Chris McCully

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...and maybe a few nice roach

Saturday, 16 June 2018 at 17:05

Roach Not the biggest roach in the world, I grant you, but a lovely stamp of fish nevertheless.

  And so with a tench, crucians and some roach I was more than pleased with this June 16th. Tight lines, one and all.

Strawberries and the Lift

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 at 19:52

Strawberries There's going to be a fine crop of strawberries from the garden. There'll be another harvest to come. After that, the raspberries are looking good.

In between harvesting the strawberries and exam. season at work there's been a bit of angling experimentation with the Lift method. I went to a commercial fishery to do the experimenting, hoping for a sort of practice tench, but the evening was too hot and bright for tench and time was limited. I put up the Lucky Strike, fixed on a Trudex spooled with 3.2lb. mainline (too light for tench), closed two SSG on a sliding link under a peacock quill float and watched for bites from roach, perch, a bream, a roach/bream hybrid and three handsome perch. The bites themselves varied, from unmissable lifts of the float to twitches and dithers to straightforward pull-unders. The set-up was certainly sensitive though depth setting was critical. It was an interesting and absorbing few hours.

...two small bass

Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 18:05

...two small bass So. Baited spoon for flounders: three sessions, two different marks, different stages of the tide. On each session bar one I've caught...two small bass. Last weekend, in order to have a change from...two small bass I took a fly-rod to the estuary and tried to catch mullet: Spectra Shrimp and Red Tag (both size 14). These I fished dead-drift over a big shoal of mullet, which were bow-waving at the edge of the weed. At least some of these fish will have seen the flies. They spurned them. What didn't spurn them was a little bass, rapidly followed by another little bass, making a total of...two small bass. These are possibly the same...two small bass who have been persecuting me for the past fortnight.

Shortly I'm going to go fishing for tench. After an intense and well-thought-out pre-baiting campaign I'll swing a lobworm  in the general direction of needle bubbles fizzing in the chosen tench swim. And on current form I shall catch...two small bass.

Of (partial) failure and fake worms

Sunday, 27 May 2018 at 16:35

Baited spoon The pimped flounder spoon (see below) didn't attract flounder but it did attract two tiny bass. The sea was the colour of milky tea and the making tide was full of stringy weed (called 'Mayweed' locally), which made fishing tiresome. There wasn't a sign of a flounder but just after HW, and by dint of pottering about in some clearer water (nowhere more than a foot or two deep), two tiny bass took. Greedy blighters. The total length of the mount, plus 11cms-worth of fake ragworm, was 9 inches and the bass were 8-9 inches long, so that was a triumph of ambition. The spoon worked surprisingly well - plenty of flash and flutter - and equipped with its fake worm it looked rather attractive. Pity the flounders didn't think so. I'll keep trying.

Pimp Your Flounder Spoon: Before

Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 12:28

Unpimped spoon In 1960, John Garrad wrote a masterpiece called Sea Angling with the Baited Spoon, in which he described (in brilliant, even obsessive detail) angling with the spoon for flounders and bass - mostly flounders - on England's south coast. His researches showed that the optimal length of trail between end of spoon and hook shank was exactly 1½ inches. Because I clearly went mad recently I thought I'd try to replicate Garrad's experiments on local estuaries and therefore spent an hour pimping my flounder spoons. When you buy cheap models of 'flounder spoon' they're ridiculously crude. I replaced the nylon and the large, coarse hook with 15lb. Maxima and a size 8 longshank trout hook, adding luminous beads for good measure. Lord knows whether these will work but we'll give them a lash. Garrad, incidentally, swore that flounders took the baited spoon because they were highly competitive with other flounders, i.e. they took the flash and disturbance of the spoon for another flounder, one with a worm in its mouth.

Pimp Your Flounder Spoon: After

Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 12:23

Pimped flounder spoon Bit of fiddling and there you are: 15lb. Maxima, couple of luminous beads, and 1.5 inches of trail behind the end of the spoon - exactly to John Garrad's prescription. The hook is one of an old stock of Partridge streamer hooks (size 8). If you do try this at home - Pimp Your Flounder Spoon, hours of innocent fun on a Bank Holiday weekend -  - then you'll find it's easier to snell the nylon onto the hook shank than tie a standard knot.

Itchen and Meon

Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 09:08

CDC Mayfly Just back from two days on the Itchen and Meon. The mayfly was up on the Itchen. Richard and I shared a lovely day at Kanara and its plentiful numbers of trout. I fished with cane and silk throughout and was delighted with both - delighted, too, with the success of this CDC Mayfly pattern, which I tied some years ago after being beaten by a trout on the Wallop Brook. That fish only took natural mays when they were fluttering, so I tied up some Klink-style flies with plenty of CDC. Then again, the Itchen trout took Humpies and Wulffs, too, so these experiments were more pleasing than meaningful.
The Meon, which I'd never visited before, offers rather different fishing and we released around ten smallish wild trout (best 10oz.) during a a few hours' work. Parachute John Storey, Grey Duster - almost any olive-suggesting pattern - seemed to work if cast quietly into channels between the weed. Stealth and delicacy were required. It was bonny fishing.

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