Sunday, 28 October 2012

Atumnal Interlude...

With the good news of my first published book peice coming last week I've been buzzing at the prospect of receieving my copy of Willow Pitch II in December, so much so that I've ordered a Leather copy for Jessica....

Fishing wise I had a day out yesterday, a day of pike removal from a pool where there are simply too many small jacks terrorising float anglers whenever the skip a roach across the surface. Something had to be done and yesterday a team fished and removed a dozen small male fish. That was a good return in a day when the winds from Siberia made it feel like February. I managed to catch three small pike, the biggest one was around 6lbs but was extremely long and thin. I did, however, tempt a lovely looking perch of around 2lbs.

Next weekend I have a day's fishing on the river Kennet at Barton Court. I'll be looking for perch once more but would love to catch my frst chub of the season also. The weekend after that I'm gudgeon fishing at Redmire for a couple of days in preparation for the forthcoming Gobio match vs the GSC early December.

So reports a bit thin on the ground for now but plenty of adventures are looming, bear with me folks.......

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Willow Pitch II

Willow Pitch II

by Various
Willow Pitch Volume II by Various Authors

The Little Egret Press is very proud to present our latest compilation of the best contemporary angling authors, in Willow Pitch Volume II. This unique collection of articles, poetry and artwork offers praise to all those wonderful days spent by the water’s edge, an eclectic celebration of our lovely sport.

Contained within its forty three chapters are a mixture of entertaining and insightful contributions by anglers such as Fred Buller, Chris Ball, Bob Buteux, Paul Cook, Dexter Petley, Jon Berry, John Andrews, Bob Roberts, Mike Wilson, Tom O’Reilly, Luke Jennings, Martin James, David Tipping, Tim Ridge, Tony Miles, Bob Price, Graham Mabbutt, Leighton McDonnell, Eddie Chambers, David Turner, Peter Mohan, Chris Quinn, Graham Broach, John Nixon, Marc Harris and Dr Terry Baxter. This volume also contains a fascinating article written by Ian Cook about his life-long fishing friendship with the country poet Ted Hughes.

For the first time, The Little Egret Press has run a competition to encourage new writers and artists, and we are proud to include some brilliant work by Terry Theobald, Gil Graham, Steve Reed, Mark Welsh, Richard Brandon, Tom Hubmann, Chris Cullen, Robert W. Milne, Steve Reed, Edward Widdup, Melissa Plimmer, Stuart Harris and Ann Welsh.

Willow Pitch II is a fantastic fireside read for all anglers.

Willow Pitch Volume II is 210 x 148mm in dimension, and is over 290 pages long. The book is richly illustrated throughout with photography and artwork.

Limited Cloth Edition:
 350 copies only, all signed and numbered by the Publishers. £28.95

Leather Bound Edition:
 25 copies only, all signed, numbered and hand-bound by Tom O’Reilly. This edition is fully leather bound, comprising edge-gilded pages, oasis goatskin leather, spine bands, marker ribbon and headbands. This edition is finished with gold-tooling detail, and presented in a marble paper covered slipcase. £185.00
Publication date: Dec, 2012
Pages: 290

Autumn Reflections...

The tired sun dipped behind a big grey cloud taking shadows with it. As if switched on, the breeze strengthened causing dry fallen leaves to do cartwheels across the ground. Yes, autumn had taken hold and the season transformation was well underway. Showers outnumbered the dry spells, a land of green progressively became one of gold, crimson and brown and large flocks of winged wonders materialised from out of nowhere. The angler, however, had a glint in his eye, something reminiscent of a young lad who’s just been given his first real fishing rod.

For it is this childlike enthusiasm we rediscover when we mature as anglers, when pressure eases and we can relive those boyhood days but through older, much wiser eyes. As a child we fished with a sense of urgency and eagerness, eager to learn, eager to catch but at the same time the hours moved much more slowly. Our lives and our angling merge into what can only be described as a blur, with each one gathering pace more each day until we can’t tell which is which. Everything becomes about numbers, the mortgage, the overdraft, the weight of that mirror, the amount of bait, numbers. Seasons come and go without much notice being taken as we begin to wish life away, eager to get to the time when fishing becomes easy again.
The matured angler feels no competition, only the strong desire to to enjoy. He longs for precious moments at his favourite places where every second spent doing what he loves is a second spent in the best possible way. Breakfast will be prepared and consumed before setting off, lunch will be served when he is hungry and his tea will be on the table when he returns, there will be no time to keep an eye on, only his instincts pointing him in the right direction. The failure to catch doesn’t worry him in the slightest, for there will always be next time, and the time after that; it’s being there that matters most.

At this season, above all others, he has time to reflect upon the year so far and make provisions for the harsh time ahead. The summer was productive; along with dreamy summer days spent alongside lily covered pools of emerald he caught tench, roach and, his favourite of all fishes, the crucian carp. The sun upon his neck was something that brought warmth to his soul, now a scarf would have to suffice as biting winds arrive to mark the beginning of the cold spell, but he does not fret over such trivial things; an extra thick jumper and pair of gloves will remedy the situation quite comfortably. New fishes to angle for excite him, the prospect of a marbled pike or a tiger striped perch will be enough to stoke the fire in his heart and see him through whatever the elements decide to throw at him. 
Just to be close to nature and witness her marvellous changes is enough for the matured angler, to focus too much upon the catching of fish and miss all that goes on around him would be to do himself and nature herself a great disservice. Just one blink and you can miss the amazing, a look in the wrong direction and the wonderful goes begging. You can’t capture everything, but concentrate on the important things and you return after the day fulfilled.



Monday, 15 October 2012

An Autumn Perch...

I arrived around eight am. It was chilly and the temperature in the car park was zero, surrounding fields were white and it looked perfect for some perch action. I’d heard that there were a few large specimens blighting silver fish anglers, but these perch were tricky to capture and with the added issue of lots of jack pike also searching out their prey it was a very real challenge. With my kit loaded into my swim choice I realised that I’d forgotten the milk, a quick message to my companion for the day, John, and a pint of semi was inbound.

I began fishing the clear margins, ever watchful that something big and stripy may appear, and it soon did, a sprinkling of maggots to attract small silver fish seemed to do the trick. A good perch of over two pounds was soon sniffing around and snatched my hook-bait without hesitation, but a short battle saw him spit the bait and had me cursing my bad luck. Another take quite soon after in the slightly deeper, less clear water ended the same way but I suspect that was one a small pike.


John arrived with milk and whilst he tackled up I wandered along a few swims to see if I could stalk a big sergeant from the many pads, reed and weed beds that litter the margins. One such lily bed looked good; I dropped my bait in as close as possible and watched the float sail away after only a couple of minutes. The battle was immense and when the fish surfaced for the first time I had my heart in my mouth, I knew I was attached to a really good perch. She slipped over the net and as I peered in I couldn’t believe that my first of the day was such a fine specimen. I returned to John who readied the camera whilst I weighed it. It was 3lb 8oz, a great way to start the perch season.


John was next in action with yet another fine fish over three pounds, which was a new pb for him. And soon after that fish was released we sat and watched a couple more good sized fish patrolling the margins right under our feet. But, sadly those two perch were the only ones we caught. We did, however, catch a handful of small pike, which was fun on light cane rods and centrepin reels. Once the suns warmth had dried off all the morning dampness I struck up the Kelly kettle and John brought out the fabulous cake he’d made the evening previous, and very nice it was too.


We sat until tea time, it had begun to get chilly again, and the lure of roast dinners waiting for us on our returning made us start to break camp, load the cars and head for home. It was such a fantastic day, one of those days to look back upon with a big smile. The fishing was first class, as was the weather and the company. The only question is, where to go next weekend?

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Blanking in Style...

The Koi Pool

After the excitement of last weekend at Headlands and a hatful of fish, this weekend I was looking for something quieter, a bit more off the beaten track and the chance of something a bit different pulling my string. The season change had taken a firm grip and with dark, cold morning becoming the norm now I didn’t much fancy an early start. I was still within the warmth of the kitchen preparing a flask at seven am, a time when I’d usually have been fishing for a couple of hours already. I set off for the Koi Pool and arrived to an empty car park at just after eight am.

The ticket man’s dog greeted me with a wag of the tail and a wet nose. I paid the man and headed off across the grass past the stock ponds and across the small rickety bridge. Standing at the edge of the pool I was just a little disappointed to find the water very coloured due to all the rain we’d had. I should have known really, but hoped it would be so bad. You see, the appeal of this place, being stocked with Koi, is that the up close in the edge stalking is so exciting, white and yellow carp patrolling the margins making for heart-stopping moments as they approach the float and the water around starts to rock. Take away this element and it becomes any other fishery, and I like each one that I fish to have its own special trait. Having said this I was there, had paid my money and driven around fifteen miles, at least it was worth a go.
Koi Pool looking pretty...
After two walks around the pool and only seeing one fish I settled behind a bush that produced for me the last time I was there. I set up the Mark IV with the Aerial and attached a small quill and size six hook to the line. A handful of freebies went onto the spot followed by two small wriggly worms. The float sat there looking very splendid but for half an hour it never moved. I wound in, went for another wander around the pool a couple of times and settled upon moving further down the pool next to another air sized tree which reached far out over the water, they just had to be hiding under here.

It was a little frustrating, I know it shouldn’t be, but when you build yourself up for something, no matter what it is, you can’t help but to feel a little dejected when things just don’t go to plan. The second spot was much the same as the first, the quill tip sat deadly still in the calm water, only rocking when a coot or moorhen swam by. By 10:30 am I’d had another walk around, didn’t spot anything so packed away my things and headed back to the car park. It was a shame; still nobody else was there, the place to myself. But if it just doesn’t feel right and your heart tells you to be somewhere else, you have to follow it.

 Carron Row Farm

In the car I was still wondering where to go; with the best part of the morning already gone I didn’t really have too much time to turn things around. The obvious choice seemed to be Carron Row Farm, not too far away, always good for a bend in the rod, always an unoccupied bush to sit next to with a carp or two hiding beneath. So I arrived and found the two swims I had in mind were free. I carried my things around, baited both swims and started fishing next to the brambles in the left hand swim with a chunk of luncheon meat.

 After two missed bites (due to me completely ignoring the float and watching squirrels) I moved to the right hand swim and continued to angle there just out from the rhododendron bush. Another two missed bites occurred (a magpie and a robin this time) but it was nice sat there, drinking from my flask, munching on my sandwiches and generally chilling out. I was under no pressure, Carron Row is so familiar to me I feel I can relax properly when I’m there. I moved again later in the afternoon, along the causeway as there were a few fish cruising in front of the reeds. A watched some lovely carp ‘mooching’ about just off the reeds but they weren’t interested in feeding on anything.

One hooked fish, probably a bream, fell off and that was the extent of my action. But it was a lovely afternoon sat at one of my special places with friends around me both human and animal. I bid the pool farewell, loaded the car and headed for home. I think I shall go perch fishing next weekend….

Monday, 1 October 2012

Fun at the farm....

Just a short account of my first trip out for a good few weeks.....
The eagerly awaited first fishing trip was always going to be a great day out, whatever happened. I had promised my dad a day out as he’d not yet been this year, so it was just nice to be bankside again, for both of us. We Left home just after six thirty am and set off for the 45 minute journey to Headlands Farm in the hope of Carp (Dad’s intended quarry) and perch (mine). Being out of action for a full five weeks I started to wonder if anything would go wrong, whether I’d forgotten “how to do it”. Well I wasn’t 100% sure which junction from the motorway to take, and I’d been to the venue lots of times before, I guess I was still suffering from Baby Brain somewhat.

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We did take the right turning, weaved our way through the country lanes and arrived at the fishery just after 7am. After parking the car we made our way to our favourite swims and dropped a few bags to secure the spot. I was to fish towards the islands and in the channel for perch and Dad wanted to fish the bay margin for carp. With all the kit in the swim we tackled up the rods and proceeded to fish. Dad was first into a fish, a lovely looking carp of around six pounds; he was over the moon and even with the long lay-off he still played and landed it like an expert.

A couple of Dad’s fish…

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Dad continued to catch carp every half hour or so whilst I steadily started to build my swim up, catching small perch, skimmer bream, roach and even the odd carp, which were quite tricky to land on 4lb line and my newly acquired Wizard. The first photo fish for me was a beautiful roach of around a pound. I reached for the camera and found the button not to be working. A quick look confirmed that the battery had run out, not good at all. After releasing the fish I remembered that I had my blackberry in the car. The camera really isn’t very good, but it would capture a few moments even if the quality was poor.

A couple of my fish…
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The morning was overcast and windy but dry. The perch were coming steadily but although I stuck it out until lunchtime, the best I managed was just over a pound. Dad, however, was having great fin with hard fighting, good looking carp, so I decided to join him for the afternoon. We went on to catch a bagful of carp between us, and Dad even had a go with the float rod, just for a change.

Wizard in action
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At some time after three pm we packed the things away and headed home. Mum had prepared a nice dinner for Dad and I wanted to get home to see Jessica. It was great to finally get out fishing, but it was equally as good to get home and hold my baby. I’m now looking forward to some more angling next weekend.

Ready for home…
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