Angler's Mail pleasure fishing blogger Colin Mitchell reveals how he's been tracking down some brilliant places to fish - proper untouched fishing hotspots, he reckons!
THE problem with having fished for a very long time is that you can look at the conditions and put yourself off going fishing.
Sadly I do that a few times more than I should and then later in the day regret my decision to stay at home or do something or than fish.
But recently I’ve taken on a new challenge when I think it’s not worth getting the gear out of the cupboard…
One of my other pastimes is walking, usually in wilder areas, so I pull on my hiking boots and troll off round local waters to check out possible swims – and some as-yet unfished fishing hotspots.
It’s amazing what you can learn by using a bit of watercraft, keeping your eyes peeled and having a friendly chat with some other anglers.
And it’s not always the venue you walk around that you learn about!
Obviously, if someone is tucked away in their bivvy trying to avoid human contact I steer well clear or approach with a lot of stealth.
Great swims revealed
Last week I went walkabout down the Basingstoke Canal and around a group of club lakes for which I have just got a ticket but which I haven’t even seen for more than ten years.
The work done on them is staggering with swims cut out, nice areas to put a box or bivvy, plenty of extra proper car parking and, best of all, its been done with taste so that the place still looks like a wild fishery, not a sanitised commercial.
My immediate reaction was that I can fish here without mega difficult walks and overnighters behind the locked gates are very appealing.
But further exploration revealed that loads of the venue isn’t even touched by many anglers because they don’t fancy the bit of extra walk or haven’t researched the stocks.
I ventured into one of these areas and discovered a group of big carp sunbathing. The bailiff on his rounds smiled when I asked why people ignored them. I reckon he was one of the few anglers who know they are there!
I’ve always known this venue for big bream and tench – yet no one goes after them anymore. Well there will be someone now…
Hidden gems that I didn’t know
On my travels I met another angler doing the same as me. We helped each other out with info and he told me of another water on the club book that was fishing well for a number of species – and pointed me in the right direction for swims. Bonus!
I reciprocated with some info on a few venues I fish and he was hoping to try out.
On one of my normal hikes I recently came across a small lake hidden away from anywhere. It looked very fishy and – fingers crossed – it looks like I will have some limited access to the fishing.
There won’t be anything big in this place and I don’t even know what species live there but what fun to explore Mr Crabtree-like!
Likewise, I’ve walked up and down stretches of a local stream that eventually joins a tributary of the Thames. I have always thought it held fish but could find no concrete evidence.
I’ve got it now thanks to my walking fever. I saw a few fish topping on what was obviously a deeper, slow moving bend that looked very inviting.
And perched on a small road bridge I saw some lovely chub drifting out from under an overhanging bush. Roll on June 16 when I know there will also be some weed cover.
When the wind’s in the east…
Now, having said the above about watching the weather… I ignored my own gut feeling and went during a bitterly cold north-easterly wind.
Err…well they didn’t bite at all! Zilch! Nowt! Nothing! Landing net not worried.
I did think the tip moved slightly once but that could just have been my brain with some wishful thinking.
So there it was a Terry Wogan day! Blankety Blank!
My first failure to catch during a session for more than four years. Gutted.
But… I will be back out there next week, no matter which way the wind blows!