Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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A christening

Saturday, 28 January 2017 at 17:19

5g softbait I wrote last week that I hoped to bring a further report of Heron and possibly its christening. The rod was duly christened today on a pike of around 7lb., and I released another jack of 4lb., losing a third after a minute or two. This makes it sound easier than it was. Two hours with tandem spinners brought no takes whatsoever; the pike simply wouldn't look at a lure moving at any speed. I changed to a tiny (6cm long) softbait on a 5g jig hook and twitched that scrap of mobile rubber as slowly as possible along the bottom. That worked the oracle. The rod performed well, too, so I was pleased - and even more pleased that when the fitful sun shone the air, for a moment or two at least, smelt more like very early spring than dead of winter.

January pike

Saturday, 28 January 2017 at 17:17

About 7lbs. One of two fish this afternoon. This one was around 7lb. and in good nick.

The Heron - and the Curse of the Early Fish

Saturday, 21 January 2017 at 17:42

The Heron There's something right about rivers and cane rods. It's partly nostalgia, partly a wish to support British rod-makers, partly practicality and partly aesthetics. For some specific purposes I love using cane. Recently I acquired an 8' cane rod for work with perch and modest pike. Called 'The Heron', it was made by Redditch-based craftsman Ryan Burns. The rod is light, balances well with a fixed-spool reel and has a lovely through action. I wish I could report that the rod was christened on its maiden outing, but unfortunately Heron was Cursed by the Early Fish. I moved a small pike five minutes after beginning - a handsome jack of around 5lb. - but afterwards, couldn't buy a take. (The bitter weather isn't helping any forms of angling in the east of England at present, I suspect.) Yet Heron promises well and I hope to write a fuller report before season's end.

A murky Itchen day

Sunday, 8 January 2017 at 13:55

Howard on the Itchen Overnight rain meant the Itchen was carrying extra colour. Although Howard caught a few in the morning it was only around lunchtime, when the main river had started to clear and when the light was at its most intense (although 'intense' is a misnomer given the murkiness of the day), that we began to pick up grayling in numbers, finding one shoal in very shallow water in a crease no more than a foot or two from the bank. It was then, and only then, that we picked up satisfying numbers of grayling - fish of much better than average quality, with plenty of pounders and one or two nudging 1½lb. Red maggots, and later on, a grain of sweetcorn, worked well on 2lb. hook-links. For ninety minutes the Jolly Green Giant had a bit of a field-day, but as the colour drained out of the afternoon the grayling turned quiet, too.


Monday, 2 January 2017 at 11:36

1966 Plus ça change....

A short trip to the river recently saw only a bare handful of roach, perch and dace. Yet it was a pretty weirpool swim and much was charming and good. It struck me that work with the leger (and more specifically, the swimfeeder) might tempt bigger chub, so that was one - in fact my only - New Year's resolution: don't mess about with maggots, but get out there with the old tin of Spam and see if there are chevins lurking on the outside of some of those rush-girt bends...

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