Well here we are in August, generally rated as one of the more dour months of the year, except for sharking of course, which will be at its peak with the warm weather. However looking at the coming week’s forecast it looks pretty grim for anyone trying to get out in a boat. The jet stream is pumping a constant stream of low pressure systems across the Atlantic, piling them straight into Ireland, who seem to be having a shocking summer so far, and leaving us in Southern England with little rain and the spinoff of winds that are generally too strong for small boats to venture out. I did manage to grab a quick fix aboard “Hi Sea Drifter” last week. I have been wanting to try a chum trail in the outside bar of Chichester harbour for a couple of years. They were biggish tides but I anchored outside the channel markers so as not to be in the way of people travelling in and out. No problem with motorised vessels, but the yachties were a constant hazard. They just don’t look where they are going, or even look around the front of the sail to see if anything is in front of them. Twice I had to bellow out for them to move as I was anchored, the second one was a complete spliced brain idiot who would no question have smashed into HSD and sunk me. I actually picked up the camera to start filming him and put it on YouTube. I think a lot of these yachties could do with a course in courtesy and navigation on the water. I appreciate they think I must be some sort of peasant, low life, generally inferior or somebody to be used as a boot wipe, but I don’t risk running them down, so why do they show such disregard for other water users. There must be some good ones out there, but I have had more near misses from the yachties of the Solent than I have ever had from other fishing boats. I heard one talking to the coastguard who was hanging on to a buoy after breaking down, and he wanted someone to tow him in. I’m sorry if he was missing his Pimms O’clock but I was more than happy to hear they were far too busy with other pressing waterborne engagements than to sort out his personalised tow !!….They told him to stay there as there was no immediate danger, and sort it out himself the next morning!! Great stuff. Then there was “Sailor Sally” I saw on the way back in, grounded, tilted over, with his keel in the mud.
Trying to do a last minute tack in two feet of falling water on an ebbing spring tide when you have a boat with a keel is not the best of ideas!! If he was stuck there at least the rest of us would be safe from a bow-on ramming. Aside from getting run down by “Popeye the Sailor” who should have gone to Specsavers for a vision check, and got a Duracell battery to boost his brain, I did scrape out a few small Black Bream, two Smoothound, and after anchoring on some rough ground, a couple of Bull Huss, which I understand are not prolific in the Eastern Wight waters. Also got to cast one of Sid Knight’s Sandeel fly patterns for a school of Bass I saw breaking the surface. Truth be told it might have been a bit large as when I drifted over them I saw nothing more than about 1lb in weight, some of them were only half pounders. The Sandeel fly looked great in the water though, so I look forward to using it again.
On the freshwater front I had a quick late afternoon session at a day ticket commercial in Hampshire. It has been getting a lot of attention from the fly fraternity, some catching double figure carp on the fly, plus twenty pounders, and even a thirty pounder on a piece of fluff n’ feather! Fly fishermen have left some of the trout waters and are now getting their flyrods in a serious bend on these carp, and more seem to be trying this technique. I used soaked dog biscuits to chum the carp up, but they had been under the cosh from the fly-guys, and were fairly wary. I managed three, with one double around 10/12lbs, a Common that gave me a real line-stripper with the entire fly line stretched across the lake and the backing going out. I can’t imagine what a 20-pounder could do, and a 30 must be an epic fight. Film done, and stacked in our growing file of completed films.
Also had a day up on the Thames in Gloucester ? I think? Low, a little colour from rain, but still slow flowing. I was after the Roach, which proved difficult to tempt, but I used an Avon float down the middle and a feeder rod cast downstream as a bonus. The float deffo outfished the feeder, with Bleak, Roach, Perch, Dace, small Chub and Gudgeon. But I feel I hadn’t really fed the swim properly. A match angler or pole angler would doubtless have done better, but as the area is plagued by swans (I put them on a par with yachties) I could not really pile much bait in. Still, another film, and I learned of a good spot for Perch on float fished lobworm. So that is another one to go on the back-burner until our rivers get freshened up by rain.
Took the wife out for a drive and stopped by a couple of famous trout stillwaters. Both were concerned about the lack of oxygen level in the stock ponds particularly this last week. I hadn’t realised before, but they keep the biggest trout in the first stew pond fed by any river, which is why they grow the biggest. Then as the water flows through other stews that oxygen level is depleted still further by various grades of trout extracting the oxygen from the water. So they expect mortalities if we don’t get fresh water. So I had yet again learned something about fish farming techniques. I hear Dever Springs has some more Giant Brown trout on the way, and there is a monster cruising around Spring Lake that everyone has seen and still remains uncaught. Are you up to the task? Get yourself down there. The water is cleared of weed daily, so the first angler on that lake in the morning will have the best chance of spotting it and presenting the fly. It’s in the 20lb range so tie those knots correctly.
I can see we were lucky to get 7 films in 7 days over on our Ireland trip, despite the bad weather as it seems to have got even WORSE !….This week looks a shocker for the south and west coast of Ireland, I counted at least three low pressure systems lined up to batter them one after the other. Mark Gannon did send me a picture of a really big Common Skate that one of his customers took from his Courtmacsherry based charter boat. No doubt the big Skate are there, it’s just a question of getting some decent weather to get out for them. Trouble is we are creeping into August and the angler/tourist season probably lasts until the end of September. Let’s hope it settles down over there as I hope to get another trip in before winter lockdown. I think I might make it a late October one as fishing is still good and sometimes you can get some lovely days on the water.
We hope to get a UK catfish film done at some time, but apparently there is only a few weeks left before they start to tone down their feeding. Not sure where to go, but it needs to be a “runs” water as I’m not prepared to sit out for 2 nights in the hope of a lunker. I would rather catch smaller Cats. Also on the film “bucket” list are a couple of Barbel films. Up on the Severn they told me not to come up as it is low, clear and rock hard, so at least time won’t be wasted there. They need rain to freshen everything up and revitalise the fishing. I also saw a report (I rarely read the angling press anyway) about a river where the Barbel population has been decimated by otters. Lots of double figure specimens, including fish to 20lbs. What an incredibly stupid thing to do. Reintroduce otters when fishing clubs are struggling with memberships anyway. So who will want to pay to fish a water with very few fish in them? In just a year the otters can wipe out a population of fish that may be twenty years old. So it’s Otters, Cormorants, Signal Crayfish, pollution, low water levels, invasive shrimp and the “BBQ brigade” all decimating what few fish are left. We think that sea fish are under pressure, but remember in freshwater everything is confined, so it won’t take long to wipe out stock. Maybe I shouldn’t have put the golf clubs on Ebay!!
On the numbers side of our site we are already at an amazing 72,875 subscribers, remember its all free folks, you just have to hit the subscribe button then you know exactly when we have a new film up. As for views by the time you read this we may have passed 14 MILLION!! and we can barely keep pace with our “P.B.” of film hit records. It seems we have a new Midweek Madness record setter in “The world’s best fishing baits” The Sandeel. It’s already on 8,768 views, which is even faster than the previous “Midweek” which was on lugworm collecting. Together with Mike’s “Totally Awesome Outdoors Show” channel it means we have put up a mind blowing 356 films since starting, (just the 2 of us, father & son combo) and that’s almost 100 brand new films a year. No wonder nobody watches much TV any more, you get everything you need on YouTube and its 24/7. Check out our playlists for your favourites. And of course we have to laugh at the incredible views on our “Monster trout on a 4-weight” film. It drives some of the alleged purists into a rage of keyboard hammering. The views are….384, 256 and rising. Some love it, some hate it, but they just can’t seem to stop clicking on it. And I’m constantly explaining to foreign viewers that we don’t have tumbling glacial rivers through pine covered gorges with no people for 200 miles. Our trout have to be grown on and then stocked. It’s the way it is, and there are thousands of fisheries catering for the demand of big fish. You only have to look at how the jumbo carp scene has exploded in the last ten years. Anglers are willing to pay for “instant” big fish, and I’m sure it’s not going to change any time soon. So although the month of August may be a bit dour, there could be some highlights of good fishing if you have the opportunity to pick the right weather days. Stay lucky out there, and if you are on holiday down the West Country, just watch the swells if you are rock fishing. These low pressure systems throw up big swells and every so often there will be a rogue wave of extra-large proprtions. Keep watching the tide, conditions, and weather charts. Don’t put your life in danger. No fish is worth it…..
I’ve been away in Barcelona for the past week with Emmy (I know, cue the “lucky bugger” comments..) Despite some fine Spanish sunshine and Sangria, there was unfortunately, no fishing 🙁 I didn’t pack any rods for this trip, when you eat sleep and edit fishing, you do tend to want a break from it every now and then. However, what did fascinate me was the huge number of beach anglers that came out on the main city beach to night fish over the weekend. It was seriously impressive. Hundreds of rods lined up along a 7km stretch of beach with isotope lights on the rod tips, rods tips up high in plastic tube holders, anglers head torches flashing over the beach. At a distance I thought we might be in for a beach rave! I did some research on what these guys were after, and it seems that most of them just go for some pleasure fishing on the weekend to catch some Sea Bass and Gilthead bream for the dinner table. Either way, it would have made some good footage for TAFishing!
In the previous e-news (apologies for the delay in the past few e-news, we are back on track now) I mentioned about carp fishing. Myself and Graeme have targeted carp a bit more this summer. It’s one of those fish that are easily accessible. Where ever you go there will no doubt be some sort of carp lake every few miles. But we’ve recently had a couple of trips to Bury Hill Fisheries and I have to say, they have a really good stamp of decent double figure carp there. We’ve done a few films there now, not just because of the fantastic variety of fishing on offer there, but also because it’s an old traditional estate lake and it has such character to it. Very peaceful, nice swims, lots of wildlife, boats that you can row out and fish from. It offers plenty of variety fishing too. You can float fish for tench and crucian carp, feeder fish, pole fish, as well as your standard ledgering and bolt rigs. We love it and it’s certainly a venue we will be going back to in the future. The videos we filmed there will be hitting your screens very soon!
Caught my first Tench the other day. I’ve never targeted Tench before. I guess like most, I was so caught up in the Carp scene that I tended to ignore them. But Dad soon got me into simple back to basics fishing. And boy was I addicted! We had put out some loose feed of small 4mm Skretting pellets a rod length out from the margins. It wasn’t long before dark shapes began to move into the swim. I was only freelining 3 grains of sweetcorn on a small hook with a bb shot about 4 inches away from the hook. Seeing the Tench approach the bait and watching their mouth close on the corn and then striking, there is no greater feeling then that! It was great fun and we even filmed it all for you guys.
Trying to get ahead of myself editing wise as next week I’m off to BoomTown festival in Winchester. I’ve done a few festivals in my time, Reading Festival, Wireless and the truly epic Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium. It’s nice to change things up a bit. Boomtown is not your conventional big time festival with well known acts – in fact I think I’ve only heard of one act. But it’s a variety music festival, with lots of folk music, country, reggae, drum and bass and dubstep. I’ll let you know how that one goes!
Hope to be fishing small day trips next week, we also just passed 1,000 followers on Instagram which is pretty awesome. If you are on instagram don’t forget to follow us at “tafishingofficial” we repost many of our followers pictures if they use the hashtag #awesomearmy so get on there and hashtag your pictures! Keep up to date on our Facebook and Twitter too.