Hopefully on my next visit I will find some bigger ones!

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Tom Baird

48 hrs on the Trent

So yes, I went to Nottingham on the River Trent to do some Barbel fishing. Me and my Son Harry left Sunday morning and made our way to the fishing venue for the next couple of days. My friend Greg and his Daughter Sara came along too. To be honest it was Greg’s idea and invited me and Harry to fish. Greg is what I would say a connoisseur of Barbel fishing and belongs to the Barbel Team PL/UK.

We get to the venue at around 16:30 and find our spot we are going to fish. The water was lovely and near where the Trent’s PB was caught a few weeks ago (20lb 6oz). So, outcome the Barbel Whychwoods 1.75 test curve with GR60 15lb line on them. Greg was teaching me all the tactics and showed me what type of rig I needed to set up etc. Come 19:00 we are Barbel fishing and I was bursting with excitement.

So, the first night, would you believe it no Barbel. Plenty of Chub and Bream, but no Barbel. Now it’s a weird one really. I’m used to when a fish is on, the alarm going constantly. Nope not on the Trent lol. One beep on the alarm, means you have a Chub or Bream. If the reel screams off, then more than likely you have a Barbel. Took some getting used to. Morning came and so did the breakfast. Nothing like a bacon and sausage roll and a tea. Harry even asked for seconds lol, which obviously I cooked.

During the day we took the rods out and enjoyed a bit of float fishing with the kiddies, we were catching all sorts. Chub, Perch, Dace and a Gudgeon to top it off. Never caught a Gudgeon before, so that was a treat. The kids were loving standing in the river while catching fish, I think even me and Greg were feeling just as happy, seeing them loving it. There were a lot of cows where we were and they made sure we knew they were there lol. But it’s their field and we have to respect that, plus we didn’t want to aggravate them, or we would have a scene out of city slickers (If you have never seen it, watch it).

We had a lovely steak with all the trimmings for dinner and had a chill, before casting out again. Moving into the evening still loads of Chub and some really good sizes. Smashing my PB several times. Harry and Sara were also loving these amazing Chub. We got our heads down by 23:00 and was ready for a busy night. 12:00 Greg had a Bream, got to love a snotty. Especially when it’s not on your line lol (poor Greg).

02:15 my alarm beeped, I rushed out of the bivvy and whoop straight onto my back. Now this is the first time I have ever felt old. 20 years ago, I would have been fine, but this time I felt every part of my body in pain (what an old man). Slowly getting up I reeled in and it was a 5lb Chub, so was happy with that. I had three chubs during the night and was happy with that. So, in the end we ended up Chub fishing and had no Barbel, that’s the name of the game. But we had an amazing time and made lots of memories. A big thanks to Greg for a great trip.

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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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Tom Baird

The Pike

Only a few months until I go Piking and I can’t wait. I have already started to sort all my gear out, seeing if I need to get any bits and bobs. Then in September I start setting up my rods all ready to go. I have two dead bait rods (Fox Warrior) with EOS 12000’s and 3x different spinning rods.

I have a large selection of different lures, some of the best are just the plain simple ones. For dead bait I usually use Mackerel, so I get the freezer stocked up. Have caught on all sorts of dead bait, but find Mackerel works for me best.

Once all my tackle is sorted and I’m ready to go, I start planning areas I like to go back to or new ones to try. I travel to these destinations and start looking at the areas on the bank I’m going to target. I look like a kid on a school outing marking the positions on my phone. I like to try different areas, so I don’t always stay in Essex to fish. I like to move around Suffolk and Norfolk too.

Now I have always liked piking and always catch a Jack, but nothing in double figures. Until 2019 the day before close season. I was fishing in Norfolk with a good friend of mine, Nick, and I was a very lucky boy. I went to a top-secret location, we got there at 4pm and at 16:45 I was in!

Nicks knowledge and experience has taught me a lot over recent years. The man is an absolute legend in the world of fishing. Total respect for this angler and we have such a laugh at the same time. Never a dull day when fishing with Nick. Now that’s enough sucking up lol.

A 20lb Pike from Norfolk what a treat, I have got to learn to smile more. To be honest I was crapping myself. The way you handle and treat such a beauty. What a creature, one minute its in the deep stalking prey and then it saw my bait and wham, off the line went screaming on the reel.

Then comes to the photo. I asked Nick to be in this one with me and I was even scared to hold the head end, knowing me I would damage it or something would happen. So, opted for the tail lol.

And then it was gone back into the depths of the River, still now I can’t believe it, what a fish. And thank you Nick, top man.

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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…