3rd FEBRUARY 2015


Not a lot to report this past week, as the northerly airflow has put a cap on any enthusiasm I might have had to go fishing. The Totally Awesome Outdoors Show has seen me making all manner of films, and this is one sector that does ensure I have something to do when the fishing goes sour. Years ago of course I would be sat shivering by some pike rods, or braving the cold nights on some obscure beach while the Lugworm froze to the stones. With age comes wisdom, or so they say, but I just don’t like early morning dawn starts in minus 5 degrees. The problem lies, not with the lack of enthusiasm, but with the experience of years that gives you the gut feeling that you are on a hiding to nothing with winter early mornings.

Huge Cod

A monster 20lb12oz shore cod caught by Craig Butler of West Coast Tackle

Now if there was a mild south-westerly airflow I would be champing at the bit to get out fishing early, but this week looks like we have a blocking high feeding north easterlies from Scandinavia over the country, and it is just not enjoyable or productive being out in it. I am hoping this “set” in anything with northerly in it will break down in time for Mike’s half term teaching break, as mid Feb to mid-March can be really good fishing periods if we have mild weather. For the South Coast it does seem to go pretty dead for the next couple of months, but the Bristol Channel can actually see some of its best shore fishing, especially for some bigger fish. I feel “Hi Sea Drifter” will stay in the rack for the next month as I really can’t see me dragging it all the way to the south coast for just a couple of rays and a few doggies. From leaving home to dropping the anchor takes me three hours, so that adds up to a staggering SIX hours of non-fishing time, and eventually, an extremely long day. In the summer with the long daylight hours it’s a “Yes”, but February could be a static month for my boat fishing.

What I should be doing is getting out on the rivers for Pike and Perch fishing, as the rainfall has been fairly minimal and many of the rivers are going clear. Most river fishermen want a tinge of colour in the water for floatfishing for Chub and Roach, but I think that’s because they might be fishing red maggots. I actually like float fishing in clear water, but bread flake is the bait I would use, and with generous portions of mashed bread or “stodge” going into the swim every couple of trots down. Big bodied Avon floats, several bb shot and a size 10 or even 8, freshwater hook, straight through to 5lb mainline. The Chub love it, and I reckon the rivers are now about ready for this style of fishing.

Second choice is going to be some winter fly fishing. Not something I normally line up to do, but remember that Rainbow trout actually love cold water, and with this high pressure comes cold overnight temperatures. Large, bodied nymphs or small lures, preferably with Marabou in the dressing will give plenty of action. Fast retrieves will kick start them into chasing and snapping on white, orange or black, so be prepared for some slamming takes. I’ll probably head out for a bit of fly-fishing first, as with high pressure comes low wind. With the flotation jacket on (not exactly camouflage, but I don’t think fish see colour anyway) I should stay warm. One word of advice to any potential cold weather trout angler. I would avoid those fingerless woollen gloves that usually get distributed around Christmas time. I’ve tried them many times and my fingertips really start to get cold. Just try gloves (leather best, woollen ones slip on flylines) and cast/retrieve with the full finger length version. Sid Knight, our specialist fly tyer is also bringing out a few new patterns, including a buzzer variation, so if they come in time I might even give them a try out.

I think I might have turned Mike over to the “dark side” by repairing his LRF/drop shotting rod that he broke the tip of on a Perch trip last week. He actually thinks the action has been improved by making it stiffer, but I’m just happy that no more greenbacks are going the way of the online purchase department for something that can be repaired and put to good use. I have several rods that have had the tips broken, and they still catch fish. In fact I have more faith in them, like some battle-scarred weapon from a war centuries ago. There are tackle tarts around that just couldn’t bear to fish with anything less than an immaculate, glistening rod. Better still if they have a matched pair, or even three!!….Now I haven’t had a gripe for a while so let me give my opinion on the “buy another license and fish more rods brigade”. Many younger people, or those in their first jobs, simply cannot afford to shell out on the second license, and then even more tackle. Yet they might have anglers they look up to who seem to catch more and bigger fish than they themselves could ever dream of. Not hard to see why if they are fishing with a third rod. It’s upping the chance of a take by another 50%, so anyone out there who might be feeling a bit down at their lack of success compared to the three rod freshwater anglers, don’t be. Just see what they catch in numbers and reduce it accordingly. Chances are the stats might pan out a lot differently.

Having had several long arguments with the electronic starting mechanism of my car, I was even more dismayed to watch a Television news programme where a hacker said the next step to causing mayhem would be the hacking and shutting down of all the computer riddled cars driving around, say London. A dozen cars that are shut down at strategic intersections could cause gridlock, and with everything in my car linked to an engine management computer system I can see how that could happen. But what about applying the shutdown to commercial vehicles? Do they have electric starts and computer driven priority management systems? That means no food would make it to the shops, plus a broken down lorry is worse than a broken down car. When I bought the car all I wanted was something simple. I want to get from A to B. Now it’s all electric and of course I cannot bump start the car as management seizes everything up. The dealer (Peugeot) suggested I join the RAC or the AA!!! Why, the xxxxx car only has 25,000 on the clock. You don’t expect to buy a new car for 25 grand and then have to join the AA as there is such a high risk of failure surely ? Has the world gone mad? Or maybe not. Maybe I should join one of the tow-in companies, or take out some shares with them. Chances are between the hackers and potential on-board problems of all the electric management systems of modern cars they are going to be pretty busy in the future!!

Have fun out there…Graeme


My broken fishing rod - now fixed thanks to Graeme!

My broken fishing rod – now fixed thanks to Graeme!

So last weekends session definitely didn’t turn out as planned…. I turned up to the river and although there was a slight tinge of colour in it, it still looked alright for a fish or two. I had rigged up the night before, and all was well the next morning. Until I realised I hadn’t got a net… Thankfully I was still at home, but it still took over 20 minutes to find the bloody thing! Not an ideal start to the session. Nevertheless I turned up to the river with a positive attitude and a spring in my step.

I was fishing the dropshot, and after no action in the first swim I moved on upstream. I managed a few small fish before one of my favourite lures got snagged. Sadly, I lost it and to my dismay I didn’t bring a spare! So I resulted to my second favourite lure, and lost it in a snag….. With the aggression slowly bubbling inside, I took a minute to take a few deep breaths and got out another lure. At this point, the heavens opened on me and after bringing no waterproof gear for the camera equipment (because rain was NOT in the forecast), my camera got soaked…. I’d say the anger levels were at about 70% at this point and the bad language was starting to make an appearance. But, there were fish in that river waiting to be caught! So I got myself calm again, put on a different lure and went to a different swim. SNAG…..At this point anger levels reached around 80%, and in a rage I tried to rip the lure out the snag, and in doing so caught the tip of my rod on an overhanging branch. To my utter dismay, I had broken the tip of the rod. Anger levels running full steam ahead at 90%. All hell broke loose, language came out of my mouth that not even I had heard of. In full rage mode now, I gave up all hope and cut my losses. Winding the line in, I packed away the camera and fishing gear and set out on the war path back to the car. My pace had quickened due to the vast increase in anger levels, so I stormed down the short 300 yard path that led back to the car. Whilst still muttering swear words under my breath, I hadn’t noticed a large, inviting patch of wet mud that only a twat would walk through….. SLIP, WHOOSH, SPLAT……. Straight on my arse. Do you know I have found that when anger levels exceed that of 100%, it actually gets to a point where I find myself in incontrolable fits of laughter. Not the sort of laughter you get when your mate tells a hilarious joke, but the sort that you aim at yourself for being such an idiot. I have found that when in this situation there is only two things left to do: laugh or cry. Thankfully I chose the former. But I still got home before lunch and guess what, an hour later, the sun came shining down and it was a blue sky beauty! Sometimes, it’s just not going to happen. So, as much as it saddens me to say, it didn’t happen that weekend….BUT my pride has not been damaged (much) and I will be setting out again this weekend and intent to be most prepared. The first thing I will make sure I have, is the landing net. Let’s put sods law to a real test, I fancy a challenge!

Watch this space…….