Catch Report - May 2002Most of my fishing this winter has been done on the river Itchen near Southampton where I have fished with some friends in pursuit of one of my faviourite fish - the Grayling. This is a member of the trout family but it spawns at the same time as coarse fish and so has the same fishing season as them. The Itchen is a fast flowing chalk stream and so is not as badly affected by the winter floods as other rivers. It is usually reserved for fly fishing for trout but I have found a stretch which can be bait fished for grayling in the trout closed season. A lovely winding stretch of fast flowing water, ideal for trotting a float with a centre pin, which produced up to 30 grayling a day. There are also some large chub and roach. I was unable to locate the big roach but did manage to land chub to 5lb 60z, usually while fishing for the big roach.
I will be taking more guests on guided trips to this stretch next winter. Email me if you are interested. You might like to read a review of one of the "Itchen days" written by one of my guests, Brian of BB Angling.
Bream have featured a lot in my fishing this winter. Firstly from the tidal river Thames where Bill Rushmer fished from my boat to catch fish up to nearly 7lb. Bill also had some carp and lost a bigger one. Recently whilst exploring a lake on the RMC complex at Yateley, I found a shoal of bream and in one afternoon took 18 fish up to 7lb - a total weight of nearly 100lb, all on maggot and groundbait feeder.
I have discovered another fishery at Willinghurst, a complex of twelve lakes on a beautifully landscaped estate near Guildford. Most of the lakes are fulll of carp, mostly under 10lb, with the occasional "twenty". They provide good sport, particularly for the novice who wishes to practice his or her fish playing skills. I will be taking some of my students there in the summer.
I have little to report on my search for zander as I have yet to catch one. Bury Hill Fisheries near Dorking seems the best hope - I'll be back on there in the winter! I have had little success with my new barbel paste either, but that will take a little more experimentation. I will post details here when I have got it right...