Although February has been a tough month, I was amazed to see that I had actually managed to fit in seventeen sessions, of which just four were guiding, which is the sort of balance I want as it shows I am back into the swing of things and balancing my time. These seventeen sessions totalled 85hrs bankside, which is on average 5hrs per session, so looking at past records I can't really complain. However, if it wasn’t for the short morning pike sessions, things would have been so different.
Many that have been keeping up with my weekly blog on my personal website www.duncancharman.co.uk will have noticed that I have been pre-baiting a lake. Well, it's Frensham Great Pond. The reason I have been keeping the venue quiet is that, in the past, hoards of other anglers have followed and I recall turning up in March a couple of years back unable to get a swim due to anglers fishing for rudd, all using helicopter rigs and small spods; obviously a downside of my own success!
Unfortunately, this has all backfired on me this winter and I can only describe the fishing as awful. Since October, I have put in nineteen sessions and have only caught on three occasions, and then you can't describe these as red letter days as, in total, I have managed just one tench, one perch and eight rudd, the best 2lb 5oz! If I go back a few years I remember catching eighty tench in eleven sessions in the depth of winter, along with countless rudd and perch. Why the fishing has been so poor I don’t quite know, but if others had followed this winter then they would have left with their tail firmly between their legs far sooner than myself, who just seemed to absorb the punishment. This season has also shown just how rare a two pound rudd is and brought it home not to get complacent when the fishing is good and treat each one with the highest of respect.
A couple of captures this month stand out, the first was a morning spent on the river Wey. Getting conditions spot on has been difficult, to say the least, but after some heavy rain I headed to Farnham and over the course of just three hours using three-quarters of a pint of maggots, managed eighteen chub, twenty-seven quality dace and three wild brownies, all taken on the stick. Now that’s what I call fishing!
Although the 2lb 5oz rudd that came on the last evening of the month was hard won and has to be the most rewarding of the winter, it was a visit to a newly found day ticket water that turned up some quality roach, the best 2lb 8drams, which has to be up there with one of my best fish of the season. Let’s just say that when the river season ends I will be heading in this direction a few more times.
The only thing I missed during February was getting out more on the rivers, but knowing from other anglers that these have also been difficult, I feel quite refreshed to have done something different than the standard bread flake for chub attack.
Well, with February behind us, we can all start looking forward to the spring. Trees have started to bud and some bushes are in flower. The days are drawing out and the temperatures, although still below average, are starting to rise. Most species will be beginning to wake up, I just hope that this spring and summer will just fish a bit better than the last.