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!