Thursday 20 December 2012

A Memorable Day. Fishing on the River Kennet at Barton Court Fishery

Winter sunshine on the Kennet
Neither Dan or I, have done much fishing this month. Dan visited the River Taff recently, where he caught a few grayling. Meanwhile, my only trip this December, has been an afternoon spent in search of that 3lb perch we both want. Again it eluded me, but I did add an ounce to my personal best with a 2lb 9oz fish. We're getting closer! Anyway, let me tell you about this week! "Make the most of Tuesday" This was the advice given by the weather forecaster. The day was down to be dry and bright, during an otherwise wet and generally miserable week. So, a much overdue return visit to the Barton Court Fishery on the River Kennet, near Hungerford was booked. It has been over a year since Dan and I fished here but, on arrival, the fishery looked much the same as we both remembered it. Albeit, with a little more water running, due to the recent very wet weather. The weather today though, was as predicted, dry and bright. A roving approach with light float tackle was the plan and fish were forthcoming from the very start. Dan had a few small roach and I kicked off the day with a decent grayling. Several fish later and we changed swims. Grayling appeared to be everywhere and we both caught plenty on size 20 hooks, baited with maggot. The odd brown trout turned up to add a bit of variety, before I had two very memorable casts. The first produced a grayling of 13oz, a new personal best! The second and the rod bent over in to what was clearly a powerful fish, some aerial acrobatics and a few good long runs later and I was netting my first ever rainbow trout. Consecutive casts that I wont soon forget! During this time Dan had continued to catch well too and we agreed to stop for something to eat. After lunch, Dan put together a spinning rod and headed off to some likely looking swims to try and tempt a pike. I settled in to a new swim, sticking to fishing how I had done during the morning. Again, I found fish straight away and after only a couple of hours, I had caught more grayling, brown trout and dace than I cared to keep count of. Dan unfortunately, failed to catch a pike. For the last hour, the two of us sat beside a small weir pool. Here, Dan opted to fish a small maggot feeder. Both of us caught well, Dan landed his biggest of the day, a brown trout of about 2lb and I got yet more luck and caught my second rainbow of about the same weight. A great day then and as I sit writing this, the rain hammering on the windows, it would seem, great advice from the weather forecaster. More information on Barton Court Fishery can be found at and be sure to check out my two previous blog posts about this venue.

Grayling are plentiful at Barton Court Fishery

Thursday 6 December 2012

A Cold December Day. Fishing the River Taff, Radyr

Looking upstream to the weir
With a few hours to spare on a chilly Tuesday, I decided to try my luck on the river Taff in Cardiff. I set off to the Glamorgan Anglers Club controlled stretch at Radyr. A scenic length of river between two weirs, recommended to me by customer, Mike Richards. Travelling light by motor bike, to avoid the bridge toll, I was equipped only with a trotting rod and centrepin reel. A small chubber float, a size 16 hook and maggot for bait, was my preferred set-up, the plan being to keep moving, exploring as much of the river as I could, in search of the grayling, chub, roach and barbel, that this river is known for. I started just below the foot bridge, working my way upstream towards the weir. Plenty of fish were showing in most swims but unfortunately, beyond where I could easily cast to. The fish appeared to be staying in the deeper water, over the far side of the river. I kept feeding, hoping to draw some fish to me and after a while I started getting bites. These bites were very hard to hit, typical of grayling and I bumped several fish before slipping the net under a good grayling of about 1lb 8oz. No other species showed during the day, the cold weather presumably putting them off the feed. In hindsight, a feeder rod or big waggler would have probably caught more fish, but I had enjoyed a few hours on a new venue and with the temperature dropping further, I headed home late afternoon. For more information on Glamorgan Anglers Club visit their website at

A decent River Taff grayling

Saturday 24 November 2012

3lb Perch Remains Elusive

Dan and I have spent some time this month trying to catch big perch. A 3lb fish is the target and both of us have come pretty close. Between us we have tempted nearly thirty stripeys over 1lb, to a top weight of 2lb 8oz, a personal best for me and only a few ounces short of Dan's biggest. Worms, red maggots, prawns and lures have all fooled fish. Dan has tried a bit of float fishing, whilst my favourite rig has been a small running lead, fluorocarbon hooklength and a Drennan Specimen Plus hook. Of course, whilst targeting perch in our lakes you inevitably catch a few other species and carp, some big roach, tench and bream to 4lb have also taken a liking to our baits. Very successful then, but we'll keep on trying for that 3lb perch.

My new personal best of 2lb 8oz

Sunday 11 November 2012

Winter Silverfish. Plantations Lakes, Kingston Seymour

My long time angling buddy Mark Bartlett and I had the opportunity to grab a days fishing last week and decided to target silverfish on the Plantations Main Lake.

We setup in pegs 26 and 27 on the far bank. We have both been practising a couple of techniques for matches we have got coming up and wanted to try a few things out.

I setup a light single number 6 latex top kit with a Preston Chianti 4x14  tied on 0.11 line and a 0.10 hooklength to fish dead depth on my top 5.

I also setup a Preston PB Silver 3 0.75g rig to fish at 13m.

I cupped in a mixture of finely chopped worm and caster and a small ball of Sensas lake groundbait on my shorter line and just worm and caster on my long line, I also loose fed a few casters in the margin down to my left for another option later on.

I cupped in, plumbed up and was ready, Mark, who got there well before me was all setup and already catching fish.

I saw the odd bubble on my shorter line so had a look straight away and began to steadily catch from the off with good sized roach, skimmers and the odd perch. I even caught 5 crucian carp which I've not seen for quite a while from this lake.

I continued to catch on that line and regularly topped the swim up with a large cup of chopped worm and caster along with a Small Matrix Toss Pot filled up for every put in.

Mark was really getting stuck into the skimmers in his peg and was getting a 'lid' what seemed like every put in.

We both tried our long lines to see what we could find but the fish weren't as good or as quick to bite. I did hook and land an 8lb carp from my longer line but carp weren't on the agenda that day!

Another good angling buddy of ours, James Gunter, dropped by to see how we were getting on and had a quick go on my new Sensas 874 pole to try it out and was swiftly rewarded with a very good roach and 2 decent skimmers.

As the sun began to lower and the temperature dropped bites began to slow and we decided 4pm was it.

We had both caught very well all day and were pleased with our efforts and can't wait for another day like that again or even better to recreate this days fishing in a match!!!!

Thursday 1 November 2012

Fishing Failures

One of several decent roach caught
Not a good couple of weeks for the three of us, I'm afraid! Both Dan and I suffered tough times whilst trying a bit of pike fishing. Dan took to a boat on Chew Valley Lake and I headed to the River Wye, but no pike came our way, not even a bite! Dan did catch a large trout on his new Fox Rage Hitcher Jerk & Twitch lure though, a rainbow of 6lb and a personal best, but not quite what he was after. The two of us then spent an evening on Kingston Seymour sea wall, but after three hours of trying we had nothing to show for our efforts. A blank! Toby hasn't had much luck either and although he has caught some fish, he hasn't managed enough of them to frame in his last two matches at Plantations Lakes. So, highlight of the last two weeks is easily the day I spent targeting perch. Seven fish between 1lb and 2lb and a couple lost, plus some decent roach, made for an enjoyable time. Here's hoping that November has better luck in store for the three of us.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Wonderful Wiggly Worms

Lobworms and ragworms have been the successful baits for Dan and I, this week. Dan did a bit of perch fishing, whilst I targeted wrasse. Float fished lobs tempted perch to 2lb for Dan. Carp also took a liking to the bait and a 15lb common was the biggest of the day. I braved a very windy afternoon to fish single ragworm on a size 1/0 circle hook and simple running lead rig and caught numerous small wrasse. A bit of lure fishing for bass or pollock proved less successful.

An autumn, worm caught perch

Major Clubs Final at Grafham Water

The sun sets on my two days at Grafham
My first visit to Grafham Water on Friday 5th October, was to practise for the final of the Major Clubs Association Competition. The final round was set to take place the next day. I met my boat partner for the day, Graham, in the cafe at 9.30, on the banks of the sixteen hundred acre reservoir and after a quick cup of tea, we went to board our boat. Weather was overcast with a slight breeze, good conditions. We had chose to fish the catch and release ticket and some local information had told us fish were being caught at G buoy. Keeping this in mind, but wanting to explore other areas, we started off at Savages Creek. Fishing midge tips and a selection of nymphs, after two drifts, with no pulls, we moved to try the North Bank, where I had read on forums, was fishing well. Changing tactics to a fast glass line, a pair of blobs and a hares ear muddler, produced my first Grafham trout, a fish of 2lb 8oz. We carried on fishing all the points down to the dam wall, taking fish on every drift. Recently, Grafham has become well known for its population of killer shrimps, a non native species, which grow to over an inch in length. The trout have grown to love these and so I had tied some hares ears with red heads to imitate them and I was keen to give them a go. Fishing the midge tip, we drifted further toward the dam wall and both Graham and I had furious takes from much bigger trout, the biggest around 3lb 8oz. The rest of the day was spent catching steadily. Things looked good for the competition the following day. 
    I woke Saturday morning to bright skies and very little breeze, what a difference a day makes! Forty boats were fishing today and on the whistle we all headed out. I had been partnered with a chap from the Rutland team and we chose to drift from G buoy to the dam wall. I used similar tactics to the previous day and my boat partner opted to pull lures. To cut a long story short, we struggled. I had a single fish on one of my red head hares ears, my boat partner managed three. Two very different days, but that's fishing for you!
A hard fighting Grafham trout comes to the boat

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Catfishing in Spain With CatMaster Tours. More Monster Fish Banked on Return Trip. The Pictures

Here they are then! - Pictures of the biggest fish from our week's holiday in Mequinenza. Enjoy!

Ryan and I help Dave with his new personal best -
A huge 169lb catfish
My 184lb cat measured 7 feet, 10 inches
Dave with his 152lb wels
My 150lb catfish
Andy shows off a 133lb fish

Paul with the first fish of the week at 142lb
Terry lifts his amazing albino of 190lb - What a fish!

Catfishing in Spain With CatMaster Tours. More Monster Fish Banked on Return Trip

The business end of my 184lb beast
Here we go again then, off out to Mequinenza in Spain, for a week of catfishing with CatMaster Tours. On arrival, my friend Dave and I wasted no time in meeting the other anglers we were to be grouped with for the week. Three chaps well in to their match fishing, brothers Paul and Andy and their friend Terry. Our guide for the week was Ryan Binge. I had requested Ryan when I booked this trip. Ryan was responsible for gloving my CatMaster Tours record breaker last September, so I was more than confident in his abilities. A good angler and nice guy, I can't recommend him highly enough. The six of us met up on the banks of the River Segre the next morning, in a swim just a mile or so from where this river meets the mighty River Ebro. This was to be where we were to focus our efforts for the next six days and we had two rods each, baited and in position in no time at all. Very large halibut pellets were the bait and these were hair-rigged to a size 8/0 hook, tied to 200lb braid. With the rods in the rests and the alarms switched on, the six of us sat back and relaxed under the hot Spanish sun. We played cards and told jokes, Ryan disappearing every now and then to fetch us food and drink. Later that afternoon Paul was first to hook in to a fish. It was great to watch an angler that had no previous experience with these massive catfish do battle with what turned out to be a large fish of 142lb. A great start to our week! That night, Dave had his first fish of the trip, a cat of 92lb. A good first day. Day two and later that night, I was in! A hell of a scrap resulted in a very big wels, all 184lb and 7 feet, 10 inches of it! I was well pleased. The rest of the week continued in much the same way. By day we would enjoy the sun, have barbeque's, laugh and joke, play cards and generally chill out. At night the fish kept us on our toes and by the end of the week we had all caught cats. I added fish of 150lb, 111lb and 67lb to my tally. Dave had three more at weights of 169lb, 152lb and 72lb. As a group we had landed twelve fish and lost six others. A great result! The week had one more treat in store for us all though. Terry hooked in to what was clearly a very big cat, fighting for a long time and really giving him the run around. It finally surfaced after ten minutes or so - an albino catfish! Very rare and much sought after and a very big one at that. On the scales it went 190lb! One of the biggest in the world and just 4lb short of the CatMaster Tours record albino catfish. A real privilege to see an albino on the bank and what a monster it was too! It brought our combined total for the week to thirteen fish landed and wrapped up the week in fine style. A fantastic holiday that will live long in my memory. For more information on CatMaster Tours, the holidays they provide and my previous experience with them, visit their website at and check out my earlier blog posts - Catfishing in Spain. CatMaster Tours Record Broken With 245lb Wels! And - Oh, This Year I'm off to Sunny Spain! Fishing With CatMaster Tours. I will post more pictures soon. Next week, I'll be out fishing somewhere a little closer to home no doubt. Check back to see what I've been up to.

Thursday 27 September 2012

September Success

My first wrasse
September is my favourite month of the year. Year after year it produces something memorable for me. Most of my biggest barbel have come in September, last year it was my monster Spanish catfish and the year before that, a personal best common carp of 35lb 12oz. So, this year had a lot to live up to. I started the month with a bit of general coarse fishing on our local lakes and enjoyed catching roach, skimmer bream to 2lb and small carp on waggler fished corn over pellet. A decent start! A couple of days targeting carp was next on the list. Several mid doubles took a liking to dog biscuits and bread fished on the surface, but the best fish fell to a Mainline Cell 15mm boilie fished on the bottom, a stunning looking common of 21lb 7oz. So far, so good! Highlight of the month for me though, has to be the very enjoyable day spent at Hope's Nose, Devon. Lots of mackerel (or pike bait, as they are known to me) were taken on feathers during the afternoon and the evening was spent fishing ragworm on light running lead rigs amongst the rocks. This resulted in the capture of two species I had not previously caught, a wrasse and a blenny. Also, one of the most unexpected sights I have seen, my friend Dave landing a fifteen inch long lobster! A brilliant day! My final trip of the month was to be a visit to my favourite River Wye, but this weeks very heavy rain meant the river was carrying up to nine feet of flood water and therefore unfishable, not to mention very dangerous. So, yet another great September! Next time I post on here, I will tell you all about my week catfishing in Mequinenza, Spain. I fly on Sunday. Can't wait!

The rod and line caught lobster

A Wet Day on Blagdon and the Chew Valley Lake Boat League 2012 Results

On Sunday I fished a hidden pairs match on Blagdon Lake. The weather was awful but the fishing was pretty good. I caught four trout for 10lb, which included a 4lb fish, my biggest of the season. Unfortunately my partner had decided to call it a day by lunchtime, due to the heavy rain and so I didn't place anywhere worth shouting about. An enjoyable day though none the less.
    The Chew Valley Lake Boat League 2012 results were announced this week and I was very pleased to find out that out of thirty participants, I had placed seventh! A full list of the boat league results can be found in our shop and at Woodford Lodge. I have enjoyed some really good fishing this year on both Chew and Blagdon and with the season approaching it's end soon, it just leaves the last Major Clubs competition on Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire, during the first week of October, to go.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Dry Fly Fishing on the Derbyshire Wye

Monster rainbows competing for bread
A trip to York was planned for the beginning of the month and as I would be passing over the Derbyshire Wye, famous for its wild rainbow trout, it seemed rude not to wet a line. A quick trip to the local tackle shop in Bakewell and I was armed with the information I needed on the fly patterns and the water I was to fish. Cressbrook & Litton Flyfishers Club run the fishing on a stretch of upstream only dry fly water and it sounded very inviting. Walking back across the town bridge I noticed the resident rainbows competing with the ducks for bread, thrown in by more onlookers, some of these fish must have been upwards of 10lb! Arriving at the water late afternoon, I set up my 8’ 4# rod with a single size 14 Adams tied to 2lb 8oz Drennan double strength. I started fishing the fast water near the bridge and was soon fighting my first Wye brown trout of around 9" The rest of the evening followed a similar theme with me taking smaller fish in the fast water and larger rainbows and bigger browns rising to my fly in slower sections but proving impossible to tempt on to the hook. An enjoyable few hours of dry fly fishing and with no wild rainbows caught, it sounds like a good reason for a return visit.

Making the cast
One in the net

Friday 31 August 2012

The Cadbury Angling Team Fish the River Wye. Summer Barbel and Chub Sport. Part Two

Jon, My friend James Marlow and I set off with high hopes for the Courtfield beat of the River Wye with its excellent track record.

For a change we were greeted by glorious sunshine and light breezes. We all made our way to the meadow and picked some likely swims. We tackled up in similar fashion, running rig set-ups and various 'barbel-y' hookbaits.
The tried and tested Wye set-up

James and I toiled in our swims for two hours without any bites so decided to move down stream and try our luck. Jon stuck it out in his first swim and was rewarded with a 5lb barbel. With the heat of the day almost past I made a quick trip to the local shop to top up supplies. On my return I was greeted with a large grin across James' face as he retained a fish in the landing net.

James and his first River Wye Barbel
This fine looking barbel was James' first from the River Wye and was his second fish in two casts, the first being a 3lb chub.

We both recast after a few quick photos and James' rod was soon bent over with the baitrunner at full speed, he latched into another, slightly smaller barbel, approx. 5-6lb. I was also soon into the action with a similar sized chub, I was thankfully off the mark!

After all the fast paced action bites did slow and we pre-baited a few spots in that swim for a possible return and made off to the wooded section to try and locate a few more fish.

Jon had already made off to the woods and was settled in a swim and had already landed a few more chub and barbel, the biggest chub weighing 4lb 13oz.

The river had dropped a touch and the slack and fast water divide looked like a promising fish holding area. After a few casts and a scattering of Dynamite Baits Source boilies I was into a typically hard fishing barbel.
8lb River Wye Barbel

Myself in action playing a barbel.

The Picture left shows the wooded section of the Courtfield beat in all its glory. James and I managed a total of three barbel and 1 chub from this section in the last few hours of our session.

With light fading we made a decision to have one final cast. We had packed all non essential items away and suddenly James' baitrunner was once again screaming into action. I picked up the rods and passed it to him, a long, riverbed hugging barbel was hooked. After a long battle I slipped the net under an impressive looking barbel that pulled the needle of the scales to 9ln exactly, a new PB barbel for James, what a result and a brilliant way to end the session. We ended up with 8 barbel and 4 chub between us, and excellent days fishing!!!

James and his new PB barbel, 9lb.

Thursday 30 August 2012

The Cadbury Angling Team Fish the River Wye. Summer Barbel and Chub Sport. Part One

The last couple of weeks have seen Dan, Toby and myself all enjoy fishing on the River Wye at Lower Lydbrook. Day one found Dan and I, accompanied by two friends, Dave and Roger, fishing the river at pretty much normal summer level. The day was a struggle to be honest and unusually slow. The barbel just didn't want to know and Dan, Dave and myself only managed a barbel each to pellet and boilie tactics. Roger enjoyed a good day though. He opted to fish the float and caught steadily all day. Bleak, dace and small chub were very obliging and a couple of larger chub showed up as well, the biggest fish weighing over 4lb. A day of mixed fortune. Day two and it was Toby's turn to give it a go! The three of us - Toby, Toby's friend James and I, enjoyed a much better day this time. To find out more about our day, take a look at Toby's blog post - The Cadbury Angling Team Fish the River Wye. Summer Barbel and Chub Sport. Part Two. Below, you can view a picture of my highlight from our day - a chub, just a couple of ounces shy of 5lb.

This big chub put a smile on my face

Monday 20 August 2012

Mystery Fish Identified

A quick post to say that I think I've identified the mystery fish I caught recently at Hope's Nose near Torquay. I'm pretty sure it's a type of dragonet. Probably a common dragonet and most likely a female. Although news to me, they are commonly found all around our coastlines and often caught on small hooks baited with a single worm. So, another species to tick off the list. Dragonet. Tick!

My first dragonet

Thursday 16 August 2012

More of the Same

Dan with his fly caught Chew Valley Lake pike
This Tuesday saw myself and Dan sample a bit more of what we both did last week. I could be found walking the banks of the River Chew, whilst Dan was bobbing about on a boat in search of trout, not at Wentwood Reservoir this time, but on Chew Valley Lake. I had a pretty similar day to last week. Not quite so many bites this time, due to less flow and a clearer river, but plenty to keep me amused for a few hours. No grayling today but I did catch a surprise near 1lb rudd. Not a species you would associate normally with this sort of river venue. I've not caught a decent rudd in many years so I was very pleased. Not happy with struggling to catch trout (but instead catching predatory coarse fish) for just one week, Dan did the same again this week. What would have been a pretty uneventful day fly fishing was livened up a bit by the appearance of a decent pike. The lively predator gave Dan the run around for nearly fifteen minutes before coming aboard to have its picture taken. Not one of Chew's famous monster crocs but a good fish at a little under 10lb. All things considered, an enjoyable day for both of us. Next week the two of us are booked to fish the River Wye at Courtfield. Check back to see how we get on.

My surprise River Chew rudd

Thursday 9 August 2012

Jungle Warfare. Fishing the River Chew

The grayling safely in the net
Stealthily creeping around an overgrown river bank, getting stung by stinging nettles growing four feet high and getting the rod tip stuck in overhanging tree branches and losing end tackle. Doesn't sound like a brilliant day fishing! But it was! The River Chew is largely neglected by anglers and during the summer months the river looks wild, with much of it unfishable unless you're prepared to do a bit of gardening to get near the water. The fishing can be great though and today was one of those days. Taking just one rod and a few bits in a bag with me, I set about trotting maggots under a float in some likely looking areas. Fish were forthcoming from the first cast, a large dace kicked things off. More dace, minnows and a single gudgeon were soon to follow before the bites dried up and I moved upstream. This next swim, a large pool on the outside of a bend, is always a good producer of fish and the float slid away on cast number one. A dace, biggest so far too, about 10oz. More dace of a similar size and a few small wild brown trout were seemingly queueing up for my bait and it was a fish a cast. A larger brown trout was up next and gave a good scrap before I hooked in to another hard fighting fish which turned out to be a grayling. I don't catch many of these and so I was really chuffed! I moved swims several more times and caught more dace and trout, ending the day with a big brownie of nearly a pound in weight and twelve inches in length. A great day that I really enjoyed!

One of many dace caught

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Wentwood Reservoir Revisited. Fly Fishing in South Wales

Ever since my first visit to Wentwood Reservoir in April, I have been keen to return. So, this week I found myself standing on the flooded banks of this popular trout fishery. I had intended to bank fish, but due to the extra water, I hired a boat. The local anglers had informed me the fish were staying deep, I could see no signs of trout on the surface either and so I set up with a 7#, D5 sinking line and a pair of UV cormorant flies. Rowing across to the far bank, I started a drift just off the bank. This first attempt produced a perch of about a pound. My second drift, a little further out, quickly resulted in a lighting fast take and a good five minutes later I was netting a fighting fit, very silvery coloured rainbow trout of 2lb 8oz. I fished on through the pouring rain and caught plenty more decent perch but the trout were not at all interested. Towards the end of the day trout did start to rise, but despite trying to tempt one or two on a dry fly, I went home having caught just the one rainbow. A little disappointing, but the perch were good sport even if they weren't my intended target species. More information about Wentwood Reservoir can be found at or

My Wentwood rainbow

I caught over a dozen of these feisty perch

Thursday 2 August 2012

Go Fishing With Cadbury Angling Reaches First Birthday

Dan with one of Cadbury Angling's many Wye barbel
After fifty posts and well over three thousand page views, our blog reaches its first birthday. Its been a busy year in the shop but we've all found time to do plenty of fishing. From local venues, such as Acorn Fishery and Plantations Lakes, to some world famous destinations, including Rutland Water and the River Ebro, we've all tried to mix things up a bit and sample some of the many different types of fishing available. Coarse, sea, game and some foreign fishing, we've been busy boys. So, what have been our highlights? Fly fishing has taken up a lot of Dan's time, whether it be on rivers and reservoirs here at home, or in Cuba for the bonefish, he has enjoyed some great catches and has been doing very well in competitions as well. Dan rates his trip to Rutland Water and his holiday in Cayo Coco as the most memorable of the last twelve months. 2011 saw Toby move his focus from carp fishing to match fishing and he has continued to practise regularly. Local stillwaters have produced big nets of bream, carp and tench for Toby and he has had some great results to show for all his hard work. Toby took a holiday in Cuba this year too and although he didn't land that tarpon he wanted he did do battle with a giant grouper and catch some barracuda. A pretty successful year! November last year saw me achieve my target of catching all major species of British coarse fish from UK waters. I had slowly but surely been ticking off some of the more unusual species such as zander and grass carp and so when the River Kennet produced a grayling for me it was mission accomplished! My trip to Spain has to be my highlight though. How I will ever better what happened on the second night of my week long holiday in Mequinenza I do not know! A monster 245lb wels catfish, the biggest ever caught by a Brit and a CatMaster Tours record was banked, earning me my fifteen minutes of fame in the national press and a free return trip to try for an even bigger one! The one thing Dan, Toby and I all enjoy though, is a trip to the River Wye and last season saw us all catch some cracking barbel and chub. This river is by far my favourite place to spend a day fishing and if I was limited to just one venue and one species it would be here in search of its many barbel. So, a brilliant year for all three of us and we're all hoping that the next twelve months will bring more of the same good fortune.

Toby and Andy with a winning weight
Will I better this in the next twelve months?
Probably not!

Oh, This Year I'm off to Sunny Spain! Fishing With CatMaster Tours

The famous Mequinenza town stretch
Not long now until I return to Spain for a week of catfishing with CatMaster Tours on the River's Ebro and Segre at Mequinenza. During my last week out there I was lucky enough to land the CatMaster Tours record wels catfish at an enormous weight of 245lb and given the opportunity to return for free to try for an even bigger one! So, with my holiday just weeks away I thought I would tell you a bit about what CatMaster Tours offer during one of their fishing holidays. Guaranteed to catch is a confident claim but they do just that and very, very few people go home without that all important trophy photo. If you are unlucky enough not to catch you are treated to a free return trip. Fish of over 100lb are caught nearly every day and monsters of 200lb plus are banked every year! All tackle is supplied and during your holiday you will be fishing with two rods under the watchful eye of one of CatMaster's excellent guides. The guides put you in the best swims, row out your baits, glove and weigh your catch and even deliver hot food and drink to the bank for you. Fantastic service! Halibut pellets are CatMaster's bait of choice and these are fished on hair rigs made up of size 8/0 hooks and 200lb braided hooklengths. No messing about! When you're not on the bank you stay in the company's excellent accommodation. Fully furnished houses with everything you could need, a home away from home. Airport pick-up/drop-off and all transfers are included in the very reasonable price, your flights to and from Barcelona airport are all you pay for on top. Carp and zander fishing is also available and some very big examples of these two species have been taken by CatMaster Tours clients. So, if having your arm pulled off by monster catfish starts to get tiring you do have other options. Far more information can be found on their website, Check out the photos and give them a call, I can't recommend them highly enough. A full trip report with photos (hopefully!) will be posted here upon my return.

All tackle is supplied
A big fish like this 78lb cat for Dave, is considered
small in Mequinenza!

Spombs Away! Barbel and Chub at Courtfield, River Wye

This week saw the River Wye at normal summer level for the first time in a couple of months and so I settled in to the wooded stretch of the Courtfield beat at Lower Lydbrook. This part of the river has been unfishable since June 16th due to the floodwater conditions of recent weeks and I've been itching to get back in to one of my favourite swims to try for the barbel and chub. So, with the low water but high hopes I set about tackling up. For a change I opted to fish a small banded pellet over a big bed of small particles, no particular reason for this, other than wanting to fish a little differently to my usual large pellet and boilie approach. Would it pay off? Time would tell. First job was to get the bed of bait down so a mini Spomb was used to introduce a kilo of pellet, two big tins of hemp and two tins of sweetcorn, casting upstream of where I intended to place my hookbait, to allow for the current, the bait was soon in position and half an hour later I was ready to cast the fishing rod. I didn't have to wait long before the rod arched over and the first fish of the day was hooked, a barbel of about 5lb was soon in the net. A small chub followed, then a bigger one and then another barbel, this one was about 6lb. I kept the bait going in, the Spomb regularly topping up the swim. More fish obliged all day and I packed up at dark having landed barbel to over 8lb and chub to over 4lb. Success for my slight change of approach. More information about the River Wye at Lower Lydbrook can be found at

This 6lb barbel won the award for hardest fighting fish of the day!

Monday 23 July 2012

Answers on a Postcard. Fishing at Hope's Nose

Hope's Nose - A Devon hot spot!
I set off to Hope's Nose near Torquay with a couple of friends, Dave and Nick, last week. Whilst they opted to fish with feathers for the mackerel, I set up a pair of 2 hook flapper rigs baited with ragworm in an attempt to catch flatfish and wrasse. A couple of short 60 metre casts positioned my baits on a clean sandy area at the edge of the rocks. With both rods on the rest I set about tackling up a third rod, a spinning rod and reel loaded with braid and on to this I tied a Dexter bass wedge. Casting this around near the rocks to try and tempt a bass or pollock kept me amused but it wasn't long before one of the rods in the rest started to nod. A small fish was swung to hand and upon inspection it had us all baffled as to its identity. Internet research during the last few days has revealed it to be either some sort of bullhead or gurnard. I'm still uncertain so if you think you know, please get in touch! Back to the fishing and both Dave and Nick were catching plenty of mackerel. My two beach rods remained motionless for the rest of the day despite changing the bait and casting around several times. I did lure a couple of large mackerel on the Dexter though, which were great sport on light tackle. A quick visit to a Mexican restaurant in Torquay and it was back in the car to come home. Another trip is planned for later next month.

Keeping us guessing - The mystery fish

Sunday 15 July 2012

Targeting Silverfish at Plantations Lakes, Kingston Seymour

My friend Mark Bartlett and I set off for an early morning silverfish session on the Main Lake at Plantation Lakes, Kingston Seymour, with skimmer bream and bream our main target.
We got to the lake at 7am and lucky the lake was still quite empty, we saw a few fish moving so opted to fish pegs 4 and 5. I won the draw and picked number 4. To make our friendly match a bit more interesting, we set a rule that we could only fish with the top 6 sections of our poles!
With everything setup we started our 4 hour silverfish match. I plumbed a top 2 line in the margin and fished casters just off bottom trying to target the big perch which patrol the margins! I also plumbed a swim on my top 4 out in front of me which was going to be my main choice for the bream ans skimmers.
I mixed up a kilo of the new Sensas Lake and Sweet Fishmeal groundbait and introduced 3 medium sized balls on my top 4 line.
Down to my right, in the margin swim I started to flick in some casters and dead red maggots. I tackled up with a 4x12 Preston Chianti float, 0.13mm main line and 0.11mm hooklength with a size 18 Drennan Silverfish Maggot hook.
I was instantly getting bites from roach and rudd and soon had a few in the net. I kept the bait trickling in and was lifting and dropping the rig so my hookbait fell at the same rate as the free offerings. Mark was also straight into a good run of roach and we also had decided to fish a longer groundbait line as I had. This got him some early skimmers and he was soon into an early lead.
My margin line produced a 1lb rudd and a 1lb roach in successive bites but Mark's bream had him clearly in front at this stage.
I swapped to my longer line and setup with a 4x16 KC Belter float, with 0.13mm mainline and a hooklength to which I tied a size 16 Drennan Silverfish Pellet hook and fished soft expander pellet over the groundbait and used a small Matrix Toss Pot to deliver a small amount of damp micro pellet with every put in.
I caught a few good skimmers and a bonus crucian carp and swapped between both the lines trying to keep up with Mark, who was also catching steadily.
I went back to my margin line and opted to fish on the deck, this produced a couple of very decent skimmers, just as Mark's swims had gone a bit quiet! I saw that I had been catching on my 6mm soft expanders which I prepare, so he hopped off his box and stole some, typical!!
As the final whistle sounded we both thought we had won, we hauled our keepnets out and looking at our bags of silvers if was hard to call! To keep things fair we called it a draw, between us we had caught nearly 80lb of silvers in 4 hours! Excellent sport and I'm sure it won't be long before we are back again to have a rematch!

Saturday 7 July 2012

Gone Fishin'

Just two of Toby's net full of slabs
Thursday saw all three of us getting some fishing in. Whilst Dan headed off for a bit of trout fishing, myself and Toby set about targeting carp and bream using both surface fishing and method feeder tactics. I managed half a dozen decent carp on floating crust, whilst Toby filled his keepnet with twenty eight good sized bream between 2lb and 4lb and a couple of large carp, the best, a fish of over 15lb. Yet more success for the new Dynamite Baits Red Krill Groundbait, that has proven very effective on all of our local lakes recently.

Dynamite Baits Red Krill Groundbait - Bream love it!