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Sunday, 29 March 2009 11:34

Would you swim in your local river?

More than half (52 per cent) the people questioned would not swim in their local river because they think it is too polluted. That was the shocking finding from a survey carried out for the Blueprint for Water [1], a coalition of leading conservation groups.

Angling TrustThe survey, carried out by ComRes [2], also found 97 per cent of people in England recognise that rivers, ponds, streams and lakes are a vital part of the countryside and 94 per cent of people often visit a stream, river or lake to relax or for leisure, but three-quarters feel that the water environment is at risk.

Helen Meech, Senior External Affairs Officer at The National Trust, said: “2009 is a big year for water with the prospect of new legislation and the price review for the water industry. There is a real need for Government to act now and provide clear leadership on this issue that matters so much to so many people.”

When asked, more that eight out of ten people agreed that the Government should be doing more to protect English lakes, streams, rivers and ponds, with pollution, over use of water, drought and climate change identified as some of the key threats.

Over the last two years the Blueprint for Water coalition has been urging the Government to take action to change the way we manage our water.

The coalition wants a country where we are less wasteful of our water; where we keep our rivers flowing, clean and healthy and our wetlands wet; where the water we use is priced fairly and polluters are made to pay; where our waste is properly treated and not washed straight into waterways. In 2006, coalition members handed Ministers a 10-step plan for improving the water environment for people and wildlife by 2015.

The Blueprint for Water will publish their third document ‘2009 the time to act’ to coincide with World Water Day tomorrow (22 March). This publication sets out water priorities for 2009 and states that although significant progress has been made in some areas of water policy, there has been little progress in others.

Rob Cunningham, Head of Water Policy at RSPB said: “For too long we’ve taken water for granted as a nation. The results of this poll clearly demonstrate that clean good quality water really does matter to people, and that urgent action is needed to protect this most precious natural resource.”

The coalition is calling upon the Government to make the most of the new legislation on floods and water expected this spring, as well as key decisions on water company investment and implementation of the Water Framework Directive, to protect water for the benefit of both people and wildlife across the UK.

Jacob Tompkins, Director of Waterwise said: “The Government seized the initiative with its Future Water strategy last year. Now we need to deliver on its principles. We need to see water efficiency on a vast scale, with tens of thousands of homes retrofitted at a time and full metering so homes pay for the amount of water they actually use. These measures will also make less water go further, as we cope with the impacts of climate change.”

Source: Angling Trust

Published in Latest UK fishing news
Sunday, 21 October 2007 00:00

2007 World Carp Classic

by Ralph Dennett

Lac de Orient – France – 9th to 15th September

Sponsors – Carl (The Baitmaster) Edwards - Carple Baits & Lewington Homes Berkshire Ltd

I don’t normally fish matches but this event is something else. The whole atmosphere is charged with excited anticipation as anglers from 14 different counties come together to face the challenges of this fantastic water, all 5000+ acres of it.

Looking up towards the Dam

It all started back in January when my fishing partner Steve booked our place for this year’s event and from there the build up started. Every article we could find was read several times to glean as much info as we could and before we knew it the event was nearly upon us. Boats, engines & fish finders all needed checking, batteries charging and tackle checking. Nothing can be left to chance as the mighty Orient will punish any careless mistakes.

After a long chat with Carl (The Baitmaster) Edwards he kindly agreed to sponsor us with our bait requirements, Red Lobster Seaweed being the bait of choice, a cracking bait which we have full confidence in. This was supplemented with Carl’s excellent prepared particles namely the Maize and Hemp plus I already had some 30k of Carl’s mixed pellet - some 80+kilos to hopefully see us through the week. As promised everything arrived on the Wednesday and went straight into the freezer so that it would be in prime condition when the match started.

Everything ready, checked and double checked, Steve was picking me up around 5.00am on Friday as we were booked on the 10.00am ferry from Dover and another team from Reading Paul and Darren who were to be our travelling companions on the journey had to collect their bait on the way down. Friday arrived and I’m standing by a mountain of bait and tackle when Steve pulls into the close, with everything loaded and roped down we are on the road, meeting Paul and Darren as arranged and then heading down the motorway to Dover. After a long uneventful trip we are nearing our destination, we pass by Troyes and turn onto the N19. Shortly the Dam Wall appears and it seems to go on for ever, then as we turn off the N19 towards Mesnil-St-Pere the lake appears. Did I say lake! - inland sea is more apt, an immense daunting piece of water ... let me at it. As we pulled into the Headquarters area we realise we are the first competitors to arrive so we pick our spot and park up the motors right opposite the little Bar & Café ... well sorted. The next couple of days were to be a chill out and social before the serious fishing started on the Monday so up with the Bivvies and everything sorted, home from home.

Mesnil-St-Pere

Now that we are sorted its over to the Bar for some food and liquid refreshments where we meet up with Ross Honey and his Team. Ross is the organiser of the event, also there is Andy Chambers who is Head Marshall for this years event, a man with immense knowledge of the lake.“Buy you a drink Andy ?”, gotta pick this mans brains.

It’s now dark so suitably fed and watered we make our way back to the Bivvies, break out the kettle and sit around chatting and drinking, by about 1.30 in the morning we have been joined by a couple of lads fishing for Scotland and the beer is flowing. About an hour later about 8 Italian lads turn up and quickly join us with Salami and wine, shall we just say that a good evening was had by all.

The format for the event is to be as follows, competitors arrive over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, register at the HQ and get all boats and equipment safety checked. Sunday evening we have the welcome dinner with local dignitaries and the draw for swims. The competition starts at 3.00pm on Monday with no broken water before that time and ends at 8.00am on Saturday. This gives us a reasonable time on Monday to find our swims and get the gear to them as some are only accessible by boat. In the meantime we can have a look around get any last bits of shopping from the Intermarche and generally talk Carp. All the research we had done indicated that it normally takes a few days for the fish to get on the bait and the proven tactics are to get a good bed of bait built up and wait for the fish to move in, we also needed rough weather and big winds to get the fish moving. Several chats with Andy Chambers have confirmed our thoughts so we are feeling reasonably confident.

The Formalities Begin

Sunday evening arrives and we spruce ourselves up and put on our Carple shirts and head for the welcome meal and draw, as we enter the sports hall the clammer of 186 Carp anglers is deafening as the excitement and anticipation grows.

With the meal over the formalities begin with speeches from various people including the local Mayor followed by the local children parading all the participating countries flags.

The Draw

Then comes the draw. Paul and Darren are first up, Section 7, peg 10 not a bad draw its facing the dam.

Steve and I are next up Steve draws Section 4, peg 7, Italie Point about halfway along, not a bad draw if the weather breaks in our favour.

 

Time to get our heads down

Now the formalities are over it’s back to the bivvies to get our heads down as we want to get an early start in the morning to give ourselves time to get sorted before the off, as soon as the start is signaled it’s into the boat to do a serious reccy of our swim.

We are up and packed away by about 9am, later than we wanted, but never mind. As the boats are already inflated we take Paul and Darren’s on our motor and drop it off for them and then go on to find our swim some where along here.

Italie point - 1.5k long

It took a couple of hours to carry all the gear to our swim and with clear blue skies it was a hot sweaty job, by about 2.00pm we are all sorted rods up and baited and buckets of bait ready to go once we have found our spots. Before we know it the rocket signals we are off and a myriad of boats launch into the lake all looking for those tell tale signs on the fish finder that show up a potential feeding spot. Steve’s out in the boat thoroughly scouring our swim for features. After about 2hrs he has found what we wanted, distinct features going out to the left of our swim. The peg next to us is vacant so we ask the marshals if we are OK to fish into the vacant peg which they confirm we are. By 7.30pm our spots are baited and the rigs are out. Now we can sit back with a cold beer and relax, it’s been a very busy day, come on you fish.

Set and ready for action

Nothing showed during the first night and in the morning we learnt 2 fish had been lost, 1 about 6 pegs along from us and 1 by the dam. By the end of Tuesday 4 fish had now been lost in weed or snags, the good news is that they are all from different areas of the lake. We continue to stick to our plan and steadily build up our swim. We have seen fish on the finder and we are getting line bites so we know we have fish in the swim, but we don’t know what. It has been another warm clear day, we need the weather to break and the wind to get up, unfortunately the promised weather isn’t materialising and it continues hot.

It’s now Wednesday and it’s 8 – 0 to the Carp, so it’s still all to play for.

Early Thursday morning the first fish is landed by John Lilley’s partner, George Csonka, at 11.5kg it is a nice fish but not big by Orient standards. Still, first fish so well done guys.

Thursday night sees more action with a 22.1kg fish to Jean Pierre Becker of France, a 15.4kg fish to our travelling companions Paul and Darren, putting them in second place and a 9.3kg fish to Rob Tough and partner places them third, so things are starting to happen.

With the final day and night ahead of us there is still everything to fish for, we have fished hard for 4 nights although the results don’t show it, but that’s Carp fishing especially on waters like the Orient. The weather is showing signs of a change so hopes are high for the final night, with everything ready we sit back to wait events and talk over the week. Whatever the outcome we’ve had a great week and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Last night

As we sit chatting and watching the water everything feels right, we have done everything we can it is now in the lap of the Carp gods. Everything is still, the only sounds come from the Wild Boar searching for food in the woods behind. We turn in about 12.30, but I lay there unable to sleep.

I must have drifted off as the next thing I remember is flying out of the bivvy. The barometer has dropped and monster Carp are crashing everywhere in front of us, Steve is standing some 50 yds down the bank. When I get to his side he says that Steve Howard and his partner in the swim to our right have a big fish on, minutes later it snaps the 35lb braid like a piece of cotton, the Orient tree stumps win again. They are understandably gutted.

Tree Stumps are everywhere under the water, hiding in the weed

As fast as it had started it’s over, about 15 minutes in all, the fish just disappeared again back into the depths, the weather had changed again and so had the fishing, it looks like our chance has passed us by. In the morning we learn that the same phenomenon had occurred in several areas around the lake, although no fish were caught. One final fish was caught on the Sat morning which had Paul and Darren on edge as it was 15kg+. Eventually it was confirmed at 15.1kg so they have retained second place.

Final result, 83 pairs (166 anglers) fished their hearts out for 6 days and 5 nights and the score was Carp 25 anglers 5.

We packed up, loaded the truck and made our way back to the presentation. Although we hadn’t caught, it was great to see our friends Paul and Darren on the rostrum in 2nd place. Well done guys and congratulations to Jean Pierre Becker & Yves Hauk, the winners making it a home victory for France.

Well done to all the prize winners.

As we make our way home we are happy, we know we fished well as many others did, it simply wasn’t our turn this year. We have had a fantastic time and met some great people from all over Europe, brilliant!

A special thanks to our sponsors, Carl ( The Bait Master ) Edwards whose support and excellent baits gave us the edge we needed and to Lewington Homes Berkshire Ltd for the loan of the transport that made life a lot easier with all the gear we took.

Now to start planning for next year Lac de Madine is the venue, can’t wait.

See you on the bank somewhere!

Cheers, Ralph Dennett

Editor: Thanks to Ralph for this excellent article and good luck next year mate!!

Submit an Article: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of the fishing articles or if you would like to submit an article of your own.

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Published in Carp Fishing Articles
Monday, 22 September 2008 19:58

Barbel fishing on the River Severn

WHAT CHANCE A SEVERN MONSTER? - By Stuart Watkins

Source: Barbel Catchers Club

It’s now almost a decade since Howard caught his former British record fish from the lower reaches of the Severn. I recently read an article by Steve Stayner in one of the angling monthlies where he briefly mentions the capture of this memorable fish. He then goes on to talk about the many people who have since tried to catch it, or a different fish of a similar size, from the lower river. In my experience these people that Steve talks about, don’t exist. The river never did see the influx of anglers that many of Britain’s smaller rivers see when a huge fish is caught. In short the Severn’s most popular period was at the very beginning of the barbel boom in the mid to late eighties. In my opinion this will always remain the case, because other rivers produce fish of an equal size, or in many cases bigger, that are in the majority of cases far easier to locate and catch. We often hear the term anyone can catch from the lower Severn, and while this is certainly true, fish of say 12.08 plus are not common, and fish of 14 plus are rare creatures indeed.

Stuart Watkins with a 13-0 from the Lower SevernSo what chances a Severn monster? Obviously location is the key factor here or is it? Most of the better fish I have caught came from swims which only produced the one fish on the day. A lack of smaller fish may indicate the opportunity for a better fish to move in on any feed present. Note I said on the day, because I feel these larger fish could turn up in any swim on any stretch between Worcester’s Diglis weir and Tewkesbury weir. I feel swim type has very little bearing on whether large barbel will or will not feed in them. The most important factor being a lack of run of the mill fish, again on the day. Could it be that these larger specimens perhaps only move around as solitary fish, or at most in groups of two or three fish of a similar size, and may prefer not to compete with other smaller barbel for any food in a given area. Another thing about these larger Severn fish is that they can turn up at any time of the day. Whilst most Severn regulars prefer to fish in the hours of darkness, myself included, my two thirteens from the river both came in daylight, and one of these in mid-July with an air temperature of 27°c under a blazing hot sun in water as low and clear as it gets on the lower river.

So how would I go about catching one of these truly large Severn fish? As I said earlier, I feel swim type is not that important. But having said that I always feel more confident in a swim that has less of a slope on it from the margins out towards the middle of the river, say fourteen foot deep one and a half rod lengths out, to around eighteen to nineteen foot in the middle, as opposed to say only ten foot deep one and a half rod lengths out. In shallower areas of the river, say around Diglis, the same applies, the only thing that changes is the overall depth, which may only be eleven foot in the middle so eight foot of water one and a half rod lengths would be ideal. I would be looking to place my bait around two rod lengths.

One of the most useful pieces of kit that I have used over the last two seasons has been the ‘Smartcast’, Now some people may cringe at the use of this, saying that it is unfair, but believe me if like myself the lower Severn is your usual venue, you will find it invaluable. Since first using it I have discovered that in most areas the river has no shelves apart from the marginal one which may be only a few inches deep when the river is at it’s lowest. It will also find snags and you will get used to spotting these after using the unit for a period of time and getting used to it. One other thing about the ‘Smartcast’ is don’t buy one if you are expecting it to find your fish for you, in reality it’s a pretty crude piece of kit. Believe me, having worked in the marine industry for the past eighteen years, it is only really useful as a guide.

As far as baits and baiting the swim are concerned, boilies would be my first choice in daylight, with a sausage meat concoction, donkey choker size, courtesy of ‘The Cullen Guide To Anti-social Barbel Baits’, Millennium editon, as an after dark option. Feeding the swim would be done using no more than twelve to fifteen boilies, fishing only two rod lengths out makes it easy to place loose feed by hand. I would be looking to feed an area say 20’ x 10’, putting in large amounts of loose feed in my opinion, and especially after dark, only encourages smaller barbel in numbers, or bream, and believe me once they move in forget your barbel. Once you start fishing below Upton they are definitely the river’s most predominant fish, and fish approaching double figures can reasonably be expected.

Once the swim has been fed I don’t wait to put a bait in, I can’t see the point, life’s too short and past experience tells me the biggest fish invariably comes out first, especially if you have had no action in the first half hour. Always a good sign that smaller fish and the dreaded bream are not present. My theory is that if your hook bait is untouched or you have had no rod top indications your loose feed will also be uneaten and intact.

Rigs used are simple and uncomplicated. Hooklengths are braid, either or ‘Silkworm’ or ‘ESP Sinklink’, around sixteen inches long for boilies and around thirty inches for meat. I never fish with bolt rigs in the true sense of the term, although a two to three ounce running lead will, I believe, to some extent have the same effect. I don’t see the need for fancy rigs and any modifications I make are usually to make life easier for me. For example incorporating a Fox Safe-lok with a one inch long piece of rig tube placed over it for security will make it easy to change hooklengths after dark. My views on Fluro-carbon lines are that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. So I will not use them, even in a gin clear river. Having said that Fox Illusion seems to be getting some excellent reviews at the moment, so I will see how Martin gets on with it over this winter with a view to using it as a hooklength next season. When fishing the large meat baits everything Martin has talked about in his articles applies. To give an idea of the bait size I use, all the ingredients weigh around 1.3 kilos. This makes around fifteen baits!

So what exactly constitutes a Severn monster? Fifteen plus is probably not an unreasonable target if you fish the river week in week out, three members have all taken fish of this size. One of the most important things to note about most barbel anglers on the lower river is that none of them are from the ‘Catch at all costs’ brigade. I think if you take this misguided approach, you will be in for a very lean time. Personally I go in the hope of catching a personal best, and if I don’t then there is always next weekend. I will probably get some stick for saying this but once you get down below Severn Stoke, don’t forget the chub. They don’t come out very often, but when you do hook one it will probably be well worth catching. In barbel anging terms my biggest ambition is to catch a lower river fifteen. Who knows, one day I may just get lucky and achieve it. Now what about that double figure bream??!!

Many thanks to The Barbel Catchers Club and Stuart Watkins for allowing UK Fisherman to reproduce this article.

Visit their excellent website at: www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk

Submit an Article: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of the fishing articles or if you would like to submit an article of your own.

To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

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