2009 – Mid-September Blog

Bream Record Smashed By The UK’s First ‘Twenty’

Looks like Mark McKenna has broken the British Rod Caught Bream Record with a spectacular fish of 22lb 9oz from Ferry Lagoon, Cambridgeshire. Weighed on three sets of scales, Mark settled for the lowest weight but it simply obliterates the previous record, a fish of 19lb 10oz caught from the same water way back in March 2005.

When I was a nipper the bream record was something like 13lb 12oz…

There’s an interview with the captor here courtesy of the Go Fishing web site: 


Full details and pictures will no doubt appear in Tuesday’s Angling Times. 

(Footnote: In 1966 the record stood at just 13lb 8oz – a fish caught by EG Costin from Chiddington Castle Lake in 1945)

A Struggle On The Derwent 

Stu and I joined Archie Braddock to film a few clips for the next Barbel Days And Ways DVD on the delightful Derbyshire Derwent. The fishing was tough but he pulled out a little surprise.

I’ve fished with Archie on-and-off through two decades and I knew he’d be great on film. Honestly the theories and ideas he comes out with would fill ten DVDs.


A rising river and the inevitable floating weed made for a tricky day, well half a day really, Archie had a doctor’s appointment after lunch, so we’ll probably join him again next week and have another go.

It’s not that we didn’t get all the technical footage we were hoping for, I reckon Stu enjoyed it so much he’s caught the bug, “I think I’ll have a go with those flavours this winter.” He mused, on the drive home…


I was left wondering where the time goes. I have a ticket for the stretch we fish yet I haven’t used it once this season and it’s not the only ticket I’ve shelled out good money for and not used – YET. I say yet because I live in hope. This retirement is hard work, believe me. I’ve never been so busy.


Have A Drink On Me

It was my birthday the other day. My, how the years fly by…

Anyway, a friend dropped me a note inside his card, ‘Have a drink on us!’  it said, and sure enough he’d sent me the perfect drink. Well, it would have been if I was a tea drinker.


Time And Tides Wait For No Man

Well, it was that time of the month, in fact of the season. Neap tides, a full moon and a drop of fresh water. All guaranteed to make things a mite tricky on the Tidal Trent but if you don’t try you can’t succeed so I popped down for a few hours to see what Lady Luck had in store for me.


For the first time this season I erected a brollie, just to deflect the wind off me, as it was blowing a mini hooligan. My first impression when I got there was that the river looked ‘BIG’. There are days when it looks quite intimate but today wasn’t one of them.


I had arrived at the top of the tide and you can throw on another couple of feet of fresh water. The tidal being what it is, a natural(ish) river on the inside bank and a stoned bank on the flow side to prevent erosion, it grows as the water rises and the perception is quite deceiving.


Ever cautious, bearing in mind that I was only going to fish from noon until tea-time, I decided to put just FIFTEEN bait droppers in. If you fish in tiny piddles for handful of pet fish then this might be too much bait but believe me, on the Trent it is a drop in the ocean (hope that makes it clear enough for you Graham!).


I then went in with two feeder rods, one just below the bait and one ten yards below. In all honesty those fifteen droppers would last no time at all in that depth and flow.

My intention was to create a smell/ feed trail and then cast regularly with the two feeder rods and create a hot spot. On one rod I presented four large Mistral Elips pellets, on the other, three; in other words a biggish bait to increase the attraction and make it easier for the fish to home in on.


How often is recasting regularly? And how many anglers can achieve the discipline involved? Well, ten to 15 minutes was my intention, re-baiting both rods at the same time which is about ten large feeders-full per hour, or near enough ten more droppers. That’s 50 over five hours plus the initial kick-start.


Well, I was getting twitchy when I didn’t have a bite in the first hour and was beginning to wonder whether the barbel had switched to nocturnal feeding. They do this far less than some imagine but while ever they believe that barbel only feed in the dark (commencing at barbel-o’-clock, in other words the Noddy hour after sunset) I pretty much get the whole river to myself during the day.


I needn’t have worried. The past hour had coincided with the start of the run-off and the pace had picked up dramatically while the level was beginning to drop noticeably. Ninety minutes ‘in’ the downstream rod hooped over and fish number one was coming to daddy.


It was another hour before the second one and then I had a decent bream. Do you know, that’s the first slab I’ve had from the Trent in two seasons? Maybe the bream have turned nocturnal? Or maybe a load were lost in the floods.

Some experts pooh-pooh this theory citing that there are still plenty of bream being caught, to which my response is, “Yes, but only in certain areas.” Time was when you couldn’t fish for barbel without catching at least as many bream choose wherever you fished on the tidal river.


And you know what? I miss ‘em! Tackle them on the right gear and you can have some fantastic sport because tidal Trent bream fight hard. Maybe not on 10lb line when they’re trailing a 5oz feeder but on a quivertip rod and 4lb line you’re talking good fishing. Alas some folk think fishing starts and ends with only one species – barbel.


Fortunately they don’t know what they’re missing.


It was to prove an interesting afternoon and a frustrating one because I hooked and lost what was without any shadow of doubt one of the biggest, if not THE biggest barbel I have ever hooked. If you are an experienced barbel angler you can tell the difference between an 8-pounder that goes ballistic, punching above its weight and a big fish. The big fish runs when it chooses, it is heavy and ponderous; it pulls through to the corks on the rod butt and you’re knees go to jelly.


For the first five minutes this fish had the benefit of the flow on its side but the flow means it has to work hard, too.  It came closer and I reminded myself that I’d shortly have to ease the drag off because it would surface and then bolt. I had the net placed handily. I had the exact netting spot noted. In the back of my mind I was working out where I would take the pictures and then suddenly the rod sprang back…


I didn’t swear, honestly. I simply reeled in and examined the terminal tackle and the answer was plain to see. Three inches of frayed braid. I had been ‘done’ on a rock.


I was gutted. What is going on? That’s two really big fish in two trips and I didn’t get to see either of them. The hollow feeling is still there eating away inside me today as I type. I’ve fished for getting on for 50 years now and that feeling of loss is as strong today as it ever was.


The one I lost was MUCH bigger - honest!


Perhaps I can kid myself that it was a carp, but deep inside I know it wasn’t.


I switched to combi-rigs on both rods to reduce the risk of cut-offs and my reward for doing so on the final bite was the ugly grating sensation we’ve all felt when our main line goes under or round a rock. With me pulling on one end and a powerful fish taking line from the drag at the other the outcome was inevitable.

I finished the day a 6-3 winner but that’s really not good enough. Alas there’s not a lot you can do about the Trent rocks. Some days you win, indeed sometimes you can go three or four sessions and never have a problem, but sooner or later they’ll kick you in the teeth no matter what you do.


Session Footnote:

The bailiff turned for a natter today accompanied by two humongous black dogs. I don’t know what he feeds them on but I wouldn’t like to foot the bill and I certainly wouldn’t like to try lifting them off the ground!


Actually the dogs arrived before he did, dancing through my swim, dashing here there and everywhere while I frenziedly hid anything  delicate or edible. Next thing, spladoosh! Dog one dives in the water:

“He’s a water-dog that one, can’t keep him out” Said the bailiff, “The other one never goes in.”

Spladoosh! Now I’ve got two dogs in the water including the one that doesn’t go in…


We chatted, swapped a bit of useful info and then one of the dogs squatted down right next to my pod…

“Oh, er, I’m sorry about that. I’ll clean it up.”


If that wasn’t bad enough, five minutes later one of the dogs – I couldn’t tell them apart – started retching and coughing. Bingo, it threw up just where I’d been standing to play my fish.


“Eeuurrghh! I’m not cleaning that up.” He said. But he needn’t have worried because as soon as it had finished being sick the dog just lapped it all back up again, grass, nettles, pellets, sand and all.


Dogs eh? Can’t take ‘em anywhere!


Another Day On The Derwent

Round Two with Archie produced a pretty similar result and Stu’s reckons I’m a jinx. I’m no stranger to such accusations and may as well take it on the chin. The fishing was, to put it bluntly, crap. So Stu’s out with him again today while I attend to a few pressing deadlines.


I don’t know what it is but each time we go out with a highly respected and normally successful angler the barbel Gods appear to say, “You’re ‘avin’ a laugh, mate!”


Still, we did film a cracking piece in Archie’s tackle shed. Or should I say emporium. I’ve seen a few tackle sheds in my time but nothing like Archie’s which is custom built. It’s insulated, has heating, is connected to the mains telephone, well lit, has a kettle, toaster, microwave and the usual things you’d like in a kitchen. Every wall is shelved bar the one with his workspace in front of the window. The roof is festooned with rods rigged for each and every occasion, rows of neatly labelled boxes contain accessories, flavours, lines, hooks, you name it.


Indeed, when Discovery, Home and Leisure changed its branding to Discovery Shed, this could easily have been the inspiration. Not only do I want one, every angler should have one.


Yet another Day…

Folk who criticise the likes of John Wilson and Matt Hayes really ought to have a go at making a film of their own. Any fool can fish but can they do it for the cameras? Can they catch fish and ham it up to the cameras in a way that the wider public finds acceptable. Sadly, most would stumble at the first hurdle before failing miserably at the second.


Our cameras went out with Archie again and guess what? The Camera gremlins stepped in again. With every angle covered the inevitable finally happened. His tip went round a big fish was hooked and guess what? An inexplicable line failure.


At least Stu can’t blame me this time as I was 60 miles away…



Invest In Snow Shovels and Sledges?

Superstition has it that when the hawthorn trees are heavily laden with berries then we’re in for a bad winter. If that’s the case you’d better be prepared because the countryside is awash with berries right now. In fact I’ve rarely seen a finer crop of haws. Maybe this will be the kind of harsh winter we’ve not seen for many a long year. I dearly hope not.



Alas my number one fan continues to gripe.


“My Hero,” He posts, “I may poke fun now and again but that’s it, which bit of I aint interested don’t you get.” (verbatim punctuation and text)


Well, kicking a mutual acquaintance out of your precious little syndicate for the crime of, ummm, let me think, that was it, being a friend of mine, was really funny. As poking fun goes I doubt I’ve ever witnessed anything quite so hilarious. But then to suggest it wasn’t actually his doing, instead it was everyone else in his syndicate that demanded their expulsions borders on incredulity. He’s clearly used to treating folk as fools

Methinks this creature of diminishing credibility doth protest a little too much…  

Moans 2

The fishing must be slow at Hazelford as 2Gripes never mentions catching owt there in his aimless little blog, does he(?), but for someone who claims that ‘I aint (sic) interested’ he makes a poor fist of showing it.


I assume he must have persuaded his latest sidekick to post a faux appeal for me not to react to his mealy mouthed insults (Rules are rules: Tone must always have the last word) to which he then couldn’t resist posting a comment on. I quote: “Bob has to keep slagging folks off to generate the Hits C****d, did you not see where he thanked his detractors for getting him up the Google listings, that and his imaginative tag cloud of course. Lets be honest, no one else reads it do they.”


There you are then. No one visits this site. You are not actually reading this, you’re dreaming it. That’s an indisputable fact because Tony Rocca has said so.

Aye, in his dreams…


Alas it’s just another blatant example of his lying and deceitful ways.


Of course, Google stats demonstrate otherwise. In fact they reveal that this site receives thousands of hits each month, without fail, and most know full well that I do not ‘slag off’ (as he puts it) folks in general, nor indeed lightly. What I have always done and will continue to do is highlight the actions of those who are persistently abusive towards me. Mostly that’s just the Laird and his sidekick, old Silverfox.


As for any others (and yes, the nature of Internet forums is that there have been a few), should you care to check carefully you will find any barbed reactions on my part are simply repayments in kind to those who have decided, for whatever reason, that it would be clever to cast the first stone.

Mainly they are sheep; followers and a**lickers to the aforementioned. But hey, it takes all sorts to make a world and where these people don’t have an original thought between them, it makes perfect sense for them to to spout someone else’s readymade lies.

As Richard Littlejohn would say, ‘You really couldn’t make it up’.


4 thoughts on “2009 – Mid-September Blog

  1. Bob,

    Any sane person would think twice and not post on a site where I’m not welcome in any way shape or form, but I simply can’t resist. Even though by doing so Bob can make me look a complete prat at any time he cares to do so…



  2. No Worries Bob,

    It’s nothing personal, I simply can’t help making a fool of myself. Perhaps I need help…

    Mike ‘Juicy’ Joyce

  3. Looks like we’re going to have to place Mike ‘Whiskerton’ Joyce on the SPAM register at this rate.

    One wonders whether his ravings, all late night offerings, are alchohol induced or if he’s just plain stupid.

    You decide…