Well, a last minute decision not to go and fish the predator season open day on a famous southern river saved me some fuel and permit money. The glorious “1st” of October was certainly not glorious. Wind, rain, and a grotty forecast convinced me it was really not worth it. So the Sunday was taken as a last minute standby to do a tiny Stillwater and see if we could extract a Pike. In fact we had 6, so it was good to have a venue close to home instead of driving 1 ½ hours to search out a swim with loads of other pike anglers hammering away for Gerty the Thirty. I guess I might get down there eventually, but with such low rainfall this year the weed has taken hold and there seems little point in doing anything other than pocket fishing with deadbaits. We were hoping to do some lure fishing, but getting continually snagged in weedbeds can get a bit annoying to say the least. I think I was drawn to the piking as I always like clear water conditions whereas a lot of pike anglers want to see a bit of colour in the water.
I was all geared up for a day out at sea in our boat, but the forecast changed yet again, and after checking several sites, Chimet, XC, Guru , met inshore etc I thought I might as well give that a miss as well. They were forecasting up to 25 knots, yet the highest the BBC gave for Southsea was 7 ?…Now one of them must surely be wrong ? Anyway, it appears from reports that I missed absolutely nothing as many boats struggled and only one found a few Cod. Another couple of weeks and the Cod fishing should really be under way.
Enjoyed a bit of waggler float fishing up at Finch Farm. Had Roach, some skimmers, a 6lb Carp and a couple of 3lb Bream, and that was with just a pint of maggots and a couple of handfuls of groundbait. I think I actually had a Bleak there as well, and I haven’t caught one of those for years. They were my mainstay live or dead bait forty years ago when I used to take my 10 foot dinghy rammed in the back of my van to fish Pangbourne weir on the River Thames. Had some really good fishing there, Perch to 2lbs, plenty of Pike to about 9lbs, occasional Chub, even Bream and a lone, near 4lb wild Brown trout. I don’t even know if you can fish it from a day ticket and boat today, but I doubt it will fish like it did way back then.
I had a last minute trip (again!) to Watmore Farm, fishery, this time using one of those “chummer” floats that another angler had given me. Owner Andy showed me how to put a double rubber stop it to preventing it sliding back, but even then I had only one carp despite, for me, the monotony of continually casting it to the one spot. Then, a magic hour came, when the Carp just switched on. I have always noticed that a lot of pleasure anglers seem to pack up around, say 4pm at this time of year. I know they may have to get home, but at this time of year it’s exactly when the fish are likely to feed. So it transpired, and I started to “rack n’ stack” the Carp, even getting a double header of one on the chummer float and another in the margins where I had wound the second rod in. I finished a short session with 11 Carp to about 11lbs, plus a couple of Roach. Andy hopes to take delivery of some Perch sometime this month, and they will love all the 3 inch Roach that are currently devouring everything the anglers throw at them. My bait was my usual favourite of groundbait paste, but if you fish the chummer float regularly they tell me an 8mm banded pellet is the bait master for those Carp.
Early in the week Mike managed to get a few hours free so we drove over to Bury Hill Fisheries as their predator season had also recently opened. It had fished well on the Sunday, but with clear skies and low air temperatures (dropped to 8 degrees by 7pm) the Zander were just nipping the baits tentatively. Mike missed three on the trot, and then got one, and once dark I nailed another, so we just survived the deadly blank. I think the lake fishes best in low pressure conditions, drizzly south-westerlies being favoured by the Carp enthusiasts. Even so a pole angler was getting the Bream fairly regularly. Hopefully another Zander trip will be planned for the end of the month, before it gets too cold.
On the beach front I haven’t really heard too much. Again, it can’t be too long before the Whiting shoals move in. Best time will be when it’s dark, and then you won’t need any long casting. 3-hook flapper rigs and small worm baits, or strips of squid/mackerel should produce. Over in Southern Ireland they have been getting an unprecedented run of small Porbeagle sharks, from Mark Gannon’s operation at Courtmacsherry in the South, right up to Luke Aston’s Carrigaholt charter boat on the west coast. Also seems a load of tiny blues about. Heard of one small boat sharker that had them from only 5lbs to 15lbs. Same goes around the coast of Ireland. Now these I call nursery fish, and are more likely to be caught at this size from the Algarve coast of Portugal. Here they have had exceptionally warm sea temps, up from Africa, and this has brought in the White Marlin, and occasional larger Blue marlin. Both species take trolled surface lures, but the Algarve must surely be a spot for daytime deep-dropping for Broadbill Swordfish? Remember you saw it mentioned here first. I did have a night trip years ago running out to the commercial Swordfish grounds south from Monte Gordo which is on the border of Spain with the Guadiana River running past Vila Real. We stayed out all night using lightsticks, but no Swords, I just had a big Blue shark, which I duly tagged and released. And of course, the canyon off Vilamoura is prime territory for a deep drift after a giant Sixgill shark. The bottom must be littered with them here, and certainly they pave the bottom in the bay off Gibraltar. My claim to fame was losing two there right inside the Bay, with the lights of Gib town twinkling, and the bait was….a small shark with a green 6-inch lightstick attached!! Ah yes, those were the good old days (and nights). Plenty of Big Game trips in warmer countries.
Some of you might have noticed we have, yet again, made the effort to crank up the output of our Totally Awesome Fishing Show films. Currently with over 108,000 subscribers and views approaching….wait for it….A MILLION A MONTH!!… Mike has been invited to a meeting with Google and their film managers to see exactly how big we can get. So look out for a film on a Monday night. It might not be hard fishing, it might be tackle, it might be a bait, it might be a rig, but rest assured we still aim to do the “MIDWEEK MADNESS” that was only supposed to run for a month in August, and has now been going TWO YEARS !! Plus the main Friday film. It’s apparent from the many compliments we are getting on the boat, beach or bank that anglers out there really support us, so be prepared for some ratcheting up of the T/A output….Have a good one, and as I always say…If you get the chance to get out, take it. Some of the short sessions can really pay dividends.