Month: <span>October 2021</span>

I don’t like targets, when I was at work we had targets which were unachievable so short cuts were taken to meet them instead of doing a proper job. So I have ambitions, one of which is to fish all the club waters this year so I thought that I would give another new water a go this week.

The water in question is an old gravel pit with the reputation of holding big fish and being difficult to fish. When I got there there were a couple of cars in the car park but I couldn’t see anyone fishing as it is a big water they must have been around the corner. It was a mild but windy day and  I chose a swim on the side of the lake with the wind blowing towards me and got my carp rod out followed by my feeder rod with a swing tip. Then I waited and nothing happened. I did the usual of changing baits, feeding the swim, magic incantations, nothing. I even got my flask and sandwiches out as a last resort at getting a bite but that didn’t work either!

The only thing that was interesting was seeing three buzzards gliding overhead calling to each other with a strange kind of mewing sound. It is times like that I wish I had brought my decent camera but I have enough kit with me anyway!

After a couple of hours I thought about moving, I don’t like just sitting there for hours blanking and although I don’t expect to catch a carp every five minutes I like to pull out some silvers to keep myself occupied and if I don’t I start getting grumpy! I really couldn’t make up my mind what to do, which my wife says is just like me, so I decided to toss a coin. I had found a battered old twenty pence when opening the gate so fished it out of my pocket and said to myself, heads to stay, tails to go. It came up tails. The next decision was where to go, back to the water nearby where I caught the other week or to the river to see how that was going. Once again the coin came out and it decided that I would be going back to the lake. It wasn’t far away but when I got there the car park was rammed so I turned around and went to the river after all.

It was a bit higher than last time but still shallow with slight colour and I stuck the feeder rod in while setting up my float rod. My hands were full and the rod was across my lap when the feeder rod started jumping about. I put everything down as quickly as possible and grabbed the rod to find a minnow on the hook! There was no way it had made the rod jump about like that and I can only think that something like a perch had grabbed it but not been hooked. The minnow itself didn’t look harmed and happily swam away when I released it.

Then it was trotting down the river with a float and straight away I was catching fish, unfortunately they were mostly minnows and they don’t count! I did start catching a few small dace then suddenly there was a stronger tug on the line and I landed a perch of a few ounces. This was followed by another perch, possibly the smallest one that I have ever seen! The session carried on like that but no more perch and my mood brightened. I like being beside a river and can only think that it reminds me of my childhood when that was where I fished. I was cheered up by a couple of birds, firstly a kestrel who landed in a tree a few yards away and stayed for a few seconds before noticing me and flying away. Next was the blue flash of a kingfisher flying up the river, before taking up fishing again I had only ever seen a couple of these and now I see one just about every time I go to the river.

A nice little perch
His baby brother!

Soon it was time to go home with the thought that I had fished one of my target waters, or should that be ambitions? I know that I had not done it justice so will have to go back to fulfil my other ambition which is to catch a fish from every water. The only water I have left to fish is a specialised carp lake and as the club is losing it I will have to be quick. The only thing that I am worried about is what to do while I am waiting for the carp to bite? It could be hours, perhaps I should take a book but then if I am going to read I might as well stay at home in the warm and dry. They say that you learn about yourself when you take up fishing, what I am learning is that I like catching rather than fishing, I am thinking of renaming this blog as The Impatient Angler!


One of the great things about being retired is that if you don’t have a medical appointment and there is nothing else pressing then you can decide to go fishing! So it was with me this morning. I woke late, had a cuppa in bed and was downstairs eating my cereal and looking out of the window at the windy, grey day and wondering what to do with myself so I decided to check the weather for the week. Well, today was going to be dry and mild and it was going to rain and get colder later in the week so if I was going to go fishing then today was the day.

I decided to keep my promise to myself and go to a different lake which is well stocked and where I had the chance to catch some fish. If I couldn’t catch there then I might as well give up! I arrived just before midday and walked around the water. I noticed several things, firstly, no-one else was there, secondly the trees around the lake were sheltering it from the wind and lastly, there were a couple of carp hanging just below the surface in one corner of the lake. I decided to fish near there and got my gear and before setting up the rod I threw some bread towards the fish, they ignored it! More bread went in and seemed to attract a few more carp so I baited my surface rig with bread and cast in. One or two fish came and sucked the bread and I wondered whether it had come off the rig but was patient for a minute or two longer and was rewarded by a fish sucking down the bait and I was in! It wasn’t the biggest fish I have ever caught and weighed in at 6lb but it started the session off on a good note! I was also getting warm by now so stripped off a few layers and was fishing in just a T shirt and jeans towards the end of October!

As the carp had made themselves scarce I got out my other rod with a method feeder and cast out then got my feeder rod out of the bag and decided to fish close in for silverfish with the quivertip. Leaving my rods set up means that I can quickly get fishing so with the addition of a couple of maggots on the hook I was away. I didn’t have long to wait and the quiver tip was twitching and I was soon landing roach, nothing special but I was catching fish! Soon it was lunchtime and it was one of those times where I had to take the feeder rod out of the water for a few minutes in order to eat my sandwiches without interruption!

Just one of the many roach

Lunch over and I was catching regularly on the feeder rod but nothing but line bites on the carp rod but at least I knew that my new alarm was working! I changed the boilie for a smaller hemp flavoured one and cast into a different place but still only line bites. My feeder rod was still catching and I was getting fed up with small roach and as I had a small hair rig on I switched to sweetcorn and cast out just a bit further. Pretty soon I had a bite, a small carp of about a pound. I thought that as I wasn’t having any luck with the carp rod fishing further out I could try adding sweetcorn to the boilie and fishing closer in. This seemed to generate a lot of half bites over the next half an hour or so, when the buzzer would sound a few times but never develop into a full scale bite. It went a bit quiet on the feeder rod so I went back to maggots and caught more roach and a gudgeon. Then came the tangle. For some unknown reason the line went round and round the rod tip in a right mess. The only thing to do was to cut the line and start again!

Even after trying it for a season now I still don’t feel comfortable using a quivertip and so decided to change to a swing tip which was in a job lot of tackle I got from ebay and which I have never used before. I also thought that I didn’t need a feeder as the fish seemed to be everywhere in the swim so just added a bomb and a smaller plain hook. The next hour or so was spent learning how the fish the swing tip and I managed to land more roach, another gudgeon and a tench. The tench was quite unusual as it was a silver colour and different to any other tench that I have caught. I didn’t neglect the carp rod and as the sweet corn was generating some interest I decided to cast back out a bit further away. The buzzer sounded off and on and I was just waiting for a take and a continuous alarm but it didn’t happen. After a few minutes I decided to reel in and refill the method feeder and found that I had a fish. He came quite quietly at first but as I got him near the net he seemed to wake up and started to fight. As he was not enormous it didn’t take long to net him and he weighed in at seven and a half pounds. My first carp I have landed on the method feeder this season, what a relief! I couldn’t work out when he got hooked though, was it all the noise on the alarm which didn’t develop or did I hook him just as I was reeling in? I will never know!

Tne nice silvery colour tench

It was getting on in the afternoon and after a quick text message home I was given a bit longer to fish and proceeded to catch some more roach! The final tally for the day was, three carp, one tench, two gudgeon and twenty roach! At last I seem to have put my lean spell behind me and would have landed more fish if I had recognised all the bites on the swing tip. Time to watch some YouTube videos I think!

The carp caught on the method feeder


I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I have had the most awful time loading my blog recently. Photos were the first to suffer, If I could get them to load at all they would look fine here on my desktop but not show on my tablet! Sometimes they would and other times they wouldn’t until they stopped showing at all!

Then I lost the ability to edit posts that I had made, sometimes I would go back and change things after I had posted them but I couldn’t do that. Then the final straw, I couldn’t upload anything at all! My I.T. consultant, i.e. my son, wasn’t able to help and in the end he said that the hosting service was crap and I needed a new one so I asked him to sort one out for me. A couple of days later he came back and said that he had done some research and named what we should have. I did what I usually do in these situations, sit next to him at the computer and get the bank card out at the appropriate moment! As it was my bed time I left him to it and in the morning everything worked! The first thing that I noticed was how much quicker the site loaded and that the things which had disappeared were there! Anyway I had to leave it and get back to the real world job of finishing re-roofing my shed roof.

So, this evening I sat down at my desktop and loaded my last fishing session, complete with photos and it all worked smoothly, quickly and first time! Then I went back and edited a couple of recent posts and added a photo or two and this worked as well! Now, as I said I don’t know if anyone has noticed the difference but I certainly have. At the moment the new hosting looks like money well spent!

Anyway back to the blog.

After my last session, which was another slow one, I was feeling disgruntled and to try and get over it I went for a short session at the river the next afternoon. It was pretty low and I could see the bottom in about two feet of water. I spent a couple of hours trotting with maggots and caught loads of fish, mostly minnows! Last time I was here during the summer there were none to be seen but they have come back with a vengeance. I did catch a few nice dace as well but they were rather small. It was another session where I caught a few proper fish, I don’t count minnows, and my disgruntlement hadn’t faded away. I know this swim can have some nice fish in it I just think that it needs a bit more water in it. I will come back when the conditions are more suitable.

Minnows are a pretty little fish!

I think this is a small dace, not much bigger than a minnow!


Well, I made it to the bank again! I thought I was going to go fishing on Thursday as I had felt much better on Wednesday but in the way of this cough to end all coughs I felt grotty again on Thursday and so it wasn’t until Saturday that I felt well enough to go. It was a grey day with a bit of dampness in the air but no wind as I loaded up the car and wondered where to go. I don’t usually go fishing on a Saturday and as the idea is still to stay away from other people as my wife is vulnerable I didn’t want to go to any of the popular lakes so ended up back at my “go to” lake where I used to do well but hadn’t had much luck recently. I had asked on a Facebook group what people thought, whether to give up and try elsewhere or stay and learn how to fish the lake and as you would expect had a variety of conflicting replies. I also had the thought that fishing on Mondays, which I had been doing, was not such a good idea as the fish would be having a rest from assault of the weekend anglers.

I arrived about half past ten to find there was no one else there. Just out of curiosity, on the way home I nipped into the car park of a more popular club water just across the road, it was full. Perhaps they know something that I don’t! Anyway, I had a walk round but didn’t see any signs of fish and there were no carp on the surface, probably because it had been a chilly night so I decided to fish the same swim where I lost a fish last time and quickly set up my carp rod with a method feeder and just for a change a pop up boilie. Then it was time for the ledger rod with a small method feeder and sweet corn on a hair rig. I am still trying this way of fishing on this rod and have had some success but am not totally convinced.

Then it was time to sit down with a cup of tea and wait. While I was waiting I noticed that when threading up the ledger rod I had missed the ring nearest the reel but figured that I could manage without it. I re-filled the feeders every so often and enjoyed just being outside and being fit enough to fish. I also began to feed the swim closer in to the bank with some groundbait, sweetcorn and maggots with the idea of fishing with the float rod later on. After about an hour without a beep, bite or even a twitch I decided to change things round a bit and put a small boilie on the ledger rod which has worked before. Then it started to rain, very gently and not enough to make me go and get the umbrella from the car but enough to make me put my hood up and wonder if it was sensible for someone recovering from the mother of all coughs to be sitting outdoors in the rain! However it soon stopped and a chilly wind started blowing from behind so I kept my hood up and wondered about getting the umbrella out as a wind shelter but didn’t do anything about it as it was only a gentle breeze and I could put up with it.

It was about now that another angler arrived and set up on the opposite side of the water so I was no longer alone. A couple of hours had passed and it was getting near lunch time so I thought that the old standby of opening the sandwich box and pouring a cuppa from the flask would do the trick but not this time, I was left to eat my lunch in peace! I decided that it was time to get the float rod out so brought the feeder rod in, hooked on a maggot and cast out into the swim I had been baiting up and waited confidently for a bite from one of the voracious rudd or roach that live here. I waited and waited, I changed the depth I was fishing at, changed from red to white maggots and back again and then tried sweetcorn. Still no luck which was galling as the newcomer had had a fish or two.

It was about this time that I started to doubt myself. Not so long ago I had given up using maggots as I had got fed up with catching smaller fish especially on this venue and now I couldn’t even catch them. Had my beginner’s luck simply run out? Last year I caught several carp on this water alone on the method feeder and this year none, not even a bite not even a beep from a line bite to show that fish were around. I knew that carp were in here as I had seen them cruising on the surface and even caught one a few weeks back but where were they now?

I decided that I wouldn’t spend any more time fishing this water and would go down to the river where I have had good luck in the past so I brought my float in, changed it for a river one and decided to check the shot pattern and as I was putting it in the water it might as well have a maggot on the hook and cast in. The float disappeared, far too much weight on the line for a lighter float so I took some off and cast again. The float settled nicely then dipped and I was into a fish! Not a big one but a nice little roach and after my luck so far any fish would do! I popped him back in and cast again, the float bobbed then disappeared and I had hooked a slightly bigger fish, a skimmer I think or a fat bodied roach, I was not sure. Now that I had a couple of fish all thoughts of going to the river had gone and I spent the rest of the afternoon with the float rod catching roach. I would like to say that I carried on catching regularly for the rest of the afternoon but I didn’t. I only managed five roach which was an improvement on the morning session. Not a beep on the carp rod with my new alarm which was disappointing but at least I had caught some fish. Oh yes, and I saw a couple of microlights flying over and the swans landed on the lake after being absent for the summer. I heard a robin around and about too but didn’t see him in the bushes and trees.

So, my first session for a few weeks was not an overwhelming success but at least I didn’t blank like last time. When I got home I had a good talk to myself about fishing somewhere else next time and giving my “go to” lake a rest until the fishing improves.  

The best fish of the day!


I was hoping to write about going fishing this week but again I haven’t been. According to the tests I haven’t got Covid but boy, have I got a rotten stinking cough which is keeping me awake at night so that I feel even more awful during the day! Anyway, I have been on Facebook to pass the time and read this fascinating post by a guy called Harry Crosby about his fishing journey and I asked him if I could use it and he said that I could, so here it is! Thanks Harry for being my first guest blogger and if there is anyone else out there who wants to have a go then let me know.

“I’m now 61 years of age. I started fishing when I was 6, I grew up on our local brick pond chasing those striped sergeants with a tin of worms, in my teens I chased the fish I could see from a tree that overhung the corner of the pond, I wondered at their size and the dark olive green and their paddle like fins. A regular on the pond, Bob, was a master angler and I would watch him for hours catching giant roach on the slider and those big green monsters I’d seen from up high, he was always willing to give you a handful of his maggots if you asked to “borrow a few” or spare a hook if you needed one. He showed me how to hook bread flake, and the first time I used it, I caught, what I thought was a giant tench, well at 3lb it was the biggest fish I’d ever seen!

 I progressed from there to fishing the local rivers, learning to ledger, this was before feeder fishing. Moving forward I learned about ground bait and how to feed for the huge shoals of bream our local river was known for, by the time I was in my twenties I was catching regular big bags of those big black slabs, from there I moved onto the faster moving waters of the other rivers in my area. I went everywhere on my push bike, mile after mile with my rods tied to my cross bar and my basket on my back. I followed the chub through the seasons, until I caught my first barbel, then for nearly 20 years I concentrated on the barbel in some majestic places, cold nights and misty mornings, hour after hour watching the rod tip, with more failure than success if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had my red letter days and nights chasing those lovers of moving water, my whole world was consumed by catching the biggest fish in the river, and when I never, I was devastated. 

Until one day a few years ago, I sat with my neck aching and pins and needles in my arse after an uneventful session. I questioned why I loved fishing, and why my life had been consumed by hour after hour of sitting motionless with the off explosion of excitement. I got home put my barbel tackle in my shed, dug out my centre pin and my stick float rod, bought some waders, and went to the river and just fished for anything I could catch, I felt I had stepped back in time, and now I enjoy my fishing as much as I did on those long hot summer days at my local brick pond. Sometimes we can lose sight of why we enjoy the art of fish fooling.”


Well, so much for hoping to feel better and going fishing! Instead I have had the most horrific cough which has kept me awake every night and stopped me sleeping. I had a lateral flow test last week followed by a PCR, both of which were negative and of course it had to be my granddaughter’s eighteenth birthday family celebration on Sunday and I couldn’t even crawl out of bed for that. So, no chance of going fishing last week or this and I have not even felt much like thinking about it or writing my blog.

So today I am going to do a bit about online tackle suppliers. Due to covid and the fact that my wife is vulnerable we have been keeping away from shops and crowded places, which includes tackle shops. I would prefer to support my local tackle shop but at the moment it is not going to happen. I also have faint memories of tackle shops when I used to use them in the past when they seemed more like a club for regulars and treated new customers like me with suspicion. A bit like walking into a country pub as a stranger a few years back!

So, online suppliers. Amazon and ebay are both sites that I use but I find myself going back to Angling Direct on a regular basis. I am on their email mailing list and get regular offers but one that caught my eye while I was lying in bed was a flash sale for Nash Siren S5 alarms at 25% off, which came to £16.49. This was just over their £16 limit for free postage so was an even better bargain. Of course, I needed a few other bits and pieces as well, namely a couple of Guru hybrid method feeders so it came to a few pounds more but then it always does whether you are in a shop or online! My justification for buying an alarm was that I had had several cheapo Amazon ones which were not proving to be much good. My NGT one gave up the ghost the first time it rained. Another one seems to turn itself off all the time and the other unbranded one I am using is loose on the screw thread despite my attempts to tighten it and 25% off, don’t we all love a bargain!

The alarm arrived a few days later and the first thing that I noticed was how heavy and solid it seemed compared to my cheap ones, a much better built piece of kit. The next thing was that batteries were not included, as the saying goes, so it was a search through my bits and pieces drawer only to find that I didn’t have one the right size so it was back to Amazon. The new battery arrived the next day and was installed and the alarm worked loudly. It took me a while to see how to turn the sound down, Youtube showed turning the on/off button but mine must have been a later model as you have to press the button to cycle through three different sound levels so I was able to turn it down. It seems to remember the volume level that you left it at which is good as I don’t like to have it set too loud.

Then there was the latching light and I had to look that up as well. Apparently it stays on for longer after the alarm sounds to show you which of your alarms has sounded, who knew?

So, it seems a nice enough piece of kit and I can’t wait to try it out. Of course, I will have to and will report back. In the meantime it has started raining again here and the rivers are filling up so it may be time to go back to my favourite spot! In the meantime I will try to take care of myself and get well, you will know if I have succeeded if next week’s blog is about fishing and not the state of my health!