29th JANUARY 2015


Avington Fishery

The inlet on the second lake opposite the boat house has now been cleared.

The Polar Vortex is allegedly on its way, with biting northerly winds and a possible scattering of snow showers. Seems like the week might be a write off for fishing, but the good news is that the river levels will be starting to fine down. If they go clear it will possibly be “game on” for a session or two of river piking. I might even try a bit on the Hampshire Avon, as even if its pushing through a bit the clarity of being chalk based should swing the odds in the favour of a Pike seeing my bait. Talking of predators, I managed to get out with Mike for an initiation into Sandhurst Lake for a possible film. Great weather, but being partly frozen it was a question of fishing where we could. Even then a big area of ice broke free in the wind and drifted right down the lake. With low temperatures it was hard fishing, but look out for the film to see if it was worth us going.

Also had a drive out round a couple of Hampshire’s top trout fisheries, just to see how things were going in the colder weather. Obviously angler numbers are up and down like the weather, but when I dropped in to see Dever Springs near Andover, there were a dozen anglers, most of them seeming to be catching trout.

Avington Fishery

Heavy machinery was used to excavate the excess silt.

Of course Rainbows love cold water, so even with a small lure you should still get plenty of takes as they love a good chase. The water is clear, and all the margin rushes have been trimmed back level. Spotting trout at this time of year is tough as the sun is going round the sky at a low level, but long casting and steady retrieves with, of all things, a floating line, will still see the slamming takes. And I noticed while a lot of my local lakes were frozen, Dever, being spring fed, was still clear. Give them a ring if you fancy a bit of Stillwater fly fishing to liven the winter up.

From here I drove south past Winchester to Itchen Abbas where the famous Avington trout fishery was also having happy anglers. Even by lunch time many had taken their limit and gone home. This fishery could be spot on for spring fishing as owner Bob West has done a lot of work around the inflows of the first and second lakes. Now those of you who were fishing Avington at the very start of its era may well recall that the late Dick Walker actually broke the Rainbow trout record with a fish of over 18lbs if I recall, but he never claimed the record. I think it was at the inflow of the first lake, which for some years has been silted up. Now this has been cleared by excavator and the inflow pipe now has plenty of oxygenated cold water streaming from it. I can see in the hot weather of June and July that this area will be the place to look for a big double figure fish, as they will all be headed for that water movement. Again, at the start of the centre lake, the famous “inlet” area where so many “names” used to target the big doubles, has also been cleared out, and I think this is going to be an absolute hotspot again for spotting big trout as you have a big overhanging tree that gives you a shaded dark area to stare through on those bright days. If you want my tip I would check out both these places first as soon as you start fishing. If you don’t….somebody else will !! Especially if they have read this.


Avington Trout Fishery

The inlet on the first lake could now be the top hot spot at Avington

I was hoping for a couple of good beach sessions down off Somerset, but with a northerly blast of wind hitting the coast straight on, that plan will have to be put on the back burner. Better option on the northerly airflows would be to target the Welsh side where the wind will be better and where they have been getting a good run of Cod. Lugworm and squid strip cocktails should produce the goods and it’s always on the cards for a double figure fish from the shore for the next couple of months.

Have done a couple more films for Mike’s “Totally Awesome Outdoors Show”. Not on fishing, but if you support us it might give you something else to watch. Literally today I got back home from a filming sortie down to the New Forest where I was “shooting” Deer, but with the camera. I spent the morning filming in my local woods, doing tracking through dense woodland and marsh, then drove to the New Forest to complete the tracking and film shoot. We were actually driving home in the closing dusk when Charlotte (my deer spotter) garbled and choked as she spotted exactly what I had been wanting. A stag, about thirty yards in open forest, but the light was barely usable for filming. Brakes on, creeping to get camera setup organised without spooking the animal I struggled to see the antlers through the fading gloom. Then I got the outline….what a magnificent beast, a full rack of antlers and while I fumbled with camera settings to get what shots I could, Charlie suddenly gasped…”There’s a second Stag, right behind it!!” The hand shaking got worse and as we lost the animals we tried to creep (what a laugh, sounded like two cement mixers) I decided to track them. It was fairly easy to follow their track marks as the leaves were dry. Hiding behind a monstrous moss covered fallen tree we both peered up and I slowly brought the camera to eye level. It was like Blue Marlin fishing as I knew I would barely get seconds of time. In the gathering gloom I got them, and hopefully enough to finalise the film for the Outdoors Show. In fifty years of following creatures in our English countryside I have never seen such a pair of immense wild stags, that large….and that close. It was a privilege to see such a fine creature in its wild surroundings, and thanks go to Charlie for her great deer spotting. It was as satisfying for me as catching a 40lb Pike. More to come for the Outdoors Show, and if the weather is still bad I will be out there building our film stock library. This is where fishermen and the countryside can combine, as town and city dwellers may never get to see wild creatures like this in their entire lifetime. Mike on the other hand, was laid up with the flu bug for two days, and while he would have loved to track and stalk such fine Stags, one sneeze or cough from him and it would have been “game over” for filming. A great day out, but it might be a few days before this cold weather goes through. Anyone for hibernation ???




Sandhurst Pike fishing

Graeme with the only fish of the session, but a fine double nevertheless!

Not a great start to the week for me. Bed bound with the flu on Monday and Tuesday. Not the most ideal time to be ill. But I did make the most of that time to sneak an editing session in for the recent filming session we did at Sandhurst Lake. That episode has now gone up on our YouTube Channel and can be seen by clicking the picture at the bottom of this e-news.

I have been keeping a keen eye on the river levels recently. Although we have had short bouts of rain, it has not been enough to colour the river too much. Seeing as I only get the opportunity to go fishing on weekends, I have earmarked Saturday for a river day. There is a sharp drop in temperature, but providing the river conditions are right, things might just work out. Tonight I will be preparing the gear and tying some rigs ready to be up and out on Saturday. It’s important when you have short weather slots like this (especially when river fishing) to get all your gear prepared the night before, or even better, a few days before. Have rigs ready-tied, or if you are super prepared, you can even have your whole rod set up, end tackle as well, and just split the sections down so that when it comes to fishing day, you can just put the rod together and you’re good to go! It’s also important to be prepared for the weather. I regularly check the weather forecast for the day that I am fishing. For example, the area I will be going to is expected to be 4-5 degrees in the day. So extra thermal layers and thermal socks are a must. The other reason to be prepared the night before, is that at this time of year, fish tend to bite at first light and at dusk. Although this trend can occur all-year round, time is of the essence when winter fishing. Manage your time effectively by being prepared.

I can also confirm that venue and dates for the second episode of our popular Carp fishing series “Bite Time” has been booked up with Tommy and Andy. Hopefully the fish will be on the “bite” and we can make another Totally Awesome episode. This time myself and Graeme will be fishing too.

Good luck to anyone out fishing this weekend, send in any catch pictures to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We’d love to see them!

Tight lines,



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