Euro Fishing: Clint Walker - A Year in Review
As is customary at this time of year, many of us like to look back at the previous few months and reflect on their angling to gauge whether it’s been a successful year or otherwise, so that is what I’m doing this week…
Just eighteen months ago, I was still a wholetime member of the Fire Brigade, albeit on ‘light duties’ whilst the outcome of an injury and subsequent illness was assessed. As an unfortunate result, the decision was made, and I was retired, given just two days notice, and cast out into the real world to seek employment; a very scary few days ensued… Admittedly, I had some financial leeway, but still had to find some way of making ends meet, so decided to give angling writing some full time commitment. Happily, after writing part-time for almost nine years, the leap wasn’t as big as expected, and after a first ‘proper’ year fully self-employed, with new clients, it’s going well. I’m able to fish twice a week, write about the outcome, and get rewarded for it. A dream job in my eyes...and I know that I’m now very lucky...
So, what of my fishing? I chose to spend the first part of the year on an estate lake, a shallow silty mere, where only a third of the bank, on one side of the lake, is accessible to anglers. At over nine hundred yards long, that also means there is also plenty of inaccessible water for the fish to hide in! My first couple of visits were just to get a feel for the water, and see how other anglers tackled it... I have fished it for pike in winter, but never enjoyed the beautiful surroundings in the spring and summer months, and having been told that it is a tough water, I wasn’t all that confident that I would catch much! It didn’t turn out that way however, and from almost my first visit, I found fish, and plenty of them! I was specifically targeting the quality tench and bream which reside within, but shied away from standard static mini boilie bolt rigs, or quivertipping tactics, and instead opted to fish The Method. Having moved earlier in the year from one major bait company to another when I joined Spotted Fin, this water would provide the ideal test for the new baits… My usual attack was to fish two rods, both with a small tri-lobe feeder packed with Spotted Fin groundbaits and small pellets, then band on an 8mm wafter which was then pushed into the feeder. Several times, double takes resulted in me tucking a rod under my chin whilst I played a fish to the net, and for a couple of months, I enjoyed frenetic sport, landing up to twenty five fish in a day session, despite being advised that five or six was a good result! It was more pleasing however, to see other anglers taking an interest, trying the same baits and methods, and also enjoying good results! I landed dozens of excellent bream and tench, almost into double figures, lost a couple of unexpected carp too, and had fun watching others catch; brilliant!
I’ve also had the opportunity of many new products to use, assess and review. I have been particularly impressed with the Vader X range of tackle released by Sonik Sports which comprises rods, reels and a landing net, aimed squarely at the introductory sector of the market, but offering both superb value for money, and a quality product. The Sonik ‘3 for 2’ offer means that the range is certainly affordable, and the sales figures reflect that. Whilst fishing on the bank, other anglers have seen them in use, and even ordered them whilst I’ve been talking to them… they are THAT good! I’ve now decided that even though the Dominator X range is forthcoming in early 2018, I’m perfectly happy to use the Vader X for the majority of my carp fishing and will continue to use them with confidence; you should try them…
After the early part of the year on the estate lake, I returned to a water which is probably best described as ‘fish soup’. It’s a club water, absolutely jammed with double figure carp, quality bream, and hard fighting stillwater barbel. (Don’t blame me, I didn’t put them there!) I’ve enjoyed numerous sessions in good company with my angling chum Andy, and between us, we’ve pillaged the place, sharing somewhere in the region of at least five hundred carp between ten and twenty pounds…and all on one rod each! (I don’t make the rules either!) We’ve enjoyed some fast and frantic fishing, with sometimes more than twenty good doubles each in a day, all on simple methods, bantering about our chosen baits and much more. It’s been great fun, which is what fishing is all about, and it’s been an ideal proving ground for other waters. One of my favourite visits was in company of a young chap who wanted to catch his first carp, and wanted me to show how him the ropes. He caught a dozen or more, improving his personal best more than once, and ended the day with a terrific smile, and some fantastic memories!
Dropshot fishing is something I’ve tried to do a bit more of throughout the year. It’s a simple, effective way to explore miles of river or canal, or enjoy walking the banks of a lake, dropping tiny lures into small areas to try and find pockets of fish. It’s accessible too, with the minimum of tackle required to enjoy a good day’s fishing, and it’s getting ever more popular. I’ve enjoyed spending time showing other anglers how I fish, helping a few to refine their tackle and techniques, and it’s a great way to meet new friends too. It’s a very sociable way to fish (if you stay off the social media platforms!) and can give unexpected results too. I had a particularly pleasing canal chub very early in the year, which unfortunately flipped in the net and rolled back into the water. Much more unfortunately, it was caught on video, much to the amusement of others as I scrabbled after it! I would have loved to have weighed that fish, but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment!
Talking of chub, I’ve had some super sport on the upper reaches of the River Trent, catching some pleasing fish from small stretches and tight swims where stealth is everything. Sitting in the meadow by the side of the river, hiding behind nettles and reeds, flicking in small pieces of flake, and a few maggots for half an hour before touch legering a small of bread through the swim has to be one of the best ways to spend an afternoon. Laying on my back amongst buttercups and honeysuckle, staring at the clouds whilst dropping bait into a likely swim took me right back to my younger days when I fished an even smaller river for trout… it was blissful, and even though I managed less than a dozen casts all day, it was absolute heaven, and I caught some crackers too!
I’ve done my first ever show recently too; at the behest of one of my sponsors, RAD Angling, I spent a couple of days in Surrey, at The Carp Society Winter Show, and loved every tiring minute of it! After all, if you can’t go fishing, then talking about it has to be the next best thing, and with a steady stream of willing listeners, myself and the team had a great time! I enjoyed it immensely, made some fantastic contacts, cemented friendships, and have already committed to two further shows in 2018, which I’m also looking forward too; if you get the chance, step up and do one… you’ll love it!
Finally, I’ve spent the last couple of months investigating a ‘new’ pike water. It’s one I’ve wanted to fish for a long time, but have never been able to sort myself out… I intend to really put some effort into predator fishing for the remainder of the season, and so far, I’ve been consistent, with a good number of double figure snappers, yet no monsters, and only a couple of blank sessions when I’ve changed waters. In truth, pike fishing has been something at which in the past I’ve been ‘lucky’ rather than ‘good’, so I’m hoping to tip the balance a little further the other way! I’ve met some excellent pikers too, which has helped, and despite the lack of warm sunshine, I’ve enjoyed each visit, whether in the rain, in minus temperatures, sleet or snow, and it has been the perfect end to a very good year!
Finally, I hope you have had success with your angling this year, and for all those who do read my column, follow my blog, or contact me directly, thank you; I really do appreciate it, it helps make my angling even more enjoyable! Tight lines!