The last few months have flown by without capturing anything worth note or blogging about. We often say within the fishing community that time equals reward and perhaps I just haven't fished enough to justify the rewards I have had previous seasons? Although I haven't caught a lot my year has panned out better than I could ever have imagined...
Working with my heroes
A few months ago, a local angler to me AT big fish specialist Martin Bowler announced that he would be releasing a limited edition print run of a previously unseen picture of Chris Yates 51lb capture of the Bishop through his Facebook page. I immediately contacted him via email and offered my services as a fine art printer & negative scanner. His wife Jo came back to me and we set about work on scanning the original negative of Chris's now famous capture from Redmire Pool some 35 years ago. With time, the negative had aged developing several marks; through the wonder of Photoshop I was able to bring the scan of the negative back to life and reproduce it faithfully to how it had originally been captured. Chris personally gave his thumbs up to the quality of the reproduction print and we set to work printing from the negative.
To give you a bit of background, I was brought up on Passion For Angling and can visually remember the antics of Chris & Bob on the TV back in the early 90's. My brother and I watched the VHS recordings over and over, inevitably ending in the tape wearing out!!! Thankfully I have since purchased the DVD. To be working with Chris & Martin was a dream come true!
The print run has been a runaway success with all 51 of the limited edition fine art prints selling out within a couple of hours of public release. As a result of printing the Chris Yates run of 51 I had the pleasure of sharing peanut butter on toast with mine and thousands of other anglers heroes; Chris Yates. I've always been told never to meet your heroes but if you have read any of Chris's fine books he is just as you would hope him to be. He lives and breathes angling and we sat and spoke for over an hour whilst he signed and numbered each print ready for sending out to each lucky owner of these fine and sought after prints.
We got on like a house on fire and I'm looking forward to spending some time on the bank with him and Martin in the coming season.
Giant Roach on The Frome
Having heard rumours of rare giant redfins on the Dorset Frome I headed there for a short session whilst the river looked in prime conditions. Once I arrived I bumped into another angler who was after the same species as I. The day didn't pan out for myself but it became clear that Matt who I sat perhaps 15 yards away from was having an altogether different session. He captured no fewer than 3 big Roach, one nudging 2lbs, one well over 2 lbs and one to 3lb 1oz! A 3lb Roach from the river are as rare as hens teeth and to witness one in the flesh although not capturing it myself was a sight behold.
I had the pleasure of photographing this fine catch for Matt.
Well done Matt!!!
Our last session on the river
For many different reasons myself and my brother Ollie have not been out fishing together for far too long. We have fished together since before he can remember and we felt it was only right that we meet on our local river and fish for Barbel as our final evening/ twilight river session of the season. Knowing full well that there were only a handful of Barbel left on our home stretch for reasons out of our control we knew full well that we were most likely going to be blanking rather than Barbelling. This bothered us little as it was a chance to catch up and sit by the river taking in our surroundings in the moonlight. As we arrived we chatted with a angler who was just heading home after a successful evening Chub fishing with Chevin's to near 5lb; hopefully a sign of things to come...
The river was up, the sky was clear and we could feel a cold tinge in the air which may not have been ideal for our blanking I mean Barbel fishing session. We decided on the back end of the weir with Ollie picking a fallen tree as his spot and myself picking the margins 15 yards upstream. Our choice of bait was some vintage garlic luncheon meat from the bottom of my freezer; I'm not sure how long it had been in there but it seemed to do the business a few months previously. The river was pushing through so we both used gripper leads. Ollie settled on his Allcocks Carp Superb Split Can rod coupled with an Allcocks Aerial, I settled on my J.W. Youngs Barbel rod with a wide-drum Allcocks Aerial.
SPLOSH and the baits were in; now for the waiting game. We instantly felt the cold snap surround us, we both had a head lamp on and I had a second torch sitting above myself to illuminate the rods. Steam poured from our mouths as we nattered and a field mouse briefly joined us for our fishing session before scarpering into the undergrowth. ZZZZZ Ollie's reel cranked over but he struck into nothing. Out the Luncheon Meat went out again and minutes later the same cranking of the reel but this time he met resistance. Moments later I netted a beautifully proportioned target Barbel of around 3 1/2lbs for Ollie.
An unexpected visitor to the bank.
We fished on until the cold weather got to us and the batteries began to run out on our headlamps. It was a perfect way to end our river season; hopefully we get on the river a bit more together in the 2015/2016 season!
A few hours on my local lake after a month out
March is perhaps my busiest month with work commitments, after 3 weekends simultaneously working I finally had a day to myself, well to be precise, two hours, which I wanted to take advantage of! I am lucky to have a lake 1 mile from my front door that produces Perch to 3lb and maybe bigger so I found myself there as time was of the essence. I arrived to wind, rain and a lake without another angler (perfect). With the pick of the swims I settled on an over-hanging tree and under-armed a few broken Prawns into my spot quickly followed by a Tiger Prawn baited hook and a bright red float.
It swayed left and right thanks to the gale force winds which perhaps worked in my favour as a result the Prawn would also sway left and right hopefully catching a hungry Perch's eye... Moments later the float slowly disappeared and a hen Perch of perhaps 1/2lb came in ready to burst with spawn. Back she went and back my bait was flicked in along with a few more small offerings. With such a small time frame to work with, picking the last few hours of light was crucial, unfortunately the light was dwindling and my 60 second countdown began before reeling in and heading for home. 10-9-8 dip and away. I struck into a solid resistance, certainly bigger than the last fish. Then I felt that tell-tale shake of the head and a beautiful Perch appeared on the surface. A couple more lunges and the Perch made her way over the frame of the net. SUCCESS. I zeroed the scales with the wet sling and placed the spawn bound Perch ready for weighing. The scales worked there way around to 2b 5oz, not a giant by today's standards but a good stamp of fish for our little 1 acre local lake.
A beauty from my local lake
As the Perch swam away into the depths it signalled the end of another session and also the beginning of a new season for me. I have promised myself and father that we will spend more time after Tench this summer so fingers crossed for lot's of Tinca Tinca.
I said at the beginning of this longer than usual article that this season has been better than ever. You may ask how catching so few fish and getting so few hours on the bank can be anything to talk about? Having had the chance to work with Chris Yates and Martin Bowler, two of my angling heroes and promises of fishing sessions with both of them it makes the coming season one to look forward to!
2015/2016 promises fishing time with family and friends.
It also promises the birth of a new angler, my first son this summer!
Over and out.