Tuesday 24 December 2013

Trout Fishing to Beat Those Winter Blues

With Christmas upon us, time to go fishing can be limited, add to that the very short days and a few hours is all most people can manage. Fly fishing on my club lake is a quick fix for me at this time of year, travelling light with one rod, tactics are a slow intermediate line, an 8lb fluorocarbon leader and a single lure.

I had tied some 3’’ snakes which I was keen to use, these lures seemed to be doing the business on other small lakes, tied with olive rabbits fur, the brilliant action of these flies would surely be irresistible to any hungry trout.

I arrived at the water around 11am, the day being one of those rare winter days with no wind and a bright sky. After only two casts a trout hit my lure, playing these winter trout on a light 5# rod is very enjoyable and the fish was netted and returned to the water in tip top condition. Moving around the lake produced another six rainbows plus a small brown trout. Great quick fix fishing!

Below is a list of good trout fishing venues that are open this winter. Get out there and give it a go! 

Cameley Trout Lakes BS39 5QA, Burton Springs Fishery TA51QB, Jacklands Fishing Lakes BS21 6SG, Avon Springs SP4 8HH, Mill Farm Trout Lakes SN10 5UW, Lechlade Fishery GL7 3QQ and Farmoor Reservoir OX2 9NS
A very colourful winter rainbow

Thursday 19 December 2013

2013 - A Great Year for Fishing!

I've managed a few days out since my last post and have caught perch to 2lb 3oz, a few small whiting and a decent sized silver eel. Last week I enjoyed a few hours on the River Chew and tempted some nice dace, roach and a grayling. With the year coming to an end I've found myself looking back through the photographs and have concluded that 2013 has been a very good year! One of my best in fact! River Wye barbel to over 9lb, a waggler caught chub of nearly 5lb and some big dace were all very welcome, during a dry summer in which water levels were dangerously low and the fishing pretty tricky. The hot weather also allowed me to spend time targeting surface feeding carp on the lake and I was lucky enough to catch my first ever 20lb plus fish off the top, a 20lb 1oz mirror and smash my grass carp personal best twice, with fish of 19lb 4oz and a monster weighing 27lb 13oz. I've had success sea fishing too. Personal best wrasse, pollock and my first ever bass were all caught this year. My trip to Norway produced some cracking cod and new species in the shape of ling, coalfish, torsk and a 10lb halibut. January of this year also saw me catch my first ever fly caught fish, a brown trout, on my first time of trying. All very pleasing. It's been great to see friends and family enjoy good catches too. Friends like Dave, Corin and Baz have caught personal bests that include cod, catfish, barbel and carp, to name but four. Dad has had a good year and I've been there to watch him land barbel to nearly 10lb, 5lb plus chub, large carp and tench, as well as a 10lb 8oz bass, a 12lb pollock and his biggest ever fish, a 110lb catfish, during our trip to Spain. It's been a good year in the shop with things now picking up after a slower couple of years and both Dan and Toby have found time to get out fishing, enjoying success of their own which you can read all about on this blog. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what 2014 holds in store. Until next time Cadbury Angling wishes all who support us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Red Fin Heaven. Roach Fishing in the Cotswolds

Biggest of the day
It was off to a gravel pit in the Cotswolds on Tuesday for a day targeting roach. Friend, Tony Sweet and I arrived early morning and set about pre-baiting a couple of swims at the northern end of the pit. A bag of Sensas Gros Gardons groundbait laced with hemp and caster was introduced and left to settle. We had a cup of tea and tackled up. Our chosen tactic was to fish float rods with wagglers, fished slightly over depth and on the business end, size 18 hooks with single caster as bait. We didn't have to wait long for bites and fish seemed to be lining up, with quality roach and some good sized perch coming nearly every cast. Regular top ups of bait kept the fish interested and we caught well all day. The biggest roach was just over a pound and it wasn't alone, I had half a dozen pound plus fish! A great days sport!

A bag of quality roach



Thursday 7 November 2013

Chew Valley Lake Pike and Brown Trout on the Fly

Terry with a nice brown trout
The windy weather has hampered recent plans to get out fly fishing, I have however managed a day on Chew Valley Lake where I targeted reported fry feeding perch. Fish to over 4lb have been caught here in the last few weeks so I thought I would give it a go. I caught some trout but no perch, I did hook two though, both leaping clear of the water and throwing the hook. I also landed a couple of tiny jack pike. Not all Chew pike are monsters! A second trip out found my cousin, Terry and I fishing a lake on my recently acquired Somerfords Angling Association ticket. Terry is new to fly fishing and the two of us enjoyed an afternoon taking small brown trout on dry flies. Good sport!

A tiny Chew pike - a future record breaker maybe?

Monday 4 November 2013

A Fisherman's Tale! Record Carp and Monstrous Catfish Caught

Mike shows off his new Spanish record 77lb mirror carp
Mike's friend, Alan with another big carp
from their recent holiday - a 51lb common
Fisherman's tales, some true, some not so true! The world of angling is and has always been alive with them. It's these stories of huge fish, both lost and landed, weird and wonderful bank side goings on and the simply unexplainable that contribute to fishing's huge appeal. I've always loved the mystery that surrounds fishing and enjoy a monster myth or two and so it's with great pleasure that I get to write (and be apart of) the story I'm about to tell - my very own fisherman's tale! Where do I begin? I guess it ought to be with the capture of my 245lb River Segre catfish in September of 2011, a fish recognised as being the Spanish record at the time, a record I held up until just one month ago when a giant eight foot, six inch moggie was banked at a whopping 249lb! Knocking me off the top spot. So, where am I going with this? Well, during the last couple of years many visitors to Cadbury Angling have been keen to talk to me about my lucky catch, none more so than a chap named Mike Cuff. A good natter with Mike quickly revealed that he enjoys his foreign fishing, he, like me had visited Spain in search of catfish, taking fish to over 140lb. Mike enthusiastically told me of this experience and we got on to talking about some of the other freshwater monsters he had tussled with, most notably the white sturgeon of Canada's Fraser River. I have always been keen to visit Canada to try for one of these incredible looking creatures and so when Mike told me he was planning another trip for next year I was quick to suggest I accompany him. We swapped a few ideas and were soon booking the holiday. We fly next September. Can't wait! Mike and I have been in regular contact since and the two of us have both enjoyed a foreign fishing trip each during the last month or so. For me it was a week in Norway, you can read about that on this very blog. Mike was returning to Spain and this is where the story gets very interesting. Four days in to his trip I received a text message from Mike telling me he had smashed the Spanish carp record with a huge mirror of 77lb! "What are the chances of that?" I replied "You having the carp record and me, up until recently, holding the catfish record!" After all, thousands of anglers fish the Ebro system every year. I was chuffed for Mike and told him I was looking forward to seeing the pictures. What a fish! How would Mike ever top that? With a monstrous catfish that's how! The very next evening Mike landed the same huge cat that had recently beat my record, the eight foot, six inch beast weighed at 249lb only a month ago! Incredible! Had Mike smashed the catfish record too? Unfortunately we'll never know for sure as the scales used to weigh the beast bottomed out at 230lb. What a truly amazing and bizarre chain of events! As if all that wasn't crazy enough, a friend of mine recently returned an eight foot, two inch Spanish wels unweighed due to not having scales and I was also introduced, only two months ago to the angler who held the catfish record a few years before I did, he has since become a regular visitor to the shop as he too lives locally. So, it would appear that if you're heading off out to Spain for a bit of fishing you could do a lot worse than pay a visit to Cadbury Angling as there seems to be something in the air. If we can just work out what it is then we can bottle it and sell it. Anyway, a massive congratulations to Mike on an outstanding brace of huge fish. I'm very much looking forward to our trip to Canada next September, with our combined luck a world record sturgeon is surely on the cards!!!! Mike arranged his week in Spain through Gary Allen of Regency Angling, visit www.garyallensregencyangling.com for information. Photographs of the new record 249lb catfish are a little hard to find but are starting to appear on some Facebook pages, keep your eyes peeled for those.

Mike and his 230lb plus catfish, the fish's exact
weight will forever remain a mystery

Mike and a Fraser River sturgeon - I want one
of these next year

Wednesday 30 October 2013

The Peninsula Federation Team England Qualfiers. Lower Itchen Fishery

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to fish the Peninsula Federation Team England Qualifiers on the Lower Itchen fishery. It is a grayling only competition, fished over 7 hours, you draw partners and setting off numbers. Between the pairing, you can choose then to either fish 3 and a half hours in the morning or afternoon, measuring your partners fish in the session you are not fishing.
I travelled down on the Friday to fish a practise session in the afternoon, arriving to find the river a little coloured, but with plenty of flow. I set up with a heavy nymph on the point, a pink shrimp and a small size 18 pheasant tail, I fished the middle beat, catching 2 small grayling and 3 brown trout which gave a good scrap on my 10’ 3# rod. I had also set up a New Zealand style rod with a dry fly and a small dropper underneath but found the heavy nymphs were out fishing this method.

Saturday morning turned out to be a windy day overcast with heavy showers not ideal but shelter from the wind could be found on certain sections of the river. I had drawn to fish in the afternoon, so upon meeting my partner for the day Michael, who had driven down from Huddersfield for the event, we set off. He had opted to fish the top beat, fishing a very similar method to the one I had opted for, he caught 5 fish ranging from 15cm (the minimum size limit) up to 24cm in his allotted time. Now it was my turn, by the afternoon the wind had increased filling the river with leaves, this was not going to be easy. I opted to try the bottom of the fishery and ended the session with 3 fish to 26cm all caught on a pink bead head fly that we had tied after coming back from the pub the night before. I did have the misfortune of dropping a fish of around 40+ cm with 15 minutes to go at the net, very disappointing!!! On a more positive note two of my companions, Jay Curry and Dave Drake came 4th & 2nd and look good to qualify, so in all I was pleased with my 3 fish in very difficult conditions, there's always next year........

Michael fishing the morning session

Thursday 10 October 2013

On Top of the World. Fishing in Norway

My 10lb halibut
My friend Dave and I have just returned from Skjervoy, Northern Norway. We were there for a week of boat fishing in search of cod, coalfish and whatever else we could tempt. After a quick safety briefing we were handed the keys to our Arvor 215 boat and were soon heading out on our first of six days fishing. This was our first visit to Norway and so we were relying on maps and information provided mainly by customers of Cadbury Angling who had fished these waters before. Many thanks to those who contributed - you know who you are. So, with the fishfinder switched on we set about searching the depths. What we found beneath the surface was as equally dramatic and amazing as our surroundings above it, tall peaks and huge drop offs, some as deep as three hundred meters were a little daunting, but we soon found fish in shallower water near a small island. By the end of day one we had caught cod and coalfish to about 6lb, a small torsk and a monster mackerel. The rest of the week was spent searching out likely looking marks, how far we travelled was largely dictated by the weather, we experienced some wet, windy days and some fine, bright ones, the temperature remaining mild throughout. Bites were plentiful for most of the week with more cod to double figures, small coalfish, a second torsk and a single ling falling to small shads fished on light 12lb - 20lb class gear. Great sport! We did find some larger fish on a couple of days and we both got our heavier 20lb - 30lb class rods bent by some decent cod, Dave took the biggest at 17lb. I was lucky enough to hook a halibut and after a good fight a fish of 10lb was on the boat. The week flew by and we were packing our bags before we knew it, both pleased to have enjoyed catching some decent fish on our first trip to this stunning part of the world. Rods used were tough Daiwa, Leeda and Shimano models. Reels were by Abu and Penn and were loaded with either 30lb or 50lb braid. Terminal tackle was Ultima shockleader, strong swivels, split rings and clips and shads by Storm, Savage Gear and the new ones from Drennan. We organised this trip through Anglers World Holidays, visit www.anglersworld.tv for information and travelled with Scandinavian Airlines - www.flysas.com

Dave with the biggest of the week - a 17lb cod

Thursday 26 September 2013

Wychwood and Cadbury Angling Sponsor Hidden Pairs Competition on Blagdon Lake

One of my four Blagdon brown trout
Sunday saw a hidden pairs competition take place on Blagdon Lake. Prizes had been provided by tackle manufacturer Wychwood and us generous chaps at Cadbury Angling and with lovely weather forecast and a barbecue lunch to look forward to, everyone was hoping for an enjoyable time. I don't think anyone went home disappointed. It was a great day! The fishing was very good and many participants caught their eight fish limit. I took five trout (four browns and a rainbow) by fishing a floating line and a team of red Hackled Hoppers. Not enough to trouble the leader board but good fun none the less. I will try and get my hands on a full list of the results and post them on here as soon as I can. All Bristol Water controlled fisheries continue to fish well, with Chew Valley Lake and Barrow Tanks producing similar fishing to that which we enjoyed at this competition. For information on all these venues and more, visit www.bristolwaterfisheries.co.uk

Happy faces at the prize giving

Autumn on the River Wye at Courtfield, Lower Lydbrook

My fighting fit 8lb 4oz barbel
The River Wye looked great on Tuesday, recent rain had coloured the water a little and upped the pace considerably since my last visit. Things looked good and so it was with some surprise that we found the fishing to be very slow going. I spent the afternoon trotting a large waggler and feeding maggot in an attempt to get the chub feeding, but all I could tempt were small dace and bleak. Dad caught a chub of around 3lb on his barbel rod and so I packed away the float set-up and reached for my heavier gear. Tried and tested 10lb reel line, 12lb fluorocarbon hooklength and Drennan Super Specialist Barbel hook were soon cast to a likely looking spot and it wasn't long before the reel was screaming, as what I guessed was a barbel made off with my Dynamite Baits boilie. Wye barbel love the Sardine & Anchovy and Spicy Tuna & Sweet Chilli baits, but it was Terry Hearn's The Source that had tempted this fish. After a great scrap I was soon returning a chunky barbel of 8lb 4oz. We had to wait until almost dark before either of us hooked in to fish again and when we did both of us lost our next fish each. My fish found a snag and dads fish simply threw the hook after a short while. There was still enough light for a few more casts though and the last fifteen minutes were pretty hectic, with a few more barbel and a nice chub, turning what had been a slow day in to a pretty decent one after all. No complaints from either of us. Visit www.wyeuskfoundation.org or www.lowerwyefishing.co.uk for all you need to know about fishing on the River Wye at Courtfield.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Blanks, Record Shakers and Holiday Plans

September is normally my favourite month of the year, the month I usually catch something memorable. Not this year though, not yet anyway! I've had three attempts at trying to catch a big carp from a tough little venue and three blanks. What a failure! I do have a day booked on the River Wye next week though so there's still time to turn things around. It hasn't been a bad month for everyone mind. I've just heard news from Spain that the CatMaster boys have landed a giant wels of 242lb, a fish that shakes the record I set two years ago with my 245lb fish. Congratulations to the captor. Visit the CatMaster Tours Facebook page for more information and pictures. On the subject of foreign fishing - It's less than a fortnight now until I fly to Norway and I've also just booked the trip of a lifetime for next September - Eight days fishing for white sturgeon on the Fraser River in British Columbia, Canada. I can't tell you how excited I am about this! For information on trips to Norway, Canada and indeed many, many more worldwide destinations visit www.anglersworld.tv Tune in next week to see how my Wye trip turns out.

A Day on the Bristol Avon With Kenny Parsons

My small, but very welcome barbel
I recently joined Somerfords Angling Association, their waters include several gravel pits and over seven miles of the Bristol Avon. It was on a stretch of this river that I chose to spend Tuesday in search of a few chub. Fishing new venues can prove hard work and a bit of help from someone who knows the water goes a long, long way. With this in mind I was quick to jump at the kind offer of a day with angling guide and friend, Kenny Parsons. Kenny has fished here for years and has enjoyed great success in the past, I hoped today would be another memorable one. The river was very low and clear and after baiting a few swims, with the intent of returning to them later, we set about stalking chub with floating crust. We covered a good amount of water, taking a couple of chub to about 2lb, before heading back to our prebaited swims. The afternoon was spent fishing ledgered pellet over the hemp we had introduced earlier that morning. A weir pool swim produced a brace of near 4lb chub for Kenny and I was lucky enough to catch a small, but very welcome barbel of about 3lb 8oz. A successful day and one where I learnt a lot about a venue I intend to fish often this winter. Many thanks to Kenny Parsons for all his help. Visit www.kpanglingguide.com for information on Kenny's guiding services.

A River Avon chub, caught on floating crust

Thursday 29 August 2013

August Highs and Lows

A River Chew grayling - Not my biggest August fish
 but probably the best looking
August has been a real mixed bag for me. I've targeted all sorts of different species, enjoying the ups but suffering some downs along the way. Highs have included a trip to the River Wye that saw me catch plenty of chub to 4lb 14oz on light trotting gear, an afternoon on the River Chew that produced some nice dace, roach and grayling and last weeks boat trip with Devon Bass Pro Charters (See last weeks blog post for details) Lows have been losing what was almost certainly a 20lb plus carp after I'd fooled it in to taking a floater and blanking at both Kingston Seymour sea wall and Clevedon Pier. It's been nice to see dad enjoy a good month. He had a great brace of fish last week during our boat trip and has also caught barbel over 8lb, a 5lb 1oz chub and a few double figure carp. He says this run of good fortune is down to a new pair of wellies! His new lucky wellies! Toby and the new Maver Cadbury Angling Team recently fished the final round of the 2013 South West Super League. The team finished fifth. Pretty good for a first attempt at taking on some very good, well established competition. Finally, Dan hasn't been out much this month but he did catch a 2lb bass last week. So that was August and indeed summer for another year. I'm looking forward to the next couple of months, given some mild weather September and October can often be the best time of the year for us anglers. I've got a bit of carp fishing planned and a day on the River Wye booked, as well as a week in Norway to look forward to. Check back to see how I get on.

Thursday 22 August 2013

A Day at Sea With Devon Bass Pro Charters

Just part of our days catch
Something a little different for me this week, a days boat fishing out of Seaton, Devon. If you read my blogs you'll know that I enjoy my sea fishing but don't do anywhere near as much as I'd like to. When I do go it's usually from the shore and many, many years have passed since I last took to the seas on a boat. So it was with much excitement that on Tuesday I hopped aboard Outcast II, skippered by John Wallington of Devon Bass Pro Charters. Accompanying me on this trip were my dad and two friends, Dave and Baz. Target species was bass but we had been told to also expect some pollock and possibly a cod or two. After an early start we soon found ourselves quickly motoring out to one of the many shipwrecks found in Lyme Bay and it wasn't long before we all had a rod in the water, two of us fishing lures and two using livebait mackerel. Within only half an hour we had all caught, Baz had boated his first ever sea species, a bass of about 5lb, dad and Dave both managed a bass each as well and I had a decent pollock. What a great start! To cut a long story short the day got better the longer we stayed out and after eight hours of drifting over numerous wrecks we had caught just short of thirty bass and pollock between the four of us. Dad had the biggest bass at 10lb 8oz and the biggest pollock, a fish of 12lb. Dave had a near 10lb bass and both Baz and I were very happy to have caught our first of the species too. A really enjoyable day! Great fishing, fantastic weather and in the company of a very knowledgeable and friendly skipper. All of us can't wait to go again! All you need to know about Devon Bass Pro Charters can be found at www.devonbassprocharters.co.uk I can't recommend a trip out with John highly enough. A good time is almost certainly guaranteed!

Friday 16 August 2013

South West Super League 2013 Round 5 Bristol Avon, Newbridge.

Onto the last venue for the 2103 South West Super League, the Bristol Avon. We were fishing the Newbirdge section where the league is usually staged.

The river hasn't seen much water in recent weeks and although there has been some good winning weights, we were all a bit apprehensive on what the day would have in store for us as a team.

The draw was made and I was given 128 which was at the top of my section, just down stream of the rugby club. Not a bad area but probably not a match winning bream weight to be had!!

My peg was quite high off the water and set back so I decided to fish 13m to find a good depth of water to enable me to trot the pole properly.

I setup two top 5's, both with long lines above the floats. I had a 1.5g rig for running through off the bottom and a 3g rig for dead depth.

I also setup up a feeder rod for 2/3rd's of the way across.

I had mixed up 4kg of groundbait, consisting of a bag of Sensas Noire, a bag of Sensas Gros Gardons, a bag of Sensas Match Blend and 1kg of River Leam (Terre de Riviere).

I would say for anyone looking to mixed large quantities of groundbait a whisk and cordless drill is essential, it saves so much time and effort! I split my mix over two buckets to ease the strain on my drill.

On the 'all in' I balled in 10 large balls on my mix, the last 4 having a good pinch on casters in each ball.

I settled down and began with the 3g rig and immediately realised the flow was even slower than I had anticipated, it was tripping through very slowly, after 3 or 4 runs I got my first roach, then after a few more runs another, this continued for the first hour and I ended up with 17 roach and a perch. I kept catapulting a pinch of hemp and a pinch of caster every few minutes over my pole line and a few balls of groundbait towards my feeder line.

After one and a half hours my pole line really dried up so I switched to the feeder. A few casts later and a small skimmer graced the net...was this the start of something really good..........NO! I was getting quick positive bits on the tip on double worm but they were all tiny skimmers!!! I fished this line for a couple of hours and picked up fish steadily, still nothing massive!

I repeatedly catapulted small balls of groundbait over my feeder line, heavily laced with chopped worm.

With two hours to go I opted to top up my pole line, so in went 6 large balls of my mix each packed with casters.

With 30 minutes to go I had a look over my pole line and got bites instantly, a hybrid of 1lb plus several good roach.

At he end of the 5 hours I ended up with 6lb 8oz of mainly roach and small skimmers plus a few perch, this was only good enough for 6th in my section and 3 points. My section was won by Mark Bromsgrove of Sensas Thyers, lower down in my section where there had been some very decent weights caught on the pole.

The team had produced a solid performance, mustering 3 points of the day, the main highlight was Sam Johnson, who again came up trumps with an impressive 2nd in section, the man is proving he is in top form this season!!!

Individual Results on the day:
1st.  Andy Jane (Maver Lobby’s) 101-1-0, bream, groundbait feeder and worm, peg 63
2nd. Chris Parr (Sensas Thyers) 38-14-0
3rd.  Richard Chave (Garbolino BVMG) 23-6-0
4th.  Mark Broomsgrove (Sensas Thyers) 17-2-0
5th.  Andy Ottaway (Preston Innovations Thatchers) 15-2-0
6th.  Nathan Johnson (Preston Innovations Thatchers) 14-9-0

Teams on the day:
1st.  Garbolino BVMG 57
2nd. Preston Innovations Thatchers 52.5
3rd.  Daiwa Gordon League 51.5
4th.  Sensas Thyers 48
5th.  Maver Lobbys 39

League overall:
1st.  Daiwa Gordon League 253.5
2nd. Sensas Thyers 231.5
3rd.  Preston Innovations Thatchers 228.5
4th.  Maver Lobbys 212
5th.  Maver Cadbury Angling 211

Thursday 1 August 2013

Go Fishing With Cadbury Angling is Two Years Old

It's August which means our blog is now two years old. During this time we've posted over one hundred times, amassing over thirteen thousand views from all over the world. The popularity of our blog is growing all the time and the three of us would like to use this opportunity to thank all who take the time to read it. Also, a big thank you to those of you who visit the shop, our website and our Facebook page. Your support is very much appreciated. Here's to the next twelve months.

It's our birthday! Smile and put your party hat on

Thursday 25 July 2013

Close, but not Close Enough

Kingston Seymour sea wall has been producing a few fish lately and so with a very high tide forecast I set off yesterday to see what I could do. Mackerel and squid were my preferred baits and I had my fingers crossed that a bass or thornback ray would take a liking to them. Having not done that much sea fishing meant both of these species were on my to do list and so I hoped to tick one or, if I was really lucky, both of them off on this trip. Just before high tide the rod baited with mackerel started twitching and so I hit the bite and was very happy to be soon skipping a small bass across the surface towards me, just a few more feet to go and it would be mine. It fell off! I rebaited and recast and had to wait sometime for my next bite. I struck this second bite but missed it and was left reeling back in a very chewed up bait. That was all the action for this visit, I came close, but not close enough! Maybe next time.

A very high 14m tide at Kingston Seymour

Beat the Heat

A very low River Wye
A trip to the Wye this week found the river very low and rather slow moving. Our recent hot, dry weather has done very few favours for species that require well oxygenated water to thrive and so I didn't fancy my chances of catching any barbel. With this in mind I set about tackling the river with a waggler rod, the first time in over five years I have set up a float rod on the Wye. The plan was to target some of the other species found here and to avoid a day of staring at what I believed would be the motionless quivertip of my barbel rod. I'm pleased to report that the plan worked a treat and I put together a great bag of small chub, biggest was about 1lb, dace, bleak and one large eel. Very enjoyable. I spent the evening trying for the barbel and wasn't at all surprised when a couple of hours later I found myself packing up having not had a bite. It just goes to show that reading the conditions and changing your tactics to suit can turn a bad day in to a good one.
    Similarly, the carp in our local lakes have been hard to tempt recently, choosing to cruise in the upper layers and sunbathe rather than get down on the deck and feed. But although the carp have lacked the enthusiasm to take a bottom bait during this hot spell, in contrast they've relished the chance to take a floater. So whilst others have waited and waited for their alarms to burst in to life, I've nicked some cracking fish off the top (including my personal best grass carp, that I reported last week) during a few very short, but successful evening sessions. So, next time you're out, read the conditions, try something a little different if needed and you too can beat the heat and keep on catching!

Grass carp like this 9lb fish love floating baits

Helping Heroes

On Saturday, Dave Drake, Jay Currie, Steve Ebdon and I fished the teams of four, Help For Heroes, charity competition at Chew Valley Lake. We all caught well with Jay and Steve taking seven fish each and both Dave and I catching our eight fish limit. Our combined efforts were enough to secure first place on the day, out of the fourteen teams participating. A great days fishing and money raised for a very worthy cause.
Victorious! Jay, Dave and I show off our winners plate

Friday 19 July 2013

South West Super League 2013 Round 3 River Huntspill.

A shift of venue was the order of the day for the next phase of the South West Super League, we were on to the River Huntspill, it was to be pegged from Gold Corner upto the railway bridge.

The practice matches had fished ok, the odd good weight with lots of scratching around in most sections.

I had been drawn on peg 270, so had the northbound carriageway of the M5 for company all day.

This stretch of Withy Grove was famous for bream in years gone bye. I knew some pegs would have bream in them but everywhere could have been difficult.

I set up with a feeder rod long, a feeder rod half way and a pole line at 11m.

I mixed up my favourite mix of Sensas Lake and CrazyBait Gold 50/50 with chopped worm and squat.

On the whistle I fed 6 feeders full then popped on a hooklength and went over my bait. Within 15mins I had a decent skimmer in the net, I thought I was sat on a few fish.......I wasn't!!

After a few recasts I landed a 1lb+ eel and decided to look on my shorter feeder line, which produced nothing at all!!!

I looked over my pole line and first put-in had a tiny perch, as the day wore on I could see Adam Palmer and Andy Pritchard regularly catching further downstream of me. I couldn't buy a bite from any of my lines until 5mins from the end when a bootlace eel paid me a visit on my long line.

I ended up with nicely sunburnt arms and 3lb for my troubles which was good enough for 3 points in my section and helped the team to an overall victory on the day, given the lack of anglers visiting the river and the extremely hot temperatures we couldn't. have been more pleased as a team.

Sean Partridge caught bream and skimmers for 21lb 4oz which won his section and put him 4th overall, so I nice day for him, other team member faired equally well, the supremo of the
team Sam Johnson was 3rd in his section, Gary Cross won his section, Chris hook was 3rd in his section and Dom Sullivan also won his section! Ian Hudson and Don Sutherland also chipped in with valuable points to get us to our winning number of 52!

Roll on next Sunday!!!

Results on the day:
1st.  Adam Palmer (Daiwa Gordon League) 41-1-0, bream and skimmers, groundbait feeder, worm and maggot, peg 264
2nd.  Darren Gilman (Maver Bathampton) 28-0-0
3rd.  Andy Pritchard (Wilts Angling) 22-11-0
4th.  Sean Partridge (Maver Cadbury Angling) 21-4-0
5th.  Dave Micklewright (Daiwa Gordon League) 19-8-0
6th.  Mike Owens (Sensas Thyers) 16-13-0

1st.  Maver Cadbury Angling 52
2nd. Daiwa Gordon League 50
3rd.  Sensas Thyers 45; Lobbys 43
4th.  Preston Innovations Thatchers 42
5th.  Maver Bathampton 39

1st.  Daiwa Gordon League 142
2nd. Sensas Thyers 137
3rd. Maver Cadbury Angling 136
4th. Lobbys 130.5
5th. Preston Innovations Thatchers 127
6th. Cardiff Nomads 105.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Scorcher! Huge Personal Best Grass Carp Banked

Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming! Just when I'm thinking the recent run of luck I've been enjoying has to run out soon, I go and catch a monstrous personal best. Yesterday, with the temperature approaching thirty, a grass carp doing the same, took a liking to my surface fished Cell pop-up dumbell and on the scales swung the needle round to 27lb 13oz. The battle was awesome and without doubt the longest and most enjoyable fight I've ever had from a fish. "Where are the photos?" I hear you ask. Unfortunately, the fishery from which this whacker came enforces a publicity ban and therefore I can't post any images on here. However, if you come and visit me in the shop I will be more than happy to show you the pictures of this enormous carp. Am I wearing a smile right now? You bet I am!

Saturday 13 July 2013

Sizzling Summer Sport

Keeping an eye on us - This seal kept us company all day
at Hope's Nose, Torquay
Wow! What a week I've had! July has started with similar success to that which I enjoyed in June. I've tried a bit of eel fishing, I didn't catch any, but I did land a small carp on a sprat! A first. A few days later and an evenings surface fishing ended in excitement when I slipped the net under a grass carp of 19lb 4oz. A chopped down Cell pop-up, fished on a size 10 Drennan barbel hook, 10lb Korda Kruiser Control line and a Fox Bolt Bubble, proved irresistible to the three and a half foot long personal best. Next up - A day on the Wye at Courtfield. My friend Baz caught his first ever barbel. I was on hand to net the 7lb 10oz fish. Baz was chuffed and I was very happy to have helped him add a new species to his list. Dad caught a couple also, a decent chub of 4lb and I, not wanting to be left out, had barbel to over 8lb. Yet another memorable day on my favourite river. The final thing to report is the afternoon spent at Hope's Nose near Torquay with Dave and Corin. We caught mackerel and pollock on feathers and all managed personal best wrasse, with hard scrapping fish approaching 3lb falling to ragworm fished on light running lead rigs. Great sport! Highlight though, wasn't the good fishing or the amazing weather, but the huge seal that spent the day munching mackerel as we threw them back and even, sometimes, chasing hooked fish as we reeled them in! Very entertaining and not something you see everyday. I'm loving my fishing at the moment and I'm out again next week. Stay tuned. 

Thursday 11 July 2013

Kingston Seymour Sea Wall 09/07/2013

Sunset on the sea wall
I thought I'd make the most of this weeks high tides, not to mention the fantastic weather and head to Kingston Seymour sea wall on Tuesday evening. On arrival I found Trevor, one of our customers, setting up and so I put my gear down not far from him and got the rods out. One I baited with crab and the other, a strip of mackerel. It wasn't long before the mackerel rod started dancing in the rest and after a good scrap I was unhooking and releasing a conger of about 7lb. I missed a further two good bites and then all went quiet for me. Trevor though, caught a small bass which I nipped over to photograph, before watching the sun set and then heading for home.

Trevor and his bass

Tuesday 2 July 2013

South West Super League 2013 Round 2 Gloucester Canal.

A strong westerly wind greeted the teams for the 2nd of two matches on the Gloucester Canal.

After the previous weeks performance, the team was sat in a strong position and hope were high on building on that success.

James Gunter was unavailable for this weeks match, but another match ace, Glen Calvert was, so the team had a strong look to it once again.

The draw was average, no noted pegs, all middle of sections. I had been drawn on the Hempstead straight, peg 18.

My peg was next to a concrete ramp which is used by the rowing club, a gap in the hedge meant I was exposed to the 25-30mph gusts, which made fishing long very difficult.

I knew this section was going to be tough as the previous weeks results showed. I setup my feeder for 2/3rds across the canal and plumed two pole lines, one at 13m and one and 8m.

The first hour saw no bites on the tip or when I looked over my balled in 8m or 13m pole lines. After 1.5 hours I finally had a bite on the 8m line, it felt like a decent eel, then the slimey critter bit through my hooklength!

For the next few hours I alternated between my pole lines and the tip and all I had to show for my efforts were two small eels which were caught on my 8m pole line, that was good enough for last in my section and enough for my to hang my head in shame as I returned to the rugby club for the results.

My other team mates had considerably better results than myself, the ever consistent Sam Johnson won his section again, Chris Hook was 3rd in his section as was Glen Calvert. The remaining team members all produced big points to leave us as a team with 42 points for the second week in a row.

1st. Simon Hebditch (Garbolino BVMG) 31-2-0 Peg 220 pilot
=2nd. Steve Long (Garbolino BVMG)
=2nd. Derek Jarman (Maver Lobby’s) both 19-12-0
4th. Steve Priddle (Sensas Thyers) 18-14-0
5th. Steve Bryan (Maver Lobby’s) 18-7-0

Teams on the day:
Sensas Thyers 56
Daiwa Gordon League 50
Maver Lobby’s 46
Maver Cadbury Angling 42

=1st. Sensas Thyers 92
=1st. Daiwa Gordon League both 92
3rd. Maver Lobby’s 86.5
4th. Preston Innovations Thatchers 86
5th. Maver Cadbury Angling 84

Thursday 27 June 2013

A June to Remember

First barbel of the season - A 9lb 6oz stunner
Last time I posted on here I told you all about my recent trip to Spain, I've been getting out fishing a little closer to home as well though and I've had a very productive month indeed. Just before hopping on the plane I was lucky enough to catch my first ever floater caught 20lb plus carp, a mirror that just scraped in at 20lb 1oz. I was well chuffed! A surface caught twenty had been on my to do list for some time. On getting back from holiday, I wasted no time in sorting out the river fishing gear and headed to the River Chew. I love this river and during a short evening session I caught some of the biggest dace I have ever caught, some were only ounces short of a pound and there were plenty of them too. Finishing the month in fine style was this weeks trip to the River Wye. Barbel and chub were plentiful with a 9lb 6oz barbel kicking things off and plenty more following soon after. Biggest chub was about 4lb. So, big carp, dace, barbel and chub, some large Spanish roach and some decent catfish have provided the best June's fishing I have ever had! Dan continues to catch plenty of trout, Toby and his Maver team are doing well on the match scene and the shop is very busy with people all trying for success of their own. Smiles all round!

South West Super League 2013 Round 1 Gloucester Canal.

 Everyone was in good spirits at the draw for the first round of the 2013 Super League. I was part of the newly formed Maver Cadbury Angling team, which on the day was comprised of Myself,  James Gunter, Sam Johnson, Dom Sullivan, Sean Partridge, Gary Cross, Don Sutherland and Chris Hook (Cptn).

The draw wasn't overly kind to the team, a few good pegs, a few bad. I had drawn peg 220 on the Pilot stretch. After a mammoth walk to my peg, I saw I was the end peg, with Paul Isaacs of Maver Bathampton to my left. Our team had discussed a few tactics prior to the match and I was planning on implementing some of them in this peg.

I plumed a line at around 6m and found it to be a full top 5 deep. I also plumed a 12m line, both of which I was going to cup groundbait over and top-up if need be. As the call of "all in" rang out I could see some anglers in my section had opted to ball in, I stuck with my gut instinct and cupped in, 4 large balls of groundbait/leam/caster/chopped worm and squat over both the 6m and 12m lines. I was going to let this settle and check the lines for signs of life throughout the first hour. I also had setup my feeder rod for fishing 3/4 of the way across the canal. I starting fishing liquidised bread with a punched bread hookbait. 

After regularly recasting and not having any luck, I checked up on my shorter pole line.....nothing. So it was back on the tip! After nearly an hour I had a positive pull round which sprung right back. I lifted into it and it felt like a decent fish. It thudded its way to the net and it was a good 1 1/2lb skimmer. A few more casts and more more sign of life!

Paul, in the peg next to me was already catching a good stamp of skimmers on the pole. I checked my short line once again, I had 3 very small skimmers followed by a slightly better sized hybrid. This run of small fish prompted me to cup in a few more balls. I left that line for 15mins and checked my longer line, where I promptly foul hooked a carp and was left with just a scale! I went back over my 6m line and immediately had a sail away bite which came off almost straightaway, it felt like a better fish. I went over again and this time a got a ripper of a lift bite and after a good fight a 4lb bream was in the net. I had the hook pull out at the net on the next skimmer then put two more in the net. The bites dried up then so I topped up the groundbait again. Still no more bites on my longer pole line or the tip. Paul was still catching steadily and I thought his weight could win the whole match!!

Into the last hour of the match and I started to see signs of life again on my 6m line this resulted in 2 more decent skimmers and a few more baby skimmers. 

I weighed 14lb 12oz of my bream and skimmers which was good enough for 5th overall on the day and 3rd in my section, Paul Isaacs won the section and was second overall with an impressive 30lb bag.

Our team had faired pretty well too, Sam Johnson had won his section and came 3rd overall with 19lb. Gary Cross had also won his section and the rest of the team had all chipped in with some good points to leave us with 42 points on the day, tied joint 4th overall with Daiwa Gordon League.

1st. Rob Skellet (Nomads) 36-7-0, bream and skimmers, groundbait feeder with maggot
2nd. Paul Isaacs (Maver Bathampton) 30-14-0
3rd. Sam Johnson (Maver Cadbury Angling) 19-5-0
4th. Dave Micklewright (Daiwa Gordon League) 17-4-0
5th. Toby Parker (Maver Cadbury Angling) 14-2-0
6th. Gary Webber (Preston Innovations Thatchers) 12-13-0

Preston Innovations Thatchers 52
Nomads 47.5
Wilts Angling 46
Daiwa Gordon League 42
Maver Cadbury Angling 42

Thursday 20 June 2013

Fly Fishing for Wild Brown Trout at Grwyne Fawr Reservoir

Double hook up! Brown trout on dry flies
Fly fishing at a remote reservoir set high in the Black Mountains, accessible only by an hours walk, would not be everyone's idea of a relaxing days fishing. My friend Rik and I however, had been looking forward to this trip for a month or so. After the long walk we arrived to find the reservoir flat calm at the dam, but a slight ripple at the far end. We started at the dam end and by fishing a pair of nymphs on a 5lb leader I was in to a fish on only my third cast. A lovely wild brown trout of about 12oz. Moving along the bank every couple of casts produced a few more pulls, before we both changed to dry flies. This produced fish for both of us before a strengthening wind forced us to the opposite bank, where I hooked a big fish which unfortunately broke my leader. Re tackling with a 7lb leader soon caught a couple more trout, no bigger than the ones we had already been catching though. We fished on until early evening, catching a few more, before taking the long walk back to the car and heading for home.

Rik with the biggest of the day
The dam wall


Tuesday 18 June 2013

Fishing in Spain With CatMaster Tours

Dad landed the biggest of the week, this 110lb catfish
Last week was spent fishing on the River Segre in Mequinenza. Accompanying me on this (my third) trip to Spain, were my dad, Roger and Corin, all on their first trip and all looking to catch their first ever catfish. I had, once again, placed confidence in guide Ryan Binge, of CatMaster Tours, to get us amongst the fish, I knew he would do everything he could to help us all catch. On arrival he told us that the fishing had been hard, with unsettled weather and some difficult river conditions preventing anglers from catching much at all for some time. We were here to try our best though and that's what we set about doing at the first opportunity. The week started well with Corin landing a catfish of 83lb. Dad and Roger soon did the same with a cat each, pulling the scales round to 72lb and 49lb respectively. I was next, my fish went 73lb. By mid week we had experienced a real mixed bag of weather, some very hot days, cool, cloudy ones and even some heavy rain. The fishing had been a bit unpredictable also and so for the last couple of days we moved swims in an attempt to get a few more bites. This new swim provided the opportunity to target some of the other species found in the Segre. Some decent roach, a carp of 6lb and a single little zander, of about two inches long, all took a liking to feeder or float fished double maggot. The move proved a good one for the catfishing too and by midnight on Saturday we had caught a few more, dad taking the biggest at 110lb. All things considered we had done very well. We didn't catch as many fish as this time of year normally produces, nor did we catch any really big cats, but we had all caught during a period when many others had not. Most importantly, dad, Roger and Corin are all now able to say that they have caught catfish. So, a good holiday and one from which we all returned wearing smiles. For more information on CatMaster Tours, visit their website at www.catmastertours.com I cant recommend them highly enough and I urge anyone thinking about taking a Spanish catfish or carp fishing trip to give them a try.

I was pleased with this 1lb plus roach

Thursday 6 June 2013

Chew Valley Lake Evening League Round Three

The weather on Tuesday could not have been more perfect for round three of the Chew Valley Lake Evening League. Warm temperatures and a slight breeze meant hopes were high for a few fish. A quick ask around in the lodge suggested fish were to be found at the North Shore and dam areas and so on the whistle, my boat partner Dave Drake and I wasted no time in motoring in to position and making our first casts. Teams of holographic nymphs were our preferred set ups and we both soon hooked rainbows of about 3lb each. This method continued to produce until the sun started to sink and as fish came higher up in the water I swapped to three crunchers to slow my sink rate. A change which also produced bites. We were back at the lodge before we knew it and our six fish each were enough to give Dave third place with 15lb 8oz, whilst my bag weighing 14lb 9oz, placed fifth. Winner on the night was Rik Anderson, helped to 16lb 9oz by a 5lb rainbow.

Dave with a 4lb rainbow trout

Saturday 25 May 2013

Blagdon Lake on Top Form

Two recent trips to Blagdon Lake, the first with Martin Lowe, the second with Toby for his birthday, have produced some fantastic fishing. Overcast, breezy days have found the trout eager to feed in the mid to surface layers with most fish falling to my washing line set-up, consisting of a pair of nymphs and a booby on the point. Rainbows between 2lb and 3lb have made up the bulk of the catch with the odd bigger one approaching 5lb. Best areas have been Cheddar Water to Rainbow Point and Peg's Point, although fish have been coming from all over the lake. Chew Valley Lake is also fishing very well, as is Barrow Tanks. More information on all Bristol Water run fisheries can be found at www.bristolwaterfisheries.co.uk

Thursday 16 May 2013

Getting Back Out There

I've been getting out a bit since I last posted on here. Sea fishing trips have produced a few bites, with wrasse, mackerel and dogfish providing some sport. I didn't catch a new species like I said I wanted to, although I did catch several starfish one afternoon! Not sure if they count though!? On the coarse fishing side of things, carp, tench, bream and roach have had the rods bent over in a way I've not seen for a while. Good fun! Only a few weeks to go until I travel to Spain for a week of fishing in the sunshine (hopefully!) Catfish and big roach are the targets. A full trip report will appear here upon my return.

A spring brace

Thursday 2 May 2013

Fly Fishing at Kennick Reservoir in Devon

Kennick is set in superb surroundings
I was told about Kennick Reservoir sometime ago. So, on Tuesday I set off, with fellow BRFFA member Rick, to explore what the fifty acre venue had to offer. The fishing here is controlled by the South West Lakes Trust with both catch & retain and catch & release tickets available. Very few reservoirs are as picturesque as Kennick, the scenery is stunning and after taking it in and chatting to a few locals we headed to the far side to get fishing. I set up a 9' 5# rod with a slow intermediate line, a 7lb fluorocarbon leader and a pair of damsels, my favourite set up when fishing a new venue for the first time. A couple of hours passed in the blink of an eye, Rick missed a take, but other than that, no joy for either of us. We headed back to the lodge for a cup of tea and to re-think our tactics. I opted to change to a homemade viva booby on the point and a small hares ear on the dropper. This produced instant results and a hard fighting Kennick rainbow was soon in the net. I took another fish on this set up before changing to a floating line and a pair of size 14 holo nymphs. Fishing these almost static, one of my favourite methods, produced three more trout. All fought well above their weight and were in excellent condition. We fished on, but with the cooling wind putting the fish down we packed up at 7:30pm and made our way home. I was very satisfied to have caught fish from a new venue. For information on the South West Lakes Trust visit their website at www.swlakestrust.org.uk   
A plump Kennick rainbow

Thursday 25 April 2013

Birthday Fly Fishing on the River Usk, Gliffaes Llandetty

A River Usk brownie
April 22nd is my birthday and what better way to spend it than going fishing! I had booked The Wye & Usk Foundation controlled beat, Gliffaes Llandetty, a stretch of the middle River Usk available on a day ticket for £24.00. I arrived at the beat at 10:30 am and set up with a pair of tungsten head nymphs on a 9' 5# rod. The morning past without a fish but early afternoon brought a change in the weather and as the sun broke through the clouds, a hatch of March brown's brought the trout to the surface. Quickly changing to a leader of 8lb fluorocarbon with a tippet of 4lb Drennan Double Strength and a grey wulff fly, the closest match I had in my box, I cast to the nearest feeding trout and watched as it sucked the fly gently off the surface. Sport was hectic from then on, with six trout, all around twelve inches, netted and several more hooked briefly, then lost. A very enjoyable days fishing. All you need to know about The Wye & Usk Foundation, can be found at www.wyeuskfoundation.org I stayed at the Gliffaes Country House Hotel, which I can thoroughly recommend. Visit www.gliffeashotel.com for more information.

A view of the salmon pool

Thursday 18 April 2013

2013 Season Starts on Chew Valley Lake

The 2013 season on Chew Valley Lake has kicked off and I've made a few trips already.
The first, on Tuesday 2nd April was a bright, breezy day. Setting off for the North Shore I knew the fish would be down deep so I set up a die 7 sinking line with two boobies on a short leader. Six fish were soon boated and so I changed tactics to practice for Saturday's upcoming floating line only competition. A longer leader with a pair of heavy buzzers and a small lure was cast out and it was soon apparent that this set up was going to be much trickier to tempt a trout on. Several drifts produced a few pulls but no fish. Saturday was going to be tough!

Chew Valley Lake - I'll be spending a lot of time here
during the next few months
Saturday arrived and with it the first of the ten floating line only competitions. My boat partner and I headed across to the North Shore and set up a drift, but with the wind in a different direction to Tuesday, we found ourselves drifting across to Hollow Brook and fishing different water to where I had caught fish earlier in the week. After three drifts with no fish we moved to the False Island where, in theory, the shallower water should make fishing with a floating line easier. I was again fishing two heavy buzzers and a small lure and we both soon found some trout, my boat partner and I catching a brace each. A decent enough start!

Saturday 13th April saw me fishing the Snowbee Boat and Bank Competition. This was going to be a rough one, with a south westerly howling and rain forecast all day! Wearing my new Vass jacket and waders, my boat partner and I set off to drift from the East Shore towards Denny Island. Choosing to fish die 7 sinking lines with two boobies proved a good decision and it was not long before we were in to fish. We continued to catch on this drift until the wind direction changed, blowing us from Spring Bay to Hollow Brook. This change of wind brought some really heavy rain, testing my waterproofs to the limit. By late afternoon I had caught seven fish and my boat partner had managed six. We called it a day and headed in, taking over twenty minutes to make the journey back to the jetty in weather conditions that had whipped up waves like the ones you see out in the Bristol Channel! My fish weighed 18lb 8oz and the winner was helped to 26lb 8oz by a 6lb plus rainbow, the biggest fish of the day. Congratulations to him!

Waves breaking on Chew