The bit you should read.

I’ve always been an angler and after around the country moving I wanted to discover and document the best places to fish (where ever I might be) in the way of rivers, lakes, canals and ponds. When previously fishing in South Wales I often fished in club and winter league matches, however living up north presented me with new challenges, venues and angling clubs that I acquainted myself with. Now down in the South West I plan to do the same.

This fishing blog details my angling adventures around the UK (although depending where I am in the country I also sea fish from both Boat and Shore, Carp, Pike and Fly fish). I will be giving a summary of 3 values considered by most anglers as well as the additional Disabled Access rating. Since being diagnosed with CIDP and regaining my motor function Disabled angling and Disabled access is now something I always consider when visiting venues. They will all be rated on a scale of 1* to 5*;

1. Fishability *****

2. Accessability *****

3. Value for Money *****

4. Disabled Access *****

I think these 4 points are the key issues which are readily identifiable with all anglers. Feel free to take a look and add your own comments along the way!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Trip #89 - Higher Farm - Higher Lakes - Lake 2

After my last trip to the Long Load Canal and my trip back to Wales I decided my next trip was going to be another new venue. The tides were not working in my favour, not was the weather so instead of braving a beach I opted for a safer option of a lake. Or rather a selection of 3 small lakes knows as Higher Farm Fishery, not far from Wincanton. I would say apart from find the 2 Higher lakes in which you have to drive down the side of a field, one of the hardest parts of this trip was the junction off the A303.  Which appeared very quickly, with no slip road and very little signage. Anyway, after I finally found the lakes I parked up and after a quick walk discovered that a local match was being held on the lower of the 2 lakes. It really nice to see actually as all the people fishing the pond were regulars at the pub who apparently "did this sort of thing once or twice a year". It meant however I had to heave my gear up what was a rather steep and very slidey pathway to get to the top lake where I had decided to fish.

My peg had plenty of options

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Trip #88 - Back at Bills

Ironically many people find themselves in the autumn and winter months with some additional spare time, in these months however but we seem to be at our busiest. With work and various life matters being flat out there seems to be no end in sight of places to go, thing to buy and people to see. Still, being the opportunist angler that I am, meant despite travelling home I was able to arrange a few hours on the fly with my Dad and Grandfather. We would be heading down to Riverside for a few hours to try and tempt some last gasp puddle pigs that resided there before the seasons really took a turn for the worst.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Trip #87 - Long Load Drain

Fish don't catch themselves! Although in some commercial fisheries you could argue that they might... With that contentious issue in mind I decided to steer clear of catch proven and conventional lakes I would normally visit and target a closer and more natural water. I say natural, I would be fishing the Long Load Drain, which was of course man made many years ago, the stocking of it however is a different matter. This season I have been looking to improve my fishing skill set, and the only way I can do that is by challenging myself and fishing more rivers, drains and large still waters. Today would be the turn of Long Load Drain near Langport. Looking down over the bridge onto the drain it was absolutely crystal clear and weedy, but I could see a lot of fish moving in the upper sections of the water.

My peg selection

Monday, 27 July 2015

Big Bottlenose Dolphin Survey!

I normally start with where I'd planned to go fishing or which tackle shop I had recently stepped foot in but this week it's a bit of a different post to my usual blogs. There is a great project which is taking place along the south west coast which I thought would be interesting to share.

Local Charity MARINElife, based in Bridport West Dorset, has launched the 1st Big Bottlenose Dolphin Survey, this Crowd funder project aims to help secure the future for this protected species and the globally endangered Balearic Shearwater in the south west of the UK.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Trip #86 - West Bexington Bash

Today we (my Dad and I) were heading down to West Bexington in search of some lunch. I had spoken to some anglers the week before and they assured me that Mackerel were coming out thick and fast so I was "guaranteed" to catch. We'll see.... After walking around West Bay and getting blown all over the place this previous day I wondered how good the visibility was going to be. I had fished the same beach (although slightly further along at Abbotsbury) the same time last year and absolutely bagged up so I was hoping for a repeat.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Trip #86 - Mangerton Misfire

This weekend my Dad was visiting and I was a little concerned as at the venue (and time of year in general)  it had reported that the Carp had been breeding in earnest. Which often means an unproductive session. Still, I am always up for a challenge and with that in mind I opted for somewhere with plenty of carp but wouldn't be busy with competing anglers. The choice seemed an easy one and we opted for a few hours at Mangerton Lake. This venue is turning out to be new favourite of mine, with lots of options and lots of species to catch. Unfortunately for my Dad I wasn't in the conversating mood as I had an absolutely horrible cold.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Trip #85 - Bubbling Brooks and Cruising Carp.

This weekend was going to be spent the other side of the bridge after my wife and I decided (rather last minutely) to go home and visit our parents. This also meant that a fishing double was on the cards. My Dad is a keen river angler but like me will target anything that swims, so persuading him to get on the river should be a fairly easy job, and if those fish weren't playing ball I knew a venue which always produces on the fly this time of year, come rain, wind or shine.

Part 1 - River Taff

It wasn't an overly early start in comparison to some other fishing trips I have I had with my Dad but we were up and out of the house just after 8 which meant plenty of time for a McDonalds breakfast...WIN!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Trip #84 - Avalon Fishery - Moore Lake

I was quite excited today to be trying out a new fishery, and this week it came in the shape of Avalon fishery based right in the middle of Shapwick nature reserve. It was quite easy to find although negotiating the parked tractor on the lane to the venues entrance did almost leave me in a trench. I was also pleased to find out the there was a small tackle store on site which meant I could restock my pellet supplies as well as purchasing a new pellet bander after losing my last one. I had looked at the website and had seen the layout out of the lakes, the pictures however had not prepared me for the efficient layout of the venue which I saw on arrival. I've fished a few pegged commercial venues previously but this was something else.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Trip #83 - Mangerton Take 2 - The Proof is in the Paste

I was very keen today to get out and try some of the Skretting Pellet Paste I had made the previous evening. I was under no illusion that today was going to be aimed solely at Carp. Normally I start off on the silver fish and then work my way up to Carp unless my bait gets intercepted along the way. Normally it's purely from a "what species does this lake have in it?" perspective, but having visited Mangerton very recently, and knowing full well that the place was absolutely stuffed to the brim with Carp I decided on an all out Carp attack. I had made my rigs the previous evening and after arriving early (this time with the correct money for the honesty box) I made my way to a peg on the right hand bank, and before I had even stopped my trolley I could hear Carp slurping away on the surface.

I'd gone for a fairly hefty approach with only 2 topkits set up: 
  • 14 and 16 Elastics - Pre-weighted Paste float on 6lb Middy Lo Viz Crystal to a Preston PR478 size 12 Hook. You could pretty much land a Whale on this gear.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Pellet Paste made easy!

Summer it seems is on the way and for a lot of commercial anglers that means one of 2 things either starting to use or the increased use of Paste. Paste fishing on its day can be an absolutely devastating method and for some reason has the potential to pick out some of the venues specimens. I generally fish with 2 types of Pellet paste, Skretting Pellet Paste and Halibut Pellet Paste. Of these 2 types the Skrettings Paste is the easier to make (you don't need to use a blender to turn the pellet into a powder), and because of a recent request it will be the one I will be covering in this post.

Making paste is a very simple process all you will need is;

Monday, 25 May 2015

Trip #82 - Higher Kingcombe Floaters

Just a snippet of a post from me this week, as there was extraordinary amounts of cleaning and shopping to be done. Also, by the time I had worked out I had time to go fishing I was only going to have a couple of hours spare. Fortunately I had renewed (and bought new) local club licenses so I can now report I am a member of Yeovil and Sherbourne Angling (though I did not pay the extra £50 for access to Sherbourne Castle). I cannot wait for the river season to start up again, especially with all the drains I now have access too. Anyway, with my new license in mind (and S.L.A.C), coupled with a distant memory that Higher Kingcombe Lodge Lake held some big carp, I blindly grabbed a rod and reel from the shed, a bag of bits and I was away.

Lodge is the Top Lake

Monday, 18 May 2015

Trip #81 – Mangerton Mill

I’ve slowly but surely been working my way through the very extensive list of fisheries in Somerset, and although I’ve still got a good chunk left to sample, the fisheries closest to my house have been visited on more than one occasion. Wanting to fish somewhere new I decided to travel down the a3066 and visit Mangerton Lake. I’ll be honest, looking at the website I didn’t hold out a great deal of hope, aside from the fact that I knew I’d be in a picturesque location. A quick phone call the night before to make sure I was going to the right place, and I was set. I arrived at the farm house (where you pay into an honesty box) picked up my ticket and made my way back down the track towards the fishing lake. It was a nice lake and bigger than I expected, and after a quick walk around I picked a peg which looked to have a huge margin swim. In the time it took me to set my gear up the wind really picked up, and was now blowing firmly into my face. I reassessed my position before setting any more equipment up and deciding on moving around to my right, so the wind would be off my back, making holding a pole a lot easier.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Trip #80 - Viaduct Match Lake

A visit from the in-laws meant that this weekend I would be fishing with my father-in-law Jeff. I wanted to go somewhere which offered a bit of sport, with the potential of a few bigger bonus fish and within half an hour’s drive. There was only one option - The Viaduct. I was very keen to give Viaduct’s Cary Lake a whirl, but after asking a few questions on Maggotdrowners, I settled on re-visiting Match lake (There was a match on Cary, and Lodge was very busy). Jeff and I arrived at the Viaduct around 9am, and walked through the car park mid peg draw. I have never seen so many fishing barrows. Most of these match anglers had more gear than some small shops! Not that I was jealous… I loaded up my trolley and heaved my gear over to Match Lake. I was desperately hoping for a better result than my last visit, although the weather was a lot warmer. I positioned Jeff on peg 48 and I took up residence on the peg diagonally opposite (49). 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Trip #79 - Broadleaze (Baker's Mill) Fishery

I've been desperate to find local venues (within 15 - 20 minutes) as they enable me catch a sneaky hour or 2 while walking the dog in the summer evenings. I've never bagged a lump (15lb+), so when I found a fishery which only takes 8 minutes to drive too I was very excited. Finding it seemed easy enough, even if the verbal instructions on how to get there seemed incredibly vague. With my smart phone set to the location I left, I planned to give the water a good once over on pole tactics before trialing it later on in the year for something bigger.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Trip #78 - Lyons Gate Fishery

A family visit with a new dog meant it was only the one trip out for me this Easter break, and after some recent contact I was asked about fishing Lyons Gate fishery. Having never fished this venue and not really able to turn up much up to date info on the venue, I thought I should probably head over there and drown a few maggots so I could respond properly. Easter Friday was a bit of a murky affair and driving down the A356 with fogs and full beams seemed a bit of strange contrast to the blue sky and sunshine I had left less than 5 miles ago. Fortunately this started to lift as I passed over the A37 and by the time I got to the venue, it was very clear - albeit overcast. The overnight downpour also hadn't dampened the campers spirits, the site was a hive of activity. There were loads of people walking back and forth and a lot of dogs being walked (but all on leads). It's a fairly small campsite and I soon found the car park, and was walking around the lake surveying the options.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Trip #77 - Revels - Canal Lake

Today was part 2 of my fishing weekender, and to be honest I got off to a bit or a foggy start. Catching up with the rugby the previous evening while celebrating a glorious Welsh win meant that plans of a very early start were off. I had a few things I needed to get done in the evening so I opted out of fishing Avalon or Sedges and the hour+ drive that that involves, and went for something a bit closer to home. Revels is a venue 30 minutes away and with several lakes to choose from I was curious to see how this venue would fair after the cold spell. Having fishing the "Dead Tree" lake previously I also wanted to see what the other lakes had to offer.

Despite the dead tree, this lake was the Canal Lake

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Trip #76 - Lands End Specimen

A solid weekend of fishing was going to begin on Lands End Specimen Lake. I was up and out the door very early (I had to take my wife to the train station for 6am), and manage to arrive at the venue just after 7. Unsurprisingly I was the only person at the complex at that time, although I was aware that a match would be held on the ones of the other lakes. I had read Tony Rixon's blog back in Feb, so made a beeline for peg 34 and began unloading ... once I'd had a cup of tea. A quick note on the drive to Lands End along Jack's Drove. I have never seen so many herons, massive blue ones and smaller white ones all busy spearing fish from the road side rhynes, I really should have brought a proper camera. 
Peg 34 on Lands End Specimen

Monday, 6 April 2015

How to Guide – The “Twizzled Loop”

Looking forward to this season I need to improve several aspects of my fishing, they include;
  • The long pole – All to often I fish at 9 or 11 meters and when required to fish out at 13m+ I find all skill packs up and leaves and I repeatedly slap the water or spill my feed from my cups, disturbing the fish and missing vital bites.
  • Waggler Fishing – I aim to fish venues which are more than X number of pole sections wide, hopefully it will help improve my cast accuracy too!
  • Feeder and straight lead fishing -  I need to fish the feeder and straight lead more often and practicing it in the summer, when the fish are up and feeding is essential. It can be a deadly method in the winter, but all too often I fall back on the pole for those sure fire winter fish.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Trip #75 - End of Season Thuggery

It was the last day of the river season and I had been getting more and more excited as the week wore on, thinking about where I was going to go and what I was going to do. Unfortunately the weather had other plans. I checked the EA river levels website before I left and saw the ominous spike, but I still left with my gear and hoped to find somewhere that I could tuck myself away. 

The river was very high all day!

The constant rain from Wednesday onwards meant that when I arrived at the river at Hambridge, I saw straight away that I wasn't going to fulfil my plans of fishing the river. It was as high as I had ever seen it this year (although it has been much higher), and looking over the bridge and down at the bank, the bankings were water logged and were an inch or three under water. Getting back to the car I had a re-think of my plans and decided to give Dillington Pond a bash instead.

It was flying through

Monday, 23 March 2015

Trip #74 - A Thorney venue

I'm always weary of venues which advertise stocking levels, as follows "We have Carp up to 25lb's". What this generally means is there is 1 token big double in the lake along with a few little ones. Still I am not one to shy away from trying new venues, and with winters hold on the seasons slowly giving way to spring, I was quite hopeful that today would be a real confidence booster. I found Thorney lakes on a recent trip back from one of the local rivers, and after some internet searching I saw a lake that looked really promising.

Ignore the dates on this sign.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Trip #73 - Clear as Mud

As I only had a few hours to spare so today’s trip was going to be a short one. I'd spoken to one of my piker mates who told me the key to catching pike in (like anything really) is to put the hours in. Walk the banks, build a mental picture of their habitats and haunts, and when you've covered enough ground and cast a lure or bait enough, you should know where they are most of the time. Arriving at the river today it was clear that most of my day would be spent building that mental picture, as the water was the colour of mud! I'd kept an eye on the EA river levels website, (an invaluable tools as far as river fishing is concerned) and watched the river steadily drop.  What I didn't account for was the length of time it took for the river to lose its colour. Still, I was there on the river, so I’d give it a whirl.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Product Review - Savagegear 9' Parabellum Spinning Rod

As a blogger I get asked to review products from time to time, so when I was contacted recently by NETS, and asked to review some fishing equipment I didn't know what to expect. After a few emails, it seemed as though they wanted me to review one of a range of spinning rods. In this case the 9ft Savagegear Parabellum spinning rod. Wanting to do some predator fishing over the coming months it was fair to say that when this rod arrived in the post I was overjoyed at the prospect of getting it out on the bank and putting it through its paces.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Trip #72 - A Tale of two Halves MKII

As the end of the river season is fast approaching I've aimed my focus on many of the local rivers. To be honest I have a lot to choose from, and being a member of Ilminster Angling Association means the SLAC waters I can also visit have me spoilt for choice. This weekend I opted for the early approach and was up and out the door by 06:45. I aimed to cover a fair bit of water today and was intent on employing a lesson I had learnt from a previous session - "Be stricter with your time". With that in mind I arrived at the venue and intended on fishing a static bait, while wobbling another - moving on every half an hour. A short walk down a muddy lane and I had arrived, I had set up and was casting my first line before the sun broke the horizon, now let's see what’s about!

I held high hopes...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Trip #71 - A Winter Wobble

The weather recently has been a constant state of freezing and for some reason whenever I’ve had chance to get out on the bank the wind has been howling too! Fishing in the winter can be a difficult business, and after reading several other blogs of anglers all persisting and fishing throughout these wintry months, the fish didn't seem to playing ball.  With the forecast set to continue, sitting perched on a box for several hours seemed like a cold waiting to happen. With that in mind, I decided on a change of tactic and opted for a roaming approach targeting some winter predators. Being a member of Ilminster Angling meant I have access to the Somerset Levels Amalgamation waters, so out came the map... and Google.

A great looking spot with lots of options

Sunday, 8 February 2015

How to guide - Using the Slider Float

After my recent trip to Shearwater I was contacted to explain how my set up. To be honest this was the first time I had fished the slider in a few years, so I was almost a case of re-teaching myself. The slider is a great method for float fishing deep venues on what could be described as almost normal waggler tactics. Unlike Polaris floats which work on a float/ledger principle, slider float fishing is essentially heavy duty waggler fishing. Once you have cracked it, it is a great method and viable alternative to fishing deep on the pole or short range bomb/feeder work. There are also a few hints and tips which make the whole process of fishing using the slider a whole lot easier.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Trip #70 - Shearwater Lake

I really need to practice other styles of fishing other than pole fishing. It's my first port of call whenever I go to most venues. I find it allows for greater presentation, a concentrated feed area and usually a bit of fun. I also prefer watching a float to watching a tip, but that means that a lot of my other fishing skills have gone to rust. Feeder or straight lead fishing is something I do in the winter or when targeting specific species and conventional waggler fishing is something that rarely gets a look in at all. This has to change, and with reports that Shearwater Lake was putting out big bags of Bream despite the freezing conditions this presented the perfect opportunity to ditch the pole and give rod and line an airing. I find the idea of fishing new venues exciting, and the prospect of a day on the Feeder and Slider float meant I was one giddy kipper going to sleep Friday night – A kid at Christmas comes to mind. It was going to be an early start, but arriving at the lake just before 8, and to be greeted by this view meant I wasn't disappointed.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

How to attach elastic to an elastic connector.

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at my match top 3, and recently after switching all my heavy elastics to Dacron connectors I have unfortunately neglected my number 6 elastic, which has well and truly perished. I had to do the fiddly job of re-elasticating my top kit, I decided not to use a Dacron connector on this lighter elastic, and went with the more conventional elastic connector. In the past I have been asked “what are the best knots to use when using tying elastic to connectors?” I never really thought about what knot I used at the time, so now when refreshing my elastic I decided to have a look at a two variations and answer the question. There are 2 types of knot which I have used, and neither of them have ever failed (on me) but have a look at see which one you’d prefer.

It's that time of year when elastics get changed!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Trip #69 - Tough times at Somerset's finest.

This was going to be my first coarse fishing outing of 2015. To be honest it was a tossup between going Pike fishing on one of the local(ish) drains or going for a bit of a confidence boost on a commercial. In Somerset I am spoilt for choice for quality venues, The Viaduct, Summerhayes, Trinity, Land's End and Sedges - a lot of which I am yet to fish! I mentally flipped a coin and decided to fish a commercial. Aiming to get up and head for a new venue was my original intention, but not stirring from bed until 8, meant my initial choice of Sedges or Summerhayes was cast aside for a trip to the Viaduct, where I arrived just after half 9. My last trip to this venue was fantastic with F1's and Carp popping up on every put in, so I was hoping for the same. With a match on Campbell and 4 pegs taken out of Cary I chose the Match Lake (again) and opted for peg 45, hoping the fish were in the feeding mood!

Plenty of options on Peg 45

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Trip #68 - Cold Knap Beach

Another year has come and gone and coupled with a very busy Christmas and a mystery stomach bug over the New Year meant that my extensive fishing plans for the festive break were reduced to 1 trip sea fishing. Still, I couldn't complain as it was set to be lovely day out with my brother and grandfather. We decided to pick a fairly easy venue and opted for Cold Knap near Barry. Admittedly we should have looked a bit further afield if we wanted better catches, but hearing good reports of whiting and codling from across the Welsh coastline meant we felt quite optimistic heading out. Arriving at the beach, the walk down to the sea front was a short one, although the pebbles didn't prove overly comfortable underfoot. 

I would be fishing in between my brother and grandfather and with an array of bait we hoped the fish were hungry. The gear I used was;

·         12’ 9’’ – Daiwa Amorphous Whisker (Blue) Beachcaster – Reel down
·         12’ 6’’ – Shimano Super Ultegra Beach (Soft Tip) Beachcaster – Reel down