Wednesday, 28 January 2015


With my musings around the effect of light levels on the feeding habits of big roach intermittently disrupted by conditions and circumstances I am left to reflect on another factor in the alternative quest, that of the relationship between feeding bread mash and subsequently successful visits to fed pegs

It is common knowledge that the accepted 'specialist' approach is to feed a few swims and attack them in rotation but as with so much written word on angling one tends to find this only snags the fluffy surface of a deeper comfort blanket of truth protecting the fish. The same reason that has terminally irritated me with the purchase of glossy angling magazines - too much repetition, too little depth of knowledge...or should I say shared knowledge, as the knowledge is clearly there in many instances but there is a reluctance to commit it to paper for fear of losing a competitive edge

It is easy to understand why, for instance, a match angler would use this approach to writing but it undermines the mainstream angling magazine industry and simultaneously underpins a perceived necessary secrecy between top level anglers and the 'others' and usually manifests itself in little more than an embellished list of products as if the average Joe Dangles could be equally successful if only he used this elastic, or that pellet. It's not just match anglers of course but it's easy to convey the issue with that analogy

Now you might say, "..but you openly confess to being a former match angler so weren't you guilty of that by definition?", and the riposte would be, well, yes, we would always look for an edge, that's what it's all about, but if anyone were to ask surely it is best to share experiences as it benefits all of us. The best anglers will still be the best. The detail fascinated as much then as it does now and frankly would often lead to downfall, certainly in my case. Too much thought and too little caught

I don't think it is any coincidence that in feeding the swims last weekend in threes and then returning to the first around ten to fifteen minutes later to work my way through them that both pegs one and four produced immediate good bites and fish, after which I moved straight on without another cast due to the unavoidable commotion of taming fish with an Avon rod in small snag-strewn streams to lifeless pegs two and five then three and six

Over the past three years it has been noticeable during daylight hours that fish, and by that I mean rod-bending chub, have been caught sooner rather than later in fed swims and those that might have been fed say 30-45 minutes before being fished were less likely to produce that hoped-for decent fish

The same would not be true of evening sessions when I have found fish come onto the feed in the first hour after dark despite perhaps regular feeding and that is why it is essential to target known chub swims at that time as they move out of cover to take advantage of the lack of light

Over time my approach has progressed from feeding a swim and fishing it out to feeding five or six swims and rotating them, topping them up each time I left, to the current feeding three pegs and then returning to the first and fishing the three in series. There would be a better solution that would perhaps confirm this pretty much beyond doubt which would simply be to feed each one and just wait ten minutes before casting in, then moving on and doing the same. This would make more of every swim when the fish are present and if the return exceeds one fish in three swims we have the answer

...but it's not that simple...

Rarely during daylight hours has the Leam produced more than one chub from a swim and then only in perfectly coloured high water winter conditions. This tells us the population is not huge and, though this is certainly skewed by the necessity to hit and hold the fish or else lose them in the multitude of escapes routes they have access to thus scattering any others immediately, apart from the odd swim that one might choose to tackle with match rod and maggots, there is perhaps no option but to come up with an efficient procedure that gets a fish from as many swims as possible. This could perhaps be combined with re-feeding the successful pegs after say an hour or more on longer sessions, but that remains to be seen.


If last week's Anfield league cup semi-final was the best game of the season (it wasn't, I can say from personal experience Liverpool were often pedestrian and lacked confidence in front of goal), what was that last night?!

The best game I have seen for as long as I can remember. Jaw ache, headache and completely drained by the end...and that was just sitting at home in the lounge on my own! The players themselves must have been almost as tired, and so much incident. The best side must have won because they scored more goals but in reality there was nothing to choose between them

Now that's entertainment Mr Weller


Any early start today saw me on the bank in the dark and ready to fish at first light, two swims fed, deciding to give it a maximum of ten minutes in each. Bites come first drop-in, almost always, if the fish are there. Then two more swims and so on. With just two hours to play with before work it was the only sensible option as three fed swims appears to waste the third of them and there wasn't time to go one peg at a time and wait a ten to fifteen minutes after feeding before fishing. Feeding just the two meant I could be in the second of them within fifteen to twenty minutes of feeding it, this seemed a plausible potential solution

The trip will remain memorable though for an unusual event.

As I sat there in the shelter of some trees against the wind I became conscious of dog barking nearby and expected the chocolate Labrador I often see to appear on the far bank where a footpath runs along the field.

Sure enough out of the corner of my eye I caught his movement under the bottom bar of the stile and he trotted, unusually jauntily I might add, down the bank and onto the plateau of sedimentary deposition created by thousands of years of the meanderings of the stream. At this point I looked up, puzzled by the contradiction. A large dog fox barked again, twice, right in front of me perhaps 20m distant. He trotted on and looked to his right, then again and his penny dropped. Suddenly, fit and strong, he sprinted up the bank and disappeared into the thinnings of the hedge. A great sight but soon I drifted back to the task at hand

No more than a few minutes later a ginger shape appeared out of the same hedge. This time a more diminutive fluffy version of the previous visitor. The vixen was now on the prowl but she too was drawn to my presence and took a similar, though more dignified, course until she met the hedge line and leapt clean over the undergrowth over the wire fence and back to the male, one surmises

Well worth the entrance fee 

On Sunday I wrote:
"...two hours later, with not the slightest indication, I sauntered back fishless.
But that's why we keep going isn't it? The unpredictability. The challenge."

Today I'm writing:
Two hours later, with not the slightest indication, I sauntered back fishless.
But that's why we keep going isn't it? The unpredictability. The challenge.

Roll on the close season? Well, maybe not just yet


  1. There 'should' have been fish in that swim shouldn't there. Don't think anywhere is fishing that well, you're not alone George.

  2. You'd think so wouldn't you Mick

    Everyone seems to be struggling this week for sure

    It'll come back though - hopefully before mid-March!

  3. I had a family of foxes out back of my house when I lived in Romford. Very entertaining creatures.

    One day I went down the pond I'd created at the far end of the garden to see how it was coming along. I'd filled the hole with tap water, let it settle and then grabbed assorted pond weeds from local lakes and planted them. In six months it was full of life and a year later had newts and tadpoles, three types of water snail and all kinds of other stuff thriving in it. No fish though, but I wondered if they'd get in it by some natural miracle or another...

    Anyway, the reynard was ten feet up the tree behind the pond, jumped out in fright as I approached, and sped off through a hole in the fence!

    I never knew foxes could climb trees. Still can't figure out what his business was up there...

  4. Ponds eh? Always fascinating

    Was the fox wearing polaroids? If so he was probably stalking barbel

  5. Of course he was! I bet his little rod is still there, way up in the branches, with the poor skeleton of a bullfinch dangling from the abandoned hook he'd baited with corn in anticipation of one. I never checked.