Sunday, 27 May 2012

A day's floater fishing with Chris Ball

Last week I received a message from my friend Chris Ball. I asked when he was fishing next and he told me he’d planned a day’s floater fishing at the Linear complex near Oxford the following day and that I was welcome to join him. I cleared it at work and with the Mrs and replied back that I’d meet him there at around 9:30am. 

I arrived on time but Chris beat me to it and was already walking around searching for signs that the fish would be in a good mood. I found his car before I found him, it was parked in front of Brasenose One, and the carp were heavily spawning in the reeds right in front of the car-park. Not a great sign but when I eventually caught up with Chris walking around Hardwick he assured me that there was no spawning activity, I think due to the deeper nature of the lake. After saying hello and having a quick chat we got the essentials from the cars and headed to the lake. We spotted a few fish in an early swim and fired out some bait. The fish here didn’t seem too interested but I decided to give it a try whilst Chris moved further up the lake. I made a few casts and had one enquiry to the hook-bait but after half an hour or so I moved on. 

I bumped into Chris who was quite near the end of the bank and he had some carp feeding very confidently in front of him. It looked certain that he’d get a take so I watched for a while carp fed all around his controller float. I couldn’t watch any longer and had to have a go for myself so I went off to the right and found a nice spot in the corner with the wind blowing in, the main issue was the candy floss type cotton stuff blowing onto the surface, it clogged up on the line and made casting difficult. I started to fish in the windy corner but there were no fish visiting. I walked back to Chris’s swim just in time to watch him playing a lovely carp, the margins were deep and clear and it was evident that a near twenty pound linear was starting to get ready for the net. I sat quiet and still and ready for the fish to pop up to the surface but before it did the hook fell out. 

I revisited the corner swim whilst Chris went round to the spit that cuts the lake in two. A couple of fish did enter my swim and took a few surface baits but they didn’t stay long and once again I was on the move. I caught back up with Chris who had some fish feeding on the right hand side of the spit, but they were at quite long range and I was only using a light controller. It was then I spotted a few fish off the left hand side of the spit, they looked like small fish but I still wanted a go at them, so started feeding the swim with mixer and floating pellets. After baiting up we sat down for some water, a sandwich and a chat with Chris telling me a few stories about Redmire, longfield and Yateley. We finished lunch and got back to the fishing with both if us fishing into the left hand side.

I was first to get into a fish from the spit, a small but spirited carp which twisted and turned in the deep margins, it was a great sight and the barbel rod hooped right over and the fish charged around. The fish was netted, a very pretty mirror, and was photographed by Chris before we said farewell to our first capture of the day. 


Chris congratulated me and got back to his swim. We both had fish feeding well on the freebies, but getting them on the hook-bait was proving tricky. But Chris is one of the leading floater fishers I know and was soon into what was quite obviously a really good fish. We saw in the clear water it was a cracker and I said nothing, just kept quiet and watched. Playing that fish ever so gently Chris eventually got it safely into the net and we both cheered. Such a gorgeous fish that wouldn’t be out of place at horseshoe! We prepared the area for pictures and weighing and Chris hoisted the fish up on his spring balance and read out 22lbs exactly. I felt honoured to be taking the pictures of such a great fish and such a great angler....



The wonderful fish was released and I shook Chris’s hand, but soon after we were back to the fishing as they were still feeding even whilst playing the plated one. I was next into a carp, another smaller fish but another great scrap nonetheless. The fish was just into double figures and had a good frame, certainly one for the future. 


Time was getting on by now and After I landed one more fish similar in looks and size to my last one, we decided to call it a day and head back to the car park. So four fish and one dropped between us, that was a very good outcome I think seeing as nothing much, if at all, came out that day. But it wasn’t over there, Chris and I stopped in the car park for a quick drink and bite to eat before the journey home, so out came the Kelly Kettle, tea pot and Victoria sponge cake. We sat for an hour drinking proper tea, eating cake and talking about our favourite method of fishing....floater fishing. 

Stoking the fire...

Tea and Cake..

We said our farewells and agreed that another trip later in the summer was on the cards. It was a fantastic day out with one of my idols, can’t be bad!!


  1. A fantastic story, thanks. I love the picture of the mirror with Chris rod and catapult.The fish looks prehistoric and just the part.

  2. Richard

    It was a superb day out. The catapult, incidently, is something I am looking to construct myself shortly. Not to the standard of the one Chris uses, but something made by my own hands, and out of wood. Watch this space.....

    Kind Regards