Bangs & Twangs
When I was a kid, I have to admit I was a little bit of a sod, in particular to any of my big sisters prospective boyfriends, but especially to Pete. I'd "accidentaly" spill drinks on him, poke pin holes in his cigarettes so they wouldn't burn, I really wasn't pleasant - sorry Pete.
Anyway, possibly to try & win me over & because my big sister sometimes had to look after me, I'd get taken for rides in his sidecar & occaisionally fishing, so its not suprising that the seeds were sown for what I now enjoy. Pete gave me my first fishing rod as well as a real bow & arrow, I spent many happy hours in the fields near my grandads place in Goodsherfold shooting at homemade targets & at any wild life that gave me half a chance.
Finally (hurrah) he allowed me to fire his .410 & 12 bore (the first thing I shot was a tree) fed me game, showed me how to gut squirrels, snare rabbits & cook hedgehogs, considering I'd been a little shit at times, it was pretty good of him.
So thirty years or so on & well I own a couple of shotguns, air rifle & a .410 to teach the kids with, I'm a member of BASC, Countryside Alliance & NOBS, enjoy wild fowling, rabbiting & the odd bit of lamping as well as generally tramping around the country side communing with nature, then killing & eating it.
When time allows I do a bit of sea fishing, both kids have got rods but we haven't gone much this year, 2006, something which neads to be rectified.
the kids had a go with bows over the summer of 2005 & enjoyed it so when
time permits were going to trot along to the local archery club & see what
Its a bit daft that we live surrounded by rivers & streams teaming with little fishes & we don't take advantage of it, so thats another one that neads something doing about it pretty damm soon.
What can't be ignored (Argghh SOAP BOX) is this goverments stupidity in passing the hunting bill, I mean I'm not a horsey sort of person myself, but (a) like many others I'll defend the right of those that are to continue to exercise their right to do so & (b) I'm not so stupid as to see its only the thin end of the wedge, shooting & fishing will be next it's in danger & needs protecting, at the very least join the CA, apathy killed hunting, we might be next, don't let the bastards grind you down.
OK politics bit over with, sorry, but it had to be said. Next move is to pick up a something like a .22LR, got to start somewhere assuming Mr Plod will let me, after all the air rifles OK, but a bit limited in stopping power & range, so if I'm ever going to get to go Buffalo hunting I'd better do something pretty damm soon.
We've just spent a week or so on the Ardnamurcan Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland, try to get up that way at least once a year, very enjoyable time had by all, apart from the tranquility & incredible biodiversity we, well, actually mainly me, Blythe & Zac, managed to fish for at least a couple of hours every day on Loch Sunart, now I have to be honest, fishing has been on a bit of a back burner this year so it was incredibly pleasing to ply the rods on a daily basis, & OK, we weren't going to break any records but the fish were bountiful, reasonably diverse &, & its a very big &, very, very tasty.
Mackerel as is there want through themselves at the feathers, spinners & indeed bare shiny hooks, the pollock were timid, the mullet were shy & the dogfish were positively viscous but the rays were very satisfying.
Both Blythe & Zac were using there new rods (thanks Grandad) & both managed to strike lucky, Zac with mackerel & a tiny pollock, Blythe with a fiesty Dogfish.
Every thing bar the mackerel was returned to the waters & you know you just can't better the taste of fresh mackerel fillets eaten before they've gone less than thirty yards from the waters edge.
Its been a bit of a busy month really, what with Antarctica looming etc, but amongst other things we managed to spend the weekend at the Midland Game fair, Weston Park, Shropshire, the other week, as usual far to many things to spend your pennies on & the entrance price, two adults, two children, two days, doesn't come particularly cheap (£68 in total) but if your looking for a bargain &/or just keeping up to date its definitely worth a trawl.
Anyway, this year I decided, see elsewhere, that it was about time I stopped talking about it & got on with trying to tempt the occasional local trout into the frying pan, so after spending several hours listening & watching the experts show how it should be done I chanced my arm on the practise pond under the watchful eye of another expert &, well it felt pretty good, so clutching a fistful of greenbacks I sought wisdom & walked away with 9'0" Greys GRXi, reel, line, leader & a pretty selection of flies.
Also this month I managed to spend a morning pond/float fishing with Blythe & Zac, something I've not done for about twenty-five years, it was a first for Blythe & Zac, &, truth told they weren't entirely convinced, Zac did pick up a small Perch but it didn't really ring his bell.
Well, Antarctica getting closer, the guns are going into the gun shop for long term storage (don't think Antarctic survey team would be impressed if I went penguin stalking) but I have managed to arrange a mornings fly fishing tuition with a a very nice chap from the "Bakewell Fly Fishing Shop", more to follow . . . . .
I'm back, HURRAH for Blighty, well as you can probably guess I didn't get to much fishing done in Antarctica, to be bloody honest I only got line to water on one solitary occasion, basically between working six & seven day weeks & humongous chunks of ice bumping into the wharf it wasn't really conducive to a spot of quiet fishing. Still I know now the secret to catching Antarctic Cod, forget fancy pirks, leave your spinners at home, just stick a lump of spam on a hook, chuck down to the bottom & bang, fish hanging on line, no fight, no skill, mmmm, sounds like my kind of fishing.
Homeward bound, four days sail to the Falklands, lots of ice, lots of sea, lots of Albatross's & whales. It had looked like I was going to be in FI for four or five days & I'd heard very good things about the trout fishing. As it turned out we arrived Monday am & flew late pm Tuesday however a little fishing trip was arranged & I, & several others spent several happy hours spinning on the Murrell for Brown Trout, the best catch of the day, not by me I might add, was a 14lb beauty caught by JT. The island record by the way, caught as part of a catch of 19 fish in 1992 by Alison Faulkner, is 22lb 12.5oz, that's 2.5oz's more than the UK record, & I have to say it tasted bloody gorgeous, it was served that evening on board ship as the starter.
Since getting back, apart from sorting out all the kit, I've not managed to get line to water however with the season looming I'll be booking a few more lessons & heading to the coast, however after the fishing in FI the Erwood reservoir has got a lot to compete with & I'm going to make damm sure I get some more fishing time when next I'm in FI.
PS, if you ever get to FI, pick up a copy of Peter Lapsley's "Fishing for Falklands Sea Trout" its a good read as well as a decent guide.
Just spent another very enjoyable week on the Ardnamurcan Peninsula, West Scotland, an old friend, Allan, & his family joined us this time but even so rod & line were used & abused everyday, in fact Allan & his son, Richard, joined the fun & they plus Blythe & Zac spent a happy & successful week catching mackerel by the bucket, none went to waste, the record being about ten minutes from water to grill, we even had enough to share them with our nightly visiting Pine Martin. Leaving the others to enjoy the mackerel I spent my time chasing Thornback's & as previously I was pleased with what was brought, & then returned, to the dark waters of Loch Sunart. Surprisingly we even picked up some codling as well as a solitary Red Gurnard.
It was with real sorrow that we had to leave the peninsula behind, personally I'd happily spend the rest of my life pottering about on the Ardnamurcan shores, still we can all dream can't we.
Just returned from another busy season in Antarctica, I've picked up the guns from J F Neville's of Alfreton where I left them in safe storage & I'm ready to get out there & fish. Whilst in Antarctic waters I managed only once to get hook to water only once but with Spam for bait I dragged an Antarctic Codling out from under the rocks, it must have weighed all of 3lbs. On route back to the UK I was due to pass through the Falklands literally for only a couple of hours however due heavy headwind we missed the connection to Chile so a couple of days stopover was on the cards, see this seasons travel blog, as per my last visit to the Falklands the immediate thought was can I get over to the the Murrell for a spot of trout fishing, fortunately the answer was yes. Having managed to borrow a mates Landrover I & one of the chaps from BAS headed out of town on a gloriously sunny morning & after a brisk walk we skirted around a couple of minefields & had a pleasant couple of hours spinning. Admittedly Andy got the best fish of the session, a Brown trout of 6lbs or so, however I landed three to his two including one of the islands only two native fish, Aplochiton Zebra, or the the Zebra trout as its locally known. This is a protected species, one of only two freshwater fish native to the Falklands, & you can't go out to deliberately target them but if you do hook into one of the blighters it must be released as soon as possible. So as said I'm now back in the UK & ready to enjoy the summer.
Nearly the end of May now & its finally stopped raining, cleared off up to Scotland in April, family holiday but managed to squeeze some fishing on a couple of occasions. Paid a couple of visits to one of the local clay shoots, definitely require more practice, with the improvement in weather I'm getting out a couple of times a week doing what damage I can to the local crow population as well as ambushing rabbits, squirrels & woodies for the pot, even treated myself to some new flock coated decoys, time to buy one of htose fancy rotary thingybobs, watch this space.
Spent a very enjoyable day on the "Mac" out of Whitby last Wednesday, most of the UK was awash with torrential rain however the sea along the Yorkshire cost was, if not bathed in sun, then at least warm with only a moderate swell. The fishing was pretty much as expected, a relentless haul of good sized Mackerel, plenty of codling to 6lbs or so, occasional Ling, a handful of Gurnard, some decent size Whiting & a solitary Sole, if the weather holds until the last week of the month, which is looking extremely doubtful, there's another trip on the cards, if the fishing's anywhere near as good as last week then I might have to buy another freezer.
Still managing to get out a couple of times a week despite the bloody awful weather, aka British Summer, mainly crows & Coney, the odd woody & squirrel, I spent a pleasant 15 minutes or so the other day watching a weasel bobbing in & out of the stone wall behind which I was using as a hide, a week or two back I had to rescue a Tawny owl that had got its self stuck an old home made larsen trap on one of the farms I shoot over, fortunately after catching its breath for ten minutes or so it was OK & made a sharp exit.
Couple of months passed since last I graced this page, truth be told there's not really been to much to write about really, I'm continuing to ambush corvids & coneys any chance I get & following an agreeable afternoon at the Cheshire Game & Country Fair I'm now splendidly attired in a new Jack Pyke realtree jacket with matching trousers.
Best laid plans & all that have however constantly go awry such that I've completely failed so far this season to make use of my membership of the Rhyl & Conwy Wildfowling Club, this requires rectification pretty bloody soon.
On the up side I have managed to squeeze in several more boat fishing trips since July's expedition all of which have met with reasonable success, I was particularly pleased to land & return a good sized, maybe 4lb, Tub Gurnard, this was a species first & was a beautiful looking fish. The freezer of course benefited considerably from these little adventures & following a pleasant day with the family at the Midland Game Fair in September my newly acquired ProQ smoker is proving quite a hit. I've replaced my favourite boat rod, its been used regularly since I script & scrapped to buy it some thirty years ago, with a new Ugly Stik, however having stripped it down to a blank I've a feeling it may get rebuilt & reincarnated some time in the future.
August came & delivered an enjoyable repeat of 2007's frivolity on West Scotland's Ardnamurcan Peninsula, with the added competition of a fishing contest between adults & kids as to who could land the most fish over the week, it was I have to say a close run but thankfully the total of myself & Alan was marginally greater than the off spring of our respective loins, all told some 150 fish between the five rods before clan Aimson headed further North & spent several pleasant days around Ullapool & Durness.
If you've been elsewhere on the site you'll probably already be aware that I've just got back from the Falklands having spent most of December working there, as always I'd packed a rod & a selection of spinners in the hope that I'd manage a couple of sessions chasing elusive Trout on the Murrell, well, as things go I did get out to the Murrell 4 or 5 times & elsewhere but with mixed results, unfortunately it proved to be just to early in the season & there was no sign of the Brown Trout.
There was however plenty of action courtesy of the Falkland Mullett, Eleginops Maclovinus, which made itself popular for the time I was there, this fish is actually a member of a group of fish known collectively as the Antarctic Rock Cods, there a pretty solid fish, clean white flesh & very tasty to boot. Over the month the smaller fish definitely proved to be fighters equal to its fellow trout whilst the bigger fish landed at a spot near MPA known locally as the "Frying Pan", were up to 6lb or so & could jump like billy-o.
Whilst these fish are plentiful around the rivers & estuaries of the Falklands & as said above were pretty dam tasty just baked in their own juices their not unfortunately trout, the good news however is that I'm back in the Falklands in February 2009 & I'm reliably informed that this should be prime trout fishing time so next time I'll be packing the fly rod & a few choice flies.
It's been a pretty long time since this page got updated, in fairness that hasn't been a great deal to say, I mangaed to fit in the odd bit of fishing in Scotland last year but then Ascension island got in the way, now the one thing I'd heard about AI was that life beneath the waves was truely amazing, not being a swimmer I had to take the word of others & there underwater phototography, I took a couple of rods as there's not really anywhere you can buy fishing kit in AI other than a few bits & peices at the Georgetown's one & only "supermarket"
Armed with heavy line, lures & big hooks I & quite a few of the other lads gave it a whirl over the next couple of months from various beaches, rocky outcrops & the AI Pierhead. The tales of big & plentful fish were true, in fact bountyful doesn't really desribe the multitude of colour swimming in the clear blue waters around AI's shoreline, from the prolific & aptly named Black Durgon, Melichthys niger, which are every anglers nightmare, don't bother using bait if these buggers are about, don't use latex lures in fact don't bother fishing until they're asleep, nothing gets past em.
Once you're past the Durgon there's plenty of other fish to test your metal, Moray Eel, Peacock Flounder, Yellow Goatfish, Almaco, Black Jack, Sand Mullet, Pompano, Roch Hind, Seabream, Snapper, Soapfish, Squirrelfish, Triggerfish & Wrasse to name but a select few.
The island population numbers no more than 1,000, these are mainly long term migrant workers from St. Helena who when not working generally fish or drink, actually that should read fish & drink, in fact when not working or sleeping they drink occasionally combining it with fishing, this is, well lets say interesting, particularly when they're steering the boat, on one notable occasion the lad "in charge", just a tad hung over, managed to fall overboard, twice, he almost lost the boat as well, as the mornings fishing was abandoned, the boast floated away with fishermen still on board &he had the key in his pocket. Getting on & off the boats could be fun as well since the Pierhead is onto open sea, timing was definitely important as you tried to judge when to jump or just cling onto the ropes & hope somebody grabbed your legs, saying that however the fishing was generally good & if nothing was taking the lures you could at least watch the flying fish. When fishing from one of the Saints boats you could expect to catch Tuna, Wahoo, Bonito, Barracuda, Dolphinfish & Rainbow Runner, for those with seriously deep pockets, £1300 plus per day, there's a couple of guys who seasonally hire out for Blue Marlin, Shark & Sailfish, yeah, right dream on, you guessed it, another beer captain sir.
Well, it's been a while since I updated the site, never mind this page, in all honesty fishing & shooting's been off the radar for a while, not because of lack of interest, more because of time, access & money, mainly the latter. Sure the guns have been aired a few times nothing serious & yes, the rods have seen a bit of action but again nothing to break any records. I spent a bit of time mackerel bashing at Gairlock last month & even picked up some decent & very tasty Ling & am hoping to sort out a trip from Grimsby for a few of the lads who've never boat fished before but what I really need to do is renew my rod license, break out the flies & spend some quality time on the waters around Buxton hunting trout.
A good friend of mine, Mr.F, has recently dug out his old course fishing kit last used over thirty years ago, & to get the feel of things is dipping his stick, fnarr, fnarr, in the canal two minutes from home in Timperly, now canal fishing was never something I was remotely interested in & in all fairness still aren't but then at least he's having fun, something I definitely need to get out there & have more off hence the impending rod license.
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Useful & interesting links bit:
National Organisation of Beaters & Pickers up - http://www.nobs.org.uk
British Association of Shooting & Conservation - http://www.basc.org.uk
Countryside Alliance - http://www.countryside-alliance.org