Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Shot shads

Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 15:22

Knackered Monika asked me recently when it was I'd last caught a pike. It was January 2nd, 2015. I know I was hors de combat last autumn and winter, but still... This was something that needed to be remedied. Today I had a really grand session with shads (Mann's Pepper shad and some kind of Spro softbait whose name I can't remember). It's a long, long time since I've looked at knackered shads at the end of a pike session, but so it was today and I was grateful for the pike, the water clarity and the calm weather. It's worryingly dry at present but the countryside looks glorious.

The average...

Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 15:20

Bonny pike The average sort of pike I catch in the river runs 2-6lb. but they make up in looks and spirit for what they lack in size. This is a bonny one, taken on a Mann's shad this morning.

....and the not altogether average

Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 15:17

Pike This one was 84cm on the tape and took (astonishingly) on the first cast of the day. Handsome fish - though it's fairly lean and not, I think, quite a double.

Hope, expectation and the Daddy

Thursday, 13 October 2016 at 07:52

Daddy A handful of fish at Grafham, although Henry christened a new rod and caught his first reservoir rainbow - facts which delighted me. Alongside fishing Snakes and Hare's Ears on intermediates I also spent time yet again fishing dry Daddies. Grafham once had a reputation as a lake which in autumn fished well to the Daddy (people even used to dap naturals), and there are times when I've seen thirty natural Daddies around the boat...and not a fish moving to them. I've even caught occasional fish on wet Daddies - particularly a silver version. Yet my repeated, increasingly half-hearted attempts to present dry Daddies to Grafham trout have so far failed. Mindful of the truth that other anglers catch plenty of Grafham fish on Daddies, these days I fish the patterns more in defeated and smiling hope than in bright-eyed expectation.

Perch study

Sunday, 9 October 2016 at 20:47

Thames perch Howard took this lovely perch from the Thames yesterday. Cracking fish. A fuller account of our Thames adventure will be found below.

Of a Thames weirpool

Sunday, 9 October 2016 at 09:34

Setting out Lovely day yesterday, fishing Pangbourne weir on the Thames with Steve Roberts, who offers guided days (and a top-notch lunch) on the river in his boat through River Days ( We had a splendidly varied day, catching some smaller fish - roach, dace, bleak - on trotted float tackle, a big perch (well done, Howard) on a touch-legered lobworm and a big chub which wolfed down a Flash Fly intended for pike. I also moved five pike on the fly-rod, but unfortunately none stuck, despite one being played out to the net rim. Oh well: it was grand to see them anyway, and we enjoyed a first-class day out in varied weather and in a wonderfully mellow autumn light.

Howard's big perch

Sunday, 9 October 2016 at 09:31

Howard's perch I love this photo, which could have been taken at almost any time during the past hundred years: 'Angler admiring a Thames weirpool perch'. The angler here is Howard Seabrook; the perch took a touch-legered lobworm during a late lunchtime. It was such a big and handsome fish that it was duly weighed: 2lb. 3oz. - and that's a big perch. It was surely the fish of the day.

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