Month: <span>March 2021</span>

The river season is over until June, the days are getting longer and lighter, the club’s Facebook page is showing carp that have been caught so it is time to go back to the still waters and see what I can catch. 

The Facebook page had a thread about your targets for the year, the replies were all about increasing your personal best or catching more fish. I put that I wanted to fish all the club’s waters and then catch a fish in each one. I was told that was a good idea for a new member and so with that in mind I set out for somewhere I hadn’t fished before. It is a series of three lakes on a connecting stream and I had a good walk round before I picked somewhere to fish. I chose a nice sheltered spot with a reed bed a little way in front, eventually remembered how to set up my carp outfit and also put a float rod out and waited expectantly. After a while I moved the carp rod and fished in a different place as I remembered the saying that you have to find the fish in the winter. Then I changed the depth on the float rod, put in some more maggots and groundbait. Time passed without a bite.

I decided to have a go with the feeder rod. I have almost got to the point where it doesn’t get tangled any more and I feel pleased with myself about that. Still nothing, not a bite, not a twitch. I decided it was time for my fail safe remedy to get a bite and as it was now lunchtime  I got my flask and sandwiches out, still nothing. It was nice sitting in the sun and I was getting warm so off came some layers, soon I would be fishing in a T shirt! The swans came to see me, as they usually do, a buzzard glided overhead in the distance, some ducks quacked friskily and a swan chased a Canada goose right across the lake but I still didn’t catch anything. Mindful of the saying about if you do the same thing and expect different results I tried out different rigs and tweaked my setup with no result. To be honest I was getting bored. I went for a walk to look at moving to a different swim but there wasn’t much time left so I stayed. I had a chat with a couple of other anglers who were also blanking. I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse. Better in that I was not the only one, worse that nobody was catching any fish.

Eventually it was time to pack up. On the drive home I reflected on my day, I think it was the first proper blank I have had since I started fishing again and I didn’t like it. Previously I have caught at least a minnow or baby perch or even missed a bite but today it was nothing. So, was I wasting my time? I have read on forums about the benefit to your mental health that fishing has, how it is good to get out of the house, get away from the missus, have some “me” time and all of this may be true but I go fishing to catch fish, and I didn’t. I can do all of the above by walking three minutes from my house and be out in the country, I don’t need to go fishing for that. I go fishing for that moment where the float dips, the quiver tip twitches or the alarm buzzes. That moment when you pick up the rod and feel something alive on the end of the line. What is it? How big is it? Will I land it or will it come off? All this is still new to me and still exciting. That’s what I go fishing for.

So, was it a waste of a day? No, I did spend a day outdoors doing what I enjoy. I learned that you can’t always be successful. In everyday life we are usually in control, the car starts when you turn the key, the TV comes on when you press the remote, the shopping is delivered to your front door. Angling reminds us that nature is greater than we are and we don’t control it. You can do all the right things but still not get the result that you want. Blanking is a lesson learned and anyway there is always next time!

Not much sign of spring in the trees and hedgerows so perhaps it was a bit early to be catching much!


Although the title is winter break I have actually been fishing a bit recently in the river but haven’t caught anything remarkable, just a few roach and plenty of minnows. The river is closed now so it will be off to the club’s still waters when the weather brightens up a bit. Interestingly enough the club’s Facebook page is showing carp being caught now so I might well get my carp rods out, which brings me neatly to the subject of this week’s blog – luggage.

When I first started fishing again I used an old ex-army knapsack and my Shakespeare tackle box. When I walked down to the canal I put everything on an old sack barrow and was quite comfortable pulling it. When I moved on to my first lake the swims were near to the car park and I managed to get my gear to the bank without too much trouble. Then I saw people catching carp and thought that I would have a go by having a carp rod out and float fishing at the same time. This worked well until I went to a new lake where all the swims near the car park were taken and I had to walk a hundred yards to a vacant swim, twice as I couldn’t carry everything at once. I wasn’t happy with having to do this both as a waste of time and effort and because it meant leaving some of my gear unattended on the bank. I was also visiting other club lakes to look round and several of them had long walks from the car park so if I was going to fish them I needed to be able to carry my gear.

At this time I still wasn’t sure if I was going to keep up with fishing and so didn’t want to spend too much money. I briefly considered a carp barrow and dismissed the idea. I looked at rucksacks from angling suppliers and they were not cheap and often not in stock. In the end I bought a NGT bag from eBay for £27.50. It was enormous so I could get everything in it and it seemed extremely well made and I was very happy with it until I started to use it. The problem was that I needed three hands, one for my rods, one for my chair and one for my bag. I thought I could get over this by using the shoulder strap and still have two hands free but it didn’t quite work out like that. The first problem was in lifting the bag up, it was really heavy! The next issue was that with the bag over my shoulder it was rather uncomfortable, swinging about and digging into my side, this was bearable for a few minutes but not on a longer walk but I soldiered on with it until my winter break when I had time to think about it.

I looked on YouTube, blogs and forums for ideas and found some good advice. The most important one being that you don’t have to take all your stuff with you each time you go fishing! Simple, I know but if you just take what you need then there is less to carry. This then led on to thinking that if you had less to carry you could have a smaller bag or rucksack. I practised this during my winter trips to the river by taking my rods already made up and an ordinary backpack and found that I really did have all that I needed. Soon I made up my mind, I needed a rucksack, not too small so that I could get everything in it, not too big so that I could lift it up and carry it! I searched the Internet and ended up buying another NGT product as I was impressed with the quality of their bag and it arrived yesterday, £34.50 including postage and at first sight it looks ideal. Of course as soon as it arrived I had to have a play with it, some things fitted in the pockets where I wanted them to go while other things didn’t. A bit of rearrangement and I think that I have a place for everything. Once again I am happy but only time will tell if I have made the right choice this time for my angling journey. Anyone want to buy a large holdall!

I am hoping that this is the final solution!


When I first thought about going fishing again I was pleasantly surprised with the gear that I still had and used it for a few weeks. Thanks to YouTube videos, angling forums and tackle websites I soon realised that I needed more tackle! Some of it I genuinely did need, like rods, reels and a landing net for carp fishing and other stuff was to replace old gear or because I was persuaded that I needed it!

Anyway, where to buy? I am lucky enough to live in a town which still has an independent tackle shop but the problem was that half the time it was closed because of lockdown and anyway I wasn’t going into shops as we were shielding because of my wife’s health, which left the Internet, namely Amazon, eBay and specialist shops. The trouble with the tackle shops is that lots things were out of stock. Thousands of new or returning anglers, the effect of Covid, a shortage of shipping containers, BREXIT etc. etc. meant that I would look for something, find it and then see that it wasn’t available. This led me to eBay where there is always a lot of fishing tackle for sale but as always you have to trust the seller’s description. This is usually accurate with new stuff but for auctions it can vary. Take floats for instance, I bought several job lots of floats for reasonable prices, much less than if I had bought them individually in the shop. The trouble is that I will never use most of them, just like the person who sold them to me I expect! When I have weeded out the bent, broken and useless ones I would have saved money by just buying a few new ones that I needed! I bought several other job lots of tackle which always included things I didn’t want so I will be selling them on eBay once the new season starts!

While I was getting ready to write this week’s Blog I had a look at my purchase history on eBay and gave myself a shock! I hadn’t realised just how much tackle I had bought! Fortunately, neither does the Missus! 

I won’t go into detail about everything I bought on eBay and will just pick out a few things. When I was looking at carp reels I found a Yumoshi reel direct from China at a price of £11.91. I thought I would take a chance at that price and was amazed by the quality when it arrived. Of course by then I had another reel delivered and was using that so it is still in the box!

The Yumoshi reel – too much of a bargain to ignore!

I have bought quivertips, leads, feeders and rod bags, all used and perfectly good. I was particularly pleased with my three rod bag for £20 which looked unused and had even been sprayed with Febreze or something before it was dispatched, it smelled lovely!

This was a great bargain, room for three rods all made up, small pockets on the front and long ones on the back for another rod or bank sticks

My best deal though was a couple of Sonik DominatorX 12 ft carp rods. Posting rods can be tricky and expensive so they often go for reasonable money. I spotted the DominatorXs for sale in my town and put in a cheeky bid and was surprised to find that I had won! I got in touch with the seller who was happy for me to come and collect them as it saved him packing and posting them. When I got there I was led out to his garage where he kept all his gear neatly in top quality luggage, I passed over the cash, he passed over the rods and I was away. When I got home I looked at the rods and they were immaculate! I paid £37.89 for the pair, they are selling for £79.99 each! What a bargain!

Its difficult to take a good photo of a rod so here is a close up of the label

Anyway, I can ramble on for ages about what I bought but that would get boring so I will leave it there. Suffice it to say that sometimes you get a bargain on eBay and sometimes you get stung so be careful!


I don’t know whether it is my age or it happens to everyone but I have lost a bit of gear since I started fishing again. There are the obvious things like hooking a branch when you might lose your hook length or if you are unlucky, the float as well. Another thing that comes into this category are swim feeders and method feeders, either because I have cast into bushes again or snagged up under the water. Of course I try everything to free them, jerking the rod, going left and right, high and low and sometimes it works but if not it just ends up with a hard pull and being lucky or not!

Then there are the things that you don’t expect to lose. The first was my disgorger, metal and has been with me for ever and when I went to use it, it wasn’t there. Luckily I also have a pair of small forceps and so was able to get hooks out during that session. The next thing was my phone, which I have related in an earlier blog and which I got back after a few minutes searching thanks to another angler phoning my number so I could hear it. Then there was a bank stick, I must have just left it sticking in the bank when I came home but the thing that puzzled and annoyed me most was my carp landing mat.

My club has a rule about having a landing mat of a certain size and I was able to get one off Amazon but it wasn’t cheap. It was a soft one, quite fluffy and probably filled with polystyrene balls or something to puff it out. Anyway, I had only used it a couple of times when I went to my usual lake. Now this lake is next to a farm yard, quite private and no-one about and I settled down in my usual swim. It was actually a windy day and I was getting cold and blown about and as I wasn’t having much luck I decided to move to the other side of the lake to try and find some shelter and some fish. I took a couple of trips round the lake and settled down for the rest of the session. When it was time to go home I packed up my gear and noticed that the mat was missing. I thought that it was strange but perhaps I had left it behind at the old swim so took my gear back to the car and had a look, nothing! So, back to the second swim and a good look around and it wasn’t there. I was on my own by now so there was no-one to ask so I walked round the lake but didn’t find it.

Now as far as I can work it out there were two possibilities, either I had left it behind at my old swim and someone had taken it or that I had moved it to my new swim and it had gone from there. I thought that I had put it up the bank behind me with my bag and other gear and it was next to a large field which had recently been farrowed and was quite smooth. While I was sheltered by bushes the field was exposed to the wind and blowing straight across and I think that it picked up my mat and blew it away. I thought about walking across the field to look but as I said it was big, actually it was enormous just like the American prairies and I didn’t fancy the walk of at least half a mile to the other side looking for something which might not even be there so I went home instead. Needless to say I have been more careful with its replacement and always peg it down or put something heavy on it if there is the slightest breeze!

No photos this week as I found it hard to take pictures of things that I haven’t got!