Apparently, those who fish rivers on a regular basis will have had their prayers answered this week. After weeks of drought the heavens opened and suddenly the rivers were rising like the clappers. Eighty locations were put on flood watch but within 24 hours it was down to a handful. The water we get these days doesn’t last long, does it?
Being retired I can pretty much fish whenever I choose and there’s no real reason for me to traipse out in the rain and get all my gear (and myself) soaking wet through. But doesn’t that make my fishing one dimensional? Do I also run the risk by waiting for the optimum conditions to end up as a passive angler? So many folk who I used to fish with are going out less and less. It’s never the perfect time, is it?
No, I decided in an act of bloody mindedness to go out and fish in the rain last week and the conclusion I came to in the end is that I’m barking mad. What on earth was that all about? It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d plonked myself down beside a nice lake or a commercial puddle but no, I decided on this day of heavy rain and blustery, gusting winds to tackle the tidal River Don. Moreover I went way downstream, lower than I’ve ever fished before and on a split tide just for good measure.
There were moments during the day when I questioned my sanity. Not only did I have to make my own peg at the foot of an 8-foot near-vertical bank on a really narrow muddy ledge that dropped straight into 5 feet of swirling tidal water, I had no option but to stand up all day. Precarious wasn’t the word but at least it kept the wind off me.
Boy, did it rain. Non stop, all day. The tide came up three feet, the river ran in the opposite direction and I gradually sunk into the ledge, up to my knees in glutinous, sticky mud that pulled my waders off each time I tried to move, but when the tide rose it covered my ledge and that really complicated matters. But do you know what? I had a fabulous day’s fishing, even if everything did finish up soaking wet. Whoever invented Gortex deserves a knighthood.
It was slow to begin with and every single bite had to be earned but I gradually started picking up a few nice roach and the occasional perch. And then the river stopped. By that I mean stopped dead in its tracks, but not for long because it began flowing the other way, getting deeper by the cast. I wasn’t complaining though because I was suddenly getting a bite every run through from roach mostly but one or two mint conditioned dace joined in the fun.
I’d long forgotten about the wind and the rain. This was great fishing. And then the river turned round again and ran the other way. In four hours I had the better part of fifty fish, I’d say. Certainly over 40 fish and you can’t fault that. The lower Don might not be the prettiest stretch of water in the country but it’ll do for me. As soon as the levels fall I’ll be back, as Arnie might say.
The Heir ‘Apparent’
Had to smile when I read Steve Pope’s latest blogpost in which he now likens me to Richard Littlejohn rather than that old silver fox Piers Morgan. I’ll take that!
Mind you, Piers has reduced a few to tears unexpectedly. Perhaps I’m his heir ‘APPARENT’…
‘Apparently’ There’s A Lack Of Understanding…
Nice piece on the BBC Breakfast Show this morning discussing grammar, spelling and punctuation. Apparently even those who are educated are lacking when it comes to their use of the English language. And how many times is that (that I’ve used the word apparently)? Several, but some of my regular readers either fail to understand it or at least choose not to. I’m thinking of launching a campaign to educate those who’s education was prematurely terminated. I even have a slogan:
‘Apparently: Like a fart in an echo chamber, we never hear the last of it.’
Kinda catchy, don’t you think?
Live Aid Update
‘Apparently’ the Fatwa Fish-in at Hazelford went off okay, even if some guests struggled a bit withthe conditions. Now if I’d used the term ‘allegedly’ you’d be perfectly in order to think I was suggesting it didn’t go off well but I’ve used the word ‘apparently’ on purpose. Apparently means all those things I listed in the comments beneath my last blog, but you know that now, don’t you? Quite why Chris and his cronies can’t see the difference is a mystery to me but I guess that distorting the truth is what they’re very good at.
But I’m in a good mood today so I’ll ignore the crap they’ve been spouting and congratulate everyone who went along on their sterling charity effort.
Personally I’ll be down at Anglers Paradise for the netting party at the end of the month where we aim to raise a few bob to top up the 20-odd thousand pounds already given to various charity causes including the one I’m a patron of, Reels-On-Wheels. If anyone would care to join in you’ll be made quite welcome. Full details can be found on the Anglers Paradise web site.
Not only is the cost of fishing waived, the villas are available at bargain rates, too.
I had to be up bright and early on Saturday morning for the long old trek down to Browns of Leighton Buzzard but it gave me a good chance to listen to the whole of Keith Arthur’s radio show, Fisherman’s Blues on TalkSport. I don’t care what his knockers say, old Keith’s an extremely accomplished broadcaster and we’ve got no-one else in angling who could seriously replace him.
It was interesting to hear him announcing the Barbel Society half-season memberships, not once but twice during the show. Time was when the Society received no coverage at all on TV or radio. Maybe someone’s starting to do a decent job on the PR at last. Keep it up.
The Browns appearance, along with the Korda crew went down really well (apparently!) and I’d just like to pass on a big thanks to the staff for the fantastic breakfast butty and the constant stream of coffee. I’d also like to say thanks to the customers who dropped by and made me feel really welcome.
Browns is an unusual shop in that you can buy all the fishing tackle you might ever need yet you can also spend £45,000 on a lawnmower without leaving the premises. It shocked me to learn that anyone could possibly spend so much on a mower but I guess folks are a bit more affluent down south!
As ever, you always get a few invites from folk to join them on their waters and one I certainly hope to have a dabble on has been producing some BIG roach. Now that would be a real treat.
I also bumped into a guy who reminded me that he was fishing on the same lake as me 18 years ago when I filmed the Return To Paradise video (now available on DVD, not that I ever see a penny in royalties…). And yes, I did remember to thank him for the mini boilies he gave me.
And just to add a layer of icing on the cake I had an email passed on afterwards. It read:
Just a quick message about Bob. Wot a great great bloke. Was talking to Bob on Sat at Browns day. Never seen Bob before. We started talking about carp and ended up talking about his world wide fishing trips. Wot a top top bloke and what a great chat I had with him. Just watch the sturgeon video and that looks even better then you described it. Tight lines bob!
Surely he means some other Bob? Everyone knows Bob (Roberts) is an ogre of the highest order. Just ask some of them lot that have never, ever met him. They are convinced, apparently…
Is This Really Fishing?
With a drop of extra water on the Trent it made perfect sense to reschedule my diary so I could shoot down there and snatch a few hours. It would have made a lot of sense to fish into the dark, or as some call it, the Noddy hour, but only having match hours available to me wasn’t a massive problem. Once the river’s up and coloured you’re in with a chance at any time of day or night.
With no discernible wind it came as little surprise to find the river shrouded in mist. Indeed I could barely see the far bank when I made my first cast at exactly 12 minutes past ten. The amount of debris coming down wasn’t too bad and I managed to keep the rod out for nearly half an hour. Just long enough for it to hoop over with my first fish of the day.
Trent barbelling is such a contrast to stick float fishing. I’m not sure that reading a newspaper whilst waiting for a fish to hook itself against a 6oz feeder can actually be called fishing. It’s certainly something that a monkey could do, especially if you limit the ape to just the one rod that I was fishing with.
Why one rod? It’s the old problem of debris and making sure the feeder doesn’t drag into a snag. then there’s the playing of a fish when the other rod could so easily be engulfed by a raft of floating vegetation. And anyway, how many barbel do you need to catch? They are, after all, only barbel.
I fished for less than five hours in all, packing up before 3pm by which time the day had turned bright and sunny. In fact a nicer day you couldn’t have wished for. In that time I’d read my paper from cover to cover and had five chances. Alas I’d only put three fish (to 9lb) on the bank. One fish was lost when my feeder became snagged in the rocks right under my feet. There’s not a great deal you can do about that when you’re faced with deep margins and you’re pushed back from where you would normally stand to fish by the water level. With rocks extending way out beyond the length of your rod you can only pump and hope but the force of flow alone tends to swing each hooked fish into the danger zone.
The final chance was the one that hurt, clearly a bigger fish and most certainly a double. When it kited down and in I knew I’d have serious problems with the bank side vegetation which was further out than I could possibly reach round with a bent rod so I followed it downstream to the next peg which offered me more space to work in.
The ploy worked perfectly. It was still important to keep the fish as high in the water as possible because a 6oz feeder will find any snag or rock and the near margin is as rocky as things get. Up came the feeder, great, behind it a very big fish swirled just underneath the surface, unseen due to the turbid water, and then the hook pulled.
Oh well. You don’t win ’em all but this was one I wouldn’t have minded getting a proper look at at the very least. Big fish aren’t that common on this stretch and that would probably have been my PB from this stretch.
Oh well, there’s always another day.
There was a warning last week in 352 Lux Mag about a possible influx of Asian ladybirds due to the warm weather they’ve been experiencing on the near Continent. The Harlequin ladybird as it’s officially known, is gradually pushing out the native species and posing a threat to native biodiversity.
Well, they’re over here now. I had several crawling on my gear and it reminded me of how we used to collect them at junior school. You got big brownie points for specimens with the most spots so I reckon this one was a right proper specimen.
How Bad Were The Eighties?
I noted a fabulous line in ITV’s Law and Order UK on Thursday night. Bradley Walsh plays old school copper’s copper Ronnie Brooks and commenting on his previous drink addiction he said:
“I lost an entire decade to cheap whisky. Luckily it was the 80’s”
He Must Have Had A Big Paper Round…
Walking back from the village newsagents this morning trying to read and avoid dog mess at the same time I almost stumbled into the paper boy who was dashing round making his deliveries. I say ‘boy’ but this bloke was my age and he was driving from house to house in his car. Reckons he’s been delivering papers for 35 years.
Set me thinking back to when I had a paper round in the early 1960’s; 12/6 a week I got paid (62.5p) including Sundays. Eventually it went up to 13/6. Not what you call a King’s ransom (apparently) but it reminded me of the Chris Evans’ biography I read recently, ‘It’s Not What You Think’. Evans was a paper boy, too, but somehow he went on to become a multi-millionaire. Perhaps he had a BIG paper round or maybe he was smart enough to moved on to better things.
I think I might give the book to ‘our’ paper lad. Perhaps it’ll inspire him!
Each chapter of the book starts with a Top 10 list. My favourites include:
Things That Make A Successful Radio Show
10 Know your audience
9 Play on your strengths
8 Avoid your weaknesses
7 Reflect the day
6 Reflect the world
5 Empower the listeners
4 Never forget that music is your friend (The Beatles are always on hand of you need them)
3 Be yourself but just a bigger version
2 Put yourself down before anyone else has the chance to
1 Content, content, content
Those ten things just about sum up the way I try to write this blog. Why do you think I’ve chosen the next list?
Top 10 Most Useless States Of Mind (Apparently!)
1 In Denial
Barbel Society Bargain
The Barbel Society, now in its fifteenth year, has announced a special half-season offer on membership and also on fishery permit rates to both new and existing members. From 1st October it will be possible to become a member for just £15, which includes the joining fee and will run until June 2011.
Joining the Society opens up access to five fisheries which are available on half-year permits. Fisheries include stretches of the Teme, WarwickshireAvon and Hampshire Avon, but the two that will certainly interest local anglers are the Tidal Trent at Sutton for just £20 – or to put it another way the equivalent of three day tickets purchased on the bank at Barnsley’s Fiskerton length, and Topcliffe on the Swale for £18.
That makes the Sutton stretch so appealing, besides the prolific stocks of barbel and huge chub, is that you can drive right onto the river bank, plus you are allowed to night fish.
You will also be able to take advantage of a full range of other benefits including high quality magazines and newsletters, access to the BS website and forum, and the opportunity to support the research and conservation work of the Society, plus the chance to meet up with many keen barbel anglers from all over the country.
Members are entitled to participate in the annual Research and Conservation auction and take full advantage of the Question and Answer facility on the website where a panel of leading barbel anglers will answer your questions individually.
Social evenings for the Yorkshire Region are held regularly in Wetherby where guest speakers deliver slide show presentations and participate in question and answer sessions.
To join you can send a cheque, made out to The Barbel Society to: The Membership Secretary. 1 Larchwood, Castlegate, Scotforth, Lancaster LA1 4QG
More details can be found on the Barbel Society website at http://www.barbelsociety.co.uk
It’s Show Time
If you are wondering what on earth the image is that announces this blog on the front page you had better start getting used to it. Daiwa is in the process of re-branding. The sunburst image is no longer, it is no more, it is, as they say, a dead parrot. Instead we have the new, going forward logo and over the course of three years it will be replaced on every product. Strong brand names like Infinity will remain buy they will be ‘family’ names within the global brand.
It’s a huge project and will include every country in the World. It’s quite a challenge so watch this space for updates. Meantime, feel free to let us know what you think of it.
Various new products were showcased at this week’s Daiwa trade show in Doncaster including several items that any angler would be proud to own and a few that cost an absolute arm and a leg. But the very best always does, doesn’t it?
Specialist anglers will be eager to see the new Theory Barbel Rods, available in 1.75TC and 2.25TC. There’s also a Theory Specialist 1.5TC. All come with twin tips (one hollow) and multiple plug-in quivertips. they certainly look and feel the business for what will be a bargain RRP of £99.99. I can see them selling a lot of these.
Danny Fairbrass has been allowed free reign to design a range of carp rods to his own specifications under the Longbow DS banner. Boy are these going to be popular and very soon we’ll be seeing the 4th Carp Tackle Tactics and Tips DVD in which it features heavily. I’m fortunate to own a set of Infinities and see little point in changing them but I’d not be unhappy in the least if I had to use these for all my carping.
However, I’ve not mentioned the rod which made me drool and that’s a 2.25TC floater rod in the same range. This is the kind of rod every carper should own. Sadly a lot prefer to sit behind motionless hangers all day rather than to get off their backsides and work for their fish. Be in no doubt there’s no finer way to catch a carp than off the surface and from what I’ve seen so far, no better tool.
As for the aspirational items, well, obviously, there’s the Basia reels. I mean, what self-respecting carp angler wouldn’t want to own a set of those? However, come down the food chain a short way and you’ll discover the phenomenal Certate reels. These reels have harnessed technology that was developed for lubrication in space where there’s no gravity. Can you believe the sealed bearings have magnetic oil? I use an older Certate model for my chub fishing and you can take it from me they are an absolute dream to fish with.
And finally, I’ll just mention the new Regal Z Bite ‘n Run reel. For those who prefer a free spool reel for their barbelling, make sure you check this one out. It’s the perfect size (available in 3500 and 4000) for barbel.
Pinch Me, Is He Serious?
After the trade show I nipped down to Pinch Mill Fisheries to catch up with ‘old’ Swordsey and ‘young’ Ron Clay for a natter. You know, when we launched the Don Valley Specimen Group all manner of folk took the hump because we said, ‘Sorry, this is a closed shop, start your own group.’
‘It’s not fair,’ They whined, ‘Why can’t we join? You’re all up your own arses. Elitist *%$£ers!’
Well, the DVSG was and is just a bunch of guys who live pretty local to each other who go fishing, not to break records or even to catch the biggest fish. They go fishing for fun. Those who so wanted to join would never get in because they were too serious.
Here’s the DVSG President and his upstart sidekick doing what one or two other blinkered souls ought to do. They’re fishing and having fun. With poles. On a commercial fishery. You see there’s more to it than just trying to catch specimens and you don’t need to be a member of the DVSG to enjoy yourself.
Even so, you learn more about your mates every day. For instance, did you know Lee and John Travolta were separatedat birth? Either that or Lee has visions of becoming a pole dancer!
The pair had a few roach and a couple of carp on what proved to be a tricky day and both learned valuable lessons. Ron learned to his cost that feeding chopped worm is perhaps not the best idea on a venue that’s rammed with sticklebacks. Lee learned that it’s not a good idea to leave all your pole floats at home.
I learned that the ‘old bugger’ Ron can still manage to put smaller shots on his rig than I ever can!
If Tyson Can Think About it, I can Do It!
It’s been a long, long time since I last fished a match. In fact it’s probably 15 years or more but this old boy’s gonna make a come back. I’m going to fish a match again! Not that I’m likely to win it.
The last major competitive match I fished was a charity event, The ACA Masters (I was pegged next to Stu Conroy and caught loads of barbel on the pole). Other than that there’s been a dabble in the British Carp Championships – I made it through to the final – and then there was the UK Masters Angling Championship on Sky TV that I won in 1997. Oh, that’s it. The last time I fished a competitive match was in the 1999 Masters, the pegged down match at the end, and yes, I won it!
Since then I’ve been a match organiser through my Green Un Championship but I’ve not wet a single line in anger.
It’ll be a shame to put that winning streak at risk but I think it’s time to have a dabble again. Why? You ask. Well it’s the result of a telephone call from Des Taylor, “Bob, we’re running a match down here on the river in Bewdley and I wondered if you’d help us out. It’s a three-man team event and you’re number one on my list.”
“Who’s the other angler?”
“I’ve asked Harry (Dave Harrell). Don’t know if he can make it yet as he’s got to check his diary but I reckon if it was a pairs match we could win it without him!”
Des has never been short on confidence up front or slow to wind-up match anglers but those of you with long memories will recall him fishing the Evesham festival and having to eat his hat (made from cake of course)…
But it’ll be great fun and it’d be rude not to drop down on Friday evening and stay over at his so we can sample a few beers in the Mug and the Great Western. I can’t wait!
Itchicoo Park – What Did You Do There?
The Daily Mail runs a weekly column inviting readers to pose what are ‘apparently’ tricky questions. Other readers can write in withthe answers and this week there was a query about the Small faces song, Itchicoo Park. Namely where is it? Does it actually exist?
Well the paper got the answer half right. it does exist, but not quite where they suggested. I lived in Ilford, Essex, for a while around 1968. My local, the Rose and Crown (‘apparently’ it’s gone now) was known as the venue that turned away the Faces. They wanted somewhere to practise and do the odd gig. The landlord decided otherwise.
But that’s an aside, just to establish that they were local to Ilford, which matters, because Itchicoo Park is actually Valentines Park in Ilford. So there!
But what a great excuse to throw in a Small Faces Playlist…
And this blog ends here, ‘apparently’.