Thursday 22 December 2011

A Few Hours on Clevedon Pier

A grey December day!
Dan and I decided to spend an afternoon fishing from Clevedon Pier on Tuesday. Some good cod and whiting have been caught recently, as well as some decent conger eels and thornback rays, so we thought we would give it a go! We arrived two hours before high tide and set up two rods each. End tackle was pulley rigs and two hook flapper rigs. Bait was ragworm, lugworm and squid and we were soon making some short casts from about half way along the pier. A lot of other anglers were also trying their luck but nobody was catching much at all. Just before high water Dan had the first bite of the day and was soon unhooking a small whiting. We both hoped more fish would follow but we were to be disappointed and the next couple of hours produced nothing but a few shy bites. No need for us to peel any potato's on this occasion but we will return on another day! For information on fishing from Clevedon Pier visit

Not big enough for dinner!

Thursday 15 December 2011

Winter Fly Fishing on the Hampshire Avon

A wintry looking Hampshire Avon
On Saturday I fished the Hampshire Avon with Dave, our Drennan sales representative. He is a member of the Salisbury and District Angling Club, who control a couple of miles of fly fishing only water at West Amesbury and I was his guest for the day. After a hearty breakfast we made our way to the river, where a very wintry scene greeted us. A hard frost from the night before glistened on the fields and trees and a chilly breeze reminded us both that autumn had come and gone. The river was running very low and clear and the water was very cold, but our target species, the grayling, is well known to feed happily in such conditions, so we set up undeterred. We both opted to fish size 16 foam Klinks with Holy Grail nymphs on the point. The first fish came after an hour, from a deep run under a tree and as the morning temperature slowly increased more grayling followed. After some lunch, the day continued with further success, both of us regularly taking fish and by late afternoon, the temperature now dropping, we were ready to head for home, both happy we had enjoyed a good days sport. My biggest fish of the day was a grayling of about 1lb 8oz and I caught a total of twenty six fish. For more information on fly fishing for trout and grayling on the Hampshire Avon, visit

Biggest of the day!
A size 16 Natural Holy Grail did the trick

Thursday 8 December 2011

More Big Perch

More perch fishing for me this week. After some good fish last time, I was back on the bank in search of a bigger one! Worm and red maggot fished close to marginal cover was what I hoped would fool a big stripey and I wasn't to be disappointed. Six perch between 1lb 8oz and 2lb 8oz, plus a few smaller fish made for a brilliant day! The biggest perch coughed up a 4oz roach in the net, but this wasn't the only surprise of the day, as I even hooked a decent pike of about 8lb. The pike put up a spirited fight and after giving me the run around for over ten minutes, eventually bit through my 6lb breaking strain line. I'm not the only one who has been getting in on the perch fishing action, Toby targeted the species in a match at the weekend and had some good fish too! The Angling Times recently published an article stating "There has never been a better time to fish for big perch!" So get out there and give it a go!

Greedy stripey!

Another Great Day on the Kennet

Biggest grayling of the day.
After the recent success of catching my first grayling, I returned to Barton Court Fishery on the River Kennet. I had brought dad with me, he needed to catch his first grayling and I felt confident that this was the place to do it. We arrived to find a frost on the fields and the maze of carrier streams flowing quickly, textbook grayling conditions. Our first casts were in a small weir pool that had produced fish for me on my previous visit, but after half an hour we were both without so much as a bite. A change of swim was needed but dad tried one last cast and to our surprise the float slipped under. A lively silvery fish darted around in the clear water and as dad guided it over the net we could see that it was what we had come here for. A small but beautifully coloured grayling and dads first of the species. Well done dad! After some lunch we tried the swim where I had caught my first grayling the last time I was here. On his first cast dad hooked a much bigger fish, a very good grayling was soon in the net, the scales settled on 11oz, a cracking fish! Several more grayling followed for dad, including one of 9oz and two small brown trout. He was getting too good at it! I was still to hook a fish and so I moved to a lovely looking pool below a fast, shallow run. I caught fish straight away, small grayling, several decent roach and a lone dace came my way, before I hooked a big trout which spooked the fish and then snapped my delicate hooklength. Time to move on! Dad was now fishing in another weir pool and continuing to catch well so I left him to it and settled in to a small weir pool of my own. Two large brown trout were the result of a dozen or so casts and were to be the last fish of the day. The sun had set and as it got dark we made the journey home, both very happy with our days fishing. Visit for information on the Barton Court Fishery.

Great fun on light tackle!

Thursday 1 December 2011

Local Perch Sport

This big perch fell to float fished lobworm
Everyone knows about the large numbers of carp in our fisheries, but far fewer people realise just how good the fishing can be when targeting these venues for other species, in particular, the perch. Some real monsters lurk in some unlikely places and now that the water temperatures have dropped and the carp fishing is a little slower, it is the perfect time to try for a big stripey! I have been trying my luck on some local lakes and have been delighted with the fish I have found. Pound plus specimens are plentiful, with a 2lb fish a very real possibility, these fish are relatively easy to catch, with red maggot, worm and small lures all producing on their day. Tackle needs to be fairly strong as even a small perch will do its best to evade the net but don't over do it as these fish provide excellent sport on the right gear. Local rivers such as the Brue and Bristol Avon are also known to produce large perch so don't ignore running water. With colder weather just around the corner the perch fishing is set to get even better so I'll be out there trying to tempt an elusive 3lb fish!

First Pike of the Year, Finally!

A lean and mean, fighting machine!
Blanking at Cheddar Reservoir on Sunday meant I had some bait left over, so rather than throw it away I grabbed a couple of hours pike fishing yesterday afternoon. With only a short amount of time available to me I needed a good local venue for a decent chance of catching, so I popped down to the River Axe at Shiplate Farm. I was soon casting out the rods, 15lb breaking strain line, 30lb wire trace and size 6 treble hooks, a small mackerel on one and a lamprey section on the other. I didn't have to wait long for a few bleeps on the alarm to alert me to a drop back bite, I picked up the rod, set the hooks hard and a small but very lively jack was soon splashing on the surface. Despite it's size the pike put up an excellent scrap and provided me with a fun few minutes of sport! It was to be the only fish of the afternoon but I went home happy to have finally caught my first pike of this year. For information on Shiplate Farm Fishery visit or call Steve on 07895852162.

Monday 28 November 2011

Cheddar Reservoir Pike Match

The deep, open water failed to produce for me
Yesterday I fished the Cheddar Reservoir pike match. Nineteen anglers participated all hoping to go home £200 richer by placing first. The west bank from the Axbridge tower round to the south west corner was pegged and at 8 o'clock it was all in. Soon after starting I had a small pike follow a lure right to my feet before turning away so I was hopeful of some more action but as the day progressed this wasn't to be the case. I tried everything I could to tempt a bite but despite fishing the float, ledgering and using lures I finished the day without landing a fish. Some of the other anglers had struggled too and there were several blanks but a few people had found fish and at the meet afterwards it was revealed that fourteen pike had been landed, the biggest of which weighed 11lb 4oz and fell to Colin Bishop. Steve Lye won the match, taking three fish for 27lb. Congratulations to them and to all the anglers who caught pike! I enjoyed the day none the less. After all, there are worse things to be doing on a bright, sunny and unseasonably mild November day.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Mission Accomplished! Grayling Caught at Barton Court Fishery

It's not a monster, but it still counts!
Some time ago I set myself the challenge of catching every major species of British coarse fish from UK waters and I've been doing pretty well, with only the grayling box left without a tick in it. In an attempt to catch the lady of the stream Dan suggested a trip to the River Kennet and a fishery called Barton Court, where fishing on the main river and it's several carrier streams is available on a £15 day ticket. On arrival we were greeted by Bob, the river keeper who gave us some pointers and told us that despite low water levels the fishing had been good in recent weeks. Quietly confident we set off to explore the venue. The main river was flowing very slowly and whilst looking good for pike fishing I didn't fancy it for the grayling, so we both chose to fish a roving approach on the maze of lovely little carrier streams. Light tackle is the order of the day on venues like these so very small Drennan Loafer floats were shotted right down and size 20 hooks were tied to 2lb breaking strain line. We started by trotting a single red maggot in deeper water beneath overhanging near bank reeds and had soon caught some decent dace before a couple of perch moved in and spooked the shoal. Moving on and I found what I thought would be a good swim, a fast paced shallow pool on the outside of a bend just below a large weir. First cast and the float slid away and after a short but spirited fight I netted what I thought was another dace, it wasn't until I reached to unhook the fish that I realised I had caught my first grayling and in doing so had successfully completed the task I had set myself all those months ago! Feeling very pleased with myself I sat down to have some lunch and watched Dan as he caught a couple of grayling and a brown trout of about 2lb, which proved brilliant sport on such delicate tackle. The afternoon was spent searching out more likely looking spots and both Dan and I enjoyed further success catching more dace, grayling, trout and perch as well as some quality roach, a few gudgeon and many minnows. Towards the end of the day I found the fish to be very finicky and the bites hard to hit so I swapped maggot for caster and buried the hook inside the bait, a little trick that worked a treat, catching me a few extra fish and picking out the bigger ones as well, worth remembering for our next visit to this lovely venue! Visit for more information on fishing at the Barton Court Fishery.

Home of my first grayling

Thursday 17 November 2011

What's Worse Than a Blank? Two Blanks!

This week I divided my Tuesday into two halves, the morning and early afternoon was spent carp fishing and a few hours cod fishing kept me entertained after dark. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to tell you as both trips ended in a blank. I'm blaming the cold easterly wind that was blowing all day but it could be that the good fortune I've been enjoying for most of the year has run out! I'm currently undecided as to where to go and what to fish for next week but hopefully I will enjoy better luck whatever happens!

Monday 7 November 2011

River Itchen Fly Fishing Competition Success

Just one of many grayling caught!
The River Itchen was to be the venue for my first attempt at competition fishing on running water. The eight hour day was to be fished with a partner, taking it in turns, one hour on, one hour off and who better to be partnered with than a two times gold medalist, a chap called Peri. Grayling were the target species with a fish of 15cm counting as 20 points and a further single point awarded for every additional centimetre. I started the day by fishing a pair of nymphs with a size 14 Pink Shrimp as a dropper and a size 12 Peeping Caddis on the point. First cast, first fish, a 35cm grayling! Five more fish followed during my first hour, not a bad start! Peri took over for the second hour and opted to fish much smaller flies, a size 18 dropper and a size 16 on the point. He proceeded in showing me how it's really done and by lunch he had caught seventeen grayling! The afternoon session resumed with the two of us now fishing water that had already been fished by other anglers during the morning. More grayling and several out of season brown trout, which didn't count, came our way and by the end of the day we had done enough to secure second place! A fantastic result! Further congratulations has to go to Peri who finished the day with thirty three fish and placed second individually! Very well done! Visit for information on fishing the Lower River Itchen.

Peri on his way to second place

Thursday 3 November 2011

Battling an Angry River Wye

A good result in difficult conditions
It was with some uncertainty as to whether I was doing the right thing that I decided to visit the River Wye this week. Heavy rain has recently forced an increase in the rivers height and pace and I knew this extra water would be washing all manner of debris downstream, making fishing a little tricky to say the least, but despite my concerns and because I expected this to be my last chance to fish the Wye this year I set off to my favourite stretch at Lower Lydbrook with Dave accompanying me. On arrival we set up a single rod in a lovely looking swim and cast a simple running lead rig baited with a Dynamite Baits 15mm Sardine and Anchovy boilie to a spot known to hold good barbel and chub. Just moments after casting it was clear to both of us that the day was going to be a challenge, my 3oz Korda Big Grippa lead was bounced along the bottom by the strong current straight in to a snag! Pulling for a break resulted in the loss of the whole rig and so I set about tackling up again. My second cast to a slightly more hospitable looking area of the river was no luckier and I was soon tying up rig number three! It was shaping up to be an expensive day, it's a good thing I work in a tackle shop! The next couple of hours were a blur of casting, recasting and losing a few more rigs but with perseverance and a little good fortune Dave and I shared a few decent fish, a cracking barbel of 9lb 13oz, a second fish of approximately 8lb and a good sized chub. As the day progressed the river became more and more unfishable, heavy rain from the night before had found its way in to the Wye and with the rivers pace rapidly increasing we were forced to pack up an hour earlier than planned. If only we had packed our beach rods and 5oz sea leads then maybe we could have stayed longer! I was more than happy with our efforts given the tough conditions and with three decent fish landed my one hundred percent catch rate on the Wye this season remains intact! Visit for information on the River Wye at Lower Lydbrook.

Fast, turbulent and very snaggy!

Saturday 29 October 2011

Autumn Barbel (..and Carp) Trip to the Biblins, River Wye

A very wet day was forecast for Thursday but after viewing the Wye and Usk website and looking at the webcams my friend James Marlow and I decided to fish the popular Biblins stretch of the River Wye.

After obtaining our day tickets from Forest Tackle in Lydney we headed down to the river to find it at a good fishable level with a healthy amount of colour in it. Despite the heavy rain the river wasn't pushing through too hard and we expected 2oz feeders to be plenty heavy enough to hold bottom.

We settled on a large double swim down stream and set about tackling up for the day ahead. James and I both opted for 2oz Korum open ended feeders, fished on a Fox run ring system in conjunction with a 10" Korda N-Trap hooklength and at the sharp end, the ever successful Drennan Super Specialist Barbel hooks in a size 9.

James mixed up a tasty looking method mix using Dynamite Baits marine halibut groundbait, a few handfuls of micro pellet and some mashed Baittech hot and spicy luncheon meat.

We both opted for different hookbaits to try and find what would work. James went for a glugged Dynamite Baits The Source 10mm boilie and I chose a SonuBaits 12mm drilled crab pellet.

With the rods cast out James baited his left hand margin down stream ready for later on in the day.

After a few re-casts with the obligatory 25-30 minute wait for the feeders to empty my rod ripped into life, a typical vicious barbel take, stripping line off the baitrunner. There was the unmistakable 'hugging the bottom' barbel fight and after a 5-10 minute tussle the fish boiled close to the bank and as expected it was a good sized barbel. The fish made a few last lunges and then was ready for netting.    

A prime example of what the River Wye has to offer, a 6lb 8oz beauty.

With this fine specimen safely returned I reloaded the feeder, re-cast to a similar spot and crossed my fingers for another take.

James had been pre-baiting his margin swim now for a couple of hours and he decided to try that area as the main body of the river had only produced the one bite between both of our rods.

Shortly after the margin cast James' rod bent over on the rest and the baitrunner fizzed off. The fish made its way into the deep, middle of the river and made several hard runs, taking more and more line each time. James gained line back each time, only for the fish to take it back! The fish was holding deep and refusing to give up the fight.

The fish made a few deep boils and kept us in the dark as to its size. I was expecting this to be a BIG barbel!

The fish rolled on the surface and to our amazement, it was a mirror carp. A beautifully deep coloured fish weighing 12lb 8oz.

This was a shock to both of us, we knew from Dan's previous exploits on this stretch that carp reside here but the fight had seemed very 'barbel like'

James was happy none the less with his first fish from the Wye. The fish went back without a fuss and James reloaded for another margin cast.

The day went on and we both regularly re-cast and changed hook baits, alternating between Mainline Activ8 dumbells, Dynamite Baits The Source 10mm boilies and SonuBaits 12mm crab pellets.

We did lose a few set-ups to snags but kept re-baiting and re-casting, exploring the far margins and mid river in the pursuit of another bite, but sadly without any joy.

We moved up stream with the hopes of finding some more fish but with darkness upon us we had to call it a day.

In the cold, wet conditions we were pleased with a fish each and with our days efforts so we will most definitely be back to try our luck again.

Tight lines for now! Toby

Thursday 27 October 2011

Pike Fishing on Chew Valley Lake

Fishing lures on day one
The first of two days boat fishing for pike on Chew Valley Lake saw myself and Toby fish lures near Denny Island in bright sunny conditions with some success. Various Rapala and Storm lures were used and by the end of the day we had caught two jacks each. None of the lakes famous monster pike made an appearance but perhaps some bigger fish would show next time. Day two was a different day altogether with dark clouds and the threat of rain hanging over us for most of the day. Jon had joined me on this trip and we both opted to fish mackerel and smelt deadbaits. Despite fishing some of the lakes most prolific areas including Villice Bay and Herons Green Bay the day ended with neither of us catching a fish. Not the fantastic fishing this venue can produce but two enjoyable days afloat none the less. For information on the trout and pike fishing at Chew Valley Lake or at any of the Bristol Water owned fisheries visit

Rain clouds over Chew on day two

Thursday 20 October 2011

An Afternoon Afloat. Fly Fishing on Blagdon Lake

Myself and friend Martin Lowe took a boat out on Blagdon Lake on Tuesday afternoon in search of some trout. The gusty winds made handling the boat tricky but we found some shelter in Butcombe Bay and allowed the wind to drift us across the area whilst we fished red Daiwl Bachs and Crunchers. A brown trout of 2lb 8oz was my reward for braving the conditions, only my second brown trout of the season so I was very happy! Despite the chilly, blustery wind it appeared the trout were feeding up in the water so we made a switch to dry flies and fished claret Bobs Bits for the remainder of the day. I managed a further two trout, both rainbows, weighing 2lb 8oz and a smaller fish of 1lb 10oz before it was time to head for home. Sadly a blank for Martin but an enjoyable day was had by us both. Next week I am back afloat, this time on Chew Valley Lake and not for the trout but for the lakes pike. Fingers crossed for a successful time!

My Blagdon brown trout makes it two this season

Late Season Mackerel Sport

Just right for pike!
My second trip of this week saw myself and my friend Dave head down to Hope's Nose near Torquay for an afternoon of fishing off the rocks. Starting at low water and fishing the incoming tide we both fished single hook pulley rigs with ragworm as bait to try and tempt a bass, a wrasse or a pollock, all of which are regularly caught here year round, unfortunately not on this occasion though and after a few hours all we had managed were a few missed bites and to lose several sets of end tackle, during which time another angler had been catching plenty of mackerel on lures. Not wanting to return home empty handed we set up our mackerel feathers and were soon both catching regularly. We stayed until just after dark before heading in to Torquay for something to eat both quite happy that we had enjoyed a bit of sport. My freezer is now stocked with a good supply of bait for my pike fishing trips, the next one being next Tuesday when myself and Dan will be afloat on Chew Valley Lake in search of one of its famous monster predators! Watch this space!

Slow Start to Pike Fishing Season

No pike, plenty of swans though!
After a few unproductive hours pike fishing on the River Wye last week I headed to the River Axe on Tuesday in search of my first pike of the season. The stretch of river at Shiplate Farm normally produces a pike or two so I was hopeful of putting a bend in the rod. After a quick chat with Steve I headed to the river and was soon casting out my lamprey baits, these were mounted on size 6 trebles tied to 28lb breaking strain wire and fished on simple running lead rigs to minimise resistance to the pike if one was to pick up the smelly bait. Whilst waiting for the alarm to sound I busied myself by fishing various lures near marginal cover and watching the many swans that inhabit this stretch of the river. A few bleeps on the alarm sounded and I watched the line gently twitch at the rod tip, something was showing an interest! I picked up the rod, counted to ten and hit the bite hard to set the hooks in to the pikes boney mouth only to have a very badly chewed bait come flying back at me, a sure sign that an eel had been the culprit and not my intended target species. Twice in two weeks eels have taken a liking to my pike baits, a similar thing happening last week on the River Wye whilst float fishing a small mackerel. The hours past quickly with no sign of any pike and it wasn't until the end of the day that I saw the only fish of the day, a very small jack of about 2lb snapping at my bait as I retrieved the lamprey rod to pack it up. My second blank in as many trips fishing for pike this season but I will return for another try soon as I know this river has the potential to produce a very big fish! For information on fishing the River Axe at Shiplate Farm or to enquire about the excellent coarse and carp fishing available on the three lakes at this venue call Steve on 07895852162.

Monday 17 October 2011

Amazing Day Fishing on the River Wye at Courtfield

My 10lb 6oz barbel was the biggest of the day!
To spend an afternoon fishing the River Wye on an unseasonably warm October day was to prove a very good decision last week! Myself, Jon, Jon's dad Tony and regular visitor to the shop Steve Dyke settled in to some lovely looking swims on the Courtfield stretch of the river at Lower Lydbrook and sport was superb all day! As Jon headed off with his pike rod in hand it was Tony who was first to shout fish on! and what a start, a 9lb 15oz personal best barbel! Myself and Steve were soon in to fish and it wasn't long before we were both weighing double figure barbel, a personal best 10lb 3oz fish for Steve and a specimen of 10lb 6oz for me! Lots more barbel followed and I was soon admiring another beautiful Wye double. Fish of 6lb to 8lb were plentiful with the occasional bigger one showing, Tony landed a further two 9lb plus barbel and for a bit of variety a chub which when weighed took the scales to 5lb 4oz, another personal best! Jon returned reporting that he hadn't had any luck with the rivers predators and decided to put a rod out for barbel and as the light faded on an unbelievable days fishing he added three more decent barbel to our tally taking the days combined catch to well over twenty fish! Similar tactics and baits were used by all of us with simple running leads and halibut pellets proving that you don't need to over complicate things to have a fantastic days fishing! For more information on fishing the Courtfield beat at Lower Lydbrook visit and for all you need to know about the River Wye and its tributaries go to
Steve with his personal best 10lb 3oz barbel
Tony and his second personal best of the day, a 5lb 4oz chub!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Chew Hosts Major Clubs Competition

Thursday 22nd September saw Chew Valley Lake host a Major Clubs competition. Teams taking part included the British Army and the British Navy with a total of twenty four anglers participating. I was there to represent the Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers Association team and with overcast conditions and a slight southwesterly breeze blowing things looked promising for a good days fishing. I found fish immediately and by 1 o'clock I had already taken seven of my eight fish limit by fishing holo nymths with a booby on the point. The sun made an appearance breaking through the clouds and as the fish pushed down in to deeper water due to the brighter conditions I swapped the booby for a hares ear and was soon netting my final fish before 2 o'clock giving me a total weight of 16lb and earning a time bonus worth a further 4lb. This was enough to place me fourth individually and to help my team secure third! With twenty anglers taking their bag limit and an average of 7.6 fish caught per person the day was a huge success with the Navy emerging triumphant and winning the competition!
A cracking Chew rainbow caught during the competition

Saturday 1 October 2011

Catfishing in Spain. CatMaster Tours Record Broken With 245lb Wels!

 All in the river together 
When I booked my trip with CatMaster Tours to fish Spain's River's Ebro and Segre back in February little did I know I would be telling this story eight months later. Myself and friend Dave enjoyed a fantastic holiday in Mequinenza last week where we were lucky enough to see and catch some very large wels catfish, but this is the story of one particular, special fish that rewrites catfishing history! Two days in to our weeks trip and fish to a huge 184lb had already been banked but that evening a true monster was about to make an appearance and it all started with a tentative little bite and just a couple of bleeps on the alarm. Upon picking up the rod and striking hard in to the fish I was met with an arm wrenching pull and a seemingly unstoppable run, braid was fast disappearing from the multiplier reel and I was forced to lock the clutch up before the fish reached the snags, as the fish stopped and turned I was able to regain some braid and I soon had the fish under control, a ten minute tug of war unfolded which can only be likened to playing a small car, the fish staying deep and out of sight before finally revealing itself a few rod lengths out. It was clear to see that this was a very big cat and I knew straight away that I was attached to one of Spain's now legendary monsters. After a couple of worrying moments where the cats huge tail slapped hard against the braid I was soon steering the fish towards the guides who were waiting to glove what would surely be a 200lb plus fish! The fish was pulled in to the waiting sling and it was at this moment we all realised just what we were dealing with, the eight foot sling was dwarfed by the fish, the cats tail hanging out the end and the sling barely stretching around the colossal belly of the beast, five of us were needed to haul the fish on to the scales where the needle swung round to a massive 245lb! I knew immediately I had broken the CatMaster Tours record by a whole 10lb and I just stood there staring at the scales in disbelief, my arms and back aching from the battle. Excitement broke out among us all and the decision to put the new record fish on a stringer overnight for photographing the next morning was made. I didn't get much sleep that night and as the sun rose in the morning we were all back at the river to see the huge fish in daylight for the first time. Under the light of the hot Spanish sun the cat looked bigger than ever and we were lucky enough to get some fantastic pictures before allowing the fish to swim away strongly and to grow even bigger for another lucky angler to catch on another day. More than a few celebratory buckets of water were thrown my way and as I stood soaked from head to toe we opened a bottle of champagne to toast what will surely be the most memorable catch of my life! As I write this, over a week later, the fish has been confirmed as the biggest wels catfish caught by a British angler! The photos have appeared in national newspapers both in the UK and in Spain and on the television on ITV1. Angling Times are featuring the story next week and BBC Somerset have been in contact with me to arrange a radio interview. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at CatMaster Tours for an unforgettable experience and urge anyone thinking of going on a catfishing holiday to visit their website at

At 8 feet 3 inches, the cat is over 2 feet longer than I am tall!
245lb takes some lifting!

Thursday 15 September 2011

Difficult Conditions Produces Personal Best

Dad with his new personal best 9lb 1oz barbel
Recent rain had put some much needed colour in to our rivers so dad and I headed to the Biblins stretch of the River Wye to try and tempt a barbel. On arrival we discovered the recent rise in water level and increase in current was washing all manner of debris down stream and we knew we were in for a tricky days fishing. Keeping a line in the water for longer than a few minutes at a time proved troublesome but as weed and tree branches drifted past we persevered and were rewarded with several fighting fit barbel each. Dad was lucky enough to hook a very good fish and after five minutes of battling both the fish and the river an immaculate barbel of 9lb 1oz was on the scales, a personal best for dad and a real achievement landing such a big, hard fighting fish in such difficult conditions. Very well done! Various baits were used throughout the day with Mistral Baits 15mm Spicy Sausage Instant Carp Food boilies proving very popular with the rivers residents. Tackle used was a running 3oz lead, a 12lb breaking strain Korda IQ2 extra soft fluorocarbon hooklength and a size 8 Drennan Super Specialist Barbel hook. This river has provided excellent sport all summer and a return trip in October has already been booked. Cant wait!

This little chap put up a great scrap for it's size
Barbel love boilies and pellets

Thursday 8 September 2011

Excellent Sport on Offer at Local Lakes

This 1lb 8oz perch took a liking to luncheon meat
The last few weeks have seen Dad and I, joined by my friend Dave, sampling the fishing available on some of our local stillwaters and I am pleased to say with good results. A variety of tactics and baits were used from centrepin reels and floating crust to bite alarms and boilies with all methods producing good fish. Highlights included double figure carp for all of us, topped by a 16lb 1oz common for Dave which he tempted on a red thai curry boilie that I had made myself. Tench to 5lb 2oz made an appearance along with some decent bream, roach and perch. Conditions seem to be perfect at the moment and with summer changing to autumn it provides an excellent opportunity to get out there and enjoy what our lakes have to offer. For information on fishing any of our local venues pop in to the shop and have a chat with us.
Dave with his personal best tench of 5lb 2oz

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Dry Flies on Chew

A visit to Chew Valley Lake on Tuesday afternoon presented the opportunity to fish using dry flies. The warm south westerly breeze provided ideal conditions and a few hours spent drifting slowly across Villice Bay to just past the cage produced 3 rainbows all around 2lb. These trout were caught sight casting using red Bobs Bits. A further 4 fish were lost and sadly none of the recently stocked larger fish made an appearance on this visit. Trout continued to show all evening until 8 o'clock when the strengthening wind put them down. I used a 9' 6" 6 weight rod with a soft forgiving action, a floating line and Kamasan 8lb mist green fly cast leader.
A fighting fit Chew rainbow
The sun sets on an enjoyable evenings fishing

Thursday 25 August 2011

Hectic Barbel Sport on UK's Favourite River

Dad with a large Courtfield barbel caught last month
Time again to visit my favourite stretch of the River Wye, The Wye and Usk Foundation controlled Courtfield, in search of my favourite species, the barbel. Previous visits to this brilliant river this season have produced barbel to 8lb 12oz and chub to over 5lb so I was looking forward to what I hoped would be another memorable day. We arrived to find the river running very low and clear, far from perfect conditions but none the less we set up in our favourite swims. Sport during the afternoon was predictably slow with myself and dad taking just one barbel each. The hours past and we sat through several heavy showers watching some large salmon jump whilst awaiting the forecast brighter evening in hope that the barbel would get their heads down later on as they often do. A Dynamite Baits 15mm Sardine and Anchovy boilie presented on a size 6 Drennan Specimen Plus hook tied to 12lb breaking strain fluorocarbon fished on a running 2oz lead was the set-up I hoped would fool a fish or two and as the light faded we both began to receive rod wrenching bites, barbel after barbel graced our nets, the biggest weighing an ounce short of 8lb. Darkness had fallen and was the only thing that stopped us catching more and as we packed up I found myself already looking forward to my next trip to this fantastic venue. For information regarding fishing the River Wye visit
A 5lb plus chub caught during a previous visit this summer

Nash Monster Squid Tempts Hedgehog!

The Paddock Lake at dusk
With muggy overcast weather forecast a trip in search of Britain's most elusive predator seemed like a good idea so Dad and I made the journey to Todber Manor's Paddock Lake for a night session in search of the wels catfish. On arrival a quick chat to other anglers revealed that the lake was fishing hard with only two catfish and a single small carp caught over the previous two nights. Undeterred we set up at the deeper end of the lake and baited heavily with Nash Monster Squid pellets and boilies, this bait has quickly become a favourite of mine and since its release a few months ago has helped me catch carp, tench, bream, barbel and chub and I hoped to add catfish to the list. During the heat of the afternoon we busied ourselves catching livebaits, small rudd and perch were plentiful with the odd bigger perch and even a crucian carp making an appearance. As nightfall approached we settled into the bivvies hoping that the alarms wouldn't stay quiet all night. We didn't have to wait long as dads right hand rod screamed off just before midnight, unfortunately resulting only in a hook pull and a lost fish. As I returned to my bivvy I felt confident that we hadn't seen the last of the action for the night and I was right, kind of! A small hedgehog had taken a liking to Monster Squid and I watched as it nibbled at bits of broken boilies near my rods before disappearing into the bushes. Despite a couple of very large fish showing near the baited areas during the night the session ended with no catfish banked and as we drove home we were left wondering just how big the one that got away was. For more information on Todber Manor Fishery visit
Nash Monster Squid proved irresistible to this small hedgehog

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Chew Hits Top Form as Evening Series Nears Final Round

Saturday 13th August saw the penultimate round of the Chew Valley Lake evening series. Nineteen anglers fished to take an average catch of 5.2 fish per person with a cracking 5lb 15oz rainbow (pictured below) being the heaviest fish of the evening. My four fish for 7lb 14oz fell to teams of red pheasant tail nymphs fished off The False Island and Villice Bay. A total of thirty six anglers have fished the series this year, which started in april. For £22 you can expect four to five hours fishing on a six fish ticket, topped off with an evening meal and a pint. For futher details feel free to contact us at Cadbury Angling.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Evening Session Ends With a BANG!

I grabbed a few hours on a local stillwater on Monday afternoon, fished at 13m alternating between corn and banded 8mm pellet hookbaits over damp micro pellet.

I was getting fairly steady bites, when things went a bit quiet I would cup in one big cup of micro's to liven the swim up again.

My swim was distrupted a couple times with foul hooked carp but a big pot of micro's soon got them bubbling again.

In 3 hours I ended up with 6 carp to 12lb, 1 5lb tench, 2 skimmers and 2 roach.

My final fish was the biggest of the session, this 12lb carp was foul hooked in the tail and unsuprisingly it went off like a banshee!! It bottomed me out and was determined to get away.

After a 10 minute struggle I got the fish back on to my top kit and begin to tighten up using a pulla bung. My Preston Hollo 13 was perfect in close to control the fish but not risk a hook pull.

Suddenly the fish lunged and the 2nd section of my power kit exploded into 6 pieces, with carbon everywhere I quickly grabbed the 1st section of my power kit and played the fish on that and landed it. An exciting if not unfortunate end to my session.

Fly Fishing the River Dee, Llangollen. 17/07/2011

One of two 16'' Brown Trout, caught on the River Dee recently. I used a goldhead nymph on the dropper with a tungsten caddis on the point. The Llangollen club controls nearly seven miles of river, which can be fished on a £12 day ticket. I also had numerous smaller trout and grayling.