Diary of a Countryman plus your weekly crossword and TV guide
The film crew gets plenty of action with pike into double figures – then it snows!
I CAN’T believe this weather – sun, rain, sleet and snow, with a blast of cold air thrown in, and all in a single day!
As I write in my den I am looking outside and there are big white flakes of snow falling. I think I’ll turn the gas fire up a shade!
Despite everything, I still managed some enjoyable days on and off the bank, as you’ll see…
On a small tributary of the River Thames with John Chester, and what a lovely day it turned out to be! We each caught five chub to about 4lb apiece.
John caught four of his on lob worm and one on cheese paste, whereas I went in with bread crust at first and couldn’t buy a bite. As soon as I changed to smelly old cheese paste, though, I caught. Funny game at times, this fishing!
The days are drawing out now. You can see a quiver tip until 5.30pm and in the morning it’s light before seven. Happy days!
We both agreed it was delightful just to be roaming the river and waiting for the tip to pull round. I actually missed two bites that nearly pulled the rod off the rest, but that can happen with chub.
I know if I changed to a ‘Reggie rig’ (the same as a Ronnie rig but his brother designed it!) with tubing up the hook and an 8oz bomb, I’d hook every chub while playing Candy Crush on my computer, but do I really need to catch every fish that picks up my bait? No!
On a lighter note, I saw and heard more red kites in Oxfordshire than I have ever seen in Wales, such is the success of their introduction.
It will be interesting to see what the RSPB does if kite numbers start to affect other birds of prey.
We fished well beyond dusk, although bites did slow down as it got darker. That happens a lot, and the fish come back on the feed much later, at around 10pm, but tonight I had an appointment with a nice dinner and a couple of pints of Crafty Hen, so the chub would be safe this week.
Pike fishing with Steve Greenway and cameraman Ross Bernie, who came up for a bit of filming for future projects. We fished deadbaits – sardines, smelts and pollan – and ended up with 11 pike, four in double figures, and got some nice stuff in the can for Ross to edit for me later on.
After being there an hour the weather really took a turn for the worse with a strong wind and sleet blowing into our faces – not nice at all. But we soon got it sorted by forming a wagon train with our cars close to our swims. Along with an umbrella we were soon protected and eating one of Steve’s legendary fry-ups.
My wife phoned to tell me it was snowing at home and sure enough, 15 minutes later the snow arrived here, but who cares when the bobbins keep falling off and decent pike are putting a smile on your face?
In the evening I was ‘live’ in my tackle den for my Facebook page
talking about the otter petition and the closed season, and answering a load of questions. By the end of the 40-minute show I’d had 5,000 views, which is excellent for a small, no-frills production. But anglers tell me that’s what they like about it – live and raw! I do it most Fridays at 7pm and it’s on my Des Taylor group page. Just join and enjoy.
In the Ketch pub in Worcester at noon for a meeting with the Barbel Society committee about the otter petition and what they could do to get more signatures.
They already had 11,000 but to get the real numbers the likes of the Predator Action Group and the Angling Trust have to back it, which the Society clearly understands. The Angling Trust seems to think the Barbel Society should not have gone out on its own but the Society’s sole goal is
to promote and safeguard barbel fishing.
Members have been asking the committee for a while to do something about otters and now they have this petition, which I know will be looked at by the ‘top brass’, and hopefully something will be done to help the anglers.
Some people have said the wording is wrong. I would love those people to come forward and suggest what should have been on there instead of just taking the mickey. As soon as the petition went live I gave the lads at the Barbel Society the names of the handful of people who would be opposed to it, and guess what?
I was spot on!
It’s great to catch pike like this in the winter.
In the pub with the Barbel Society’s Steve Pope (left) and Chris Jones, trawling ideas for the otter petition.
Filming before the snow arrived. We caught plenty of pike that day.