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Cracked Again (April 19)

Sorry, the weather was too good, and I was hearing too many reports of tench waking up for the summer. So I had a session on Wickwater main lake for the tench. It was slow, the water was still quite cold, but I eventually managed one tench of about 3lb and four little rudd, all on red maggot. It was a lovely evening though:  

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Last Chance Barbel

I managed a couple of end-of-season trips to my favourite barbel haunt in the last week of the season. We'd had a lot of heavy rain, and the rivers had been out of sorts for weeks, but finally the levels dropped, the colour faded and the rivers started to look inviting, so I gave it a go.   After traipsing across three fields feeling smug about the people fishing the swims near the road, I got to my favourite barbel swim to find some rotter fishing it. This stretch doesn't actually have all

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

October Barbel Campaign

Well, my plan for a Thames barbel seems to have been derailed again. Not enough fishing and too much of it tenching, I think. I decided a couple of weeks ago that although it was too late to seek out Thames barbel, I would like to catch at least one during 2006. Probably the best barbel fishing round here is on the Bristol Avon, which I can fish on my Bristol, Bath & Wilts card, but with the year wearing on I felt that there was insufficient time to really suss out the Avon. One for next Su

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Hmmm

Two sessions on Wick to report on. I've been fishing this swim out of stubbornness. It's crawling with tench, I've just been having problems connecting with them. The last three trips have resulted in the first fish hooked getting off, and two of them to a blank. I though it was Groundhog Day again yesterday, but managed to put a couple of small tench on the bank later. Last night's incident was inevitable; I suspected that the fish were tackle-shy, so I scaled down to a 4lb bottom and a 14. Bin

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

No tench

Just got back from an unsuccessful session on Wick. I thought I'd give it a try because the fish seem to run bigger; an average Dabchick tench is 4-5lb, an average Wick one 5-6. There are also some very good tench in there, into double figures. I fished a peg at the opposite end of the lake to my usual pegs. I just didn't feel like fishing a big expanse of water into the wind, so I found a calm and sheltered bay at the upwind end. Shallower and more weedy, and at the wrong end by the wind, but w

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

More tench

I gave Dabchick another go last night, same peg and tactics as last week. The water looked a good deal clearer than it did last time, and I think it showed. Also, a bloke I was chatting with told me that it had been fished each of the last four days. It's a great peg, but is unfortunately right next to the car park, and can get hammered. I'll have to spend some time looking for a less accessible peg with similar features.   Anyway, I ended up with half a dozen tench to about four pounds, a co

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Bag o' tench!

May I make a confession? During yesterdays tench session I reached the conclusion that I really do hate ducks. They are swines. Every time I 'pulted out some loose feed I had Mrs Duck and her horde of stupid little teenage ducklings home in and paddle round my float. Waving a pole at them just about chased them out of reach, but with the next batch of feed they were back again. What with confusion with line bites from the ducks and missed bites while waving six metres of carbon at them I reckon

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Down the river

I nipped down to the Thames for a couple of hours last night, on the swim I fished on opening day. I started off fishing pellets on a feeder rig. I hit one good bite and was briefly connected to something powerful before it weeded me. I'd like to think it felt too strong for a chub, but I'm not convinced.   I later switched to fish maggot on the float managing to land a couple of chub of around 4lb and to lose one. Good fun on heavy float tackle, fishing the centrepin and Drennan Avon rod wit

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Opening Day

Against expectations I managed to grab an hour and a half on the Upper Thames today. I hadn't planned it, expecting to be somewhere on the M6 this evening, but I had some hookable halibut pellets and 2mm feed pellets left over from tenching, and went on a whim at about 8pm. The swim I was headed for is a fair way down the Thames path, about half an hour's brisk walk. I'm still harbouring hopes for a Thames barbel, if I'm honest, and that's how far you have to walk before you find any swims with

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Presentation, presentation, presentation

Had a few hours on Wick this evening. I alternated 14mm halibut pellets and worm on the hook over 2mm pellets and hemp. I fished most of the evening using a lift rig but just couldn't get the presentation right. There were plenty of fish feeding in and around the swim, but I had only two fast bites, which I missed. Really frustrating. I like the lift method, it lets you fish a large bait under a float with sensitive presentation, and helps to differentiate line bites, but for some reason it just

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

A bit better

Gave Wick another crack again today. I didn't bother with the prawns, sweetcorn or groundbait this time, and instead loose fed halibut pellets, red maggot and hemp. I fed one spot about three rod lengths out and another right under the rod tip. It started slow again, with lots of fish lazing on the surface. Gradually a few bubblers appeared, a the odd one of them over my loose feed. This was promising, because Wick tench seem almost always to give themselves away. I've found it rare to catch whe

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Blanketty-Blank

Gave Wickwater a try this evening. It had a bit more colour and warmth than Dabchick lake did, but while there was plenty of evidence of fish about there wasn't a lot of feeding going on. Plenty of rolling, porpoising, cruising under the surface, leaping out of the water, but not a lot of bubbling. Oh well. Another couple of weeks and they'll be ravenous.   Wick's bloody noisy though. Close to the road, and someone was running a generator or some kind of heavy machinery nearby. Also, a coupl

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Breaking the closed season tradition

Against my normal habits, I've been tench fishing today. I've by and large kept to the old closed season ever since it was abolished, but it seems more and more pointless each year. There's precious little anticipation when the banks have been trampled and the fish hammered since April. It looks as if I'm not going to get out for the first two weekends of the season, so I thought "sod it" and had a crack for the tench on Dabchick Lake.   I like Dabchick lake. It's smaller than Wickwater but

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

A nicer evening

Decided yesterday to give Lee-On-Solent a bash. There were some reports on the Solent Fishing Guide of some rays, bass and smoothies being caught. It was a hot, still day with high tide at 11pm. Perfect.   I finished work early and loaded the car up at about 3pm. This was my first fishing trip in my new toy, and the big test was how well the fishing gear would go in. With the ski hatch open, the rods fitted nicely, actually less inconveniently than in the Civic, and by removing the lid and t

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Windswept, but not interesting

Decided in the end to fish Lee-On-Solent on Saturday night. I should have checked the weather forecast, because when I got there it was blowing a gale off the sea. I fished two rods (Iain had to work, so I borrowed his kit), one with a three hook flapper relatively close in and one with a big bait clipped down on a pulley rig and chucked as far as I could into the wind. Didn't get a thing on the big bait (tried crab, lug, mackerel) but a few six-inch whiting hung themselves on lug or mackerel on

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Season's Over

Well, that's 2005/6 over. The last couple of trips were a bit barren, but not a bad year all-in. With the rivers out of bounds I must decide what to do for the next few months. The stillwaters are open, of course, but I don't fish them much in the old closed season. Doesn't seem right. I suppose it's a bit pointless waiting when everyone else will be pulling the tench out in May; it's not as if I'll be stepping onto virgin banks on the 16th.   Currently, I'm thinking about beach fishing. Spec

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

First Blank Of The Year

Had to happen. I grabbed a couple of hours after work on the Thames at Cricklade. I didn't feel up to facing the cows down today, so I left the Cowfield swim for a deep little corner further upstream, amongst the water meadows. I've had chub and the odd nice roach out of this swim before on floatfished flake. It's a narrow deep(ish) bend into an overhanging tree. I set up a little way upstream and trotted down, feeding pinches of mashed flake at my feet.   Nothing. Nicht eine wurst. Pas une s

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Not bad at all!

Considered having another crack at the Cowfield swim today, but was tempted away by thoughts of easier pickings on the Thames at Kelmscott. I wanted another crack at the chub with my special extra-stinky cheesepaste. I took a pack out of the freezer, microwaved it until gooey and then mixed in half a jar of anchovies for good measure. I’d had problems hitting bites last time, and hoped the oil from the anchovies would give a softer paste. This, as you will see, did not quite work out.   Arriv

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Livestock

Seem to be having a bad week with large hoofed beasts. Walking back to the car on Saturday I got back to the final gate as the last of the light left the sky. It was cold, and clear, and silent. I turned round to shut the gate behind me and found three huge equine faces staring expectantly at me from six feet away. To say I jumped would be an understatement. I still don't understand how they crept up on me; perhaps they were "stalking horses"?   Tonight, walking to the cowfield swim, the co

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

An Odd Swim

I've just had a short after-work session in the Cowfield swim. It really is an odd swim, it just screams fish yet it never really delivers the goods. I'm sure that I just haven't figured it out yet, but it's very frustrating. I fished it with my new favourite setup, trotting a very traditional looking crowquill avon with the 'pin. My casting with the pin is gradually improving, but is still abysmal. I've got used to trotting with it, though, and using it has become very comfortable. I managed a

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

New Toys

I acquired this week, as birthday presents from my wife, a Drennan Super Specialist Duo Avon/quiver rod and an Okuma centrepin reel. I managed to get out for a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday to have a play with them, and have to say I'm very pleased with my new toys.   Saturday involved a short trip to a local free stretch of the Thames at Cricklade, starting at the weir by the farm and heading upstream to the Bridge Swim. Actually, my plan was really to fish the Bridge Swim for most

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

 

Bio

Looks like NickInTheNorth has set a precedent for biography so I suppose I'd better join in.   I was born in 1973 in what is now Tameside General but was then Ashton hospital. From what used to be the maternity unit you can see the feeder stream for the park lake where I was later to spend many happy days (indeed, we spent a few happy days handlining two inch roach out of the stream!). I grew up around the area, Dukinfield, Audenshaw, Stalybridge, Hyde (I think my mother must have Gypsy blood

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

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