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.

Saturday 29 October 2011

River barbel & Lake zander - If at first you don't succeed .....

It has been an interesting week, three afternoon/ evening sessions on the canal after the elusive zander that went a long way to prove they are still elusive.  Nine zander sessions spread over different lake, river and canal venues has resulted in just three fish, one of 10lb-3oz from the lakes, one of 5lb from the canals, and one maybe 5lb from the river.  I am definitely not setting the zander world alight with my results.

                                                                Best zander so far this season.

Almost everybody I've spoken to with reference to fishing the River Severn for zander has related how the river is alive with them.  Drop a bait in, and a zander will attach itself in no time, after all my years experience I should have known better than to accept these statements at face value, but I did get good information on a recent evenings slide show.

Arranged by the Birmingham region of the PAC, it was a talk by Dilip Sarker on the zander in the River Severn, well I had to go to that didn’t I?   Over the course of a couple of hours Dilip showed the development of the Severn as a premier zander venue.  He also gave ample evidence of the success both he, and a small group of friends, have achieved with fish to over 20lb being taken.  The other side of the equation was that he also identified the amount of time and effort that went into getting those results, definitely not easy.  Find a feeding pack of them and you can catch but that can take time.  I’m sure that this talk will appear elsewhere on the circuit and I would recommend you make the attempt to see it.

Of course I could not let a week go by without a visit to the river for barbel.  With all that rain on Thursday I thought the rivers would respond with a raise in levels and colour, so off I went to the Dove only to find it still at the bottom end of its summer level.  We drastically need rain and lots of it!   I fished from 2:00pm through to 10:30pm and my result was just one dropped fish.  It was still light when for the second time my rod tip on the pellet bait gave a tap-tap-tap type of bite.  I had struck and missed the first occurrence, but follow this strike a powerful fish shot downstream taking line off the clutch.  It had only gone about 10yds-15yds when the hook came free and I was left to ponder what had happened.  My conclusion was that the fish was browsing over the loose feed from the swim-feeder and my strike had resulted in a foul-hooked fish.  Most times I feel that if the hook comes free early on in the fight with any fish it is probable that it was not fairly hooked, then as soon as the line angle to the hook-hold allows, it will come free.  Not very scientific but it allows me to rationalise the loss of a potentially good fish!


  1. Thanks for the kind words regarding the talk, Phil, which is praise indeed from an angler of your stature admired by 'The Group' for many years! Mark Humphries had added another double to our tally today, 11.14, but whilst every now and again someone gets lucky, there is no doubt that the bigger fish require a lot of time putting in to catch. It is impossible to target bigger fish, so you just have to keep going fishing and catching, putting the law of averages in your favour. It is even difficult using bigger baits to try and single out a better fish, because of the pike, so whilst there are undoubtedly a great many zander in the river the big ones are definately not easy to catch - as we discussed last Thursday the number reported to the press gives a completely false impression of the true situation. For every big zander caught it would be interesting to know how many experienced anglers there are fishing the river and how many hours are put in. Big zeds have been caught, though, from Worcester to Tewkesbury, and I really wouldn't care where along that stretch I fished. Moreover, scientific evidence suggests that they move long distances - so just because one stretch produces this year doesn't necessarily mean it will next, although significant features always hold resident fish, I guess - it isn't rocket science. Zedding is certainly very frustrating more often than not, but when it comes together, usually when the river has some extra water and colour (doesn't take a lot), it really is worth it. So, good luck, Phil, no doubt see you and Merv again at some stage!

  2. I am with you at the moment Phil, last three sessions I have been toiling on the Severn and have not had a touch, not even old Esox. If you find a magic formula please let me know, it's doing my head in!!

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