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About this blog

I'm one of those who returned to fishing during the first lockdown and become re-obsessed. When I'm not on the bank or studying the angling press, I'm tying more hook links, liquidising bread or planning my next trip. Only thing is, I don't often catch much. Frankly, I don't think I'm doing much wrong, but when starting this blog in March 2021, I'd blanked in over half of my fifteen winter trips to various waters of Newbury Angling Association. The rivers, canals and lakes are fine, I'm just not very good at catching.  I can't be the only one lacking watercraft so I started this blog to celebrate my lack of ability and maybe console others like me who will never get to add their carp pictures to Facebook, and still treat any fish over a pound as a minor miracle.

Entries in this blog

14.04.21 - Knotts

Right. An evening unaffected by snow showers where I can have  a crack at what I imagine are large-ish roach in the swim where I can consistently catch half-pounders. Though I get a tiddler first cast, it's quite slow despite regular gentle loose-feeding of two swims. I finally get most bites fishing at around 7ft deep. The biggun's remained elusive, though I did end up with fourteen roach in a few hours, five of which between six and twelve ounces. So the big ones remain elusive, though all the

10.4.21 - Willows

Having sat since first light and with no sign of fish life, I was comforted when the bailiff turned up suggested I was doing the right thing, method feeding towards the island. He suggested I change my pale pop-up hookbait to a fluorescent wafter. In the few minutes that we spoke, three carp jumped clear of the water by the island in front of me. After he left no more fish rose. A coincidence, surely?!? Later on a chap came and set up along the bank from me. He cast out then turned to start

Bayleaf the Gardener

Bayleaf the Gardener in Willows


A lovely day to be out in the early Spring sunshine; unless you were a fish, who kept well out of the way. No bites all day (yet again) on pop-ups, bread or pellet. My get-out-of-blank float road was also untroubled all morning. I had some bites when set overdepth but no takes, which made me think that the crayfish have woken up again. Come the afternoon, the clouds rolled in, the breeze started and I scraped nine roach, the biggest a welcome three ounces. Ah well.

Bayleaf the Gardener

Bayleaf the Gardener in Dobsons

6.4.21 -Knotts

Having fished after work a week ago in twenty-three degree heat, this Tuesday I hoped that the day's snow showers were over and I'd just have the north wind to deal with. No such luck. I was hit by a 15-minute blizzard that dropped 2mm pellets of white around me while the wind took every bit of feeling from my fingers. Surprisingly perhaps, I had by then managed seven roach, one about half a pound, which made it worthwhile despite the early finish and chilblains. 

3.4.21 - Dobsons

Different day, same cold, north east wind but this time no prospect of later sunshine. Wanted a swim with the wind on my back rather than in my face, so chose the far east bank of Dobsons for the first time. From this end of the lake I could see nine bivvies set up. None of them seemed to catch. For the third session on a row, I didn't get a touch on pellet of wafter on method feeder all morning, fishing up against the artificial island. Kept a float on second rod and eked out just the one solit

2.4.21 - Dobsons

With the partial release of lockdown combining with the Easter weekend, the Dobson's car park was rammed full, and bivvies had appeared all around the nearby lakes like mushrooms on a dewy field.  Good Friday? Pah! My preferred swim was surprisingly free, but this turned out to be in the face of a north easterly wind was cold enough to have me returning to the car for furry hat, scarf and gloves after twenty degrees plus in the last few days. It was really cold and didn't the fish know it and ke

30.3.21 - Knotts

Yesterday I took a look around the lakes after work. No sign of fish despite the sudden burst of twenty degrees, apart from one swim at Knotts in which I watched two carp basking in the reeds not 5 metres from me. So that's where I went today, though typically, no sign of carp either basking or otherwise. No takes on various methods, and a handful of roach and a perch for about a pound on light float tackle was disappointing, but as with all fishing trips, there was some magic. This came in

27.3.21 - Alders

8am Saturday morning and I was amazed to find the car park at Rawlings Retreat empty. Against the general populace , who tend to go Willows and fire against the island from the west bank I chose Alders feeling that less pressured fish might be hungry fish, and spent the day there on my own. After a couple of hours of nothing I was starting to have another think, when my lift-method float zipped under, and a lovely 5lb 6 bream soon came to the surface and offered no resistance to being dragg

26.03.2021 - Knotts

A day to fish, and with heavy showers and winds forecast I chose the south bank of Knotts, being protected as it is by the banking of the canal behind. At one point I thought I saw bubbles in the next swim, but there turned out to be furry yellow  pussy willow catkins being blown into the water from the trees behind. Nothing was interested in legered baits all day, be it pellet, method feeder, pop-up, bread or corn, so I set up a second rod with float and size 18 hook and the pint of mag

23.3.21 - Dobsons

Arrived for my short session to be told by an angler on the car park bank that he'd had nothing all day, so walked round to my usual spot on the south bank. Though a warmish, bright day, and conditions still, virtually no fish activity on the surface apart from the occasional tiddler. With nothing happening on leger, I set up a light float rod and missed several bites before landing two roach, one as big as three ounces. Ah well, at least it wasn't a blank. The only other highlight was the

20.3.21 - Dobsons & Warwicks

Ha. You got to love those fish. One day you think you've got this angling lark sussed, the next you're at the same swim but without the cold northerly wind - and nothing even waves a fin. Turned out to be an exercise in sittin' on the dock of the bay, watching the my neighbour rolling his bait boat back and forth. I'm sorry, but these just seems too unfair on the carp. At least casting way into the distance to within a foot of an island takes skill. You earn the right to catch those fish. I c

19.03.21 - Dobsons

I hadn't counted on there being quite such a chilly north-westerly wind today that kept me feeling uncomfortable all day.  I kept changing tactics and baits looking for fish, and had just the three bites to keep me warm,  but a 100% hit rate with two (for me) whoppers and a beauty made it a great day. 1- Common - 10:30am- method feeder/halibut pellet - 3 rods out near overhangs- 9lb 2oz - good fight, took line several times 2 - Tench - 3:15pm - double maggot float fished less than 2 ro

16.03.21 - Dobsons

Managed to squeeze in three hours before sunset. Two very polite and courteous young chaps were carp fishing from my favourite swim that produced the tench last weekend. They were casting further than I can drive my car, which is fair enough, whereas I would have plopped my bait less than two rod lengths out. There's room for all methods. So I went round to swim 44, into which the surprisingly strong wind was blowing. The books say that the fish follow the wind in readiness for all the foo

13.3.21 - Dobsons

Well, another day of 40mph+ rains keeping me off the season end rivers for the comparative shelter of the lakes. The west end of Dobsons this time, hunkering down in the thick trees of the carpark. The water was still choppy enough to deter float fishing and indeed fish. Sensing nothing was going to happen, at midday I moved around to one of my favourite swims where I have confidence that fish lie in the overhanging willow labyrinth, though luring them out can be tricky. Good move, me.

12.3.21 - Dobsons & Warwicks Water

With no gardening work to be done after yesterday's rain and gales, another bonus fish was to be had. Again, I'd have preferred running water given this weekends close season, but with 40mph winds due, I wimped out for the sheltered banks of a lake. I had my freedom of Dobsons, choosing a new swim for me on the north east bank where I could cast towards the island. My beautiful solitude was broken by a courting couple of Canada geese, who jumped off the island into my swim to perform their ablut

10.3.21 - Dixons Mere/Warwicks Water

A bonus fishing day given the all-day heavy rain and strong winds forecast that postponed my usual gardening job. I decided that the most sheltered Newbury Angling Association would be Dixons Mere, it being surrounded on all three banks by trees. With two rods allowed, I legered a mackerel fillet for pike near the margins, and alternated between a small pop-up and pellet on method feeder for carp/bream. I understand Dixons' can be a tricky water, and with the wind carving patterns into the

9.3.21 - Willows

What with it having been a glorious early spring day. I managed to sneak one-and-a-half hours in at Willows before sunset this evening. As soon as I arrived, the wind got up with the expected change of weather approached. 7 Canada geese, 1 grebe, 8 trains (7 passenger, 1 goods), 3 crows, 1 pheasant, 3 Chinnock helicopters (probably the same one, three times, to be fair), 7 pigeons, 1 moorhen, 2 coots, 1 red kite, 1 other angler. 0 fish. Did get a bite soon after starting, but unusually wit

6.3.21 - Willows

I know, I know. With the river season drawing to a close, I should have had a bash on running water, but the chance of those Willows carp was too much. If only they sold hindsight at the tackle shop as well as boilies because Willows was hard going today. The north easterly wind though not strong, brought a real chill that kept the fish low and sent me back to the car for my winter layers. Of the ten or so anglers, I think more than half blanked. surprisingly, I was not one of them, catchin

5.3.21 - Willows

Well, after three fish in the final hour on Wednesday, it was no surprise I chose to go to Willows again today. Eben better, I was the only angler there all day but I soon began to cotton on why. It might have been four degrees in the car, and the efforts of morning gardening had been exhilarating, but there was a cold northeasterly breeze, enough to create a chop on the surface and have me pulling a second coat on. I tossed out the method feeder with a pink pop-up that scored the other day and

3.3.21 - Willows

I bumped into the Newbury Fisheries Manager walking back to the car after yesterday's blank. 'Why don't you try Willows?' he said. 'They'll take a pellet.' So this afternoon I took some pellets and myself to give it another go after blanking there last Saturday. Tackle: method feeder, banded 8mm pellet - First Red Robin and then halibut Tactics: I scattergunned my casts, one every 20 mins, looking to search out fish rather than focus on one area. 3 hours in, not a touch. The forecast 'po

2.3.21 - Kennet & Avon Canal - Hambridge

Had a couple of hours to fish until sunset this afternoon. Blue sky, glorious early spring feel, but high air pressure and chilly later on. The canal is maybe 30ft wide and 3.5 ft deep in the centre. No boat traffic. Slow flow. Tackle: Waggler float -slightly heavier than I thought when I tackled up - shotted 'shirt button style' (4BBs, 3 no6's), 4lb mainline, 2lb hook length, size 18 hook. Tactics: Fished mainly central channel to two thirds across. Mixed up fishing overdepth, just above
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