Thursday, 29 March 2012

Silver Bream - Round 2 of the 'Guess the Weight of the Stinky Fish' Competition

I went out looking for silver bream again last night, and found them. Well, I found two, but neither on the end of my line which remained ignored for two hours before I upped sticks and went elsewhere for the chance of a roach, knowing that they still weren't biting yet.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Hanningfield Perch - The Ineluctable Fact

The morning broke with a murky grey light boding bad news. A glimpse through the parted curtains revealed a dank and miserably forbidding pall of grey hanging motionless in the frigid air. Once again, mist and fog was likely to stop play right in its tracks. Sure enough, on arrival at the reservoir, the foggy freeze meant that boats would stay tethered to the jetty till it finally cleared away and revealed what was forecast to be a warm clear day by noon. This time, however, we lost no time in buying day tickets, confirming the booking of the boats, and departing for the bank to fish till it did.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hanningfield Perch - One in Eight and a Half Billion Chance

A record perch. Hanningfield Reservoir. Where the hell do we start?

Well, there's only one place to start, and that's with probability.

The perch Hanningfield does contain in some numbers weigh approximately the same as a half Imperial gallon of water, that is five-pounds, give or take a pound either way. Four-pounders are the average stamp caught, but the largest recorded perch it does still contain, because the fish weighed on the fisheries official scales at the boathouse was witnessed as safely returned by the rangers, is a specimen of almost six- pounds, and others it is reputed, and quite feasibly does contain, are going to be even more than that.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Canal Silver Bream - Are We There Yet?

It seems an age since I last fished the canal seriously. A few half-hearted and unsuccessful attempts at zander and pike, but hardly any roach fishing in a season of year when it throws up the largest fish of all, is all I have done with it since November last. That it's on my doorstep is neither here nor there, I just haven't wanted to fish it. The roach of Longford Junction just around the corner from home have not topped in the evening as they often do in winter and I've seen hardly any others signs of life anywhere else on my routine walks along the towpath with Molly. It's looked most uninviting, so I haven't bothered to try.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Stillwater Roach and Perch - Lemington Lakes

Lemington Lakes in the Cotswolds was our venue for the day. A complex of five or six lakes all carefully manicured and just as carefully stocked. We chose Abbey Lake because of its potential for a sizeable roach and I believe they have been caught well over two pounds there so I was raring to have a go for them and try, for once, to at least break what has been a paltry one-pound personal best in the category of 'stillwater roach' (ponds and lakes, but not canals. They're not still waters to my mind) that's been hanging around unbeaten for far too long.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Are you Sitting Comfortably Sir? Then I'll Begin...

As tales of woe go, here's one that will have you, as I have been for some time, on the very edge of your seat...

About a month ago, or so, I sat down to type but noticed that I'd an irritation arising from 'below'. It proved (on closer examination!) to be the sudden eruption, overnight, of a single large pile. Haemorroids are unpleasant things that afflict those who sit on unsuitable seats as a matter of course, and fishermen being just the kind who do, I'd caused the thing to put in its unwelcome appearance by sitting for long hours on a fishing seat and thereby putting 'my region' under tension and torsion, resulting in an engorged blood vessel and what proved, on later research, to be no less of a pile than a 'Grade 3 Prolapse', for heavens sake...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Perch Practice Makes Perch Perfection - I Hope!

With a big two-day-in-a boat trip to Hanningfield Reservoir hunting huge perch coming up at the end of the month, well I thought a little perch practice might come in useful, so up to the canal with Molly went I...

New rod in hand and wanting to test its mettle against the canals various snags, new line too, braid, a substance I have next to no familiarity excepting last year's experience on the same reservoir out with Steve Philips hooking crazy rainbows, and a box of old and rarely used lures. I found my fist snag within ten minutes of starting. Who knows what it was? It was beast though...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Zander & Pike - The Bury Hill Blues

A two and a half hour journey down some motorway or another is becoming half of my pre-fishing experience nowadays. Coventry, being slap in the middle of the country, is not that far away from anywhere, and though us Coventrians do have plenty of good fishing all around us, all the most exciting prospects for big specimens of just about any coarse fish you care to mention, seem to lay at the extremities of a 100 mile range from the centre of Coventry's angling world, 'Lanes' in London Road.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Confounded Fish! - Crucian Carp, Carp, Brown Goldfish and their Mongrels

When it comes to crucian 'carp,' the whole world of certainty concerning fish and their genetic purity turns turtle and stands upon its own head. Here is a fish that rivals the roach for sheer uncertainty when it comes to record claims.  Every year fish are disallowed as candidates to beat the existing record set by Martin Bowler, indeed, Duncan Charman's dad has just had one that would have surpassed the British record, had it been true, pronounced as nothing more than a common or garden F1 hybrid by the fish scientist who ran conclusive DNA tests upon a scale sent in for analysis.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Confounded Fish! - Bream, Silver Bream, Roach and their Bastards

The local canal is where I catch the odd fish that looks like a big roach at first sight, remarkably so on occasion, but who turns out to be a hybrid with bream and roach parentage. It's not like catching one of those rudd x roach hybrids discussed in the previous article, where the body shapes of the parent species are so very similar that a mix is really confusing to the eye. Most of the time with roach x bream hybrids the distinction is really obvious, with the majority of looking distinctly different from both parents. Though they have a mix of bream and roach characteristics, because the parents are so vastly dissimilar in appearance themselves, they look like 'hybrids' at first glance and are rarely mistaken for anything but.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Confounded Fish! - Roach, Rudd, and their Mules

This is the time of year when I begin to catch fish that slip between the meshes. I don't know why Spring should throw up so many oddities but it does seem to bring them out of the weeds. Hybrids, fish of two species parentage, seem to go on a feeding rampage right about now and over  the past four spring seasons I've been collecting pictures of these fish and trying to sort out, by visual clues alone, because portable DNA testing probes are not yet available in Maplins (but they will be one day!) the reliable visual clues that distinguish them from their parents.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Guest Post - As an Aside, It is an Ide! - Cassian Edwards

Here's a first for Idler's Quest, a guest post...! Cassian Edwards got in touch after fishing at, and then reading about my trip to, the Lower Itchen Fishery. My trip was Friday, and his the Sunday following, and at the end of the day, Cassian hooked and banked one of the Itchen's surprising specimens, and one that may become a familiar sight on the bank in years to come...

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On Sunday 26th February I was invited to join a friend on an Osprey Specimen Group fish-in at the Lower Itchen Fishery. After a 35 mile drive we arrived at the fishery at 8am to find a slight frost on the ground and the long rays of the early morning's sunshine glistening on the river. A mist was rising off the water and as we drove along the bumpy track towards the top beat we remarked to each other how luscious the river looked. While I had fished the Itchen before, on the free stretch lower downstream, this was a first trip for me to the fishery and I was rather excited to see the river in such splendour!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Catch 22 - Hatt's Own 'Twenty Four Hour Rod Race'

I went over to the Ricoh Arena with Danny last week to see the fishing event there and when we were leaving, noticed that there was a pile of free Angling Times on a desk in the foyer. Of course I picked one up and took it home. Inside two things caught my fancy out of what was an excellent issue packed with good stuff, one an eye opening article about drop-shotting for big perch by Des Taylor, and the other, one by Matt Hayes about a twenty-four hour species fishing challenge set for him by the AT editor Rich Lee,  at Bluebell Lakes, Northamptonshire, a venue with a complex of pits and a river stretch to go at too.