Only a brief blog this time, for which I trust you’ll be eternally greatful. There simply doesn’t appear to be enough time at the moment to fit everything in and fishing has to take priority when time is tight.
I promised you more of Mole’s paintings so what better way to kick off.
Here’s the new carp picture
And here’s the new rudd one…
Earlier this year I had to block an idiot who appeared to be gaining his jollies by leaving abusive posts beneath my blogs. Thwarted by my action he has been reduced to having pops on alternative web sites. It’s so sad really. What pitiful lives such folk must lead. Of course, he’ll not go ‘short’ of company – the same old jealous trolls are eager to egg him on and throw in their sycophantic two-penneth for good measure. Happy days.
It wasn’t so much he wanted to insult me that caused the initial offense, it was the fact he deliberately used my web site to attack Mark Barrett and that’s completely out of order. I aprreciate the bloke is somewhat vertically challenged and we all know that many a short bloke feels a need to throw his weight around but it’s no excuse for such behaviour. Unfortunately he cannot see the irony in attacking Mark for being overweight is a sign of his own inadequacies and insecurities. It is so sad and you have to wonder what these blokes did before the Internet arrived.
Although Mark and I have debated various issues in the past, often heatedly, we argued our positions using logic and a modicum of intelligence. Certainly we never actually fell out but our physical paths didn’t cross until we bumped into each other at at show some 3 years ago. We had a chat, indeed had a laugh over some of our disputes and Mark invited me to fish with him whenever I could spare the time. Last week I took him up on his offerand we met up by the lower reaches of the Great Ouse with very strong winds dictating where we were likely to fish.
The zander fishing has changed quite a bit since I used to fish the Ouse. Where 7 or eight runs in an evening was nothing to write home about you are now probably looking for one or two runs a night but the fish are bigger. Certainly doubles are on the cards and fish to 14 or 15lbs are certainly there to be caught.
I had spent some time the previous week acquiring a few deadbaits but that turned out to be a waste of time as it was a fish a bung on the pole. Roach, skimmers, perch, rudd, I even had a chub. Meanwhile my bait catching activities were interrupted at regular intervals because the right hand livebait rod kept getting hit. I landed 5 out of 6 takes but they were all small jacks. No sign of zander but we always felt our chances would improve as darkness fell.
Alas it wasn’t to be. Whether there were too many prey fish in the area – it does make things rather like a needle in a haystack – I don’t know. We saw neither hide nor hair of zander although the odd pick-up in the night could have been an enquiry from a tiddler, or it could just as easily have been eel activity. Either way, nothing gave us a striking opportunity.
The following morning I ate a hearty breakfast while Mark stuck rigidly to his diet. There’s nowt like a fry up on the bank, is there? Anyway, we decided a move might be a good idea so we headed over to the Cam. The lower Cam is a smaller version of the Ouse although the fish population is probably lower but zanderwise the stamp is generally good.
Mark was first to get some action but it turned out to be a decent pike that snapped up his livebait. Unfortunately he shook the thing off in the margins before I had a chance to get a trophy shot. Oh well, we didn’t have to wait long before the first zander of our trip put in an appearance.
‘That’s a double!’ Said Mark as it came to the net.
‘Give over!’ I replied, the one I had on the Trent last week was much bigger. And it was. Honest!
‘Then you should have weighed it.’ Mark Reprimanded.
On the scales this one didn’t quite make the double but neither of us was too fussed. It’d do for us and had we caught nothing else the trip would have been deemed a success.
Darkness fell and Mark was in zed action again although this one was a bit smaller than the last. I was, by now, begining to feel like the kid at a teenage party with a zit on my nose. How on earth was I going to get kissed? Not to worry, I repostioned one rod closer in and within ten minutes it was away. First zed of the trip and a decent one to boot. But that was the last of the action as rain began to fall. I hate rain.
Dawn came and went. Another breakfast was wafted temptingly under Mark’s nose but still he resisted. Keep that up mate and your dieting will begin to pay off. Easier to lose a few pounds than grow a foot, eh?
The river though was dead. Neither of us had a sniff, nothing topped and I doubt that much would have happened had we stayed all day. Mark had to prep his gear for the following day (he was off to Grafham, lucky sod) and I fancied a little crack at the Old West before making the long journey back North.
The Old West came up trumps with a pike in the first ten minutes but with drizzle begining to fall I had to decide whether I wanted to stay and get all my gear soaked or head home for a hot bath. The latter prevailed but you know what? I’ll have to come back again soon. I do love the Fens, the wide open spaces, the big skies and some of the best predator fishing around. It’s just such a big place to come to terms with.
What A Load Of Bobbins!
You’ll maybe recall that Stu and I had a few cracking bream recently while filming for our ongoing DVD project, Caught In The Act. We discussed what was needed to wrap that sequence and while Stu thought a double figure bream would be good, I felt that switching methods and using bobbins would offer a contrasting technique so off we went to meet the dawn. We set up fishing bobbins on a long drop hoping to film some slow, deliberate bites.
Some chance! We never had a single bite between us. In fact as far as we could see only one fish was caught from the entire lake. What a difference a couple of weeks can make.
I’m sure you must have noticed that the weather is definitely on the change. Those balmy days of summer are rapidly becoming a distant memory. The fabulous Indian summer is over, too. This week we saw the first frost of the Autumn so we can safely say the summer has now gone.
If you believe the newspapers and Internet experts. Autumn is the best season of the year for catching fish. What utter tosh! Do these folks actually go fishing? Autumn is a tough season. The rivers and lakes are still full of weed, the water is crustal clear and it only takes a bit of frost to kill sport completely. There’s still an abundance of natural food to compete with as well. I’ll be happy when we’ve had a week of proper concrete frosts and a bank-high flood to clear out the crap but what will make me even happier is if we have a proper, good old fashioned winter that isn’t too mild but doesn’t feature a mini ice age. In fact bring it on!
Time For Pike
I’m hoping to do a bit more piking this winter than I’ve been doing in recent seasons. Indeed I’d like to target a twenty because it’s been a few seasons since I last had one. I do have one water in mind, a popular drain that has thrown up a few twenties in recent seasons but that could well be a numbers game. Depends how much time I’m prepared to put in, I guess.
October 1st was always the traditional start to the piking season in years gone by. It’s a tradition that appears to have died. Still, I gave the drain a go this week just to get a feel for it more than anything. Boy-oh-boy, it was a bit of a jungle last year but that was nothing. My plan to leapfrog using a couple of rods and cover lots of ground could prove to be one hell of a challenge this winter. Indeed I wouldn’t be surprised to discover a lost tribe or even the odd tiger in the dense undergrowth. Might even have to bring a machette next time!
Sport was decidedly slow. I’d gone this time with just one rod (fortunately) and minimal tacklea few intending to have a couple of casts in each swim with a wobbled deadbait. Two small fish was all I could tempt.
Feeling decidedly knackered after struggling with the undergrowth for a couple of hours I headed back to the van. Passing the only other angler on the drain I stopped for a natter and learned he’d had five pike from one area using multiple rods. Four were singles but his final fish was a 15. I’d have been well-happy with that.
Had the other guy been struggling I’d have probably gone home but I decided to have a look at another drain that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’m not sure why but no-one seems to fish it. There was one swim near the car park that obviously does get fished but beyond that there was no other evidence of it being fished for at least a year. There wasn’t a single gap in the Norfolk reeds where anyone had poked a rod through. Hmmm. A virgin pike water? It demanded a closer investigation.
The first thing I did was move my van away from the access point. No point in advertising my presence. I then set off walking until I was completely out of sight from prying eyes – the things we do, eh?
I could see how it would be difficult for most anglers to fish here but wearing chesties meant I could easily slip into the water should I hook anything. I’d been fishing less than ten minutes when my wobbled roach was stopped dead in its tracks. A spirited pike was dealt with quickly before I decided what to do next. Stu and I needed a decent water to do a bit of filming on. Where better than this?
Had I fished on I’m sure I would have caught more pike. The downside was I might have been spotted. So, it was a bit of a wrench, but I packed up and slipped back to the van. Stu and I will return with a couple of float rods each and work our way along this drain with the cameras rolling. With a bit of luck we might see a bit of explosive action. I hope so.
The Football Bit’s Back
I’ve shied away from waxing lyrical about football this season since Brighton’s so-called ‘footballers’ kicked us all over the park on opening day resulting in two players being stretchered off and two more limping off to leave us with just 10 men on the park. I said then we would probably not win our first game until we played Peterborough and I would have been right had Sean O’Driscol not been sacked. His replacement, plucked from the Conference, enjoyed the luck of the ‘dead cat bounce’ winning his first game in charge thanks to a fluke deflected goal.
I’m incensed that SOD was relieved of his duties, by text, just 36 hours after the Chairman John Ryan went on TV and radio claiming his job was safer than that of Sir Alex Ferguson. It just didn’t add up and, because SOD is the last man on earth to go running to the press and spilling his side of the story, it made the Chairman’s excuses for the biggest U-turn in football history sound rather hollow.
SOD’s replacement was in place before the Chairman even managed to tell SOD he was on gardening leave. Who was the man to lead us forward? Dean Saunders. Managerial experience? Three years in the Conference with mighty Wrexham. Even Wrexham’s fans didn’t seemed too fussed he’d gone. ‘Blames everyone bar himself when they lose’, they said. ‘Used 100 players in the three years he was here.’ ‘When he gets beat he trots out excuses like, we had 15 corners’. This didn’t sound encouraging.
‘We are going to do things diffenrently’, said John Ryan.
The stench of dead rat pervaded my world. What on earth was going on?
Rovers fans showed just how fickle they are on the club’s message boards. How quickly the knives came out and were plunged into SOD’s back. What worries me more than anything is not that we are facing relegation. League One is probably where we belong if we’re being honest. No, we now had a new face who seemed to be pulling a lot of strings at the club, a guy called Willie McKay, a football agent by trade. Just Google him and see what the football world thinks of him. It doesn’t make good reading.
Suddenly we were being linked with names like El Hadj Diouf, Pascal Chimbonda, Frederick Piquione, Chris Kirkland. Suddenly we’re signing this kind of player in on short-term loan deals. Err, excuse me, what’s going on? We were so potless a couple of weeks ago the Chairman asked us to have a whip round to fund a loan ‘star’ striker until Billy was fit again. West Ham’s Hérita Ilunga, reputedly on £26K a week at West Ham, comes in on loan and we reckon we’re only paying him £2 a week. What?!!!!
Then the real story broke. Willie McKay now has total control over all sales and recruitment. No player can join or leave us without his say so.
His plan is that Doncaster will be a showcase, a shop window for disaffected players across Europe, brought in on short-term loan deals and they will be paid only a nominal sum. Next week we are supposed to be signing Mahamouda Diarra. Yes, that’s not a misprint, the guy who is currently on a hundred grand a week at Lyon and previously played 120 games for Real Madrid.
Apparently we’re doing it a different way, the League has sanctioned McKay’s contract with the club (£100 a week!) and we’re going to get promotion to the Premiership, if not this year, next season.
What utter bollocks! I’m sorry but I love my club and I’d sooner see it relegated than prostituted in this way. What next, club shirts with velcrose strips on the back so we can change the players’ names every couple of weeks? Suddenly we think we’re the Harlem Globetrotters and I fear for what will happen when it all goes tits up. It’s the biggest gamble any club has made since Leeds lived the dream. No wonder SOD didn’t want any part of it.
Please, please, please follow this link and read what living the dream is going to be like for us with McKay in charge. In his own words, the club is a joke, has no fans and he’s here to make money. How can this be allowed to happen?
What hurts most though is that a large section of fans appears to be buying into this fantasy. At least those Leeds fans had no idea their dream was unsustainable. Going down is not the end of the world. Having the integrity and fabric of your club destroyed in the process is possibly the worst thing that could ever happen.