Monday, 18 October 2010

the patriot

07/10/10 - the patriot

Another couple of weeks down and since the bream session on “Lake 55” I have been spending my time in the valleys of Wales in search of barbel on the “Upper Severn”

Anyone traveling to the upper would recognize this

The first session was spent on a club stretch where I caught the barbel a few weeks back. The biggest problem with the Upper Severn is finding the fish, so if I know an area I can catch them, then half the battle is won anyway.

I arrived on the venue around 7pm and the sun was starting to set fast, the river was up about 4ft and was ripping through. It was though starting to drop which means lovely conditions to barbel fish. But, I’m not a massive fan of fishing floods into dark because one slip and you’ve had it.

Just as the sun was setting

And that’s basically what happened to me! I started walking down the bank and because of the river dropping the banks really are treacherous with slippy mud. For some reason I decided on not wearing my boots because it’s not a massive walk from the car. I put my foot in one wrong place and it sent me on my ass hurtling towards the river. Nee up in a flooding Severn on what was supposed to be a stealthy approach! Ratttssss


With the light rapidly fading I had to run back to the car for a change of socks and to put my boots on.

Unfortunately that was to be the most excitement on the whole session. I fished from 7 till 11 and I didn’t have a single tap not even from a chub!!

On the far bank ………. make your own mind up.


This weekend I was once again heading down to the Upper Severn. Tactic for the day was to bait up a swim with pellets and boilies then return to it at dusk for “bait n wait” tactics. Hopefully over the course of the day fish would have been over the spot and would be hungry for more.

Pellets and monster crab boilies, Ready to be bait dropered into the swim

Whilst the bait was doing its job I was to head upstream with 1 rod, bag of meat and a net. Plan was to walk as far as possible then head back downstream putting a large lump of meat into long glides and under over hanging bushes, aka “Rolling meat”. By doing this I can cover a large a mount of water to find the fish and present the bait how the barbel would naturally see it which is rolling towards them in the current.

Planes over the Severn

Despite covering 4 fields worth of river and putting my life at risk by venturing into a field with 20 cows I was unable to tempt a barbel! 3 hours of walking and not having my fishing comforts like a chair and cake was taking its toll so I headed back to my bait and wait swim ready for the night time activity

Swans coming through my rolling swim

Back in the swim and I was ready for some action, and it looked in perfect condition. The swim itself was like a bottle neck forcing the barbel underneath the overhanging trees on the far bank and hopefully over my bait. So a single rod with my standard ground bait tactics was placed conveniently in the red zone!

Jobs a good un, all we need is fishies!!

Here it comes, unfortunately I didn’t catch lol I had a right session the night before involving whiskey and I only had a couple of hours sleep so after the long walking you plonk me in a chair and all I wanted to do was sleep. One minute it was light, the next I woke up to this

Fell asleep again and woke up to the moon. It had only just gone 8 but I had enough, and I needed my energy for the next day! There’s always another chance.

Now not really fishing, but, overlooking the Upper Severn standing proud is Rodney’s Pillar and I’m sure if anyone has ventured onto the upper you must be blind to miss it (although its not very clear in the picture)

After years and months of saying I’m going up there, today I finally scaled it to have a lovely view of the twisting and turning Severn and got to see all my stretches with a birds eye view. Would fully recommend it to any Upper Severn angler.


I wouldn’t do anything differently, I feel I fished both sessions really well but its just the upper, if I wanted to catch small 5lb shoal barbel all day I’d fish the middle like everyone else.

So what’s next…PORTSMOUTH!!! Wwwaahhoooo, I head out on Thursday and won’t be back till the following Friday. Zander, Pike, Barbel and chub are all the cards for the session and will be fishing some of the most famous waters in the country! With a little help from the bailiffs I have been in talk with I just might be able to winkle 1 or 2 out.

Until next time

They’re a nuisance but I have been looking into doing this because they’re making me jealous

Monday, 11 October 2010

01/10/10 – “Lake 55”

Well I’ll be honest its been a very interesting week, something I’ve tried to stop myself from doing for years is from becoming a carp angler, because I know when it takes hold I won’t be able to let go. What made a little spark for me over the weekend was reading Terry Hearn’s book “In pursuit of the largest” and it’s these sort of stories I love, not what’s the best bait, what’s the best rig, what current bait is ripping waters apart, it’s the stories about old big wise carp and the trials and tribulations Terry went through spending weeks, months and years in search of these myths and making them reality and its all about effort = reward (which at the moment isn’t working for me) but also I came across “thecarpcatcher” on youtube, and it brought me back to when I used to fish the mere almost every other weekend with me carp angling mate mart.

(Terry Hearn) Could easily catch the bug looking at this

Right, this week I decided to head to “lake55” in search of its bream. I don’t know much, well I don’t know anything really about the stocking just that they’re in there and go big! So that’s all i need to book Friday off work and get out fishing for 24 hours

Now I had planned on getting to the lake as early as possible so I could have first pickings on a spot, get the marker float out and have a feel about, then get a bed of bait out. But as usual things don’t go as planned and after a manic morning of heading into the town centre twice I was back at home by 10am loading up the car

Everyone has a loading system

With the lake just being a short drive away I was soon lugging my gear around to a chosen area of the lake I was hoping the bream might travel to. There were 2 anglers already on the lake that were fishing for carp at range but so far without any success. This was there fourth session they had done on the venue and between them they hadn’t yet had a single fish. So things weren’t looking good from the start

I didn’t let that put me off as I know the lake has a reputation for being difficult and I went about putting up the “Hotel STI” because it was starting to rain and heavy!

Why on earth the tent is called “STI Rapid Erection” is beyond me

Next step of the session was to sort out where I was going to put my baits, marker float gave me a reading of 2ft of water close in sloping off sharply to 6ft then gradually declining to13ft 50yards towards the island. Now I’d planned on putting both rods on a big bed of bait in deep water so the 13ft seemed spot on.

Spod and Spod mix ready to be air lifted to my spot

The main base of the spod mix was party blend, which I had boiled up a couple of nights before, and added to that was 10mm boilies, half tin of corn, mixed pellets and the biggest mistake some method mix .

Why I put method mix in it I don’t know!! Because all that happened was when the spod hit the water the spod mix wouldn’t come out because it was to sticky! I probably managed about half the bucket emptied in an hour of spodding (bucket was only half full anyway) and I had no confidence in my spot at all! Decisions had to be made so I decided on a rod over the spodded bait, then put a rod on the 6ft shelf where I could catapult some spod mix onto it.

Pathway leading upto my swim

Rig for the session was something I have full faith in after catching three 8lb+ tench on it. Its something I was shown when I first started on my fishing syndicate by a very good bream angler and I haven’t looked back since.

Two of the 8LB tench from the past few seasons, both weighing 8lb6oz

The rig consisted of a coated braid which I strip back the last 3 inches, size 10 esp big t, some shrink tubing, size 10 popup and a piece of shot on the shank of the hook. The first 3 inches of the coated braid is heated over a kettle so it makes it solid which helps eliminate tangles, when the fish picks up the bait it hasn’t got much movement before the whole rig tightens up to the 2oz and at this point the hook has pricked the bottom lip because of the shot.

The Business End

With the rigs out and the baits in position all that was left to do was wait.

Wet and grim, but it did feel breamy

The evening went very quickly and I hadn’t had a single beep on the rods, bream are active nocturnal feeders and the light was starting to fade so to try and give me a bit more confidence during the night I decided to dampen down some ewe nuts, lace it with the remainder of spod mix, and ball it onto a kitchen table (small kitchen table) size area, hoping that any cruising bream will be lured into the area

There a carp anglers nightmare but it will be my dream if I wake up to a snotty in the dark!

The nearby road which had been deafening all day was finally starting to ease a bit the night light on the buzzers started glowing and I started getting sleepy, I got tucked up in the sleeping bag with a brew and contemplated what could happen during the night.

No bream, so a fresh brew to get my thinking

Tip to remember about night fishing is keeping everything you need to hand, and this example is the tea making kit. All I need is 1 arm to get the kettle on the go so I can stay nice n cosy and reflect on why I’m nice n cosy because I shouldn’t be. I should be covered head to toe in bream slime with eyes like pea holes in the snow because I’v been up all night netting bream.

I recast with fresh bait at 7am, made a few changes with the close in rod in which I changed over from a pop up to a bottom bait rig and put it 60 yards to my left towards the back of the island with 50 10mm boilies as free offerings over the top, I did this after seeing a few shapes disturb the surface, it could have just been carp moving about or maybe even bream rolling just under the surface.

With that job done I once again had to sit back, be patient, watch the water and eat a load of cookies

Well there’s another session down, nothing happened the rest of the morning and I packed up midday so I could go and have a stalk about the rest of the lake to see if I could find any carp. The 2 other guys on the lake paid me a visit as I was packing up and they hadn’t had a single beep between them either.


I still think this run of bad luck is because it’s a build up for a special fish capture when I take my trip to Portsmouth in just over 2 weeks! where I will be heading out to catch my first zander and get on the Stour and Hampshire Avon. Only annoying thing about all this blanking is I know I’m fishing really well. Sometimes you just know when you’re fishing like a plonker. Something good did come from the session though and that’s after 5 years of cooking eggs on the bank I think I have finally mastered the art of doing fried eggs with only a fork as a flipping tool!!

Next week, well I feel I deserve another shot at these bream now I’ve got 2 freshly spooled reels with 10lb line. But there is a lot of good barbel coming off the Severn at the moment and I really don’t want to miss their feeding spree! Sooooo I could be favouring the barbel. Until next week

O0o0o0o0o0o0hohhhh rrriighhhtttttt!!