Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Product Review Nash Slap Head Indicators

Product Review
Nash Slap Head Indicators

In old skool white or cult black the PTFE Slap Head offers the simplest and most reliable line connection yet, using an enclosed ball bearing, magnet and spring mechanism that clicks the mainline securely into the gate of the head but disengages the instant a rod is picked up.
Available from 6 to 40 grams (I use 10gram heads for the majority of my fishing but add a 5gram drag weight on occasions) to cover every tactical approach and any condition from slack lining to extreme range work. As the size and weight of the Slap Head increases the unique line retention system strengthens correspondingly to prevent premature line release when using larger drag weights or on violent takes.
Slap Heads have a durable brass female thread in the base and can be used with the smart black anodised stainless Linx chains (8cm – 20cm) or as swing arm indicators by attaching them to the dedicated black stainless Slap Arms. Additional isotopes in five wicked colours, drag weights and options for attachment make Slap Heads as versatile, interchangeable and easy to use as they are stylish.
The Slap Head system offers cutting edge indication in the most practical format yet. No external fittings, clips or features to break or shatter when moving swim, no adjustment required, just instant, ever ready indication.
Prepare to have your butt slapped.

Cost £7.49 to £12.99

Its time for chub.

Chub Time.....
The next few weeks are always difficuly. The lakes seem to freeze over on a regulat basis and when they are fishable, the water temperature is so low that getting many fish to feed is very unlikely.
The rivers also have been very difficult due to their low clear state, however over the last week, and after a couple days of heavy rain all will have had a good flush through, albeit of greesy muddy and very cold snow melt water, yet now they are ready to fish and the species that will be obliging are chub.

If you fancy a day roving around two rivers, firstly the Loddon in hope of a specimen chub then dropping to its smaller neighbour the Blackwater where bites are almost guaranteed alternating between two baits, bread and cheesepaste then why not email me duncancharman@me.com or call me 07928 617006 and book a days fishing?

Lower Itchen Fishery 10/01/2017

Lower Itchen Fishery 10/01/2017

Neither of my customers had ever caught a grayling before yet come the end of the day they were sick of the sight of them, well not quite.
Arriving at the fishery at opening time, 8am, we headed up river, parked the car before slowly making up our rods. Fortunately the weather was idea, mild but more importantly wind free, well that was until I had finished of my spagetti bolognaise at lunchtime! After a quick run through on tactics and feeding they were fishing and first cast the float sailed away and Jonh M was into his first fish. John G wasn’t far behind and soon had his target fish for the day in his net, a pound plus grayling.
The action continued with neither having to move swims, probably due to the slight colour within the river. Soon both had lost count of the amount of grayling and trout they had caught and were well in the grove with feeding, trotting and landing fish. Heading upstream in search of a bigger fish the two leap-frogged each other taking fish from every swim visited before lunch was taken.
In the afternoon we decided to head downstream to the slower deeper section in search of a big roach or grayling but although grayling still graced thier nets the specimen two-pounder proved elusive. With dusk falling we decided to call time having all enjoyed a really productive day.

Here are a few words received from both anglers –

Hi Duncan,
Just a quick note to thank you for yet another excellent day out fishing, this time for grayling on The Lower Itchen Fishery. It was the first time my friend John and I had visited the fishery and the first time we had both fished for grayling. Having now used your guiding services several times I’m going to nickname you the “Impatient Angler”.  You always expect a bite first cast and within seconds of your bait reaching the bottom – but, as anglers we all know that rarely happens. However, on this occasion you’re guiding skills put us straight on to the fish. First cast, we were both instantly into hard fighting grayling to around 1.25lb quickly followed by another. This continued for most of the day mixed up with brown trout to around 2.5lb. Both John and I had about 20 grayling and 20 brown trout each, a real red letter day for both of us. Having now been shown the tactics and the hot spots we will definitely visit the fishery again.
Just to let you know we are talking to each other about arranging another guiding day with you but this time for barbel on the River Wye…..roll on next Summer.
Speak soon,
Take care
John

Dear Duncan.
I would like to say a big thank you for your guiding on the River Itchen with myself and John on 10th Jan. The day was excellent, I have not caught as many fish in a long time and you opened my eyes to a number of aspects of angling. Having been stuck in a bit of a rut fishing the same venues that are not producing many fish for some time now I am going to look at some alternative venues, as I think my fishing time will be more productive. Had a great day and I still can’t believe that our paths have crossed after over 30 years!

Catch up soon, John.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Nash Winter 16-17 E-Zine magazine, now available to view.

 Nash Winter 16-17 E-Zine magazine, now available to view.

To all those anglers, especially the carpers who haven't checked out the brilliant Nash E-Zine, you need to do it now!
Edited by well respected carper Colin Davidson you can expect loads of fantastic instructional features that are sure to put more fish on the bank and if you are thinking of heading south to fish a carp lake in Europe, like I am later this year, then there is plenty of information to be getting you thinking.

Features include –
Alan Blair’s brilliant guide to Winter Zigging
Euro carping – France
Essential Guide to better hook holds
In action with Jed Kent
A&Q with Julian Cundiff
Essential guide to PVA
Life at Nash
Best cold water baits by Gary Bayes
Globetrotter Steve Briggs discusses winter baiting
Day ticket download – whats happening at Royston

Plus information on new products, baits plus embedded video tips for you. Find it on the Nash Tackle website – www.nashtackle.co.uk and official Nash Tackle Facebook under the E-Zine tab.

Enjoy the read.......

Friday, 13 January 2017

Grayling – The one species you can rely on when it gets really cold. Part one – The basics.

Grayling – The one species you can rely on when it gets really cold.
Part one – The basics.

For years I thought that Grayling were of the radar, a species cursed by the game angler and rarely targeted by the coarse angler, yet I was wrong as the expensive game chalk streams beats realised that by opening the banks up during their close season they could not only bring in an income during this usual lean period but by keeping the banks busy keep predation down to a minimum.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone and for a few pound anglers can now visit these beats and enjoy non-stop action from not just the game fish but also from the ‘Lady of the Stream’ the grayling. What’s even better is grayling are far from difficult to catch, in fact their aggressive feeding nature means that anyone that can get a float moving downstream should be able to tempt a few of these hard fighting fish. Even better is when the weather has, ‘catch-nothing’ written all over it usually means the grayling will be crawling up your rods as unlike all other species, when its freezing, atmospherics are sky high, skies are cloudless and blue, the rivers cold and clear and even when the moon phases are completely wrong, grayling will willingly feed. The only things to watch out for is if the rivers up and coloured then grayling will be generally difficult to tempt as they are sight feeders. If it’s windy as well then controlling a float down the river will be difficult, so keep those mild overcast windy winter days when the rivers rising to barbel. 
Probably the two most well known game beats that offer grayling
fishing to the coarse angler are The Lower Itchen Fishery and Timsbury on the Test. Both limit the amount of anglers on each day, so you will have plenty of room to move around, the only problem is that you will need to book in advance which makes getting that perfect day difficult. I tend to leave things to around four days before and then book up as the weather forecast is usually fairly reliable, the only downside is that there may be no spaces left. Fortunately the more you fish this type of river the more stretches you become aware off. I have at least half a dozen others that I can fall back on if needed. The Test and Itchen does offer the chance of a two-pounder, a specimen in the grayling world, and should be the target for any angler visiting these beats, however they don’t come along every day, so initially just enjoy the reliable sport, hone in your trotting skills, catch as many fish as you can and that specimen should one day show. There are other species that will fall on these beats such as the ever greedy trout along with other residents that are slightly more challenging to tempt such as chub, roach, dace and barbel, all which grow to specimen size. Also expect the unexpected such as salmon, carp and bream. In fact last time I fished the Test I caught nine different species in a day, all on sweet corn which included, roach to 1lb 12oz, dace to 10oz, chub to 3lb 8oz, grayling, salmon par, sea trout, bream, roach bream hybrids and brown trout (sea and brown trout can be classified as the same species, so eight species to some). Although both rivers do produce massive grayling, if there is one river that reigns supreme over both for constantly producing record nudging specimens it’s the Dorset Frome, again a river that is accessible by what I would call, the everyday angler simply by joining one of the many clubs that take control of the game beats during the close season. If you want to find out more about the Frome then give Deano at Perbeck Angling a call.
 
So you have decided to book up and need some help in catching? Well relax as you don’t need to go and buy a new rod or reel as you should have something that will get you started. A 13ft match rod is good enough along with a small fixed spool reel loaded with 4lb mainline, yet as for stick floats then you
may not find any in your local tackle shop anymore and if you do then they probably won’t be big enough. My advice is to take a look at the Dave Harrell range as this brilliant float angler has covered every situation and each pattern has a description on how and where to use them. I would recommend getting a couple of the following – No1 Alloy Stem Avon’s in 2g and 3g, Alloy Stem No2 in sizes 6xno4 to 8no4 and some Alloy Stem Shoulder Sticks in 6no4 to 10no4. In most cases its best to use a bulk shot around eight to ten inches from the hook. It’s up to you if you use split-shot but I get really irritated with shot either falling off or moving so now use an in-line Olivette, Drennan do these along with a couple of

dropper shots, usually size 8 Stotz. You don’t even have to shot the float right down as grayling are bold bitters and the float will simply just disappear when a grayling takes the bait. 0.11mm (3lb 6oz) Reflo Power is a great hooklink and as for hooks then you can’t beat size 14 Kamasan B525 eyed whisker barb (if allowed) as you can easily swap between corn and maggot hookbaits. Some use a small swivel to attach the hooklink (which can be used as a bulk shot as well) but I don’t as although this may reduce line twist, knots create weaknesses, especially pre-stretches line knots on swivels. I simply attach my hooklink to the mainline by means of two loop to loop knots, far more reliable! A word of warning here – if you have read articles telling you to use small hooks and tie in elasticated shock absorbers into your set up then ignore these, it’s just anglers trying to get technical with a species that just need to be targeted with simplicity. My advice to any angler that’s loosing fish is to up the size of their hook and when you stop catching in a swim that has been productive, move on!
Once you have visited the river for a couple of times (most anglers plan a couple of days each winter to enjoy this type of fishing)
you will probably want to purchase either a centrepin or closed face reel and maybe a slightly longer rod, I use a Preston Carbonactive 15ft float rod, both of which will give you superior control over a 13ft rod and fixed spool reel.
Another great point about grayling is that they will move up in the water for a meal; however it’s usually the smaller, fitter fish that do this, so try and get the bait down close to the bottom if you want a better stamp of fish. I simply guess the depth of the swim, run a float through a few times, adding depth all the time until the float gets dragged under due to the hook catching the bottom. Reduce the depth a couple of inches; place a piece of corn or a couple of maggots onto the hook and then strike every time the float disappears. Sounds simple but it’s probably the one area most anglers ignore. Attention to detail will catch you more and bigger fish! One other top tip is to use four rubbers to attach the float to the mainline, spread evenly down the length of the float, as this will stop the float moving once the depth has been found or on constant striking. 

As for bait, some fisheries don’t allow maggots as this will catch salmon par that need to be protected and almost all forbid the use of worms as this will catch bigger salmon. If maggots are allowed, as they are at Timsbury and The Lower Itchen Fishery then reds are best but the problem with maggots is that they will catch all sizes of fish from a tiny minnow right through to a mighty salmon. My best salmon of 12lb 2oz fell to double red maggot! Corn will supply a much better stamp of fish and will slow the amount of trout down so if it’s a specimen grayling you are after then corn will often score as it reduces the amount of fish caught, which reduces the amount of commotion through the swim which in turn increases the chances of a bigger fish taking the bait before the shoal is spooked. A standard swim will act like this. Whilst finding the depth, feed a few grains of corn or some maggots. If there are numbers of fish in the swim expect a bite first run through. The action will be constant for a while before the fish become wary and eventually refuse any offering that goes through the swim. When you stop getting bites or bites are reduced to say one in every six trots through move on and try the swim later in the day on the way back to the car.
Feeder fishing for grayling! Now you are swearing at me, well almost. I have to admit that feeder fishing for grayling is a really productive method but the problem is grayling bites on the feeder can be very slight and if not struck will see the hook out of sight and down its throat. Grayling are very fragile so after a hard fight and if a hook is either left down its throat or a disgorger is prodded around too much will lead to a dead grayling. If you are feeder fishing then my advice if you are deep hooking is to pay more attention to the rod tip and strike at the slightest movement along with reducing the length of your hooklink. I cringe when I see so many Frome anglers feeder fishing, as many are using rods that would be more suitable for pike. Why are there fewer big grayling on our chalk streams, you now have the answer! Do I feeder fish for grayling? Yes. But I use the feeder as a fish finding tool. Cast it into a swim, get a bite then swap to the float. If I can’t get a bite on the float, I will cast a feeder back into the swim and if I get another bite then its back on the float as I know they are there, I just need to find how they want it.

Another top tip is if you hook what feels like a big grayling then instead of trying to play it up the swim through the fast flow, walk down stream until you are adjacent to it as this will stack the odds in your favour of landing that fish of your dreams.

Duncan Charman is sponsored by Nash Tackle and Bait and has his own website www.duncancharman.co.uk  He regularly contributes to top weekly, Anglers Mail magazine.
He is also an angling guide and can be booked on a daily basis for most species including carp, pike, perch, zander, chub, catfish, barbel, bream, grass carp, crucians, roach, rudd, grayling, tench and golden orfe. For more information and prices email him at duncancharman@me.com or give him a call 07928 617006 / 01252 315271.
He’s also written a book called Evolution of an Angler which is available from www.calmproductions.com

Timsbury – 07759 331385
Lower Itchen Fishery – 07477 790210
Purbeck Angling – 01929 550770
Dave Harrell – www.daveharrellangling.com

If you have been thinking of booking a guided trip then it might be worth getting a date sorted with me soon as the fishing on the Frome ends at the end of Feb and the Itchen and Test just two weeks later.

Images –
1 – First cast at Timsbury when the temperature was -5, moments later Rod my customer was playing a fish!
2 – The Frome when it was -7, did we catch fish, yes!
3 – The biggest grayling I’ve seen from The Lower Itchen Fishery for many years, 2lb 7oz to my customer Barrie.
4 – A flooded Frome on a frosty morning, not ideal but the grayling still wanted to feed.
5 – What other species can you catch when it’s this cold? Graeme with a personal best Frome grayling.
6 – Fixed spool, closed face or centrepin?
7 – A selection of stick floats ideal for grayling fishing.
8 – Inline olivettes, reflow hooklink, Stotz droppers and Kamasan hooks, not exactly rocket science.
9 – Maggots and sweet corn is all you will need.
10 – A bait apron will make feeding easier.
11 – Maggots will catch the smallest fish such as this juvenile grayling!
12 – Maggots will catch you big fish as well like this Frome 8lb 2oz brownie.
13 – A specimen from the Frome on a typical winter’s grayling day.

14 – ‘Evolution of an Angler’ has loads of grayling fishing sessions within.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Images of 2016 and a few words why they were special.....

Images of 2016 and a few words why they were special.....

Image 1 – Not really a fish from 2016 as this 16lb 11oz barbel was actually caught in November 15 but I needed to keep it quiet as not to attract too much attention. Probably the hardest earned fish I have ever caught as it was one of only three barbel that graced my net in a nine month campaign on a southern river. Sorry to those who assumed it was from the Rother, and it may well have still come from the Rother but I never actually mentioned which river it came from. This campaign proved just how barbel fishing has become locally and is the reason that I haven’t spent very little time angling for them in 2016.
 
Image 2 – This image was taken whilst sitting next to my friend Alan Muller at FAS Badshot Lea Big pond waiting for the alarm to sound on a very moody January evening.

Image 3 – Rudd fishing on Frensham Great Pond proved extremely hard through January and February. Many sessions ended in a blank and the productive sessions from previous years seemed a distant memory as often we were fishing for just one bite. Fortunately a few specimens did grace my net but was the effort worth it? I’m not sure anymore as each and every winter the thought of having to wade out in complete darkness in temperatures often hovering around freezing to catch this beautiful species is becoming harder and harder.

Image 4 – Grayling fishing has for years played a massive part in my winter angling and this year me and my mate Chris decided after failing to land anything over 2lb from the Test or Itchen for a number of years to head to the Frome. Unfortunately although this image looks the perfect grayling morning with a bright blue sky and early morning frost it wasn’t as note the water in the fields behind. Shortly after this image was taken more rain arrived, every river flooded into the fields and the hope of a two-pounder, well it just didn’t happen.

Image 5 – For me the Robin is Britain’s most iconic bird and one that becomes more and more friendly the colder it gets. This really sharp image was taken by Chris Petter, just a shame it wasn’t resting on his rod.

Image 6 – One of the reasons I love Frensham Great Pond is the images that a photographer can take especially at dusk and dawn. This early morning image was taken of another photographer with the same idea.

Image 7 – This personal best dace had a lot of anglers guessing, how big? I did this because how many times do we see dace around 10oz claimed as a pound plus. Believe me a dace of a pound or more is a rare beast, I’ve never been privileged to have caught one as this fell 2oz short and was taken on the float at Testwood Pools. Some say weighing fish of this size on 60lb Rubens is wrong, yet if I had weighed this on my brother Weigh Masters then I would have recorded a weight of 1lb 3oz!

Image 8 – Not quite Frensham Great Pond but its smaller neighbouring water, Frensham Little Pond, a venue I rarely fish but if its pike you want, well smallish pike, then apart from the massive fish that turned up a couple of years back you would be lucky to land one over 10lb, but equally as photogenic as its bigger brother.

Image 9 – Full of expectation of catching a few massive tench I bought a ticket for the Larkfield Complex in Kent. This image shows my mate Chris in a thoughtful mood on Larky 2 in April when unfortunately the tench were noticeable in their absence. Sadly as the season progressed the venue became busy and for an angler turning up with just a day or two to fish we had to head to Roaden Island Lake next door which wasn’t exactly what I had forked out nearly £300 for!

Image 10 – I certainly became a better angler for fishing down in Kent and this was one of an amazing hit of tench taken in one night, all over 7lb but none over eight. Great fishing and a fantastic venue, one I will always remember but if I’m after tench this size then why do a 130mile trip when I have these on my doorstep. 

Image 11 – I seem to have a love/hate relationship with Badshot Lea Big Pond as in early spring the bream fishing is fantastic, yet come midsummer it’s packed out and the fishing somewhat unreliable. This net of fish was just part of a 200lb catch taken by regular customer Lewis Deeks on a day when I fished next to him and extracted 20 similar fish in just over an hour. Get conditions right and what could be achieved in a single day session is mind boggling, just make sure you have your spinach before leaving home!

Image 12 – Godalming's Johnson/Enton Lake is certainly the place to head to if you want a massive crucian but some of its off-springs that were taken a number of years back and spread around the country are now packing on the weight, so just how long will this venue be the cream of the cream? Most anglers make the most of the crucian action in

spring, yet this known four-pounder came late in the season, September I think when over a two week period it went mad.

Image 13 – Another picture of my mate Chris, this time returning a mid twenty pound grass carp, again from Badshot Lea Big Pond during a catfish session. These fish turn up regularly whilst offering two massive pellets on 45lb quick-silver hooklinks and size 2 hooks. Who said scaling down bought more bites!
 
Image 14 – Frensham in summer and thoughts this time are on
Lewis landing a 2lb plus rudd, which he did. Once again the venue produces another moody, thoughtful image that shows it off in all its glory.
 
Image 15 – When most other anglers were complaining that Frensham was fishing badly, I took a bit off a gamble whilst out with a customer. Obviously the change in tactics worked, as can be seen by John’s big smile.

Image 16 – I think you are all beginning to understand why I love this place so much and this image just goes to show that by taking a different image can often prove to be the best ones. Big rudd often come together and so they should be
returned together.

Image 17 – Why oh why can’t we fish Frensham earlier than June 16th as soon as it all kicks off the natural food increases and the small fish
make rudd fishing with anything other than boilies almost impossible. Fortunately Neil booked early and was rewarded with a number of huge rudd that he won’t forget in a hurry.

Image 18 – If you can’t beat them then join them. Again at Frensham when distance fishing bought on a whole new meaning but did the tench want to play? Sure they did.

Image 19 – I’m not sure if this image has ever been shown before but its shows a huge haul of specimen rudd taken in just few hours, my favourite species from my favourite venue.

Image 20 – The sight from peg 17 at Johnsons/Enton one early morning when I hadn’t looked at the weather forecast and arrived in what can only be described as crap conditions. The reason for not looking at the weather was I just wanted to go fishing, on my own and get away from things. Catching wasn’t that important, yet I still worked the swim and after three hours without a bite felt I was on right kicking in the nuts. Then the switch was hit and in a short feeding frenzy numerous 3lb plus crucian graced my net including a seasons best, a fish I didn’t recognise weighing 4lb 1oz.


Image 21 – Two pound roach are rare creatures and this one came from a venue that I have fished, quite extensively for a couple of decades but in all that time only ever caught one or two roach. This night twelve or more came, on a session slightly later in the year, over night and when I was specifically targeting them. Proof that certain fish can go under the radar.


Image 22 – It’s always great to be sent a photo from a customer. I first met Nick around five years ago when he booked me up for a session after carp. That session saw us land around a dozen carp using different rigs over a period of around 6 hours. He then asked about zigs. My reaction was why would a carp want a bait on its own high up in the water. Casting one out we didn’t have time to sit back after setting the bobbin before the alarm sounded. Unable to get a second rod rigged up he went on to catch more carp in an hour than we had all day. No guessing what this beauty was caught on!


Image 23 – Mathew really wanted to catch a barbel on the float so it was off to the Wye for us. After catching a few on the feeder we decided it was time to stand out in the water and send a stick downriver with the aid of a centrepin. You will never forget the first time you hook a barbel on the pin, just ask Mathew!

Image 24 – One of the few times I’ve barbel fished locally this year, but fortunately when I do I seem to extract the odd one. I like this image as it was taken by my mate Tom who certainly knows how to use a camera!

Image 25 – You have to admire some anglers and Lewis is one of those who continues to forget just how old he is and head off here there and everywhere. Here he is in Canada releasing one of the many white sturgeon he caught to around 300lb.

Image 26 – Another past customer who is now a very good friend is Alan who has been trying to catch a 2lb plus roach for a number of years. Having come agonisingly close on numerous occasions fishing his favoured Thames he took my tip-off headed to a stillwater and to date has now caught three over that magical mark. I know he dearly wants a river two, so go one mate, you’re on a roll.
 
Image 27 – Time for grayling and its back down to the Frome.

Image 28 – Grayling are one of those species that I was spoilt with a number of years back with two pounders being released without a photo due to their abundance whilst looking after a stretch of the Itchen. Good times come and go so after last winter’s washout it was good to be back on the Frome and first fish was this two-pounder.

Image 29 – Personal bests are rare to grace my nets nowadays so when I hooked into what I initially thought was a massive grayling my legs went to jelly. Fifteen minutes later I knew it wasn’t a grayling and thoughts were on a rogue carp, yet when this 8lb 2oz brown trout slid over the drawstring I knew another fish of a lifetime had fallen.

Image 30 – Fair play to Graeme who didn’t chicken-out when the temperatures fell to -7 overnight. Some say that grayling don’t care about the cold, oh yes they do, as although we caught plenty of fish, including a personal best for Graeme, after three extremely cold mornings the fishing was far from easy.

Image 31 – The biggest grayling that I have seen for a long time from the Itchen. Well done Barrie, let’s see you best that one soon!


Image 32 – It takes years to learn a river but once you do it takes just a few minutes to catch. Well done Tom, get out and catch a few more.

HAPPY NEW YEAR........