Wednesday 29 April 2009

Caught on Camera

Fishing in front of a lens is never easy- so this week it was a good effort by Russell Hilton, who managed to get the better of several nice carp at Millhayes Fishery near Collumpton, in spite of my distracting questions and photo-taking, including wading into his swim to get some different angles! Russell is a dab hand at fishing sensitive pole tackle on a centrepin rell and running line- a method I also enjoy. You get great sensitivity, but also the capacity to land those bigger than average carp that scream off into the middle of the lake. We didn't quite get that double- albeit a close best fish of 9lb 10oz! Still, a great method and a neat feature in prospect.
Otherwise, I'm also on the trail of one of angling's truly eccentric one offs- fly tying genius from the planet Zog, Mr Leon Guthrie. You'd go a long way to find a more daring, fun and original fly tyer and I would highly recommend his own site
As well as some deadly and unique ideas (just check out some of his beautifully crafted buzzers and nymphs), the novelty patterns are also well worth a look. Any one fancy fishing with a miniature big mac, Cessna air craft or even a breaded haddock?!!

Saturday 18 April 2009


An unusual week all round really. First stop was a quick spot of trout fishing in just about the last place you might break out a fly rod, the town of Tiverton. Despite all the empty tinnies, bricks and crisp packets there is a surprisng head of brown trout to be found here. Provided, that is, you don't mind people looking at you like you're crazy.
It was a little adventure in any case- I was expecting tiny trout, but took two 11 inch beauties from the little brook that runs right through some of the not so pretty parts of town. Amazing! I really thought I'd lost it when two friendly hoodies told me "keep going upstream and you'll get to paradise". Paradise fields, I think the area is called, is pretty far from paradise- but along the way there are some sweet little glides and pools. And then it got better- by a concrete slipway I did a double take as I saw a spotty head pop up twice to grab a passing morsel. Within a second of popping a dry fly on the spot it was game on with a proper Townie Brownie! Perhaps the water isn't so dirty here after all- and I always love to be surprised:
Today was a far cry from an urban brook though- a jump to the vastness that is Chew with two senior Garnetts in tow. Trouble was we couldn't decide whether to go for the trout or the pike and ended up dabbling with both. The rainbows were surprisingly tricky to nail at first-although a switch to a cormorant did the trick for the stockies:
As for the pike, we also got our kicks with a few jacks to six pounds- but no beasts. The most bizarre spectacle was seeing a pike on the line regurgitate a roach in mid fight, which was promptly grabbed from the surface by a waiting sea gull! A strange week indeed.

Saturday 11 April 2009

Blank Holiday

Don't you just love Bank Holiday weekend? Well, no actually. From the stacked up caravans, blocked roads and general slobbing about, it ain't exactly my personal nirvana.
having succumbed to the offer of double time on Sunday and Monday, I decided to get a day in at Creedy lakes.
Not my favourite place admittedly- but there are some big, hard fighting carp on offer. The trouble is, half of all mankind are also after them. A few questions always come up: Do you really need to hammer the shit out of the bank in the swim next to mine? Do you really need a bait boat to get out fifteen yards? And do you really have to cast right across my swim?!!
Conditions looked perfect for my favourite method here- bread paste fished on low resistance leger rigs, usually worth a few runs. It was painfully slow however and the main excitement was me nearly falling in! The last time that happened was when I was three and fell in the Thames- my dad had to jump in and grab me. Anyhow, I escaped a horrible slip with merely a wet right leg- more damage to my pride than anything. Fourteen hours later, and the lake was still dead; a tench was the only catch I witnessed. The problem is that part of you always thinks "one bite! One bite is all it takes to turn boredom into bonus time!" Blanking is all part of the game however- and even with a couple of moves and changes, I couldn't buy a bite.
If the session was a play it would have been "Waiting for Godot" -a story about two vagabonds who sit about contemplating the futility of life whilst absolutely sod all happens. This happy little work finishes with a suitable joke- the characters agree it really is high time they left, followed by the stage direction "nobody moves".

Saturday 4 April 2009

Plan B...

Kennick reservoir was today's expedition- partly to take my Dad out fishing on his first day of retirement, partly to try out a selection of new buzzers and daiwl bachs I've been working on. It was a fine but windy afternoon, perfect for drifting a team of naturals. At least that was the plan. But no, the trout were not interested in my delectable little recent tyings. Not a sniff I'm afraid- although a switch to an intermediate line and some lures bought some action. A bit like showing some guests a three course gourmet meal and them going for a McDonalds instead.
I guess these stockies still haven't switched on to natural grub. Anyhow, I'm no fly snob and certainly enjoyed some belting takes on damsel nymphs (damsel lures more like) and fritz patterns. A couple of rainbows did some fantastic leaping-clear-into-the bloody-sky stuff too, which I always love. And at Kennick you have the option of the "catch and release" ticket. Let's face it, who needs six trout? One trout curry and a couple of fish cakes and I've had enough, so I kept two nice table sized fish and the rest were either released or decided to release themselves without my permission, the cheeky buggers!

Wednesday 1 April 2009

So long, and thanks for all the pike

There comes a time when it's time to give the pike a break and switch your attentions elsewhere for a while. I've been saying this for a week or two now, but as is typical I've been after that one last special fish. It's been hard work at times though- although I've had lots of fun with more modest sized samples. Finally though, after a couple of suprisingly cold blanks, I managed to catch this beautifully fit female:
I won't bore anyone with weights- this one didn't swing the needle to twenty, but what a great feeling after some slow and severely early starts before work. The fish do seem more willing to chase a little more too- I've been trying fly/sink and draw, the cue being a pike following a half herring in after a biteless first hour!
But anyway, next trip I intend to get back to some more lighthearted river fishing. There's a stream somewhere waiting for me. I can picture it now- coppery clear water, stony and trout infested. It's decidedly short on huge predatory fish, but a great escape from it all. All that's needed is a little brook rod and some suitable excuses. Besides, the soon to be spawning pike need a break from me and vice versa.