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.   

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Monthly Report April 2017

Monthly Report April 2017

To be honest, did I ever think that I would reach all my deadlines before heading off to France? No. But everything went to plan and the fish needed to create a couple of features fortunately came along. The only downside was any planning for a week’s carp fishing pretty much was left to the last minute, however things went really smoothly and some fantastic fish graced mine and fishing buddy Chris’s net (sorry about the victory ritual image). I’m going to do a separate write up in a couple of weeks as its only fair that my sponsors Nash Tackle and Bait get the images first and do what needed to be done with them, so keep checking their website www.nashtackle.co.uk (Nash Knowhow and News/Article section) and official Nash Face Book page for updates. We also took some video footage, our first attempt which is with my good mate Tom Aldous who is doing the editing. Once again I will post a message here as well as on my Face Book page when it’s ready, but be warned, it does contain scenes of nudity!
Apart from the French trip I did manage to get out for myself three times, all to Johnsons, however I can’t say that I enjoyed it that much as once again it was rammed with anglers, probably due to the unseasonably warm weather. Crucians to 3lb 14oz came along plus a few tench, so this was the second on my spring targets ticked off the list, along with the golden orfe taken earlier. A couple of anglers also tasted the delights of Newdigate, Neal Webb who I posted a separate blog and Barrie Edwards who enjoyed catching his first orfe plus the odd tench.
We are now into the month of May, late spring/early summer but the weathers doing its best to tell us winters not yet gone. All will change very soon, well that’s if this horrid north east wind buggers off!

Day to Day Events.

03/04/17 – Having to work ahead of myself for my ‘Where to Fish’ column due to Easter so spent the day writing this before grabbing the kit and heading to Johnsons for a spot of crucian fishing. Although the odd crucian is showing, they are still few and far between and only three modest tench came my way.
04/04/17 – Another day in the office finishing off the ‘Where to Fish’ column before getting the kit ready for a trip to Newdigate tomorrow in the hope of a customer catching a golden orfe.
05/04/17 – Up at 5am and on the road come 6am heading towards Newdigate to meet my customer for the day, Neal Webb who wanted to see if he could catch his first golden orfe. First cast and a tench turns up, quickly followed by two 2lb orfe before the lake dies. Another tench around 5lb slips up late morning before a 20lb mirror is coaxed in on a size 16 hook! A five pound plus orfe would have been the icing on the cake but instead Neal had to take his first ever golden tench before losing an even bigger carp. Not bad on a day of no cloud and a chilling north wind.
06/04/17 – Spent the afternoon proof reading a number of Carp Crew articles for Anglers Mail.
07/04/17 – Up again at 5am this time to meet my dad at Johnsons in the hope of a big crucian. The weather man had forecasted a cloudy day but it should have been a cloudless day as blue skies greeted us once the mist had risen. Temperature down overnight to 4 degrees and a wind that couldn’t make its mind up meant we were in for a gruller but I managed two bites come midday from crucains weighing 3lb 2oz and 3lb 14oz; however dad couldn’t buy a decent bite, payback time!
08/04/17 & 09/04/17 - Two days spent on the Nash stand at The Big One at Farnborough. Saturday was quite, probably due to the Grand National; however Sunday’s attendance certainly made up for things as the place was rammed. As always it was great catching up with all the punters, lots of my customers as well as doing the rounds and meeting up with lots of friends.
10/04/17 – A day in the office writing another AM article, getting the kit ready for a day’s guiding tomorrow as well as doing loads of fishy paperwork.
11/04/17 – Arrived at Newdigate for just after 7am and once again greeted with a bright blue sky, chilly north wind, high atmospherics and temperature down to just 2 degrees! Luckily the fish seemed undeterred early on and first cast saw one of the lakes biggest orfe grace Barrie’s net at 6lb 11oz, bigger than when I had her at 6lb 5oz. A tench soon followed before things went quiet. The wind was really cold so Barrie headed to the van to get a coat, bad move as whilst he was gone another of the big girls turned up, 5lb 8oz. Bites were from then on infrequent with another tench falling, one getting away and two missed.
12/04/17 – One very long day in the office, however managed to get a ‘Where to Fish’ spread done in a day!
13/04/17 – Once again trying to get ahead off myself so spent the morning phoning fisheries and updating my fishery database, before taking my mother out for nine holes of golf then getting the tackle ready, hopefully for a few hours crucian fishing in the morning.
14/04/17 – Knew Johnsons was not only busy but fishing badly, not surprising as not only has the weather turned cold the amount of bait thrown into the lake over the last ten days has been incredible. Saying this though some very big crucians have come out, the biggest 4lb 9oz along with numerous back up fours so always worth a go as one bite could change everything. Unfortunately none came my way or to most others but a 3lb 14oz was taken whilst I was there. With the lake fishing so slow and with work commitments pending I packed in early and headed home before spending the rest of the day writing articles.
15/04/17 – 17/04/17 – Spent quite a few hours in between family and house projects completing a couple of weeks ‘Where to Fish’ pages so that some fishing time is freed up later this month.
18/04/17 – Awoke to a frost this morning at 5am, great as I’m off to a fishery with my dad that we have never set eyes on before to create an Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish’ opener, and we have just one chance to get the job done, great! As it happens everything went to plan, however with just an hour to go we looked doomed to failure but when it was needed I pulled a proper fish out of the bag! Keep buying your Anglers Mail if you want to find out more about a fantastic venue, hardly ever mentioned before!
19/04/17 – Writing up yesterday’s feature, sorting kit out for tomorrows feature as well as the tackle for France.
20/04/17 – Arrived at Newdigate Lodge Lake at 7am. Conditions not great but managed to get the feature sorted. It certainly wasn’t easy which included three swim moves but finally found a few fish. Keep an eye out on AM for the Catch More Tench on the Waggler article coming soon.
21/04/17 – Up at 5am, article written and curry for France cooked by 8am then spent the rest of the day getting the tackle ready for a week in France. Left home at 11.30pm, details to follow.

22/04/17 – 29/04/17 – On the road come midnight Friday with a long drive to Lac Serriere in France. Through the Euro Tunnel around 3am and straight onto the French toll roads. Had a good journey, albeit knackering with no sleep and not much to eat but arrived right on time come 1pm. After an informative tour of the lake by Simon the owner all six anglers, which included Steve Briggs, picked a number out of the hat and guess what I chose number six! Chris who I was with chose better with number three and with the shallows and outlet swims taken he decided on the woods, on the far side of the lake as it allowed us to double up along with still having loads of options to go at. We knew that the left hand side of the platform produced less fish but generally bigger as this is where deeper water was with the right seeing shallows and more fish but usually smaller, although it did produce a seventy the previous week! Totally drained come that evening and with the sun baking down we finally managed to get a couple of rods out each come 8pm and with a good curry inside us settled back with little expectations for the night ahead. The reason for the trip was a holiday to celebrate Chris’s 50 birthday and what he wanted was to catch a fifty during the trip. Around 2am one of his rods ripped off and we thought that the challenge had been achieved but he came agonisingly close with a mirror weighing 49lb!  Come morning and still buzzing we made a game plan and with rods out come midday settled back with high hopes. Two other carp had come out, one from the outlet, the other from the shallows so things were looking good and when my middle rod fished to open water let out a single bleep and slowly pulled round come 3pm we were both thinking big fish as this was an area noted for producing the big girls. In all honesty throughout the whole of the fish, which lasted a good fifteen minutes I thought it had to be a massive catfish, the fight was that brutal, so when a carp surfaced I was shocked. In the net it looked massive and Simon who had seen the man hugs was already on his way and straight away said it’s the Grey Lady, a carp that is usually around 80lb. On the scales she went 78lb 14oz, a fish of a lifetime and one that left me with mixed emotions as I know how long some anglers have fished the lake without having the honours of witnessing such a magnificent creature. With a lump in the throat and after a few photos she was gone, will this ever sink in? The next couple of days followed in a similar fashion with Chris landing two more of 42lb 10oz and 38lb 12oz with myself taking another two weighing 39lb 12oz and 56lb 6oz. Three of these fish came during a short period when the wind swung round to the south west but this spell was short lived as once again the wind swung to the north and the lake fell dead. It wasn’t till Thursday night that the next fish came, a night when the temperature plummeted seriously below freezing, but two came to Chris’s rods, 28lb and a 21lb 12oz common. The last evening came and again it was Chris that bagged one, this time a low thirty but come dawn and after more than three days my rods remained silent. The 7.30am alarm never awoke me as I was up earlier and not expecting another fish with just thirty minutes to go headed for the toilet on the other side of the lake. Bad move as looking across the lake I saw Chris bent into a fish and yes it was on my rod! As they say ‘it's never over until the fat lady sings’ and landing a fish weighing 38lb 12oz that should have been mine was immaterial as we had worked hard together for some seriously stunning fish, a joint effort that nether will ever forget.

Tight lines and be lucky!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Customer enjoys red-letter day.

Some days you just cant understand whats going through the minds of fish as when me and Neal arrived at the lake in far from ideal conditions we agreed that we were starring a blank in the eyes, yet the fish had other ideas.

First cast and a tench graced his net which was the start of not hectic sport but steady sport as the indicator kept dancing and the rod kept bending.

Here are just a few of the fish that Neal caught during out latest session.

If you fancy a day out then why not give me a call - 07928 617006 or  simply email me for prices and availability - duncancharman@me.com

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Monthly Report March 2017

Monthly Report March 2017

February got off to a good start and then slowly drifted back into my appalling run of form, however I just hope March isn’t the same as once again the month started in style this time producing a personal best equalling golden orfe weighing 6lb 5oz. My mate Chris went one better with one of 6lb 8oz!
Most anglers will now know that I have taken over the ‘Where to Fish’ for the South East of England, a post that Bill and Virginia Rushmer previously did for well over a decade. I wish them well and hope that I can continue the good work they have done. To say it’s easy is an understatement and the most frustrating factor is just getting hold of certain fisheries as the last thing I want to do is to insert any incorrect information, not just things like the price of a day ticket but misinforming you how a venue is fishing, however I’m now five weeks in and the task is getting easier each week. If you know of any fisheries that I haven’t mentioned then feel free to email me some information and if you have caught a good fish or had a bumper catch from any in my area then send me an image plus some basic details and I will try my best to get you shown within the magazine. Although getting this column sorted is time consuming it’s also very rewarding as I get to hear of what’s being caught, something that I know will work to my advantage in tracking down and catching, you never know, a few new personal bests. When it happens you will be the first to know!
All in all it’s been one hell of a busy month with loads of early mornings and at times I have felt completely exhausted. Work parties, AGM slide
shows, video producing, guiding and feature writing have all been part of it, however getting out for myself has also featured. Eight times in fact and although most, no all have only been for a few hours fish have at long last been gracing the landing net on a regular basis. Probably one of the most rewarding sessions was when my good friend Tom took me chub fishing for a few hours and repaid me for an earlier trip when he had lost his enthusiasm, caught a 5lb 9oz chub and seriously got the bug again. I have also lost some enthusiasm for my local rivers so a trip to a new venue saw a number of chub landed, but even better was we never saw another angler, happy days. I was actually looking forward to the rivers finishing, yet those few hours rekindled the passion and I was disappointed when it ended. One thing I will be doing come the opening of the rivers is heading to the river Wye a few times. Size really doesn’t matter anymore but catching a few for my efforts does, something that’s so hard locally to do. I have also got a ticket to a river that I have never fished before, heard lots about and have for a time wanted to fish so will be treading the banks of somewhere altogether new and hopefully once again catching a personal best or two. I can’t wait.  Quality roach and rudd, early season crucians, modest perch and bream have all featured in catches but it’s been the tench that seemed to have woken up first as loads have been caught, the best 6lb 9oz. Another session that showed just what a great leveller angling is, is when I sat next to my dad at Badshot Lea and got a right good stuffing of the next peg. I struggled for a couple of tench, but dad, well he just kept the bream coming along with a tench and just to rub salt into the wound, a near twenty pound common. He’s not coming again!
I have to say that I don’t mind being beaten, but need to know why and a recent trip to a day ticket water left me leaving with mixed feelings. Day ticket waters with out-of-bounds areas mean one thing usually, all the fish stacked up in them, especially if the fishery is
feeding the fish in the same area and this is what I was faced with on this occasion. I thought I had this particular fishery sussed and have never blanked, yet after seven hours decided it was time to throw the towel in as nether myself or fishing mate Chris had received a bite. Just before leaving a took a stroll down to the corner of the lake, an area that’s roped off with a fish feeding machine installed and even before I got close could see that every fish we were targeting was sitting safely below. Now I can see why a fishery wants to feed its fish and keep them in tip-top condition throughout the winter, but surely when anglers are paying money to fish the lake then it should rely on them to feed the fish and possibly catch them whilst doing so. What irritates me more is the fishery is feeding the fish on a bait that anglers aren’t allowed to use, somewhat hypercritical I feel! If you want to artificially feed the fish then please do so but don’t take money of anglers whilst doing so. I could well have trickled some bait in, got them feeding, then when no one looking sneaked one out, something I’m sure others have done, but to me that’s just not fishing!
Anyway, as my mate Alan would say, your moaning again, so on a better note have you all got your ticket to The Big One which is at Five (Farnborough Airport) on the weekend of April 8th and 9th. I will be on the Nash stand on both days so please pop down for a chat.
April is already looking like it’s going to be a mega busy month, however I am going to get some time off and relax this month and you never know, might just drop a whacker in the net.

Day to Day events.

02/03/17 – Headed to the Loddon in the rain for a spot of morning chub fishing. Not the most comfortable conditions for roving around but managed a couple of bites, one missed and one converted into a chub not quite 4lb.
03/03/17 – Still spending lots of time in the office but on the better side of things.
04/03/17 – Headed down to Willow Park to meet up with Jake Lund and Tom Weymouth to take a few images for an up and coming Anglers Mail feature.
05/03/17 – Up early and on the road come 6am, this time heading to Newdigate for a change in scenery and hopefully a bite or two. In all honesty most would have looked out of the window or seen the weather forecast and stayed at home, yet I had planned to meet my mate Chris at 7am so into the gloom it was. Rain, rain, rain, oh and wind came our way which isn’t the best as the lake we fished at Newdigate is on the top of a hill and when the weathers bad its seems twice as bad here. Brave it we did and stuck to our guns of leaving the tench alone and fishing specifically for the orfe and come mid afternoon five bites had come our way. My two produced a personal best equalling orfe weighing 6lb 5oz, the other was lost from a hook pull, while Chris had three bites, one missed, a two-pounder and a personal best orfe weighing 6lb 8oz.
7/03/17 – My first ‘Where to Fish’ opener for Anglers Mail where I headed to Passies in West Sussex for a spot of perch fishing but was it a success? You will have to wait and see, just keep buying your
weekly AM magazine and all will be revealed.
8/03/17 – A day in the office writing yesterday’s article along with getting my weekly venue column started.
 9/03/17 – Office day sorting articles etc.
10/03/17 – Spent the morning banging my head calling day ticket venues but finally managed to get my weekly column for Anglers Mail sorted, before meeting up with Tom Aldous for a spot of chub fishing. Heading to a totally new stretch we roved
around in good conditions and caught quite a few fish. I had a trout plus two modest chub on cheese paste whilst Tom stole the show with chub of 4lb, 4lb 7oz and 5lb 4oz, oh and a trout. Shame the season is almost over as really enjoyed the few hours I was out and really wanting to check out the stretch more.
12/03/17 & 13/03/17 – A couple of days in the office again sorting out venues for an Anglers Mail Holiday special later on this month. By the time this is read you all should know what my new assignment is. Bloody time consuming but equally as rewarding!
14/03/17 – The start of a busy few days as up at 5am ready to meet my good friend Paul Garner for a spot of tench fishing. Things didn’t quite go to plan as we caught everything but, well Paul did catch one modest tench. Things are certainly beginning to liven up but these cold morning still making things difficult but good to see that the crucians are on the feed.
15/03/17 – I really should have stayed at home as loads of things to get sorted but up again at 5am as its my mate Chris’s birthday and headed to Newdigate for a spot of golden orfe fishing. The weather was great for fishing, mankini weather, but crap for catching and after seven hours without a bite between us we called it a day. Fortunately we left happy as defeat was unavoidable!
16/03/17 – Another 5am alarm call and once again on the banks of Milton Lake at Bury Hill Fisheries come 7am, this time to guide regular Ian Joyce to a spot of float fishing. First cast and the float sailed away as it did on a regular basis throughout the day. After six hours of fishing and banter we had had enough as it was getting somewhat boring catching one fish after another. Yes, it was that easy, crucian after crucian graced his net along with the odd good roach to 1lb 9oz. We reckon the total weight was around 50b! Amazingly others around were struggling but did we see any of them feeding small balls of groundbait? No. If you want to know more about the fishing at Bury Hill then keep an eye on my weekly Anglers Mail ‘Where to Fish’ column or visit www.buryhillfisheries.co.uk
17/03/17 – Not another 5am start? Yes and once again at Milton Lake this time to team up with venue regular Barrie Edwards to see how the pellet cone will work. It was Barrie who introduced me to the cone a couple of years back, and you know how I have used it with devastating effect. If you want to learn more then you need to keep buying your weekly Anglers Mail where all will be revealed.  
18/03/17 – Spent a few hours with good friend Tom Aldous and mate Chris to get to know how to take some basic video footage.
19/03/17 – Sunday’s are now weekdays as spent the day initially finalising a ‘Where to Fish’ article before writing an Anglers Mail ‘Catch More’ article then getting up to date with other angling paperwork such as writing this up.
20/03/17 – A morning calling fisheries was followed by a few hours at one of my favourite lake, Johnson’s. Arriving in a howling storm at around 3pm I decided to fish two tactics, the ‘FTO’ rig, otherwise known as the Helicopter Rig and the pellet-Cone. Nothing happened for around ninety minutes but casting every twenty minutes finally bought a bite from a 6lb tench on the FTO rig. A slight switch on the Pellet-Cone sawn two bites come around 6pm resulting in a tench, again around 6lb and a crucian of 2lb 10oz before a rudd around 1lb 8oz fell again to the real maggots. I reckon more fish were there to be
caught but had to leave at 7pm.
21/03/17 – Met my dad at Badshot Lea at 6.30am for a spot of bream fishing. A bright blue cloudless sky and a really cold S/W wind didn’t make things easy but dad fishing the FTO rig bagged ten bream around 5lb plus a 20lb common. I tried something different in the hope of a few tench but after feeling I was getting a right good spanking off the next peg switched to the FTO rig and bagged a couple of 5lb tench. My girlfriends dad and mate John struggled for the odd bream but not ideal conditions and just great to get out and have a catch-up on the bank. Packed up at 1pm and bank in the office for a few hours paperwork.
22/03/17 – Spent the day sorting out my Anglers Mail ‘Where to fish’ column.
23/03/17 – A day again sorting fishy related paperwork, along with creating a photo slideshow which was presented at Grayshott Angling Clubs AGM in the evening.
24/03/17 – In the office in the morning before heading to Enton for a few hours to meet up with an angling mate. Fished from 5pm – 8.30pm for four tench, the biggest around 6lb plus a rudd around 1lb 8oz. Alan had four tench, best getting on for 7lb.
25/03/17 – Up early and on the road heading to Nash Royston Lakes in Cambridgeshire to lend a helping hand at a work party. Got loads done and managed to get away by 3pm.
26/03/17 – Spent a good five hours writing an Anglers Mail article called ‘The Specialist’. Will let you know when it’s published.
27/03/17 – Sounds like yesterday, that’s because it was......spent a good five hours writing an Anglers Mail article called ‘The Specialist’. Will let you know when it’s published.
28/03/17 – Time to try and get a few videos done so after picking Tom up we headed to Enton, no not for crucians but tench. When the video is ready to view it will be available on my website but thumbs up as we caught a few in far from ideal conditions.
29/03/17 – Spent the day sorting out my next Anglers Mail ‘Where to fish’ column along with other fishy related items and getting the kit ready for an early start in hope of a few perch.
30/03/17 – Up at 5am, arrived at Passies for just after 7am, fished the main lake for a few hours but hard, a few modest roach and the odd carp before moving to the Match Lake where we were well and truly beaten up by carp. If you want to get a few, no loads of bites then this is the place to head to.
31/03/17 – Another early morning and back on the banks of Newdigate come 7am, this time to help out a friend with some images he required. Unfortunately the catch images that we were looking for, an orfe or tench over the landing net never materialised as the lake was once again in one of its unforgiving moods. Paul did catch a personal best orfe, early on but a technical problem meant that any catch images weren’t taken. Two other very good anglers also failed to catch, well that was the case up until just after midday when once again the white towel was waved high in the sky and we headed home.

Tight lines and be lucky!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

FAS Badshot Lea - Fishing well.

Earlier this week I spent a few hours at FAS Badshot Lea, a venue that fishes really well at this time of year. Arriving around 6am we headed up the side of the New-Pin, dad cast out 'FTO' rigs and myself the pellet-cone and plastic in hope of an early season tench. Conditions were far from perfect, bright blue skies plus a chilly S/S wind. Dad managed ten bream averaging 5lb, a tench and a common estimated at around 20lb whilst I couldn't manage a bite on a new tactic and plastic hookbait, yet you have to try new things to stay ahead of the game. Finally realizing that it was too early for the new tactic to work I switched to the Helicopter rig and landed a couple of tench.
If you want to catch loads of fish then pick your day carefully, a mild overcast day with a good wind is far better than one similar to what we fished in. The lake is very much an early morning water and will slow up late morning so get there at dawn if you want to get the best from it.
Even better if you want to increase your catch rate then why not email me and book a days tutorial where you will learn everything needed to see a never ending supply of fish gracing your net.
Email - duncancharman@me.com -
Tel: 07928 617006 / 01252 315271

Passies perch

Passies Perch and Anglers Mail

If you are looking for a venue for some really big perch then you will be hard pressed to find anywhere better than Passies Pond, Steyning, West Sussex. In this weeks Anglers Mail you will be able to see how I got on when I headed there to produce my first 2 page 'where to fish' intro.