A NEW BOOK NOW OUT. Targets set and achieved.

My third book, 'Targets set and achieved' is now complete and ready for sale. As the title suggests it reflects the past seven years of my fishing. Twenty different rivers where double figure barbel were caught, crucians and roach to near record size, perch, chub, tench and bream to make the mouth water. All will be in the pages and well illustrated with lots of colour photographs.

There is a 1000 copy print run of the hardback edition and a further 40 leather bound copies for the connoisseur.

Copies available from myself just email phlpsmith9@aol.com or ring 07980 394864 for details

Still a limited number of leathers available.

Alternatively use the web page http://www.philsmithangler.co.uk/ where you can order by Paypal or credit/debit card.

Monday 30 May 2011

Sturgeon trip.

I had arranged for a trip to the sturgeon lake for my birthday treat to myself in the hope of hooking into the 60lb+ fish that swims there.  The day was overcast and there were a few light showers but overall it was a good day to be fishing.  Just one rod and I had taken two baits, Bacon Grill and Salmon fillets both of which have proven good at tempting this prehistoric monsters.

I cast the float to settle in a nearside gulley where I had previously caught and sure enought it was not too long before it slid away.   I stuck and it is as if the fish is not too sure what has happen, there is a delay while he makes up his mind and then zooms off down the lake.  Tremendous power and one hell of a scrap later I land a nicely propotioned fish of 27lb-12oz.  During the day I had quite frustrating chances where the float would disappear and the strike hit fresh air but I did get two other 20's with a best at 28lb-13oz.

Disappointed when another angler on the lake caught the big fish at 62lb-9oz, his scales packed up so I weighed it and know the weight was correct.  That fish has increased by 5lb or so in mid April when I first went on this lake and saw it caught that day as well.   No more trips until August when I'm back there with Mervyn, problem is it will be too late to include in my new book by then should I catch it - never mind it will be the first to go into the next book.


Wednesday 25 May 2011

Specimen fishing.

Went for a three day tench trip down London way, knew it would be difficult but there are big tench to be caught there.  I fish the local waters and catch lots of fish including that 8lb-14oz beauty mentioned in a previous blog but.  That but is the lack of doubles to be caught.  For me there is an ellement of excitement just knowing that special fish is there and although I enjoy the local trips that excitment is missing.

Ok this trip I blanked - total nothing - but---   I saw one caught a few pegs away  11lb-12oz  -  that gets the blood pumping and I'll return again just for the chance of a fish like that.  I'll probably blank though.

Friday 20 May 2011

Good sport again

Red eyed  green monster

Folowing the blank of tuesday I returned thinking I cannot let it go at that.  Well I didn't, but almost, just one small male saved the blank.  Yesterday I went to another local venue and arriving at 2pm was surprised to see I was alone.  I dropped into the swim and spodded out a load of hemp using the new Spomb.  If you have not got one of these then I would suggest you do without delay, right on the mark without any particle loss.  It seemed ages without any action and in fact it was well after 6pm before I caught but then they came quite steadily.  Five fish landed and one dropped to give a pleasing result and the bigger samples certainly did pull the string.

                                                   They certainly can pull at this size.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Followed by disappointment.

All that anticipation and not one fish caught by yours truly.  Merv had one small sample of a male which is the first tench he has caught by design for probably 30years, I'm sure that more and bigger will come before too long.  Not my first blank and it wont be the last so back to the drawing board a I'll be back!

Monday 16 May 2011


I am sure that all you dedicated anglers out there would agree that next to actually going fishing the anticipation of the trip in almost as exciting.  Keith and Jeff both admitted they had a very poor nights sleep prior to the trips to Marsh Farm, having read about about the venue now they were going.

                                        Is there a tench at the end of the rainbow waiting for me?

I am off tench fishing with Merv tomorrow morning, will we succeed or blank, that is the name of the game.  We went last Saturday and nearly lost vital parts to the brass monkeys, we both blanked as well.  Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer and the fishing more productive but that is all part of the anticipation.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Friday the 13th

I am not a superstitious person but I could not help but to take note of a piece on the local C&W radio as I travelled in the early hours of the friday morning towards the tench lake.  It was relating the fact that for couples looking to arrange their wedding and reception they could well make a substatial saving on the cost by booking Friday 13th.  Any other friday will be booked for up to, and over a year ahead, but this date will remain empty in many cases.  This of course leads to the chance to get very good rates from a number of different venues.  What has this to do with my fishing trip?  Well, not a lot really but I was making an extra effort today, up very early [for me], and the thought to stay late, perhaps a 16 or 17 hours effort at the water, but on Friday the 13th perhaps I was tempting the gods.

I was starting in a new swim since the ones that had previously given up the little green gems to me were already occupied by overnight anglers.  Never mind, the fish must use all of the venue over the course of time and now I would be forced into trying a completely different section.  Was the 13th already in play, time would tell.

My tackle is fairly standard for this type of venture, 12ft 1.75lb test rods combined with 12lb main line and a similar strength 6inch braid hook length.  I will be using a helicoptor rig where the hook will be lay along side the feeder and is held in place by float stops that will release the rig should I break.  Bait is to be red maggots and the size 14 hook will have a single artificial and two natural maggots to attract the passing fish.  The articial being boyant does help to take up the weight of the hook thereby allowing the bait to act more like the free offerings coming out of the feeder.

Tackle ready, I set about where to cast the bait.  I like to choose a spot that can easily be repeated and for this I use the shadows cast on the water from the opposite bank.  Normally trees, it can be building or any other feature the lays a clear shadow in the general area I am thinking of casting to.  This allows a regular feed to go into the swim and theyby build up a tight feeding area.  Without the shadow the feed will usually be spread over a larger area, this will reduce the chance that the single fish that came across the swim will actually find the hookbait.   That done, I can now use my comparatively new piece of tackle, a Spomb.  Normally I use a spod to put feed out but this bit of gear is so much better, no lost bits as you cast, quite accurate and easy to retrieve, well recomended.  Out goes a little hemp along with some old maggots that are turning to caster as I look at them.  Not too much, little and often is better.  Now I am ready and as I so often say, 'time to sit back and wait'.

I did not wait too long before a little male tench of about 4lb was coming to the net, good start and this was followed by a plump 7lb-1oz specimen to take away any thought of a 13th hoodoo.

                                                               7lb-1oz Friday 13th May

The sun came down and then I got the forcasted showers - at times this looked like out and out rain but I suppose the forcasters know what their about.  Fortunately it did not affect the fishing a a nice 5lb-15oz male put up one hell of a scrap before going into the net.

                                                                 5lb-15oz male.

The fish continued to come at regular intervals, Spomb out some bait, wait a bit and ignore the occasional line bite then get a fish.  Then I struck something special, you know when the fish is that bit bigger just by the way they take line off the clutch straight away following the strike.  Great fight and nerve racking moments when having seen the fish I remember that tiny 14 hook hold.  That said she went into the net and a seasons best tench lay looking at me.  At 8lb-14oz it was a fish I could class as big and Friday the 13th is now one of my favorites days in the calendar.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Sunny days

So it is 3:30am and I'm on the first of two pick-ups for the trip down to Marsh Farm.  With a 2.5 hrs journey it is fortunate that the three of us have plenty to talk about and the trip goes by like a flash.  Turn into the site and we are one of the first anglers to arrive, good that it gives us lots of choice of swims but we don't know where is fishing so not so good.

I chose a swim that has produced lots of crucians for me in previous seasons and just hope it will come up trumps again.  Indeed things looked good when I landed a fish of exactly 2lb just after 7:00am, but little did I know what was coming.

                                                           Marsh Farm 2lb Crucian

I look at crucian fishing as a chance to relax, I've caught enough big ones for it not to be too important to catch another, although the hope is obviously there.  To this end I always float fish for them even though I know that method feeder is probably a more efficient method in their capture.  A small, fine topped float and a range of soft pellets and sweet corn will complete my attack.  I have a small bucket of mixed fine pellet just to add a little bed of extra attraction, little and often being the mantra.

                                                                 Crucian requirements.

After that great start I was hopeful for a few more but the hours passed and the lake appeared to die.  Just one angler seemed to break the mould but I'll leave Jeff to tell his own story.  One thing is very apparent Marsh Farm is not the venue it was two or three years ago.  At this time of the year I would expect a good number of 3lb's to be showing, of the several fish that were caught that I know of they all fell between 1lb-14oz and 2lb-5oz.  Great fishing and still a venue that can produce a 4lb plus crucian, that said it can also produce a blank more easily than previously the case.

Monday 9 May 2011

Surface rubbish.

At a bit of a loss as to what to do today and decided on a short tench session.  Caught one of around 5lb so saved a blank, but hassel came in the form of flowers.

Now I like flowers, especial wild ones since I'm not very good at keeping the garden spick and span.  Problem was these were dead flowers falling into the water off both the horse chestnut trees, along with the willow herb flowers.  The water surface was covered in them and they drifted back and forth to cause just a little problem.  Talking to a friend on the phone while he tench fished on a southern gravel pit I found he had the same problem, difference was he had a float rod in use and the eyes were a lot smaller than those on my rod.  He had to stop on numerous occasions just to clean the muck off the line so he could reel in, one fish was lost purely from this need to stop - hopefully it will be gone before I return to the water again.

Off to Marsh Farm tomorrow - hoping for a 3lb+ crucian, well we always hope dont we?

Saturday 7 May 2011

Early start.

With the last two days being somewhat disappointing I left the option open as to whether I would get up early to go today.  The water concerned is more local so the travel time is not so bad, awake a 5:00am gone by 5:15am.

Maggot fishing was the chosen method on this trip and by 6:20am I was playing what was obviously a nice fish.  A good scrap later and a 7lb-10oz warrior slipped into the net.  Amazing, I travelled a considerable distance to the other water and then get a bigger sample next to home.  The big difference is the potential, the local water can do fish to perhaps 9lb, the other water has [or had] probably a dozen doubles to over 12lb.  Time will tell if this is still the case.

                                                           7lb-10oz Warrior.

It had been dry first thing but now it started to rain, I know it was rain because I have a good memory for that sort of thing, it it had happened a couple of months ago.  During one of the many breaks in the rain I had another tench, a male of 5lb-6oz - good fight, but don't they always try harder than the females.   That was it for the session and I packed up at 2:00pm well content with the reward for the early start.

                                                                 5lb-6oz on feeder rig.

Friday 6 May 2011

Tench session.

So off I went for my first major attack on the tench water that has produced my two doubles to date.  I leave on the evening of the Wednesday because I don't like getting up early and If I wanted to be there for dawn I would be up a 2:30am - not good.   I sometimes arrive in the dark and set up rods etc, and the camp, before getting my head down, it still seems better to rise and cast out new bait then get back in the bag.

I had just one small male  [4lb] during the night and with a 15mm boilie on one rod and an 18mm on the other the thigs went pretty well to plan, at least so far along the way.  Smaller tench had become a problem and I had gone onto the 18mm boilies to reduce the attention from those smaller fish, say the 3lb-4lb sort of size.  If that size is all you have available then by all means fish for them and be happy with their capture, I was hoping for bigger game.

Problem seemed that at the moment the bigger fish are not cooperating.  Local lads who have become good friends over the last three years are reporting the big fish are missing.  This is a worry since the lake did freeze over for several weeks and these fish could well be old in tench terms.  Eights and nines are being caught and there is room for these to expand but they will not get to the 11lb and 12lb sizes that were taken last year.

                                                              Typical veiw from camp.

I went through that first day pretty well as I would hope.  Every so often a group of tench would come into the area and I would catch one or two, mostly on the 15mm boilie.  Top up each swim with a dozen or so fresh boilies and sit back to wait again.  Not a problem with the sun shining and my first cuckoo of the year blazing away trying to attract a mate.  Lots of fish but all under the 6lb mark where I start to weight them, then I got a better sample at 6lb-7oz soon followed by a 6lb-11oz belter. 

                                                                6lb-7oz and on the way.

I ended the day with 13 tench, pleasing in number but I had hoped for a bigger fish at the top end but that's what keeps us going - hope.

                                                    6lb-11oz of red eyed beauty.

Yet again the night produced a single small male and I was looking forward to another days sport, but how the mighty are fallen.  Day break and I put out fresh baits and topped up the swims.  Then I waited, and waited and waited yet longer.  Come 10am and I knew that something had changed, no-one was catching and where as the previous day the lake had been a hive of activity today was dead.  I did get one fish, a male of about 5lb but what a disappointment.  Nobody had an answer, least of all me but  as I've said many times ' my book of 100 reasons why I blanked' will be a best seller.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

May is for tench

I have followed blogs for some time now so I give it a try.   Tomorrow I will set out for my current favorite tench venue in the hope for that big beauty.  To me big is 8lb plus and the target is one of 10lb plus - a double!  One like this 9lb plus will do nicely as a starter.
Bait will be large boilies, the maggot/casters get taken by the small stuff and it's just too much hassle.  At the very least it will be an interesting two or three days.