The start of November saw me 6000 miles away in Guangzhou, China on holiday with my wife and taking the chance to visit our youngest son who had gone out there to teach English. I was quite interested in visiting a tackle shop should the chance arise but I knew fishing was out of the question for the duration of the visit. The visit highlighted the diversity of modern China- on the one hand you had shopping malls and neon lit shopping avenues and on the other shanty style shop fronts where the whole street would sell exactly the same thing – a spice street, a pet street, a medical appliance street next to a hospital- you get the picture! The parks were interesting with the closest to our hotel being Liwan Lake Park – the water level had been dropped and there were lines of thin rope in lanes across the lakes- at first I thought cormorant prevention but the reason was much simpler- teams of men in waders were working their way along the lanes clearing weed! Most parks had lakes with koi and other species but no fishing! You could feed the fish however!
I did get to a tackle shop eventually; on one of my son’s days off we traveled by train to Jiangmen, about 40mins on the train- it was only a local train but very modern and we hit 198kmph on the journey! Just outside the towns I was surprised to see commercial type ponds with people fishing under blue brollies, the temperature was in the high 20s on that day but went up to 30+ during our visit. Gouangzhou is the third largest city in China after Beijing and Shanghai with a population of over 16million, Jiangmen was just a little place- population 4million!! No pictures of the shops (two to be precise) as they consisted of an open shop front with shelves upon which were numerous whips, telescopic rods, pellets, floats and other paraphernalia, including two turtles for sale! Looking at the whips I picked out a 5m one to buy for my lad (he had already bought himself a telescopic rod and reel set up previously) cost £5, then began to look for terminal tackle to go with it but to my surprise the women owner began measuring off line at the counter against a meter stick, and began setting up the whip with a float , weights and two!! hooks that looked to be size 6/8, then fastened all this to a removable winder that attached to the handle of the whip. The completed whip was then put inside a new cloth bag so as not to compromise the rig- all for £5. A pot of worms cost 30p!
The river that runs through Jiangmen was alive with catfish and what looked like carp or some variant of carp close in to the side with other fish topping further out in the flow.
To date the fishing has been difficult as you cannot get down to the bank but bites are hard to come by and harder to hit- even with the hooks to nylon I took over for him – to date his sole catch has been this-
I await further news!
Returning to the UK, (16.5 hours) I slept in my own bed for one night before leaving on the Saturday for March, Cambridgeshire to fish an MFS match on the Old Nene on the Sunday. Leaving the hotel I had a leisurely 5min drive to the draw, although the conditions were not great with a very strong down wind accompanying a very grey looking sky! The wind was so strong that it actually blew a seatbox off a barrow, down the bank and into the water at the peg next to me, fortunately the box was retrieved with no lasting damage. I made a fundamental error that day in that I had planned to set up the pole to fish a chopped worm line, but decided against doing so as the wind was so strong as too making the pole virtually unfishable apart from close in. So it was the waggler and 5m (Chinese) whip that was set up with with liquidised bread and breadpunch being my bait for starters. To cut a long windy story short, I had a good 3 hours catching on the punch before a tangle saw me lose the fish and I scratched around for the last part of the match on the pinkie and squatt to end up with 5-8-0 and no where in the match. The guy upstream from me caught some bonus fish on the worm on the pole fished close in!!!
A couple of days later saw me at Bowood, peg 11 were after a slow start bream of 4-6, 3-15 and 3-12 graced my net along with some small roach for a 12-8 total despite losing two good fish that I still cannot decide if they were tench or pike.
The following Saturday to the March match I was hosting a silver fish only match at Lakeside near Rowde, just outside Devizes. I had never fished the venue before but had heard good things and as it was not normally open to the public, nor open to day tickets I was hoping for a good match. Come the day and we are met with an 8 degree drop in temperature and a bitter northern wind replacing the mild south westerly we had all week- typical! The match itself was a tale of two banks- the North bank (wind on their backs ) had a 51lb weight of hand sized skimmers along with 3 other weights of over 20lb, the south bank (wind in your face) was won with 15lb and I was second with 11-4. If the conditions had been kinder the results may well have been truly outstanding.
November finishes off with three visits to Bowood the first with real bitterly cold conditions a water level to the top of the platform and chocolate water and despite 2 hours without a bite a clutch of small roach and blades accompanied by a very rare Bowood gudgeon saw me hit the pound mark- no takes naturally on the pike rod in those conditions. Two days later I returned minus pike tackle and only with the 11m banana and back pack thinking it would be an opportunity to practice it as the pike rod could stay at home given the water colour and further rain. To my surprise I was met with an 18inch drop in level and clear water(someone had opened the sluice!”). Ideal for pike! I persevered with the banana but my heart wasn’t really in it and 2lb of small roach and blades later I packed up. Next day I returned with pike tackle and my usual pole setup to be greeted with the same water level but now coloured water! No takes on the pike tackle, but two tench of 3-11 and 3-7 together with roach and small skimmers saw a 11-4 return.
Roll on December!