Storm Barra is kicking off as I sit in my oak clad retreat, tapping these words out whilst reflecting upon my angling leading into this winter. The wind is roaring through the weeping willow that surrounds my hideaway, it is now mostly stripped of leaves, a few succulent ones still hold in there, but the wind is now able to funnel through so much easier than a few weeks back. Storm Arwen removed most of them and what a storm that was. I was out in it under my umbrella for the two days it battered the U.K. I enjoy the forces of nature, it helps to point home just how ferocious mother nature can be and the respect we need to give it. I chose my pitch carefully for Storm Arwen; knowing it was coming I made sure I was out of reach of any potential widow makers. For those of you not familiar with that phrase, it is a name given to trees that are likely to blow down – thus making another widow if some poor soul is unfortunate enough to have a large tree come down on them. Trees are a tad heavy!
I had a close call in the early to mid-80’s when one came down at the side of me one winter night. Since then, I have tried to be extra careful. As it happens, I had a large branch crash down just behind me during Storm Arwen. Had I set up taking advantage of the extra shelter from the mini copse, then it would have hit me. Instead, I had weighed the situation up and set up in the open but as close to the copse of trees for a little protection from the gusts as I dared. It turned out to be one of my better decisions.
As always, I have started off rambling on about things other than I had meant to start off with. Last month’s blog was a catch up of a few months where I had been very much out of action health wise. I ended it at the beginning of October, so that is where this one is going to continue from.
Although I have written blogs and done some magazine work these past few months, I was reminded that I hadn’t looked back through my diary since May. So, I guess time for a catch up and the reason why I have let it slip.
Back in the 90's I found a way of catching some difficult carp which were pre-occupied on fish spawn. To this day I have continued to turn back to it at this time of the year simply because it still works and works well.
I am often asked what baits I would use on a venue I had not been to for a long while, or a new venue I know little about. What would be my starting point in terms of bait and presentation?
Now then, what a journey these past few weeks have been in my life. Emotions leaving me feeling as low as I have ever felt in my life, but fortunately periods of total joy too. I have always been a big believer in Karma and Karma appears to have stepped in a couple of times along the way including a new PB U.K. common.
My last diary type blog ended with…
“The following day I put a couple more nice fish on the bank, so August had started off sweet. Again the Spicy Spirulina has really opened my eyes this summer. During real hot conditions when I wouldn’t really have expected to catch on the bottom, they have still sailed away.”
Beginning of August since my last entry – I do apologise.
My feet don’t seem to have touched the floor, but then again, that tends to be quite normal for me during my favourite time of the year. If I could split the years into quarters, into my quarters, then September, October and November would be my favourite season bar none. I always feel an urgency to get out there and enjoy every last moment of it and now I’m seeing that time passing and the start of what I term as winter about to hit us, I’d better try and get caught back up.
The seasons are well and truly changing and as we move into March, here is a late catch up from my angling over these past 3 months.
Well with 2015 passing us by I can’t help but reflect on what an incredible angling year it had been for me and no doubt largely due to the fact that for the first time since starting Quest Baits I’d not spent most of the year wasting rod hours whilst tweaking and playing around with new baits.
Finally for once I was able to fish the whole season with baits that I had already perfected in previous years, I was so happy with the range that I really couldn’t see the point in bringing another bait out for the sake of it and my catches showed that.
I even made a facebook post at the end of the year of 52 of what I considered to be my best fish of the year to represent each week of the year. I don’t think I could have done that in many other years, not without totally scraping the barrel for mediocre sized fish.
So the year ended and joined this one with big fish from 4 different waters falling to my rods within a three week period and multiple captures from 2 of those. One has a real poor track record of producing many winter fish so I was particularly proud of a catch of fish there. The old Magnum Whites with a handful of Fruity Trifle to add some bright colour to the swim encouraged the fish to drop down and have a bit of a feed as they always do. It still amazes me anglers still stick with baits that are going to be an issue for the carp to digest in colder water which then messes the fishing up for everyone else.
It often surprises me the bait choice made by some for the winter months. A lot of baits that are highly effective during the warm water periods of spring, summer and autumn simply do not ooze the same attraction in cold conditions. Cold water affects a lot of baits, sealing in attractors and stimulants that flow freely during the summer. It is little wonder so many seem to struggle to catch winter carp.
Well, it was a rather mixed period for me whilst away from the office for the annual festive break. I started off fishing for the barbel in the mild conditions leading to Christmas day and was fortunate enough to net myself a couple of nice fish but these faded into insignificance by Ron Key’s 14.06 as reported in the last of the 2014 reports. It truly was a pleasure to see and photograph this fish, which fell to the Questrami.