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 28 December 2013

Highs and lows of 2013.

Well we reach the end of yet another year and of course that means a review of some of the highlights and a mention of those low points.

                                              My third book continues to sell but copies are left.

With the very cold January it seems that lots of us anglers stayed home and read a good book, my sales at this time were quite reasonable but by the end of this year they had fell off dramatically and I've copies of both hardback and leathers still available.  With very little fishing done and no big fish caught I will move on to February.

Slightly better weather and with trips to Chew Valley and local waters the pike were the saviour of the day.

                                                  Chew pike, short and fat with small heads.

                                  At 19lb-14oz this would have been a 20lb+ but removed five sardines from its throat in order to remove a previous set of trebles that had been left there, this done before weighing it. :)

                                              The first of two local 20's caught this month 22lb-11oz.

                                                  The second pike at 20lb-12oz.

On the downside for this month we were reminded how fragile is life with the news of the death of the legend that was Terry Lampard, a good friend and one that will be sorely missed.

Normally the end of the river effort and the start of my bream fishing but this time South America's rain forest rivers called.    A trip to Guyana was too much to miss and although we struggled there were still plenty of big fish to be caught.

                                               One of my targets achieved 64lb Redtail Catfish.

Amongst lots of other fishing for this month the week at Lochnaw Castle always stands high, especially when the magical 3lb roach is landed.

                                                 A 3lb Lochnaw specimen roach.

May is always an exciting time though this year nature seemed well behind its normal state possibly by as much as 4 to 6 weeks.  fortunately the crucians at Johnson's Lake on the Marsh Farm complex did not seem to mind with good fish being caught over several trips there.

                                   At 3lb-12oz this was the best of 12 crucian on this session.

                                    7lb-3oz pb for the lake, one of 17 tench taken along with the crucians on this trip.

With a few local tench along with trips after bream and crucians the highlight of this month or even the year was the capture of a 12lb1oz tench, almost into the fish of dreams.

                                                Highlight of the year - 12lb-1oz personal best tench.

I had applied for a ticket for a carp syndicate in order to try for the eels after reading that two big ones had been caught by accident, it finally came through with a start date of July 1st.  The first night session was to prove both exciting and disappointing in equal measure.  At just gone midnight I hooked and landed a 6lb-4oz eel, weighed and safely secured in a Queenford tube I continued and took another eel of 4lb-3oz.  Through an amateur mistake the bigger fish escaped back into the lake whilst I was trying for a photo.  A later visit almost made up for the lack of the photo with the capture of a 5lb-10oz and two others over 4lb.

                               Normally I would be pleased with this eel but a poor 4lb-3oz consolation prize.

                              At 5lb-10oz the best of three eels the others going 4lb-9oz and 4lb-2oz.

Plenty of fishing and a reasonable number of barbel caught, but the highlight for this month was my inclusion in the Barbel Challenge of trying to catch a double figure barbel of 14 different rivers in 14 days.  I joined Jerry Gleeson and Paul Floyd on four rivers and we caught on all four.  Dove, Derwent, Trent and Soar.  Over the total effort there were doubles caught off 9 of the 14 rivers, a remarkable effort by those involved and over £2500 was raised in the process.

                                             One of the doubles taken at 11lb-1oz.

                                         The largest of the doubles taken at 12lb-10oz by Jerry.

Always barbel time and this month was no exception although I've still to get the hoped for River Nene double.  Sturgeon have always atracted me with the look and power so I was very pleased to capture a 42lb8oz specimen from a midland lake.

                                             42lb-8oz the best of four sturgeon on the day.

Over the years I've caught lots of 6lb plus chub along with four over 7lb, but I was very pleased to get a couple of big 5's off the local River Anker.

                                                    5lb-12oz River Anker Chub, one of the pair.

                                                5lb-11oz to make a very pleasing brace.

Along with lots of other fishing I got the chance to fish on the River Test for the roach again and fortune smiled in the form of a 2lb-4oz specimen as the best on the day.  Later in the month I was on the Chew Valley water again but this time it came up trumps with a 25lb-11oz specimen pike.

                                             2lb river roach are always that little bit more special.

                                                 25lb-11oz reward for a lot of effort.

For a very long time I've not bothered to fish for carp having caught large numbers in the 1980's and 90's now I had decided to try and better my pb common with a fish of hopefully over 40lb.  I'm not a purist here so I was quite content to try for the shortcut to catch such a fish and booked with Catmaster Tours in Spain and they did not let me down.  On the first day our guide dropped us in a swim he thought offered the best chance and a few hours later I was looking at a 44lb-14oz specimen that met my target.  The rest of the trip was spent after the roach and again my companions John Found and Pete Reading all succeeded in getting into the 2lb plus specimens.

                                                Target set and Achieved.  44lb-14oz.

                                                 My 2lb-8oz best for this Spanish trip.

This has been a very strange month and although I've fished in what I consider to be quite reasonable conditions along with those that were less favorable I did not catch any even moderate fish..  A small double figure pike from my main venue that has failed for all fishing there, small chub and no barbel, definitely not a good end to this year.  In just over a weeks time I will be back off to South America, this time Surinam after large catfish.  I might get wet but at least I'll be warm.
Tight lines for 2014 and I'll let you know how the year goes as always.


Sunday 1 December 2013

Chew Valley - dream maker water.

This weather is no good for fishing or I’m getting soft in my old age, probably both.  I’ve not done as much fishing as usual, just a short chub session that gave an almost predictable blank and a barbel session on the Nene trying to take advantage of the slightly milder weather on Wednesday and Thursday, again a blank.  In between this I had a trip for perch on a local water and actually had a bite, I missed it, but that was better than the two pike anglers either side of me that blanked if you don’t count two cormorants hooked and lost.   There was an interesting sight of thousands of starlings coming over the water at dusk and giving their aerial display before settling in for the night.

                                           A small section of the starling's display

Then I got a chance to partner Dave Mutton on a boat on Chew Valley Reservoir, can’t miss that chance can you?  If anything in fishing can be called a lottery then this must be very high in the list.  Each week that the pike trials are on there are hundreds of hopefuls that brought a ticket for the raffle.   Almost every day there is a thirty pound pike caught, sometimes more than one, and each of those hopefuls are thinking ‘today will be my turn.’   If you were to consider the tactics used then I imagine that most of the big pike fall to float fished sea dead bait and most of these will have been presented on the bottom.  Very little skill and a very big slice of luck so I’m well pleased to say my turn for the ‘luck’ card came on this trip.
We arrived about an hour late due to a long traffic build up in Bristol where a couple of road workers were looking after what appeared to be two cone stuck in the middle of a traffic junction.  I measured the queue going the other way once we got past and it was 1.4 miles, absolutely barmy.   Still we got out on the water about 9.30am and it was obvious that results had been poor, those boats that could be seen were spread all over the place rather than the usual gathering around the current hot area.  We went off towards the dam near Walley Bank and settled in about 28ft of water.  Dave got a take which is always exciting on this venue but it proved to be a jack of about 6lb and nothing happened after that.  About 11am we moved into slightly shallower water and yet again Dave was soon into a slightly better fish of 14lb-12oz, we both felt this was a good sign that other bigger fish could be present and we were happy to give it the rest of the day until the 4.10pm finish time. 

                                                         Dave with his 14lb-12oz pike

Watching the odd boats we could see as well as the bank anglers and there seemed to be no action as the hours ticked by towards the deadline.  It was about 3.55pm when I got a very slight indication on one of my rods and watching the float it bobbed up and down for some minutes before I struck.  The float had not moved from its position and I was very confident that it was a trout attacking my mackerel bait, but the result of the strike left no doubt that it was not a trout.    Initially not a lot happened and Dave asked if it was a jack, then the fish woke up to the fact that it had been hooked and zoomed off quite annoyed I think.  I good fight and eventually it went into the net and onto the boat.  A check showed the only the tail of the bait was showing suggesting he had just sat there munching it on the spot, fortunately we are both confident in this situation and the hooks were removed without harm to the fish.  The scales showed my first trout water pike went a very pleasing 25lb-11oz but that proved to be the last bite since next day was a blank for both of us.

                                                              25lb-11oz Chew lottery prize.

Those that think trout water piking is easy should give it a try and build up a few blank days and then possibly revise their ideas.  Still that's it for now so tight lines until the next update comes along.

                                             Pike float sits in the dying rays of the setting sun.