Monday 23 January 2012


Hello All!

You will be pleased to know I have been very busy flogging the banks of Devon in search of the ultimate west country predator. I did a spot of cold water carping that turned out to be about as interesting as a Liverpool FC appreciation meeting, so we'll forget about that and focus on some predator fishing.

As the hunt for perch continues I have made a couple of trips to new waters in a bid to beat my pb of 4lb, the first of which was made in the company of fishing writer and bloody good all rounder Dominic Garnett.We arrived at the water before first light rather excited at the prospect of a big striped one, and made our way round the lake dumping some bait into our swims in the hopes of drawing some fish in whilst we set up.

Tactics for the day

My usual approach to catching big perch is to offer them a live bait. This method is not always an option as some waters ban it. Anyway, I focused my attack around wag and worm fishing on a light match rod coupled with a reel loaded with 4lb line. I also set up a sleeper rod with a simple running ledger rig offering a large prawn or worm on the hook. The session started very slowly. Dom showed me a few things about shotting patterns as the one I set up was not quite delicate enough to show finicky bites the fish were giving in the cold conditions. After the adjustments were made I struck a tiny dip resulting in a skimmer. The next chuck saw me latch into a slightly better fish that turned out to be a perch just nudging the pound mark. However, the sport was still very slow, so we made a few swim changes over the day.

The perch proved to be very tricky, but other species such as roach and skimmers were keen to grab maggots and pieces of worm intended for there striped enemies. Not as much as a sniff on the sleeper rod confirmed the fish were not really in the mood for a feast, but you can't always catch the one you're after. I did however enjoy the day in the company of Dom, and learnt a few bits on the finer arts of float fishing, so the big perch better watch out because I'll be back!

Another session on a new water was spent with regular Neil Edgar. The condintions were terrible with a howling easterly wind coupled with bright sunlight. This time service was resumed with the old paternoster and live bait approach. We felt the fish would need some seriouse coaxing to get them to feed so we made up a batch of perch soup.

This is a very powerful mix which is very good at drawing both preyfish and perch into the swim, without filling them up too much as the mix is finely chopped. Add predator plus or liquid worm to really gunk it all up. The final product should resemble something the dog has thrown up! Use a spoon to fill your feeders if you don't want your hands to turn red. Another good way to feed soup is via a bait dropper but enough about the soup.

As predicted, the fishing started very slowly indeed with only a tiny perch to show for the mornings efforts. The sun had been shining on a calm spot of the pond that was protected from the wind by the trees. I noticed activity on the surface that was obviously caused by small fry. A short while later around 20 1oz roach leapt clear out of the water urgently trying to escape death! For a moment I thought about setting up a free roving float rig as the perch now seemed active, but I quickly reeled in the paternoster and fired it out to the scene of the crime. The rig landed with a plop which must have caught old perchy's eye as the rod hooped round instantly! After a jagged sluggish fight I slipped the net under a right old bruiser of a perch that tipped the scales round at 2lb 12oz.

The lines we had fed the soup into did produce a steady flow of hand sized roach caught on worms and prawn pieces, but no more perch graced the bank that day. I did lose a very good fish of a similar size to the previous which was a shame, but I think this water has a good head of perch and needs to be looked at during more favourable conditions.

As an angler you may have been lucky enough to enjoy one of those dream sessions where you can't do anything wrong. These sessions make up for all the time spent freezing your ass off in a shit storm only to go home fishless! As a specimen angler this is unfortunatly part and parcel; our fishy friends do have the tendency to switch of for days, especially river and canal pike. This was far from the case on a day where I hit the river Exe for a wonder in search of Esox. Armed to the teeth with a variaty of dead baits I opted for a large head half of herring, and I presented this just off the bottom under a large float. I only had to wait 15 or so minutes before my float kited to the left as a pike eagerly snatched the bait! I struck the run, quickly connecting to what felt like the bottom before a violent head shake confirmed I was into a good fish. The fish woke up and started to go ape shit on the surface almost soaking me with the amount of commotion she was making. After some grueling hangings on she started to tire which opened the opportunity to extract her from the drink. At 21lb 8oz I was well happy! The session then started to get silly. Neil was now into another fish that turned out to be a jack we have met on a number of occasions ( bless him ), and as Neil was returning him, I looked up to see my float bury! I scrambled to my rod and leant into what was clearly another lump! The bussiness was done again and this time with a fish of 18lb7oz. I now had an even bigger grin on my face. After chillin out for a bit to soak up the fact I had just had 2 pike for 40lb my float slid down stream again. I hit the bite to be met with heavy resistance once more! I could not believe my luck when I slipped the net under another big girl; this time a fish of 18lb 13oz.

I went a home a very happy man that day! Here they are in order- 21lb 8oz-18lb 7oz-18lb 13oz. Note the blood in the first pic is mine not the pikes! (see the botched plaster in the second shot). I always hit runs asap. Deep hooking from carless angling aint cool, you get me!

Til next time

Be lucky

Monday 9 January 2012


Don't worry folks no dodgy Everton rant opener, this time I'll get straight into some fishing business.
I am still focusing all my attention towards predator fishing at present. Spring will soon be here and the prospect of some serious carp and tench fishing on the canal is one I'm very much looking forward to!But for the moment whilst the temperature is that of a cool one, stripes and teeth take priority over other species in my angling calender, so lets talk pike and perch.

I made a trip to another one of Devon's many commercial waters in search of a big stripey. I remembered reading in the paper that a 3lb 4oz perch had been caught during a match. Old news yes, but I couldn't help wondering if it was still there. A quick phone call to the fishery owner was made in hopes of him helping me out a bit, unfortunately he did not know too much about the perch as he has recently taken over the fishery.

It is always exciting fishing for perch on a new water. Thoughts of a giant were on my mind but first the task of grabbing some live ones for my hook bait. First drop of a single maggot on a size 18 snared a small roach and I caught 5 more good baits on the same maggot. It was very obvious this pond was full of bait fish which is a good sign when looking for perch fishing venues. I flicked my bait towards an overhanging marginal bush, not far from the spot I had gathered them from. As I settled down for a brew, the line was pulled free from the clip as a perch nailed the roach hookbait. After spilling my tea everywhere I was soon guiding an angry perch towards my waiting net. A fish of around a pound was the greedy culprit and a few more similar sized fish graced the bank but no monsters or any over the pound mark for that matter.

Next on the cards was a social session with regulars Ty and Moxy. A very mild Sunday saw us roving the Exe with hopes of a decent pike or two. The river was still carrying a lot of water from last weeks heavy rain.To be honest I was not very confident when we arrived to a raging torrent but a stinky dead bait may just grab us a fish.
The action arrived when Ty's rod hooped over, the run was hit and the rod kept bending. After a cracking tail walk and some powerful dashing the pike was subdued and ready to be chinned out the drink. Baaym! a pb pike for young Ty. Unfortunately the scales where left in the car but considering Ty had not landed a double before this fish was most definitely a pb! so well done Ty lad!.

Some more of the urban areas of the river were also explored by us. I noticed the sheer number of cormorants dwelling the upper regions; they must be going through a lot of silver fish.With itchy feet we made our way to yet another spot on the Exe where some hectic action was enjoyed. Ty was in again but this time the fish threw the hooks and escaped. Ten or so minutes later Both mine and Moxy's floats buried; I had never experienced a double take whilst pike fishing up until then.

As luck would have it my fish turned out to be the bigger of the two.It took a liking to a herring fished of the bottom under a large float. Moxy's fish fell to a mackerel tail fished hard on the deck. The crocs were seriously having it but we decided to leave them to go about there business. Satisfied with the action we headed off to yet another spot where we fished until sundown. No more action but we did see a big fish roll on the surface that looked to be a barbel. I know the barbel are spawning on the Exe as my dad has caught small ones from the upper reaches of the river. I once lost one of around 7lbs a few years ago whilst carp fishing and I think the river will soon throw up a double figure barbel. Maybe someone has already caught one? Anyway a great day for all of us. Good times!

Til next time

Be lucky!

Thursday 5 January 2012


Happy new year to all my friends and readers. I hope 2012 brings good things and big fishes to us all!

Sorry for the lack of posts recently I have had a busy December with not much time for any proper angling sessions, however, I have sneaked a few quick trips and banked some nice fish. I had my first taste of reservoir pike fishing at Durleigh in Bridgewater, unfortunately it was a bit of a sour one due to a string of calamities and savage weather. Neil the eel has been doing a bit of damage there with a few doubles under his belt this season.

Another pike related occurrence of December was again one I would like to forget.
It was a miserable day on the Exe, the water was rushing down the river at pace, boiling and stirring with the colour of a chocolate milkshake. I hooked up a large herring, sent it out to the spot and waited.
2 hours later my alarm beeped once and my line went slack; as the bobbin hit the deck I hit the bite.

'Oh shit Neil I think this is the one we're after' I said whilst playing what I knew to be something special. Moments later the hooks pulled leaving me quite distraught; one of those dramatic-dropping-to-your-knees-and-screaming-to-the-skies moments; anyway you get the picture.

Aside from pike, I had a quick perch fishing trip employing my usual tactic of paternosterned live baits fished tight to a feature. The session started of very slowly, not even a single take during the morning which is very strange on this particular water. A change of swim was in order, I decided to pack up my second rod and go searching for the perch.

The first swim I tried produced a lovely perch which took my live bait before I could put the rod down in its rest. The little bugger gave me a great scrap on my light set-up, really testing the tackle before I slipped the net under him.

The roving approach led me to more stripey action with similar results take-wise, in that the bites came within a minute or two of the bait being in the water. This led me to believe the perch were all laid up, not actively on the feed but with a bait dropped right on there noses, how could they resist? A wise move which paid off on the day.

As for the new year I have a few things on my wish list: A wild 30lb carp from the Canal is a realistic target that's going to require some serious work. I never maneged a huge catfish last year after losing a mamba at emperor lakes, I only managed them to double figures so I'll be after a giant slug as soon as the weather warms up. Oh and that my beloved Everton pull their fingers out and start playing in a manner that's at least vaguely entertaining, rather than the agonising shite we've endured thus far this season. I mean come on, even the games we have won have been by that of a miracle and where the hell are Royston Drenthe and Ross Barkley hiding at? Come on Moyes sort it out!

Til next time

Good luck