Those of you who know me, will know that iv been trying hard to land a decent size bass.. Over the past month I have been out every weekend and the occasional evening to try and tempt a monster onto the line. This weekend I got a call off rob to say he fancied some bass fishing as the weather looked great.

So off we went on both days, Sunday and Monday, in search of a large bass. We were in conclusion that using bait would be the best way to find out if any were there, so ragworm was the order of the day. The day turned out to be a mixture of success, no big fish but I did manage to land a few schoolies and a great sized sea bream, which was my first ever!

On the Monday, things were a little bit different. The weather was still baking hot, reaching the 30’s but a nightmare wind blowing straight across us. The fishing started off really slow, just the occasional knock on the rod but no fish to show for it. That was until rob decided to get a birds nest on his multiplier, and after untangling it realising he had a little schoolie on. This happened 3 times!

We had concluded that the fish seemed to be very close in, so with my next cast I was only 15 yards out. As I reached to grab the rod rest my arm was jerked towards the water and an almighty head shake shuddered through the rod. This was it, it felt huge! The drag was set perfectly, everything was right, and the fish just decided to run. With the rod bending and the fish taking line it was a monster for sure!

Then bang, the hook came straight back at me! I lost it, it had managed to free itself and my dream of a big fish still continues.. I did end the day on 7 schoolies, after spotting a shoal further out and getting fish one after another.

I will be back though, ready to catch the one that got away!

After a few hectic months of work and getting a few bass fishing trips sorted, I am now focussing all my attention to my England senior rivers qualifier next month. With just under a month to go I will be spending every available minute I have tying up those vital patterns on the vice, and practising on the competition water.

Thankfully I have managed to book a few days off prior to the comp to get down on the river which will leave me with a better idea as to where the fish will be lying. The river in question is the mighty river itchen in Southampton, one which I have fished extensively since moving down here 3 years ago.

The qualifiers are a great chance to see how you are against other anglers and see where you can improve your game, as you fish one session, and then control another angler for the other. So that way you also get to see how different or similar your tactics are.

I will put up a few more blogs before the big day, but will wait till after the comp to give you my tactics :)

After hearing of a new fishery that doesn’t do much advertising I always get intrigued. This one stood out a little more than others though, because they do catch and release! So after getting directions of a friend of mine, me and the girlfriend decided to have a day out.

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Arriving at the lake, one word came to mind..immaculate! The owner, an old farmer, has looked after this place like its his baby. It truly is like a Stillwater version of the river test. So anyway I set up 2 rods, one with a buzzer set up and the other with a team of blobs. Both on 20ft leaders, as this gives me much more advantage with fish that are stocked.

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The lake was on fire with fish, within the first 5 casts I had 3 fish in the net! All the fish were fully finned and put up one hell of a scrap, even on a #7! The average size of fish was a couple of lb, great size for some sport.

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The day consisted of moving around and covering likely looking spots, and boy did this pay off! I found the depth the fish were at and how they liked the flies presented, and with this I was rewarded with 50 fish in just over 7 hours!i kid you not, i was expecting a fish or an offer in nearly every cast.

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I will deffinately be back just to see if it was a first time luck thing, or if this lake is really something special

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This weekend i was again allowed to go fishing, must be doing something right for once ;) so a phone call off a friend of mine and we were on our way to try for some large Carp on the fly. Having caught these and heard stories i knew it was going to be tough fishing, but it turned out to be a lot harder than first planned. We arrived at the lake, and nothing was moving except little roach in at the side. We knew to have any chance today we would have to get the carp up near the surface and feeding on bread and dog biscuits. To cut a long story short, the fish are now full on the food we chucked in, but didn’t take whilst we were there! we may be back there to try again once the weather decides to warm up, but for now I’m going to stick to river fishing!

On Tuesday i had somehow managed to get the day off, so another days fishing was planned.
this time on my beloved River Itchen. The morning had forecast rain, so we decided to fish in the afternoon through the evening. This was a great idea as it turned out, as the fish were ready and waiting for us as we got to the river. We fished through the pools, me on a duo setup and Robert fishing Tenkara. We didn’t pickoff huge numbers of fish, but the ones we did were surprising larger than normal and great fun on both of these outfits. Both of us lost our largest browns for a long time too, which is encouraging to see that they are still there..

Im not too sure how long its going to be now before i get back on the river, but i will update this blog post on some new patterns that i have been tying up.

Being on the south coast does have it’s advantages, and one of them is the saltwater fishing we have available. I have tried for the past couple of years to get this right and I must admit, I have struggled and probably have a few more grey hairs because of it! We have now though, found a pretty decent mark where we have caught fish from in the past few sessions which is encouraging.

So today being one of the hottest days of the year, me and rob decided to go and have a go at landing a monster bass. We arrived a few hours before high tide to give us plenty of time to sus where we were going to fish. Looking at the incoming tide we could see fish topping and working their way in. As they got closer we caught a glimpse of them, and unfortunately they were mullet. By unfortunately I mean that they are extremely hard to catch, as I have found out from previous trips!

After a few trials and unsuccessful efforts,I finally think I have found a way to catch the bass and so it was evident here. 3 bass, admittedly not the largest, succumbed to the bait and were brought in before a quick release. I also had a first for me, a large sea bream! These fish are quite rare over the grounds we were fishing so it was a pleasure to catch it.

A look at the weather forecast tomorrow looks good so il be off for another trip, watch this space!

Well this weekend I finally managed to get some much needed fishing in, it was long overdue because work and other commitments have just made it near impossible to get out. The first bit of fishing I managed to get in was at a local fishery, Northbrook Fishery, in east ashling. It was a lovely day weather wise, and the mrs had decided that she would let me go out and have a cast or two. My intention was to have a few casts, then hand her the rod and see if she had been watching. My word she had! I was picking fish up for fun on buzzers, sight casting to fish that were moving close to the surface and watching their reaction as I twitched the flies slowly back. These fish were like Arnold swarzenegger with the fight they gave, flying all over the lake! So when I passed the rod to my mrs it was no surprise that she hooked up on her first ever cast! But what I hadn’t banked on was the size of her fish, as it neared the surface all I could hear was cries of “it’s going to pull me in”. As I netted it, I couldn’t believe it, an 8lb rainbow! Beginners luck? We will have to go back and see, it’ll give me another excuse to go fishing :)

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The following day the weather continued to stay warm and bright, and with past stories and rumours that mayfly had finally graced us down on the chalkstreams a quick smile in the girlfriends direction and we were on the road to the river. I decided to stick a mayfly setup up, only to then realise that I had left my mayfly box at the side of the vice when tying some new patterns up! Schoolboy error… So I decided on a bit of sport, so set up a duo outfit on my little 6′ #2 rod. What a decision this turned out to be, as not many fish were coming for the hundreds of mayflys travelling downstream and the fish were taking my pheasant tail patterns freely. The beat I fish doesn’t normally hold trout of a large size anymore due to poaching, but it was very encouraging to see 4 wild browns over the 1lb mark come to the net. Some of you Stillwater fisherman may think of that size as bait, but on a river these fish put up a great scrap!

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First day back at work and iv already lined up some fishing at the weekend with a friend of mine, bring it on!

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Well after quite a long period of no holidays, I decided to take a couple of weeks off to go and visit the family and also get some much needed northern fishing in! I had fishing planned for near enough every day, but unfortunately due to a mixture of beer and flu I only managed to get out on the water a few days..and a tip to everyone, fishing with a hangover in blustery/wet conditions isn’t advised!

My first trip was to fish a local river that I used to land quite a few big un’s out off, nobody really fished it so the fish had a chance to grow on without any real harm to their environment. Unfortunately a walk down the river didnt look good, no fish moving but what looked like pollution bubbles at the side of the river. I could have painted the rainbow with the different colours that I saw lining the fast water :( I fished for a little while in the hope that the fish were not really affected, but it didnt look good! No fish and a sad end to a little river..

The evening took a different turn with an invite for just 1 drink..walking in at 3am the next day not knowing how I got ome, early morning fishing didnt look like it was happening. When I finally did awake, it was 2 in the afternoon, I thought I’d go and have a look at a few spots to target for the following week. One spot in particular I saw fish topping freely, so out came the rod and a size 18 olive was on. 4 rises, 2 brake off, and 1 plump brownie later the wind had picked up, and my head still hadn’t recovered. But still, it proved that this river was ok.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the weeks fishing, but it wasn’t as good as I had built it up to be. Maybe due to cold weather, or the harsh winter they had experienced up there I just couldn’t tell. All I know is that I will be back pretty soon to try and land a few more larger fish.

Well you folks now have the chance to fish some of the most pristine and sought after beats! Orvis are now doing an offer throughout April, if you book out river itchen beat, abbotts worthy, you will get 2 rods plus a guide for only £160! Just think about that for a minute, that’s £80 each and you get the finest water in the south of England, plus somewhere to advise you with flies and where the fish are! Fantastic value in anybody’s book…

But not only are we doing our itchen beat, we are offering our river test beat too, kimbridge! This water has been fished by many of the top people withing the world of fly fishing, and also American presidents! This offer is for 2 people with a guide for only £250! I cannot speak highly enough of this piece of water, if you want to catch BIG fish then this is your place!

If you would like to book on any of these waters please phone the Chichester store on 01243 792140, and ask for me, or click on our Orvis website at Orvis

It’s that time of year again, the opening day on the River Itchen. Like a kid at Christmas I sat up the night before thinking of what the day will bring. What I was greeted with was a 6:00am set off and -2 degree on the car thermometer! Anyway despite the cold temperature me and a good friend Robert headed off with anticipation in the hope of luring a large spottie that we had missed so much over the winter. A walk up the river to start the day, just to see if we could see anything moving and also to check the heights due to the rain sodden winter that we had experienced this year. The river height was actually ok, up a few inches on the summer level but still looked good and gave us quite a few new lies to try. I decided on setting up just the 1 rod with a French leader on, combined with 3 nymphs. The point fly was a fairly heavy one, just to get the fly down in the heavy flow, with 2 small jig nymphs above. Robert had been bought a new tenkara set up for his birthday (lucky bugger!) which he was “itchen” to use! These are fairly new on these shores, but I was definitely impressed, 13ft in length with a braided leader which you attached your normal leader and fly too.. After trying it out near the car, we knew that if we hooked into one of the larger specimens in here we may have to go for a run as you have no real control. I can really see the setup working well in the summer, but at the start it wasn’t really working due to the fish being stuck on the bottom and detecting bites were hard. I waded through another pool and left Robert to hopefully land his first fish. I landed my first fish on the first cast on the French nymph, but unfortunately an out of season grayling..a few more small grayling later my leader indicator went shooting under and I lifted into a nice sized grayling. A good scrap after, I had to take a picture just to show the colours of the dorsal fin, it was the nicest conditioned fish iv ever caught! Next cast and wallop again, but this time the fight was much more athletic and it was all over the river! After a little flurry the fish was in the net and it was a cracking brownie, not the biggest fish but again in pristine condition. We decided to work our way through the pools, picking off individual fish that we could see moving. That’s one of the beauty’s of fishing a chalk stream, you can see your fish! We ended the day quite early as we both had had enough pleasure of the opening day, but with the understanding that we wouldn’t leave it long till were back!

It’s that time of year again, time to renew your rod licence. Mine has just arrived in the post today, ready for the new season. Grab yours from either the post office or online at the environment agency website today! Don’t forget all the money gets spent on helping to increase the fishing we get, and for only £27 for adults it isn’t going to burst the bank.

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