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!

Angling Times (UK) - - NEWS -

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.

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