fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer



The First Cast 29th December
Its certainly wonderful news from the EA. that rod licence sales are up, especially the sales of junior licences. The sport certainly needs an injection of boys and girls into the wonderful pastime of angling. They are the future of angling. Sadly too many adults don’t want to help the newcomer. Then we have others who seek payment for teaching others to fish. I considered I had a perfect boyhood which was spent fishing, ferreting and shooting. In fact all my spare time was spent in the countryside. Many adults would take me fishing and as I got more experienced I met other experienced anglers, but no one thought of charging to pass on their knowledge. We exchanged knowledge freely, as we did on places to fish.

We must make sure all the young and not so young, male and female piscators are given as much help as is possible. Yes, You ladies certainly make excellent fishers and, certainly catch your share of big fish. The great thing about teaching you ladies to fish is that you will, listen, learn, take notice and don't think you know it all after a day, like many of the males. No doubt some of you have taken a friend fishing, who then becomes an expert after a day. We must encourage more of you ladies to take up this wonderful sport or pastime. Remember ladies if you go fly fishing there are no creepy crawlies to worry about. Just silk, fur, feather and floss on the hook.

It is the measure of angling's appeal that it draws recruits from the whole spectrum of society. The age, class, sex or social barriers which restrict participation in other sports are absent from angling. You will quite often find company directors sharing the river bank with the unemployed, Just as you will see teenagers and the retired competing on equal terms in angling competitions, Or the disabled and able bodied anglers fishing alongside one another.

Indeed angling provides the disabled person with valuable recreational opportunities which do not exist with most other sports. Sitting in a wheelchair becomes a different thing when you are watching a float, rod tip or fly, perhaps listening for the bite alarm to sound its urgent note at night. For you are equal to the other anglers. I know I had eight years in a wheelchair but it didn’t stop me catching fish.

There is no question that angling holds a special place in the lives of the disabled. For many tens of thousands of people with differing degrees of physical or mental disability, angling is their sport and they themselves are often the first to say that their participation in angling is of major benefit in assisting their integration into society. This is especially true with the younger age groups, Teachers at school for disabled children acknowledge that angling inspires valuable feelings of inner contentment in their pupils as well as invoking self-esteem when fish are caught. Angling brings people into close and informed contact with the natural environment. Beautiful countryside can be enjoyed by everyone able-bodied or not and nature is incapable of exhibiting the sort of prejudices which may blight the lives of disabled people in a social or working context

June 16th 02 I started my 61st year of angling, I am still as passionately in love with this great sport as I was back in 1941 as a 4 year old. Fishing has given me everything I have ever wanted from a sport or pastime. I fish some 250 or more days a year but still I cannot get enough of this passion called angling. As a pensioner I can get a reduced EA. rod licence fee but I don't. I pay the full price, why should we pensioners get reduced licences when we can fish many more days than those stuck in the office, factory, or driving a truck, bus or train. In he days when I was confined to a wheelchair I didn’t take the reduced fees

Do you want to go angling in the year 2003? You do!!! What a surprise, for I didn't think you did from the way some anglers behave at the waterside. If you do then it may not be too late. However if you want to ensure the future of angling, not just for yourself but also future generations of would be anglers not yet born. Then you had better help in the fight for the survival of the sport. Today far too many so-called anglers are concerned only with their own pleasure -- in catching big carp, pike or stuffing a keepnet with 100lbs of bream or winning an open match on some canal for their financial gain. Recently I had to put up with people shouting to one another that they had caught a fish, Then we have others who leave human excrement at the waterside. Others light fires, leave litter or steal farm produce.

Fair enough we go angling for the pleasure of catching fish. However this pleasure brings with it responsibilities which so many disregard. It is because we shrug off these responsibilities that the future of angling as we know it, is placed in jeopardy because we anglers are not caring. These words are not ones I don't enjoy writing, but it needs to be said before its too late. Its much easier to have the quiet life and just go angling than sit here and write this in the fight for angling and the future

I go angling for the love of the sport and all it entails, A true angler is a conservationist naturalist and a fighter for a better environment. . The Governments over the past fifty years must take a lot of the blame for the state of Britain's river. What have they done to hit the pocket of the polluters? Nothing, At least I haven't noticed any custodial sentences for polluters. The best news I have had in the past forty years must have been the announcement by Environment Minister Michael Meacher when he said "Water Authorities must stop using rivers for dumping raw sewage".

Have you noticed how many in the farming community have crocodile tears as they wash the Range Rover down because their profits are falling. What about the high profits and subsidies from we tax payers, they have had for years? I have a pollution problem on the river Aire. What is Mr Meacher MP Minister for the Environment doing about the problem? Nothing except passing the buck. For some eighteen months I have had a broken pump leaking low grade polluted water into the river. Where are the EA. and why no action? Thankfully Nigel Evans MP for the Ribble Valley is trying to get some action. But while we wait the pollution continues.

In June 1996 I discovered some 800 yards of river bed on the river Aire covered with sanitary towels. When I should have been angling for chub, I was clearing away this vile pollution. It was reported to the Environment Minister, The Environment Agency and my MP Nothing was done, though I received a letter from D J Gallagher of the E.A. stating the cause of the pollution is thought to be the result of discharges from a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) It had been agreed with Yorkshire Water PLC that (CSO) will be placed on a regular maintenance programme What a disgrace we should not have a (CSO). In November 1995, during a match on the river Aire raw sewage was clogging keepnets and getting on the anglers lines. No one bothered to report the matter to the EA. When I spoke to a person taking part and asked why they didn't inform the EA. I received the reply "We were fishing a match" How pathetic.

Its time we all got off our backsides and spent some time helping the environment. We can all do something like collecting the many bits of plastic from the riverside trees and bushes. Putting up a few nest boxes in the riverside trees. Helping the beginner to catch a fish without charging a fee. Don’t leave it all to the next person Have a Happy and Tight Lines New Year

North Carolina Trout and Bass Fishing

A slight dimple appeared on the calm surface of Lake Tahoma, with one false cast the beaded pheasant tail nymph dropped with a slight plop. I made two one inch pulls then felt a good fish eat the nymph. My answering strip strike connected with a nice brown trout. Success at last I thought as the fish bored powerfully away taking a few feet of line.

Some two years ago, I was fishing Chesapeake Bay Maryland for striped bass, during the trip I met Joe and Tom McMurry two of the nicest brothers you could wish to meet. Tom a financier lived in Washington DC not to be confused with Washington State on the west coast. While Joe a geologist lived in North Carolina only a few hundred yards from where he spent his childhood. During our striper fishing adventures Joe even caught a huge common carp on a green plastic worm. Before I headed back to the UK Joe said "Come and visit with me, I will show you some good trout streams and lake fishing" It was an offer I put on the back burner until a few months ago when I realised I would be in the States fly fishing for the False Albacore or Little Tunny known affectionately as the albies.

Checking with Joe to see if late October early November would be a suitable time I was told "Yes come on down" During the next few weeks E-mail's went across the pond quite often. What a wonderful invention this new technology is. The plan was, I would travel from Bradley International in Connecticut down to Charlotte NC after a few days fishing in Long Island sound. After a very successful few days fishing with Dixon Merkt for the False Albacore in Long Island Sound I was ready to go south. Dixon dropped me off at Bradley International airport after a delightful drive through the countryside with every tree and bush look resplendent in their fall colours. The early morning sunshine making it look even more perfect.

Sunday arriving at Charlotte International airport in NC I was met by Joe, my host and one of his friends Matthew Ange The drive to Shelby was in pleasant sunshine with all the trees in their autumn or as they say fall colours. With little traffic unlike in the UK the journey was soon over. After being greeted by two Labradors one black, the other yellow I was introduced to Beth, a delightful lady who quickly put me at ease. Within minutes I was sitting in the big kitchen of Joe and Beth’s home with a mug of tea. They then proceeded to tell me they had arranged a dinner party along with several friends as a welcome to Shelby NC. It was certainly a fun packed evening. I can tell you now the Mexican food prepared by Beth, was far better than I have eaten in Mexico. Around ten PM it was a tired Martin who climbed into bed quickly dropping off to sleep.

Monday, after Beth having got son’s Joseph and Benjamin off to school, the three of us sat down for breakfast. During which Joe said "We are going off to visit the ProBass shop in Charlotte today" Let me explain. These stores are spread throughout the United States, where they are a huge tourist attraction both for the Americans and visitors from abroad. Make sure you visit one on your next trip to the USA Give yourself a full day to explore the place, then marvel at, not only the huge stock, but the low prices. It was about eleven am when we pulled into the huge car park at the ProBass shop. Walking into the store I spotted a forty pound glass fibre musky on the wall which was the NC State record, I didn’t even know muskies could be caught this far south. The store has something for everyone. For the past two years I have been trying to get a new heating element for my Power Zap. I picked one up in this store. Where the prices are right. Rapalas for two dollars, excellent wading boots for less than fifty dollars.

To us "Brits" its like visiting Aladdin's Cave. There was everything for the fly, lure and bait angler, including clothing and camping gear. A huge aquarium is stocked with many species of freshwater fish. You can purchase books and video’s, before getting the video of your choice you can sit and watch the content. The staff are very knowledgeable, extremely polite and helpful. You can get your spools filled with the line of your choice, paying only the price of the line. They will put the backing and fly line on your reel, again you pay just the cost of the product. The labour comes free. I have certainly found the people who serve you in the restaurants, shops gas stations, hotels are very helpful polite and friendly Nothing seems to much trouble. Some of the service staff in the UK could well learn from our American cousins. Having spent more than enough time and money in the store, we went off to an old Italian restaurant, where Joe used to be taken by his father, when he was just a boy. It was a delightful place with excellent food but no tea. Unless that is you like iced tea, which Joe certainly does. He probably drinks a gallon a day. We ended the day fishing in the rain on a small pond for bass and crappie.

Tuesday was spent with Carter Johnson and George Parris, We started off at George's house, where on the walls were some fibre glass models of big striped bass George had caught. What really interested me was the picture on the sideboard showing George's pretty and petite wife with a bass that weighed over 40lbs it was huge. You ladies certainly do make great anglers. After chatting for a while about bass, trout, wild turkeys and deer it was time to have a look at the surrounding countryside. Carter, George and myself climbed aboard George's 4 wheel drive vehicle. Driving around the farm I was able to see lots of wild turkeys, then on the way back to George's house two Bobcats crossed the track, Carter said "I have never seen two Bobcats together" We then went off for a beefburger and coffee. I wished we had taken up George's offer of home made soup, old boot leather would probably have tasted better than the burger and probably more tender and edible. As for the coffee, dishwater would have tasted better. Arriving back at the farm it was off to the forty acre lake, the quarry were Large mouth bass. Before I left home in the morning, Joe had told me. "When you go fishing with Carter it will be with worms". But no, Carter had a five weight fly rod ready made up for me. I tied on a small sponge bodied beetle pattern with rubber legs. As we drifted alongside some dead reeds I cast close to the dead and dying stems. Within seconds I had a take, quickly landing a small bass. George fishing a big floating plug also caught on his first cast. During the afternoon we caught many bass and blue gills. The latter often called bream ( pronounced brim) .As dusk settled over the countryside it was time to call it a day. On the drive back to Shelby a big buck deer jumped across the road only a few yards in front of us. It certainly had been a great day in the wilderness with two good guys.

Today Wednesday we were going to Lake Tahoma for a couple of days rainbow and brown trout fishing, home would be a lake side house with its own boathouse. The we being, Matthew Ange, Nathaniel Ledford, Jim Rose, Joe and myself. First stop was the supermarket to collect food and beer. I reckon we purchased enough food and drink to feed a dozen hungry anglers for a week. The girl at the check out said "It looks as if its a guys fishing or hunting trip". No doubt she had seen it all before. On the way to Lake Tahoma Joe made a detour into the heart of the mountains to show me some of the beautiful countryside. We stopped off at "Looking Glass Rock" where I shot a few pictures. Though I was in beautiful countryside I got rather upset when I heard a pack of dogs working the foothills. Turning to Joe I said "What are those dogs baying for" He answered "They will be chasing a bear" I felt sick at the thought of such a fine beast being chased by a pack of dogs. I can understand a hunter armed with a rifle going after a bear, but hunting with a pack of dogs turned my stomach over. The four guys with me agreed. I was disgusted. We left for the lake. Then I thought of the horrid practise in England of hunting stags with dogs. How barbaric.

To say I was surprised when I arrived at the lakeside house would have been an understatement, the house was magnificent. "How the other half live I thought" It was a big house with its own beautiful boathouse, I never did find out how many bedrooms and bathrooms it contained. To sit in the lounge at the waters edge was most delightful and peaceful. After the obligatory mug of tea, I made up a Thomas and Thomas nine foot four weight L.P.S.model with a Cortland 555 W.F. floating line with ten foot leader with a three pound leader-tip. Collecting my life jacket, I made my way to the boathouse for a couple of hours fishing.

Joe and I were trout fishing, we slowly moved around the edge of the lake looking for rising trout. Matthew chucked his spinner bait into all the likely spots that might hold a bass He caught two nice fish. They are not my favourite species coming in like a fish shaped plastic bag. The small mouth bass further north are far better fighters. Moving around the lake we came across a smooth bit of water, the lake was sheltered from the wind by a high bank and some big trees. A slight dimple appeared on the calm surface. With one false cast, the beaded Pheasant tail nymph dropped with a slight plop. I made two one inch pulls, then felt a good fish eat the nymph. My answering strip strike connected with something solid. Success at last I thought, the fish bored powerfully away taking a few feet of line. After a brief struggle I had an 18 inch brown trout alongside the boat. Seconds later the fish was released from the barbless hook. It moved away quickly, untouched by hand. I feel the less we touch our fish, the better they will survive. Allowing other anglers the chance to catch them. As dusk settled over the lake we made our way back to the boathouse and a good dinner.

Dawn on Thursday was very cold. I went back to bed, though Matthew did go off fishing for an hour. It was probably nine am when I climbed out of bed, heading for the shower. After a good breakfast. I was ready for a few hours fishing. The wind had increased over night, gusting at twenty knots. I decided to uprate my rod, choosing to use a Thomas and Thomas nine foot five weight Horizon model. This is a fast action rod, perfect for beating the wind, It casts beautiful tight loops. I also chose an intermediate line in preference to a floating line to beat the waves. I also thought the fish would be hitting a few inches below the surface. Jim Rose, Joe McMurray and myself fished from one boat, while Matthew who fished and Nathaniel who was shooting photographs went out in a kayak.

Out on the lake with Joe and Jim, it was quite pleasant when the wind abated. I was able to take off one layer of clothing. We started fishing towards the bottom of the lake casting close to the bank and the various docks and boat houses. All of us catching fish which included golden trout. I didn’t like the look of this species, they seemed to artificial. Jim and Joe chose light spinning equipment. Both guys casting small spinners into holes, where you wouldn’t think it was possible to cast without getting hooked up. Three PM we headed back for the boat house, with a hundred yards to go I spotted a fallen tree in the water, I cast a big streamer pattern on a size 6 hook hoping for a big trout. Slowly pulling the fly over the submerged branches it reached the edge of the danger zone I let the fly drop down a few feet. then gave a couple of quick pulls. A bass couldn’t resist the fly. It was quickly pulled to the boat where it was unhooked. As we pulled into the boat house I thought what a pleasant day it had been. Tomorrow I would do it all over again on a mountain creek. Time for tea. As the other guys sat back with their beers I had that traditional English drink. We then headed back to Shelby.

Friday after an early breakfast we hit the road for the Armstrong fish hatchery, where I met with manager Carl Briggs and Biologist Mallory Martin, it was a fascinating day. I was kitted out in chest high waders etc then shown the various jobs involved in producing hundreds of thousands of fish. I was taught how to strip fish of their eggs, then fertilise the eggs with a small amount of milt from a cock fish. We discussed many subjects of fishery management, stream enhancement, poachers, bears, even the use of labour from the local prison to build disabled fishing platforms and paths. What an excellent idea Why don't we use prison labour for collecting litter from the highways? Out in the wilderness on Buck creek I tackled up with a Thomas and Thomas LPS model seven and a half foot for a four weight line. Cortland double taper floating line with an eight foot leader. I attempted to catch a trout of some 24-26 inches but it didn’t want to eat any of my flies. It treated me with contempt. I moved off upstream looking for an easier fish to catch. Mallory Martin doesn’t only know about fish biology, he also knows about how to catch fish. Arriving at another pool Mallory made a few casts without success. I then spotted a nice fish telling Mallory its position in the pool. He made a long cast upstream, allowing the fly to drift down then over the fish, which immediately ate the fly. After a good fight the fish was ready for unhooking. It was quickly lifted from the water so I could shoot a picture. I made a cast to the head of the pool into the white water where I missed a fish for not paying attention.

Time for lunch, we sat at the creek side eating chips and drinking water. No tea today. After the well earned break we made our way to Curtiss creek, arriving at a small bridge over the creek I was asked for my fishing licence by a Fish and Game enforcement officer. I handed over my licence with pleasure. It was nice to be asked. Unlike in the UK where an EA. enforcement officer is a rare breed. Moving on we met up with a local prison crew working on the river. An angler was leaving having had a good session with brown trout, all caught on a rather bulky Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear. Choosing a nice looking piece of water flowing quite fast I cast a size eight black bead headed Woolly bugger upstream. On the light rod, it felt like chucking a chunk of iron oar. As the fly drifted downstream the line twitched, the strip strike connected with a powerful fish which bored off upstream. After an exciting scrap. I was able to bring a nice brook trout close to hand, bending down I admired the beautiful colours of this fish before slipping out the barbless hook. I watched the fish move off upstream, no doubt to regain its previous position.

Moving upstream I cast into every likely looking bit of water. Catching several more brook trout on the Woolly bugger pattern. Changing over to a Kaufmann’s Hot butt woolly bugger I also had some nice brown and rainbow trout. The fishing was excellent all for just twenty dollars a year certainly excellent value for money. I know many of you travel to the States for your holiday so why not take along you fly fishing gear. After buy a licence. You have hundreds of fish able streams creeks and rivers to fish. Don’t try fishing without a licence, you could end up in jail which is how it should be. To all my readers I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas. If you plan a fishing trip, I hope you will have lots of pulled strings and a bent sticks. PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE YOU COULD KILL AN INNOCENT PERSON


Fly Rods Reviewed 15th December

The Thomas & Thomas Series - Martin James

As a youngster I taught myself to cast, in doing so I taught myself lots of bad habits. Thankfully the likes of Lefty Kreh, Pat O’Reilly, Jim Schollmeyer, Mark Bachman and other fly fishers. Both in the UK and the United States helped me to get rid of some bad casting habits. For a hundred years or so, fly fishing writers discussed casting with the aid of the hands of a clock, they suggest the rod should between nine and one o’clock. This might have been ideal for small chalk streams, but not for big rivers, reservoirs, the ocean and definitely not so when chucking big flies in the ocean and against the wind. I suppose that great angler Lefty Kreh has had the greatest influence on my casting, and my approach to saltwater fly fishing through his teaching in print and film. His personal tuition certainly helped me. I often describe Lefty as Americas answer to the late Richard Walker. How wonderful it would have been if the two anglers could have spent time together. What a wealth of knowledge they would have given us.

Over the past fifty years I have used dozens of fly fishing rods, in the early days, I used greenheart. Followed by bamboo, these were nice rods provided you waited a week on the back cast. In those days I wasn’t fly fishing in the ocean. Fibre glass followed on from bamboo, then we had carbon fibre or graphite as it was known in the United States. Though I felt we didn’t take glass fibre to its full potential, switching too quickly from glass to carbon. Over many years I have used rods from various companies such as Sage, Able, Greys, Scott and Winston. Today after some twelve months of field testing the Thomas and Thomas range of fly fishing rods, I have chosen them for all my fly fishing. The T&T rods were tested under some horrendous ocean fishing conditions. Bonefish, barracuda’s and sharks on the flats of the Bahamas, False Albacore, striped bass and bluefish on the east coast of the USA King fish and big Jack Crevales in the Persian and Arabian Gulf. I can say with confidence. I am very happy with the Thomas & Thomas range of fly rods which are now used for all my fly fishing.

The company started life in the 1960’s building top quality bamboo fly rod’s, later to be followed by a range of graphite fly rods. in the 21st Century the company still build quality bamboo fly fishing rods. The company is headed by Tom Dorsey a man who demands a hundred percent quality product.. Every employee makes sure craftsmanship and quality control come first. They take pride in their work, making sure we the customer have a product that is the best possible one for the job. A product that will work for many years.

It was while working in the United States on some programmes for my "At The Waters Edge" radio show, which you can hear on the Internet. then click on sport. On the right hand side you will find a drop down menu, click on Fishing then on Go. You will also find an Ask Martin section. I had the chance of spending some time in the Thomas and Thomas factory at Greenfield Massachusetts. At the Greenfield factory I was able to interview some of the craftsmen and woman who told my listeners about their job. I quickly realised how dedicated the employees were in producing a fine product. Employees talked about quality control with pride. There certainly was pride in a job well done. On several occasions various craftsmen and woman said. "Quality control was the first priority". Everyone from the office junior to master craftsmen were proud of the label. "Made in the USA".

The Horizon models

No one rod will cover every aspect of fly fishing or the fly fishers casting style. Fly fishers in the salt water environment need something entirely different to their freshwater counterpart on the chalk stream, as does the angler who fishes big reservoirs. Casting styles and fishing situations differ from angler to angler. During 2001 World Fly Fishing Championships in Swedish Lapland, Trevor Bross gave me the chance to fish with a Thomas & Thomas Horizon model, The rod loaded quickly, cast tight loops and lifted line off the water with ease. The Horizon model a nine foot five weight proved ideal for fishing the bigger rivers for grayling. It responded effortlessly when fighting a good fish, or casting a long line over the water in a strong wind. If you like a fast action rod this model is for you

Recently I was on a fly fishing trip to Connecticut for the Little Tunny / False Albacore, a fish that doesn’t have a swim bladder, it can raise its body temperature twenty degrees above the ocean temperature. Can change direction very quickly, is smooth skinned, can fold its small fins tight to the body then with its big sickle shaped tail it can power itself through the water at some forty miles an hour. Fly fishing for these beasts demands the best in tackle. The rod must be built to with stand the ocean elements, and we all know how saltwater can destroy most things. The rod must allow you to quickly load, then accurately cast the fly to a moving fish. Having set the hook, you might be attached to that fish for an hour or more. I used a nine foot ten weight Horizon, which responded perfectly, quickly and effortlessly in getting the fly fifty or sixty feet to a fast moving fish. It was the perfect tool used with either a Teeny 450 grain shooting line or an intermediate line.

The saltwater environment is one of the most challenging. The HS graphite resin system is meticulously crafted, into finely tuned tapers precisely designed to meet all our fly fishing requirements. The ten weight comes with two good stripping guides, good size snake intermediates with a hay fork top guide and fighting butt. The company machine their own anodised uplocking salt-proof reel seats with double-locking rings are machined in another T&T factory by engineers who also care about quality. These top quality reel seats are fitted to all saltwater rods. You will not find better. I have used my ten weight Horizons in the Arabian and Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico with complete confidence.

During my time at T&T I spent a lot of time on the casting deck and pool situated alongside the factory. It was like being in Aladdin's Cave surrounded by dozens of rods, a wonderful experience. I have said on many occasions. "The same rod doesn’t suit everyone’s casting style". My many hours spent at the casting pool putting rods through there paces made me realise how true this was. During casting sessions I tried the Vector, Paradigm, Light Presentation, The Helix and the XL2 series of rods. In line weights from a four weight through to ten weights.

The Helix series were certainly made for me, several occasions I cast all the fly line along with several feet of backing. The Helix rods are a lightweight model, with a slightly softer action than the Horizon models. Helix rods load quickly, cast accurately and easily with both floating and sinking lines. They will also lift off a long floating line from the water. Whatever make of rod you are using, please do not try lifting off a submerged sinking line, you can easily break a rod tip. I used the Helix model on my recent trip to Alberta where conditions were tough My T&T didn’t let me down. My friend using an inferior rod couldn’t cope with the windy conditions, he had to change over to spinning. If you have tried the rest then, why not try what I feel are the best from Thomas & Thomas.


Some Chub Fishing Day's From My 1996 Diary 15th December

June 16 river Aire Kildwick - Silsden weather warm and sunny, river low and gin clear. water temperature 67f. Lots of problems with dog walkers and clodorpha weed. Fished morning session 5-30-10-00 am on the shallows caught chub of 3-4-0 4-2-0 4-4-0 4-8-0. baits crust worm and luncheon meat free-lined baits 6lb line Mitchell 300 reel and an 11 ft cane rod.

Fished golf coarse stretch at Utley for 21/2 hrs with floating crust chub of 3-12-0 3-6-0 and 4-6-0, back to the shallows for an hour during the evening caught 2 fish 3-12-0 and 3-15-0 They say there are no bad dogs just bad owners, I felt that all the bad dog owners were walking the banks of the river Aire this day.

June 17 water temperature 66f morning session 6-45 - 10-0 am legered crust and meat on the shallows caught chub of 3-15-0 2-8-0 3-15-0 4-0-0 and 3-12-0 Lost a very good chub at the net, thought it could have gone 51/2 lbs plus felt quite gutted. Went off to Morrisons at Skipton for a good breakfast. Spent some five hours collecting rubbish from the banks, also the riverside trees and the river bed. Spread over some 800 yards of the river bed downstream of Sutton Beck were dozens and dozens of sanitary towels. How obscene. Back home I sent letters to Environment Minister, my local MP also the Environment Agency and the local angling clubs. Probably a waste of time but felt it had to be done. It hasn’t been a waste of time after many years of letter writing and the help of Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans storm over flow pipes are to be banned. We now need to sort out the oestrogen problem.

Fished an evening session on the slow deep water legered crust, floating crust and meat chub of 4-2-0 5-3-0 211/2" x 131/2" 4-8-0 5-0-0 and 3-12-0 The 5-3-0 and the 5-0-0 fish were photographed and witnessed by Tony Farquason of Southport

25 June Acting as a guide for Richard and Sue Carter of Traditional Angling on the river Aire - River low and gin clear WT 67F. I had one cast into some fast water and within sixty seconds had caught a 4-4-0 chub on a piece of crust size 4 hook MK1V Avon fixed spool reel and 4lb line. Richard had a nice fish of 4-10-0 and Sue had a fish of 3-14-0

1st July river Fished river Ribble, river very dirty caused by heavy rain which was most welcome, lots of floating weed WT 66 deg F Fished for 3 hrs 4-4-0 4-12-0 and 3-2-0 The 4-12-0 chub caught on flake other fish on crust

2nd July fished river Aire SW Wind extra 6 inches of water cloudy with rain showers 21/2lb fish on crust 4-1-0 purple prawn 3-10-0 on mussel fished for 5hrs watched a badger in the undergrowth - Swallows taking insects off the cow parsley and thistle heads. Spotted Kingfisher taking small minnows to feed youngsters, A nice fishing session.

7th July Fished river Ribble from 2-0pm until 10-45pm. I was field testing the new Greys "Chevin" a 11ft 6 inch 3 piece rod. Three bites, two missed. Connected with one. A super fish weighing 5-4-0 on legered crust. Witnessed by Ken Fielding One of the nicest chub I have taken. No sign of spawning. This fish was really solid, surprised it didn't weigh a bit more. The river had fined down after having three feet of extra water over the previous few days. The extra water had done a wonderful job which cleaned out lots of the clodorpha weed. Lots of fresh gravel now showing. Several salmon have also entered the river. Sadly no sign of sea trout. It would have been nice to fish a night session with the fly rod The WT was 64F

My third five pounder of the season was taken at around 6-30pm just when I was beginning to wonder if I had picked the right swim for the day. The woods opposite looked magnificent in there fresh cloaks of green. Spotted two Kingfishers, three Herons and a lone Cormorant. I didn't expect to see any Cormorants at this time of the year.

13th 14th July On the Dorset Stout. What a delightful river small and intimate. Lots of real bulrushes. Spotted some nice chub but difficult to catch. On Saturday I had a chub of 2-15-0 on crust and 2 nice perch of 1-2-0 and 1-4-0 on worm and two pike of 4-8-0 and 8-0-0 on a fly.. Fished until 10-0pm then found I couldn't get any food so it was a couple of sandwiches and some luke warm tea. Still that's fishing. Sunday I fished at the bottom of the Fiddleford Mill length. First cast with a piece of free lined flake nice chub of 3-8-0. Later in the day I had some nice perch averaging about twelve ounces and a nice pike of 6lbs on a fly. The weather over the two days was warm and dull for most of the time with some very light rain more like a heavy mist. Arrived home at 1-30 am on Monday. .

15/16 July Monday afternoon/evening and Tuesday morning, Fished River Aire with Chris Leibbrandt of Masterline International. Cold N.E Wind river low and clear, fish very spooky. I put Chris into one of my favourite swims. First cast Chris hooked a super chub when weighed it pulled the scales down to 4-15-0 taken on legered crust. Chris had six other fish including three four pound plus fish all on crust. We fished from 2-30pm to 6-0pm then departed to a pub for some food. Back on the river about 8-0pm until dark Chris had another chub. I had one fish of 3-6-0. Lost a very good fish at dusk, It powered away when hooked taking some twenty yards of line as it headed downstream to the bridge pool. The fish then found a snag among some weeds which become immovable and I had to pull for a break. I felt quite gutted

Tuesday morning fished the Aire once again Chris had four fish between three and three and a half pounds all on crust. I had three fish 3-6-0 4-2-0 and 4-7-0 The latter two fish fell to a bunch of free-lined caddis on a size 12 hook. The only problem with this excellent bait is collecting them. Its worth the trouble as they are an excellent bait.

29th July travelled down to fish the rivers Severn and Teme. Spent some time on the banks of the Severn above and below Bewdley getting more angry by the hour at the treatment of barbel by people stuffing them in keep nets. Where they had to suffer several hours of distress through low water, high water temperatures and low oxygen content. I pointed out to some of these people about the dangers to the fish but the usual comment was "I always put them in a keep net".

I then moved on to the Barbel Society water on the Teme. How different an attitude by the members, No size 16 hooks 2lb line and keep nets. What I found were a nice group of anglers who had the interest of the fish at heart, No litter, No crazy light tackle, No keep nets, No silly rules and bait bans. They were willing to share their knowledge freely. It done an old anglers heart the world of good. Thanks guys

30th July fished the island swim on the Teme controlled by the Barbel Society, caught 3 barbel best at 6-2-0 a few perch and chub. Watched a pair of bullfinches several kingfishers and was able to feed a young robin which I was able to photograph from some 12 inches. A delightful days angling Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent on the Teme catching perch, barbel and chub. Free-lining luncheon meat and worms also fishing static baits which included bread. Friday I recorded an interview with Barry Norris of the Barbel Society for my radio show. Fished the bottom stretch for the first time. Spotted a fresh run salmon about ten pounds and a couple of stale salmon. Several chub and barbel were seen and I had a big barbel roll in my swim at dusk. The time I should have been fishing but feeling rather tired I called it a day. I lost what I felt was a good barbel but the hook pulled out I don't know why as the hook was well sharp. Lost a barbel in some snag which I couldn't move but at 9-05 pm I had a very nice chub of 4-1-0 on legered meat. A short deep fish in nice condition. Sadly I was fishing with barbel tackle

30th October Fished with Shaun Linsley rod builder from Dorset. We arrived on the river Aire around 12-30pm. The river had dropped about a foot over night. Starting at the Bridge Pool we fished legered crust and I had a nice chub of 4-11-0. Some fifteen minutes later the river started to get faster and rise slightly then it changed colour to a pea green rather soup like. There was a smell of slurry in the air. Looking around I couldn't find any person spraying the fields. Was someone washing out a slurry tank we asked each other. It's times like this when one needs a mobile phone to contact the E.A. We moved down river fishing several swims with no success. Very unusual this. At dusk the water had cleared, I decided to fish one of my favourite winter swims where I had two good chub 4-5-0 and 4-10-0 both on crust. We stayed fishing until 7-45pm. We then decided to move upstream to the Bridge Pool. Shaun had his first bite of the day and missed Then I had a slow pull and caught a lovely fish of 5-1-0 again on crust. Ten minutes later Shaun hooked and lost a fish. At 9-0pm we called it a day and returned to my home for food and drink. During the day we spotted a pair of Skylarks, In the afternoon Shaun watched a Kingfisher sit on a branch of a tree and catch a small fish. Lots of plovers and starlings around. Fishing time 9hrs

21st November What a fishing session its been today. The weather was bright, sunny and cold with a light northerly wind. Prospects didn't look good for fishing so I thought I would have a short session later in the day. After shopping in town and visiting the doctors spending time in the photographers and library I came home and had an early lunch. About 12-30pm I grabbed two loafs of bread from the shed, picked a Shaun Linsley "Chub Perfection" from the rod rack collected the tackle bag, camera and headed for the car. Ten minutes later I was on the banks of the river Hodder. The river looked good with about 9 inches of extra water. Arriving at my first choice swim I mashed up six slices of bread and checked the water temperature before introducing any feed. The temperature was 38 deg F very cold so I decided not to feed. Tackle was cane rod Mitchell 300 6lb line and a size 4 barbless hook. A shot was pinched on the line about 2 inches from the hook. Baiting with crust I cast out and watched the rod tip as the bait moved from the centre of the river into my bank Two or three minutes later the tip pulled round and I connected with a nice chub. It weighed 3-12-0. Next cast another fish 3-2-0 I then had six bites hooked and landed five chub 3-4-0 3-5-0 3-2-0 3-12-0 and 3-5-0 What a start. This on a day when I thought I would struggle for a bite. I then fed two handful's of mashed bread in the hope the fish would stay. I then moved up river to take some pictures of the farmer extracting gravel from the bed of the river which I thought was all wrong. I then had to take an hour out from fishing to telephone the Environment Agency. An hour lost from fishing, but its no use sitting there fishing to find out later, that a lot of damage had been done by the farmer taking gravel from the river bed. This was in an area where there were lots of salmon, sea and brown trout redds. The EA. were soon on the scene I was most impressed how efficient they were Back one again to fishing I decided to fish a big piece of flake. Casting out and within seconds a bite chub of 3-15-0 I then had 14 fish in fifteen casts one fish being hooked and lost. 3-2-0 3-6-0 3-7-0 3-4-0 3-15-0 3-12-0 3-14-0 3-7-0 3-9-0 3-8-0 3-15-0 3-4-0 3-7-0 3-9-0. time was 3-45pm and I'd caught 22 good chub. The bites slowed up but I was still catching chub and wondering if the swim could produce a five pounder. In the next hour alternating from crust to flake I had another 10 fish 3-3-0 3-9-0 3-6-0 3-15-0 3-14-0 3-12-0 3-11-0 3-12-0 3-2-0 3-9-0. In the hope of catching a better fish I then fixed two LD shot on the line about 4 inches from the hook. Baiting with a big piece of crust I cast out into the faster water and by using the extra shot I was able to anchor the bait in one place rather than let it move around in the swim. It was getting dark and no bite after some fifteen minutes I started to think the fish had stopped feeding. Then the tip pulled round some three or four inches the answering strike connected with a good fish that stayed deep. It felt like a good one could it be a five I thought. Soon I was able to net a nice fish on the scales it went 4-9-0.This was worth a picture. So I shot a couple of slides. Fishing on in the darkness for fifteen minutes or so I had another fish weighing 3-15-0 again on crust. Thirty four chub from 3-2-0 to 4-9-0. Over a 100lb of chub from a river where the temperature was 38 deg F on a bright sunny day with gin clear water. Certainly a great afternoons angling. I also watched dippers, mergansers, mallard, a robin, several pied and yellow wagtails, a heron and a kingfisher. At dusk I could hear a wren chattering. What a great fishing session. time 4 hrs

22nd November Its a rough day heavy rain and hail stones Checked the river level 1ft 9 inches and telephoned Phil Howell of Fleetwood to ask if he was coming fishing the answer was "I will be there at about 11-30 am." At about 12 noon Phil arrived. After a bacon sandwich and a mug of tea it was off to the river. We decided on the Ribble, it was close to home. Snow had been forecast. We chose a stretch near Clitheroe. Checking the water temperature I found it was 36 deg F. The river was rising slowly and getting dirty. I didn't think we had much chance with the chub today especially as salt and rubbish from the roads would have been swept into the river. I made up an 11 ft 6 inch "Chevin" 1953 Mitchell 300 6lb line and a size 4 barbless hook. Bait was crust. We fished until 6-45pm then the temperature plummeted we called it a day. Phil had 7 chub to 4-4-0 and I had 15 chub from 3-9-0 to 5-7-0 this fish was 221/4" x 133/4" in excellent condition. The bite was just like a leaf drifting against the line. The fish put up a good fight staying deep and moving up stream. After sacking the fish I made my way down to Phil for him to come and take a picture and witness the weight. When weighed again the scales said between 5-7-0 and 5-8-0 we called it 5-7-0 my 11th fish over 5lbs this season I also had another four pounder in fact it weighed 4-1-0 all fish were caught on crust Fishing time 6 hrs .

The The Chub - A Fish For All Seasons 15th December

The chub Leuciscus cephalus is a member of that great family of fishes known as the Cyprinidae. in England, Its also known as the chevin, loggerhead, in northern England its sometimes called the skelly. In France its the chevain; German Dobel; Sweden farna; Holland meun; The distinguishing features are are the rather thickset head and shoulders the head is very broad with a blunt snout and thick white lips and large mouth, Hence the name loggerhead.

The dorsal fin is placed just behind the base of the pelvic fins; it has 8-9 branched rays and a convex free edge. The anal fin is rounded and conspicuously convex; it has 7-9 branched rays. Scales 44-46 in the lateral line; pharyngeal teeth 5+2 : 2+5 The coloration is a dark green or grey-brown on the back, the sides silvery though they will often have a tinge of gold and the scales are large. The fins are dark except the pelvic and anal fins which vary from a yellowish colour to orange. The tail is black when looking for chub the two give-a way points are the black tail and big white lips.

The chub is often looked upon as a river fish but some very large fish have been caught from still waters in England. From my experience the bigger chub are often found in the middle reaches of rivers but this is not strictly true as they will move upstream into the more typically fast flowing trout waters. Chub can also be found in the tidal reaches of rivers such as the Sussex Ouse. The river Charante in Southwest France is a magnificent river with a huge head of chub these fish can be found all through the river. On hot sunny days its often possible to se shoals numbering hundreds. When spooked the chub fade away ghost like. Often you will not realize you have spooked the chub. Unlike other fish which when spooked will disappear in swirls and boils as they depart in fright.

In Europe and the United Kingdom the chub is a highly rated sports fish growing to a good size, the present U K record rod caught fish is 8lbs 10 ounces, Its reliably estimated that ten pound fish exist in still waters and I feel the still water chub is one of the toughest fish to catch. When young the chub will feed on insects no doubt various nymphs playing a big part in there diet As they grow they will feed on crustaceans such as crayfish, Chub in the five pound weight class will easily engulf a six inch crayfish. They will eat small fish, frogs, toads in fact they will anything that is edible. One thing the chub is not and that's a food fish They are considered useless the flesh being soft and full of sharp bones even the French to the best of my knowledge don't eat old chevin.

Chub Fishing My Way - Keep it simple

Living as I do only some 800 yards from the banks of the River Ribble, A ten minute drive to the River Hodder these rivers are in the county of Lancashire, 14 miles in an easterly direction into Yorkshire around the market town of Skipton and further downstream the town of Keighley. I have the River Aire where I have some excellent chub fishing, many fish over 4lbs and 5lbs being caught each season. and there is probably the chance of a six pounder. A seven pound chub has been caught from the Ribble downstream of the old Roman village of Ribchester.

Chub fishing for me is all about trying to catch five pound plus fish but enjoying all the other fish I catch on the way. The current fishing season in England is from June 16th until March 14th - In Europe to the best of my knowledge there is no close season. Perhap’s there might be some local regulations, When purchasing a fishing permit it pays to enquire about local rules.

I use all legal methods of fishing for the chub, During the summer months I enjoy fly fishing using a variety of flies, One of my most popular patterns is muddler minnow tied up on size 6 hooks, chub likes a big mouthful. There have been many times when fly fishing for pike with big flies tied up on a size 2/0 and 3/0 hook when they have been taken by 4lb plus chub.The best fly caught chub weighed 5-12-0 I cast the fly to this fish, hooked it then handed the rod to Stephen Ainscow. who played the fish then I landed the fish. Spinners, plugs and plastic worms are used when I consider the conditions suitable. I rate rod top legering as my most often used style of angling, As I have found it the most efficient method in most cases. Not my most enjoyable way of angling if given a choice.

When I have the choice, I love to float fish using a centre pin reel, Long trotting, stret-pegging, lying-on are the three methods when conditions are suitable. There are times when perhaps legering, would be a better method than float fishing. I choose the latter as I get great pleasure from watching a red tipped quill float. This goes back to 1948 and Mr. Crabtree who wrote and illustrated an angling column in the Daily Mirror. The River Aire is a Crabtree river, Its a delightful twisting river, with slow deeps and fast gravel runs where one can often see half a dozen kingfishers in a days angling.

Writing of quill floats takes me back to one Christmas morning. I was on the banks of the River Aire near Keighley for a couple of hours angling. Its a nice way to work up an appetite for Christmas lunch. I tackled up with a "Chub Perfection" fitted with Richard Carter Avon Classic centre pin reel 6lb line and a 2AA shot quill float. I had chosen two swims one for trotting and the other for stret-pegging.

The sun was shining with a beautiful blue sky, the distant hills had a covering of snow. There was no traffic noise, only the sound of the red shanks and the harsh whistle now and again of the kingfisher. I sat watching a red tipped quill float slowly moving down the swim feeling in paradise. I had three bites and three fish from this trotting swim on bread flake 4-2-0 4-8-0 and 3-12-0. The latter fish was shaped like a boomerang. I then moved into my second swim, The water was nine feet deep and perfect for stret-pegging. I fished some five feet over depth with bread flake catching fish of 4-8-0 and 4-14-0. What a delightful way to spend a couple of hours watching a float. No doubt I could have perhaps caught more fish on legered crust.

The River Ribble is a water that will usually produce chub under all conditions and the number one bait has to be bread crust. Its not a water for those who lug a big tackle box and stay in one swim. Its a roving water. I usually give each chosen spot about fifteen minutes then move on if no bites. This depends on my health as there are many days when I have to stay put through being unable to walk through having multiple sclerosis.

When fishing one spot, the catch rate often falls. I have on occasions had to put up with no bites and no fish sometimes for an hour or so, after I have caught a fish. I get very exasperated that I'm not able to rove from swim to swim.

For fishing deep water swims I use a 13 foot 3 piece graphite rod. I also have an 11 ft 6 inch 3 piece "Avon" action, in fact this has become one of my favourite rods

My two chub fishing reels are, Richard Carter centre pins, and Mitchell 300's early 1950 vintage. The lines I use for my chub fishing is done with 6lb Bs Berkley ultra thin and Masterline Illusion. Hooks are the best I can get, Which for me are the Partridge Jack Hilton barbless they have never let me down. So why change. Rods, reels, lines and hooks are a personal choice. I am more than happy with my chub fishing tackle.

Bait as mentioned is usually crust which I often flavour with one of the Ritchworths flavours. There are of course times when I use lob worms, luncheon meat, cheese paste and flavoured sausage. These baits are used when the rivers are high and coloured when I don't get bites on crust, Bread crust is always my first choice bait when legering what ever the conditions.. In the summer I love to stalk the chub, - fishing with free lined slugs, bread flake and occasionally a couple of lob worms. When using lob worms and slugs I fix a small piece of rubber band on the hook after baiting.

If you don't do this with barbless hooks the bait will often come off. Hook sizes are usually 4's and 6's. The only feed I use is mashed bread or free offerings of hook bait. If you have a Morrison's supermarket in your area then your lucky. They have the best bread for fishing. Its Farmers Boy extra thick sliced cost just 39p. Perfect for crust and flake.

I don't have any problems with bite detection when rod top legering especially with bread crust, as bites are usually quite vicious. A small tap then a good hefty pull. one example was the day I had planned to fish the River Aire near Keighley with some friends. On arriving at the waterside we found the river iced over from bank to bank with little chance of angling. Craig Pickles an experienced river Aire angler though he might know where there could be some open water, arriving at the chosen spot we did in fact find an area of water about the size of the average lounge.

Room enough for one person, it was decided that I should try for a chub. Baiting with crust I cast out into about five feet of water where the W/T was 321/2 degrees farenheight with an air temperature of 28 degrees farenheight. Within ten minutes the rod tip pulled round, I was a week to late on the strike. Rebaiting I cast again to the same spot. Within minutes I had a vicious pull with the rod tip pulling round savagely. The answering strike found me connected to a nice fish. After being landed it was weighed and found to go 4-4-0. I have not found on the waters I fish that cold water conditions mean slight movements of the rod tip. Ninety nine percent of my bites when chubbing are easily detected on the rod tip.

My end rig isn’t very technical, Its one or two of the new large LG split shot pinched gently on the line some six inches from the hook when using crust and about twelve to fifteen inches when using other baits. I believe in keeping it as simple as possible. I have replaced the bored bullet of the fifties for split shot of the nineties and using simple baits I have found its not difficult to catch a few chub on my local waters whatever the conditions. Other rivers worth paying a visit are river Bain in Lincolnshire, it might be tiny but its worth a visit, then there is the river Lodden which gave me my best chub at 6-5-0 on legered crust. The Severn and its tributary the Teme, The Hampshire Avon and Dorset Stour. In Yorkshire the Wharfe, Nidd, Ure and Swale are well worth a visit and Three association club cards worth purchasing are Bradford City AA Keighley AC and Bradford No 1 AA. The one problem the chub fisher is faced with on public or club waters, are the idiot who walk up to you and asks, "What you caught mate" -. More often or not, its when you have spent some time creeping and crawling into position where you have spotted a good fish then managed to get a bait in front of that fish.This winter Go out and catch a chub..


Fishery Reports 3rd December

Rutland Water has been on top form with many people taking limits of good quality fish all over the lake. Fishing continues until 31 December and the four fish ticket at £11 is available from the vendor hut if the shop is not open.The Fur and Feather match fished on Sunday 1 December brought 60 anglers from all over the country, including Scotland, north of England and the south to fish this popular festive event.
Top honours went to World Team angler, Simon Robinson of Newcastle, with 8 fish for 21lb 13oz and Simon took home a superb Christmas hamper.
2nd Andrew Scott, County Durham with 8 for 17lb 12oz
3rd John Frank, Reading with 7 for 17lb 2oz.
4th Brian Calvert, Buckden with 8 for 16lb 7oz
5th Graham Cooper, Braunston with 8 for 16lb 5oz
6th Gary Cooper, Empingham with 8 for 14lb 8oz

Regular angler, Ray Wardell of Mansfield landed himself the best fish of the day weighing a cracking 4lb 10oz which along with four other fish gave him 7th place with a total of 14lb 04oz for his five fish. Ray always takes part in this annual event whatever the weather and we were all pleased to see him win.
Anglers used a variety of methods including, floating lines with lures and nymphs, intermediate and medium sink lines with fry patterns. ‘Hot spots’ were east creek to the dam, all of the south shore, and stockie bay. Simon Robinson said "I have had an excellent day with superb quality fish".

Prizes to 10th place were presented by our guest from Lapland.

Pitsford Water Winner of the Pitsford Water winter boat league and biggest fish was Brian Lloyd (seasonal retail assistant at Pitsford fishing lodge). The match was fished over 4 weeks and no one bettered Brian’s catch of 3 fish for 9lb 4oz including a rainbow of 4lb 9oz taken on the first day. Brian also won the last match of the league with 3 fish for 7lb 5oz and his favourite fishing spot was off the Holly Bush using floating line and nymphs like hares ear and small damsels.
Boat fishing has now ended but bank tickets for trout and pike are available from the vendor hut near the fishing lodge main gate when the shop is not open.
Bank fishing for trout is still excellent with fish not very far out and feeding on damsel nymphs and daphnia with the odd snail and corixa. Best method is a small gold head damsel on the point and hares ear on the dropper, let the flies sink and slow figure of eight retrieve. Alternatively try a small white lure on the point, fished the same way.

Grafham Water Like all Anglian Water reservoir’s Grafham is also fishing exceptionally well. Alan Pattison of Bedford took 8 superb fish off the harbour arms for 28lb 8oz giving an amazing average of over 3lb per fish. All were taken on a floating line and small brown minkie. The bank league resulted in a ‘tight run finish’ this week with the top spots split by just 2oz. Bob Brooks of Great Stukeley won with 4 fish for 10lb 6oz taken on a floating line and black buzzer from the north end of the dam. Second place went to John McCullum of Perry who had four fish for 10lb 4oz also taken on black buzzer.
Santa is booked for the Fur & Feather presentations on Sunday 8 December. Remember this is a ticket only event, so if you haven’t got one yet, pick up the phone, dial 01480 810531 and get one now. Available until 3pm Thursday 5 December. This match is slightly different to Rutland and Pitsford as you weigh in your best two fish from your limit of eight.

Coarse fishing news

Ardleigh Reservoir Pike fishing at Ardleigh Reservoir is improving steadily now with plenty of smaller fish and a good number of fish over 15lb. Best of the week fell to Peter Hemmingway from Clacton who landed a 22lb fish on dead sea bait. He was fishing from the boats. Anglers have also had good sport from the bank with consistent catches of perch and roach. Stock levels were further improved when several thousand smaller fish were introduced from the Butterfly Pond into the main reservoir. The special mid week boat offer will continue until Christmas saving anglers up to £10 per boat. Further details on 01206 230642.

Monday December 2nd The rivers Ribble, Calder, Wyre and Aire all bank high, though all these rivers fished quite good over the previous four days. The river Ribble fished good for chub, especially the tidal area in the Shaws Arms area. I am told a barbel of 9-11-0 was caught on Friday from the Ribchester DAC water on the lower Ribble. Downstream of Elston on the Preston Centre water, some good chub to 4lbs and several barbel around the 5lb pound mark have been caught over the past week Its been tough fishing on the river Aire during the latter part of the week. I guided Civil servant Graham Cook of Lancaster on the river Aire Cononley and Kildwick area without a bite. After seeing cormorants we moved to the river Ribble where Graham caught several chub to 4-6-0 on bread. On the river Wyre at St Michael's some nice pike are being caught by anglers fishing with sprats, smelts and half herring baits. No bream reported, a few chub averaging 3lbs being caught on swimfeeder rig and gentles.

David Hallett of Berkshire caught a 10-3-0 barbel from the river Kennet on legered meatball bait. While Geoff White of NW London caught a 10-12-0 barbel from the Reading and District AA water on legered luncheon meat bait.

A Great Day On The Aire 27th November

Having returned home early from the river Teme, I decided to join Stephen Ainscow of Ramsbottom near Bury Lancashire and visit the river Aire near Keighley, We planned to fish the Aire opposite the Keighley golf course. I couldn’t have wished for better conditions. The weather was perfect, overcast and warm. In fact in Keighley the temperature was 11 degrees C. First stop was KL Tackle to pick up some items of tackle and a couple of rod rests. Leaving the shop we headed for the river. As we approached the lay-by on the A65, I noticed a sheep at the top of the bank on the edge of this very busy main road. No doubt it was planning to try and cross this very busy road. I could see a major accident if I didn't stop the sheep. I dialled 999 to seek assistance from the police, then spent some time keeping the sheep off the highway. I eventually managed to grab it by its horns. Some fifteen minutes later three hikers appeared and they helped me lift the beast over the fence into a field and out of danger.

I again dialled 999 to say the emergency was over, I went off fishing. The river very clear and flowing nicely. I chose to fish a deep hole on a bend, and for the first time ever on this river I baited with two pints of hemp and about a pint of pellets. These particles were left over from my river Teme trip. Tackle was 11foot Avon rod, Mitchell 300 reel 1952 vintage, 6lb line with a size 4 Partridge barbless hook. I pinched two LG shot on the line, six inches from the hook. I then baited with a big bit of crust. Most times when chub fishing, I anchor the bait, but not today. I was going let the bait move slowly through the swim. The first bite accounted for a 6lb 4 ounce bream in excellent condition, this was followed by two chub 4-10-0 and 4-4-0. After a biteless half hour I had another bream which I didn't weigh but probably weighed around 4-8-0. In the hour before dusk I had six good bites accounting for six good chub all over 4lbs with two fives 5-2-0 and 5-4-0. Ten minutes into darkness I felt a gentle pluck on the line, striking, I connected with powerful fish. After some five minutes I had the fish in the net saying to myself "That's a big five" Laying the net on the grass I parted the wet mesh, then realised I might have a six pounder. On the scales it went 6-4-0 a new river Aire record beating my previous best by an ounce. The fish measured 221/2 inches with a girth of 16inches.Sadly the fish was hollow otherwise I would have had a fish weighing perhaps 6-12-0. As Stephen was fishing quite a long way off I called him up on my mobile. Some fifteen minutes later Stephen appeared. He then shot a couple of pictures, then the fish was weighed once more and recorded at 6-4-0.

A Winter Barbel Fishing Trip 26th November

I was on my 15th fishing trip in successive days, it's great being retired. Conditions couldn’t have been better for a couple of days barbel fishing on the river Teme, Mike Osborne and myself certainly had a good drive down from the north of England, we didn’t even have any hold ups on the M5 M6 junction. With Mike driving I could relax and read all about the abysmal display of cricket by our team in Australia. As for Hussain the less said the better. I certainly think the English ladies team would have made a fight of it. It was 11-0 am when we arrived at the riverside car park. The river was up some four feet, the colour of milky coffee with a water temperature of 48 degrees farenheight. The weather was most delightful, blue sky, warm sunshine and the air temperature in the low 50’s F

After putting on the kettle for a fresh brew I tackled up with a Masterline BJ barbel twin tip, its a 12 foot rod with a detachable butt, the tips are, one standard. The other a quiver. I used the standard tip which I find ideal for fishing fast water with the use of big leads The stopping power of this rod with its standard tip, is extremely good. I suppose its best described as being a powerful rod with an action that goes through to the butt. Much of my barbel fishing demands a rod that will pull fish away from snags. This one, does just that.

I did find my Relum centre pin reel didn’t fit into the butt, thankfully some work by Mike on a grindstone during my recent river Kennet trip had the reel fitting securely in the screw winch fitting. I had some sixty yards of 12lb line on the reel, threading the line through the guides, I put on a three ounce lead followed by a swivel to stop the lead going down to the hook. Some twelve inches of braided hook line material to which Mike had tied on a size 4 Partridge barbless hook with a hair, was then attached with a Polomar knot. I find it very difficult tying hairs on hooks and other small fiddly things with my hands, which these days which never seem to be free of pain. Sometimes I have to ask my friends to tie on a hook.

Having sorted out tackle and baits for the day, I finished off my tea and cake. Then we headed off for the river. We decided to fish the same area, which I suppose can be described as three separate swims. I decided to fish a big bit of luncheon meat, which I cast out to an area on my left which I though might produce a fish. Within ten minutes I had to retrieve my tackle, after a load of rubbish dragged the bait out of the swim. In doing so I snagged on the bottom all was solid, I then had to pull for a break losing all the end tackle. I tackled up once more, this time tying a size 4 Partridge barbless hook direct to the 12lb line. I also decided to move swims, after walking some two hundred yards or so downstream I came to a nice looking bit of water with a steady flow. Upstream about twelve feet were some fallen trees and bushes in the water, downstream some twenty feet a big tree over hung the river, many of its branches trailing down into the water offering over head cover to any fish in the area.

I pinched on three LG shot some six inches from the hook, then baited with a big bit of crust, casting out I allowed the bait it to roll in close to the bank where it settled in some quiet water. Within ten minutes, I had a tap on the rod then a slow pull round. A chub of some 4lbs plus gave a brief struggle before being netted. On the tackle I was using any chub would be quickly dragged to the net. Another big bit of crust was cast out. Ten minutes later I had another chub of 4lb plus. It was time to move on.

In my third choice swim, I had a bite within ten seconds. Another good size chub was quickly released. Baiting with a big chunk of meat I fished on for half an hour or so without a bite. It was time to move back to the previous swim, which I had previously baited up with half a loaf of mashed bread. Moving quietly into position, the hook was baited with a big chunk of meat. In the next hour I didn’t get a bite. Time to change over to bread crust. Hoping the barbel might have moved in and pushed the chub out.

Within ten minutes I had a slight tap on the rod tip, then a slow pull of an inch, the answering strike connected with what I thought was a snag on the bottom. Nothing moved. Cramping on the pressure in the hope it would pull free. I felt a slight movement, a good fish moved slowly out in the faster water. It felt heavy as it hugged the bottom slowly moving out in the flow then upstream. No way did I won't a fresh powerful fish upstream of me, where it could gain sanctuary in the bushes and tree branches that were in the river. As the fish moved level with me I cramped on as much pressure as I dare in the hope of turning the fish close to the bank and downstream of me.

The tactic worked, the power of the Masterline BJ twin quiver, 12lb line and centre pin reel worked to perfection. For some five but what seemed like ten minutes I kept the fish slogging away under the rod tip. Suddenly the fish gave up the struggle, then rolled on the surface where it as quickly netted. On the scales it went 9-1-0. A solid fish, all muscle. This fish certainly gave me a lot of pleasure. Laying the net and fish in the water, I went off to find Mike who had moved from his first choice swim. After saying I had got a nice barbel, I said "Can you take a take a picture for me" Yes of course how big "Its a nine" I said. After a couple of pictures the fish was released, we both admired the fish in the waters edge until it suddenly moved off strongly for the deeper water. It was time for tea and sandwiches.

In the car park we chatted about the fishing, and the prospects. Agreeing things looked good, one of us might even get a double. I hoped it would be me. I was desperate for a double figure barbel having caught most fish of my dreams. We had beef sandwiches on bread baked in the old fashion way. Non of that plastic, cold pudding type of bread which we get insulted with today in most supermarkets and shops. My local baker Crabtree of Clitheroe, personally bakes my loaf each day a beautiful golden brown. After sandwiches we had fruit cake and more freshly brewed tea followed by a banana each. As we sat enjoying our food and drink, we both agreed it was nice to be retired. After packing away the tea brewing kit, we made our way down river, chatting as we did so about various swims, the different species of birds we had seen during the first session of fishing.

Before starting to fish I decided to have a good look downstream I was most disappointed to see several swims from the past, no longer there, having been destroyed by the recent floods. Making my way back upstream I stopped off for a chat with Mike who was fishing a delightful bit of water with a steady flow. Upstream Mike had a willow tree over hanging the river with some of its branches trailing in the water. After chatting for some time in the later afternoon sunshine I moved off upstream to my swim.

Baiting with a big bit of meat I cast out allowing the bait to move down river then swing into close to the bank where it settled in a quiet area of water. For some minutes I watched a Kingfisher hunting, he was very skilled in his work Several times he dived catching a small fish. The Kingfisher then flew across to my bank, settling on a tree branch just downstream of where I was sitting. Thinking he might move closer to me, I set up one of my camera’s. Suddenly as I sat there he landed on my rod. Hoping the bird wouldn’t notice the movement I slowly lifting the camera to get the bird in the viewfinder. The kingfisher did notice the movement and flew off downstream. Half an hour later it was dusk and soon I was engulfed in the darkness. It was just after 5pm when the rod tip was slowly pulled downwards, with a firm movement of the wrist I set a size 4 hook into a good fish. This fish like the first one didn’t move off fast but hugged the bottom slowly moving upstream. I cramped on the pressure trying to turn its head and pull the fish downstream away from the many snags to my left. The pressure told, the fish moved downstream. Once it was under the rod it was a slogging match. I was very confident with tackle and knots. I didn’t for one moment think I wouldn't land the fish. It was more of, Will it be a double?.

In the light of my head lamp I could see some big vortices in the water, occasionally when the fish was close to the surface I could see a big dark shape. It could well be my first double figure barbel I thought. Sinking the net in the water, I increased the pressure slowly pulling the fish up on the surface, then over the net. It was a good fish, one I thought would be a double. It was certainly a fat fish. I had difficulty trying to see the scale needle in the fog that had descended during the time I was fighting the fish. Were the scales saying 10-12-0 or 11-12-0?. Laying the weight net and fish in the landing net I wiped the scale face dry, then hoisted the fish on the hook the needle went round to 9-12-0 then stopped. It wasn’t my first double, but a good fish all the same. I was a happy angler. In the torch beam I watched the fish swim off strongly which I suppose is the most important thing of all. As I made my way back to my swim Mike arrived, where upon I told him about the 9-12-0 fish.

Fishing on in the darkness and enveloping fog I had another fish of 8lbs again on a big bit of meat. I as lucky to get this fish, On being hooked it shot upstream very fast reaching the danger area before I could take in all the slack line where it tangled me up on a submerged branch of a bush laying in the water upstream of my fishing spot. As I slackened off, the fish would swim away, thinking it was free. I would then take in line until the fish reached the sunken branch once more where everything went solid. This happened on four occasions then It was free and quickly netted. This fish really did scrap. Unlike the other two barbel, this one didn’t hug the bottom. From my experience of catching lots of Teme barbel between 6 and 8lbs, they are a far better fighting fish than those above this weight.

Mike arrived some ten minutes later saying "Iv lost a barbel, then had a pike attack a chub. Finally I got all tangled up and decided to call it a day". We went off to the local waterside tavern. Half an hour later making our way back to the car we could see the fog was a lot thicker. In fact ice was covering everything Not frost but ice. The temperature had certainly plummeted. Back at the car we quickly crawled into our sleeping bags. It was nine o’clock next morning when we unzipped our sleeping bags. The fog was quite dense. After bacon sandwiches and tea we decided we shouldn’t fish but make our way home in the daylight when driving conditions would be better. Sadly the standard of driving was abysmal but we arrived home safely. I felt if we could have stayed I might well have had my first double figure barbel, or at least several good fish but commonsense dictated we should drive home.

Angling Reports 26th November

Fishery Reports

Rutland Water is in tremendous form at the moment with 65 anglers taking 216 rainbows giving an amazing rod average of 3.32 for the week. Both bank and boat anglers have recorded excellent sport with a good majority being taken on fry patterns, minkies, zonkers and floating fry. However, nymphs, black buzzer, and diawl bach in particular, have taken their fair share of fish as well, with the mild conditions of last week seeing some half decent buzzer hatches during the day.

Bank anglers have used mainly floating and intermediate lines to take their fish, while boat anglers have used anything from floaters with the above patterns, to sinking lines of different densities coupled with gold and silver tubes and wobblers. The annual fur and feather bank competition takes place on Sunday 1 December, please note that entry is by ticket only. Tickets are obtainable only from the ticket office at the fishing lodge. Price £22 per person (with discounts for season ticket holders) for an eight fish limit, Christmas meal and festive hampers as prizes.
Forthcoming Events: Fur & Feather – Sunday 1 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge . Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01780 686441 now to get your ticket tackle shop openwinter hours for the tackle shop are: 7 days a week 9.00 am to 3.30 pm

Grafham Water Pablo Mullins, of East Finchley, took the best rainbow of the week, weighing 4lb 11½oz. Pablo was assisting Trout Fisherman magazine in testing travel rods whilst fishing the Harbour arm on a humungus. Best bank areas are the Harbour Arms, Hedge End, G Buoy and the south end of the dam. Floating intermediate line, minkies, fry patterns and diawl bachs have been the most successful methods. Boat fishing ends this coming Sunday 1 December. Best boat areas have been Hedge End and G Buoy. Anglers have been catching out in front of the harbour and in the central drifts. Di 3 lines have been the most popular. This week’s bank league was won by Bob Brooks of Great Stukeley with 3 fish for 6lb 6oz. Boats are available for pike and trout fishing until 1 December.
Forthcoming events; Fur & Feather – Sunday 8 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 1 December. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01480 810531 now to get your ticket

Pitsford Water "This was the best Fur and Feather match result that Pitsford has seen", commented Pitsford Water’s senior warden, Nathan Clayton, following Sunday’s annual Fur and Feather. 49 anglers caught 133 fish giving a rod average of 2.7 fish – better than some summer months! The best rainbow of the match fell to regular bank match angler and season ticket holder Mick Stevens, a rainbow of 4lb 2oz. Man of the moment was Mark Haycock of Northampton. Mark works for Bob Church Tackle, Northampton. He caught 8 fish off the pines using a new innovation – a 40 yard plus Di7 line, with two cats whiskers boobies on a six foot leader. His heaviest rainbow weighed 4lb 1oz, just missing out on the heaviest fish of the match by 1oz. Fish were caught all round the reservoir with banks like the Pines, Bog Bay, the Cliffs and Pitsford Creek proving good spots. Most anglers used sinking lines with small lures pulling most of the fish. Top junior of the match was Rutland tackle shop assistant Charles Bowers of Spalding. Charles took 3 fish for 5lb 10oz. Following an excellent hot meal at the White Swan, Holcot festive prizes were awarded to sixth place. At the end of the match Jon Marshall, fisheries manager said "Pitsford just gets better and better. With superb quality fish and a great team in Nathan, Andrew, Kay, Brian, Chris and Darren, Pitsford is now on a true par with the likes of Rutland and Grafham Water." Results 1st Mark Haycock 8 fish for 21lb 8oz 2nd Rob Edmunds 8 fish for 20lb 2oz 3rd Dave Doherty 8 fish for 19lb 8oz 4th Dave Haycock 8 fish for 17lb 14oz 5th Richard Tillet 7 fish for 16lb 4oz 6th Brian Lloyd 7 fish for 16lb 2oz Other news this week saw Pike angler Alex Prouse of Spinney Hill, Northampton, returning a brown trout of 12lb 9oz on a dead bait off Gorse Bank.
Forthcoming events: Winter bank League – final match 1 December. Fishing 9am to 1pm (register at the lodge from 8.30am). Top overall weight and best fish over the 4 weeks win Christmas hampers.

River Kennet At its best level in years, which is most welcome. Good chub and barbel being caught on pellets, meat balls and luncheon meat. This is the time if the year to fish the Kennet if you want a big chub or barbel especially with the high water temperatures. Chance of 15lb barbel and 7lb chub. The Old Mill at Aldermaston can be fished on a day ticket. Much of the Reading and District water can now be fished on a day ticket. I fished one of the waters on the Kennet early this year, I was disgusted with the amount of litter. It was a disgrace and more reminiscent of a council rubbish tip. If your interested in catching pike why not leave the still waters and head for the rivers which are lightly fished by pike anglers. Who knows that 30lb pike might come from your local river.

Fishery Reports 26th November

Rutland Water is in tremendous form at the moment with 65 anglers taking 216 rainbows giving an amazing rod average of 3.32 for the week. Both bank and boat anglers have recorded excellent sport with a good majority being taken on fry patterns, minkies, zonkers and floating fry. However, nymphs, black buzzer, and diawl bach in particular, have taken their fair share of fish as well, with the mild conditions of last week seeing some half decent buzzer hatches during the day.

Bank anglers have used mainly floating and intermediate lines to take their fish, while boat anglers have used anything from floaters with the above patterns, to sinking lines of different densities coupled with gold and silver tubes and wobblers. The annual fur and feather bank competition takes place on Sunday 1 December, please note that entry is by ticket only. Tickets are obtainable only from the ticket office at the fishing lodge. Price £22 per person (with discounts for season ticket holders) for an eight fish limit, Christmas meal and festive hampers as prizes.
Forthcoming Events: Fur & Feather – Sunday 1 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge . Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01780 686441 now to get your ticket tackle shop openwinter hours for the tackle shop are: 7 days a week 9.00 am to 3.30 pm

Grafham Water Pablo Mullins, of East Finchley, took the best rainbow of the week, weighing 4lb 11½oz. Pablo was assisting Trout Fisherman magazine in testing travel rods whilst fishing the Harbour arm on a humungus. Best bank areas are the Harbour Arms, Hedge End, G Buoy and the south end of the dam. Floating intermediate line, minkies, fry patterns and diawl bachs have been the most successful methods. Boat fishing ends this coming Sunday 1 December. Best boat areas have been Hedge End and G Buoy. Anglers have been catching out in front of the harbour and in the central drifts. Di 3 lines have been the most popular. This week’s bank league was won by Bob Brooks of Great Stukeley with 3 fish for 6lb 6oz. Boats are available for pike and trout fishing until 1 December.
Forthcoming events; Fur & Feather – Sunday 8 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 1 December. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01480 810531 now to get your ticket

Pitsford Water "This was the best Fur and Feather match result that Pitsford has seen", commented Pitsford Water’s senior warden, Nathan Clayton, following Sunday’s annual Fur and Feather. 49 anglers caught 133 fish giving a rod average of 2.7 fish – better than some summer months! The best rainbow of the match fell to regular bank match angler and season ticket holder Mick Stevens, a rainbow of 4lb 2oz. Man of the moment was Mark Haycock of Northampton. Mark works for Bob Church Tackle, Northampton. He caught 8 fish off the pines using a new innovation – a 40 yard plus Di7 line, with two cats whiskers boobies on a six foot leader. His heaviest rainbow weighed 4lb 1oz, just missing out on the heaviest fish of the match by 1oz. Fish were caught all round the reservoir with banks like the Pines, Bog Bay, the Cliffs and Pitsford Creek proving good spots. Most anglers used sinking lines with small lures pulling most of the fish. Top junior of the match was Rutland tackle shop assistant Charles Bowers of Spalding. Charles took 3 fish for 5lb 10oz. Following an excellent hot meal at the White Swan, Holcot festive prizes were awarded to sixth place. At the end of the match Jon Marshall, fisheries manager said "Pitsford just gets better and better. With superb quality fish and a great team in Nathan, Andrew, Kay, Brian, Chris and Darren, Pitsford is now on a true par with the likes of Rutland and Grafham Water." Results 1st Mark Haycock 8 fish for 21lb 8oz 2nd Rob Edmunds 8 fish for 20lb 2oz 3rd Dave Doherty 8 fish for 19lb 8oz 4th Dave Haycock 8 fish for 17lb 14oz 5th Richard Tillet 7 fish for 16lb 4oz 6th Brian Lloyd 7 fish for 16lb 2oz Other news this week saw Pike angler Alex Prouse of Spinney Hill, Northampton, returning a brown trout of 12lb 9oz on a dead bait off Gorse Bank.
Forthcoming events: Winter bank League – final match 1 December. Fishing 9am to 1pm (register at the lodge from 8.30am). Top overall weight and best fish over the 4 weeks win Christmas hampers.

River Kennet At its best level in years, which is most welcome. Good chub and barbel being caught on pellets, meat balls and luncheon meat. This is the time if the year to fish the Kennet if you want a big chub or barbel especially with the high water temperatures. Chance of 15lb barbel and 7lb chub. The Old Mill at Aldermaston can be fished on a day ticket. Much of the Reading and District water can now be fished on a day ticket. I fished one of the waters on the Kennet early this year, I was disgusted with the amount of litter. It was a disgrace and more reminiscent of a council rubbish tip. If your interested in catching pike why not leave the still waters and head for the rivers which are lightly fished by pike anglers. Who knows that 30lb pike might come from your local river.
Anglers Mail November 23rd

Its packed with news pictures and information on new tackle, river and coastal reports, instructions, match results and reports and of course seveal pages of carp fishing including many pictures of big fish. On page 4 Schoolboy Grant Nuttal is pictured with a very big eel Nigel Williams is on page 5 with a big pike. There are now two new features in this weekly magazine This week its the Pike Scene on pages 10 and 11. Next week its the Barbel Scene. Under tackle on test this week its all about river leads.

Angling Reports 20th November

Rutland Water is fishing exceptionally well with several limits recorded by both bank and boat anglers. Dave Porter, of Edith Weston, made good use of his Gold ticket by taking 6 fish from East Creek on Sunday by lunch time. Jamie Weston from Empingham took 7 fish over the weekend up to 3½lb. Brothers Matt and Steve Bennett from Kempston, Bedford, had nine fish between them from East Creek with fish up to 2½lb. Young Stewart Moore, from Oundle, landed his first ever Rutland trout, fishing from the bank near Normanton Church. Barnhill Creek was the hotspot for Trevor Ashby. Fly tying expert Trevor took 5 fish weighing up to 4½lb.The best bank areas are East Creek, Whitwell Creek, Normanton Bank and Yellowstone. Bank anglers are taking most fish on floating lines and minkies or black or green buzzers.Best boat angling is anywhere between the sailing club to the dam. Best methods for boat anglers are slow sinking lines, tubes or minkies.competition news: The Winter Bank league ends on 23 November Fishing is from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm – register at the lodge from 8.30 am.forthcoming events: Fur & Feather – Sunday 1 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 24 November. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01780 686441 now to get your ticket

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Top spot this week went to Daniel Czacek , on holiday from the Republic of Czechoslovakia, who took a superb 12lb 3oz Rainbow from the Coton End shallows. Daniel fished an olive stonefly to take this and four other rainbows up to 5lb.Heavy rains during the week have rapidly filled the reservoir to normal winter level with boat fishing now concluded for the season all areas of the natural bank and the dam are easily accessible and should provide excellent sport through November and December. Nymphs on floating lines are likely to produce the best results.Pike anglers have enjoyed a successful week recording 18 fish over 15lb, 10 of which topped the 20lb mark. The best method has been dead sea baits under drifter floats.Ravensthorpe is open to bank anglers until 31 December. Bank permits for trout only are available on site at £11 for a one fish ticket (plus catch and release).

Grafham Water Both boat and bank anglers are recording some excellent returns and a rod average of 3.41. Of the 78 returns last week 22 anglers caught their limits. John Sears of Great Gransden took a superb conditioned rainbow weighing 4lb 12oz. This week’s bank league was won by season ticket holder John McCallum of Perry with 2 fish weighing 8lb 5½oz. The most successful methods are minkies and fly patterns.Boats are still available for pike and trout fishing until 1 December.forthcoming events Fur & Feather – Sunday 8 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 1 December. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01480 810531 now to get your ticket

Pitsford Water With a rod average of 2.8 and lots of fish being taken in the 2-3lb range, both bank and boat angling at Pitsford water is excellent. Dan Perks of Langham, Rutland, took a superb rainbow weighing between 10lb and 11lb off Duffers Reach on an olive booby on an intermediate line. The winner of this week’s bank league was Mark Haycock of Northampton. Mark, who is also a
member of the Kingfisher team, took 4 fish for 9lb in quick succession from the Cliffs on sinking lines with small booby lures. In second place was season ticket holder Colin Faulkner, of Moulton, Northampton, with four fish for 7lb 4oz, taken on hare’s ear and Diawl Bach. With the Fur and Feather this Sunday 24th November, there is no bank league on Saturday 23rd. Sunday 1 December is the date of the last bank league match.The top spot for bank anglers is the Cliffs along with Sermans and the Gravels. Best methods are floating or intermediate lines with small lures and nymphs retrieved slowly.Boats are available until 1 December. Boat fishing will continue 7 days a week until the end of November 9am – 4pm. This includes both trout and pike fishing.
Forthcoming events: Winter bank League – final match 1 December.Fishing 9am to 1pm (register at the lodge from 8.30am). Top overall weight and best fish over the 4 weeks win Christmas hampers.

Pendle view trout fishery Returns from the trout lake are still excellent. The latest stocking include 50 blue trout and it will be interesting to see whether they do offer better sport. Fritz, Montanna and buzzer still continue to produce results. It is intended to keep the fly lake open throughout the winter for this year.

More Good News From The EA

An Environment Agency survey into salmon in the River Mersey has revealed the species is now thriving in what was once one of the UK’s most polluted rivers. Salmon have been seen leaping the weir on the river at Woolston, near Warrington, and the Agency often receives calls from members of the public who have spotted the fish, which need good quality water to thrive. Since October the Agency has used a humane fish trap at Woolston Weir, near Warrington, to trap salmon and examine their condition. So far 25 salmon, as well as two brown trout, one sea trout, three lamprey and two dace, have been trapped. The fish have been between 60 and 80cms long and weigh between 2.2 and 4.8 kg. Roger Lamming, the Environment Agency’s Environment Manager, said: “The results so far suggest we have a substantial run of fish, especially in the river’s high flows following recent rain. Salmon have been pushing into our rivers for some time, with regular sightings. “It is very exciting news, and is just rewards for the efforts of so many Environment Agency staff to secure improvements in the quality of rivers in the Mersey catchment. Now we must all build on this and ensure the Mersey continues to improve, and that it can once again be known for its salmon rather than its pollution.” The trap is part of a fish pass included when the weir was built by the Manchester Ship Canal Company, and allows fish to be examined before being released, unharmed, upstream so they can move on to find suitable spawning grounds.

The Environment Agency aims to prevent and control pollution. It monitors the quality of rivers, and manages ‘discharge consents’ that allow people to release used water into a river. It also monitors waste water from sewage treatment works and from industry to ensure they act in line with their ‘discharge consents’. The Environment Agency is responsible for maintaining, improving and developing salmon, sea trout, non-migratory trout, coarse and eel fisheries. It carries out improvements to fisheries by improving habitats and fish stocks, and by providing advice the fishery owners.

Barnsfold Water Near Chipping Lancashire This two lakes fishery of about 22 acres in the shadow of Beacon Fell is still fishing well on buzzers, J Harrison returned 14 fish to 5lb all on black buzzer. several good tiger trout up to 6lb 8oz have been caught, on small lures, Cats Whisker, Black and Green Tadpole and Orange Fritz. Day tickets available Telephone 01995-61583

Coarse Fishing

Ardleigh The special mid-week offer of a boat and permit for just £15 for an individual or £20 for two anglers will continue until Christmas. Boats should be booked on 01206 230642

Pendle View Fishery A59 Clitheroe Lancashire Club matches The last coarse match was fished by East Lancs and was won with 6lbs from Peg 10. Pegs 17 and 21 were 2nd and 3rd with 5lbs. The next coarse match is scheduled for 24th November 2002. Open carp matches The next carp match is scheduled for Friday/Saturday 29th/30th November. This is half booked at present but places are still available. Please speak to Tracey for further details. The best carp in the last two weeks was a 27lbs common caught by Tony Ashworth fishing trigga boilies over trout pellets. The Nash leader board is still headed by Carl Gore with a 32lbs common. Silver fish are now being caught in the main bay area, which indicates that they are moving back towards deeper water, however several larger fish are still being caught between Pegs 72 and 85. ONGOING PROJECT A programme to reduce the silt level and improve water quality took place on the 5th November. This involved adding ten tons of a chalk like compound. Final treatment is due in the Spring. It is now expected that work will commence in December to build a house, office, amenity block and chalets. PARKING Whilst every effort is being made to provide more safe parking around the main lake we do insist that anglers park their cars off the road to ensure others can safely pass. Cars must not be parked on the perimeter of the trout lake, or on the grass. WINTER HOURS The fishery has now reverted to winter opening hours. This will mean the gates are open at 7am and locked at These opening hours will remain until Spring 2003. Catering times will remain unchanged

River Aire With all the rain over the past week the river has been bank high at times and virtually unfishable, No grayling fishing possible in the past ten days. I caught a big out of season brown trout probably weighing around 2-8-0 on legered crust in the fast water near Keighley golf course and unhooked in the water. Only the odd chub and small pike being caught. Cormorants causing problems Stephen Ainscow had a cormorant surface under his rod tip. Prospects not good for this weekend. River Ribble Several cormorants are back and feeding on the river. Fishing in the area where these fish eating birds is a bit of a hit and miss affair. If you have cormorants in your area, I would suggest a move further up or down stream. Good chub fishing. Trout.halibut pellets, boilies and gentles are the top baits.I fished a short afternoon session taking 11 nice chub to 5-5-0 all on bread. I also tried catching fish on some imitation bread flake without success, Though when I did put real bread on the hook I immediately caught a fish. I will continue to experiment with the imitation stuff. Should you hook a salmon please break off. Don't play the fish to the net, causing the fish a lot of distress. Its also an offence to retain a salmon. River Teme Last weekend the river had six foot of coloured water with a temperature of 48 degrees F Provided you were prepared to walk looking for swims, then I reckon you would have caught chub and barbel. Prospects look good for this weekend. River Kennet This river is probably at its best for water level and colour, its the best I have seen in the past twenty or thirty years. Good chub and barbel being caught from various stretches of the river. Reading and District water on the river are now available on a day permit. Sadly they have a litter problem. Some places I have visited looked like a rubbish tip. Its anglers rubbish. Mike Osborne travelled down from Cumbria to fish the river, baiting with a meatball and fishing it towards the centre of the river in the fast flow, he hooked and landed had a super chub of 5-10-0. A personal best fish for this likable angler.

Angling Reports 12th November

Rutland Water
Rutland continues to fish well with a rod average of 2.65 for the week. Big fish showed on catch returns with Gary Mann of Belper in Derbyshire taking a splendid 8lb 2oz Rainbow. North Luffenham’s Mark Schofield also got in on the act with a 6lb 4oz Rainbow followed by another one of 3lb 6oz. G Hall of Spalding recorded seven fish on the day, the best a 5lb 8oz rainbow. Well known fly tier Trevor Ashby (retail assistant at Rutland Fishing Lodge) caught five fish from Carrot Creek on the peninsula. Trevor’s best fish was around 5lb, he also returned a brown estimated at 4lb, all fish were feeding heavily on fry. Bank anglers are catching fish in several areas, from East Creek right down to the lodge. Anglers prepared to walk have been taking fish from either side of Normanton church. Other places to try are Sykes Lane to the mouth of Whitwell Creek, then from Whitwell front to the mound.

Boat anglers are also enjoying good fishing with Reservoir warden Paul Friend, and season ticket holder Ken Merridan from Uppingham, taking thirteen fish while fishing the rudder. The pair took the majority of their fish down the north arm, drifting off the Barnsdale steep bank. Ken recorded the best fish on the day a 3lb rainbow. Ken went out again on Thursday with his regular boat partner, Ryhall’s Jim Watts, recording another eight fish between them. Boat anglers are taking a lot of fish in front of the lodge in around ten to fifteen feet of water. Other areas to try are New Zealand Point to the Sailing Club, Armley Wood to Carrot Creek.

Flies to try include fry patterns, minkies in grey, brown and white. Suspender minkies in the same colours. Humungus and floating fry. Nymphs – Diawl Bach, black buzzer and pheasant tail. Suggested lures are black tadpole and cats whisker. competition news: The Winter Bank league runs until 23 November so why not come along next Saturday and have a go. Fishing is from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm – register at the lodge from 8.30 am.

forthcoming events:
Fur & Feather – Sunday 1 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 24 November. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01780 686441 now to get your ticket tackle shop open winter hours for the tackle shop are: 7 days a week 9.00 am to 3pm

Ravensthorpe Reservoir
Pike anglers have enjoyed some excellent sport this weekend with five fish over 20lb, the best fish weighed 29lb.Rapidly rising water levels and favourable overnight temeperatures have seen trout moving back into the margins, feeding around the sunken weedbeds on snail, hog lice and bloodworm. Bank anglers should watch for small groups of diving duck working together over the weedbeds. Cast alongside with PTN, Diawl Bach, buzzer and bloodworm imitations. The best areas for bank anglers are the domes and dam.Slow minkies on slimes and Hi D’s are picking up some superb silver rainbows from the boats. With the best areas being the island to Coton End.Ravensthorpe is open to bank anglers until 31 December. Boat fishing finishes on 17 November. Day tickets are available on site.

Pitsford Water
Peter Bills, season ticket holder from Papplewick, Notts, enjoyed some excellent boat fishing this week with 7 fish weighing 16lb plus on Wednesday. Other boat anglers are also taking good catches with ruddering producing good results. Fish are probably only 2-3 feet deep and they are feeding on Daphnia and Corixa with some on fry.Pitsford Water’s senior warden Nathan Clayton says ”Bank anglers are enjoying excellent sport on floating line and nymphs (GRHE and Corixa) pulled very slowly or intermediate lines with tubes and minkies. A useful tip is not to wade as the fish are very close in.”Boat fishing will continue 7 days a week until the end of November 9am – 4pm. This includes both trout and pike fishing.

forthcoming events:
Winter bank League – continues 17 November and 1 December.Fishing 9am to 1pm (register at the lodge from 8.30am). Top overall weight and best fish over the 4 weeks win Christmas hampers.Fur and Feather - Sunday 24 November. Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 17 November. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the table. Followed by hot meal at the White Swan, Holcot. Telephone 01604 781350 now to get your ticket tackle shop open winter hours for the tackle shop are:Friday 9.00am – 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday 9.00am – 3.30pm

Grafham Water
Alan Taylor of Grafham village caught the best rainbow of the week. Alan took the 6lb 5oz specimen on a Diawl Bach off the Long Bank. The quality of the fish at the moment is second to none with most of the fish averaging around the 3lb mark, the majority of bags include at least one 4lb specimen. Anglers are reporting good fighting fish in prime condition.

Plenty of fish are being caught from around the edge of most of the north shore. With G Buoy point as well as Rectory Bay still being the favoured hot spots if the wind allows. Hedge End and the Long Bank and Church Bay are producing some very good quality fish. Plummers, Gaynes Cove and the Harbour Arms continue to fish well.Boat anglers are catching fish right out in the middle of the water with fish being taken on small black dries even on mild days. Plummers, G Buoy Rectory Bay and Long Bank are other good areas.The main line of attack for bank anglers and boat anglers is minkies on either a floater or slow sinker back up with a small Diawl Bach or nymphs on the dropper.Boats are still available for pike and trout fishing until 1 December.

forthcoming events
Fur & Feather – Sunday 8 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 1 December. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01480 810531 now to get your ticket tackle shop open winter hours for the tackle shop are Tuesday to Sunday inclusive 9.00am – 3.30 pm

Ardleigh Pike
Fishing at Ardleigh is going well with the bigger fish now putting in an appearance. Largest of the week goes to Tony Bundock from Tiptree with a 21lb specimen. Dead sea bait from the boats proved successful. Duncan Coltman and his son Tom had a number of double figure fish from Pine Point with the largest tipping the scales at 18lb. There have also been some good bags of roach and perch with Damian Curtis reporting that Pine Point has fished particularly well. Although match weights have only been around the 4-6lb range all anglers have caught and the matches have been closely fought competitions. The special mid-week offer of a boat and permit for just £15 for an individual or £20 for two anglers will continue until Christmas. Boats should be booked on 01206 230642

Barnsfold Water near Chipping Lancashire.
Fishing much better now due to water temperature cooling. Bob Wilkinson had a nice 8lb10oz rainbow on a sunk line with a small cats. quite a lot of tigers being caught between the 3-6lb bracket. still a few fish being caught on buzzers but mainly sunk line with small lures, ie cats, black & green and orange.

River Ribble
It's been a big river on several occasions which will do a world of good at this tme of the year, especially with all the leaves coming off the trees. Chub are the number one species at the moment with swim feeder rig and gentles being the top way of fishing. Several anglers catching eight to ten chub a session which is good fishing. Water Temperature on Sunday was 46 degrees F Barbel to 7-6-0 being caught Ribchester area well worth a visit if you're a member of Prince Albert AC Try the Post Office length

River Aire
The river over the past few days has been up several feet which is good news, hopefully it will continue to have a couple of feet of extra water for some time to come. Water temperature on Monday was 48 degrees F The Golf course length and downstream is the top area. This stretch of river is controlled by Keighley AC and Bradford NO I AA day tickets for Keighley water available from KL Tackle in Keighley at £2-00 a day Stephen Ainscow fished this stretch of river Keighley AC water catching vhub to 5-9-0 on cheese paste now thats a good chub from anywhere. I fished the river on Monday it looked excellent but I didn't catch pricked two fish missed three bites baits used bread crust, flake and cheese.

River Kennet
Barbel Society member John Found, sorted out the Kennet barbel on his latest visit. He started off with a barbel of 11.05, followed this up with a 10.00, a 10.05 and then a small one about 51/2. Brian Watson fishing near Newbury had five barbel between 6lbs and 9-4-0 all on boily baits. Brian also had a good chub of 5-2-0 on luncheon meat.
Fishing News 8th November

Still water fisheries

Barnsfold Water near Chipping in the shadow of Beacon Fell Fishing well now the water has cooled down, several double figure bags taken mostly by anglers fishing slime line with several fish in the 5-8lb bracket Buzzers still taking fish but most fish on small fry patterns try a small rudd fry or polystickle. Safe car parking,toilets and casting lessons are available. Telephone Frank or Richard 01995-61583

Rutland Water fish week 157 (season 47159) returns 110(14464) rod average 1.42 (3.26)

Season ticket holders John Wotherspoon from Stamford and Peterborough’s Brian Flack had a cracking day last Friday with ten fish up to 4lb, as did Cleethorpe anglers Ray Garrod and Jim McNally who recorded twelve fish.Ten year old Ben Farnsworth and his father John went out with senior warden John Seaton and recorded five fish, with Ben taking two fish, the best weighing 2lb 10oz.

Season ticket holder Simon Smith, from Glaston, had a superb conditioned 4lb 2oz Rainbow with ‘a tail like a shovel’, taken off Stockie Bay.Plenty of rainbows up to 6lb are being taken both from the bank and the boat. Boat anglers have caught around the Sailing Club to the Fishing Lodge area.

Bank anglers have caught well along the fishing lodge to East Creek and Sykes Lane to Whitwell Creek to the Mound. Fish are feeding heavily on fry, but buzzers have taken fish mainly on calm days. Prospects look excellent with plenty of fish about, including big ones, and feeding very well. best methods: bank anglers are using floating lines with fry patterns, minkies, floating fry, suspender minkies, humungus, cats whisker, black buzzer, diawl bach, pheasant tail. Boat anglers are using similar methods including anything from intermediate to Di 7 depending on weather conditions and gold and silver sparklers. best boat areas: New Zealand point to the Sailing Club, East Creek to Fishing Lodge Sykes Lane and bank areas: East Creek to the Church Bay. Sykes Lane to Whitwell Creek frontage to the mound, Barnhill Creek, Carrot Creek.competition news: The Winter Bank league runs until 23 November so why not come along next Saturday and have a go. Fishing is from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm – register at the lodge from 8.30 am forthcoming events: Fur & Feather – Sunday 1 December Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 24 November. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the ‘table’. Christmas meal follows match. Telephone 01780 686441 now to get your ticket

Ravensthorpe Reservoir fish week 260 (season 10898) returns 46 (2453) rod average 5.6 (4.44)

Fair weather, fabulous fishing, fine food – all of these combined to make Ravensthorpe’s annual Fur and Feather a fantastic day. 26 rods competed, bringing 112 fish to the scales (average 4.3). Most falling to sunk line and lure tactics with white and grey minkies the best patterns. There were plenty of fish near the causeway in the morning but a better average size of fish was to be found near the island 1st Peter Firth (Cambridge) 4 fish for 23lb 5½oz 2nd Tim Neal 6 fish for 23lb 2½o 3rd Rob Edmunds 6 fish for 19lb 4oz 4th Lee Henfrey 6 fish for 14lb 8oz

Boat number 13 proved lucky for Peter Firth who won the match and the Ravensthorpe Shield for the heaviest fish with a superb specimen weighing 14lb ½oz. All competitors agreed that this was the finest looking fish they had seen. It was probably part of Ravensthorpe’s pre season stocking from February. On any other day Tim Neal’s 11lb 5oz Rainbow would have secured the shield. The booby prize went to Graden Smith (sharing boat number 13), mainly for displaying enormous patience with his boat partner Peter Firth for a) taking 1½ hours to land his winning 14lb fish and b) for the subsequent photo shoot which left Graden only a couple of hours fishing time. The annual sweep was won again by ‘Mystique’ Mick Griffin. The first four rods in the match won Christmas hampers with all other competitors receiving a prize. Well done to junior rod Michael Andrew who beat half of the field with 5 fish for 10lb 8oz.The prize giving and post match meal were held at the Chequers, Ravensthorpe.Bank fishing has now improved with most weed beds gone. The bank clearance work allows for improved access and from now until the end of December bank fishing can be very productive with Ravensthorpe open to bank anglers until 31 December. Boat fishing finishes on 17 November.

Pitsford Water fish week 269 (season 14351) returns 96(5180) rod average 2.8 (2.7)

Pitsford is on excellent form with big fish and large bags being taken from all over the reservoir.With last Sunday’s gales water clarity has declined thus pushing fish close in to the margins. Fish are feeding on daphnia, corixa and hog louse, within a few feet of the bank. Many anglers walked away with 6 fish limit bags. Desborough’s trio of John Castledine, John Fletcher, and Bob Aves were among the best bags.Londoner Dave Jarvis, staying with his sister in Northampton, took 6 fish for over 16lb from a boat. Dave returned 4 other rainbows and 2 browns between 4lb – 5lb. The best rainbow of the week weighed 7lb 3oz and was taken by Tony McDonald of Smeeton Westerby, Leics.The best brown was caught by Nathan Midgley of Northampton. This fish weighed 6lb plus. Please note that all browns must now be returned.Boat fishing will continue 7 days a week until the end of November 9am – 4pm. This includes both trout and pike fishing. competition news: Brian Lloyd won last week’s Winter Bank league match with 3 fish for 9lb 4oz. Brian also took the best fish at 4lb 9oz. He fished a floating line with hare’s ear off Sermans.forthcoming events: Winter bank League – continues 10 and 17 November, 1 December.Fishing 9am to 1pm (register at the lodge from 8.30am). Top overall weight and best fish over the 4 weeks win Christmas hampers.Fur and Feather - Sunday 24 November. Ticket only – available from the fishing lodge until 17 November. Don’t miss this event. Christmas hampers to be won, plus prize for all from the table. Followed by hot meal at the White Swan, Holcot. Telephone 01604 781350 now to get your ticket.

Grafham Water Sunday 27 October, the day of the great storm, was a memorable day for Robert Allen. Undeterred by the gale force winds and struggling to cast against the elements Robert took a 6lb 1oz brown. The fish took a black meanie at first light on an intermediate line figure eight retrieve. Robert reports that "the wind was so strong I could hardly cast! It’s my first 5lb plus trout from Grafham so I’m overjoyed that I’ve now caught 5lb plus brownies from all four Anglian Waters. Many thanks to all the staff at Anglian Water for another superb season."Grafham continues to fish well with bank and boat anglers all taking fish on either small nymph patterns e.g. Diawl Bachs and corixa or fry patterns such as minkies from the areas around g buoy, Plummers, the Seat as well as the Harbour Arms with some good quality fish weighing around 4-5lb.Boats are still available for pike and trout fishing until 1 December.forthcoming events 8 December Fur and Feather – only a few places remaining. Book now to avoid disappointment.

coarse fishing Ardleigh The pike fishing has now really taken off with all boats successfully landing fish. Top of the list is regular Mick Scutter with six fish caught mid-week. The best three weighing in at 20lb, 18lb and 14lb. Mark Bullman also landed one of 14lb. The mild weather has also given a boost to the carp fishing. Chris Bundock from Colchester landed a common from Harveys Farm Bank which weighed 17.5lb. Whilst youngster Mark Garrard from Ardleigh also had a common from Noahs Ark of 11lb. Good mixed bags of roach, rudd and perch particularly from the Pine Point area, should make the forthcoming matches interesting and close competitions. Finally the recent beginner sessions once again proved popular and successful with all youngsters catching a wide variety of fish. The special mid-week offer of a boat and permit for just £15 for an individual or £20 for two anglers will continue until Christmas. Boats should be booked on 01206 230642

Pendle View Fishery Lancashire

The returns for both coarse and carp fishing have been poor, but they have improved this month. The exception has been the trout lake where returns have remained very good.

CARP MATCHES The fishery is one of the venues for the Nash Day Ticket competition and details are available on site. The leaderboard is now headed by Carl Gore with a 32lbs common. A series of open carp matches is now scheduled for the next few months. The first of the series took place on Friday/Saturday 25/26th October. Four fish were caught with more being lost during the twenty four hours. The first three places were filled by Dave Jackson with 17lbs 1oz, Dave Johnson with 16lbs 5 oz (lost three) and Craig Cocker with 10lbs 8oz. A prize will be awarded for the winner of the series. Matches will now commence between 2pm and 6pm. Details of dates are available on this board, if in doubt please contact Tracey for further information. Silver fish are now being caught in the main bay area, which indicates that they are moving back towards deeper water. The last club match was fished in atrocious conditions and was won from peg 14 with a weight of 3lbs 14oz.

TROUT LAKE Returns from the trout lake are still very good, and the only real complaint regards the amount of weed in the lake. To help combat the weed, two grass carp have been introduced. These carp are both about 12lbs and will take a fly so anglers have been warned. Fritz, Montanna and buzzer still continue to produce results. It is intended to keep the fly lake open throughout the winter for this year.

PROJECTS A program to reduce the silt level and improve water quality is scheduled for 5th and 6th November. This involves adding a chalk like compound and will result in the water looking white in colour for a few days.We anticipate starting our building work soon to improve our general facilities for fishermen. We will attempt to keep disruption levels down to a minimum. PARKING Whilst every effort is being made to provide more safe parking around the site the main lake we do insist that anglers park their cars off the road to ensure others can safely pass. Cars must not be parked on the perimeter of the trout lake, or on the grass. WINTER OPENING HOURS The fishery has now reverted to winter opening hours. This will mean the gates are open at 7am and locked at 9pm. These opening hours will remain until Spring 2003. Catering Times will remain unchanged.

River Fishing

On the rivers expect some good sport with the extra water. Salmon anglers on the Ribble and Hodder enjoyed good sport during the last week of the season which ended on October 31st Most of the fish caught were very red and hopefully they were all returned safely. With salmon returns low. Its a pity the EA couldn’t have ended the season a month early to allow these coloured fish to move up the river without distress. I fact I want fish for these fish until the returns are better. Coarse fishers on the Ribble have been catching some good barbel and chub. Pellets, boilies and meat baits are the successful ones. Many of the swims from Balderstone downstream to the Motorway bridge are proving the best. It seems the top area on the river for barbel is the water opposite Red Scare Wood There is an unconfirmed report of a 12lb barbel being caught on this stretch. A rare catch from the Ribble was a bream of 6lbs was caught from the big pool upstream of Ribchester bridge by an angler worm fishing. The Lancashire Calder is well worth a visit chub and small barbel being caught by anglers fishing with gentles or casters, float fishing and swim feeder rigs both work. Much of this water is controlled by Prince Albert AS also Hyndburn and Blackburn AA . Rivers Wharfe Ure and Swale are fishing quite good but as always not every swim produces fish. My advice is try a few swims, unless your sitting on a swim that you know from previous experience will likely produce. In Lincolnshire the river Bain in the Horncastle area is a water that often fishes well in winter with good size bream and chub. I am told this area can often provide good roach fishing.
A Day With The Albies 8th November - Martin James

White caps rolled over the bow and stern, it seemed as if the boat was rolling ninety degrees. Striping off some line I made one false cast then shot the line, dropping the fly sixty feet close to a swirling fish. Nothing ate my fly. Five casts later, still no hits. On my sixth cast, as I tried to stop myself going over the side in the rough swirling boiling white capped sea. I made three, foot long strips. A fish savagely hit the fly. The strip strike connected with something solid and moving fast. It felt how one imagines hooking a moving car would feel. Fly line and many yards of backing disappeared in a blur, I blinked twice then realised that all the fly line and a hundred yards of orange backing had gone. I was down to the last hundred yards of green backing. Tightening the drag, I palmed the spool, slowly the pressure started to tell. By this time I was on my knees, for security from going over the side in the rough sea. Ed firmly grabbed the back of my jacket to keep me steady.

Last May during a striper fishing trip to the New England state of Connecticut on the east coast of the United States Authors and ocean fly fishers Ed Mitchell and Dixon Merkt said " Martin, you must come back and fish for the Albies in October" Over the following weeks I kept getting E-mail's from Dixon, the message was always the same. Are you coming across to fish for the Albies? I decided the best way of celebrating my 65th birthday wasn’t with a party but trying to catch the albies as they are affectionately known. It has to be far better than having a party that only lasted a few hours.

False Albacore or the little tunny, is technically named Euthynnus alletteratus rafinesque an amazing fish. Its best described as being dark green or deep blue on top, silvery underneath with clearly marked waves on its upper back. The fish doesn’t have a swim bladder, it can also raise its body temperature some 20 degrees F above the ocean temperature. Like all of the tuna family its a tough fighter, though a lot smaller than it's more famous cousin the Blue fin tuna. Being a smooth skinned fish almost free of scales with fins designed to fold flat against the body and more muscular and backed by a heart that is huge in proportion to the body. As Ed Mitchell wrote in an issue of Saltwater Fly Fishing. A tuna’s caudal peduncle, the "wrist" of its tail is a narrow, rigid bridge fully able to transmit all that muscle power to the tail. And when it needs to, an albie can beat its boomerang shaped tail faster than a rock drummer can move his drumsticks during a head banging solo. In Connecticut, the Albies run from five to ten pounds but further down the coast at Harkers Island off the North Carolina coast anglers often catch fifteen pound fish. From my experience of fighting this species I reckon, should you hook up to a 20lb plus albie you would need a 12 weight rod and some 400 yards of backing in the hope of controlling and beating the beast. Its a tough fighter.

Both Dixon and Ed told me, "fifteen years ago the albies were treated as a trash fish until the ocean fly fishers arrived on the scene", today its a highly rated sports fish. Along the east coast of the United States where this species swims, its created good business for the locals. During October and November thousands of anglers travel from all corners of the United States to target the fish. Many trail their boats behind mobile homes costing several thousand dollars, homes fitted with freezers micro waves showers and all mod cons. Hotels and motels get booked up weeks in advance. Fishing guides, tackle stores, restaurants and gas stations do excellent business from the ocean fly fishers. Just think what it would do to the economy of many seaside towns in England if we designated our bass, a sports fish, then stopped the commercialisation and over fishing of this great ocean fighter. Bass swimming around the English coastline would be worth a hundred pounds or more a pound, not five pound a pound as a lump of fish on the fishmongers slabs. But then the American politicians realise that sports fishing is a multi million dollar business.

When you see False Albacore tearing into a shoal of anchovies or other bait fish your adrenaline goes sky high, Those bait fish don’t stand a chance, from above screaming gulls dive and pick them off, while below the surface cormorants, albies, blue fish and stripers rip them apart. Its an aquatic killing zone. For the fly fisher its like winning the pools, excitement is sky high. But be warned even though you can see dozens of fish in a feeding frenzy they will often ignore your offering. On my last trip, I had been catching fishing on a White rabbit pattern some inch and a half to two inches in length. Suddenly the fish moved off. Spotting another group of diving birds, Dixon open up the throttle we sped across the ocean to this new group of feeding fish. Fifty yards upwind of the feeding frenzy, Dixon cut the motor I stood in the bows ready to shoot line. Drifting to within casting range, I cast the white rabbit dropping it some two feet in front of a fast moving fish. It was ignored, my second, third and subsequent casts were all ignored. The fish didn’t want to eat my offering.

An hour or so later as we drifted with the current having lunch I looked into the clear water where I spotted a huge shoal of anchovy’s about an inch in length, pointing out the bait fish to Dixon I said "Look at all those bait fish, perhaps our white rabbits are too big and not the right profile?. We scanned our fly boxes looking for something to imitate those tiny anchovy’s. I didn’t have anything, but Dixon a highly skilled ocean fly fisher had a small anchovy pattern that resembled the bait fish perfectly. The next group of albies we found, I hooked up to three fish in three chucks on the new pattern. One important thing I have found in all my ocean fish experience is, the fly size, pattern and profile has to be similar to the bait fish.

My trip as usual started from Manchester with a flight to Philadelphia then on to Bradley International where Dixon’s friend Judge Antonio Robaina picked me up, as we drove to the delightful but wealthy town of Old Lyme Tony told me all about his experiences of fly fishing for the albies. We spent the evening at the home of Attorney at Law John Donovan where we discussed saltwater fly fishing, and the problems associated with this sport especially the weather conditions. It was getting on for midnight when I arrived at my motel I was full of excitement at the thought of tomorrow's fishing.

My first day chasing Albies dawned bright, sunny, icy cold with a strong twenty five knot wind blowing out of the north east. I dressed accordingly, apart from my fleece trousers, shirt and smock I also wore next to my skin, some long pants and vest designed for mountaineering in a very cold climate. In fact I was dressed as if I was dog sledding in the snowy wastes of northern Sweden. Arriving at the boat dock on the Lower Connecticut river at Old Lyme, I was greeted by Dixon and Ed Mitchell. Handing down my equipment to Ed I said "What are our chances"? Ed said it looks good. Dixon was making his twenty foot centre console Aquasport ready for sea. After storing my cameras and tape recorder in the water proof compartment I assembled two fly rods, a Thomas and Thomas SC model nine foot nine weight with a Rio Versitip slow sink line, I attached two feet of fifty pound butt tippet to the fly line with a nail knot then tied in five feet of tapered leader with a twelve pound tippet, I then stowed the rod safely away.

My second rod was a nine foot ten weight Thomas and Thomas Horizon model a faster action rod than the SC. On the advice of Ed I matched the rod with a Teeny four fifty grain shooting head with a six foot leader. This outfit was made up in case the fish were feeding in deep water. I then stowed this rod away. Dixon finished off the last few jobs, then checked all the instruments were in working order. Ed a highly experienced saltwater fly fisher and Professor of photography discussed the prospects for the day ahead which sounded good. Ed has written for several magazines including Fly Fishing in Saltwater and Saltwater Fly Fishing both magazines I can highly recommend. In 1995 Ed had his first book published Fly Rodding The Coast published by Stackpole books, his second book from Stackpole was titled Fly-Fishing the Saltwater Shoreline. I can highly recommended both books.

It was probable around eight am when we moved slowly down the Lower Connecticut river then under the railway bridge to the open water and the Eastern Long Island Sound. Passing a couple of anglers fishing for blue fish, another fine sporting quarry for the angler. On my port side we passed a big marsh a favourite haunt for duck hunters, as we passed I heard he sound of two shots in quick succession. No doubt another sportsmen hopefully having success. Once in the sound Dixon opened up the throttle we picking up speed bumping our way for several miles to "Rocky Point" at the eastern end of Long Island. Passing several light houses on the way. There are probably more light houses along the New England coast than any other place in the world. The name "Rocky Point" was certainly well chosen, I glimpsed rocks just under the surface as big as a bungalow, others were the size of a mini car. Thankfully Dixon was a fine and skilled seaman, having sailed ocean yachts with the New York Yacht club. As were drew closer to "Rocky Point" we could see dozens of diving birds, getting even closer I could see feeding and swirling albies attacking the bait fish on the surface.

Dixon and Ed both said in unison "Get ready Martin your first to cast a line" I pulled out my nine weight tied on a White bunny that Dixon handed me. The throttle was cut back, we drifted closer the rocks. White caps rolled over the bow and stern, it seemed as if the boat was rolling ninety degrees. Striping off some line I made one false cast then shot the line, dropping the fly sixty feet close to a swirling fish. Nothing ate my fly. Five casts later, still no hits. On my sixth cast, as I tried to stop myself going over the side in the rough swirling boiling white capped sea. I made three, foot long strips. A fish savagely hit the fly. The strip strike connected with something solid and moving fast. It felt how one imagines hooking a moving car would feel. Fly line and many yards of backing disappeared in a blur, I blinked twice then realised that all the fly line and a hundred yards of orange backing had gone. I was down to the last hundred yards of green backing. Tightening the drag, I palmed the spool, slowly the pressure started to tell. By this time I was on my knees, for security from going over the side in the rough sea. Ed firmly grabbed the back of my jacket to keep me steady.

I fought that fish like I have never fought a fish before, even the blue sharks never gave me a scrap like this albie, slowly I got back some hard fought for line on the reel. First the green backing, then the orange line was coming through the guides. It was a long give and take fight, many times the rod tip was hooped over pulled down under the water. I could feel the corks bending under the strain. This was one heck of a fight. I don’t know who was more beaten me or the fish. Fifteen, twenty feet down in the icy cold water the fish made it a real slogging match. It was a slow pumping job trying to get the fish up to the surface. Inch by inch I won back the line getting the fish nearer the surface. Then with three or four more lifts the fish wallowed on the surface. It looked magnificent, but I was well and truly beaten. It had been a tough scrap. My arms and hands ached. Dixon bent over the gunwale then lifted my first albie from the ocean. After a quick picture the fish was returned. These fish are not held in the water so they regain their strength, you throw them back into the ocean from several feet above the water so the fish plunges head first into the briny.

There was no rest, I was instructed to target then cast to another fish, Within seconds of casting I had a hook up, line was peeling off the reel. I was fast into another hard fighting albie. Again it was another long hard slogging fight with give and take for several minutes. As I fought this fish I said to myself "Why do the Americans have so many hard fighting fish" With salmon an endangered species in many areas I would say "Go chase the albies" After another tough fight Dixon bent over the gunwale then lifted another fish skywards, slipping out the barbless hook he then plunged the fish back so it could continue feeding on the bait fish.

During the day the wind abated, by early afternoon it was flat calm. Fish and birds were still hammering the bait fish, but no longer were those albies feeding on two inch bait fish. The albies had switched to anchovy’s about an inch in length. I quickly tied on a small anchovy pattern that Dixon had given me. He said "I tie lots of these flies during the winter months". The anchovy pattern was most lifelike, with its small epoxy head and translucent body. In fact it looks very much like a minnow. I will certainly be trying some of these patterns next season for some big river brown trout. I hooked up with several more albies including what was described as an excellent fish. Dixon weighed it in at 9lbs on his BogaGrip, a quick picture was taken before the fish was plunged head first into the ocean. Dixon then said "Lets go and find some more feeding fish". We slowly motored off eastwards towards "Orient Point" where small groups of birds were diving. I caught a small blue fish and one albie . Suddenly the birds were gone all was silent.

Still moving eastwards we found a few birds feeding in an area known as the "Gut" where the "Teapot" light house is situated. After a couple of casts, I hooked up to another albie which once more gave me a good fight. After unhooking this fish we scanned the horizon for more feeding fish. There wasn’t a single bird or swirling fish. Dixon said "Lets go and see what's on the eastern shore of Plum Island", just off the light house we were greeted by dozens of diving birds, swirling bait fish and albies. Ed and myself both chose a target fish, cast some sixty feet, due to my position in the boat had to shoot on the back cast. Immediately we both had hook ups. My fish broke off but Ed landed an excellent fish of seven pounds or so. With the light fading we slowly made our way back to the boat dock it had been an excellent days sports fishing. Captain Dixon Merkt is a licensed guide who has tremendous knowledge of the ocean, weather conditions, fish and wildlife. Some of his published works cover the history and use of duck and fish decoys along the New England coastline. If you fancy a day afloat with Dixon you can contact him at P.O. Box 994 Lyme, CT 06371 USA or telephone 001-860-227-3616

Anglers Mail 8th November

This weekly angling magazine now has a barbel fishing section, interest in this species grows week by week. In the November 2nd edition there are lots of big fish featured John Pawlowski of Stoke-on-Trent is pictured with a Kennet barbel of 14-8-0 on page 5 there are pictures of 3 7lb plus chub 2 from the Ribble and 1 from the Hampshire Avon. On the same page there is a picture of Jason Messenger with a 39-4-0 pike. If roach are your favourite fish take a look at pages 6 and 7 There are several pages where you can check on your favourite fresh and saltwater fishing venues. At only £1-00 its a good read.

It Was Great On The River 22nd October

Tuesday 22nd October was perfect for chub and barbel fishing on the river Ribble, in fact conditions couldn't have been better. The river had dropped over night, but it still had 3 feet on the gauge at Grindleton Lancashire. The water temperature was 51degrees F I decided to grab a few hours fishing further down river despite having gear to pack for my trip to Connecticut tomorrow.

I made up 2 identical rods, both Avon action with Mitchell 300 reels, 8lb line with size 4 barbless hooks, my baits were bread crust, flake and cheese paste. I had a good selection of swims to choose from with only one other angler who was fishing the bottom of the beat.

I chose a 3 foot deep swim close to the bank a few yards downstream of an old tree trunk, The water was flowing quite steady. I baited with a large bit of cheese paste which I dropped some ten feet downstream of the rod tip.

Within seconds the tip pulled round, the strike connected with a good fish which used the current to its advantage It was some 4 or 5 minutes before I pulled the fish over the landing net. A super chub which weighed 5-2-0.

Rebaiting with another chunk of cheese paste I dropped it into roughly the same spot, immediately the tip was pulled round rather savagely, the answering strike connected with a good fish which powered off into the fast flow. The Avon rod was really hooped over. The fish stayed deep and I had visions of a huge chub then thought, No its probably a barbel, after many minutes I dragged a good size barbel into the landing net. Then punched the air saying "Yes" The fish weighed 8-10-0 I was a happy angler. 2 bites and 2 good fish.

My next 2 casts accounted for two more chub 4-14-0 and 5-4-0 I then had a quieter spell and decided to move swims. I fished for half an hour with no bites, then moved back to the first swim. Immediately I had a good pull another barbel 5-0-0 which was quickly followed by another barbel of 5-6-0. I decided it was time to use my second rod. Pinching on 2 LG shot some six inches from the hook I baited with a chunk of breadcrust.Casting out to the edge of the faster water, the rod tip pulled round, as the bait was washed in toward the bank. The tip slackened off, there was just a slight pressure showing on the tip. I sat beside one of my favourite rivers feeling quite relaxed knowing tomorrow I would be heading off for another fly fishing adventure. The crust baited rod tip pulled round I connected with a nice fish a chub which gave a good scrap and weighed in at 5-7-0. In the next two hours with the water dropping and clearing slightly I had 7 more chub which included another five pounder 5-1-0.If you have some spare time this week, get out on your local river and enjoy some good fishing. Stillwater's and canals countrywide should all provide good sport with the higher water temperatures.


Fishing Reports 21st October

The main event at Rutland Water last week was the autumn pairs held on Saturday. Fishery Manager Jon Marshall said “It was an excellent competition with plenty of fish in perfect condition, 36 anglers caught 111 trout. Rutland Water warden Nigel Savage took five fish for 15lb 4½oz, the two best fish (rainbows) weighed 3lb 12oz apiece. When this competition was established a few years ago it was called the ‘Bailiffs Pairs’ and it was the fishery staff and instructors*, who came away with quite a few of the prizes on the day!”

Non rudder section

1st Dave Doherty* & Lindsay Barrie 9 fish for 20lb 13oz

2nd Nigel Savage* & John Seaton* 5 fish for 15lb 4½oz

3rd Bill Presgrave & John Eaton 8 fish for 13lb 15½oz

4th Mark Haycock & Dave Haycock 7 fish for 12lb ½oz

Rudder section

1st Phil Brown* & Mark Turner * 16 fish for 30lb 1½oz

2nd Mike Barratt & John Mees* 9 fish for 15lb ½oz

3rd Nathan Clayton* & Warren Scott 7 fish for 13lb 2¾oz

4th Chris Healey & Alan Beech 6 fish for 11lb 13oz

Nigel Savage took the biggest rainbow of the match (3lb 12oz) and MarkTurner took the biggest brown (2lb 9oz). Fisheries manager Jon Marshall and Senior Warden John Seaton presented the prizes, including a range of tackle. A bottle of whisky went to the captors of the best rainbow and brown. The best rainbow of the week (4lb 8oz) fell to K Hodgkinson of Nottingham. The biggest fish are around the shoreline, feeding heavily on fry with roach to two inches and perch up to four inches. best rainbow 4lb 8oz taken by K Hodgkinson of Nottingham best boat areas Gibbets Gorse, yellowstone, East Creek, Fishing Lodge frontage, Sykes Lane, New Zealand point, Armley Wood to the bank areas Fishing Lodge to East Creek, Whitwell Front, Barnhill Creek, New Zealand point, Normanton, Old Hall, Green Bank best methods Bank anglers - floating line with minkies, floating fry, suspender minkies, black tadpole, diawl bach, hares ear, black buzzer. Boat anglers – similar methods to bank anglers but with gold and silver sparklers on sinking lines.

Grafham Water The quality fishing at Grafham Water continues with anglers consistently catching fish in the 3-4lb bracket. This quality shone through in the results of the second annual rudder match held on Sunday with 33 anglers braving near torrential rain, along with flat calm conditions – the worst conditions for rudder fishing! The best brace in each bag counted. Junior angler Joel Bilner, 11, beat the adults to take the best brown, a cracking 3lb 2oz specimen. Rutland angler Ken Meriden partnered Anglian Water’s senior warden at Rutland John Seaton into first place and Ken’s pristine rainbow of 4lb 10oz was the biggest fish of the day.

1st Ken Meriden and John Seaton 7lb 12½oz

2nd Clive Morgan and Simon King 7lb 2oz

3rd Phil Tomlin and Jim Watt 6lb 8oz

4th Joel Bilner and Mark Andrews 6lb 7oz best rainbow 5b 1oz taken by Mike Sexton of London on a minkie from L Buoy best brown 4lb 12oz taken by Michael Love of Bedford from Savages on a fry pattern best boat areas: Gaynes cove, Plummers, front of lodge and L and H buoys, Seat and Sludge bank areas: Gaynes Cove, Plummers, front of lodge and L and H buoys, Seat and Sludge Bank mid-week boat winner: Steve Marshall of Royston, Herts best methods Floating and intermediate lines with corixa, Minkies, fry patterns, and Diawl Bachs. Fast sinking lines with tubes.

forthcoming events 27 October Open Lure pike fishing championship 2nd

November winter bank league 8 December Fur and Feather – only a few places

remaining. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Pitsford Water Two 6lb 8oz Browns beat a 6lb rainbow into third place

An excellent week at Pitsford, the two best fish were browns of 6lb 8oz. One fell to Pete Eales of Smeeton Westerby, and the other was returned to the water by David Marchant of Northampton. Both anglers used white lures and sinking lines from a boat. The best Rainbow was taken by season ticket holder Colin Faulkner, of Moulton, Northampton, who caught a 6lb rainbow on a black buzzer and floating line from the bank on Duffers Reach.

Favourite methods are white lures on slow to medium sinkers, or for the rudder men, tube flies on medium or fast sinkers. The flies need to be moved fairly fast, both to interest the fish and to keep them at the correct feeding depth which seems to be 2-4 feet. The fish are still feeding heavily on the prolific green daphnia. Best boat area by far is the Narrows.

Best methods for bank anglers are small lures on intermediate and slow sinkers, or small buzzers on floaters. The best bank area generally, wind permitting, has been the Stone Barn rainbow: 6lb taken by season ticket holder Colin Faulkner best brown two 6lb 8oz browns one taken by Peter Eales of Smeeton Westerby, Leics, and the other taken by David Marchant of Northampton best boat areas: the Narrows best bank areas: Stone Barn mid-week boat winner: Mr M Felgate of Watford Brian Mead, of Bozeat, won the Sunday morning boat league match on 13 October. Brian took two fish for 4lb 2oz. Martin Watson from Tyneside won the match on 20 October with three fish for 8lb 13oz, which included the best fish of the morning at 3lb 10oz.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Ravensthorpe has rocketed to success this week with a rod average of 8.56. “Incredible sport – it was a fish a chuck”, commented Tony Lee and Ken Matcham who took top spot at the weekend. They boated 35 fish to 8lb on orange fritz and HiD 3’s in the main bowl. Ken took the best rainbow of the week weighing 8lb. Dick Haynes, of East Haddon, Northampton, enjoyed super sport taking 13 fish on Saturday and 24 on Sunday. Dick fished the Coton shallows with his now famous and very successful ‘half a chicken lure’. Dick’s best rainbow weighed 6lb 2oz and his best brown 4lb 1oz. Other notable catches included Neil Freeman and Dave Adams who fished black frogs and orange fritz on slimes to take their 34 fish in a morning session on Sunday. In contrast Graden Smith (Chatteris) and John Caldwell (St Ives) tempted their 25 fish on orange cheeked P.T.N’s and buzzer rainbow:8lb taken by Ken Matcham of Kettering with orange fritz on a Hi D3 best brown 4lb taken by Dick Haynes of East Haddon best boat areas: all areas best bank areas: Domes mid-week boat winner: Dick Haynes of East Haddon forthcoming events annual Fur and Feather on November 3rd is now fully subscribed. Anglers who have booked to fish this competition are asked to telephone the lodge on 01604 770875 to confirm their place.

Coarse fishing Ardleigh With the bream fishing coming to an end attention has now switched to the pike. Both boat and bank anglers have enjoyed good numbers of pike although no real ‘biggies’ have been reported this week. Stephen Smith landed three fish from the boats, all under 10lb, but Clive Baldwin had three fish ranging from 8 – 12lb from the bank. Alan Baker managed to land a 10lb specimen from the bank at Noahs Ark using deadbait. Non predator anglers have had a good run of roach and perch for several weeks now, making the matches very close affairs with most anglers in with a chance and very few blanks. Several fish over the lb mark have added interest to the matches. There are still a few places for the youngsters ‘learn to fish’ day on Saturday 26 October. Cost is just £5 including bait and tackle. Further details on 01206 230642.

Barnsfold Water Chipping Lancashire Fishing is now picking up after the cold weather anglers catching on buzzers and lures Cats whiskers, also black and green fritz. Jackie Wilson had 14 fish to 5lbs, James Johnson had the best fish of the week at 8lbs 2 ounces on a small black/green fritz Bob Cooper had 6 fish including a nice triploid further details telephone 01995 61583

Bank High Rivers 21st October

According to the long range weather forecast on Sunday, a lot of rain was forecast this week, something our rivers desperately need. Today Monday the rain has come, the gauge on the bridge at Grindleton around 12 noon was giving a reading for the river Ribble of 5’8" The rivers Hodder, Calder, Lune, Wyre, Aire and Wharfe all have extra water. If the wind goes to the south or Southwest you can expect a rise in the water temperature with some great fishing on our rivers, still waters and canals countrywide. Lets hope we get lots of rain this autumn and winter to keep our rivers and streams flowing, which will help dilute all the rubbish that gets into our river and streams from the surrounding fields and roads.

Be Prepared For Low Water Temperatures 21st October

A thermometer will help you catch more fish. When the water temperature goes below 39.9 degrees F everything in the aquatic environment changes. Insects move more slowly or not at all, fish seek the slower water and take longer to digest their food, also they don’t chase baits. Fish are often a lot harder to catch when the temperature drops. Yes, fishing rivers in winter can be excellent, but you have to know where to put the bait. Remember the water temperature in rivers doesn’t change more than a degree. The current is always mixing the water six feet or sixteen the temperature is the same. On the river Aire there are many swim where you have a depth of fifteen to twenty feet and others of five feet. When I take the water temperature, I don’t see a difference between the depths.

If the country is covered by a high pressure zone with frosts at night, followed by bright sunny days. Then your fishing is often going to be tough, even tougher if the rivers are low and gin clear When I am faced with these conditions, my fishing takes place during the last couple of hours of daylight then an hour into darkness. Often I don’t get a fish until the last ten minutes of daylight. Tackle choice is simple, Avon action rod, fixed spool or centre pin reel with line breaking strain of three to six pounds depending on the fish I am seeking. For roach and similar size species I use three pound breaking strain line, but when seeking chub my usual winter quarry I use six pound line. If I have a rare winter barbel fishing session I choose ten pound line.

My baits choice in cold water conditions is quite simple, its bread crust or flake perhaps sweet corn or cheese. The first two baits have accounted for a lot of big chub, roach and bream. Without a shadow of a doubt, crust fished on a short two inch link is my number one choice, which has accounted for many big fish. I started using crust on the Medway, Beult, Thames, Stour and Kennet many years ago because it was so successful. When I started using crust in the days of bamboo rods, I used a bored bullet as the weight, stopped four to fifteen inches from the hook by a split shot. the distance between weight and hook depended on the water temperature. Today I usually just pinch on an LG two inches from the hook. You will no doubt have read many articles in the angling press, where the writer tells you the reader, "You will only get tiny movements on the rod tip in cold water conditions". Its not true of all bites or waters. Even when the temperature has been down to 34 degrees farenheight, I've usually had good bite indication, as many of my listeners and readers can testify. If I find the bites difficult to hit I switch to a dough bobbin indicator. Fishing bread flake, cheese or sweet corn I use a hook link of about six inches. In cold weather conditions, don’t chuck in lots of ground bait, all I use are two or three hook size bits of bait. My advice is, don’t use any ground bait unless the water temperature has been very low for several days then only if your feel it will help.

At The Waters Edge programme on BBC Radio Lancashire Thursday at 7-30pm Saturday at 6-00 am was recorded in northern Alberta during a fishing trip to Colin Lake with Mikisew Sports fishing. You can also listen to my programme on the Internet then click on sport. On the right hand side of the screen there is a drop down menu click on fishing then click on GO.


It's Another Week In Paradise 21st October

During October 2002 I become eligible for my bus pass, something I don’t think I will use often, perhaps I can trade it in for an airline pass. Now that would be a very useful thing to have. Last May I was in Connecticut fishing with Ed Mitchell Author of Fly Rodding The Coast and Fly Fishing The Saltwater Shoreline Published by Stackpole books. As we fished from Dixon Merks boat for stripers and bluefish. Dixon and Ed told me about the Albies as the False Albacore is affectionately known. During the days spent together they both said on numerous occasions. "You must come back again in October Martin and fish for the Albies"

Wednesday will see me in Connecticut on the east coast of America fly fishing for the famed False Albacore, a member of the tuna family, its a fish without a swim bladder, it can reach speeds of 40 miles an hour. Unlike most fish it can raise its body temperature some 20 degrees farenheight above the surrounding ocean temperature. This fish is a fighter that might take some 200 yards of line from your reel, I will make sure there is plenty of backing on my reels. I am taking my Thomas and Thomas nine and ten weight rods, My lines will be intermediate and Teeny 450 grain shooting lines. This fishing demands quick, accurate and spot on casting. You can read all about my adventures on my return.

Remember the item ‘We Do Get Value For Money’ I paid a visit to the river Aire last week, it was nice to see the EA have made the Keighley golf course remove the dumped soil. It does pay to complain, remember calling the EA is very simple. Its a free phone number 0800-80-70-60 Last week Mike Osborne from Cumbria joined me for a days fishing on the river Aire, we chose the golf course length, despite the tough conditions Mike had chub to just over 5lbs fishing bread flake bait. David the owner of KL Tackle in Keighley tells me the Keighley A.C. stretch of water downstream of the golf course is fishing extremely well with some good bream being caught. If your interested in catching some good size pike this stretch of river is certainly worth a visit. For the rest of the year Keighley A.C club cards are just £10-0 or day tickets at £2-00 Telephone David or Les at KL Tackle on 01535 667574

Talking with Dennis Freeman last week he told me "Keighley AC membership cards will cost just £20-00 in 2003, we have held this price for the past ten years" I have been a member for several years, its certainly excellent value for money. Forget all those who say "Fishing on the river Aire isn’t worth the effort" It offers good chub, bream and pike fishing with the chance if your lucky of a good size roach, perch or trout. I have taken many anglers to fish the Aire who have caught their personal best fish. This isn’t a water where you go to catch a lot of small fish. I would rather catch a brace of four pound chub or a brace of five pound bream than twenty pound size fish unless they are roach. I have no interest in catching the little fish. I want them to grow into big ones.

David Hallett has been catching some good fish this season from the river Kennet in Berkshire. He writes I have got hair rigging maggots down to a fine art now and can usually get them to stick on the hair rather than my fingers! Yesterday I decided to bait with red maggots for a change, having received an E-mail from one of my syndicate members saying they were doing the business. I started fishing at 10.40 and within ten minutes had a nine pound barbel in my landing net. A lovely fish but it had me worried, usually when I get a fish that quickly that's my lot. But not yesterday. I lost an even better fish at the net about an hour later and then had a smaller fish, about five pounds at about 12.30. At 1.40 I had my second double of the season at 10.11 followed by three more between five and eight pounds through the afternoon. At about 6.40 on my last cast of the day I had another double 10.15 it was a personal best from my fishery and in perfect condition. Total weight for seven fish fifty-five pounds, average per fish just under eight. My best barbel fishing day ever. Well done David it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person and in the year you collect your bus pass.

Visit Alberta For Some Wonderful Fly Fishing PART ONE

The size 12 Stimulator drifted ten yards before disappearing in a swirl of water, The answering strike connected with another Bow river brown trout that made a long powerful run downstream, After some minutes the barbless hook was slipped from the mouth of a fish weighing some two pounds. A small one by Bow river standards. Its a shallow wide river which is why it's a great dry fly river. It can be quite windy so I would advise a nine foot six weight rod. Even a seven weight rod might prove useful. This was the third fish in five drifts. Overhead, skeins of geese along with small flights of duck were moving south for the winter. This was fly fishing as good as it gets anywhere in the world.

A hooded merganser scuttled away as the Mackenzie type drift boat floated downstream. Dead pines washed away by the spring floods were piled up and wedged into grotesque shapes like a petrified forest. Green pines lay at various angles over the water like an octopuses tentacles ready to catch any badly cast fly. The Bow river in September flowed between snow capped mountains. In places the river narrowed to barely a boats width. Ravens squawked in the pines. The odd osprey passed over head. What a delightful place to visit. That’s the Alberta Bow River.

It all started during a conversation with Becky Adley and Kate Burgess of Travel Alberta. When Kate said "Would you like to take your take your program At The Waters Edge to Alberta Canada and record a program about the fly fishing available."? naturally my answer was "yes" Its interesting to note, that in the Province of Alberta, there are big tracts of wilderness where human beings still play second fiddle to the wildlife. The five national and sixty six provincial parks contain a healthy population of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, bears, wolves, bison and woodland caribou. Alberta, is a mixture of prairie, boreal forest and mountains. It contains some three hundred bird species, ninety mammals, fifty species of fish big and small with one thousand seven hundred flowering plants. It certainly sounded good. Why not take a look at the Travel Alberta Web site,

A few days later Becky called to say we have got you and your colleague John booked on a flight with Canadian Affair a charter company that specialises in flights from both Gatwick and Manchester to Calgary. The itinerary Becky sent me a week or so later, was certainly an interesting one. It included a visit to the Bow river, Jasper National park, Edmonton and northern Alberta where we would fish some lakes for lake trout and pike. Our accommodation would be a log cabin with just bears, Indians and perhaps a couple of good looking squaws as company. We could at least dream.

Arriving in Calgary Alberta. I was feeling rather tired after the long flight from the UK thankfully wheelchair assistance was available. My multiple sclerosis really does cause me problems when flying, we then collected a hire car, with John doing the driving, after navigating our way out of town we had pleasant drive to the town of Canmore about an hour from Calgary airport.


What a delightful place the Town of Canmore is, Set in the Bow Valley amid the rugged majesty of the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies, yet astride a major

transportation corridor, Canmore is a community with a vision based on the conviction that environmental sensitivity & economic sustain-ability can be reconciled. Following its founding in 1883, Canmore served both as a railway division point and mining town. When the last coal mine closed in 1979, it was clear the community's economic viability would turn to rely on the developing tourism industry. In 1965, the Town of Canmore was formally incorporated with an elected mayor & council. Today, Canmore is the administrative centre for government services in the Bow Corridor and has a present population of 9900 and growing! No way could you imagine this was a copal mining town Its such a beautiful place. We certainly enjoyed this delightful ex mining town and fishing the world famous Bow river.

One of the worlds great fly fishing venues

The Bow River - Featuring some 50 odd miles of excellent fly-fishing water which starts in the Banff area. Its resembles a giant size chalk stream with faster water and lush vegetation with a tremendous head of aquatic life which allows the Bow river trout to grow big, with the opportunity to catch large wild browns, Perhaps eight pounds and of course big rainbow trout. Heavy caddis and mayfly hatches allow for spectacular dry fly- fishing. Fishing can take place from drift boats but wading is the norm. July is an excellent month for the green drake hatch according to Jamaica born John Samms of The Green Drake fly shop in Canmore, What a delightful friendly and knowledgeable guy John is. He certainly knows the river and its fishing. If its a guide you want, then choose John. E-mail John One thing you will see on the river are the delightful beavers.

Another good time to visit is September, Its also the hopper season, So grasshoppers and caddis patterns are the usual fare. A San Juan Worm can often be a productive pattern along with Black and Brown Woolly buggers. Fishing streamers after dusk can often produce some big fish. Your guide will probably have all the flies you need. But its always nice to have some patterns in your fly box. I would certainly have had some size 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, size 12-18 Parachute Adams, Parachute Hopper, size 16-18 Pheasant Tail nymphs and Stimulators 10's to 14's. But as stated the guide should have it all.


Jasper National Park

Not to be missed is the drive through the Jasper National Park to the town of Jasper, My view was the very same view that struck awe in the railway workers, miners, explorers and Swiss guides who criss-crossed these valleys in the late 1800s. Today, you can follow their footsteps or blaze a new trail. Because they have left lots of the park alone, only the Town of Jasper has changed where it will be enjoyed by any fly fishers family, Its for all the family to enjoy. It's where I met Krista Roger of Jasper Tourism and commerce. What a kind, knowledgeable, efficient and helpful lady she was. Jasper gets its name from two small trading posts. One of these posts was under the charge of Japer Haws, A Northwest Trading Company clerk. In 1817 he gave his name to this post, which first become "Jasper's House" and finally "Jasper House". This name was also given to the community around the post and eventually to the National Park.

Many people told me Jasper National Park is how national parks were meant to be, before traffic jams and tour buses took over. Its situated three and a half hours west of Edmonton or three hours north of Banff. You wan’t end up wondering what it must have been like 100 years ago. Because, apart from tarmac road and the other tourists, it’s still exactly like it was.

Revered as the largest tract of wilderness in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park has earned its reputation by claiming the most extensive back country trail system in any Canadian park. Plus its less developed. An absolute haven for wildlife. Elk, moose, mountain goats, woodland caribou, lynx, cougars, bears, coyotes and some 248 species of birds have been recorded in Jasper, at various times of the year.

After a day and night in Jasper we had an interesting four hour drive up to Edmonton passing numerous oil wells on the way. Edmonton is a bustling city of hotels, skyscrapers, night clubs and a huge shopping mall. The latter I was told is the worlds biggest, where you can take a submarine trip and see dolphins. After a good nights sleep and breakfast we spent the next day with Wayne Miller of Birds and Backcountry, this included seeing several big bison from a distance of just a few feet and dinner cooked to perfection in the wilderness back country.

Visit Alberta For Some Wonderful Fly Fishing PART TWO

A Bald Eagle sits sentinel like, at the top of a dead tree. The sun was shining down from a gap in the clouds, piercing deep into the clear water. A strong breeze ruffles the surface of the lake. bait size fish have sought sanctuary in a dense weed bed. Nothing moves, except the boat as it moves slowly through the water, The only shade is from my long peaked cap, Optilabs polarised sunglasses help my eyes to seek and search deep into the dazzling shimmering water.

I blink, then squint, can it be, or is it a shadow, I squint again. Yes there it is, I spot a fin movement, Then a tail moves slightly. My squinting blinking eyes move slowly up the length of a fish it must be forty five inches long. I gasp! My heart beats a little faster. Its a big one. perspiration rolls off my forehead, into my eyes stinging as it does so, despite the cold wind. My hands shake a little, I start to feel nervous.

My brain goes into over drive, yes I have one. Its like a computer as I work out the angle of the cast, the distance to target. I aerelise ten yards of line, I need another five. I pull this off the reel quickly all the time keeping my eyes on the big one. I’m the hunter, The hunted is a fish that goes back a few million years. It weighs twenty pounds plus Its there for catching, If I don't make a mistake.

The fish is moving ever so slowly away, I only have one chance. I shoot line to land the fly at the interception point which is two feet to the left and a foot in front of the quarry. My cast is spot on. The fly lands with a plop hardly breaking the water surface. The fish moves its head slightly then slowly turns. This is the moment I have been waiting for as I twitch the line to impart life into the fly. A fly that was created in Northern Canada. Its tied up on a 3/0 Partridge hook using Polar bear hair and a few strands of crystal flash. It’s some six inches long and comes alive in the water when retrieved.

Slowly I take in six inches of line, The pike's off the starting blocks moving fast towards the fly, creating a bow wave as it does so. I give a quick three inches pull, The fly has really come alive the big one can't resist it, then hurls herself at the fly. You see a huge head appear the fly has gone there’s a rocking of water, a big swirl. I strip strike on feeling the fish, then strike sideways as hard as I dare. Her speed and momentum carry her skywards like a Polaris missile. Its head shaking, gills flared. For a second, perhaps two I stood spellbound watching twenty pounds plus of fighting fury crash back into the water, its like an explosion as the water erupts. The ever increasing circles go out over the bay. A water bird screams in disgust at having been interrupted from its peaceful slumbers. The tip of my nine weight Thomas and Thomas rod is savagely pulled down to the water, The reel screams likes a scolded cat or demented demon. Fly line disappears in a blur. This is fishing as goods it gets.

My mate John and I had come to Fort McMurray in northern Alberta. A bustling, booming oil town, they say there is as much oil in the sands of Alberta as in the Middle East. Huge powerful steam pumps are used to force the oil from the sand, sand and soil are replaced, the whole area is then planted with trees. Insects and wildlife follow, in some areas the moose are back. Our final destination was Colin Lake three hundred miles further north. Allan Proulx and Tim Gillies of Air Mikisew / Mikisew Sports fishing were our hosts, what great company these two guys were. Though I did worry about their health. They had a tremendous work rate, it seemed as if they didn’t stop more than five minutes in any day. Allan and Tim worked hard to ensure that John myself along with the four Canadian anglers father and son Roy and Dan Bamber, Rick Wright and Glen Shaw would have a good time We were the last group of anglers to fish Colin Lake before it closed down for the winter months. We booked ourselves a room for the night in the Quality Hotel in Gregoire Drive just a short distance from the airport. The price was right. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, even storing some of our equipment we wouldn’t need at our next destination.

Mikisew Sport Fishing have three other lakes Charles, Cornwall and Ryan in this northern wilderness area of the Canadian Shield. Where the only sounds you are likely to hear are the cry of the Bald Eagle, the call of the Loon, Osprey, Ravens and Red squirrels. At night you might hear the wolves. Moose and bear also inhabit this environment. Colin Lake situated in the Northeast corner of Alberta some sixty miles south of the 60th parallel, close to the Saskatchewan border. The lake covers an area of 10,510 acres. Fish species include: northern pike, lake trout, perch and whitefish. There are two cabins one sleeping four, the other a small trappers cabin, measuring twelve feet by sixteen feet sleeping two people. A generator pumps water from the lake too the two cabins and shower room. You will find plenty of wood for a fire should you need one. The camp site is located on the north-western shoreline in a small cove with a sandy beach and boat jetty, boats are fourteen foot aluminium with nine HP Mariner engines.

Our pilot Paul Hagopian of Air Mikisew, is well experienced flying the Caravan 1 an amphibious plane. Having done all his checks, making sure we passengers were aware of the safety arrangements, we taxied down the runway. Sitting up front I could hear Paul talking to the control tower, receiving the all clear, Paul turned up the revs, we roared off down the runway quickly getting airborne. Reaching cruising speed and altitude, Paul switched to auto pilot, after bringing his log book up to date, he told my listeners to At The Waters Edge programme on BBC Radio Lancashire all about the aircraft, our flying time, route and other bits of interesting information. All the time keeping a close watch on the various gauges, not just relying on the auto pilot. Passing over Lake Athabasca, Paul discussed the local history, pointing out various places of interest. A few miles from Colin Lake, Paul returned to flying the plane then coming out of some thick cloud I got a glimpse of Colin lake, dropping down to three hundred feet I spotted a group of moose. Up ahead the lake looked magnificent in the autumn sunshine. Flying over the lake we made a right turn along the western shoreline. A group of guys who were leaving stood close to the jetty. Paul made a pass, then circled back round for his landing, as the revs dropped we lost height then glided in for a smooth landing. I didn’t even feel a bump, this pilot was good. The next minute we were alongside the jetty and tied up.

Half an hour later, the kettle was on for a much needed mug of tea, I didn’t unpack my bag, just grabbing things as I wanted them. Replacing my dirty cloths in a spare bag. Three Thomas and Thomas nine weight rods each one carrying a different line, one a Cortland Ghost tip, the second a fast sink, while the third rod was matched with a Teeny four hundred and fifty grain shooting line, which really does get down fast and deep. These three set ups should cover all depths of water and fishing conditions.

John having put the food away, made some sandwiches and two mugs of tea. Within two hours of landing everything was ship shape, we were ready to tackle the ‘toothy critters’. Dressed in warm clothing, we headed for the boat jetty. Loading all our gear, I made sure the fuel tank was topped up. With one pull on the starting cord the engine was purring nicely, untying the mooring ropes I pushed the motor into gear, slowly moving away from the jetty. Reaching the deep water I opened the throttle then pointed the bows for the eastern shoreline, I had been told the wind had been blowing in this direction for three days.

Seeing a small bay with lots of rocks, sunken branches and weed, we dropped anchor's. Within twenty seconds of casting, no probably only ten I hooked up to my first fish of six or seven pounds on a Polar fly fished on a Ghost tip line. What a start. In the next four casts, I had four more pike averaging some six pounds. Ten minutes with no takes, we moved off along the shoreline for another spot. I was quickly into a fish about five pounds, another followed within minutes. Fishing was good with several around the eight pound mark. After two hours of fishing, the wind freshened up considerably from a westerly direction. I could see white caps in the channel, it was time to seek shelter on the lee shore. The first part of the journey was quite bumpy, close to the lee shore the water was quite calm. Conditions looked good, but apart from two hits. We didn’t have a fish. Deciding to call it a day we moved off for the jetty and our warm cabin. Rounding a small island, I said to John "Lets have a few chucks" I caught three pike, unhooking the last fish John said "That will do for supper" it was retained. Back in the cabin we had fried pike, potatoes and a couple of mugs of tea. The wood burning stove glowed red, it was all fuggy in the cabin. Outside the temperature was below zero, later it snowed. After cleaning and polishing our fly lines, I had a mug of chocolate then crawled inside my sleeping bag tired out, but ready for the next days fishing.

Day Two - Battered by Rain and Wind

Opening the cabin door I looked up the lake. I could see big white caps, tree tops were swaying in the fierce wind, the snow was replaced by icy cold rain. It was going to be a tough day afloat, no chance of reaching Eagle Bay at the southern end of the lake, it would be suicidal. I chose instead to fish the lee shore, hoping for a picture fish. Breakfast over and kitted out in wet weather gear, I loaded all our gear in the boat, then topped up with gas, I also put an extra gas tank in the boat. While John cut some extra logs for tonight's fire. After telling the other guys of our destination, we motored down the western shoreline. For some three hours we cast, retrieved, changed flies and tackle set ups without a hit. It was tough going. Rounding a rocky point, we came into a shallow weedy bay, it looked an attractive spot. Still the rain sheeted down, after a lot of casting and retrieving, I had two small pike, with several strikes from small lake trout.

I could see the trout hitting my fly, some were pricked, non hooked. The wind increased in strength, time to move. We motored across some rough wind swept water into another small bay. An hour or so of being battered by wind and rain, with only one small fish each, we decided to call it a day. Keeping close to the lee shore with John in the bows watching out for rocks, which could be the size of a small car we slowly made our way back to base, shipping a lot of water as we did so. Reaching the jetty I said to John "That was a cold, wet and tough day" The Canadian lads got back at lunch time. They chose to play cards than troll lures. They also invited us over for dinner, a good evening was had by all, within sixty seconds of crawling into my sleeping bag I was fast asleep.

Day Three - A Cold Bright Day

It snowed over night, it was a cold day temperature were several degrees below zero. Thankfully the wind had decreased, with no white caps we decided to hit Eagle Bay where the water varied in depth from three to twenty feet. A creek flowed in which attracted lake trout. Not far away from these fish, we should find the pike. Well wrapped up in warm clothing, wearing life jackets as we do every time we go afloat. We left the jetty about nine am. heading straight down the lake. After about twenty five minutes we passed through the narrow neck leading into Eagle bay. Moving close to the creek mouth, we dropped the anchors. Ten minutes later I was ready to fish with the Cortland Ghost tip line with a Sally Rand fly pattern, Its a big fly with lots of orange marabou tied up on a size 5/0 hook. Five chucks, five hook ups all good hard fighting fish around the seven to eight pound mark.

On the sixth retrieve, a very big lake trout in the twenty pound bracket, tried to grab the fly as I was lifting off for another cast. It came as quite a shock. I didn’t expect it to happen, neither did I expect to see such a big lake trout in five feet of water. I tried to catch the beast without success. Then moved the boat a dozen yards or so to the mouth of a weedy bay. I chucked a big popping frog pattern, a good pike hit first cast. A dozen casts later with no more bites I said to John "Lets try the narrows, he agreed. Motoring across the bay we dropped anchors so we could fish both the shallow and deep water. Picking up my Thomas and Thomas nine weight matched with a Teeny four fifty grain shooting line with a Ballydoolagh bomber tied up by Kent Sherrington on a size 8/0 hook. Its a fly with a very buoyant head of plastazote. As you retrieve the fly goes downwards, stop retrieving, it rises a couple of feet. Looking up the bay I could see some huge rocks plunging down into the water giving an appearance of very deep water. I fished the ‘Bomber’ along this drop off.

Three casts later, I shouted to John "This is a big one" Suddenly the rod tip was pulled downward by a powerful force, line was dragged from the reel. I could feel the awesome power of a good fish slowly moving up the bay. This was my picture fish!!, If I was lucky to be the winner of this titanic scrap with a big powerful angry pike. If I got this fish in the landing net, I would be a happy angler. Some people would probably say "It’s a big lake trout". I new differently. This was a good pike. For several minutes the fish was boss, as it slowly and powerfully took line from the reel.

I cramped on as much pressure as possible. lowering the rod tip to make use of the extra power in the butt section. A few minutes later I gained some line. Suddenly the fish changed direction, winding like a demented demon I managed to get the slack line back on the reel. Occasionally my heart missed a beat, when the fish moved faster than I could gain line. Occasionally it shook its head in a bid to remove the big fly on a barbless hook. This pike tried every trick in the book as it fought for its freedom. The fight then turned into a give and take scrap, some minutes later the pressure started to tell. I was winning the fight. We discussed how big the fish might be, agreeing its a twenty pounder.

Ten yards from the boat, the water erupted, then boiled. A big fish swirled then tried to lift itself from the water, only the head and shoulders appeared. with flared gills it shook its head, the mouth looked huge. I could see the Bomber in the corner of the mouth. This was one big angry fish at the end of my line. Suddenly it dived, I gave line quickly. Within minutes I was getting line back on the reel as the fish tired. John stood with the big landing net, the Masterline mat / weight sling was on the bottom of the boat to protect the fish from the boats hard bottom. With the net sunk deep, I tried guiding and pulling the fish close to the net. This fish had other ideas, it twisted and swirled slowly inch by inch it came to the landing net.

I shouted "John lift the net" the handle was well bent under the weight of the fish, laying down the rod, I grabbed the net with both hands then lifted. Swinging the fish inboard onto the padded mat. What a super fish which taped out at forty five inches. Punching the air I said "Yes, Yes, Yes" The scales gave a reading of around twenty six pounds. We shook hands. After some quick pictures, the fish was held in the water until it fought clear of my grip, it moved off swiftly. After a ten minute break we commenced fishing catching several more good fish including some nice lake trout. but non as good as this one.

The wind blew strongly from the north east. John change to spinning. We could see big white caps sweeping down the channel which we had to cross before we reached the lee shore, I hoped the wind would abate it didn’t. We fished on catching a lot more fish. Flies certainly out fished the spinner or plug twenty to one. Half an hour before dusk, I hooked a big fish that wouldn’t move off the bottom. Twice I felt its tail hit the line, the fish went where it wanted for some ten minutes, until the fly was thrown back to me with contempt. We called it a day. With John in the bows looking for rocks I guides us back to camp and a welcome mug of tea. Roy Dan Rick and Glenn were waiting for us and invited us to join them for dinner of lake trout, rice and vegetables, They all had something strong to drink, I enjoyed a mug of Yorkshire Gold tea.

Day Four Strong Winds Blue Skies and Sunshine

It was another windy day, we decided to fish Eagle Bay. Thankfully we were dressed in Patagonia waterproofs as I motored straight down the lake to Eagle bay through some rough water and white caps, wind blew the waves and spray into our faces, my hands were cold and numb. After thirty minutes I was able to use the islands and lee shore for shelter, as we went through the narrows into Eagle Bay I gave a sigh of relief. We started fishing along the deep drop off, twenty yards further on from where I had the big one yesterday.

Second cast I was into a good fish on a Sally Rand fly using a Cortland Ghost tip line, it stayed deep taking line under pressure slowly moving up the bay. You can’t hurry these big fish. Minutes later the pressure started to tell, as I gained line I could feel the fish shaking its head in its bid for freedom. John was ready with the net. The padded mat was on the bottom of the boat. The wind was blowing from all points of the compass. Yesterday it was gusty, today it blew all the time. Slowly I pumped the fish to surface, before it could dive John had it netted. The pike came alive turning the water into a white foam as it thrashed and twisted in the net. Laying the rod aside I bent down grabbed the net with both hands then lifted the fish over the side of the boat onto the padded mat.

A good fish which taped out at thirty nine inches. A couple of pictures and the fish was released. I suggested to John he should occasionally use a mouse pattern. An hour later John had a good fish grab the mouse close to the boat. A surprised John said "I didn’t think a fish would eat that mouse" I said "They make them for pike to eat" John used a Masterline telescopic spinning rod which proved ideal for the job. We were both impressed with the rods action. I picked up the net pushing it deep in the water, as John pulled the fish over the net I lifted. A good fish was engulfed in the deep netting. It taped out at thirty eight inches, a couple of pictures then it was released. During the day I caught lots more pike on flies. John had one nice lake trout on a spoon, I caught a couple on flies fished deep, before we realised it. It was getting dark, I decided to run straight up the lake to camp a very bumpy and spray swept trip, I didn’t fancy being on the water after dark. An hour after leaving Eagle Bay we were back in our cabin having a mug of tea. The only food and drink we had each day, were a couple of crunchy bars and a mouthful of water.

It had been a great trip with lots of fish, I made some new friends, seen some interesting wildlife, caught some good fish. I travelled with holiday charter company Canadian Affair Hillgate House 13 Hillgate Street London W8 7SP Tel 020-7616-9999 E-mail My trip was arranged by Alberta tourism flying from Manchester to Calgary then by car to Edmonton. Then by Westjet airlines to Fort McMurray. If you need any further information please E-mail me I will be going back again next year, if you want to join me your most welcome

Forthcoming Events

Bradford No 1 AA Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 9th October at 7-30pm at the Dudley Hill & Tong Socialist Club, Stickers Lane, Bradford. A week later Bradford City AA Annual General Meeting takes place on Wednesday 16th October at 7-30pm at the Dudley Hill & Tong Socialist Club, Stickers Lane, Bradford. Members must show club book for entrance. A week later its the turn of Prince Albert AS with their 48th Annual General Meeting which will take place on Thursday 17th October at the Heritage Centre, Roe Street, Macclesfield commencing at 8-0pm prompt, membership cards must be shown to gain entrance.

It's Tough On The Rivers 14th October

Its been hard on the rivers in the north of England for both coarse and salmon fishing, in fact with the low water levels and salmon in poor conditions. I feel we shouldn't be fishing for them. In fact I my season for this species ended in September, I spotted several fish on the Hodder and Ribble that were quite red. I decided I shouldn't fish for the rest of the season. Hopefully they will make their way safely to the spawning reds. The weather forecast for this weeks is a mixture of rain frost snow on the hills. In the south of the country and south Wales its given lots of rain so hopefully the rivers Wye Teme Severn and Avon will get a good flush out. If they do I will be down on the rivers in the hope I can catch a few barbel

This week I've been guiding for a couple of days, both my guest's caught personal best fish.Phillip Johnson of Darwin near Blackburn joined me on the river Aire near Silsden as a 40th birthday present. I chose this stretch of river in the hope a few fish might be found in the deep water swims. The week before I caught a couple of good bream and some nice chub. Hopefully Phillip would catch a good bream or chub. He tried a dozen popular swims, but didn't get a bite.One banker swim under a willow bush produced a good pull, Phillip connected with a good fish but sadly it got off. Late in the afternoon he had two good bites both missed The third bite connected with another good chub which again got off. Then followed an exasperating time, in half an hour he missed five good pulls on the rod tip. I decided he should fish a big bit of breadflake on a long tail, a bite quickly followed he connected with a nice fish, which I quickly netted It weighed 4-2-0 a personal best chub for Phillip.

Two days later I had Mike Holgate of Wigan who is Director of the Centre of Excellence at Macclesfield Town for a days fishing on the river Aire at Silsden. The river was low and clear with masses of weed and rubbish. Not the best of conditions to help someone catch a good chub The target weight was 4lbs. Mike fishing with an Avon action rod fixed spool reel 6lb line and a size 4 barbless hook using crust as bait caught two personal best chub. His first fish weighed 4-10-0, this was followed by a five pound chub. Both fish were caught on legered crust. Mike worked hard on the low gin clear river trying some dozens swims, but his perseverance paid off in the end when I put him in a deep water swim near Kildwick.

Peter Williams of Bingley fishing the river Aire near the town of Bingley had a good session taking nine chub averaging over 3lbs using a swimfeeder filled with hemp with three gentles on a size 12 hook to 3lb line. Peter's best chub weighed 4lb 11ounces.

John Thompson of Skipton fished the Leeds And Liverpool canal for pike with sprat bait on a size 6 treble hook to 15lb line, catching two good pike of 9-14-0 and 13-6-0. The 13-6-0 was a personal best fish.

On the river Wyre some nice chub and bream have been caught on float fished bread flake, William Davies an electrician of Lancaster fishing lobworm bait on a size 6 hook to 4lb line quiver tip rod and fixed spool reel had a good chub of 4-9-0

Pendle View Fisheries on the A59 near Clitheroe,

Fishing has improved after a quiet couple of weeks due to calm weather conditions and bright sunlight. The exception has been the trout lake where catches have been very good. In the Nash Day Ticket carp competition, the leaderboard is now headed by Carl Gore with a 32lbs common. This week has shown some improvement, Andy Hurst catching a 27lbs 14ox common. Silver fish are now being caught in the main bay area, which indicates that they are moving back towards deeper water.

Catches on the trout lake are still very good, the only real complaint regards the amount of weed in the lake. To help combat this weed, two grass carp have been introduced. These carp are both about 12lbs and will take a fly so anglers have been warned. Fritz, Montana and buzzer still continue to produce results. It is intended to keep the fly lake open throughout the winter for this year.

A series of open carp matches are scheduled for the next few months following the success of the first match organised by Tracey. Details of dates etc are available from the fishery telephone 01254-822208 please contact Tracey for further information. Whilst every effort is being made to provide more safe parking around the main lake we do insist that anglers park their cars off the road to ensure others can safely pass. Cars must not be parked on the perimeter of the trout lake, or on the grass.

The fishery has now reverted to winter opening hours. This will mean the gates are open at 7.00 am and locked at 9.00 pm. These opening hours will remain until Spring 2003. Catering times will remain unchanged. If your one of those anglers who doesn't like to fish a fast, high and coloured river then this fishery could be for you. Its certainly very popular with many anglers.

Fishery Reports 14th October

Rutland Water Jim Moncur, Keith Malcolm, and Michael Soutar, from Perthshire, Scotland, spent five days at Rutland, mainly fishing from the bank and recorded forty fish, with rainbows up to 3lb¼oz. Thursday was the best day for the trio with 21 fish, all taken on dry flies, whilst fishing off the Green bank with the comment that the fish “were only a few rod lengths out at times.” Keith hooked a big brown weighing between 6 and 7lb in front of the fishing lodge only to have the misfortune of the fish snagging on the rocks in front of him. All three anglers took a day’s boat fishing at Grafham Water where they accounted for 12 fish.

Rutland Water regular Gary Chewter, from Spennymoor, County Durham, recorded the best fish of the week, a 5lb 6oz Rainbow. Boat anglers who have fished the rudder have fared the best, with lines like a wet cell two, this would suggest that the fish are still fairly high in the water. Best boat areas have been close to the bank around the weed beds, either drifting, or at anchor.

Christian Smith, who is employed by electronics giant Sharp, organised a corporate day for fourteen of his customers with the assistance of Anglian Water staff members Paul Friend, Phil Brown and Nigel Savage. The morning started with casting tuition for those who needed it, following lunch the group went on to catch an impressive thirty plus fish, with browns to 3lb 6oz.

Notice to anglers
Regular anglers will know that the trout in Rutland Water have not been growing as fast as usual and have been difficult to catch from the bank in the latter part of this season. We have been investigating possible causes for some time and have found a parasite on the gills which may be the cause. As a precaution all fish caught must be killed for the remainder of this season and we are asking anglers not to use cloth bass bags, but only disposable plastic bags or washable cooler boxes for their catch. More information will be mailed to our anglers in the next few days.

The fish are at last feeding on this season’s fry, including roach to two inch and perch up to four inches. A number of big trout have been spotted, with browns in particular, up to double figures, seen chasing fry in the margins.

Bank fishing is improving all the time with many areas of the water producing fish. Three anglers took limits from the bank on Sunday. Best methods have been fry patterns, but during last week there were a good number of fish also falling to black buzzer and dry fly. A major clubs bank match was held at Rutland Water on Sunday 13 October. 42 Anglers enjoyed some good sport with Grafham 1 running away with victory with an impressive total of 34 fish for 62lb 10½oz. Best bag went to the winning team’s John Vincent, from Sandy, with 8 fish for 16lb 14oz.

Grafham Water has continued to fish well over the last week with the water quality clearing in most areas with the fish now feeding on the fry heavily as well as corixa in the margins of Gaynes Cove.

This Saturday saw the start of the annual pike fishing on the water with over 30 boats taken by the pike anglers, all hoping for that elusive 30lbplus pike, which are known to inhabit Grafham Water. All the boats headed for the North tower which is where the day’s best of the six pike were caught. Simon Case of Leicester took these fish, which weighed in at 25½lb, on a bull daug jerk bait.

best boat areas: Gaynes Cove, Plummers, Bowl of Dam, Willows,
front of lodge, and L and H buoys

best bank areas: Gaynes cove, Plummers, Stumps, Savages and Harbour Arms

best methods; floating/intermediate lines with corixa, minkies, fry patterns, diawl bach.

Pitsford Water Season ticket holder John Parker, from Northampton, caught four fish between 10am and 2pm bank fishing off Stone Barn on a floating line with a large silver invicta. Senior warden Nathan Clayton’s advice is “fish in windward bank into deep water as daphnia is blown on to the shoreline.” Evening fishing is the most productive. Jim Watts, from Ryhall, near Stamford, took his best bag at Pitsford from a boat with pal Peter Bills, from Papplewick, Nottingham. The pair are both gold season ticket holders. They rudder fished the narrows using a Di7 line and gold and silver tube. Jim said his best fish weighed 5lb 14oz and his second best 4lb 4oz. His total bag of 8 fish weighed 22lb 14oz. Peter also took 8 fish using the same method. Rod averages are improving and bucking the usual October trend. The generous stocking of 1850 fish this week has brought the season’s stocking to 32,200, the most for many seasons. Fish are still out in the middle feeding on the masses of daphnia, green in colour. Boats are the best bet these will be available seven days a week until the end of November. Best methods for boat anglers are minkies or zonkers or large dark coloured lures such as Humungus or Pitsford pea. Tube flies fished Northampton style have proved very successful. best rainbow: 5lb 14oz taken by Jim Watts of Ryhall, Stamford boat fishing best boat areas: Causeway to Narrows, Brixworth Bay best bank areas: Stone Barn point, Bog Bay to Gorse Bank.

Ravensthorpe On Saturday local season ticket holder Richard Haynes of East Haddon fished the Coton end shallows from a boat and took 18 stunning silver rainbows to 4lb. Dick’s fish came to a thinly dressed black cat’s whisker fished at varying retrieve rates on a sinking line. Andrew Bayley and Richard Allsebrook made a worthwhile trip from Hereford boating 24 fish to 3lb 8oz. Both anglers fished white zonkers on intermediate lines to tempt their fish from a boat at the Coton end. Season ticket holder Tim Leach, from Waterbeach, Cambridge, caught a lovely blue trout from a boat last Friday. Pike have been showing this week and anglers are reminded to return all fish other than rainbow trout. With lower temperatures and clearing water Ravensthorpe’s hungry trout have turned onto the fry with a vengeance. Patient anglers were rewarded this weekend with splendid sport. best boat areas: Coton end to island best bank areas: Domes or dam end, depending on wind

New Reel Service 8th October

Have you noticed how easy it is to get your washing machine, television, car, hoover or cooker serviced. What do we do when our fishing reels need a service. Its a problem I have had for sometime. My Mitchell reels made in 1952 badly needed a service. All my friends keep saying "I can hear your coffeee grinder today" During a days fishing with Bob Tomlinson of Blackpool I discussed the problem of getting reels serviced. A few days later Bob called me with the telephone number of the Reeldoctor who lived at Bispham near Blackpool. Mike Graham is the reel doctor, he will service your multipliers and fixed spool reels. Mike’s telephone number is 01253-591917

----------------------------------- 8th October is a fishing site that provides all the information that you a light tackle, fly or offshore angler needs, especially us visitors from the UK when we visit the U.S.of A to fish the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding inshore and offshore waters of the Mid- Atlantic region. The site features weekly fishing reports, articles by regional/national/international expert writers, guides and captains. has a growing community of over 6300 anglers who exchange information on a daily basis via the message boards. In addition the site features a classified ads section where anglers can advertise their used fishing equipment. The site is fully customised so you can set the front page to bring up whatever you want to see on a regular basis on Tidal Fish. is also offers Tidal Fish hats, t-shirts and other Tidal Fish gear. Soon to be launched is a full line of Tidal Fish lures, flies and fishing apparel

Fishery Reports 8th October

Rutland Water John Franks and his mum Sheila, from Pocklington, Yorkshire, took nine fish off the Normanton bank, fishing black buzzer and hoppers, John’s best fish, a rainbow of 4lb 6oz was also the best fish of the week. Season ticket holders also found fish off the bank, Oakham’s Brian Bonner, and Vic Faulkner, had fish up to four pounds apiece, with black tadpole and minkies taking the fish. The best brown of the week was a 5lb Brown taken on Saturday. Elsewhere boat anglers have found fish in front of the lodge, the sailing club, Yellowstone to Inmans Spinney, Armley Wood, and the transformer in the north arm. Flies that are pulled, ie, boobies, humungus, minkies, and sparklers, fished on floating and intermediate lines, seem to be the best tactics. Anglers are reporting that "as long as you keep your flies moving, the fish are interested". Scottish anglers, Messrs Smith and Reed, recorded eight fish in a morning session, "with lots and lots of follows", using a boobie on the top dropper, followed by a minki Competition news The final rounds of the Major Fly Fishing Clubs leagues were fished together at Rutland Water on Saturday, with 64 anglers representing 16 teams in blustery conditions. Taking most of their 146 fish on the surface with slime lines proved particularly effective and three fish of just under 4lbs were taken during the 7 hour match. The league groupings look about right as group 1 averaged three fish per rod, group 2 two fish and group 1 one fish per rod! All of the anglers thanked league secretary Peter Firth for his hard work during the year running the league competitions throughout the country. Final placings - Group one, Queen Mother Flyfishers, Group two Soldier Palmers, Group three Hanningfield Flyfishers

High levels of boat bookings continue in response to top quality fishing for grown on bright silver rainbows and some fine browns. The most consistent
sport from the bank has been had from the harbour in front of the lodge where fry imitations have accounted for many fish in excess of 3lb. These powerful fish have been attacking the huge shoals of coarse fish fry seeking refuge in
the harbour. In line with autumn tradition the best of the boat fishing has been at the west end of the reservoir. Drifting and anchored boats have been equally successful. On floating and intermediate lines, weighted minkies fished with nymphs on the droppers have worked well whilst the ‘Humungus’ lure on faster sinking lines has been equally boat areas: west end of reservoir best bank areas: harbour in front of Lodge best methods boat anglers - floating and intermediate lines, weighted minkies fished with nymphs forthcoming events2 November winter bank league 8 December Fur and Feather

Pitsford Water The best bag of the week was caught by Phil Tomlin of Great Glen who had a 6 fish limit weighing 18lb 14oz, topped by a rainbow of 4lb 12oz. Season ticket holder Malcolm Eade of Northampton, has again done well, this time catching the best brown of the week at 5lb 7oz, again from a boat, using a sinking line. Fish have been coming to the boats on a variety of methods from nymphs and buzzers on floaters, to lures and tube flies on intermediates, slow sinkers and Di3’s. Lures on slow sinkers being the favourite method, whilst the trout are still in the top few feet of the water
feeding heavily on daphnia. The best time for bank fishing is during the evening with various coloured buzzers, hares ear, or corixa patterns on floating lines the best method, although a white lure on an intermediate is also worth trying.

Competition news Water Industry Game Fishing Championship qualifier This is an annual flyfishing competition between Anglian Water and the Environment Agency. The team event was won by Anglian Water. The best method was the ‘bung’, two diawl bachs and a black buzzer, fished static. This winning method was used by Charles Bowers, aged 17, from Spalding, who took his 8 fish limit by 1.45pm. His 8 fished weighed 23lb 12oz. John Marshall, Anglian Water’s fishery manager, who was Charles’s boat partner caught 8 fish with time bonus, using different tactics - a Di3 line and a minkie pulled slowly, this put him in fourth position. Second place was taken by Chris Evans who took his 8 fish by 1.15pm. His methods were a small cat’s whisker on the point, diawl bach and a buzzer on the droppers. In third place was Martin Hearth from Oakham who caught his 8 fish on orange blobs for 18lb 1oz. Congratulations go to Chris Evans, Colin Lea, Nigel Savage and Ray Jenkins, for qualifying for next year’s W.I.G.F.I.C final in Wales. They will join Jon Marshall, Paul Jones and Richard Slaughter to complete the Anglian Water team.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Frazier Duffy of Daventry used his experience to good effect on Saturday 5 October, taking nine fish (returning 8). The fish ranged in size from 1½lb to 8lb plus. His successful flies were buzzer, hopper and minkie, interchangeable with both floating and sinking lines during the day. C Cook of Bedworth brought in the biggest fish of the week (4lb+), returning another. The best times to fish seem to be from opening until about 3pm. With the weed dispersing and thinning in places around the water, bank anglers have fished near the dome bushes whilst boat anglers have found good sport drifting along this shoreline.

We Do Get Value For Money 8th October

When ever a group of anglers meet, you can usually rely on one of those anglers moaning at the price of a rod licence. I feel the fee is very good value. Who will look after our rivers and streams, if we didn’t have the EA? Having a go at the Environment Agency seems to be in fashion these days. Yes, I too have complained about the EA when its been deserved. Before complaining about the agency. You have to give them the chance to act on your complaint. What I find difficult to understand, is that most of those who complain about the service they get, have never been in touch with the organisation. There have been many occasion’s I have called the EA on 00800-80-70-60, in every case they have been at the scene within three hours.

Recently Alan Roe of LYTHAM ST ANN’S Blackpool and myself were fishing the river Aire opposite the Keighley golf course. Its a Keighley AC water, £2-00 a day £20-00 a season. As we sat fishing a tractor and trailer turned up on the opposite bank and dumped a load of soil on the bank. In the next hour this happened three times. Having taken some pictures I called the EA. on the free phone number 0800-80-70-60 .The call was answered promptly. I was told an inspector would be in touch. Within thirty minutes the EA. called me back, an hour later the EA. inspector was on the river bank having travelled from Leeds. Seeing the dumped soil, he took some photographs, then off he then went to the golf course. I say well done to the Environment Agency. If you see anyone dumping soil, grass cutting, garden refuse or any other rubbish at the waters edge call the EA on 0800-80-70-60. Don’t leave it to the next guy. I am sure if we anglers spent some time with our local EA. we could achieve a lot between us. I feel we are the eyes and ears of the waterside. We cannot expect the EA. staff to be on every river and stream twenty four hours a day. Before you complain about the next licence increase, check out how many pollution prosecutions the EA. have carried out on those involved in farming and industry.

On this day in question Alan and I had some good fishing for pike, chub and bream, the two bream weighed 5-8-0 and 5-12-0 both fish taken on crust, The bites were hardly noticeable, just a slight movement on the rod tip. In fact most anglers would have ignored the bites thinking it was minnows. We also caught some excellent chub on floating crust. The best two weighed 5-4-0 and 5-7-0. Several pike were caught by Alan on fresh sprat bait. Keighley AC season ticket at £20-00 and day tickets at £2-00 are certainly excellent value for money. Available from KL Tackle in Keighley.

On Sunday I spent a few hours fly fishing for pike on the river Aire, it was tough going, the river is so low and clear. If we don’t get a lot of rain shortly. I fear a pollution incident, it won't take much for a fish kill. When I write about a lot of rain, I don’t mean just a couple of days but a month of steady rain. The rivers are full of clodorpha weed, farmer rubbish especially black plastic and feed bags. What did surprise me on the river Aire were the roach caught by Peter Smith of Leeds weighing 1-9-0 and 1-12-0 float fishing sweet corn bait on a size 10 hook to 3lb line. Its the best brace of roach I have seen from this river in a long time. Giving up fishing time to do bailiffing duties certainly has its benefits. If I had fished all day I wouldn’t have seen those roach.

Martin James Fishing