Well February has been a strange month for me. I have been out on the bank a few times but not as many as usual due to my mum being taken into hospital on Friday the 1st in order to have an emergency Tracheostomy due to the Tracheal Stenosis she has been suffering from getting to the point where she really was struggling to breathe. Thankfully her recovery is going well and she was finally discharged from hospital yesterday (25th Feb.).
Also I’ve become a member of a new specimen group that I will talk more about later in the blog as well as having a rant about a particular bait company and the chap who runs it as what he has done over the past few weeks has upset a lot of people in the Barbel world. On top of that there is any other news and I will be finishing the blog with my usual piece on the Rovers and how things have gone down the pan this month, so enjoy. By the way I haven’t forgotten about the promised video regarding making the pike/zander link leger rig but as you can understand with what’s happened to my mum I just haven’t had time but I will definitely be posting it on my next blog.
Anyway I’ve managed to get out 4 or 5 times this month and here is how it went…..
My first outing of the month was again to the local club pond that contains those big Perch.
My plan of attack was 2-fold, 1 rod with maggot and the other rod with prawns. On the maggot rod I had a small block end feeder full of grubs and on the hook I hair rigged 2 buoyant artificial maggots and put a live one on the hook. The reason for this was to pop the bait up off the leaves on the bottom and the live maggot counter balances it slightly so it is just off the bottom and also has the added benefit of attraction due to its movement. On the other rod I alternated between whole prawns and prawn tails and cramming the feeder with chopped up prawn and other fishy goodies.
I did have company by the pond but not another human was to be seen. Instead my companions were a pair of robins that took turns in taking the maggots I tossed onto the floor for them. Fishing wise I never had any of the Perch I was targeting, not a single bite on the prawn. I did manage 7-8 small skimmers and a couple of small crucians on the maggot.
My next trip was to the river Trent in search of Pike and the elusive Zander. I arrived at the river at dawn and was greeted to a beautiful daybreak, I just hope the fishing was going to be as amazing.
A 2 rod approach again was used. On one rod which was mainly targeting Pike I had a lamprey section mounted on 2 size 6 semi barbless trebles. The other rod which I was targeting Zander was baited with half a small roach mounted on a size 6 single hook(through the lip) and size 8 semi barbless treble (through the body). I’m now using braid mainline for all my Pike & Zander fishing so both reels were loaded with 53lb PowerPro. Why so heavy? Well there is little or no difference between this and 15lb mono diameter wise and if I get snagged I have a hell of a lot better chance of getting that baited trace out of the river so no fish will be damaged or at worse killed, the safety of the fish is the main priority after all. As an example I got snagged on this day and had to pull hard to retrieve the tackle. If I was using 15lb mono I would have broken off and left a trace in the river, however due to using stronger braid I retrieved everything and all I had was a straightened point on one of the trebles, so remember use you head and think fish safety.
An hour or so after my first cast i had a really tentative take on the roach. Two quick bleeps on the alarm and the swinger rose an inch so I held the line between my fingers to see if I could feel anything, and I did. I struck into what felt a decent fish and as it was on the roach and the bite was so tentative I was thinking “surely it’s a Zander”. After a minute or 2 I got the fish to the surface for netting and it turned out to be lovely Pike of 10lb 2oz and my only fish of the day.
I was intending to go back onto the river a week or so later but once again the countries rivers went ‘flood bank high’ after some heavy snow followed by torrential rain pushed them towards bursting point once more, so I decided to head out to the canal piking which resulted in a big fat blank. What was equally strange was the fact I never saw 1 silver fish ‘top’ all day and bearing in mind this was on a stretch that’s alive with them at this time of year was very confusing. Maybe they are starting to move up the canal earlier this year? Who knows?
I finally managed to get out onto the Trent the other day and my timing could not have been worse, seriously if I didn’t have bad luck I’d have none at all. A few days previously the weather had been mild and the river had been fining off and had a lovely colour but more importantly had been fishing well. By the time I managed to get there it was timed with sub-zero freezing temperatures and frost. Oh well never mind I was determined to have an overnighter anyway so I set the bivvy and the winter skin up, got my bedchair and sleeping gear in and set up the Coleman on an old aluminium platform just inside and got my ‘tea’ of sausages and coffee on the go.
It was a real grueller and I was chopping and changing rigs and baits in order to get any bites at all. I tried pellets, boilies, maggots, meat, meatballs, corn & worms and various points through the session and I ended up getting 2 bites all night that resulted in a Bream of around 3lb and a Chub of around 2lb. So at least I never blanked like the 4 chaps upstream of me who crashed in their bivvies sleeping all night and not making any changes. That’s something I don’t understand about people that ‘night fish’, what’s the point if you’re not fishing? I usually sleep midday for a few hours and fish at prime times, especially in the warmer months. I know in winter it can be different but seeing as the only 2 fish on the stretch came in darkness as the river was clear just emphasises my point.
Anyway my final session was on Sunday, again on the canal but on a different section of it and once again after Pike. I had 2 takes during the session, 1 which was a pick up and drop and the other that resulted in this 11lb exactly fish taken on my favourite lamprey section dead bait.
As I write this there are only 16 days left of the river season and I’m hoping to get a number of days in before the bell tolls at midnight on the evening on the 14th of March. Thankfully the weather is looking very promising so I will hopefully be putting a few barbel on the bank and reporting on it in next month’s blog.
Also later this week I’m spending a day doing more ‘reccy’ sessions for next season with fellow specimen group member and friend Wayne Glossop and on Thursday evening both us along with fellow member Lee Swords (I think Lee is going anyway) will be going to give moral support to yet another member of the group Tim Ridge at his first ever talk at the Yorkshire Regional Barbel Society meeting at Wetherby. For anybody else interested in attending here are the details:
Yorkshire Regional Meeting
Thursday 28th February
Wetherby Social Club
Guest speakers are two of Yorkshires
all round specialist anglers
Tim Ridge & Dave Tipping
Doors open at 7pm for an 8pm start
members £3 non-members £5
Oap’s and juniors free
There will be the usual raffle with great prizes to be had but if anybody has any tackle etc. they would like to donate to the raffle then that would be appreciated.
FFF Feeders will be there on the night.
YORKSHIRE SPECIMEN GROUP
I’m delighted and excited to be part of the newly founded Yorkshire Specimen Group. The group consists of lads that are either from Yorkshire, that live in Yorkshire or fish Yorkshire waters and those of the surrounding areas such as the Trent etc. One of the main things I like about the group is the fact there is no hierarchy or committee nonsense and decisions are made by everyone as a group.
You can find the groups website and read about it here: http://yorkshiresg.wordpress.com/
I know there isn’t much on there at the moment content wise but it will grow as the group does over time and I know forums are going to be added for public interaction very soon as well as public pages in the social media network.
Here’s a little about us:
The Yorkshire Specimen Group was formed in 2013 to provide it’s like minded members the opportunity to pool their knowledge and experience in order to help each other improve as anglers and to improve our success on the bank.
Our aim is to bring back the traditional specimen group ethos and atmosphere where there are no secrets and our members get together on a regular basis to fish and socialise, sharing stories with each other and others.
Our members enjoy catching all manner of species on all methods and all types of venues and in the future hope to hold various events such as coaching days for kids, fish-ins and other social activities for members and non-members.
Joining the group is by invite only by either recommendation of a member or your exploits on the bank. We will be opening a public section on the website and forums for non-members to post their stories and pictures and regular contributors that show ability have a chance of an invite to the group.
This month we lost 2 greats from the world of angling, both highly regarded and respected in their fields of the sport.
Terry Lampard was without doubt one of if not the greatest specimen angler of any generation. An inspiration to all specimen fishermen due to the wide variety of huge fish he caught as well as being one of the nicest gentlemen you would ever wish to meet.
Don Slaymaker was an icon of Trent match scene of the 70′s & 80′s and was widely regarded as being one of the best river anglers of his generation. A onetime member of the Trentmen, and famous Shakespeare Superteam squads, Don was regarded as one of the country’s finest anglers.
A RANT!! – 3 FOOT TWONKS
Now this is something i would normally never do, but i feel that i can’t bite my tongue any longer!
3FT is a bait company set up by a certain Richard Easom last year. When I first stumbled across him 3FT didn’t exist and he was just a bloke from Scotland that fished the Trent 2-3 times a year and came across as a very genuine fella, and I did have some very good and friendly conversations with him. For those that don’t know I’m a moderator on a certain page in the social media about Barbel fishing on the Trent and alarm bells started ringing when people were warning me about him and telling me not to give him any information regarding my fishing as he will pass it on to others as his own etc. He also took a fair bit of stick from others and he used to message myself and other mods upset at being bullied, which I then defended him about on there and removed anything bad etc.
Over the next 12 months he formed 3FT which I wished him all the best with and even told him I would help with any field testing etc. All the time I was hearing and reading things that didn’t quite sit right and that I didn’t like. In the things I was reading he came across as very arrogant and opinionated and that he was right and everybody else was wrong with their opinions (including some fantastic and well respected Trent anglers like John Frisby) and he would not listen to anybody else’s arguments without attacking them.
Anyway I paid for and received some of his ‘Dubby’ boilies to test (poorly packed in a freezer bag popped into a jiffy bag so a number had gotten crushed or crumbled in the post) and i compared them to a batch he had sent somebody else, now even though they were meant to be the same they were completely different in smell and texture, in fact in 1 batch a number of the boilies crumbled when you tried to thread them on a hair. Also they just never worked, I know the odd Trent fish has been caught on them but nothing in numbers. I even tried them when I was bagging on other baits and never caught and as soon as I switched again I was into fish once more. He basically turned around and said it was me failing and not the bait which gave me constant amusement as I was catching on everything else but I said nothing, instead I distanced myself away from him and 3FT and kept to the more reputable suppliers. After this there were constant flare ups between himself and other people but I kept out of them and kept my opinions to myself.
Then a few weeks ago Teme Severn Baits sadly announced they were closing with a major factor being the ill health of Dave Mason. T7 were a fantastic and highly respected company whose baits spoke for themselves in terms of the catches they produced especially their Lamprey range and pellets for Barbel. I was gobsmacked to read within 2 hours of T7 announcing this that 3FT were going to sell their own lamprey pellets due to the closure of T7. I found this bang out of order and very disrespectful but again kept my opinion to myself, unlike others. Richard had angered a large number of anglers with what he was doing and some even put it into print at the time such as well-respected angler and angling journalist Lee Swords on his blog here: http://www.leeswordsfishing.co.uk/late-january-blog/ and here: http://www.leeswordsfishing.co.uk/february-blog-part-iv/
Anyway the story continues. Last night there was a debate regarding the above on the social network and after reading some of the rubbish I couldn’t keep quiet any longer and had my say as follows:
For me it’s about 2 things, respect & quality.
The fact 3FT announced they were going to sell lamprey pellets within a few hours of T7 announcing they were closing due to the ill health of Dave Mason stunk of someone riding the crest of a wave of someone else’s idea’s in order to make a quick buck. 3FT may not realise it but doing that has lost them a hell of a lot of respect and potential custom in the barbel world, especially the anglers that were loyal T7 users. Obviously the 3FT ‘brigade’ will say differently but over the last few weeks I’ve only seen the same handful of people defending 3FT (usually the same 2-3 testers) whereas the numbers pulling the company down seems to be getting larger and larger. Richard doesn’t seem to use his head very well when it comes to business, showing Dave and the rest of T7 some respect and maybe even contacting them with regards to continuing the T7 range (even if they were told no) would have been the classy thing to do and could have even got him a lot of business but jumping straight in that quickly when T7 were closing as Dave is not a well man was a bad business sense and showed a complete lack of class and respect. Other things like publically calling a customer a liar and slating him in the social media network is terrible business sense and says to me that 3FT may be here in the short term but in the long term I think it will just be supplying a very small number of its current loyal followers.
Last year I looked at and compared 2 different batches of ‘dubbys’ and both had completely different smells and textures but what do you expect when quality control isn’t going to be the best when they are all produced by a guy who’s new to bait making in his shed. Personally speaking I will be sticking to established and reputable suppliers. Not only do I feel they are better quality but they are also cheaper. As for lamprey pellets, I’ll stick to making my own as I can knock up 10kg myself that work great for £20.
I was immediately jumped on by Richard Easom and his band of testers after posting this and Richard himself started to insult me on there. Now not forgetting I’m somebody who listened to this bloke cry about being bullied and had defended him when he was last year, I was now getting abuse from him and his cronies for posting my opinion? According to Richard I have no life or job and have an agenda. Seriously? The bloke and his band of merry men are delusional and for me he isn’t worth a turd I stand in anymore. Anyway after making him and his ‘cronies’ look like the idiots they are for an hour I was unsurprisingly banned from the page, guess who by? One of his bum lickers, as they are all moderators on there, yet Richard Easom who is the one that came out with the personal insults remained. I guess he wasn’t kicked because one of his testers was hoping for a free sample of bait instead of the 10% discount for the expensive rubbish they usually get.
It’s surprising how many people that have defended him in the past now feel the same as me, just because you might disagree with him over something or have a different opinion he starts attacking you and gets his ‘cronies’ involved, no wonder he is probably the most despised and disliked person in the barbel world at the moment.
As for his bait……
If you want to pay for poor quality bait at an extortionate price then feel free to be an idiot and buy from a condescending arrogant arsehole that makes them alone in his garden shed aka 3 Foot Twitch. If you want to buy quality bait that has a reputation for putting fish on the bank in big numbers from all waters and not just the river Wye (The commercial fishery of the barbell world) then buy elsewhere from a respected and reputable company.
What the hell is going on at my club? The honeymoon period is well and truly over for Brian Flynn, big time.
We’ve gone from joint top of the league, 6 points clear of 3rd place with a game in hand to 4th in the table!!!
I know we’ve had some injuries but some of the football has been shocking, dare I say worse than it was under Saunders. For a team that is meant to be pushing for promotion then 3 points from 15 and no wins in 5 matches simply is not good enough, it’s relegation form. It’s not like we can keep the bad performances under wraps as it was seen by hundreds of thousands on live television last week just how badly we are playing. I don’t think the things Brian Flynn has been saying helps, things like “we’re the best team in the league” may come back to haunt him because the amount of times he’s said it seems to be making the players take their feet off the gas.
Like I said we have had injuries and we are told money is available, so why oh why weren’t loan players brought in sooner? Another calamitous mistake that could cost us.
Thankfully on Saturday against Yeovil there were signs that things might change. Yeovil came into the game on the back of 8 straight wins so I feared the worst. Things got worse when Madden put them in front after 6 minutes after Gary Woods flapped at a cross and made a howling error. Up to this season Woodsy has taken a lot of stick and to be honest he has made some real howlers, however he has improved tenfold this season and has made some cracking saves, definitely our most improved players. However he is still prone to the occasional flap at crosses and on Saturday he gifted Yeovil the lead. After that for a long period of the game we were poor then all of a sudden things started to click. Having that Billy Paynter missed his usual sitter that my deceased gran would have scored before bulleting a header into the corner of the net from a David Cotterill corner. The second half was virtually 1 way traffic and we got even better when Iain Hume returning from injury came on from the bench. Once again we were blessed with a referee that wasn’t fit to grace the local junior league and turned down a stonewall penalty claim from us that would have given us the 3 points we deserved.
Anyway hopefully now it’s onwards and upwards for us until the end of the season now starting tonight at Shrewsbury.
Until next month tight lines & goals aplenty for your team