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.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Southern rivers chubbing.

A trip down south can always be that little bit special since both the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Stour hold specimen chub to make the mouth water.  The weather forecast looked good and time was running out for this year so plans were made, tackle and grub laid out and the alarm set for 4.30am ready for the off.

Although busy the roads at this time are not too bad and I get down to Ringwood area just before dawn and I’m soon making my way along the bank to the swim I had chosen for today.   A deep water run with a long line of bushes and trees along the opposite bank to give perfect cover for the chub that would be my target today.   I’m down for two days and have brought six pints of red maggots; I can always get more from the local tackle shops in Ringwood if needed.  My first task is to bait drop six droppers of maggots across to the head of the swim, that done I can take my time in tackling up the rod and preparing for the day.   My tackle is the same as I’ve used for several years while after chub.  A 12ft Drennan IM8 Feeder Rod is paired up with a Mitchell 300 reel loaded with 6lb line.   I will use a running Blackcap feeder setup and the 3” hook link is 4lb Fireline going to a size 18 Drennan Superspade hook.

Casting across the fast flow under my own bank gives two potential problems, the first is the amount of debris coming down the flow in the form of dying rush and streamer weed.  This at least ensures that a regular recasting takes place which can be all to the good especially when the minnows are about.   At the moment it seems that the grayling have also had a successful time and these can be a problem as well.  The second problem with that fast water is that of netting the fish once hooked.  This trip, as with so many others in the past the hook holds were right on the outside edge of the lips where the fish were very cautious, but could not resist the maggots.  Constant casting and the occasion top up with the feeder kept a stream of maggots going down under the bushes and I hoped that the chub would eventually respond.  They did and my first fish was almost at my target 7lb weight but fell short at a very pleasing 6lb-10oz, my largest for a couple of seasons.  The Avon is a magical river being crystal clear most of the time but seeing a monster fish fighting on that light tackle can give heart stopping moments.

                                                           Avon chub of 6lb-10oz.

That was my only action off the chub and I was sure that there must be others in the swim, to that end I changed my plans and determined to return next day to take advantage of the feed already placed in the swim.   One of the question marks you always have when you go fishing is that of whether somebody fished the previous day and hammered the fish?  I at least knew the answer and with just the one fish caught I also knew it was worth a return.

The morning was wet with drizzle coming down for most of the time.  With maggot fishing it just means you need to take extra care to keep them dry, the slightest sign of damp and they can crawl even upside down and around the lid.  With the same tactics as the previous day I soon had a few taps that indicated that the fish were there though nervous.  It took time but eventually one made the mistake of just taking the maggot too close and he was lightly pricked though enough for me to land him.   This fish of about 4lb was soon followed by one 4lb-10oz but then the next one slipped the hook which was almost expected so not too disappointing.

It went quiet after that but then I hooked an obvious big fish, it might have been a barbel but the fight suggested a large chub since it tried to get to the branches.  I thought I was going to land him and was well down from my starting point having followed him a little way downstream.  He held in the middle of the river though too deep to see and then he made a dive for the far side trees again.  I allowed a little way but then stopped him and my hook link broke.   Pete suggested it could have been a seatrout with their serrated jaw, it makes sense but I’m still wondering.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Autumn Blues with a few gems included.

It’s tough out there, the last six weeks have been a bit up and down, but too much down to be honest!  Following the 28th river double I had hoped to get a reasonable chance to go to the Ribble in an attempt for the next river, the cold weather and timing did not allow that but it’s still there to be done.
One success was an attempt to catch a large roach from the Linear complex.  I seem to remember that when I was fishing on Willow Pool for the large roach there was another big 3lb plus specimen reported from Smith’s/Hardwick on Linear.  Now word had come that good roach were again being caught so plans were made for a few visits since roach are always a favourite.
The Linear Complex covers a number of lakes but it seems the Brassnose 1 and 2 offer the best chance so I made my way with John Found for a days fishing to check out the lay of the land on Brassnose 2 [B2 in most conversations here].  Having studied the aerial maps like Google Earth I could see a good number of bars on the western bank and thought these could be a good starting point though conversations with the bailiff suggested the opposite bank seemed a better bet.  We both blanked the day but the groundwork was not wasted and no doubt on its day fish could be caught along this bank.

The next trip we took the advice and although I blanked John did catch a nice roach though still under our 2lb target weight.   Our methods were similar being the standard helicopter rig with a maggot feeder and maggots as bait.  The rods were 13ft Drennan Feeders and main line of 6lb went to a hook link of 3lb with a size 14 hook.  Over the following visits I would vary this tackle to try and find the most successful, though at this stage I am assuming these fish are not the educated in finer tackle since most of what they see is for carp and they sometimes get caught on that gear.
On my next visit the weed was less of a problem and I fished a little further out.  I checked for features but there appeared to be very little variation.  There seemed to be just a slight change in depth so with my marker float out in place I marked my fishing rods for distance with rubber and using a spod I put out a bit of hemp, pellet and maggot for feed.   This possibly proved to be and error since over the session I hooked into four carp that gave me very little chance on the light gear.  I did land one of about 10lb but the others were too powerful.  On the brighter side I also landed my first B2 roach at a very pleasing 2lb-7oz.  Fortunately the bailiff had just arrived as I landed it so I also got better photos by the waterside.

                                                     2lb-7oz Linear roach

Further trips are planned an less feed and perhaps a sweetcorn variation of bait will be tried since in Spain that is by far our most successful bait, with that in mind my next trip is to Spain after roach.
Although Mequineza is mainly known for the catfish and carp that grow to large sizes I prefer to go after the roach having already caught enough of the others to be happy with that choice.  Of course this does not mean I will not try for them and indeed I had a days fishing after the carp while on a previous roach trip that gave me a 44lb-14oz common, very pleasing.

                                                                    44lb-14oz Spanish Gold

My regular companions on these Spanish roach trips are John Found and Pete Reading.   On a previous trip in the spring that I had missed Pete had caught the fish we had hoped would be there and at 3lb-10oz it made a truly worthy target.   Now in the November of the year we were fortunate that the weather was holding quite nicely, last year we had to contend with major floods that made fishing very difficult.  Following several trips for roach here we now have a good working knowledge of places to fish both on the River Ebro and on its tributary the Segre and on the first morning we set about trying the first spot this time on the tributary.   Our tackle is similar to that used on the Linear Fishery already described, the only real difference here is we use sweetcorn as the first choice of bait with pellet as a back.
The stock of roach here is vast and it seems they are spread far and wide, as a result of this if we have not had significant indications of fish being present within the first couple of hours we move on to another place.  This proved to be the case this time and so we moved to the so called Mines area.  This is a manmade area of flat, built up bank that is often used as a local match venue and gives access to the 40ft depths of the Ebro.   This time we got the expected action and caught a good number of roach to well in excess of the 2lb mark. 

                                                       My best at 2lb-9oz

                                                        Pete's best at 2lb-7oz

                                                       John's 3lb Gem.

Over the following days we moved around and caught the roach in each place we tried following the first failure.  The total of 2lb’s increased and then in the dying hours of the last day as John hit the jackpot amongst the other fish being caught.  Exactly 3lb and a real gem to end the trip on.  With 17 roach over 2lb and another 5 at 1lb-15oz it now remains for me to get that final target fish.