30 December 2009

A Short Barbel Fishing Session

A Short Barbel Fishing Session

Winter time with strong south-westerly winds and heavy rain I reckon is the time to get on the rivers and seek the barbel, that's just what I am doing as I have for many years. I usually leave my Lancashire home around 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning for the for the 250 mile long drive south, Once in Newbury I sort out my accommodation for a few days, then its off fishing the Wasing Estate waters on the Kennet or Enborne. For membership details Tel 01189-714-140. These following events are from one of my many winter trips. On this occasion I chose to fish the Kennet on the Woolhampton beat. My first swim was an area with lots of cabbage patches under my rod tip, an ideal area for perch and roach. A few feet out from the far bank was a dead tree, downstream I had a clear area of gravel, over hung by the far bank Alder and Willow trees and bushes. A good Wallis cast would drop the bait in the area I wished to fish. As the river was low and clear I felt the barbel would be tight to the far bank where they had some overhead cover,they certainly wouldn't be roaming all over the river until darkness. Tackle was a Grauvelle 12 foot barbel rod, in which I had every confidence, matched with a centre pin reel and 12lb bs line. Having tied on a size 4 barbless hook, I lightly pinched on 2 LG shot two foot from the hook. Bait was sausage meat paste.

In the first couple of hours I had three small twitches, I say small, more like a signal crayfish lightly touching the bait. Striking at all three I missed the first, connecting with the other two twitches, both barbel were about 7- 8lbs. No way would those fish have been caught with the rod in the rest. Some anglers tell me they couldn’t be bothered holding the rod all the time. That’s OK but I go too catch fish not watch a couple of motionless rod tips. Recently I was talking towell known big fish angler Len Arbery who also agreed with me that many fish are lost through anglers not holding the rod. I have often fished a dough bobbin when barbel fishing when I am getting tiny knocks. Remember not all barbel give three foot twitches.

A Powerful Adversary

An hour later
I felt a light tap as something gingerly picked up or moved the bait. A sixth sense told me to strike. Immediately the rod hooped over the reel grudgingly giving line. Something big and powerful was hooked up to my line, it went off downstream not wanting to stop, but eventually the pressure exerted by well balanced tackle had the fish slowing down. Suddenly it changed direction moving fast upstream I gained line as quickly as possible. Then the fish shot across the river diving towards the branches of a long dead tree in the margins. I thought “If it gets in that tangle of branches all will be lost”. Swinging the rod to my left I cramped on the pressure moving downstream at the same time which pulled the fish of course. Suddenly it was out in the open water. A minute later the prize was mine, as it went into my landing net. I dropped the rod, gripping the arms of the landing net I dragged the net and fish up the bank, then onto a sponge mat. I quickly realised it was a nice double. After couple of pictures I watched it swim off strongly, hopefully to grow into a fifteen pounder. Why don't you get out on your local river this weekend. If you don't have the gear, then take a look at Tackle Discounts or visit their new retail store, your certain of finding a bargain.

23 December 2009

Fish Legal formally the Anglers Conservation Association

Fish Legal forces open the filing cabinets of Government pesticide licensing body

In a ground-breaking Decision, over three years in the making, the Information Commissioner has overwhelmingly endorsed Fish Legal’s case that hitherto secret and redacted Environmental Risk Assessments of pyrethroid sheep dip must be disclosed in full.

Although currently suspended from the market, pyrethroid sheep dips have been responsible for huge damage to invertebrate and fisheries in upland streams and rivers across the UK.

In his Decision (FER0137609), the Commissioner has ruled that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA):

- did not deal with Fish Legal’s request for information according to the law;
- did not deal with Fish Legal’s request within legal time limits;
- unlawfully withheld information relating to emissions to the environment;
- unlawfully refused to disclose information in order to protect the commercial confidentiality of sheep dip manufacturers;
- was not entitled to refuse to disclose information to protect manufacturers’ intellectual property rights;
- was not entitled to refuse to disclose information on grounds that it was the subject of internal communications

Guy Linley-Adams, Head of Legal at Fish Legal said:

“We believe this decision now drives a coach and horses straight through the cosy licensing procedure for all veterinary medicines and pesticides in the UK.

If residues of these or any other pesticides can find their way into the wider environment, they are to be considered as ‘emissions’ under European law. This has the effect of lifting the cloak of commercial confidentiality that has for so long shrouded the licensing of pesticides in the UK.

Public authorities cannot by law keep secret environmental information relating to emissions to protect manufacturers’ commercial confidentiality.

Over the three years this has taken, we have always believed that this would be the Commissioner’s decision.”

Fish Legal, acting on behalf of anglers across the UK, believes that the risk to the aquatic environment of the use of synthetic pyrethroid dips in real farm situations is just too great and now calls on the Government to make the current temporary suspension permanent.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Fish Legal and the Angling Trust said:

“Fish Legal, and the Anglers’ Conservation Association before it, has battled for years on behalf of our members to win access to this information, which is vitally important to the investigation and assessment of environmental damage from these pesticides.”

10 December 2009

Martin James Does it for Charity

BBC Broad Caster Martin, continuously works for charity and so I though it only fitting to post his recent activity here.
I have just returned from Dubai where I took part in the The Smile Train Run a 10K run!!. I’m not sure how familiar you are with this charity but The Smile Train is the world’s largest and most effective cleft charity, for as little as $250 and in just 45 minutes, this true, modern-day medical miracle can change a child’s life forever. http://www.smiletrain.org/goto/milesforsmiles09 The run raised $50,000-00 also it was announced that Dubai Duty Free had donated a million and a half dollars. All in all it was a very satisfying.
Before going off to Dubai I organised a concert for my other Charities During the past few years with so many servicemen coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan I felt I should also try to generate extra funds for the Army Benevolent Fund. and Crossroad Care as I work quite hard for both charities. Also any serviceman home on leave from Afghanistan can have a free days fishing on some 2 miles of the river Ribble I look after, its a salmon sea and brown trout water, plus some good chub,
The idea of the concert which was a great success and a sell out, come about when I took comedian singer song writer Phil Cool fishing for a week in Berkshire on the River Kennet. During the week Phil caught some good fish including chub of 5-13-0 6-7-0 and a whopping barbel of 14-15-0. At the end of the trip Phil said "What do I owe you" I said "Just make a donation to one of these charities". After a few minutes Phil said "I will better than that, I will do a free concert" Then Tewitfield Fishery owner Les Bratsby said "Our band O'Connor's Fusiliers will give an hour". Everyone agreed it was a great evening and as several people told me its all down to the kindness and generosity of fisherman. The sale of Phil Cool's DVD's raised £198-00, Split between both charities. I am told the The Army Benevolent Fund boxes raised just over £94-00 I spoke with the manager of the Grand today who will have a final total for me from ticket sales early next week, its seems both charities will receive over a £1,000-00 each. It was so popular I plan to make it an annual event.

12 November 2009

'Martin James' Rolling meat for Chub

Rolling Meat

for Chub

I woke on Wednesday morning to a clear sky, light wind and the prospect for mild weather conditions. Prospects of a good day at the waterside were excellent. I was going to fish for grayling but having seen the river with a steady flow and carrying a few extra inches of water with some colour. I decided on a session after the chub. My bait bucket contained bread, sausage and cheese paste, three baits I rate highly for chub. As I drove into the car park a dozen Canada geese flew low over a nearby field, in the middle of the bunch was a white farmyard goose which I found quite amazing. Threading the line through the rod guides, I tied on a size 4 barbless hook. A wren chattered loudly from a nearby hawthorn bush, on the other side of the car park another chirped back, the sun was trying to burn through the thin cloud, hopefully it wouldn't succeed.

Slinging the bait bucket over my shoulder, I picked up my rods then headed upstream; a cormorant flew low over the water. I cursed the bird under my breath. With so many small dace, chub and roach in the river, the last thing we wanted were some fish eating birds descending on the river. Three hundred yards further upstream, an angler fishing with stick float and double maggot on a size 16 hook was catching some nice roach between 12 ounces and a pound, plus some quality dace.

Half a mile further upstream I arrived at the area I had chosen to fish, a long steady glide below some fast swirling shallow and boulder strewn water. The swim I had chosen to fish, contained the odd football size boulder, a length of alder tree which had been in the river for several months was a spot where I have caught chub in the past. A kingfisher with its shrill whistle flew low over the river towards a large willow tree just upstream of where I was sitting then perched on one of the lower branches.

With a water temperature of 50 degrees F, a nice flow and plenty of colour. My first choice bait was sausage meat and crust fished as a balanced paste, which I would roll down the swim. If it becomes lodged I gently lift the rod tip and the bait usually bounces over the obstruction. The way I fish is similar to Czech nymphing. Casting upstream I kept the rod high then I followed the bait downstream, as the bait passes below me I lower the rod tip allowing the bait to trundle downstream. As it starts to swing into my bank I strike it off. Then rebaiting I start all over again.

A dozen lumps of sausage meat paste the size of a bantam egg were catapulted upstream, followed by three orange size balls of mashed bread. I sat back too enjoy a fresh brew. A group of noisy long tailed tits settled in the Willow tree chattering away as they hunted for tiny flies and other insects.
After about an hour, it was time to make my first cast. Fifty minutes later I had a take which I missed. Rebaiting I cast upstream, as the bait trundled through my swim the rod tip pulled over, my strike connected. It was a chub about two and a half pounds. In the next two casts I had two more chub about 3lbs apiece. A dozen casts later I hooked a better fish which weighed 4-12-0. Shortly after catching this fish the rain arrived which continued for well over an hour, during which I didn't get a single take.

After topping up the swim with more bait size lumps of sausage meat paste and mashed bread, I walked back to the car for lunch. The float fisher was still catching. With some hot soup and fresh crusty bread I sat back watching the river. Lunch over I made my way upstream under a clearing sky, stopping on the way to talk with the float fisher, who was getting a bite every cast. Mostly small dace and chub.

Back in my swim a barbel rolled, conditions looked good. On my second chuck I had a barbel about 3lbs, quickly followed by another of the same size. Twenty minutes later I had a nice chub of 4-6-0. In the next thirty minutes I had three more small barbel. Then followed a quiet spell, I tried crust, flake, lob worms and cheese paste, with just one eel for my effort. A good couple of hours followed when I probably had 16 takes hooking 7 fish which included 3 chub of 4lb plus, three big chub weighing in at 5-4-0 5-10-0 5-14-0. I fully expected this latter fish to be well over six pounds.

I suppose it was about 4-30 - 5-0 PM when I had a savage pull then hooked a heavy fish, which fought strongly heading upstream towards the Alder tree snag. Slowly the pressure started to tell and I was soon able to draw a very long fish over the net. My immediate though was, 'This could well be a six pounder' the scale needle hovered between 6-4-0 and 6-5-0 I decided on 6-4-0 It was time to go home after a great day at the waterside. Why not call into Tackle Discounts new store at Europa business Park Parsonage Road Stratton Swindon SN3 4RJ where I will be opening the new store on December 5th at 11-am Tight lines everyone