Saturday, 29 June 2013

Another holiday

Six nights beside the Wye

Sunday 23rd June

I  try to organise at least one week in the fishing season to stay away from home and to get us some self catering accommodation beside or very close to a river, this year far, this is our second trip!
Some while ago I was searching for such a thing beside the Wye and found Brobury House was such a place, and it has two cottages within it’s grounds and their own stretch of the river
We couldn’t get a full week as there was a wedding party staying over the Saturday night so the cottages weren’t available until Sunday, that was ok.
A four hour journey found us arriving just before 5pm, where we were met by Pru and Keith Cartwright the owners, and whilst Pauline was off to be shown Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage

The view from the cottage

I was advised by Keith of the fishery details.
The stretch starts just above the bridge on the road to Bredwardine (The Red Lion) and stretches for a few hundred yards downstream. 
There are also further rights by way of a guest membership card from Newton Works AC, for an additional mile or so.
Keith by the way, no longer coarse fishes he’s taken to fly fishing. 
It was beginning to start a squally rain shower, so we didn’t walk the bank ,but he did let me know what the banks were like and where the deeper pools/stretches were. Guess who didn’t pack, along with the almost entire content of my tackle store, the dog spike and rope....yep, it was I!!
Anyway after a settle down in the cottage and signs that the rain had abated, we decided to walk the immediate close proximity of the river bank.
About half a dozen or so of the steep banked swims had been cleared to make access a little easier, and I’ve spotted two relatively safe  spots to fish in comparative comfort, and a couple more if I can gather up the courage and it doesn’t rain anymore.
We have fishing neighbours in Lilac the next door cottage, they’ve settled in down in one of the swims, and rather than fall down the bank on top of them, I crouched on the top and sort of introduced myself, with a cheery, “ hi down there, we’re in Rose Cottage, if you bait up a swim, leave a signal, I don’t know what, but something like, tie a yellow ribbon on the old oak tree” ......did I really say that !!
By now the wind was whipping up again for one of the squalls, so we made our way back, resting half way, on a conveniently placed bench, it’s a bit of a climb and we are both seriously unfit!.
No fishing tonight.

Monday 24th June

It’s 5am, I’ve been awake since 3:30 thinking about my plan of action, ie how am I going to fish the swim, but more so how do I lighten the load!
So I’ve thought about this and rather than wake Pauline up with my fidgeting I’ve got up, with the intention of sorting my tackle out for an evening session and perhaps a pre-bait.
It’s 6am, the ol’boy (younger than me) next door has just walked past fully kitted up with his gear, I’ve had my two cups of Assam, time to sort out the kit.
We’ve decided to spend a good deal of the day in Hereford with perhaps a lunch at the Waterside by the old town bridge. 
A lot going on in the town, including a new shopping centre next to the football stadium, so there must still be a bit of wealth available, noticeably not many empty  or charity shops.
Unfortunately, the Waterside is closed down, so perhaps not, because it was a very good place to eat!
We decided, and because it’s Monday and very little is open for food, to head aback to base for a salad and an earlier start to my fishing than originally anticipated.
Suitably refreshed, I make my way down to the river, still too much weight to be comfortable, but that’s what you get for not bringing enough receptacles to spread the weight of the pellets and a gallon of hemp.
I didn’t help myself a great deal by not taking notice of the landmarks to find my chosen swims. Not certain how many times I walked up and down the bank, sometimes fully loaded, other times empty handed...I was knackered!
Anyway, I found my number one swim eventually, only to find, as I got halfway down, it was already occupied by a gent who I later found out to be a local club member.
Moving further down stream just about 50 yards my number two swim became obvious, so I dropped in.
No particular features to this swim apart from the fact the deep water was on my side. I immediately put in a handful of pellets and a large quantity of hempseed. 
Not with any control I may add, as I was quite happy to feed the run and hope to attract any fish from downstream.
Five hours later with just a few nudges, I decided that enough was enough, put a few more handfuls of hemp in and packed up. Leaving all my bait on the banks and hopefully a good enough marker to tell any passing swim hunter that I had baited up ready for tomorrow.
On the way back I stopped off to chat with John the local man, and came across another prophet of doom!
He had much the same session as me, with every indication that this section of the Wye was bereft of fish.
The blame lies, so he said, with the construction of the huge gas pipeline run through from the Welsh coast some two years ago. I think I remember seeing something about that on Countryfile or some such programme.
Anyway, he tells me after torrential rain the deep ditches they were digging for the pipeline became full of water, and over 6 hours the river rose ten feet and was full of silt, which pushed all the fish down to Hereford and the slower water, and they’ve not come back since!
I left him to it and headed back to the cottage, thinking he’s the same sort bloke of bloke that you see so much of on the on the forum or face book and on the banks, blaming everything and everyone for their inability to catch fish.
The latest being the locals who fish the Severn around Worcester, who say that one seal is devastating the barbel population, just barbel by the way, much the same as the otter bashers. They want to know what is everybody else doing about it! 
They are not even acknowledging that seals have always followed the salmon run up the Severn and the fish, particularly the very recently, comparatively speaking, barbel have survived, in fact thrived!!
So I’ll have another go tomorrow, to see if John’s right and that all the fish have gone to Hereford!

Tuesday 25th June

I must of been knackered last night, I slept like a log any thoughts of fishing had gone from my mind, even though my swim was baited and awaiting me...perhaps there are no fish? I’ll wait until tonight.
We had decided to go to Symonds Yat, not to look for Monty I might add, but for a lazy stroll around, followed by lunch at The Saracens Head by the river.
This we did, with a couple of pints of  Butty Bach, and then made our way back arriving at the cottage at around four o’clock.
It’s now 4:30, we're having tea and biscuits on the lawn in front of the cottage, as I write this.
I think I’ll go and get ready now for the walk down the river .
Back to the same swim in the hope that my feed had made a difference, three hours into my four hour session showed it hadn’t worked.
So a change of tactics was called for, I switched to a paste bait I’ve had in the freezer for sometime from CC Moore. 
The switch of tactics, now gives me signs that there are fish present, a couple of chub like tugs gives me hope, 10 minutes later, I’m in.
A chub of about 3lb took the paste, my first fish of the river season.
A few more tentative plucks and the night drawing in, time to get back.

Wednesday 26th June
We’ve decided to have day in Brecon and as part of that day book ourselves a two and a half hour trip on the  Monmouthshire and Brecon canal by narrow boat tomorrow. 
It’s bookable in advance, but down here in the valley, we have no mobile or broadband link.
Arriving at 11am we find that despite being fully booked for the morning trip we could go a 3pm, not fancying waiting around that long in this one horse town, we said we would book for tomorrow.
Miraculously a spare two seats were found!
Nant Cleisfer aqueduct over the Usk
I have to say that the trip was alright, but at this time of the year with so much greenery around there really isn’t a great deal to see, apart from the bank side growth, even the Beacons were mainly out of sight!
The canal is just about take two boats wide and is a best 3 feet deep.
It was a good waste of two and a half hours.
A late lunch with a couple of pints of Brains bitter went down well with the pubs paella.

The Usk

I couldn’t gather up the energy or inclination to clamber down the bank for fishing tonight, so I took a long walk along the bank downstream.
Guess what ? 
The barbel are (still) spawning and not in Hereford!!
 I stayed a while watching the action,shame my camera was still in my tackle bag. 
So back to the cottage and to  finish Barbel Tales. 
It’s very difficult for me to give a fair view of the book, because I edited and read most of the chapters before I resigned my position in the Barbel Society.I would say it's varied interesting and a good buy for the barbel angler.
There were however a few more chapters new to me, and overall it’s turned out to be a fine tome, with two or three good  new chapters from John Wilson, Pete Reading and Les Darlington that I hadn’t seen before.
Pete’s views on all the catch the angler baits was particularly interesting.

Thursday 27th June
Our day starts as usual with the tourist bit, so we’ve decided to visit Hay and Leominster.
Not particularly interesting towns, especially in the rain, but a couple of pints in a Wetherspoon’s pub, with my Camra beer vouchers helped overcome the outer wetness.
Another evening of no fishing, it’s tipping it down, and I have no wish to fight my way down, or more so, up the rain sodden banks.
Had a chat with the other holiday maker as he came back this evening, he's fishing with his wife and they've been out a good few hours this week. Four chub to his name and his wife thinks she lost a barbel just below the bridge on the first night.

Friday 28th June

It's still a bit wet and drizzling,. so my thoughts of fishing once again take the back seat.
we decide take a look at an out of town shopping village called the Hop Pocket, we saw in the way down it's just outside Bromyard.
There we found and were given a taster session, of local made gins and vodkas from the local Chase Distillery and ended spending a fair sum on two bottles of special gin (for Pauline) and a bottle of rhubarb vodka( for me). It really tastes of rhubarb and custard. 
I can't comment on the gin, I leave that to the connoisseur to judge!
We stopped for lunch after a visit to Bromyard ( another dead and alive town from first impressions) at The Plough Inn, Stoke Lacy and had an excellent meal of rack of lamb and duck breast, with all the trimmings. Well cooked, tasty, and a good mix of vegetables. 
Once again the Butty Bach got my taste buds started.
Back to the cottage, it's still drizzling and our neighbours return early from their fishing, so we decide to open a bottle of red and settle down in front of the tele for the night.

Saturday 29th June

Time for the off after a bacon sandwich for breakast.
The cottages are obviously ideally situated for the Wye. 
 Rose Cottage in particular, because I can't comment on Lilac Cottage, was very comfortable, roomy, will sleep four and has all the facilities you could want for a stay in the Herefordshire countryside. 
All in all highly recommended, and we will go back, next time hopefully the barbel will be back from their activities and I shall spend a bit more time than my two sessions, and certainly better equipped with dog spike and rope. 

Two more booked breaks.

On arriving home we find the package that we need for applying for our Russian visas.

Really looking forward to seeing the sites of Moscow and St Petersburg.

Prior to that, a visit to the Whitstable Oyster Festival for a long weekend.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Warming up

Had another go

Couldn't make up my mind today about fishing, whether it would be the upper Witham, or a quick trip down to the valley pond again.

A serious accident closure of the A1 at the junction to the river made my mind up for me, so I decided to take the cane down to the pond after lunch, and test it again..

Set off at about 3 o'clock and on arrival got my rod, landing net and chair out of the car and put it back in again!!
I had been interrupted on my way out and left my bag with the bits and bait on the floor of the garage,so I headed back the two miles and 8 minute journey to retrieve.
On arriving home I got a 'phone call from bruv in OZ, asking me if I had sorted my travel arrangements out yet, or even a date!
Funnily enough, I wanted to speak to him as I had this very morning been trying to see the best way around from Christchurch NZ to his home in Exmouth WA, via Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin . To arrive for my 65th birthday next March.
Anyway I digress, I got some useful information from him and set off back to the pond, arriving at around 4o'clock.
Fished through until 9pm with a selection of baits,some hookers, bread flake and prawns, but I had forgotten my sweetcorn.....not my day!

So a bit of everything, another enjoyable afternoon with the warm sunshine on my back, and the cane and pin
Still haven't heard a cuckoo up here, but was pleased to hear the soaring song of the skylark for most of the afternoon.

Fly fishing

I've been considering getting myself some fly fishing kit, and the chance to get a full tackle set up has arisen,  I hope to be picking it up this week.
It's suitable for small rivers I'm told, but I'll need to get some practice in, as the last time I cast a fly was probably 12 years ago when I shared a rod on a couple of freebee occasions on the Test, with a business acquaintance.

Barbel fishing tips from the Barbel Show

Friday, 14 June 2013

Got your copy yet?

Barbel Tales
My copy arrived today,even better than I thought, quite a heavy tome.
Some new reading to do!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Time to bite the bullet.

Traditional ?

I needed to get out today so made a decision to go down to the lake in the valley after lunch.
So,after a nice piece of salmon steak with some Jersey Royals and broccoli I was down to the pond by 3pm.
This pond/lake by the way is about 10 minutes drive from my house, set in a valley in the Wolds, 2 minutes from the "main" road. It's owned by George, whom I reported on last year with his serious problem with Weil's disease. Not seen him for a while but I'm told he's still recovering away from the farm..

The valley is full of bird life, a constant battle of song birds, along with the continuous cooing of the wood pigeons and the cackle of pheasants.
I have in the past had good sightings of a pair of buzzard who nest in one of the woods, and for the first time down there, today I saw a red kite just over my head being mobbed by the local rooks.
Too slow with the camera!

A decision was made to fish with the cane rod I bought for £150 some 3 years ago, I picked it up at the 2010 Barbel Show.
Used it once on the Trent, that season  but didn't really test it, I blanked!.
I wasn't particularly happy with it, hence the lack of use, it just seemed to be a bit floppy, not certain that's the right term, but I wasn't happy with it's action.
Thought about getting rid of it, and took it to the 2012 Barbel Show, but the price I set didn't attract any interest, so I bought it home.
From memory the rod is modelled on the Fred Crouch Barbel Perfection,  with a weighted separate butt section and  2 eyed sections, giving a rod of about 11feet.
It was the first rod made by Paul Johnson of Hull for himself, before embarking on a few more for friends in the HPS.
He sold it to me as he needed the money. By the look of it,  it hadn't been used at all.

I matched the rod with my Youngs John Wilson Heritage, 4lb bs Maxima fished straight through with a porcupine quill float fished waggler style and a size 10 barbless hook.
No finesse, I wanted to catch the carp that are fairly numerous in the lake and are up to about 15lb to test the rod.
Bait was to be some hooker pellets,sweet corn, some old prawns and bread flake, feed was Sonu micro pellets.
The swim I chose I could fish with a little depth of around 4 feet, so I fished on the bottom lift method.
It didn't take long for the flake to work as I more or less straight into a nice common carp, probably about 6lb. So, rod Christened.

I went on to catch My second fish also on flake was a small tench and I went on to catch roach, rudd and crucian carp  another tench and a few more carp using a variety of bait.

rudd, ready to spawn

So all in all a good afternoon out of the house, I even sat in heavy rain for two hours,everything is soaking wet but I've bought the rod and reel in to dry before I put them away.
Nothing big to report, although my last fish, after disposing of all the old bait, another carp of about 10lb or so on my last prawn, I lost that one suffering a pulled  hook at the net, due to me trying to photograph the rod action, it put a good bend in the rod though
I now have confidence in the rod's action, it handled the last fish with ease, and was forgiving enough to not knock the smaller fish off. 

 I'll be making a bit more use of it....perhaps on the Wye!

The Avon Roach Project

I'm sure the guys of the Project won't mind me passing on the latest news from them.
Please help in anyway you can, it a great job they are doing seeding the Avon with young roach..

Hello All,
We hope you don’t mind being blind copied in on this email, but we thought we’d send a short message out to let you all know the Avon Roach project web site has been updated with the goings on of the last year at  The Avon Roach Project
Hope you like.
We intend starting a BLOG in a couple of months so everyone can live the nightmare with us in smaller chunks of more detailed and personal information. However, we’ll let this update get publically absorbed first. After all there’s only so much roach stuff a man can take.
We have had the best year ever, probably due to the cool soggy summer and the good late winter temperatures of 2011 putting the adult fish in a decent condition prior to spawning.
One or two folk have started to catch roach in some of the places they hadn’t been seen for years, and we have been asked if we had anything to do with it, which of course we have.
We also saw a far greater number of smaller roach return to our spawning boards this and last year, which again could be attributed to us returning good numbers to these locations. We also saw some absolute whoppers too – three pounders some of them.
We decided not to return any of ours at the end of 2012, which we had scheduled to do, because of the almighty flood conditions. Instead, we retained them in our stews and will be giving the river a double dose this coming autumn.
Thank you all for your continued support.
Kind regards
Trevor and Budgie

More from the Barbel Show

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Barbel Show 2013

I missed the Show for the first time in many years, other things got in the way.

I hear though from all the reports,including a 'phone call from Ron Clay, that it was one of the best.
It's all over Facebook!

Presentations by Des Taylor, had the crowd rocking in their seats.
Dave Harrell's presentation went down very well too.

Bob Robert's and Stuart Walkers new dvd Caught in the Act was a sensation, I've not got my copy yet, but lots of very good reports saying it has topped Day's and Ways in quality and content.Photo: Back from the Barbel Society show, showered and ready for a beer. What a fabulous day out and a great crowd. Met so many friends both old and new. Big Des was in cracking form and had me chuckling all day. The Society should feel rightly proud of this event. Thanks to everyone who bought DVDs. We were pleasantly surprised with the demand. Don't think I've ever appeared at a show with a better set of speakers. Full credit to all involved in the organisation. And bearing in mind I was reported to the police after suggesting barbel anglers don't feed enough bait, what will the knockers make of Fisky's latest jumbo feeder?  Oh, I forgot. They don't attend Society events, do they? So they won't know if we don't tell them. I thought it was a friendly crowd! ;-)

The annual Gordon Scott Award was given to Phil Smith for services to the Society and the promotion of the barbel in general.
Click the image to open in full size.

You guys should give it a go and join, if you weren't there this year, go next year to see what the Barbel Society is really all about..
The Society might have had its problems in the past. Those problems left the building a long time ago. Anyone who was there yesterday couldn't help but see that. It's clear to me that those who've spent the past 7 years or so knocking the Society were actually the problem!

Friday, 7 June 2013

How much??

Only five of us made the International Drinking Society gathering yesterday.
Our venue the Yorkshire Grey on the Corner of Grays Inn Road and Theobald's Road.
 Brakspears bitter four quid a pint!!Brakspear Bitter

Our host for the day Ivan, celebrating his birthday was not amused, but decided to stay put, so from 12 noon to about 7pm we paid through the nose for what really wasn't a bad pint.
He bought us lunch as well! Three of us had the pork belly that didn't have any crisp too it and was salty,a request of how did you like your meals, got a classic response from Ivan, but no real apology...
So unless your used to paying £4 a pint, apart from the attractive female bar staff, find another pub.
Not recommended.

As expected our brood departed this morning at sunrise, so we missed them!

The Wye
Last weekend in June see's me on the Wye, looking forward to that as I haven't lined any.other fishing trips   yet.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The garden life

Garden birdlife

Our great tits had left the box on the 24th May last year, this year's brood are still here, but not for long, the adults are very close to the nest box, and are not off on their distant flights for food.
It looks like this years brood are being fattened up with mayfly hatching off our pond.
The orfe and rudd ain't doing to badly either!
My guess is I shall miss their off, as I'm on my way down to London early am tomorrow and back Friday late am..


I usually only see them in the winter but, we've had a pair of siskin on the feeders this year, but generally apart from loads of young sparrow, one brood of which has touches of white in their plumage and one of which caused me to have a second glance of identification, we've only seen a single young backbird and one song thrush youngster in the garden.

needed a second look!!

passing overhead

A place near you ?

Sunday, 2 June 2013

60 years ago today!

I'm second from the left, then cousin Terry and brothers Ted and Bill

Check this out
For some fishing chat

Busy week ahead

No time to fish this week although I may try to sneak a few hours in down in the valley, or meet up with Ron Clay on a complex up near Scunny.
 I'm taking neighbour Jim to hospital on Monday.
My 6 months diabetes check up is on Tuesday, I've not been very good diet wise! We'll see what the bloods show up in a fortnight!
Must sort out new passports to keep options open.
Off to meet the International Drinking Society on Thursday for an overnighter in Woodford Green. The pub is off the Gray's Inn Road.As it's Ivan's birthday we'll probably end up in our friend Bhatti's Indian restaurant in Covent Garden
The Barbel Society AGM & Show and book launch at the weekend.