Month: <span>February 2021</span>

Although I didn’t know it the trip to the river in last week’s blog was the last one for a couple of months. Here in South East England it rained, and when I say it rained I mean it poured! Rivers were flooded, ponds and lakes overflowed and the ground became saturated. Think First World War trenches and you will get the picture! Then it snowed!

So it was a while before I ventured out on the bank again which gave me time to reflect on my third age angling career so far. I suppose I had been lucky, I managed to catch fish every time even if they were tiny and I had caught some nice carp, tench and a decent perch. I had certainly done well enough to encourage me to keep going and to try to get better and improve my knowlege and equipment. One way to do this was to change my reels. For float and light ledgering I had been using a couple of old ones. Probably cheap when I got them I can’t remember when I bought them or even how I acquired them but they must have been thirty years old if they were a day. I had some gift tokens from a large internet angling supplier (no sponsorship here but they ship directly to you!) for Christmas and decided to go for new reels. What to choose? I read the reviews, got more confused and eventually decided to do what I usually do when buying stuff and go for the budget end of reputable manufacturers rather than flashy stuff from firms that I have never heard from and chose a couple of Shimano reels, the FG2500 at £29.99 and the FX3000 at £19.99. I thought the FX2500 would go with the float rod and the 3000 with the ledger rod.

My very old reels – sorry, I mean vintage!

I have only used them a couple of times but what a difference they make! My 10ft Maver rod, which I had been a bit disappointed with is transformed! I can now trot a float down the river with the best of them! With the bail arm open the line just flows off the reel and follows the float downstream just like you see on the YouTube videos and something the old reels wouldn’t do. When I went to the lake I found that I could cast much further too. These reels have totally changed my angling experience and yes, I do appreciate that they are at the cheap end of the spectrum and if I had spent more they would be even better but hey, one step at a time! The only thing I can’t comment on yet is what they are like when you have hooked a decent fish as I haven’t managed that yet! With luck I soon will!

Their nice new replacements!

I think the most important thing however has not been the gear but the actual getting out of the house and getting out into the countryside for a while. My wife is vulnerable to the Covid 19 virus and so we have been shielding for almost a year now. Fishing has given me an interest that I can pursue without getting too close to other people and certainly helped my mental health. Even when not catching there is plenty to see, swans, yes always swans! Herons, cormorants, ducks and on a lucky day a kingfisher. Smaller birds come and visit and I have seen different kinds of tits in the trees and bushes and there is always the robin looking enviously at the bait box! There are also different sounds, I have heard children playing during their school lunchtime even though the school is about a mile away, bird song, some of which I can identify, the whooping of the swan’s wings as they fly overhead and the tractor ploughing the fields. Then there is the constant background noise of traffic, it seems that wherever I am on the club’s waters it is difficult to get away from the hum of the motor car. Still, mustn’t grumble, that’s how I got to the bank!

These are some of my thoughts on how my first year has gone so far. I will try to put some  more in order for next week but as the sun has come out at last I might just go fishing instead!

One of the scenic views from my angling year


When I was growing up I always fished in rivers and I suppose that I still think that this is proper angling, going after wild fish that don’t live in a managed environment. I had tried the local river in the summer but access was difficult and I had been waiting for the nettles to die down along the banks. In the meantime I found a swim only a short walk from the road and with no nettles or grass as it was sheltered under trees. These made it a bit difficult to fish so shorter rods and underarm casting were needed but as it was only a small river or large stream this wasn’t a problem.

On my first visit I didn’t know what to expect, the water level was fairly low and the water itself quite clear so I could see the bottom in places. I did my usual thing of putting out a feeder rod and actively fishing the float rod but wasn’t getting any bites with the feeder so concentrated on the float. I had a good day trotting the float and catching every few minutes. There was a variety of fish there including a gudgeon and some roach and chublets, not forgetting minnows! These became a bit of a nuisance and I changed hook to a larger size to try and avoid them but no luck, they continued to swallow the bait and hook kamikaze style and could be difficult to unhook. Nevertheless I had a good day and decided to go return another day.

A couple of weeks later I tried again, it was now late November and the river was a bit higher but I could still see the bottom in places. I had another good day mostly catching roach and there didn’t seem to be as many minnows. Then the float dipped decisively and I was into a bigger fish, not enormous but bigger than anything I had caught that day. As it came to the surface I saw that it was a perch and was thrilled to get it into the landing net! The only perch that I had caught so far were tiddlers and this was a proper fish, it weighed in at 1lb 7 oz and was a personal best. Some quick photos and an admiring look and I lowered it back in the river and after a few moments it was away.

Things went quiet for a bit and after a while I decided to pack up. I had landed 24 fish in that session and some of them were more than tiddlers! I went back a couple of weeks later but by then it had been raining a lot and the river was in flood. I couldn’t find and cast to any back eddies or sheltered spots and only caught one fish with my first cast on the feeder rod. I thought that I was in for a great session after that fish but it was downhill all the way!

After that I kept my eye on the river levels on the Internet, I knew what was too high and as it continued to rain I didn’t get back there for a few months. In fact I had a bit of a break after Christmas as it was either pouring, snowing or frosty but it did give me chance to reflect a bit and sort out my gear, more of which in my next post.

He looks to have suffered a bit!


I continued my tour of the club’s waters by visiting one of the more distant lakes, although it wasn’t very far away. I had been for a look round and found that the car park was about 200 yards from  the lake and I would have to carry my gear up a muddy track. After seeing guys with barrows I thought about getting one but thought it was a lot of money for a hobby that I was still not really sure about. I decided to adapt a sack barrow which I had in my shed by making a box to put the rods in and attaching it to the back of the barrow. It worked after a fashion and I slowly made my way to the lake and found one other guy fishing there. We had a chat and he wasn’t having much luck so I moved to the other end of the lake near an island and put out my carp rod and float rod and sat back.

I soon started catching fish, the usual small roach and then a carp jumped. Over the next hour several carp jumped and so I changed where I was casting and then tried surface fishing with bread. The trouble was that the lake was home to ducks, hundreds of them and on seeing my bread there was frantic competition for it! Not wanting to hook a duck I gave that up and tried a Zig rig fishing high up in the water. The carp continued to jump and I continued to catch small silverfish and then it started to rain. Having learnt my lesson I had brought my umbrella and so I put it up. It was fairly old and was just a basic umbrella but it kept the rain off me and much of my gear so I was happy.

One of the better fish of the day!

The day carried on much the same, the carp kept jumping, I didn’t catch one and continued to catch the odd small roach and perch. It stopped raining just before home time and I struggled back to the car, falling over twice in the process. I had enjoyed the day but was a bit miffed that I could see fish but not catch them and also decided that I must do something about all my gear if I was going to fish here again. Taking carp rods and tackle and Silverfish rods and tackle only worked if I could park near the swim. To make matters worse a guy posted on the club’s Facebook page the next day about what a great session he had at the same lake, catching eight carp!

My friend the duck! Well he thought he was my friend as he wouldn’t leave me alone!


Well, it is Saturday and time to update my blog and I have just realised that I made a mistake last week by publishing my blog entry as a page, which no-one can see, so I have had to include it in posts so it now appears that I have posted two blog entries on the same day, which I have but I didn’t mean to! Anyway we are now at the end of October and I had an entertaining day’s fishing, thanks to Ben!

As the forecast wasn’t too bad for today compared to the rest of the week I took the opportunity to go fishing. I continued my plan of visiting all the Club waters and arrived at the venue to find a square irrigation reservoir surrounded by trees. Well, not quite surrounded as on one side they were cutting them down and all kinds of machines were at work making a racket and spoiling the peace and quiet!

I arrived at the same time as another guy who had all the gear, a trolley to put it on with matching bags and also his son, who was four years old. As a newbie I asked my fellow angler’s advice, socially distanced of courses and we ended up fishing in neighbouring swims. I soon found that Ben, for that was the lad’s name had a love of fishing and liked to help his dad, he was also a right chatterbox!

I soon began catching small roach on my float rod, which was tricky to handle as the swim was about ten feet deep or more. Ben noticed me catching.

“Dad! Dad! He’s caught a fish, I’m going to see!” And he was off! It was then that I realised that four year olds don’t have any idea of Social Distancing! Ben was quickly followed by his dad who wanted to keep him out of my way but every time I caught a fish the attraction was too great! Soon he was holding my fish and putting them back in the water!

After a couple of hours with nothing on my carp rod and nothing on Ben’s dad’s we had a chat. He told me that the fish were swimming in mid-water, which explained why I was catching nothing fishing on the bottom. He had a fish finder echo sounder device and could see them, I told you that he had all the gear!

I decided to change my rig to fish off the bottom and about half an hour later the bite alarm sounded and I was into a carp.

“Dad! Dad! He’s got a carp!” but this time dad was not letting him come over and get in my way.

“Dad, he’s got a fish! We haven’t got a fish, why haven’t we got a fish dad?”

I manage to land the carp and had him on the unhooking mat and both Ben and his dad came over to see, as you do. Ben was very keen to stroke the carp and to have him weighed and he came in at just under seven and a half pounds. Ben helped me put him back by holding the end of the landing net handle.

Then it was their turn to catch and Ben helped dad by getting the landing net. I wandered over for a look.

“That’s my rod.” Said Ben although it looked to me that Dad was doing all the work! Ben was very proud that his fish weighed a pound more than mine.

Then it was lunchtime and I was confident that I would get a bite with a sandwich in one hand and a cup of tea in the other but it was not to be. I decided to have a change from the float rod and fish with a feeder and a quivertip to try to pick up some bigger roach on the bottom. Time passed and I did get a better fish.

“Dad, he’s got a roach again!”

Then the tip pulled round quite quickly and I was into something totally different! On light tackle it was giving me a fair old fight and as it got nearer I could see that it was a carp of two or three pounds. I managed to land it and had it on the unhooking mat and the hook had fallen out by itself. I was just getting my phone out for a picture when the alarm on my carp rod started beeping! A quick shout to my neighbour.

“Can you put this one back for me? And that was the last I saw of it. I was back to my carp rod and into another nice fish, a bit smaller than the first one. Ben wanted to help me land him but dad kept him out of my way until the fish was safely landed. We didn’t weigh him this time and Ben helped me put him back by holding the handle of the landing net again.

After that it went quiet, then it started to rain and I pondered the wisdom of leaving my fishing umbrella in the car because I had too much to carry, perhaps I need one of those trolley things! I covered up all my gear as much as possible and I had waterproofs and wellies on so was OK although I did go and stand under a tree for a while.

There were a few smaller fish and Ben came and “helped” me with them. One of them had swallowed the hook and I was taking a while to get it out with and Ben was watching me intently.

“We say it’s a pain in the arse when they do that!” I had to agree but was laughing inside, I don’t think dad heard him or would have approved! Then it was starting to get dark, time to pack up, go home and get the dinner. “Are you going home? We’re going home soon!”

I wandered over to say goodbye to Ben and his dad. I had been impressed with the way dad involved him in their fishing. Ben obviously liked fishing and spent six hours on the bank being well behaved and interested in what was going on, even when nothing much was happening.

Dad had had no more bites, I felt a bit sorry for him but at least he didn’t blank. He told me that was the worst he had ever done here. I told him I had beginner’s luck! I don’t know if that made him feel any better!

Then it was back to the car, struggling with all my damp gear and home to spread it out in the shed to dry. The Missus said.

“Did it rain much? We had a few drops here.”

A few drops! I was only three miles away and it poured for twenty minutes! Of course if I had taken my umbrella to the swim then it would have stayed dry all day!

Never mind, that was another venue ticked off the list and although I caught a few it was far too noisy with the tree felling. I have more places to fish before returning.


Now that it is Saturday it is time to update my Blog. We get back to the story after a few months had passed since I started fishing again and it was now mid October. The fish were still biting and I thought that I would try as many of the club’s waters as possible before winter set in.

This one looks like it used to be a gravel pit and is supposed to be good to fish. The ground was a bit wet after some rain so I put on my waterproof trousers and wellies and went to have a look, chatting to a couple of anglers on the way, keeping my social distance of course! I had nearly got back to the car when I found that my phone was no longer in my pocket! I had used it to take some pictures half way around the lake so I knew that I had it with me so I started to re-trace my steps. First stop was the swim where I had just been chatting to a guy but it wasn’t there. He was great though and said that if I gave him my number he would ring it until I found it. A couple of hundred yards later and I could hear the ringtone and soon homed in on my phone, great relief all round! Walking back I thanked him and as he was packing up he even gave me some of his bait, what a nice bloke!

Eventually I made it back round to a swim I had been told was a good one and got the carp rod out and set up the float rod. It was then that I realised that I had left the rod rests and alarm at home. I always forget something but decided to carry on without them. I got the rods in the water and soon the carp rod started shaking and I was into a fish, not a carp but a tench of 5 and a half pounds, the first tench that I have ever caught!

Attention then went back to the float rod and I was busy pulling out tiny roach as seems to be my usual catching style, then the carp rod started twitching again and I was into another fish. It felt different to the tench, livelier and jerky and didn’t want to come in so easily but I soon had him into the net. A nice common which weighed in at seven and a half pounds.

Safely unhooked and returned and the rod back in the water and time to catch smaller fish on the float rod. I was catching these all day, must have been 20 at least.

I glanced over at the carp rod and the line was going slack then tight then slack then tight, I picked up the rod and was into a fish! This one was quite different to a tench, much more fight, in a short while I had landed a carp of the same weight.

I caught another carp and another tench during the day, it was a good result and I was well pleased. The sun shone a bit, the wind blew my line into the reeds and the tree, I lost a method feeder, sheltered from the wind, saw a heron and a flock of about 15 swans flying overhead and generally enjoyed being out in the country.

The second tench was an odd one, I was reeling the line in to pack up and he was on the end of it, I have no idea how long he was there! He didn’t seem too happy about being caught though, looked very grumpy!

After him I did go home to find that the Mrs had even got the dinner for me, usually that is my job! So, a good day at a lake that I will certainly go back to. Anyone got any tips about how to take a selfie with a fish in one hand and camera in the other?