Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barking mad?

I turned my species hunting thoughts back towards three bearded rockling yesterday and headed down to a new rock mark near Portpatrick. With the sun setting at about 18:45 and high water at about 20:00 I thought an evening session over slack water would give me a good chance of catching my target if any were around. However with the whole day free I first headed west and went to check out a new stretch of the Forth & Clyde Canal in the afternoon.

Fishing soft plastics slowly on a dropshot rig I was hoping to catch my first pike of 2014 but unfortunately after three hours exploring the wider areas at bends, reed beds and the spots where small streams flowed into the canal my efforts hadn't produced. It was a nice day though and it was quite relaxing ambling along a new part of the canal trying to figure out where likely fish holding spots might be for my next visit. I'm sure in the summer when a few lily pads appear it will be a bit more fruitful so I'll be back to give it another go. Back in the car I headed down the road to Dumfries & Galloway.

A couple of hours later I arrived in Portpatrick, drove up to the mark and climbed down the rocks to begin fishing. Preparing some mackerel and bluey baits I made a couple of new friends who swooped down from their rocky perch and gobbled up the heads, guts and bones as I tossed them in.

A pair of opportunistic groundbait stealing swines!

Ledgering fairly big strips of bait on #3/0 circle hooks close in things were very slow but this wasn't a real surprise and when the sun set I was expecting it to pick up. Constant after dark bites from rampaging coalfish I thought and hopefully a three bearded rockling would be able to beat them to my bait.

Here we go?

It didn't pick up though and as the session progressed the rough rocky bottom was claiming a few leads from my rotten bottom links as I reeled in to put fresh bait on. I was also having to bend a few hooks out of snags too so I switched to a two hook flapper with short snoods quite far up the rig from the lead to try and keep them clear of the bottom. I also switched to slightly smaller #1/0 hooks and smaller baits. This seemed to reduce tackle losses and I finally had a rattle or two before hooking a fish. As I retrieved it I guessed what it was from the way my line was snaking around in a figure of eight and my suspicions were quickly confirmed.

Woof woof. A blank busting dogfish. I was happy to catch it but then I quite like them.

I fished on for just over an hour more but with a three hour plus drive home to make I packed up at about 22:30. Over 300 miles travelled and I didn't get what I went for but to be honest I still enjoyed the day's fishing and was pleased with my single dogfish. Some anglers might think I'm mad. Barking mad. Maybe they'd be right?

Tight lines, Scott.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I smelt a fish and I liked it.

I headed up to Dundee to fish the Tay Estuary today. Smelt, or sparling as they are known in Scotland, frequent brackish water, a few are usually caught from the Tay's banks at around this time every year and with a few being caught recently I decided to head north to see if I could catch one. Before setting off I knew I would need a large slice of luck but I was happy to give it a go, it was forecast to be a nice day and as I drove up I just had one of those feelings you sometimes get that things are going to go your way.

Arriving at about eleven, I quickly set up two rods and clipped on three hook flapper rigs. Six #4 circle hooks baited up with small strips of mackerel were soon on the muddy bottom held in place in the current by uptide leads. It didn't take long at all for my rod tips to start registering interest and a small flounder was soon landed.

First cast and a flounder took one of my mackerel strips.
I can't promote the use of circle hooks enough. I love them and almost all of my fish were nicely lip hooked.

This set the scene and the action was fairly constant with a few more flounders soon following over the next hour or so until I landed a sea trout to break up the flatfish onslaught. After that the flounders kept coming for the next couple of hours until I caught what I was after, my first ever smelt and my first new saltwater species of the year.

An odd looking fish with an odd smell too. They smell strongly of cucumber!
A nasty little mouth full of sharp teeth, even its tongue had a tooth on its tip!

Its vicious mouth reminded me of the lizardfish I caught last year while on holiday on Crete. Anyway, I was extremely pleased to catch it, popped it back and carried on fishing, catching more flounders.

A steady flow of flounders kept coming.

By half past four I had run out of bait and had caught a total of twenty eight flounders, with a few double shots and a single triple shot helping make up my tally. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's fishing and the most flounders I've ever caught in one session but the smelly smelt was the fish that had really made my day.

Tight lines, Scott.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A stick to beat someone with.

My mate Keith and I visited Magiscroft on Wednesday. It was a dry but very windy day so we once again sought shelter at the southern side of the fishery on one of the Birch Ponds. We decided to have one of our friendly competitions and settled on a highest combined carp length competition. As usual I set up and fished the same swim all day whilst Keith roamed around trying various spots. I began by chucking in a few balls of halibut crush groundbait containing some maggots and flavoured sweetcorn and fished double maggot on a #14 hook on the bottom using a float ledger rig. Keith opted to fish a single maggot on a #20 hook using a standard waggler setup. This soon saw him catch a load of roach before he hooked and lost a carp. I on the other hand wasn't getting many bites so after a while I decided to switch to a #18 hook and fish single maggot. This saw me start catching roach too and a skimmer. 

My second small bream from the Birch Ponds. 

By this point Keith was working his way around the pond and before long had hooked his second carp of the day. I headed over to where he was and after he carefully played the fiesty fish I netted it for him. 

Keith opens his account with a 13 1/2 inch common carp.

A few dozen roach later Keith caught a second common carp adding another 14 1/2 inches to his tally. The pressure was on and I was just starting to think I might end the day on zero inches when I finally hooked my first decent fish of the day and it was Keith's turn to net a carp for me.

I get back into the challenge with a 12 3/4 inch fish.

A chunky little F1 carp. 

Things went quiet for a while so I switched to a standard waggle setup and Keith headed off to try his luck on the Railway Pond. I persevered at my chosen peg but after a couple of gudgeon and my seventieth roach I decided to change to a piece of flavoured sweetcorn on the hook. Bites immeadiately dried up but having had my fill of roach I didn't mind and after adding a bit more groundbait my patience paid off when my float slowly slid under and I caught a second F1. Keith had the measuring tape though so I improvised, laying a stick next to it and taking a photo for later measurement but I knew it wasn't long enough to give me the lead. I new I was in with a shout when though when I caught a third F1 about fifteen minutes later. It was smaller than my second so I bent the stick I had used on my second carp and took another photo as proof of its length.

A third F1 but had it given me victory or had Keith caught anymore?

Not long after popping it back it was time to pack up and after doing so I headed around to meet up with Keith who had moved onto the main pond. When I caught up with him I asked if he had caught any more carp. No was the answer, just loads more roach, so I gleefully broke the news of my second and third carp to him, showed him the photos and got him to measure my stick. Victory was mine!

My total carp length : 39 1/4 inches.
Keith's total carp length : 28 inches.

So it's now 2 - 0 to me in the 2014 "not very serious course fishing competition" world series. I think next time we're having a smallest perch challenge. Should be fun and may come down to a few millimetres!

Tight lines, Scott.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What goes down must come up.

I popped down to St Abbs Head last Wednesday and did a bit more exploring. It was a glorious day so I decided to have a walk along the clifftop and spotted what looked like a nice mark down below that looked fairly easy to access so I had a wander down.

Another new mark?

Sure enough getting down was quite easy and once there I found an elevated position on the rocks to fish from. The water around the mark was very deep and I think this spot will be great for a spot of lure fishing for pollock and wrasse in the summer.

Clear blue sky and the sun shining brightly over the next set of cliffs to the east.

Fishing was quite slow and I tried a few different baits starting off with crab before switching to mackerel and black lug/squid cocktails but when I did get a bite it was a very aggessive one with the culprit smashing a strip of mackerel fished on the top hook of my one up one down rig. It turned out to be a greedy little codling.

A nice reward.

It was such a nice day that I was quite happy just sitting there with my rod in my hands, feeling for bites with my eyes closed, enjoying the warm sun beating down on my face. No more bites came but I wasn't too bothered to be honest it was just so nice being down there. Sadly my enjoyment of the day came to an end when I had to make the climb back up. It's the only down side to descending the cliffs to the various marks at St Abbs Head but on such a nice day it was a small price to pay for such a relaxing session.

Tight lines, Scott.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ruffe justice.

After getting back from my trip down south with Martin last weekend I was keen to get out again and hopefully enjoy some slightly more fruitful fishing. I checked the forecast on Monday afternoon and decided to spend Tuesday feeder fishing at Loch Lomond to resume my ruffe hunting after a short self imposed break. My mate Keith text me later that evening to see what I was up to the following day and when I told him about my plans he decided to join me. On Tuesday morning after a brief stop at Angling Active for a pint of maggots, we were soon setting up on the partially submerged and mist shrouded metal walkway of Balmaha Pier.

Let me in!
A misty start to the morning. 

We both set up swim feeders on running ledgers to #20 hooks. I also had a new faster tip for my feeder rod to hopefully show very delicate bites. I decided to fish exclusively with maggots in the feeder too as on previous occasions I've loaded it with maggots and hemp. Things were slow to start with and Keith was first in with a couple of roach before I caught one too. They are lovely looking fish indeed.

I admire a nice Loch Lomond roach. 

Things remained quite slow so we both rigged up some lures and fished a second rod to try for perch. After catching a few small ones drop shotting a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad the tip of my feeder rod started twitching away but I didn't react quickly enough and missed the bite so I put the lure rod away and started focusing on the feeder fishing again. Casting out regularly to hopefully draw a few more fish into my swim including hopefully some of my target fish. Reeling in to put a fresh maggot on the hook and fill the black cap feeder I felt a little extra weight and my rod tip gently twitched a few times signalling the presence of a small fish. Low and behold despite not seeing the bite I was delighted to discover it was my first ever ruffe!

Finally I caught one of the little buggers!
I was over the moon and my obvious elation drew a few strange looks from some passers by who were clearly puzzled as to why I was so happy about catching a small fish.

Pressure off I was in a great mood now and the arrival of some quite loud and obnoxious tourists who ruined the peace and quiet we had been enjoying all morning couldn't dampen my high spirits. Keith then caught a small perch and then things went quiet for a bit before he too caught his first ever ruffe followed shortly afterwards by a second.

Keith gets a small spiky fish but it's the ruffe's cousin, the perch.
Keith gets his first ruffe. Very decent of him to let me get mine first.

By now it was a quite stunning day and a steady stream of people were coming and going from the pier. It is a beautiful spot and it's easy to see why it attracts so many visitors.

With the mist all gone and the sun shining the view towards the highlands was spectacular. 

By late afternoon things had slowed right down on the fishing front and neither of our rod tips had moved for a while. I suggested that we fish for another thirty minutes and if we got no more bites during that time we should call it a day. With a minute or so to go I saw a very slight flicker on my rod tip and lifted the rod, reeling in I felt the weight of another small fish and my second ruffe was soon swung up to my hand.

Rather cute little fish. Being an invasive species they are not supposed to be returned but Keith and I were a bit clumsy and dropped all of ours and they made good thier escape. Oops.

We fished for a further fifteen minutes with no more action before packing up. Well, it was a long time coming and I was so happy to finally catch a ruffe. It just goes to show that even when you carefully select a venue and choose tactics wisely luck sometimes still plays a huge part in fishing. I've tried numerous times yet Keith managed to catch them on his first attempt! I was also glad to catch them because soon the level of tourist activity around the pier and the resumption of the local ferry service from it will make it difficult and sometimes rather unpleasant to fish. It also means I can move on to targeting other species as well although I'll always have a little soft spot for them!

Tight lines, Scott.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

When the fishing gets tough...

The Friday before last I headed down south with my mate Martin for a long weekend of lure fishing targeting freshwater predators, but primarily a favourite of ours, the zander. We also wanted to meet up with some fellow anglers at the Gloucester and Sharpness Zander Bumble on the Sunday. This was organised by local angler Kev Pugh. On the way down to Gloucester though we broke the drive up with a stop at Kingsdown Flash in Abram to spend the afternoon drowning maggots. This water apparently holds a good head of bitterling, a fairly recent addition to my "Most Wanted" species list. Being fairly early in the year I wasn't confident about catching one but was keen to try anyway and if nothing else it was a good opportunity to have a look at the venue for a return in the summer. 

As I've said, I knew it would probably be tough trying to catch a bitterling but I thought we'd perhaps catch a few roach or perch in the process. Action however was non existent apart from a few carp splashing about on the surface, getting ready to spawn. Bites just didn't materialise and after about two hours of patiently staring at my float and feeding a few pinkies I spotted something hanging from a nearby branch and took my eye of the waggler to go and investigate. It turned out to be a bright red artificial maggot but when I turned back to return to my seatbox I did so just in time to see my rod heading towards the water! Luckily I managed to grab it and had a fish on. It felt like a small carp or tench but sadly it came off after about thirty seconds. Sods law but at least I'd had a bite. Another hour or so passed with no more bites though so we decided to move. This did not improve our fortunes so we moved again one last time. This saw Martin being broken off by a fish after his attention was distracted by a carp surfacing nearby. A fish had grabbed his bait and shot off, he didn't see his float go, the first he knew about it was the the fish nearly wrenching the rod from his hand before his very light hooklength went. Probably a carp we suspected. Soon afterwards Martin's float slowly went under and he quickly landed the first predator of the trip.

Martin's monster perch. 
For those with poor eyesight. 

He then caught a roach slightly bigger than the perch, I had two tiny fish throw the hook on me fishing in the margin and resigned myself to ending the session on a blank, packing up and trudging back to the car. I didn't see what they were and Martin wound me up by suggested they were bitterling. The swine! Anyway, it was a fairly disappointing start to the trip and we both hoped things would be more productive during the weekend's predator sessions.

Fairly early on Saturday morning we headed to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. Bumble organiser Kev had suggested a spot for us to try when on the phone to Martin the night before and that's where we started. Fishing soft plastics on drop shot rigs we slowly worked our way along the canal but after about four hours my efforts had attracted no interest whatsoever and Martin had only had a couple of knocks. We had been told beforehand that the venue could be a notoriously tough place to fish but the lack of activity was very frustrating. We were both glad when Kev called, we headed off to meet him and we decided to head north to the Grand Union Canal to fish for the afternoon where Martin and I had fished before with some success.

A short drive later and we were at Kev's chosen stretch, one he had a few fish from recently. Martin was first to get his lure in the water and hooked a fish almost straight away but soon lost it, much to his digust. A good sign we all thought though but it didn't prove to be the case as the fishing was very tough. After quite a while Kev finally had some interest and hooked a zander. It was carefully netted by Martin and Kev was quite pleased with it and informed us it was probably a new PB, a fact quickly confirmed by his scales.

At 2lb 6oz it was indeed a new PB zander for a rather pleased Kev. 

Again encouraged by some action we soldiered on but the canal seemed to be pretty devoid of active fish. After a while I had tried numerous lures and had also switched to bottom bouncing a weedless jighead all with no reward whatsoever. After a short break and a sit down to set up a drop shot rig I decided to stick with this method and fished with one lure, a Daiwa D'Fin. We then doubled back and by the time we had passed the starting point light was starting to fade and Martin had headed a fair distance off ahead, obviously desperate to find some fish. I have to be honest and say I had almost resigned myself to another blank by this point and was chatting away to Kev about drop shotting. As we chatted he pulled his lure back out from some branches on the far bank he had cast into and a fish grabbed his lure as it dropped into the water about half way across the canal. Unfortunately it wasn't on long and spat the hook when it came to the surface. On my next cast I felt a very aggressive take and soon brought the culprit to the canal's edge. I wasn't going to mess around trying to get the net out so I quickly lifted it out to hand. It was a fairly small zander but I didn't care, it was an enormous relief to finally get a fish!

A most welcome little fish. Maybe the same one Kev had just lost.

Martin then came back to meet us and I told him my good news. Sadly Martin had nothing similar to report. We fished our way back to the car but the only things our hooks found were a few branches and there was no further contact with the resident fish.

On Sunday morning we headed to the meeting point for the bumble. It was good to meet up with some people I've met before and also introduce myself to some people who I've chatted to on forums but hadn't met in person. After we had our fill of bacon and sausage rolls we all jumped into our cars and headed to a stretch of canal south of Gloucester. Given our experiences of the day before I think Martin and I had quite low expectations. It was however a beautiful day and the stretch of canal we were on was out of town and much nicer as a result. A much wider section too so at least there was a lot of water to cover and hopefully it would have a few fish in it. I decided to stick with one lure all day and fished it on a drop shot rig about 15cm up from the lead.

Martin enjoys the sun. 

My lure for the day. The one that caught me my only fish of the trip so far, the Daiwa D'Fin. 

After a while Martin hooked a fish after getting a few bumps. It was a small fiesty jack and taking no chances I netted it for him. A good start to the day and he was no doubt pleased to get off the mark after blanking the day before.

Jack goes back. 

We worked our way along the towpath chatting to other anglers as we went. It was good to hear that a few fish had been caught including a single zander. Unfortunately Martin and I were struggling again and just before lunchtime made the decision to start our journey back up the road. We headed along the canal and found Kev and thanked him for his hospitality and apologised for not being able to stay all day. Back in the car we headed north and decided to break up the drive by popping into Warwick to fish the Grand Union Canal for an hour or so.

We headed to a spot we've had success at before but unfortunately British Waterways had been along and  had removed all the overhanging trees from the far bank that had provided some excellent cover for predators to hide in. With nothing happening we went for a wander along the canal and soon spotted a few moored boats. Martin cast into a long gap between two and hooked a nice fish. Net duty for me again and after a spirited fight from the fish a nice looking zander was on the unhooking mat. It turned out to be Martin's best Zander to date at 60cm, probably around 5lb.

A nice fish and a new PB for Martin. 

We carried on fishing for a bit longer but it was soon time to hit the road again and I was dissapointed to end the trip with a second blank.

So we had experienced some very tough and at times quite frustrating fishing too. Probably the toughest fishing trip I've ever been on with a lot of effort put in for very little reward. Driving up the road I was just glad to have caught the small zander late on Staurday so that I didn't end the entire trip fishless! Great company as always though and it was great to see Kev and Martin get new PB zander. I think next year I'll try and get down for the bumble, stay for the whole day and the post event meal too.  Don't think I can wait a year for another zander though so Martin and I may try and get another zander fix later in the year. Hopefully next time it won't be so tough to find some!

Tight lines, Scott.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Gudge match.

I popped to Magiscroft last Wednesday with my mate Keith for a friendly gudgeon catching competition. It was quite a blustery day but the Birch Ponds where the challenge was to take place were quite well sheltered. Fishing pinkies and maggots on #22 hooks under very sensitive wagglers it didn't take long for us both to catch a few gudgeon but Keith seemed to locate a shoal of tiny perch that were beating everything else to his bait so I took an early lead.

My first fish out was a roach. A few gudgeon soon followed.

By the afternoon I had built up a fairly comfortable gudgeon cushion and whilst I was happy to fish close to a small island feature in front of my peg, Keith decided to move around the pond and try chucking his float into a few different swims. This soon produced a nice bonus fish for him.

I stayed put all day, clipped up and fished close to the small island.
A nice common carp.

This would turn out to be the first of three carp and while I continued catching lots of gudgeon and extended my lead Keith seemed to have forgotten about our little competition and was happily exploring. His efforts were soon rewarded again when he caught a rather nice perch.

Keith surveys a rather plump perch in very good condition. A new PB in fact at 13.5 inches and probably about 1.5lb. 

Having by this point racked up what I considered to be an unassailable advantage in the gudgeon match I decided to scale up my hook lengths and fish double maggots to try and land myself a carp or a nice perch. Alas this change of tactics only resulted in less small roach and gudgeon being caught. I did however land what I'm pretty sure was a juvenile bream. 

A quick count of rays in its anal fin led me to believe this small fish was my first bream from a Scottish water.

It was soon time to pack up and the results were as follows...

My gudgeon tally : 58
Keith's gudgeon tally : 17

...a pretty comprehensive victory!

A trio of my match winning gudgeon. 

Regardless of the result we both enjoyed a good days fishing and I'm sure the gudgeon match would have been closer had Keith decided to focus on catching them but I think he was fairly pleased to catch a few carp and the nice chunky PB perch. All just a bit of fun anyway and I'm looking forward to more not very serious course fishing competitions with Keith over the summer months.

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Team building exercise.

I popped down to St Abbs Head again at the weekend. The forecast was for a dry start to the day with light rain in the afternoon starting at about 15:00. Two of my mates from work, Stewart and Josh, came with me. With the chance of rain we headed to one of the marks that's easier to get down to so we would be able to get back up quickly if required. I took three rods down but we ended up fishing only two, one chucked out with a variety of large cocktail baits on a single hook and the other at close range with a small mackerel strip, also on a single hook. All action came on the latter and before long we had all caught a coalfish each.

Josh's first ever fish.
Stewart's second fishing trip but he is still a bit freaked out when holding fish.

We were all having a good laugh and both Stewart and Josh were picking things up very quickly. Early in the afternoon a group of kayakers paddled past. They looked quite surprised to see us down there. I'd love to own a kayak and fish from it. My flat in Edinburgh means I have nowhere to keep one though. Anyway, we carried on fishing, Stewart cast in and handed the rod to Josh to hold so he could feels for bites. After a while he told me that the lead had got snagged. I took the rod, had a go at freeing it and managed to dislodge it. Reeling up I felt a little extra weight and thought it was maybe some weed but a nice long spined sea scorpion was on the hook. Josh claimed the fish was his. Stewart disagreed. I laughed.

A specimen. Nice team effort.

A few more coalfish were caught before the sky turned grey and the first few drops of rain fell as forecast at about 15:00. We quickly packed up and headed back up to the top.

Stewart wisely takes his time on the uneven path.

On the way back up I had a look at another nice looking area I'd love to explore but it was hard to see how to access it though. Maybe there is a way down but it would be so much easier getting to these types of marks on a kayak. You could spend a lifetime exploring and fishing St Abbs Head on foot or afloat and still barely scratch the surface.

No way down? Better explored afloat perhaps?

Driving back down from the lighthouse I stopped to take a photo of the cliffs to the west of Broadhaven Bay. No doubt there will be some superb marks along them too. The coastline reminds me of the south west coast of England.

A slice of cornwall on my doorstep.

I really love fishing St Abbs Head. It's quite simply stunning and it will be even more of a pleasure when the days are longer and warmer too. Might even stay down there during the summer for a few days!

Tight lines, Scott.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Tickled pink.

Last Tuesday I had to sit in the flat waiting for a few packages to arrive as well as an engineer to repair my Dyson vacuum cleaner. Exciting stuff and not how I wanted to be spending a day off really. Luckily all three arrived before noon and one of the packages contained a couple of pints of pinkies that I'd ordered online. I was keen to try fishing with them for the first time to see if they would improve catch rates in the cold weather and also in preparation for freshwater mini species hunting in the summer. I decided to pop to Eliburn for a few hours in the afternoon to hopefully catch a few fish on the waggler. Fishing a puddle chucker a rod length out things were slow to say the least and after two hours staring at a stationary float I opted to move. It took another hour before the orange insert tip finally went under and I started catching some fish. Before it got dark I had caught a few roach, perch and a couple of bream/roach hybrids.

It's just as enjoyable catching stillwater fish but they're usually not a patch on wild loch ones in terms of appearance.

The following day I was off work too and after checking the weather forecast I headed to Magiscroft for another afternoon's waggler fishing. It was quite overcast with the odd light rain shower but I was looking forward to another day's stress free fishing. When I arrived I headed to one of the Birch Ponds at the back of the complex. Unlike the day before bites were coming from the first cast and were pretty continual throughout the session. Single pinkie on a #22 hook proving quite effective on the resident roach, and much to my delight, a succession of gudgeon. 

A gang of gudgeon.

The humble gudgeon is a little freshwater favourite of mine and the population in this pond seems to have exploded from nowhere. Despite having fished the pond several times in the past I've never caught one from it but I ended up catching forty of the pretty little fish. I spoke to the bailiff when he came round and he told me that this was due to their six year life cycle causing their numbers to increase rapidly and then drop again in a repeating pattern as the adults die off and the juveniles that replace them develop. Quite interesting and not something I've really given much thought to before. A couple of other anglers who were also fishing seemed to be struggling and packed up and left half way through the afternoon. I can only guess that my pinkies, small hooks and sensitive insert float made a difference in the conditions. I caught over one hundred fish including a few tiny perch only a couple of inches long before packing up and heading home before it got dark.

On Tues this week I popped back to Magiscroft again and used up the remainder of the pinkies. The quality of these small maggots was very good and none of them had turned into casters. I can't say that maggots I buy from some tackle shops are anywhere as good so I'll certainly be ordering freshwater baits online again. Despite the weather being quite miserable and strong winds blowing I managed to tuck myself away at the back of the Birch Ponds again and enjoyed another busy afternoon catching gudgeon, perch and roach. Due to the poor weather I had the place to myself but was joined for most of the day by some ducks. They swam around in front of me, gobbling up any pinkies that went astray and landed in the shallow water in front of me as I catapulted them in around my float .

Grubs up.

These short sessions really are quite relaxing even in poor conditions and tide me over nicely until the weather improves again. My mate Keith is a big gudgeon fan too so I can see us heading through to Magiscroft soon and having one of our friendly coarse fishing competitions which I'm sure will be a good laugh.

Tight lines, Scott.