Spring 2002

Firstly I've got to apologise for neglecting all you net heads, it's been a while since I've let you know what I've been up to! Well university is going fine, I've passed my exams, so they won't be chucking me out! I've met a gorgeous girl (Hello Nadia!) and so all this means that I haven't done much fishing! Since my last update I have fished about ten times, and despite catching no huge fish, I've had some great days out.

I had a brilliant time way back in September at the Stoney and Friends fund raiser at Yateley. It was well attended by the Anglers' Net crew, plus plenty of others, so most of you know that we raised plenty of money and that a good time was had by all. Most of the Anglers' Net bunch were on Sandhurst lake, but I wanted to fish the summer pit for crucian carp. I'd heard a lot about the fishing there and was really keen to have a go. The first night I fished with more traditional cru tactics, float fishing bread very close in, using  a very sensitive float, a small hook and light line, but struggled whilst others caught some bigguns including a few three pounders! I sensed I was going wrong tactics wise, so in the morning popped to the swim next door and had a chat with Ian Davis who has had some real whoppers from the pit. I drew up a new line of attack and popped down Yateley Angling for some tiny trout pellets and some fishmeal groundbait. I spent the day wandering round the complex, taking photos and chatting, and was back in my swim for peak time. That night it got very cold and the other lads on the lake said it really knocked the fishing. I managed to have two personal bests however of 2lb 8oz and then later 2lb 12oz. Not the threes I was after, but really nice fish all the same. They fell to micro troutpellet banded to a size 20 in 20 inches of water! I used a tiny dart float with a micro isotope to see bites in the dark.

In October my Dad and I made our biannual jaunt to the Bisterne Barbel match, which this time was fished on the Hampshire Avon at Somerley, a great stretch stuffed with big chub. I decided to share a swim with my good pal Barry Horwood so we could catch up and have a chat. He'd also bagged one of the best swims on the fishery, which was nice! The swim is where a carrier stream comes in and the river turns a big bend, allowing you to easily fish tight to either bank. Baz was already fishing the right hand side, so I fished down the left, which I eventually discovered, despite looking great, doesn't house any chub! The fish stay very tight to the right hand bank where there are some lovely trees dangling in the water. Top marks to Baz, though, who had done his research and knew this fact. Using maggot feeder with a short hooklength, he had a brace of chub scaling 5lb 5oz and 5lb 3oz. Lovely fish.

The presentation and raffle were a great laugh as usual, but we left the right side of midnight this time as we wanted to get an early start the next day. We were staying right on the river at Bickton, and I bagged my desired swim before breakfast! That's what I call keen! Barry fished besides me and we had a brilliant day sitting chatting and fishing. We used big maggot feeders and short links and had loads of fish. I had four lovely barbel up to 7 lb and five chub up to 4 lb 12oz. It was one of my best days feeder fishing, a method which is definitely en vogue for chub at the moment.

I've made a few trips to Oxfordshire's Windrush for roach, but I'm still struggling there, and none of the syndicate have had a good result on the damned river for ages. I'm starting to fall out with that river!

I fished the Berkshire pit where I had all my carp this summer for pike with little success. Even popped up lamprey couldn't tempt a big fish into taking. I had a couple of jacks but it was another “bigfishless” trip.

The only other fishing I've done is a chub trip to the in-form river Thames. The conditions weren't right when I fished, being very low clear and cold. Another trip without fish! Since then my Dad has been to our favourite bit of Thames quite a few times and has had some super fish. He's had seven or eight 5 lb plus fish and a new personal best of 6 lb 2 oz. Well Done Dad! He fished cheese paste in fast flowing flood water, using about two ounces of lead to hold bottom. His long standing target of a Thames six has finally been achieved.

At the beginning of March, I had a couple of days back at home and the conditions weren't great on the Thames so I used the time to prepare my carp swim on my favourite Berkshire pit. I used my purpose designed swim rake (attached to a length of washing line) to rake the bottom and remove any weed that has started to grow. There were loads of weed and leaves and a huge piece of an old iron fence! It was right where I had been fishing in the summer! Amazing. Once I was confident that the lake bed was completely clear I piled in a load of bait to get the fish snooping around the area again. This Easter I'm going to put in a lot of effort there to try and get a few more big carp.

As I write I'm gathering my thoughts ready for a trip home for the end of the season. I've got two days and I'm going to make the most of it! I'll definitely fish the Thames one day, and probably the Avon on the last day. Bring it on!

So that's what I've been up to since August, not much fishing but I've had a lot of fun! Hopefully during the Easter break I can catch a carp or two!

I'm also fully on-line now. I've got a new apple laptop so now I could even write articles on the bank! Hopefully the new computer will mean that I update my diary much more often! Here's to technology!

Tight lines. Fred.


Actually I've just got back from my two days at the end of the season, and what a time I had!

The first day I fished my favourite stretch of the Thames where my dad has been doing very well recently while I've been stuck at uni. Conditions were O.K, but the wind had turned round from the east, which was a bit of a worry. I fished the ‘hot' swim, which involves a very tricky cast between trees and trundling the bait down to where the fish hang around. My dads worked out how to do this very well, but I struggled to hold where the fish supposedly hang around. Anyway I fished the swim all day and didn't have so much as a pluck on my cheese paste. In the afternoon I had grown very bored with the swim and so baited another swim with paste. I chucked in a few lumps under a near bank bush and returned a few hours later. First chuck I had a lovely pull round and connected with a good fish. After a very hard fight I had a beauty of 5lb exactly on the bank. My only bite of the day!

Overnight the temperature dropped about 10 degrees and the wind picked up even more. It was my last days fishing of the season and I really didn't feel like getting out of bed! I eventually decided to head back to the Thames where I'd fished the previous day. In fact my dad came along too, and one of his mates Chris Tarrant also made an appearance. The three of us must have fished every swim on the stretch - and we had one bite between us! The bite came when I returned to the swim where I had caught the five previously. I had been dripping in paste all day, and it took several casts to get the bite. I was connected to a very, very big chub! It took yards of line on its first run and took me well below the bush where I had hooked it. Eventually I gained some line and had it back to the bush. However as chub have a habit of doing, it managed to make a last dash for cover, and managed to lose the size 10 hook in the bush's roots. That chub felt really big! Until next season chub. That was my last bite of the season!

Next stop - Spring Carp!

Tight Lines.