Found on a table at a sale of vintage and collectables this disguised Abu Toby lure. Clearly decorated in the original owners favourite colours I wonder if this was for predatory fish or for a Spring or Autumn Salmon. I guess the only way to find out is to fish with it, but in the meantime it can be used as a decoration on the tree, once the treble has been removed.
A heavey frost covered the roof of the garden shed as the temperatures over the weekend dropped to what should be the seasonal norm, of late we have basked in unseasonably warm temperatures.
Most of our tackle remains in boxes that where transported to Redditch last weekend then placed in the loft, so when young Tales suggested a spot of fishing today finding the right kit proved to be a task of the unexpected. With boxes spread across three loft voids it was a bit like picking a short straw. After a couple of rummages in boxes I managed to find a couple of vintage Mitchell 300 spinning reel, a Brady bag, a mixed box of terminal tackle and a circular box of vintage ABU and Mepps spinners. Hidden in the back passage to the garden was an Efgeeco rod bag containing an assortment of rod, tucked in the front pocket was a travel spinning rod so this and an old landing net was put together to service the needs of young Tales.
Wrapped up in several layers of clothes we headed out of the door, jumped into the car and took off down the A316 to a stretch of the River Thames that we know reasonably well. Whilst parking the car a Mini drew up beside us and the occupants hurriedly spoiled out of the doors with rods in hand displaying large 4ins silver spoon lures. Clearly we weren’t the only people who contemplated an afternoon by the river targeting predatory fish.
Our fishing companions took up station where the barbel fishers hang out, casting back downstream to the oxygenated water under the tree- lined bank where overhanging alder, willow and hawthorn displayed a range of Rapalas, ABU Dropens, Mepps and orange fluorescent topped floats hanging like Christmas decorations.
Our swim which is marked by an apple tree still bearing fruit was free, tackled up young Tales chucked out a small red and brass Mepps first to mid water the to the left and then to the right varying his rate of retrieve…repeating the procedure several time to no avail. Frustration soon set in and then the spinner found itself in the bank and when I took over to demonstrate how to do it I managed to place the spinner in a Hawthorne bush to the right, fortunately it was retrievable.
As the wind dropped along with the temperature which hovered around 6.5 degrees and the light started to fade the surface of the water was broken as small silver fish leaped along the middle of the river. From the left to right numerous fish jumped as if pursued by a preditor however casting towards the flurry of activity still resulted in no takes. With a couple of changes of lure the results were the same.
The purple light indicated that it was time to head home, still the fish jumped around us but it was clear nothing was biting. So bagels were packed and we walked back to the car through the long grass.
As I cast my eye over the book on fishing neatly stacked on my bookshelf one book stands out, The Domesday Book Of Mammoth Pike by the notable author Fred Buller. Its inch-wide spine giving it a certain prominence however the cover depicts a large pike consuming a brown trout, for this fearful looking creature seems to be sort after by many fisherman and so does a copy of this book. Published originally by Stanley Paul & Co Ltd in 1979 this book is a must read for any fisher and certainly a book for any collection.
Mr Buller lived in South Heath close to my home town of Great Missenden a town on the edge of the Chiltern Hills. I was not aware of this fact until much later in life, for had I known as a teenager I would have no doubt made my acquaintance with such a gentleman of fishing notoriety and asked him to teach me how to fish. Fred Buller was also aquatinted with the likes of the legendary Hugh Falkus, Richard Walker and Fred Taylor all of whom I have book by.
As the leaves start to tumble and fry scurry under the overhanging vegetation of the river there are pike laying in wait to make a meal of such offering and with a well oiled sprat, spinner or fly now is the time to fish for these predatory fish. To watch a large gazette float dip and move at speed or if hooked with a spinner these mighty fish will tail slap the water and leap for freedom.
Next weekend will see the second Vintage Fishing Tackle Fair of this year in Redditch open its doors at 9am, there I will be selling various items of fishing tackle, cane rods, pike floats, spinner, fly boxes, bags and books. So if you wish to take to the road and visit us if no more than to talk over a cup of tea we would be delighted to see you.
I recently purchased a vintage back japaned tin of lures for young Tales in order for him to chuck them into the abyss in search of a fanged and ferocious killer, the pike.
Purchased from that well know online auction business and described as a tin containing 40 lures with some by Mepps, Vibro and Abu. What was missed off the description was that one of the spinners contained in the round tin was made with a blade cut from a silver trophy bearing the inscription ‘ Won By Cleasby 1936’. I have to say I’m most intrigued at the contents of this tin as also encased within was a small articulated eel shaped lure. The contents of this unassuming tin are to be honest like opening Pandora’s box.
There are a few lures in this box that I will show in more detail over the next few days, that’s as long as young Tales doesn’t choose them to fish with tomorrow.
Jack Frost had left his calling card across the South-West from the Chiltern Hills to the South Downs.
Across the acid grasslands of Barnes Common the frost lay thick and even covering the grasses and gorse with delicate crystals. In the hollows the mist hung close to the ground. I took advantage of an early school run to head onto Richmond Park to observe the sugar dusting of frost by Beverley Brook as it twists its way via Robinhood Gate up towards Roehampton Gate and our to the back of Sheen.
The sky was made up of soft pale blue and lilac with a softness to the light, the trees silhouetted in by the soft morning sun as the myriad of crystals sparkled a soft Sheen as far as the eye could see.
The water of the brook ran crystal clear and the run off from the hills turned into the river with pace.
I looked under the bridge to see if I could see a chub, there by a hawthorn a dark shadow edge out from the bank and back again but the usual shoal of dace were not to be seen.
After a brief walk I headed back to the Thames to observe the morning mist lift over the Fullers Brewery. On many occasions last year after a high tide lost floats could be found on the high water mark, recently none had been found except for today five were found all very close together. Two were chubber style floats, one branded Kingfisher, another a small yellow bubble float or controller,the top section of a reed waggler that can be shortened and used for trotting and finally a small black and yellow pike float.
It was interesting to find these all within a few yards of each other two of them being inches apart. Were these lost floats the result of a tussle with a record fish, a snatch from Esox or just the result of a snag – we will never know but it is worth the thought.
I promised my wife that I would not buy another rod this year,
unfortunately I could not resist a Hardy Graphite 9’6″ #8/9 that was posted up on a well known online auction site.
I had expected it to go for more but having placed a bid in order to keep tabs on it I now find myself the new owner and a happy one at that. I don’t really understand why no one else bid on it.
Nearly all my rods are for light river fishing and my only salmon rod is a 13′ Sage that I purchased well over a decade ago. However I acquired this rod to double up for sea trout/light salmon and pike fishing.
Having been detailed as in fair condition with extension handle and original cloth bag it was worth a punt. I imagine many were put off in the knowledge that the guide whippings needed some tidying up and for most completely re-whipping. With my dear friend ‘Richard The Fish’ at hand to do this I thought that firstly it would make an ideal addition to the horde of rods for different situations, also a good length for ‘young tales’ to manage as he grows up and attempts to land his first salmon. Secondly would give Richard another project to embark on pre Christmas, as his wife reports he’s a bit bored at the moment.
I will post up pre and post restored images as Richard still under sells his ability at being a Master of his trade.
With this season now wrapped up for sea trout and salmon I’m tempted to take the rod out in it’s current state in order to tempt a pike from a back water of the Thames. Using some small poppers in red/white and chartreuse streamers it would be nice to see if we can tempt a pike but with such warm weather it still doesn’t feel like the season for pike.
The other thought I have is using this rod for bass fishing, strong enough to punch a line out over the rocks or in the surf, but I still get that niggling feeling that should I be using a Hardy rod for this sort of dirty work, guess I’m now being precious.
What I am pleased about us giving this tired rod a second lease of life where many are left in cupboards, lofts and sheds to gather dust or cast into oblivion and skipped.
As golden leaves float along the coloured water, hidden deep beneath the surface and under a fallen tree is a large predatory fish. It’s that time of year again when large floats are used in order to catch pike.A recent visit to a car boot resulted in two opportune finds, the first a fist full of gazette style pike floats and a copy of Angling Ways. The book was recently featured on fellow wordpress blog TheTuesdaySwim as illustrations featuring a pike were used to introduce the season of pike fishing.
Earlier in the summer I saw two rather large pike caught from a backwater of the Thames near Sunbury. Idling away the afternoon in a bunch of reeds a 13lb pike decided to make off with a piece of spicy sausage that was cast out in order to tempt a large chub. As the bait came to rest through the crystal clear water a dark shadow emerged,its mottled flanks and golden belly flashed in the dappled sunlight as it took the bait and turned. On the same day another pike fractionally
smaller made light work of engaging with a small silver fish as it was being reeled in, easy pickings for these hunters of the deep.
With the knowledge of where these fish lay in wait to ambush, I think a visit armed with a good cane rod, strong fixed spool reel and traffic light coloured bung may result in some sport. The season to be fearful is upon us.
A trip over to the Young’s Brewery site in Wandsworth ended up with a quick visit to Plough Lane,Wimbledon. The car park was full for this Wednesday in September so a good sign that there may be more traders. Found on a stall near the Stadium wall was a trader with boxes from a house Clearance, there amongst the tat I found a green fishing box full of terminal tackle for sea fishing and an Efgeeco Bait Box. In another cardboard box near by was an old souvenir penknife from the Coronation in 1953, a Meta 71 camping saucepan, several pike floats and a Platignum Tidy Tubs. Best find of all was a 172mm Sandeel Red Gill by Alex.J.Ingram of Mevagissey, Cornwall. On another stand I found a pewter jug by Cornish Pewter maker Edward Nevitt & Co. of Falmouth and the one item I had called in for a tin funnel for my Tilley Lamp.
The total sum spent in change for all items was £7.50 a number I recall from my admission ticket.
Over the past few days there have been several tales to tell on talesbytheriverbank. The first of these tales goes back to last Thursday evening when I headed to Robinswood Fishery late in the afternoon to fish the evening rise on this complex of lakes fed by a stream that runs through this Surrey wooded valley at the back of Star Hill.
It takes about 45 minutes from SW14 to the fishery driving down the A31 and at 5.30 you end up hitting all the rush hour traffic that congests around the turnoff for Guildford and then Farnham/Aldershot so allow a good hour if heading out from London.
As I pulled up in the car park by the fishing hut I could see Shaun’s Cherokee parked up so he was already of on the water. After signing in and paying my £25 for a 2 fish evening ticket I tackled up a Grey’s G series rod, recently found at a table sale for the sum of £15 and paired it up with a Hardy Ultralight Disc #6 reel. I purchased this reel off eBay last month, it came with a spare spool and good quality lines attached a real bargin when you consider the original purchase price.
Determining what fly to use took a while, I watch the water for some time and then decided to use an emerging hares ear pattern and fish it in the surface film as the fish seem to be taking just sub surface. There were several fish moving and only occassionally breaking the surface but would arch their backs like whales as the came up to the surface, a few fish would leap out completely but most fish would take a couple of inches below but cause a large ripple in doing so.
After nearly an hour of casting to rising fish at about 40ft from the reeded bank I decided to cast close down in the margin to my right, as soon as the fly hit the water there was an eruption of water as the fish lurched at the fly,the fly taken firmly had set itself and a fight pursued for several minutes as the fish made off toward the middle of the lake and then turned full circle to swim in along the margin by the reeds, finally netted it was a clear 2.5lb rainbow. Within a half hour another fish took the same fly so I was up to my bag limit.
Shaun had spent most of the evening to my far right and then across to the other side of the top lake were he took a fine fish on a small mayfly nymph. What we did deduce is that a buff coloured nymph seem to be order of the day. As the sun set behind the fishing hut we spoke of our next possible fishing trip and took the road home.
On Friday I was introduced to Richard Narewski a rod builder who shares a workshop with Bob a good friend of ours who is a boat builder, well a master craftsman would be more fitting to his supream skills with wood. It was an opportunity to see Bob at work where he is rebuilding a boat near Richmond Bridge. Richard has a small room off of the main worshop where he mends and builds rods. There, in the corner of the room were tops and butts of rods. Richard was looking at a catlogue of fitting from Hopkins & Holloway the Warwickshire based company that rod builders use for components to build or refurbish rods.
I took Richard three rods which were all in need of repair, a couple of Chapmans that needed a complete referb and a small Martinez & Bird fly rod that needed stripping down and re-wipping, new guides and re-varninshing, this rod I aquired for young Tales. After a lengthy chat about what needed to be done we decided to have a pint in the White Cross pub in Richmond and further discussions on fishing were had with the mention of the club called the Francis Francis Angling Club, more on that in another post.
On Saturday a call from Eddie then set out an early start on Sunday to fish a small backwater of the Thames controlled by the Feltham & Twickenham Piscatorial Society, when I say early it was a 5.30am start so late to some fishermen who had been on the water at first light.
Upon reaching the water the fist fish I saw nestled in a shaded spot was a ghost carp, I’d never seen one before, well only pictures on the internet. It was a strange looking fish and in same ways didn’t look right, it did habe the dark shading around the eyes but the body wasn’t that deep. When I mentioned the sighting to another fisherman during the day he said it could have been an albino chub as one had been caught near there before.
As the morning got progressively hotter and fishing got progressively more difficult we moved on to the deeper pools of the backwater known as The Ceek. I had only caught small silver fish and a couple of perch.
A couple of other fisherman seen walking the banks had caught a 2.5lb Chub on cheese paste and until then nothing of any note had been taken during the morning until when we decided to head back to the start of the controlled water there was a sudden air of excitement when a young guy appeared from the undergrowth with a barbel in his landing net in search of his scales. The fish weighed in at 8lb 10oz, was in beautiful condition and underlined way so many of us find this sport/pastime so compelling.
If that wasn’t enough whilst the weighing of the barbel was being done another comotion just a few yards away insued. There, rod in hand and with a big bend in it a large pick had taken a square of spiced sausage that was prepared for and cast out in search of a large chub. One the bait had hit the gin clear water and settled on the bottom from beneath an over hanging tree, a pike of about 7lb moved from within a half sunken branch to take the bait. To top that off we heard of sightings of two salmon from the junction pool, where one fish had leaped out of the water and the other lay calmly in a deep but clear pool, and if I’m right one was caught on maggot earlier last week in the same backwater but closer to the footbridge.
Tales not, but true stories from the riverbank….what ever next.