Friday, 29 October 2010

29/10/10 All Change.

Only a week ago I was still targeting the summer species wearing a t-shirt but, with the daylight hours noticably decreasing, and the temperature dropping, it's time again to swap the delicate avon float for a 'mooring buoy',dig out the thermal suit, and fish for pike. Not that i'm completely discounting another crack at the mullet or bass.With the recent windy weather the surf's  up out back and P.P's been  there catching four pound bass (laterly a six pounder), and there's a possibility that , given the right conditions, I may get another chance of an Arun mullet..who knows.
Dave and me reached the first swim at the bottom of the Washingham stretch at dawn, with barely enough light to see the floats. The river ,despite the recent rain, was in excellent condition, clear enough to fish with lures had we brought any along with us,which we hadn't, and the tide was just beginning to drop.
The corner swim threw up a blank but after a move Dave landed the first pike on smelt, followed by a second on a pollan,hooked just as he was winding in to change his bait, and a third before we'd reached the sluice, again on paternostered pollan.Biggest of the three was a high single-I gave him 8lb.
By the afternoon we'd crossed the sluice ,my float finally decided to make a move, and out came the thinnest pike I've ever seen and a tiddler that would probably barely make saved me blanking.All the pike were still lively in the relatively warm water, and their markings remained bold due to a summer of clear water conditions. With the arrival of rain and generally murky water conditions, the pike tend to lose their colour ,and turn rather dull, some displaying a unique electric blue tinge along their flanks.
We covered a few more swims before knocking off at 4-30 . Nice way to start the river pike season in earnest.
In the evening we met up for a beer with Michael Kernan in Hampshire, whose success on the river with lures for pike is well documented in his book on the river.Michael's confidence in using lures throughout the winter season will give us plenty to think about over the next few months. Let's hope the pike co-operate.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

23/10/10 Eel Trouble.

I fished from 11-00p.m to 02-00a.m tonight returning to the scene of my recent bass captures but this time with big squid baits on a 6/0 pennel attached to a sunken float rig hoping to avoid the attention of the species anguilla.......In short,It didn't work.The Eels quickly found the bait and I did actually land one which wrecked my end rig.

It was however a stunning,albeit freezing full moon night, and the river had a certain eerie ambiance, so a pleasent way to spend a few hours.Just a shame no bass were forthcoming.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

21/10/10 Double Shots! inc.Bassquest #7

Myself and Drew had already arranged this one before I'd caught yesterday's bass and It was hardly surprising that we had no intention of changing our plan.
Once again the weather was fine and sunny, although today there was even less of a breeze, and the water conditions were still gin clear.
I'd managed to finish my work by 12-30 and indeed was just returning to the truck when I got P.P's call. He was already fishing,  had taken a six pounder from above the prison bend, and was lucky enough to nab a passing dog walker(also keen angler) to take the shot.I was chuffed to bits for my mate, but a little disappointed that I'd not been there to see the fish and take the picture myself .It's not often I get a chance to see bass of this nature and they are truly a  sight for sore eyes.
Within half an hour I'd arrived at the prison bend myself and elected to gradually work my way back downstream with a blue and silver version of yesterday's killer lure-a 6" manns shad.
Probably ten yards or so upstream of the scene of the previous day's action, came the take.Another strong fight ensued but more spectacular was the sight of six or so similarly sized bass following my own hooked fish into the shallows in the bright sunlight. This incredible image remains in my minds eye as I'm writing-stunning.Once again i had to side step gingerly down the flood bank(tide had ebbed considerably) to net the fish,but being an old hand at the game by now, i had no problems flipping the net and actually landed the fish without coating it in sticky mud.
Another lovely bass, this time at 4-13 (23inches)- I was one happy bunny and once again Andy did the honours with the camera.
I had one more definite 'bump' shortly afterwards which pulled the shad body down the hook shank by the tail,but despite covering quite a bit of ground heading towards the sewer outlet, that was the only bass action for the two of us and we decided to head back.
Why did I not do more lure bassing this year-I love it.
On the way back  to the truck we spotted a few mullet, obviously down in numbers , but still enough to have a go at.I had packed the mullet kit that morning and as we were five minutes away from Tesco , which might possibly have some bread for sale,I decided to swap the baitcaster and multiplier, for a float rod and centrepin, get it sorted, and try for a mullet.
Starting point was the top of the west bank straight. I did the fishing. P.P(who didn't bring his mullet kit) did the recon work perched high up on the flood bank hidden in the bushes, offering tips and advice on where the fish were,how not to spook them in the gin clear water(difficult), and when to hit the bites.That's called teamwork.
The ebb was quite strong so a fair bit of mash went in, and it didn't take long for the fish to switch on to the bread with lots of surface activity showing.
'They're right by that old shopping trolley mate' P.P reported as I glimpsed at said trolley, and proceeded to miss the first bite.Ouch.
Couple of trots later , the float buried, and I didn't make the same mistake.I'll admit that I bullied this fish in, trying to keep the rod low in a vain attempt to keep the fish under water and preserve the swim, but unfortunately  I  beached it  a bit too close to the feed area, and take zone.Lovely mullet at 4-08 and distinguished by only having the use of one eye.
Now it was Drew's turn and being the unselfish sort of bloke that I am and because my man had only brought along his bassing kit, I lent him my mullet gear, and took over the role of 'groundbaiter'.
The swim had indeed 'died', so we moved upstream, and found a couple of likely targets flashing on the sewerage farm straight.It took about half an hour before Andy had his chance,  hit a steady bite, and complete the double shot for both of us with this mullet of 2-04.
Four hours fishing, including all the bank walking and shopping, and one of the most enjoyable and memorable sessions of the year.Great fun to mix methods and species.
Thankfully, after four straight days of fishing, I'm going on shift at the Fire Station for the next few days for a well earned rest.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

20/10/10 Bassquest #6 ....Success at last!

This is a story of extreme good fortune(luck) and opportunism.I was making my way home after finishing some long overdue work when I received a muffled mobile call from a rather excited P.P saying that he was up the river plugging,and that he'd come across an angler who'd had a couple of really nice bass.
I did have one last job planned but despite the cold northerly,the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, and  the temptation to quickly nip home and grab my lure kit was too much, I succumbed,let's face it- i hadn't wet a line for at least 18 hours!
 Thirty minutes later,I was walking up the west bank spotting numerous good sized mullet in the clear, high water. I did think to myself that perhaps I should have brought along a float rod and some bread, but the fish were so easily spooked by the slightest of movement and would probably be best tackled at low water.My choice of target would turn out to be a wise(lucky) move.
Half way along the first bend I came across 'Barry from Barnham' who had packed up and was making his way home.This was indeed Andy's angler, and in his bag were three fine bass, captured on shad tactics, including what looked like a 'six'.We nattered for a while and Barry turned out to be a really amiable chap , was keen on both the river's mullet and bass, and had quite coincidentally met P.P before on a trip to Dorset.It was great to meet a like minded angler on the river and inspiring to see what he'd caught. There were obviously some decent bass about and the water conditions were near perfect.
Resolving to meet up again sometime on the river, we headed off in different directions and I began casting my own mustard shad ,starting at the lower end of the prison bend. By this time Andy had wandered towards Ford. We made contact by mobile and I decided to fish my way up to him.
.Reaching half way up the prison straight with the tide ebbing strongly, nothing had happened and I'd met up with my mate who'd fared similarly. We both marvelled over Barry's bass and discussed our options, planning to have another crack tomorrow catching the tide a little earlier.Andy then decided to carry on upstream whilst I opted to head for home with the intention of doing a little more at the prison bend before calling it.
I had a couple of casts by the top sluice and then, moving on, half way around the bend, a huge swirl- far too violent to be a mullet , ten yards from the bank, caught my eye and I immediately sent the shad out to do it's work. It was taken Instantly and a sizable fish was on for just a few seconds before letting go-'bugger' I thought, I'd missed my chance.
Seconds later and following another cast there was again,a huge swirl (hitting fry perhaps) fifteen yards down. This fish, if it was the same one, was moving very fast.The third cast went mid river.I took a couple of turns and then BANG-a tremendous thump was fed down to the rod handle through the braid and a fish was on.The little baitcaster curved over and the drag slipped on the baby multiplier conceding line as the fish ran downstream and out into deeper water .
 Rather nervously I scrambled down the slippery flood defence to get to the mud bank ,all the time trying to keep a bend in the rod and worrying that I'd lose this one too.It did feel like a very good fish indeed.Once i'd gained my footing the battle was virtually won and although feeling heavy, I was able to glide the fish in and, not having time to assemble the fold up net, I just beached her on the mud.....and started to shake.
I'd finally caught the bass I was after.
Fumbling around and covering everything in mud, I phoned P.P and asked him to come and take the pic whilst I held the fish in the net.By now i'd moved off the mud and was standing on the concrete steps at the lower end- a convenient perch. When Andy arrived, rather out of breath after running a not inconsiderable distance, he was as excited as myself. We quickly lifted the fish out to get the pics(skillfully done) and carry out the weighing,as I was really nervous about holding on to the fish for too long.
 I was still shaking, according to Andy,after I'd returned her to the river, having experienced that wonderful feeling of relief( I needn't really have worried) as the bass strongly swam off to 'fight another day' they say.
Andy- when you read this this. Thanks a million mate. It's all down to you. If you hadn't have phoned me none of this would be being written.
She went 7-13,a modest size to some, but brilliant by my standards.The look on my face says it all.Whether or not the two takes were from the same fish I'll never really know for sure. But, my gut feeling tells me that the first fish, of which I did catch a brief glimpse, was smaller.At least, that's what I'd like to think.
 A large headed, and truly handsome fish, beating my previous p.b by three pounds and in P.P's opinion- 'a fine lure caught specimen'. As I write this a few hours later.....I'm still shaking.....................................................................................only kidding!

18/10/10,19/10/10 Chew.

Chew valley lake near Bristol has developed a fantastic reputation for excellent pike fishing in recent years and is capable of producing some real monsters.Like all 'BIG' waters however, it is not easy fishing,and the visiting angler is just as likely to blank, as have a red letter day.
Dave had managed to secure two days fishing for us-the first   from the bank, and the following day having the use of one of the reservoir's hire boats.
Having left home at 2-30am ,we arrived at the lake just as dawn was breaking to find several keen pikers already on the bank near to Woodford lodge, however there was plenty of room, and it only took a short walk to find a quiet spot.
The weather was extremely kind- warm sunny and with little breeze- an ideal day to have been out in a boat.I had a dropped run on legered mackerel early on but Dave caught our only fish of the day with a fish in the 6-7lb class. We did see some action in some distant bank swims and a brief feeding spell saw a handful of fish fall to boats moored in front of us , but i suspect that generally it was a quiet day for all.
Naturally we fished right until last knockings, which is the way Dave and I do business, and subsequently retired to our B&B/Pub in neighbouring Blagdon consuming a fine meal of home made 'babies' eads' washed down with some local ale.Totally knackered by the early start and the hectic days fishing,  we were probably well into the land of 'nod' by half ten.Rather surprisingly, my 'terrible' snoring that tortures Jan's sleeping regime ,didn't bother Dave at all.
After a full breakfast, another fine meal, we were out in our boat by about ten , consciously avoiding the 'rush hour' at the  pontoons.Unfortunately, the weather had deteriorated with strong winds and the occasional shower making life afloat rather tiring.
I had some fun messing around with a jerk bait rod that Jon Cook had kindly donated to my cause , and a small selection of 'huge' lures purchased specifically for the occasion from 'Sovereign Superbaits' but had no luck.Eventually we parked the boat close to a trout pen and I missed a run on a suspended mackerel, but succeeded a few casts later with my first pike of the year-a small jack .Staying in the general vicinity my sardine was soon snaffled by this upper single but that was the last action of the trip.
Beaten up by the weather we called it quits just before dark and despite the general lack of action, we hadn't blanked, and had still enjoyed the experience.Reports from other boats suggested that ,once again most had had a quiet time but, someone had struck lucky with a fish of 28lb which could just as easily fallen to our boat.Chew seems to have suffered the loss of quite a few of its big pike, but i'm sure one day, it will return to past form.
Dave and I have yet to get  lucky on these big waters but it doesn't stop us having a trip once a year by way of a change from our usual tidal river piking. The bird life and scenery is invariably stunning(Dave had a kingfisher perch himself on one of his rods)and we always have a good time regardless of what we catch.We both agreed to return next year if we can get tickets.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

17/10/10 Snoek is Gone.

Bit of a sad moment really,but my trusty Orkney Spinner 'Snoek' sold this morning,and went to pastures new (South Wales)with new owner Russ. It's funny how you can get attached to boats, especially if you've got a bit of history with them, more so than cars etc, and I've had some great fishing with this little boat.But therein lies the problem,she is just too small for the open sea fishing that i now want to have a crack at, however, for anyone considering mullet fishing in harbours and rivers in complete comfort,you'd be hard pushed to find a better craft.She was just perfect.

I bought the boat In April 2008, bringing her home(Orkneys are made in Arundel)  all the way down from Glasgow on a ridiculously dangerous trailer which all but fell apart as I parked it up in my back garden.That spring I welded up a new trailer from scratch,and totally overhauled the hull seperating the cuddy, removing the motor and steering and giving the whole topside a coat of fresh paint.A bit of custom fitting and she was ready to go giving me  three seasons of fun In the Sussex tidals, Hamble , Christchurch,piking on the Broads, and a little bit of inshore sea angling from Littlehampton.Unfortunately, and rather amusingly for my mates, the boat never lived up to its name(Snoek is Dutch for pike)and although catching some really nice mullet from her, I never did grace her decks with a decent pike.

I reckon I've used her on about 50 plus outings, so she's had a fair bit of use and was starting to get a little bit tatty around the edges.This didn't seem to put the new owner off at all and he seemed very pleased with the deal,which is always comforting, and I'm sure she'll be put to good use.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

13/10/10 Stragglers in the river.

Enough of this messing around with boats and motors, it was time to catch some fish.
The weather has been a tad chilly following the recent rain and it appears that there are less mullet showing in the river.I suppose the season is getting on, but i've had them this late in the year before.
I should have been working this morning but P.P really wanted to get out for a couple of hours, and I couldn't really let him go on his own,could I.We parked up at the road bridge and decided to walk up the west bank starting just upstream of the prison bend.I've not bank fished this stretch for many years, and the revisit reminded me of past sessions.It's a peaceful area to fish, out of earshot of the A259 and usually sheltered from prevailing winds by some huge trees.It was low tide  approaching slack and we saw very few fish on the way up-just the odd straggler. I'm convinced if they been around in numbers , we'd have seen more.
I'd been fishing for about half an hour, at the lower end of the Ford straight, when I spied a swirl 50yds or so downstream, and this was enough to get me moving.In short there was another whelm , and then the bite came within minutes providing me with this fish at 3-08.
The wind began funneling down the Ford prison straight from the north making things a bit unpleasant so we decided to relocate downstream beyond the prison bend.I walked a 100yds further than Andy and selected a calm area where I thought i might have seen some movement.A sail away bite in three feet of water was missed and after seeing a huge whelm in the swim, which was probably caused by more than one mullet,I bumped off a fish.Bugger!After this things went quiet and no more action was forthcoming.Andy had joined me and we decided to move on but, just as I was climbing back up the flood defence, there was major disturbance in the swim.There were definitely fish still present and, as I'd invested a lot of ground bait in the swim I decided to continue. This proved to be a good decision as I soon had a bite which produced my second of the session at 2-08, and that was enough for me.
P.P, being of stubborn nature, returned to the truck with me to collect his shoes, but elected to stay on and try to get his 'last' mullet of the season from the east bank.Three hours later he phoned me, delighted, to say that his determination had paid off,and he'd just done it with a fish taken from a swim close to the road bridge.Top man. He'd also spotted a shoal of 30 or so tightly grouped mullet, possibly forming up ready to leave the river-who knows.I think a session by the black shed low down in the harbour might be a good bet, but it'll have to wait until small tides.
With seven fish to go to reach my 50 target-it's looking like I might, just might stand a slim chance.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

11/10/10 New Toys To Play With.

Having mulled over it for several months, consulted experts in the field,researched the internet and quite possibly bored Dave to death with my deliberations, I've finally taken the plunge and gone for a 'new' boat that will hopefully be more suitable for open sea fishing than the little Spinner.It was to be my 50th birthday present to myself, but I'm blowed if I'm going to wait that long.

I picked up the Orkney 520 'Scooby 2' a few days ago from Northwich in Cheshire, hitching it on the back of the camper, a round trip of 500 odd miles, having seen it on an ebay auction, where it failed,just, to reach reserve.I'd already been up ,taking my Dad along for the ride, to have a look at it a few days previously, and it seemed to fit the bill.1000 miles for a boat, and I didn't even quibble over the price.

She's in great nick,and her sleek, graceful lines are certainly easy on the eye.Do Orkney make unattractive boats?....I don't think so.

 A Yamaha 4 stroke  (25 horses)matches my tiny little 'coble' motor which i'll use as an auxillary, she's got all the sparky bits(GPS, F/F, VHF which will take some figuring out) ,and some seriously, sexy stainless  (Bruce anchor and chain included-who can afford to buy a stainless steel anchor!).She towers over the spinner so looks like she'll handle a bit of a sea,and the roller trailer is, by reputation, a doddle to use-and has proved so.

From 'Beauty' to the 'Beast'. Also 'new' in the stable, is the 'truck' pulling the boat up the slipway.It looks like it should be towing one of those chrome trimmed, net curtained caravans that people who read tea leaves, and lay tarmac tend to inhabit. .A 20 year old Pajero(means Pampas Cat- also means something less complimentary in Spanish-wiki it) that I picked up for the princely sum of £750(T&T) from Dave's next door neighbour, Nigel- a thoroughly decent chap.I hasten to add that he's not a member of the travelling fraternity.

Nigel has owned the vehicle since it was first imported, and has maintained a huge file of service receipts and an unbroken record of former MOT's.

Now, I've never been particularly fond of 'Chelsea Tractors' especially two pedalled variants,and I've not had Jap wheels before, but after initially being a bit dubious about it (the steering was pants-now sorted) It's growing on me bit by bit.It's got all the bells and whistles(fully blinged.. air con, heated leather seats et al) and I can't complain about the price, can I. It is however, a masterpiece of late 80's automotive over Indulgence,probably cost a small fortune when new ,Is positively the ugliest vehicle I have ever owned,and is as aesthetic as a breeze block.... aspects of which add somewhat to its charm.Jan hates it and P.P's not keen either.What do they know.LOL

On the practical side, it's an Intercooled turbo diesel,(sounds funky if nothing else) so fuel shouldn't be an issue, and it generates enough torque to pull a house down.4WD is going to be handy when pulling the boat out at low tide and THAT, is the real reason for buying it- I need to get the boat in and out of the river, when I want, regardless of the tide state.

My Incredibly useful blue VW T4 panel van has gone.It did look peachy sat next to the camper. My son Jack bought it, having flogged his white Vee Dub T4 (ex Andy Male)in less that 24hrs after listing it on ebay.He's chuffed to bits and has had a right result too.I'm a bit sad to see it go, and will miss the huge payload,and the convenience of leaving my fishing gear fully rigged and safely hidden inside, but...needs must.

So, today I launched the 520 for the first time with P.P's assistance.She slipped off the trailer with literally just a slight push, and after mooring at the visitors pontoon whilst I parked up the 'rig', we headed firstly out to sea stopping off at the back of the house to wave to Jan,and then motored up river to Arundel chucking a few lures about for a minute or two here and there, while I sussed out the anchoring situation in the river.(Gonna need a bigger mud weight or switch to a grapnel and chain for close in mulleting).

Back at the slip just before it got dark and she went back on the trailer with no issues, easier in fact, than the spinner .The  trip went swimmingly well, and I couldn't be more pleased with the whole set up.The boat handles really well and is extremely comfortable.OK It's cost me, but I think it's worth it especially If i get out to sea as much as i'd like.Got a few mods to make but nothing too demanding.The Pajero, as a tow vehicle, performed faultlessly.

Snoek is now up for sale and I have to say I really will be sad to see it go having done so much work on her, and had some great fishing-especially mullet.I could keep her, but I think three boats would be bordering on the ridiculous ,I need the cash for the 520, and Jan needs her garden back.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

5-10-10 The Murky Arun

The recent rain is finally having a detrimental effect on the lower reaches of the river.Behind the house the brown slick can clearly be seen as the river empties it's muddy mess into the sea.

Having driven over 500 miles yesterday to look at the Orkney In Cheshire, and after Sunday's hectic Hamble heroics, I was feeling slightly jaded today.But it's my last leave day so I had to have a couple of hours fishing.Actually the prospect of going back to work for a rest is quite appealing.

Andy(P.P) and I headed up to Tortington initially, but the river looked awful , obviously carrying a huge quantity of rain water along with the usual associated debris.We relocated to Littlehampton Marina and fished the stretch behind the caravans.It still looked too murky, but was more 'fishable' and a couple of swirls close in amongst the weed gave away their presence.Andy, who I'd kitted out with a 'strikeright' , soon took this lovely looking three pounder- his first mullet on a centrepin reel and I'm happy to say,he's now a 'pin' enthusiast.

As the strength of the ebb increased, we moved upstream beyond the road bridge for a few casts but nothing materialised and we called it quits.Despite the effects of the rain, I still feel that the mullet will stay in the river for a while yet.

3-10-10 Hamble fish-In





Dave joined me for my only fish-in attendance this year and we were to be 'guided' for the day by Bob (The Arun Ace) Charman  who would be showing us some alternative marks, most of which i'd not tried before.

After the meet up at Swanwick in the drizzle, Bob took us to the area fronting the 'Jolly Sailor' pub.I have nipped in here with the dinghy before but never taken a mullet .Bob elected to leger, whilst Dave and I float fished.A few swirls to some surface ground bait were evident early on, and it didn't take long to hit a fish.

At the beginning of the season(it might even have been last season)I loaded my Okuma pin with about 50yds of line, which has always been enough, whilst not causing any tangling issues when fast trotting.I suppose every time i break off the end tackle to replace it, I lose a few feet.I've now got about 35yds of line left on the reel as I found out with this fish-it spooled me.The fish shot off, crossing through Dave's swim and into Bobs,and before i knew it, there was no line left on the reel.Not only that but although i was winding, the line was simply slipping round the spool.What a pillock! Note to self....get it sorted...and get a decent amount on the reel.

The only thing for it was to go in after the fish....I only had my wellies on! The pictures tell the story.Luckily the water was actually quite warm.The spectacle was witnessed by a few pub dwellers who gave  a round of applause when Dave netted the fish for me- a nice one at 5-04. A flying start indeed.I stayed over my patch of ground bait and it appeared that the group of mullet continued to feed taking two more fish at 4-14 and 2-07 quite quickly. I was alight.

5-10-10 Update.I've just heard that Steve Smith has had a 6-15 from this swim today-a P.B

As the tide dropped things went quiet so we relocated to the 'Chinese restaurant', a swim i've fished before with Ben.Dave switched to feeder fishing between two pontoons and soon had a three pounder out-his first ever mullet on leger tactics.Bob caught a small bass(Bob loves bass) and then proceeded to lose a mullet.Gutted for you mate.

I stuck with the float and initially began fishing on the bottom, at about nine feet deep and a yard or two out from the pontoon closest to the main river. Nothing but crabs gave me trouble down there and, as a few mullet were showing up in the water, I altered the rig to about half depth and scored virtually straight away with a 4-08, later followed by a beautiful, tiny mullet of about 6oz which tested my juggling skills(pic).

Our final location was just upstream of the railway bridge in a shallow pool where Paul Howe had taken some nice fish earlier in the week.I switched to leger and failed to add to my tally, but Dave took another fish of about 2 1/2 lb to end the day.

Great session thanks to Bob, and a few more marks to add to the Hamble repertoire. 14 anglers turn up for the fish-in which, considering the poor weather, was an excellent turn out and 19 fish were caught, the biggest falling to Dave Rigden at 5-09.

On a personal note-i'm having a run of good fortune at the moment and it would be nice if it would last a little longer so I could achieve my target of 50 mullet for the season-nine required.I've a feeling it'll be a close run thing however,there is a slight problem. My mind is turning towards those toothy freshwater beasts.In fact I'm just reading the late Barrie Rickards' last book on the subject, and can't help but be inspired to dust off the pike rods.We'll see.At the moment the rivers are up and coloured with recent rain and it's THAT which is stopping me going.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

2-10-10 Arun Hat-trick

I'd had a bit of a hectic morning sorting out some automotive and nautical issues which will later be reported on in this journal.I picked Andy up at about 12-30 and we headed for an afternoon session starting just below the old canal entrance at Ford .With the combination of recent heavy rain, and some rather spectacular sea conditions , the river was carrying plenty of colour-my Ideal mullet conditions.Tide was tiny (4.4) and virtually bottoming out and although it was drizzling, there wasn't a breath of wind to ruffle the surface.

Signs of mullet were not,at first, obvious but suspecting that they were present but deep, I decided to set the float at around 6ft which has worked well for me in similar conditions In the past.

First,slide away bite was missed, though it did come back with a mullet scale on the hook......a good sign.Second bite and a hook up. Decent long fight in the slack water conditions( check out the tail size in the pic below) and she came out at 3-09.A significant catch in that it's my 300th mullet in eleven seasons at the game.

No more bites in that swim so I moved downstream towards the first bend ,searching for signs of fish.The odd whelm was the giveaway and after another missed bite out came the second at 2-07, followed by another move and another fish at 3-04.

By now I really needed Andy to get one as I'd had my fun and It was his turn.We moved further downsteam and then I spotted a small group, actually visible in the murky water,circling in a sluice entrance.Bites came Immediately, though poor Andy struggled to connect, not helped I'm sure by my 'Hit It' comments and general excitable nature.

I decided to take a stroll and leave the man in peace and this did seem to do the trick. He hooked a fish within a minute of my vacating the area.......................and it subsequently slipped the hook.BUGGER!

Luckily the swim hadn't been too disturbed too much, and next cast produced another bite and, a successfully landed 2 pounder.I'm not sure who was more pleased.This action killed the sluice so Andy moved back upstream a short distance, and was unlucky enough to lose another fish just before the Incoming tide reached the foot of the flood bank.

Packed up around 5-00pm soaked through a covered in mud, but highly satisfied.Numerous fish were spotted on the walk back 'ghosting' in the murky water as the tide flooded- a very different situation to the low tide conditions.Once again- all's well in Jeff's world.

Friday, 1 October 2010

29-9-10,30-9-10 Two days at Christchurch.

Christchurch has never been particularly kind to me.I've fished it three or four times each season for the past seven years and ,although it's given me my p.b mullet and a few more decent fish to boot, I've always found it extremely hard going .

I think one of the reasons I struggle so much with the venue, Is the fact that so much of the bank fishing there Is a waiting game on the leger, which I don't consider myself that good at.It's an issue of patience.In the past I've taken a boat down which enables me to predominantly float fish, but the rules have changed this year , and a season ticket is required for anglers afloat.

I couldn't have picked a worse day to go fishing on Wednesday.Apart from a brief spell of dry weather early in the morning,it pelted down all day.Having picked up my two day tickets from Davis Tackle at 7-30am, I arrived at Grimbury point to find I had the place to myself.Hardly suprising with the weather forecast.

Tide was low, so I waded out to the main river channel and float fished. It didn't take that long to hook into what felt like an average mullet , but unfortunately the hook let go as I tried to make my way back to dry land.

As the tide was now rising I was forced on to the shingle spit and a change to feeder tactics.Once again, It didn't take long to get a hook up and, once again, after a while, It slipped the hook.Bugger!

And then the rain came.

I sat huddled under the brolly for the rest of the day finally connecting with, and this time successfully landing , a nice dark backed,but rather lacklustre fighting 4-05 at last knockings.At least I'd saved a blank.Cracking sunset that evening.

Having scoffed bacon and eggs for tea in the camper (luxury) at Mudeford quay, I decided to park up for the night at a secluded turn off In the forest, on the A35, as the Stanpit car park had a 'no overnight parking' sign.With the van well hidden from the main road, I decided not to bother with the screen blind .At around 5-a.m,still pitch black, a bright light, shining through the screen ,woke me up.I thought the silent, slowly moving beam, may be a police officer,or an Irate farmer whose field entrance I may be blocking.I quickly decided that the best policy was to make myself known and go 'on the attack', so  sliding open the side window, I poked my head out , and bid my visitor ' good morning'.To which a mountain cyclist with an unfeasably powerful halogen headlight replied quite matter of fact, ' At least it's not raining any more'.as he whizzed past the van.Odd!

Day two, Thursday, started early-I was awake anyway. I arrived at Grimbury point at first light, and this time with much better weather conditions to dry out yesterday's rain soaked kit.Once again I was able to venture out with the chesties and float rod, and this time fared a little better. I actually managed to land one using this most enjoyable method, albeit a tiddler of 2lbs.Apart from a dace that was all the action I had that day despite trying 'big mullet bay' and bridge creek in the afternoon, where not only did I see some good fish moving about(huge tails), but also spied another angler In the distance ,by the reeds in the corner of BMB land something obviously quite good.I texted all the usual suspects but nobody would admit to being the culprit.

Once again Christchurch tries my patience.An enjoyable two day trip, despite the lack of fish and I'm certain I'll be back for another crack one day.