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.

Sunday 30 September 2012

Perfect conditions for a new pb barbel.

With all the recent rain we have experienced the rivers have been singing their songs again, and the sound I hear is ‘The barbel are feeding.’   Being one not to ignore such good advice I have been out trying on a couple of different rivers with varied success.

My first effort was a return trip to the local Tame for yet another attempt to catch a barbel off yet another river.  As always my hope is for a double figure specimen, but initially I would be quite happy to just catch a barbel of any size, I have not succeeded yet but I will.  This trip saw me arrive just after the river had returned inside its banks having been well over the top and back into the surrounding fields.  It does seem amazing how quickly the seagull descend onto these new feeding grounds and the sky was full of the screaming birds of all different varieties.
                                            A small section of the birds in the field.
My previous two trips had been well dogged with drifting blanket weed and this was with a low river and little flow conditions, I did wonder what this trip would be like with that extra water rushing through.  After an hour I knew the answer and the floods had done a great job in removing most of the problem.  I now had less weed on the line than previously experienced and I could leave the bait in place for a good 20 or 30 minutes before recasting with a fresh load of mixed hemp and pellet in the feeder.  I know the tackle and tactics were capable of catch barbel, I  havehad enough of them, but this was not the day for success, and next time I’ll try a different swim again until I find them.

A day on the River Severn with Merv early in the week before the rain, saw the river very low and clear with just chub being caught despite our best efforts.  Now, with this rain the river had come up and over the banks so I waited until the EA river levels site gave the indication that the river would be back within the banks and fishable again and then made plans to go.  Being a Saturday I invited Curtis along and he jumped at the chance of improving his barbel best of 9lb-5oz off the River Teme.
                                                                 9lb-5oz beauty.
We arrived mid-morning to find the river in perfect condition for babel fishing, just inside its banks and lightly coloured as you would expect for a river in flood.   We would both use similar tackle and tactics, these being a swimfeeder loaded with 6oz of lead used on 1.75lb test Drennan rods and 12lb main line to the usual 15lb braided hook link.  The baits would be boilies, Dynamite Shrimp and Prawn for me, and one of the Pallatrax range for Curtis, we both would alternate with Elips pellets on a regular basis just to see if there was any preference being shown by the fish.  The feeders would be loaded with the usual mix that I’ve used for some time now and fould it quite acceptable.  I mix up different sizes of pellet and types of pellet, and then load in drained hemp particles at a rate of about 50/50 into the mix.  The hemp holds just enough dampness to cause the pellets to hold in the feeder without going completely in to a soggy paste, which is not what I want.

The morning passed by without result and it was well into the afternoon before Curtis got the first action of the day.  I had been surprised at having had no fish as the River Severn is definitely on its way back in terms of barbel being caught, but once this fish was landed Curtis did not worry about having no previous action, he now had a very big fish on the bank.  As it came to the net I had suggested maybe 12lb, but on the unhooking mat I adjusted my guess to 11lb.  Curtis was understandingly very pleased with his new barbel pb at 10lb015oz, but I need to get my eyes re-calibrated!
                                                            A new pb at 10lb-15oz
Following the action that Curtis was still celibrating I did get a couple of barbel myself, one of 5lb and another of 6lb, I suggested we were equal on weigh but he would not have that for some reason thinking his fish was better than mine?
                                      My Severn average barbel with the moon over my shoulder.

Sunday 23 September 2012

A great session on the River Wye with friends.

I’ve not posted for longer than my usual time frame because there was nothing to report.  I could have used my talk at Tamworth, it had been arrange by the Mercia Group who control a number of waters in the area and done in aid of a local hospice, it went very well raising lots of money for a very good cause.
                                              Various sledge weights for different river heights.
I tried for barbel on three occasions, twice on the River Tame and once on the Lower Severn, chub off the Severn but no barbel and total blank on the Tame, not much to write about.  The Severn was very low and clear as tap water;  the Tame just gave problems with drifting blanket weed coming down river at a slow pace that needing to be cleared off the line at frequent intervals.

Then on Friday I went to the River Wye and at last I got fish.  Two friends, John Found and David Cook were in the area with their wives, so we arranged a meeting to fish together for a couple of days they having spoken nicely to the ladies.  Having already pinched a few sessions on the river John had succeeded in spades with a rare Wye double of 11lb-4oz, a new best for the river by a mile.
                                                               11lb-4oz of Wye barbel.
It seemed that most of their fish had been caught between 7pm and 10:30pm, although the odd specimen had come in daylight including the double though the flash shot makes it look dark.  I could not wait to get on the section as it was my first visit with a new book.  Pellet had been the bait of choice for the lads and of course I used that on one of the two rods I would fish with.  The other carried a Monster Crab boilie but I did not introduce any free offerings on that and it was left to fish on its own with just the usual pellet/hemp mix in the feeder.  On the pellet rod, I laid out a bed of hemp and fished that as my main suspect to catch, but the barbel obviously did not know that and time after time it was the boilie that caught.  The swim chosen on the first evening allowed the two rods to be safely used in dark, but the second swim fished the following evening was too tight, and I dropped to one rod using the boilie of course since that had caught every fish coming to my net.
                                                            8lb-4oz best of the first day.
                                                        Misty start on the Wye
                                           This farmer is well prepared for winter.
The signs of autumn were all around and with cooler evenings and early morning mist I wondered how much longer the barbel fishing would be a viable proposition, perhaps just weeks but maybe there would be a lot more time to catch these fighting machines.  As usual these Wye barbel tended to be long and lean and pound for pound they do seem to fight so much more strongly than on most rivers being very reminiscent of the fabled Teme Tigers.  Just before dusk on the second evening David hit gold in the form of his first double figure barbel, John checked the weight and declared exactly 10lb, fantastic!

                                                Very nice shot of Dave's 10lb pb 
I finished with ten barbel including a  7lb-14oz and three others over 8lb to a best of 8lb-10oz, definitely a result on this river and I will return to try again to get another double to top my best of exactly 10lb, the same as David’s fish.

                                                        8lb-10oz best of the session for me. 

Wednesday 12 September 2012

A day after monsters.

Last week it was Scottish roach, later this week it will be barbel, but yesterday it was Sturgeon.  As regular readers of this blog will know I do love fishing for these powerhouse species that have both the speed and power to set the pulse rate into overdrive.  Straightforward tackle, carp rods loaded with 18lb line, 80lb braid hook link and a size 2:0 hook.  Baits to be used will be bacon grill, a strongly flavoured sausage from Morrison’s, and cheese, all three known to work on their day.
Normal practice has been to fish the margins and this time was no different, the baits being placed rather than cast since they would lie well within a rod length from the bank.  The bites can be quite delicate and with all the other species having a nibble at the bait it did mean there were a lot of missed strikes over the course of the session.  A lot were missed, but eventually one was hit and after a nice fight I brought in a specimen that would prove to be 18lb-10oz in weight not the monster I was hoping for but welcome never the less.  I had two other chances but one of those landed landed was definitely foul hooked, and the other came off the hook after a short powerful run, again probably foul hooked.
                                                    Nice sturgeon for this trip.

That was it for the day, not a big fish but I live in hope and I will definitely be back for another try.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Fishing for large Scottish roach again

Following our last trip to Lochnaw Castle in June we had determined to return and that time came last Saturday.  We expected the weed situation to be worse and in that respect we were not disappointed but there were swims available to fish and after arrival John Found, Pete Reading and I were soon settled in place.  Pete’s swim was ready to go having been dragged by Kevin a few days previously but John and I were to fish in adjacent swims and there was a small amount of weed within the first 20 yards of water that had to be cleared.  Once that was done we returned to the lodge for a quick bite to eat and returned for the last few hours of daylight.  I intended to fish through the nights but both of the other two had no intentioned of ‘roughing it’ and 30 minutes into dark they packed up intending to return for first light.  Perhaps they got it right since even by the time they left the swims on the Sunday we were still awaiting the first bite from a weighable fish of 2lb plus.  Odd roach in the range of 1lb to 1lb-8oz were coming to the net but we did not travel to Scotland to land them, 2lb fish were the least of our expectations.
                                                 Settled in the swim I wait for the first bite.
Using 1oz flatbed method feeders with 10 mm boilies, sweetcorn or dendrobaena worms we fished away but sport was comparatively slow.  On Monday it did pick up in that I took the first fish at 2lb-14oz to put a 1oz increase on my June best, then John did the same in that he took a 2lb-15oz roach to put a 1oz increase on his June best.  As he commented ‘he would just keep one step ahead of me.’   Then we brought the total weights level in that I had a 2lb-9oz specimen and John followed up his fish with one of 2lb-8oz, honours even for total weight but he has the biggest- I was not that envious!
First of the trip at 2lb-14oz.

                 The wide angle lens gives a ver good view of this 2lb-15oz beauty.
The following day I had a nice brace in the early morning feeding spell when in quick succession I took beauties of 2lb-13oz followed by a 2lb-14oz.  We now had what seemed like a pattern developing, perhaps one and a half hours of feeding spell just on dawn, nothing in the night and again perhaps one hour at dusk.  Although a couple of fish were to be caught in the middle of those hours they were few and far between.
                                                      Second 2lb-14oz specimen roach.
                                                   2lb-13oz and one of a pair that morning.

Wednesday saw John take our largest roach of the week with a superb specimen of exactly 3lb but sport remained patchy to say the least.  Pete joined in the fun with a new still water personal best roach of 2lb-14oz and several of these sorts of weight were to come to our nets, it was a fact that all the two pound fish we caught were in fact over 2lb-8oz.
                                                          The target fish  3lb exactly.

                                                                   Pete's 2lb-14oz pb.

In general our results were pretty consistant with John’s 3lb fish at the top followed by two of 2lb-15oz, four of 2lb-14oz and several others close behind.  We of course tried several variations of rigs and bait combinations but nothing seemed to break the slow middle of the day.  Put a worm on and we caught little perch, but even the small roach seemed missing in the previous numbers we had experienced.  One possibility is that the fish have spread out and are spending a lot of the day in the weed beds only coming out at the times we were catching.

                                            John being greedy with his second 2lb-15oz.
                                                                   My second 2lb-13oz.
As with all breaks the end of the week seemed to race up on us, we finally had to pack out tackle away on the Saturday morning with just one 2lb-10oz fish coming to my net in the short early session I managed to cram in.  Plans are already in place to return and hopefully I will get the 3lb plus specimen on that trip but the wait makes it all the sweeter when the target is finally achieved.

                            John plays a roach with the castle in the background