Top 10 Bass Fishing Tips- By Chris Ogborne

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Ahead of the new saltwater season, Chris Ogborne looks at the vital statistics of Sea Bass fishing and gives you his shortlist of things to look out for! Invaluable bass fishing tips, whether you throw a fly, cast a lure or launch a bait out into the surf- these tips are sure to help you land more and bigger fish.

Chris Ogborne's beautifull local bass mark

Chris Ogborne’s beautiful local bass mark.

1. Specimen hunting.   If you want a big bass then you’ve got to target them, ignoring all the tempting smaller fish.  I stalk mine, late evening on the beach, just after the sun goes below the horizon.  Short rod, tight fly presentation and very careful watercraft are the key ingredients.

2. Wet wading.   This gives you a huge ‘edge’ over people in waders.  With shorts and bare legs you feel the temperature changes and when you find these, you find fish!   It’s also a lot safer in the marine environment and a lot more comfortable in high summer

3.Lighter rods.   Don’t be drawn into the old school thinking that you need heavy tackle, whether on fly, spin or lure.  Lighter rods give you precision, minimum disturbance and better presentation.  There’s very little you can’t do with a 9foot 6 weight fly fishing rod.

4.LRF.  If you haven’t tried it, you should!   Light Rock Fishing is all about an approach to fishing that is absolutely more fun, and more rewarding.  And it catches lots of fish!  It brings delicacy and subtlety to saltwater fishing.

Boat or shore?

Boat or shore?

5. Boat or shore?   Shore and beach fishing is great, and essentially it’s free. Find yourself a good drop-off, fish the blue water channels, or prospect around the rocks.  Remember that weed covered rocks are best, as they provide cover for the things Bass feed on. But occasionally you will need a boat, either to each those impossible marks or simply because of the weather.   Top tip is to pick the best skipper – they will make or break a day out!  Ask the local fishing tackle shops and they’ll tell you who the local stars are! And always ALWAYS look out for feeding birds – that’s where the bait fish will be.

6. Soft Baits.  Bass are clever fish.  They ‘feel’ a hard metal bait in their mouths and will reject it if they can.   But soft baits seem to feel good to Bass – they take them more confidently and hold on to them.  You miss a lot less fish with soft baits, like the sidewinder bass fishing lures.

7. Leaders and rigs.  Don’t go only light with leader strength.   Bass fight hard and you don’t want to lose a big fish on a breakage.  For flyfishing leader I rarely go under 7lb and for soft baits I normally start at 10lb, unless I’m on really fussy fish.

A bass about to go back in after a quick photo snap

A bass about to go back in after a quick photo snap.

8.Catch and Release.  Bass are beautiful fish and deserve respect.   They are very slow growing so a 5lb fish can be upwards of 6 years old.  As the Bass stocks around our coast are under huge pressure, think long and hard before you kill one.  Maybe it’s better to have the pleasure of watching it swim away?

9. Late summer.  September is my favourite month.   The tourists have gone home and I get the beaches to myself again.  Treat yourself to a long week end in Cornwall in September, enjoy the softness of the climate, and put yourself in with a real chance of a big fish before the season ends.

A stunning bass beach in september - not a soul in sight!

A stunning bass beach in September – not a soul in sight!

10. And finally……… Don’t ignore the schoolies!   Smaller bass are have fun on light tackle and they can often fight better than fish twice their size   Out on the sand bars they can give tremendous sport and massive fun.

Rene Harrop -Salmon Flies

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You have more than likely heard of the ”duffers fortnight” on English chalk streams, where mayflies hatch out in their thousands and even the most hopeless fly fisherman can catch trout in a feeding frenzy… Well over in America they have something even better – the salmon fly hatch! Veteran pro-guide and fishing author Rene Harrop tells us a little about it.

Seldom have I experienced a stronger sense of being at the right place at the right time than during a recent float trip with my river guide grandson and his client, Kevin Despain. There is nothing unusual about waiting for another boat to launch ahead of you when the objective is to catch the giant Salmon Fly hatch on the Henry’s Fork. But when you are following three of Idaho’s best fish biologists who care carrying the same intent, it is impossible not to feel some optimism.

Biologists at play - afloat on the river.

Biologists at play – afloat on the Henry’s fork river.

As the guest of a paying client who probably doesn’t really need a guide, I enjoyed one of the finest days of fly fishing with big size 4 dries to be experienced in more than a decade. When the count of fish landed becomes lost well before the float is finished, you know the day is something special.

A rainbow victim - caught on a salmon fly pattern.

A rainbow victim – caught on a salmon fly pattern.

Despite losing several exceptional browns and rainbows, the average size was more than acceptable with a dozen or more in the 18-20 inch range. And to illustrate the significance of timing, another float on the same water a few days later yielded no more than 4 trout each for 3 anglers.

A salmon fly - trout candy!

A salmon fly – trout candy!

For at least 2 weeks each year, the Salmon Fly hatch is an irresistible distraction as it progresses to higher elevation up stream. On the Henry’s Fork this is a distance of about 40 miles and involves the faster, rock strewn sections of the river.

Ammo - an immitaion salmon fly

Ammo – an imitation salmon fly.

For some of extreme weakness for the big flies and the action they can induce, the Salmon Fly hatch can be extended to other waters like the South Fork of the Snake, or the Madison and Big Hole in Montana. An older angler, however, is more likely to seek the gentle flows and lighter fishing tackle that come with Green, Brown, and Gray Drakes. On the Henry’s Fork, these big mayflies fall directly on the heels of the Salmon Fly hatch and with correct timing, the fishing can be just as spectacular.

Rene’ Harrop – June 2015

Pub fishing quiz!

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Man in waders fishing in river

How good is your general (fishing) knowledge?

Think you know a thing or two about fishing?

Take our pub style fishing quiz and discover how many random fishing facts you actually know.

And don’t get your fishing tackle in a twist if you don’t get a good score, when we say random, we mean random!

Don’t forget to tweet your score with #fishtecpubquiz so we can see how you did!

When was Fly-fishing by JR Hartly published?

What is the largest prey known to be eaten by trout?

Which of the following is NOT a chalk stream?

Which of these famous carp was the biggest?

What is the maximum fine for fishing without a rod licence?

In Hemmingway's classic book, "The old man and the sea", what sort of fish is the old man after?

What is the British record for shore caught Sea Bass?

Which sea fish are known by the nickname of Silver Darlings?

How many years did Hanako - the oldest known fish - live for?

Which of these names refers to youngest salmon hatchlings?

Which is the UK's longest river?

Dave Lane’s Top Carp Fishing Tips Competition

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We recently ran a competition on one of our social media pages where carping legend Dave Lane asked for Facebook fans carp fishing tips for the month of May! We had a great response. Dave has looked through them all, and he decided that the best one was from Paul Scott. We thought we would share all of the tips here. If you are a serious carp fisherman these tips are well worth reading, you never know they may help you catch the fish of a lifetime!

Here is Paul’s tip-

Paul Scott. This time of year the fish seem to be on the move quite a bit so although the key is to find fish, maybe take a bit more time in watching the routes they take and spotting traffic lanes they use. If your intending to fish that lake for the rest of the year, it will prove to be invaluable on the rest of your campaign!! Happy hunting.

The Key is to find fish - take time in watching the routes carp take.

The Key is to find fish – take time in watching the routes carp take.

Dave also really liked Charlie Halliday’s tip-

Charlies tip–  When you want an accurate cast , mark your standing position and use a quick link to your lead’s swivel (for rig attachment) then un-clip your rig and cast to the desired area with just the lead , if you go into an snag or on an island you can get your setup back with ease and just keep casting until you hit the mark , then put your line in the clip and attach your rig ! Accuracy made easy with less fear of losing your rig don’t forget to use marker elastic for the next time and unclip after the cast for safety.

And here are the best of the rest-

Ashley Gray.
Make sure your bedchair is level before you attempt to go to sleep. It’s frightening when you slip down the end and then the bed tips up!!

Jonathan Ryder. I like to use solid bags but with a twist. Use a syringe to inject hemp oil and coconut oil into the centre of the bag mix. Has worked well for me!!

Anthony Bates. Coat your free baits in oil (i use tuna) then coat your baits in a good amount of salt its a big edge before they spawn.

Leigh Harmer. Keep mobile, watch the water and zigs are always a option

Dave Guy. Outside my bivvy I have three solar panel garden lights not bright but I can see my rods and nets and there not heavy and charge during the day.

Steff Parr. I found a pretty effective way to fish margins and near rushes if your able to lower your lead instead of casting and have your rig closer to the rushes than your lead and when baiting the area just plop a single boilie at a time and no more than 5 had a bite within minutes each time I do it now I always have one rig out and a popup near the rushes and if there is berry trees around the lake pick a few and use them as hookbait the lake fish know it to be a natural food.

Terry Robert Spurgeon. If using a long zig, loop the line then lick and fold over PVA foam at 2 or 3 places on the loop. Tangle free!

Kev Hudson. When using zigs I find placing a piece of pva foam below the hook , then cutting a few pieces of foam down and placing them a couple of feet apart down the zig line all the way to the lead negates tangling on the cast and makes sure your zig is sat correctly in the water column

John Buckingham. Always put my head torch in my boots at night!!! Or else I forget it.

Paul Jarvis. Check all your kit for wear and tear epically if it your first outing of the year, as mice can chew through anything

Glen Marshall. Don’t be afraid to move swims had one then nothing so moved swim had another two to 16lb…

 Colin Smith. When zig or top fishing dip your bait’s in oil of clove’s work’s every time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Top Tips For Small Stillwater Trout Fishing

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We all want to make the most of the limited time,we have on the water. It’s why we’re there and we  just want to catch a fish? I think I’d be right in stating that. Though in some cases, just catching one would be great, but just sometimes doesn’t happen.  Here are a few of my tips that may help‎ you to wet a net. They work for me and if you feel they could help you, then give one of them a try out.

1. Always work the margins. Watching a stranger walk up to a small lake, anywhere in UK and you’ll see the same thing everytime. Peel about 30yds of line off the fly fishing reel, drop the flies on the deck, then cast to the other side. We all see this approach and it doesn’t often work. In most cases lining fish feeding on top or just sub surface, with a very evident bow wave on the surface.‎ Then just to top it off, they cast at the bow wave, hoping to hook up? The better approach that pays for me, is to peel a few yards of line off‎, some way from the banks and work the fringes or margins. These areas hold a vast amounts of easy pickings for the trout. That’s why, when your lost in your little world,  a trout rises right under  your feet and scares the pants off you. Easy feeding for very little effort. If your careful with a lower silouhette, these fish will sidle up and you’ll get a chance to offer your flies to them. Sometimes with fantastic results!

This nice trout was feeding right in the margins off a reed bed.

This nice trout was feeding right in the margins off a reed bed.

2. Trout love obstruction. Anything that breaks the flow of water, creating a seam that brings in food to the fish, is a place worth a cast or two. This flow can carry small bugs or bigger items like drowning daddies, hawthorns and even empty buzzer shucks, which the trout can become preoccupied on.  So whether it’s a tree branch, jetty post or a weed bed. These areas house food items, that shelter out of harms way. No need to swim across the lake and risk swimming into open water. Most organisms in your lake, be they Buzzers, Damsels, Corixa, Shrimp etc all live sheltered lives, away from predation. Offering your flies into these areas, can reap you great rewards, often on the very first cast too.

A lake with lots of marginal structures - approach quietly, and fish the features!

A lake with lots of marginal structures – approach quietly, and fish the features!

3. Mix up your retrieve. I was trying to explain this approach, to my  angling buddy Michael Valler, earlier this year. He was casting out, then making a pull, pull retrieve that offered very little in the way of realism or a take trigger.  Ask most Competition Anglers what they do and they’ll tell you. Keep changing your retrieve to fool the fish around. They get bored too, watching the same flies, being pulled at the same speed, with nothing to offer‎ or entice them to take. Fish have no fingers, so the only option they have to test things out for themselves and satisfy their curiosity, is with their mouths. Short fast plucks mixed with longer pulls and stops, work a treat. Mix it up and try the FTA method. Fool them around, is what it stands for and it works. Try it and see if you can get a reaction?

Mark the end of your fly line.

Mark the end of your fly line.

4. Mark‎ your fly line. When you cast out and straighten up your leader. How do you recognise a take?‎ Most wait to feel the bump, bump on the rod tip. Watching your line can pay big dividends in reacting earlier to a take. How do you detect a take on a fly line? Well you need a contrast point. Something that makes your fly line stand out, even at distance. I’ve been marking my fly lines, for some years now. Using a permanent black marker on my floating and Mini Tip lines. Plus silver and gold pens like you see at Christmas, on my sinking lines. I mark bands on the line and at about 10ft, add two very large bands that are visible at distance. Using these bands, I can spot the line stopping. Any jags or plucks are instantly visible and I can react quickly to  these, with a line strike. Simply by chopping my line hand downwards. If I get a thud on the line, I can then sweep the rod up or sideways and tighten in. If there’s no reaction on the line, I can carry on fishing and I’ve only moved my line a few feet.  Quite simple really?

Don't follow the crowds - not another angler in sight!

Don’t follow the crowds – not another angler in sight!

5. Don’t follow the crowd. It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking the easy option. You arrive on the water and everyone is fishing a floating line. They’re catching too, but not with consistency.‎ What you don’t know is, the depth the fish are at. The fly that’s doing the business and the speed of their retrieve. Add into this long leaders and it’s easy to get confused and lose the plot. Watch the water when you arrive. Even two or three minutes spent looking at and into the water, is time well spent‎. Look at what’s present on the surface. Learn to recognise different rise forms and watch for sub surface activity. On a rippled surface this is easy to spot, in the form of a smooth spot on the otherwise rippled surface. Having some of this information, may give you some idea, as to a way forward. When you can make an informed decision,  on your line type to start fishing.  ‎Whether to utilise a Mini Tip, a floating set up or get deep with a sinker.

The end result - a fish on the bank

The end result – a fish on the bank.

Above all else, remember your there to enjoy yourself and have fun. Just like everyone else around you. Fish with confidence and handle your fish gently if at all. I’ll leave it up to you to make some great memories‎. There’s always a “Fish of a lifetime” out there.  You’ve just got to be there to catch it. Tight lines and wet nets. You just gotta get a trout to decorate your net now.

Tightlines,

Stuart Smitham

 

All because the lady loves…fishing

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For these women, nothing beats a day fishing!

Defying stereotypes, these women gladly spend their annual leave on a fishing trip. They relish a heated debate about fishing policy reforms, and definitely have a shiny new fly reel at the top of their Christmas list!

They are: women that love to fish…

Woman holding big fish on boat

Image source: kris krüg
A very impressive salmon catch just off of Galiano Island.

Summer fishing in a pond

Image source: Richard Semik
Summer fishing in a pond

fishing in Lake Erie

Image source: Ohio Sea Grant
A sunny day’s catch at lake Erie, Ohio

Smallmouth bass from the Great Lakes

Image source: Ohio Sea Grant
Smallmouth bass from the Great Lakes

fly fishing

Image source: Ohio Sea Grant
Hooked from a brook

One big bass from Michigan

Image source: Heather
One big bass from Michigan

Supper -- sorted.

Image source: Brandon Mulnix
Supper — sorted

fishing in Michigan

Image source: Brandon Mulnix
Reeled in a big one: Muskegon River, Michigan

fly fishing in wyoming

Image source: Bugeater
Fly fishing in the cold winds of Wyoming – rewarded.

pike fishing

Image source: Bugeater
Beginner’s luck?

fishing in wyoming

Image source: Bugeater
An impressive trout caught in Wyoming

colorado fly fishing

Image source: Bugeater
Fly fishing for trout in Colorado

fishing at Waltman Lake

Image source: MjZ Photography
Waiting for the bait to bite at Waltman Lake, Michigan

fishing in Florida

Image source: Scott*
Sunset fishing in Florida

Woman Collecting Fish at Sunset

Image source: United Nations Photo
Sea fishing in Timor

Sunset fishing by the coast

Image source: Fineart1
Sunset fishing by the coast

 

Fly Fishing Iceland – Mythical Fishing On Lake Thingvallavatn

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Tackle consultant, expert angler and seasoned fishing guide Chris Ogborne was lucky enough to jet off last week to a magical North Atlantic destination. Here he reports on a special fly fishing trip to Iceland, in search of mythical fighting fit brown trout of gigantic proportions. Take a read to find out how he gets on- and find out whether the myths match the reality!

It’s a sad fact of life that so many fishing trips turn out to be, well, slightly less than your expectations. Travel companies turn on the hype, famous anglers report on the good bits and omit all the downsides, and all too often you’re left with the feeling that it was all slightly over-egged. The reality rarely lives up to the myth….

The majestic lake Thingvallavatn

First glimpse of the majestic lake Thingvallavatn.

Not so with Lake Thingvallavatn. I was lucky enough to be invited to fish this fabled place, set in remote countryside in the Thingvellir National Park in Iceland. Surprisingly it’s actually quite easy to get to it – pack your fly fishing tackle, fly to Reykjavik and then either hire a car or guide and its less than a two hour drive from the capital. But in that two hours the contrast could not be more marked for as you leave the urban environment behind you enter the rugged, austere but stunningly beautiful landscape of rural Iceland. In mid May the mountains are still snow-covered and indeed there was lying snow even at low levels, as spring is only just beginning. And then you see the lake, a vast sheet of blue water nestling in a huge rift valley some 12 miles long. As always with a new venue, you get that tingle of anticipation: could the stories of giant trout be true? Can the average size really be around 5lbs? Can the water really be that clear?

Chris wetting a line on Lake Thingvallavatn

Chris wetting a line on Lake Thingvallavatn.

On my first day of fishing those questions were answered – all in the affirmative! To be honest, the reality was even better than the stories because Lake Thingvallavatn is truly the most amazing, most spectacular and arguably the most beautiful fly fishing destination I’ve ever seen. Many thousands of years ago it was open to the sea but now it’s landlocked, with a brown trout strain that reaches far back into history.

The stats are daunting at first, and probably best ignored. Yes it’s a vast body of water many miles long and yes the water temperature rarely rises beyond single figures of degrees, even in the short Icelandic summer. But what matters is that there are places, just a few special spots, where the inflow of thermal spring warm water creates a micro climate, providing conditions where huge shoals of small Char congregate. And those small Char provide food for the resident wild Brown trout, who feed on them relentlessly. And gain weight. Lots of weight, and lots of condition. And they reach epic proportions. Read on……….

On my first full day our guide Bjarni took us to his favourite spot where a small river flows in to the lake. The river is fed by thermal springs and it has colour, that milky green colour you get from snow-melt. This colour spreads out along the bank and it was here that Bjarni said we’d find the fish.   To be honest, conditions weren’t easy as there was a strong, icy on-shore wind, rain showers, and the temperature was struggling to get to 5 degrees. Hardly conducive to great fly fishing. But after less than five minutes my fishing companion was into a fish. I heard his shout at the same time that I heard the sound of his reel, emptying fly line and then backing at a slightly alarming rate. By the time I’d put my rod down and walked to his side he had lost nearly 200 metres of backing from the reel! We exchanged meaningful glances. Perhaps the stories of giant trout that fought like salmon and looked like sea trout were true? Fifteen minutes later and after a spectacular fight that included getting all the line back on the reel, losing it all again (twice!), and huge bow wave surges, the fish was ready for the net.   All eight pounds of it. We took the obligatory photos, admired the beauty of the silver-blue flanks and then released it. Far from being a sluggish swim-away, the trout took off through the shallows as though nothing had happened, fresh and strong. We both high-fived with Bjarni. This was going to be a special trip!

the first fish - finally into the net!

The first fish – finally into the net!

And so it was. We fished a whole mix of flies over the four days, using everything from streamers through nymphs and even dry fly. Some of the beats involve water inflow whilst others are long lava-black gravel beaches. We saw loads of Char that the fish obviously feed on – one fish that we took for dinner had a ten inch Char inside it – and also experienced a sporadic sedge hatch that provoked a casual interest from the fish. I say ‘casual’ because we and the guides are convinced that the fish feed mostly at night, spending the days happily enjoying the warmer water locations where they literally frolic in the shallows. They will obviously chase a fly and will certainly take a dry if presented well, but the reason for their great size and amazing condition and fighting qualities is their staple diet – small Char.

A new PB - 11lb 4oz which fought like an express train

A new PB – 11lb 4oz, which fought like an express train.

Highlights of the fishing are too many to list. Over four days I caught and released three doubles, the largest of which is a lifetime PB for me at 11lbs 4ozs, probably the biggest wild brown I will ever catch. It went like a train and took nearly twenty minutes to subdue. Whilst it was obviously special I think it was equaled by the stunning 8 pounder that I caught on a dry hopper. We’d seen fish showing interest in a sedge hatch in a wide bay, slashing at the insects within feet of the bank. Bjarni and I sat in the shallows to keep as low a profile as possible as there was no cover at all to hide us, and the fish took the fly with a savage slash. Another highlight, or low light depending on your point of view, was having played a huge double figure fish that took the dry dropper for five minutes and then seeing a fish of four pounds or so take the trailing nymph. Long leaders are essential so that black damsel must have looked so good to a passing fish. Guess which one got away?

Another well fed Icelandic beauty graces the net!

Another plump char fed Icelandic beauty graces the net!

Tactically you need to be aware that these are huge, immensely strong and dramatically fighting fish. Leader strength needs to reflect this. Even on dry fly I was using nothing less that 3X Airflo Sight Free Platinum fluoro and for streamers you want 1X if you expect to keep the fish on the line. Single fly is used for everything except dry fly work, and even there I could make a strong case for single dry fly only. The water is literally crystal clear so long leaders are the order of the day and they needed to be well treated to get rid of any shine. I was using the Super Dri Elite line on my 10 foot 7 weight most of the time. The rod is the Airflo Elite kit rod, fantastic value and a perfectly balanced outfit that’s ideal for travel fishing, being a 4 section with a custom case which also takes your reel.  Long casting is not usually needed as the fish hold close the shoreline, but accuracy and presentation are vital. So too is good watercraft, as the fish will spook very easily in the gin clear water . If you have the luxury of rocky outcrops then use them for cover, but if not you’ll need to get down as low as possible as any form of skylining is treated with scorn.   Remember that these are truly wild fish and they don’t grow to this size without learning a thing or two.

Airflo Airtex clothing and waders kept Chris warm and dry

Airflo Airtex clothing and waders kept Chris warm and dry.

I’d also have to say that I was massively impressed by my Airflo clothing. The low temperatures and biting winds meant multiple layers were needed, and all too often this results is restriction of movement. But the Airtex jacket was perfect, very comfortable and with no feeling of bulk at all in spite of three underlayers.  I stayed warm and dry even in the face of a near blizzard of hail and rain, whilst others in our party were getting wet in far more expensive gear. The new Airweld fishing waders also performed supremely well, even putting up with the obligatory knee-walking on gravel beaches. You need to stay comfortable and dry in conditions like this if you’re going to fish effectively, and that’s exactly what happened.

It would be wrong to pretend that this is easily reachable or affordable fishing, because it’s not. I was privileged to be invited by a great friend of mine to join his party, but otherwise it needs to be said that these trips are not cheap. Most are custom packages created by the specialist travel company Frontiers, who will sort out the whole thing for you from flights through to hotels and top class guides . They can be found on www.frontierstrvl.co.uk and I can totally endorse their service.

As a final note, it has to be said that Iceland is one of the top destinations in the World for the serious fisher. I’ve been three times now, and every trip is special. The rivers have some of the best salmon and char fishing, the seas are full of all kinds of sporting species, and the lakes are just superb. And for me, Lake Thingvallavatn tops them all. If its not there already, it should go on your bucket list. I’ve been around the World a bit and there’s nothing in my experience that comes close. Not even remotely close! The largest trout this year (so far) is over 20lbs and the record for the lake is, incredibly, over 30lbs With every cast you make there is the very real chance of a fish of a lifetime. This is the stuff of myth, magic and dreams. Iceland, land of ice and fire, is truly one of fishing’s ultimate destinations.

Chris Ogborne

May 2015

Carp Fishing On Crowsheath Fishery Essex

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Gareth Morris, our resident sea fishing sales adviser at Fishtec tries his hand at fishing a commercial carp venue in Essex for a few days. Take a read to see how he gets on with his first attempt at landing some hard fighting carp.

I visit some family members each year in the South east of England. This occasion I had decided to combine the trip with some carp fishing, having never really done any serious carping or any overnighters before. I had heard my destination, Essex, is basically the birth place of modern carp fishing- where Team Korda began their epic journey, as well as Nash and Mainline Baits. I packed the car up with the carp fishing tackle and began the long drive from Brecon in South Wales, to fish a fantastic well established Essex fishery called Crowsheath.

Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Rods out on Crowsheath Fishery Essex.

Crowsheath has been established for many years and is actually within the Essex greenbelt making it very peaceful, you can’t even hear a car go past and the only view you have is pleasant greenery and the only sound you will hear is the birds and bank side wildlife. Nick who is the onsite bailiff and owner of Crowsheath is a great character, who constantly strives to improve the fishery.  As well as the main carp lake that is situated here there is also the ”cat canal” which boasts some of the biggest catfish in the UK, with some knocking over the scales at 100lb+ and also including the unique ”mandarin” breed. There is also a predator lake on site with pike to  the high 20’s, and a new match lake is in the pipeline.

We arrived at the fishery with very high expectations of that dream big double figure carp, our hopes were somewhat dampened by the news from other anglers that had been there all weekend. Nothing was coming out, and even if it was something it wasn’t what they wanted… Myself and my brother in law Sean moved quickly to get settled into our bivvys and pre-baited our swims ready, and got the rods out onto the pods- eagerly awaiting that first run to the alarms. My chosen set up was a TF Gear Compact 10ft 2.5lb matched up with DL Speendrunner 6000 reels, with 12lb TF Gear Nantec Gunsmoke Mono Line. This set up is perfect for the size of carp we were looking to encounter this week.

 

TF Gear Lok Down bivvy - home for the next few days

A TF Gear Lok Down bivvy – home for the next few days.

The baits that I had selected were the Mainline Frozen Cell 15mm boilies– a perfect all round bait used all over the country with great results. I used a Korda DF size 10 Barbless rig, with PVA bags fully loaded with mainline Cell Stick Mix and hempseed. It wasn’t until the next morning we had the first run, but here she is, a nice little common to start off the day.

 

8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp

8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp.

After a nice start the weather was soon on the change from ideal cloudy and mild fishing conditions to heavy rain and extreme winds! The lake soon turned choppy and it felt like I was sea fishing on the South Wales sea coast and not on a lake. Everything just switched off. A few hours later watching the rods and with a break in the weather it seemed the perfect opportunity to try a bit of stalking a few other swims closer to the main island on the lake. With my brother In-law pulling another 8lb carp out from there earlier that morning. As the sun was staring to come out the fish were on the rise, but they were not interested in the bait, even if you dropped it in front of their nose. We tried the new Korda Ready Tied Zig Rigs, but absolutely nothing was happening.

The next day things picked up somewhat, after a night of heavy rain and wind.  The Lok down bivvy thankfully kept me bone dry all night, and at 4.30 am the alarm was screaming once again. After tripping over the bivvy door and stumbling over the bait bucket I was quickly into the second carp of the trip. Again not the biggest but a nice welcome after such a horrid night!

Another mint condition common carp - 12lb in weight.

Another mint condition common carp – 12lb in weight.

The weather had really picked up and this was out perfect opportunity to rove around the lake before other anglers had arrived later that day. Moving up a few swims with the rods in hand I wasn’t long before the carp were jumping out the reeds. After carefully putting the two rods in just before the reeds it was time to sit back, relax and wait. Less than 30 minutes of the rig being in the spot the rod almost got pulled off the deck. This fish was a proper rod bending, drag running carp! Having picked up the net to safely get the carp it darted into the reeds near the deck and bolted, this is when I knew it was over, he got off the hook. Gutted wasn’t the word that was used. It had a lovely dark colouration to it and it felt a really nice fish.

A welcome 10lb carp

A very welcome fish.

After relocating back to our swims it was back to the drawing board. I got out out the spod rod and baiting up a large area not far off the reed beds, and placed the rods over it. It wasn’t long before I had a run, It was a double figure carp but only tipping over at 10lb 10oz. Things were going well for Sean too, with several nice double figure carp to 12lb also gracing his net. We didn’t have long left to fish, and the rods where still out and fully loaded, whilst we packed up to make our way home, but I was still hopeful of latching into a bigger carp before time ran out. The bivvy and kit were packed away, with the rods of course being the last thing you bring in. Looking at the reel closely as I was just about pick up the rod, I saw the line twitch… and suddenly the TF Gear Magrunner alarm screamed off with the spool releasing line at a rate of knots! The hard fighting  carp was welcomed to the net after a strong fight.. After letting her settle down in the net it was weighing time. Sean announced it was another PB, 15oz 2lb! Not the 20 I was after but it was a very welcome fish after a difficult fishing session with challenging bankside weather.

15lb 2 oz Common Carp

15lb 2 oz Common Carp.

We were very happy to leave the fishery with ten nice Carp landed between us – no giants but it had been great fun on balanced fishing tackle. Being an experianced sea fisherman  this is the very first time I have been proper carp fishing- and what a buzz it was! I had well and truly caught the carp fishing bug, and hope to return to Crowsheath next year. Many thanks to the bailiffs Nick, Darren, Connor and Jason for a very memorable trip, and advice given over the few days.

For more information and catch reports please go www.crowsheathfishery.com and follow them on their face Facebook page. If you are in the area, pop in and have ago. There is a good head of carp at this venue and it’s worth every moment!

 

 

Rene Alleyne’s Sea Trout Blog – Early Season Sport

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The Sea trout season is up and running now, and with a decent rise in river levels, the fishing is really starting to pick up… So It’s time to get your fly fishing gear out of storage and hunt down a sea trout! Veteran sewin chaser Rene’ Alleyene has already ventured out and started his season on the famous River Towy. Here he gives us his first report of the year.

I started the season with my usual setup for night fishing, two Airlite nantec rod’s, some Airflo v-lite reel’s, loaded with slow inter, mid inter, fast inter and Di3 Airflo forty plus lines. April got off to a good start. I was out with Barry Stearn, at Golden Grove, on his first night session of the season in the  first week of April. We weren’t fishing long when there was a big explosion of water, and Barry was into a fish. After a good fight, I managed to get the net under it for him, very relieved. A belting seatrout, weighing 15.5lb. A quick photo and the fish was released and went back strong. Barry took the fish, using a fast inter forty plus and a 3 inch aluminium tube.

Barry Stearn with his 15.5lb sewin

Barry Stearn with his 15.5lb sewin.

Through April we had very low water and bright sunshine in the day time. The algae was getting worse by the day, making fishing difficult. I was mainly fishing at this time with slow and mid inter lines, with plastic tubes and snake flies, to try and keep the flies out of the weed, and I did have some decent takes, and a few fish lost, one very good fish. I was out fishing with Philip Bissmire one night, when he hooked into a cracking fish, which spent most of the time in the air and managed to jump into a snag and the fish was lost, very unlucky with that one. I managed to land my first sewin of 3lb the other week,it  gave a good account of itself, and was a lovely bar of silver.

The first sea trout of the season for Rene'

The first sea trout of the season for Rene’ – a proper silver bar.

Into May now, and last week we had a good rise in river levels, which has cleared out a lot of the weed. Some really good sewin have been landed on the fly and spinning. The Tywi (aka Towy), at Golden Grove was at a nice height for night fishing last night, so I went out for a few hour’s. I fished the pool through first with a mid inter, stinger on the point and a size 6 single on the dropper. Picked up two nice brown’s, but no takes of a sewin. I gave it 5 minutes and then went through with a fast inter and a 1 3/4 inch copper tube. Waded out into the river, and fished this slow until it came down below me, and then a very slow retrieve. After a few cast’s doing this, everything went solid, and I was into a cracking fish. The fish came straight up and was thrashing like mad on the surface, but then headed straight for a snag in the water. While trying to stop it going in there, the hooked pulled and everything went slack…. oops. After taking 10 minutes on the bank to pull myself together, I went back in fishing the same way and after four or five cast’s, had a belting take, and I was in again. The fish headed for the snag again, but this time I managed to keep the fish my side of it, and after a strong scrap managed to land this one. Weighed in the Mclean’s weigh net, a quick photo and the fish was released. A cracking sewin weighing just over 11lb. It’s funny how you can go from being devastated, to being over the moon in just a short space of time with fishing.

First big Sea trout of the season from the river Towy - 11lb

First big Sea trout of the season from the river Towy – 11lb

I am hearing some fish showing at night now, and hopefully thing’s will pick up now. More rain today, so it’s looking promising for the rest of May.

Tight lines All,  Rene’

Waders that help you catch fish!

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How would you like a pair of clever waders? Boots that can tell you exactly the best spot in the river in which to wet a line?

That’s just what one Dutch scientist has come up with, waders that measure the water temperature to give a real time picture of where’s best to fish.

Here we take a look at how these waders ever came to be, and whether they’ll actually benefit you…

The science

Close up of a river underwater pebbles

Image source: Igor Kolos
Water exchange in rivers is a complex subject.

The researcher is interested in hyporheic exchange – the study of water exchange in rivers. It used to be thought that groundwater entered rivers gradually along their length.

But now scientists have realised that instead, there are specific spots where upwellings of groundwater pass into the stream, and places where river water seeps into the ground.

Why fishermen?

Depth of field fly fisherman  with focused fly in river

Image source: Annette Shaff
So where do fisherman enter the equation?

But they needed to capture more information, and that’s where anglers come in. After talking to a fly fisherman friend, the scientist realised that here was a potential goldmine of information. Who better to collect water temperature data than people who spend all day wading about in the river? Fly fishing enthusiasts.

So the scientist fitted a temperature sensor to the heel of a pair of waders. The sensor relays information to a smartphone in a dry pocket. In turn the phone streams the information to the cloud, from where scientists back at the lab can analyse it.

Because groundwater is usually a lot colder than the surrounding river water, a wading angler can help detect cool groundwater upwellings, helping scientists build a water exchange map of a river.

The information is invaluable to scientists, helping them to understand how river systems work, and it’s gold for fishermen too. Some species love cold water swims, while others prefer a slightly warmer temperature – a real win win situation.

A win win situation

Man fly fishing in iceland

Image source: J. Helgason
Good news for scientists and fishermen alike.

By getting anglers to wear the smart waders, scientists hope to profile many more stretches of river they wouldn’t otherwise have the time or money to investigate. In return, anglers will be collecting valuable angling information they can store and share.

In time, scientists hope to fit other sensors to the boots in order to capture even more useful info. Data on river salinity, and nitrogen and dissolved carbon levels could all be gathered by anglers wearing smart waders.

The information captured would provide scientists with a wealth of accurate data about the health of rivers and would also act as a real time pollution alert.

Sounds good! When can I buy them?

The waders are still at the early prototype stage so you can’t buy them in the shops yet. But if this Dutch scientist has anything to do with it, we’ll all be wearing smart waders soon.

The only  “fly” in the ointment for us it that we wonder how sporting it is to know exactly where the fish are hiding. Fly fishing is after all an art, not a science.