Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tough going but hugely rewarding!

Tough going but rewarding.Last night saw myself customer John heading to Frensham Great Pond, the scene of a mega tench catch taken by John last season that earn't him a free FAS permit.

This session was all about catching a 2lb plus rudd however hard as we tried, just one showed a 2lb 6oz fish on my rod. You maybe asking why l didn't let him take my rod but some anglers prefer to learn by association, watching myself then replicating what I do, my help comes in tying up rigs, baiting up and generally answering loads of questions. the next bite came to my rods, a tench then the tables turned as John went on to land four tench to around six pounds. Unfortunately the big rudd never came his way but he knows exactly what to do and I''m sure will be sending me a picture soon of a fish of a lifetime.

Guiding inquiries to - duncancharman@me.com

Customer lands rudd brace weighing 4lb 11oz

Customer lands rudd brace weighing 4lb 110z!Tim's best rudd may have weighed a pound so a guided trip to Frensham Great was organised in the hope that a two may turn up. The fishing in general has been hard this season, especially the tench with anglers recording a few fish each session but struggling to put the mega hauls its famous for. 

Setting up in a tight reed fringed swim and after some gardening we managed to get the rods out but the small fish were proving problematic but struggling through these Tim managed his dream fish, a rudd weighing 2lb 8oz quickly followed by another of 2lb 3oz.
Guiding inquiries to - duncancharman@me.com

Thursday, 6 July 2017

30 degrees and still catching!

30 degrees and catching!
Here are a couple of images from today's guiding session with Ian Joyce at Newdigate Fisheries. Far from ideal conditions and certain methods failed to catch but we finally sussed out what and how they wanted it and come 2pm, after starting at 7am Ian had caught 15 or more fish including tench to exactly 7lb, orfe to 6lb 4oz and the only golden tench in the lake.

Guiding inquiries to duncancharman@me.com or call 07928 617006

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Turning my hand to carp.....

Making the switch to carp!I've been talking about simplifying my personal angling and turning my hand to carp fishing as I can simply arrive, find some fish, cast out and hopefully with a bit of thought catch a few carp whilst being able to relax. 
Thought I'd share this cracker, the best of three from last night and caught on a method that I had little confidence in, knew worked but needed to perfect! Well I think that's all changed now!
If your struggling to catch carp or any other species then why not book me for a day's guiding, it will help you put more fish on the bank...
Email - duncancharman@me.com or tel: 07928 617006.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Guided sessions to Frensham, so far.

Apologies for not having a monthly report for June but with a two week holiday and office work time on the bank has been limited.

Wet, wet, wet at Frensham.
After returning from a couple of weeks in the Dominican Republic I was hoping to top the tan up however the English weather had other ideas and my first guided trip back to Frensham Great Pond coincided with the first rains for weeks. Lewis bravely agreed to keep with our plans and brave the weather forecast and was rewarded with this fine tench, a perch plus two rudd that didn't quite make the two pound barrier. Close but no cigar as they say but there is still plenty of time to increase his best of 2lb 2oz caught with me last year.

7lb 2oz Frensham tench to customer.
By all accounts the fishing at Frensham has been a bit 'hit and miss' this year with the tench spawning on opening and really not getting their heads down since. My latest guided session saw Barrie setting his stall out for tench and with a nice westerly pushing into our faces and cloud cover above things looked great for a hectic session. Yet, as it is so often with Frensham the fish had other ideas and even though we worked hard, ringing the changes and constantly casting the bumper call never materialized yet our efforts were rewarded with four big tench the best not far off Barrie's personal best at 7lb 2oz.

If you fancy a guided trip for tench or rudd at this fantastic venue then why not email me - duncancharman@me.com for availability and prices.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Monthly Report May 2017

Monthly Report May 2017

Although it’s been a busy month in the office, actually getting out and catching a few fish has been somewhat lacking. In all I’ve only fished for myself five times, most being eel sessions on new venues to see if eels are present. Every session has produced runs, even if it was just one but actually contacting with any of them has been frustrating. The first lake that I was tipped off about only produced three small eels in five after dark assaults starting last October so this has been knocked on the head. The other two trips both produced just one run which is more off the water I like, as being up all night with anything less than four pound is hard work, but when just the odd run comes it usually means big fish. Shame nether were converted but that’s eel fishing.
Guiding has also taken a back seat, mainly because I haven’t been very proactive but this will all change soon as I have a number of days already booked for barbel fishing on the river Wye and
tench/rudd fishing at Frensham is just around the corner which is always popular (get in now and book a date as not to be disappointed).
Features are taking up much of my time as I seem to plan a day’s fishing and then a day writing them up which has to change. So instead of spending two days to complete each, I’m going to do my best to get up early, fish for six hours then return home and write it up, perhaps with maybe just a quick proof read over a cup of coffee the following morning. I’m also going to be on the lookout for anglers catching on different methods that want to star in features, so if you have  a few tricks up your sleeve, or maybe a fishery or tackle shop that knows someone that’s taking a venue apart then get in touch and email me at duncancharman@me.com I’m also going to be trying to get out every week and fish a new venue that is featured within my ‘Where to Fish’ column so if you feel you have a venue, club or day ticket that is worthy of a visit and a review then once again I want to hear from you.
Lastly it seems that some clubs have reacted to my call for complimentary permits so I can promote their waters. Twyford and District Angling Society and CALPAC have been the most recent and you will soon be seeing them mentioned on a far more regular basis within my Anglers Mail write up’s. In fact only last week I was out on one of Twyford’s water teaming up with my old pal Sam Meeuwissen doing a three page Catch More feature with him, not bad publicity for the club! Twyford have also had a Tactical Briefing done on St Patrick’s Stream plus at least four mentions on their venues or showing their club details and all for, yes the price of a complimentary permit and yes, I will continue to promote their waters as best as I can throughout the coming year along with all the other clubs that understand what scratching each other’s back mean.

The memories of that monstrous carp from Lac Serreire seem a million miles away but I will be returning as we have just managed to book the last couple of weeks remaining in 2019 and 2020, it’s that popular!  

The images of my brother here and the carp at the top are fish caught in May during features but held back until they were published. This is something that I will do each month as unless you buy the Anglers Mail you will never get to see some of the fantastic fish caught each month. 

                                                Day to Day events.

02/05/17 – 05/05/17 – Basically a no-fishing week to enable myself to get back into the grove, relax and look forward to my next target, a big eel. I did manage to get an article done for the Nash website on our French trip, take a look at www.nashtackle.co.uk under the Knowhow tab for the article. I also had my weekly Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish’ column to do so certainly not an unproductive week.
06/05/17 – Spent the day doing a shop day for Nash at Tackle Up in fleet.
08/05/17 – One of those days in which lots of odds and sods get sorted, one being to get the tackle sorted for an eel session later in the week, a customer guiding session for cats, get the tackle shed in some sort of organised state and make calls to organise features etc.
10/05/17 – Spent most of the day working for Anglers Mail and Twyford and District Fishing Club producing future Tactical Briefings before spending a couple of hours into darkness for eels at a southern lake. Just one eel of 2lb to report from six runs in which one was lost and four were missed!
11/05/17 – Spent the morning drawing up venue maps for AM before sorting the catfish tackle out and starting my weekly ‘where to fish’ column.
12/05/17 – Spent the day at a really well run day ticket venue, New Farm Fishery. The weather forecast was for it to be overcast with showers and humid, great, however it was far from this and come late morning after a brief shower it was mankini weather. Sadly the cats weren’t playing ball, (which is often the case with this species as its all or nothing) and apart from a couple of aborted pick-ups on big lumps of meat we returned home empty handed, well not quite, as I bumped in John Llewellyn who runs Big Carp/Cat Baits who kindly left me with a selection of his samples which will be put to good use in the coming weeks. Check out www.bigcarp.com. Graham the bailiff at New Farm Fishery is a really great guy who runs a very friendly fishery and will bend over backwards to make you visit one to remember, even if the fish aren’t feeding, so if you are looking for somewhere new to visit then give this one a go. It’s not an easy venue and the cats/carp don’t give themselves up easily but there are some very special and big fish here with cats to over 80lb, including mandarin cats to over 40lb, carp to and some very big grass carp. Parking is very close to the lakes and the swims are in most cases nice and level so great for the less agile who’s looking for a whopper or two! Thiers also a well stocked tackle shop and the fishery even offers home cooked food delivered to your peg, now what more could you ask for? Check out www.newfarmfisheries.co.uk for more information.
15/05/17 – Up early again and on the road come 6am, this time heading to Weir Wood Reservoir in East Sussex to team up with Rikki Cooper from Predator Pro to create a feature for Anglers Mail demonstrating a devastating perch tactic. Even though it rained all the time, I hardly noticed as it was a fascinating day out, in great company and an office backdrop to die for. Did he catch perch, of cause he did along with one very special fish. Keep an eye out for this feature coming soon to the mail and if you fancy a great day out with a very knowledgeable angler then its worth checking out www.predatorpro.co.uk
16/05/17 – Met my dad at Badshot Lea Big Pond at 7am and headed to pegs 47 and 48 due to a nice southerly wind. Straight away it was obvious that there were plenty of carp around, probably due to a band of weed a couple of rod lengths out. Fishing helicopter rigs at around 70 yards it didn’t take long for a bite which saw a 15lb mirror landed followed by two more. The bream then moved in and at least a dozen came, the best probably pushing 7lb along with another carp and a 4lb tench. 100lb mixed catch in around five hours, all taken on maggot and a size 16 hook! Dad struggled next door, mainly due to losing fish in the weed but managed a few bream and the girlfriends Dad, Mick fishing opposite caught a personal best tench weighing 7lb 9oz!
17/05/17 – The rain has arrived so spent a full day writing the article on the Dropshot Hybrid rig for Anglers Mail.
18/05/17 – 19/05/17 – It’s still raining, so after spending a few hours sorting the catfish tackle headed back to Badshot Lea with mate Chris and customer John. Although conditions looked great being overcast and damp other things needed to be taken into account as with very few fish moving it was obvious it wasn’t going to be easy. The temperature had dropped to a high of just 11 degrees, the wind had also dropped and the A/P was on 1015mb. Another factor was that if the cats were going to go on a feeding frenzy then they would have probably done this the two days before when the temperature was higher, as was the wind and the A/P much lower. Chris had the first run at 10.30pm which saw a 26lb 6oz cat banked but apart from one screamer that I missed at midnight the session passed without any further events. Speaking to a few anglers and hearing no other runs during the night it seemed very little came out elsewhere.
20/05/17 – Spent the day writing up my weekly Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish’ column. Still not repeated any venues but it’s going to happen soon as now running out of venues, well apart from in Essex that I’m now beginning to think has more water than land!
23/05/17 – Arrived at BLBP to try and get a picture to show how well it’s fishing. Set up in peg 47, slight wind from the S/W, temp up to 20 degrees and slowly clouding over and with loads of carp spawning. First cast lost a carp from a hookpull in the weeds, followed by two more before catching eight bream in just two hours. Photograph taken headed to GAS Harris Lake to see how Dad and Mick were getting on. They had had the odd tench but things had gone quite so tweaked there set-up and dad straight away started to catch crucians, all around 2lb. Unfortunately  my help didn’t get Mick’s alarms sounding which was strange as he had fish moving in front of him. Back at home it was time to get the eel rods sorted and head down to Chris for a few hours fishing. Unfortunately the three hour into darkness session produced another small eel so knowing that singling a big one out is going to be difficult and that we probably have just as much chance on a couple of venues on our doorstep have decided to kick this water in to touch.
24/05/17 – After a lay in got on with getting my weekly ‘Where to Fish’ column sorted. One thing that I’m really feeling good about is that loads of anglers, fisheries and just general friends have commented on just how refreshing it is to read my column. New fisheries and no repeats, oh, sorry as its come to a time when I am going to have to start repeating a few fisheries, but only those that I am getting feedback from that are fishing their socks off. Even Bill commented on how good the column looked which is humbling as he certainly knows his waters and just today I phoned John Riason to see how Gold Valley was fishing and he too commented on my work as have a number of my angling customers who are always looking to try out a new venue. I have to admit its not easy and very time consuming but when I know its appreciated then it drives me on.
One thing I will mention is the club tickets that have been sent to me as I think other angling clubs need to know why some are mentioned more than others, or maybe why they are not mentioned at all. It’s not because I don’t want to mention you but if you don’t come forward and reveal yourselves then how can I promote your angling club and try and get a few more members signed up. The clubs that send me tickets are – Farnham Angling Society, Godalming Angling Society, Hartley Wintney Angling Society, Grayshott Angling Club, Bath Road Piscatorial Society, Twyford & District Fishing Club and most recently CALPAC. Having a complimentary permit allows me to access these fisheries, know what’s going on and then promote them as best I can. Let’s be straight to the point here, let’s look at a couple of local club to me, Farnborough and District Angling Club and Oakhanger Angling Club, clubs that have made it obvious that they don’t need any help. Have I any intensions of joining your club at the moment, no! Why, because I just don’t have the time to fish your waters, not because they aren’t good, because I just don’t have the time! So knowing that your membership has been falling year after year (F&DAS) why not send me a complimentary permit so I can promote your club and at least keep you in the local angler’s eye, even better getting a few new members sent your way? It’s not lost revenue its free promotion! Enough said.
Oh maybe not as I’m amazed why clubs such as Reading, Thatcham and Newbury haven’t approached me knowing that they are struggling to keep membership at a constant level. I have been struggling for the last couple of years with venues in Berkshire to promote in Anglers Mail so now’s the time to act if you want a bit more exposure.   
25/05/17 – 26/05/17 -  Come 2pm and on a baking hot day I found myself on the way to Furnace Fisheries to team up with Dave Mutton to create a Catch More feature on catching catfish up in the water. To be honest all my cat fishing is carried out with bottom baits so it was an eye opener for me to see just how effective this type of fishing is. If you too want to know how to approach cats in a different way then keep buying your weekly copy of the magazine and you will find out.
26/05/17 – After a sleepless night due to Dave’s snoring I was amazed to still have enough energy to write up the article.
29/05/17 – Bank Holiday for most but not for me as spent the day writing an Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish ‘column for June 13th.
30/05/17 – On the banks of GAS Richardson Lake come 7am and by midday had around 40lb of tench. I was creating a two page ‘Where to Fish’ opener for the Anglers Mail which you will be able to read in a few weeks time, well that’s if you buy the magazine? Again another example of me promoting a club that looks after me!

31/05/17 – Spent the day writing the words for yesterdays feature plus finishing my weekly ‘Where to fish’ column plus uploading a couple of other features.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Grey Lady of Lac Serreire

The Grey Lady of Lac Serreire
Duncan Charman and Chris Petter

When my fishing buddy and fellow Nash Ambassador Chris Petter asked if I was interested in an all expenses paid trip to France to celebrate his 50th birthday I could hardly refuse. The target for him was to up his French personal best to hopefully a fifty, for me being an all-rounder, I was just happy to get away, spend some relaxing time in good company and hopefully bag a couple of thirties if I was lucky. 

Our destination was Lac Serreire in the Coussac region of France, south of Limoges and some 450miles from Calais. It was 11.30pm on Friday April 21st when the doorbell rung and after a quick coffee we were on the road heading to the Eurotunnel in Kent, both not looking forward to the drive through the night, especially after a day in the office. Arriving in Calais in the early hours we hit the toll roads and with an 80mph limit we were soon eating the miles up,
listening to Pink Floyd turned up load and trying to keep each other awake so that our estimated time of arrival of 1pm would be met.

Arriving just before one and after an informative tour of the lake by the owner Simon Mansbridge we drew numbers for swim choice and yes you guessed it, I pulled out the last one! Fortunately Chris’s hand was slightly better and with the Shallows and Outlet swims going first we were left with a choice of the Middle, Woods or one of Tim and Mary’s. Chris decided on the Woods as this is the only swim on the far bank, one that has loads of options going for it and a swim that is good to double up in without reducing each other’s chances dramatically. Chris had choice of sides and amazingly went for the right hand side which is far shallower and generally provides more fish but usually smaller, yet it had done a seventy the previous week. I was left with deeper water, one that does fewer but bigger fish and the thought of blanking was going through my mind, especially knowing that the swim had only done two fish the previous week. Totally knackered from the lack of sleep and food, and with brains not functioning correctly we simply got a couple of rods out each, all on snowman rigs, cooked a curry and then hit the sack not expecting any action until the following day.
            It was 2am when we were awoken by a one tonner which saw Chris bent into a fish which just plodded away not doing allot, something that big fish can do on occasions. In the net I could see that this carp was going be close to Chris’s goal as it was massive compared to anything I had ever witnessed. On the scales we could see it was agonisingly close to the fifty pound mark but both agreed that she, although a personal best, wasn’t quite there and settled at a weight of 49lb exactly.
Morning dawned and
conditions didn’t look good as a ground frost greeted us along with clear blue skies and no wind what so ever. Over a brew we made our game plan and for me, who is often referred to as the ‘impatient angler’ it was going to be difficult as all I could do was place two rods in deep water at distance and wait along with working the other down the edge of the lilies to my left. Chris had opted to use 3.25lb t/c NR Toro rods loaded with 18lb NXT D-CAM line and also decided on placing two at distance in the hope of a big carp along with placing one on a green marker that lived in the lake, a consistent producing mark and where his night time capture had come from. With all rods refreshed come midday it was time to lay back and catch up on some sleep; however three hours later I was awoken to a single bleep on my middle rod and watched as the tip on one of my Pursuit rods silently pulled round. Winding like hell I finally caught up with the culprit which was by now had kitted some sixty yards to my left and was close to piling through the pads. It was make or break time as I knew if this fish found the pads then my chances were limited so clamping down on an already tight spool I tried to stop it but this fish had other ideas and just ripped  15lb mainline of the spool. I was now convinced it was a ton-plus catfish as the fight was that brutal and on looking at the line coming of the reel knew I had another problem as it had taken a serious battering either on an underwater obstacle or simply from the friction off the reel. I needed to get this line back on the reel, yet this fish decided to head straight back where it was hooked and just stripped line again. Finally after maybe fifteen minutes the fish was tiring and slowly coming closer and convinced it was a catfish almost fell over when the mother of all carp surfaced, shoulders out of the water, just wallowing slightly out of reach of the waiting net. It will be a sight I will never forget as I can’t really recall the rest of the capture, but the man hugs saw Simon racing around the lake on his bike to identify her as The Grey Lady, a carp usually around the eighty pound mark! On the scales the needle settled just shy of 79lb and we agreed a weight of 78lb 14oz, OMG! 
             What was so rewarding from this capture is I had actually thought about bait and rig so instead of using a snowman rig had drilled out a 20mm Scopex Squid boilie and plugged it with 7mm rig foam so that it would counterbalance the weight of the hook and act the same as the freebies around it, very similar to what I try to achieve when crucian fishing. I’d also dropped the weight of the lead from a 3oz to a 2oz Long Ranger as I hoped that the length and weight of this wouldn’t sink into the heavy silt within the lake. The rig itself was copied from one which my good friend Jake Lund made up for me, specifically for this trip, and is what he classifies as a go-anywhere bottom bait rig. All I did was use Nash TT components which included an eight inch 20lb weed Comblink hooklink, size 6 barbless Fang X hook, a couple of blobs of Cling-On tungsten putty and a 1mm Blow Out Tube to make the bait come straight of the top of the hook.  

            The next two days followed in similar fashion with Chris and myself taking two carp each. Chris’s went 42lb 14oz and 38lb 12oz the following night and myself one of 56lb 6oz at first light and a 39lb 12oz mirror in the early hours of Wednesday. Three of these carp fell during a short period when the wind changed from a chilly north to a warmer south westerly.  All these carp came to rods fished in the shallows or alongside the lilies, which wasn’t surprising as the carp were getting ready to spawn and nothing was coming to any angler fishing at distance to open water. Things then went quiet, probably due to the wind swinging once again to the north and after a day of constant heavy cold rain. The best part of three days past before we received anymore action with Chris taking two twenties, 21lb 12oz and 28lb during Thursday night when the temperatures plummeted to -5, a 32lb 7oz during Friday night and then one of 38lb 12oz on one of my rods just minutes before winding in whilst I was briefly away from my rods!

The fishery has a ban on the use of plastic and foam baits as these if lost create a 24/7 hookbait for a carp to pick up and if tethered easily damage or at worse cause a fatality. I consulted the owner so I could use a non-threatening counterbalanced bait using foam and try something different. The reason for my thinking was that most anglers seem to be using snowman rigs with bright pop-ups, and although they seem to produce their fair share of carp, I wanted to get away from this blatant obvious hazard and if a clued up carp did enter my swim then needed a bait that looked and acted to the freebies surrounding it. It might have only caught me one fish and the question whether it played any part in the downfall of ‘The Grey Lady’ but the reward in thinking about the situation, being slightly different whilst keeping with the rules was suitable satisfying.