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Bailey Payne

Exploration of the Roding

With the scorching weather we have had this week and weekend, I decided to give my usual Saturday Fish a miss, the weather was 30c and it’s been dry for a while so Rivers would’ve been low and I don’t think many places would’ve Fished well, and I didn’t fancy heatstroke!

However, I recently convinced my Dad to join the stretch of the Roding I am a member of, and thought it would be nice just to have a stroll along the stretches, seeing if we could see any Chub sunbathing and get out the house while it was cool. Now, you are probably thinking, why didn’t you bring a Rod if you went? Well, I wish I did! However, never had the time before to walk the full stretch of River, so thought it was a good chance to map it, and not get distracted in one swim for a while! As you guys have seen from previous posts, I Fished the Roding a few times last November, however didn’t explore much and managed two small Chub, so wanted to walk it all and see if I could find any bigger ones!

This was a perfect opportunity to continue my “Exploration Of” series, in a previous post I done Exploration of the Wid (https://www.essexanglers.co.uk/exploration-of-the-wid/), thought this would be a nice chance to do another and talk about the scenery of the Roding a bit!

We started on the bottom stretch, and were greeted by a field of long grass and nettles, was a smart choice to wear shorts! We first walked to the small bridge to be able to look down and see how much water was in the River, it looked at least a foot lower than normal! Both ways along the River looked untouched for a while, and a small path of those who braved it before us was left, knee high grass and nettles attacking our shins it wasn’t long before we arrived at our first bit of access to the River, I was shocked to see how many lily’s were covering the River on this stretch, first time I have seen this part since the winter! Half wish I had a photo of the grass! We spent a while observing this swim, and watching the fry swim around, hoping to see something burst into the small pack of fry, however, nothing did. Although one hungry Chub, of maybe around a pound, started trying to eat some of the small duck weed on the surface, and on surfacing noticed us peering at him and soon spooked under the safety of the pads.

After some rest bite from battling the nettles, we decided to move on and find the next swim, this is a place I had previously caught Chub and missed bites during the winter, so I knew they liked to be here, this swim was the featured photo, and in entering to look, with the sun before us, we instantly spooked another, bigger, Chub. We stayed to see if he would be back if we hid, watching more fry move around the pads, and a few splashes both left and right, we knew there were a few Chub around, mouthing at the duck weed still. Was a good sign to see this big Chub, this all reassured me of how hard this River will be, the Chub are so aware.

We walked down to a little whole in the bushes leading to yet another lily infested swim, and again, spooked another good Chub. really was a promising sign seeing and spooking so many. Noticed a lot of 8-10oz smaller Chub swimming around as too, which hopefully will be back in the winter for a nice bite!

We now swapped to the other section of the River the club owns, so had a small drive to the other side of the town. The first swim was next to a sloosh gate, and you could really tell how low the River was from this, although not seeing any decent Chub here, you could see hundreds of small Roach/Chublets and other fry swimming around, the odd one taking an adventurous slide down the sloosh gate!

This stretch of the River was more shorts friendly and was a welcome rest for our sore and itchy legs now! Flat smooth ground and no nettles! Was a dream! This part of the River, still having lillys, didn’t have anywhere near as much, and also had a lovely set of bends with trees and bushes providing the perfect hiding spots for Chub.

The next spot was a slow down to a bit of a spit into the River, which walking down a Chub was hiding in the weeds by the spit and spooked instantly! This swim had a huge shoal of small Roach holding in it, couldn’t believe how many there was! Looking to my right I saw a group of maybe 3-5 bigger Chub, all over 2lb at least, they were holding in the light flow of the River, after a while, I think they spotted my head peering over the reeds and they instantly fell back into an overgrown bush covering the River.

We walked down many more fantastic looking swims, we thought would definetly hold a few Chub, and saw the occasionally smaller Chub under a pound. We eventually came to one swim, with overhanging trees all along a bend, and saw numerous small Chub darting around in a group, then drifting in under our feet, was the biggest Chub I have seen in this River, easily around 4lb. It just cruised past us, unbothered by us, and continued it’s journey along the River.

This walk was fantastic to do, and sometimes you need some weather you don’t fancy Fishing in to fully explore a new stretch of River, and this certainly gave me that opportunity, filled me with confidence seeing so many Chub, however catching them is always the harder bit, however have found their homes so hopefully can drop a nice bait on their heads soon!

Tight Lines all!

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Bailey Payne

Bag of Crucians

Due to the scorching conditions it’s a weekend I won’t be Fishing, but in spirit of the great weather we are having (although a bit too hot for my liking!), I may as well talk about the perfect summer Fish! The Crucian!

Now, I am lucky enough that my club lakes stock Crucians in some of their lakes, and these ones aren’t timid at all, and have started to put a nice bit of weight on! Makes them a pleasure to catch, and you can have days of catching quite a few of them mixed in with a nice bag of Skimmers too!

Funnily enough I believe this was July/August last year, I decided to take a friend who was just getting into Fishing to my club lakes so he could bag up on the Carp and Barbel which are in there, and I could have a day on the Pole targetting the Skimmers/Bream/Roach/Crucians.

I was Fishing about 10m into a bit of a deeper hole, was using the Sonubaits worm groundbait with dead maggots and casters mixed in and using dead maggots and casters as a hook bait. Dead maggots are personally one of my favourite Crucian bait and they are also fantastic for the Skimmers. Pole was equipped with hollow blue elastic (can’t quite remember the brand!) and using light mainline with one of my homemade 0.4g diamond floats with a bulk of number 10 stotz down to small sized hook (again can’t fully remember, the session was a year ago!).

I started off by cupping in a few balls of the groundbait mix and then let the swim rest for about 5-10 minutes before I started Fishing it. Perfect time for a quick tea!

It wasn’t long before the Skimmers were there in numbers, catching one after the other. In the early part of a session when on the Skimmers I always start to think about management, as I was only Fishing the one line, I wanted to manage this one nicely and keep it ticking over all day with the most I would have to do to follow the Fish back. This meant quickly working out how often and how much feed to put in, this being all trial and error, it seemed to be that one small nugget after every 3/4 Fish was a good amount, and it kept bites coming consistently.

I find mixed in with the shoals of Skimmers on this lake are the Crucians, and they seem to feed together, and mixed in with the Skimmers, the Crusty Crucians started coming! Always obvious when you hook a Crucian, their tell tale swimming in circles, and then the pop of gold as they surface! Seeing this beautiful Fish surface never gets old!

Mixed in with the Crucians and Skimmers the Bream started to show, however not in any numbers, the peg I was on is more known for the big shoals of the Skimmers rather than Bream, this helped me start putting together a nice weight. Although I was more focused on catching as many of the Crucians as I could!

The day soon fizzles away when you are on a nice shoal of Fishing catching all day, and it was great fun! Ended this session with probably around 20-25lb, having caught about 40 Fish on the clicker of okay size Skimmers, Crucians and the odd Bream.

In the end I had a nice bag of Crucians as well! So couldn’t help but get a photo with my bag of gold!

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Bailey Payne

My River Roding Curse!

Today (Sat 4th July 2020), marked my first early start for a while, arriving at my club River for the first time this season at an early 8am. I decided to Fish a stretch I haven’t yet, haven’t even walked this stretch before. After rain last night and a bit during the week I was hopefuly I’d catch the River at the right time, and it looked good, still had a bit of colour and had good depth. The worrying thing about fishing a stretch of Essex River for the first time is how overgrown is it going to be, am I going to be able to Fish it?

The first spot I decided to Fish looked good, it was just the entry to a small weir pool, although I’m not sure how I’d manage to Fish the weir pool, I can Fish just before the River runs into it, there were some nice reeds so I thought it was worth a shot. I used my normal aim towards River Chub Fishing, blended bread in a cage feeder with breadflake on the hook. My instincts were repaid quickly, missing a very soft bite after a few minutes, I rebaited, recast and waited with anticpation. However, it went quiet for a bit. Always in these moments you wonder if you lost the chance and should move on, that is until a few little knocks, which eventually turned into a forceful bite came along, after a good little scrap I managed to land the featured Chub, no record breaker, but a beautiful condition Fish one I was very happy to catch.

Now, my River Roding curse came back, It seems I am only ever able to catch one Fish from this River each session, I’m happy I don’t blank, but would love to be able to get a few more! My task now was to try and break my curse! I walked down and found some amazing looking swims, which must have been home to a few Chub

But frustratingly, this is where it ended for me, I had a few more knocks, and missed another bite which still baffles me when I think about it! However, for a quick morning session, all I was looking for was to catch, but, my curse continues…

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Bailey Payne

River Wid – Unexpected Catches

At the end of my previous post “Exploration of the Wid”, I wondered what different species I could catch from the Wid and the size of them. A few trips will be crammed into this post, as I done some quick evening sessions with different setups.

Tactic #1 – Bread Flake

My first tactic is what I think is the best way to catch Chub, Bread. Buying a cheap loaf of Bread from Asda for 60p was all I needed for this session. I saved 2/3 slices for hookbait and the rest got some treatment from the blender to create some liquidised bread. I used a simple link ledger rig and decided to hand feed the balls of bread. The first spot I wanted to fish had some dog walkers sitting by it, so decided just to fish close by ready to jump in to claim the spot when they left. The first spot, wasn’t very deep, so didn’t expect any monsters, although while on my walks I did spot some maybe half a pound Chub which I thought could provide some good sport. It didn’t take long before I was getting notifications, although looking back, I think this was the sheer amount of small fish pecking at the bread flake, eventually, a Chublet managed to get in before the smaller fish and take the bread. This fish was only small, but was a good way to spend the time while waiting for the dog walkers to move on. Finally being able to get to the spot I had my eyes on, I had to decide what feature to fish first, it had a lovely over hanging tree and a bit of an undercut bank so was spoiled for choice! I first tried the over hanging tree, and weirdly the pecks from the small fish had stopped, but after a while and only a missed bite I decided to try the undercut bank and from a bit of luck I managed to drop the bread flake on top of a Chub’s nose, and he took it on the drop, providing the best fish I’ve caught from this stretch of the Wid on date of posting. This fish is the featured image Fish.

I then moved to another spot I saw which looked fantastic, as the River was bending and loads of reeds. I chose to stay in this spot a bit longer to see the evening out. It provided me two quick Chublets and then it went a bit quieter, and I was getting very weird bites, each one leading to being snagged. Eventually I managed to catch the culprit of these weird bites! It was a good size Crayfish! The Crayfish must have moved in after they got wind of the bed of blended bread on the bottom of the River, a first for me catching a Crayfish, the hook somehow managed to stay in its claw!

Tactic #2 – Float & Maggot

My next method is also as simple as it can get, I used one of my homemade Pole Floats, a number 10 shot and then a small hook length with single maggot on the hook. I planned on just Fishing the one spot to build up the fish feeding and just catch anything that came my way.

This method provided constant bites, and reminded me of my childhood Fishing experiences, just catching anything no matter what the Size, and it was a good hour or so, catching loads of Fish. I probably caught over 30 Minnows on this session, some of them with beautiful little colours, they’re a fish not targetted a lot, but do have some beauitful colours, my girlfriend also quite enjoyed catching them! The Species I was able to rack up using this method are; Minnows, Roach, Dace (My first and PB) and Rudd (Not photographed) – I was disappointed not to see any little Perch as I was expecting at least one. However, it was a good session with a lot of Fish.

Overall, I’ve loved the evening sessions I’ve had on this River and with it being so local and full of Fish it is definetly one I will see myself going back to often. And hopefully I can find some bigger Chub there too!

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Bailey Payne

Exploration of the Wid

During the close season of the Rivers, I wanted to prepare and explore some new local Rivers I haven’t fished before to try and find maybe a hidden gem in possibly ignored Essex waterways. Now a lot of you may say, the River Wid isn’t an ignored Essex River, infact it’s quite well known. That’s true, at least the stretches around Writtle and Chelmsford are more well known. However, I was scouting a small stretch just behind Billericay. Which from what I found while searching the web, hasn’t got a lot of info about it.

On Arrival it was a typical small, overgrown Essex River, in the Essex spring time it wasn’t showing many of it’s secret spots to fish, unnaccesable from the lush foliage. It weaved around, fast shallow patches followed by slower, deeper looking areas. The River on my first walk around was quite clear and a bit lower than I expect it would normally be, but took this as a good opportunity to see some of the fish clearer.

Whenever I scout a new River I like to bring a few slices of bread, in the close season the Chub aren’t shy about showing themselves to enhale some free offerings of Asda special bread. Looking down on the River from a small seemingly unstable wooden bridge, I decided to drop a few flakes of bread to see if there was any interest. Straight away the offerings of bread were darting around from small Chub, Roach and I guess the odd Minnow grabbing and trying to quickly swim off before being chased by the rest of the pack. I thought it was a good sign to see so many juvenile Fish.

After a few minutes of feeding these, soon their bigger brothers started to show, after some confidence was built I assume. The Chub I was seeing weren’t monsters, however, they would definetly provide some good sport come the Rivers opening.

Walking the River only showed more the sheer amount of Chublets around 1-5oz, feeding them and seeing the frenzy of a flake of bread hitting the surface was good fun, and it was reassuring seeing a bigger Chub appear inbetween demanding a flake of bread from the surface. The stretch of the River I walked only had a handful of fishable swims, unless I decided to battle past the stinging nettles. I was confident from this walk I could get good sport from this River, from the smaller Chublets, but also the chance of some of the bigger Chub I saw.

A few questions were left from my visit of the Wid, How many big Chub was there? Could I battle through these Chublets for some bigger Fish? How many Species could I catch from here? The answers to these? Will be found out soon…

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Bailey Payne

Growing up Fishing

I started fishing when I was young, probably around 5, from what I can remember anyway. My Dad is who introduced me to the world of Fishing. When I look back on my view of Fishing as a kid, it’s so niave, I thought there was only one way to fish, just the way my Dad done it. I owe him a lot for showing me how to fish, it was such a nice way to pass the time and truly just think. I first started Fishing the Pole, which in Essex is a bit of a dying art. Just catching whatever species came my way, my early memories are Fishing Gloucester Park in Basildon, and arguing with my dad about unhooking an eel, why would I want to unhook a water snake?! And then as I got into Fishing more, we joined the Billericay Club, 4am mornings to get to the Southminster pits I loved, catching bags of small Perch and Roach, such an innocent start to the sport. The joy of catching a Tench on part of my peanut butter sandwich is one which sticks in my mind. I think those days as a kid, enjoying catching anything, shaped me as an Angler, in those early days, I learnt a lot of love and respect for the fish, and it made me enjoy catching anything, and to this day, I still don’t care what I catch, whether it be the smallest fish in the lake, or a new personal best, as long as it bites, it would put a smile on my face.

I guess the whole point here is to set the tone of what I am about when it comes to Fishing, and what you guys should expect moving forward with my blogs. And the truth is anything really, I love catching anything, on any day. Admitingly, at the moment I am loving my River Fishing, but, I have done so much more, I Pole Fish, Fish on the Tip with a Feeder or on the Bomb, I have a Fly Rod (Won’t say I can Fly Fish, yet!), Will be Lure Fishing too and will have trips Sea Fishing. I will talk about the gear I use, which is best descriped by Budget gear! The hope is to continue to grow as an Angler, and share my growth with you guys, and hopefully I can teach someone else something, or just spark a bit of passion to go and pick up a Rod, or to try something new.

I will leave you all with a few pics from the last year or so of some different catches, which is a bit of a mixed bag really! A few of the trips are recent and may get their own blog so if you see them again just go with it!

Bailey.