It seems that autumn is finally starting to make its mark, and although I have found it windy this summer, I reckon it must be one of the best summers for sunshine. On the fishing front I had a friend down recently that I had not seen for about 16 years when he joined one of my groups for a marlin fishing trip in the Pacific resort of Cabo San Lucas. His target then was a marlin on a Stella fixed spool, which he achieved, but his target with us this time was just to have three days fishing. Normally you would say “Fishing and relaxing”, but here at Totally Awesome the two just don’t go together. More like fish and stress. Anyway, trip one Mike was able to join us and with slightly dodgy weather I thought the target of getting both Mike and Jerry their first carp on a fly would be on. Venue was the day ticket water of Vale Farm, so armed with more dog biscuits than you would find at Battersea Dogs Home, we set off for the lake. The Carp were taking, but they were not exactly suicidal, which coupled to the use of the fly meant we had to work for our fish. After a few hours we had achieved both targets.
Mike couldn’t make the second day, which with cloud and rain looked like a wise decision. Venue was Watmore Farm fishery. Jerry was going to get a sample of my new Carp bait mix, and although he did pick up some small Commons on cockles at the start, it was obvious from my catch rate in the swim next door that it was the “old school” paste baits that were doing the numbers. I suggested Jerry leave his gear in his swim, and just cast out into mine so we could double up on baits in the water. Well, I know I have hammered fish on this paste this past summer, even I was surprised at how we caught. No bite alarms, no floats, just simply touch legering for the Carp, feeling the bites with the line across our finger tips. I have done it for 50 years, mostly Barbel and Chub, but if you really get into it the technique can be devastating. Although the weather wasn’t great we ended up with 30 odd carp to low doubles, and a film is on the way, so watch out for it. No,we don’t flog bait, it’s just a different way I make it, but given the catch rate I have been having, I reckon we should be marketing it.
With two days a success, I decided to take advantage of a windless, sunny day and drive Jerry down to Southsea seafront in Hampshire for a spot of light tackle shore fishing. It was tough, being so bright, but with Red Mullet as our target, it proved to be a target too high. Using tiny hooks (Jerry used shrimp feathers cut in half to make up two cheap traces….a good idea), we ended a sunbathing session with Bass, Sole and quite a few Wrasse. Now that sounds as cracking session, and while the species were right, the size wasn’t. They were all small, but then we knew it would just be a fun session using basically freshwater hooks and Jerry got among the small Wrasse with his LRF rod, and a single cockle for bait. He used cockles as bait at least thirty years ago, and it seems one that will work equally well in fresh or saltwater. Thus ended a fairly successful 3-day trip for Jerry, and on his return to Yorkshire he will probably be concocting some new paste baits after our arm aching session at Watmore Farm. How about cockle based paste? That could work.
After 3 days fishing and driving it was back to work on the Monday, Property maintenance stuff, and I planned a trip on the Tuesday river fishing. However, I was still cream crackered, so put the river off for a further two days as I felt I would be better employed clearing the workload in case the weather gave me a slot. Eventually an early drive got me down to a Southern river where I used to fish a lot in the mid-sixties to 90’s, and although it is now largely choked with weed and with far less fish stock than way back then, I persevered in the one swim. It was tough fishing for sure, and I looked at my watch to learn I had been in the swim for a staggering ELEVEN HOURS!!…And it was in the 11th hour that the quiver tip folded over and I found myself attached to a fish that finally turned into possibly the biggest Chub I have ever taken. I have no scales so it’s a case of judge for yourself. Certainly a lump, that’s for sure. Far from being bored the time melted past, and I watched Sea Trout and Salmon all lying on station, spending too much time as usual, trying to get underwater shots of them. On reviewing the footage back home I could see there are thousands of minnows in the water, and I wonder if the boom in their population coincides with the lack of Chub shoals in the river? There must be a gap in the food chain of some sort to create such an explosion and they must have no predators? Looks to me like they need a load of Perch putting in there as they would love the huge shoals of minnows. Actually, keep an eye on Watmore Farm fishery as they also have a population boom, but with tiny Roach. There are thousands of them, so to reduce the numbers they are hoping to take a delivery of Perch which should thrive on all the food they will find. The reduction in Roach will then mean the Carp will be able to pack on weight and you should see some bigger fish in a year or two.
Now to the YouTube numbers. We put up a challenge to ourselves to see what fun we could have using one of those fishing rod combo outfits, the size of a large pen. It comes with a reel and line, and costs about £8 I believe. Mike has the link to where he bought ours. We had a great bit of fun catching Carp, again at Watmore, and the site views are something monstrous (for us) at about 8000 straight off the bat. I can see there will be other species we will target, and I can also see the others trying to copy us and put the Pen rod into their films. Just the way of the world I am afraid. Nobody wants to pioneer anything, they just let us do all the work. Our subscriber numbers are now about 104,000 so seem to be jumping up faster now, and I think Mike told me the YouTube stats tell us we are getting over 940,000 views every single month !!. WOW!! That’s an incredible following. And remember if you have not subscribed it is free, no payments, all it means is that as soon as our latest film goes up you should get a notification. Just saves you searching through the YouTube site for us. I have now been raking in the films up as part of my winter stockpile plan. It’s all too easy to take our UK summer and autumn good fishing times for granted, and then the work just gets harder through the winter months. It worked well last year, and is basically exactly what I did years ago when I wrote for all the fishing publications. Sometimes I miss the stills photography and article writing, but then realise some of the shockingly low payments they used to give you for all your time and effort. The last two I wrote for I had a terrible time getting them to pay their invoice. At least with the films I am not constantly asking for payments. I mean if you had a gas man, an electrician or a plumber for a home repair, what do you expect them to do it for nothing?
I also dropped in for a few hours fishing at Finch Farm. Not for the Catfish, as there was a cold North Westerly wind blowing and that would surely put the cap on any chance of contacting “Old Whiskers”. Instead I quite fancied some Roach fishing using a match rod and waggler float. The fishery can be sheltered, and although tiny has some quite good mixed fishing. Three maggots were the bait, 3lb hooklink to 6lb mainline and small pellets of groundbait with loose feed of 4mm coarse pellets. The bites were tiny dips of the float and I guess caused by the torrential downpours of rain they had experienced just 24 hours earlier. Despite the tiny bites I managed half a dozen carp to 5lbs, some skimmers and roach,plus a nice Bream. However,thew main event was a really big Bream that pinged off the hook right at the last minute !!…so despite the cold wind it had made an enjoyable session with the float rod
As for fishing ideas for the future I wouldn’t mind another crack down west in my boat “Hi Sea Drifter”, but it’s getting later in the season now and while the sharks and tuna are still there well into October, the weather plays a larger part. So if you are hoping to target some species remember that the next few weeks should be prime time for getting a big double figure trout as the waters should go clear as the temperature drops. The traditional Pike season starts in October so get your lures honed and ready. Shake up your dropshot box for the Perch, and remember the Barbel will be feeding up ready for the winter, and the nights closing in mean any angler with a big bait out in a river has a chance of latching into one. Good Fishing…Graeme