My name is Ben and I love going fishing. I’m still trying to work out exactly why I enjoy spending hours and hours wandering around rivers and pools, hoping to tempt a fish to take my bait. It’s probably something I’ll never fully understand, but it’s partly an excuse to simply be outdoors and alone with my thoughts – pure escapism. I’ve been fishing for 25 years.
I’m increasingly unmoved by pounds and ounces, but I still enjoy catching the odd big ‘un!
My modest personal best list:
Barbel – 10lbs 12ozs, river Wye, 2014
My first ever barbel over ten pounds in weight. Caught in the summer of 2014 from a favourite stretch of the Wye. Read more
Bream – 7lbs 2ozs, Suffolk Stour, 2000
I used to fish a favourite Suffolk Stour weirpool for its shoal of resident bream in the summer. After balling in groundbait laced with particles, it was usually possible to tempt two or three big bream and the odd big roach and perch on feeder tactics, fishing into the evening. This was the best bream I managed at 7lbs 2ozs. I’ve not had a bream from the pool in many years now, despite trying for them every now and again.
Carp – 19lbs 2ozs, Suffolk lake, 2001
Chub – 6lbs 1oz , Dorset Stour, 2008
Chub are one of my favourite species. I love the variety of ways you can fish for them and their unpredictable and sometimes contrary nature. This beast fell to a 10mm Source boilie on the Dorset Stour at Longham. I’m equally proud of my 5lbs 3oz fish from the Suffolk Stour.
Crucian – 2lbs 6ozs, south Wales club water, May 2012
I had this superb 2lbs 6oz crucian on my first visit to a local club water in the spring of 2012. You can read more about the capture here.
Dace – 12ozs, Hampshire Avon, 2013
I tempted this personal best dace of 12ozs from the river Avon near Salisbury. You can read more about the capture here.
Grayling – 2lbs 3ozs, Hampshire Avon, 2008
The Hampshire Avon that flows around Salisbury is undoubtedly one of my favourite places to fish. Trotting a float through the glides, backwaters and carriers on an autumn or winters day is about as an enjoyable method as there is, and it’s also a highly effective one on the Avon. This stunning personal best grayling of 2lbs 3ozs was swiftly followed on the day by a fish of 2lbs exactly and they made for a memorable brace. Maggots trotted under a Drennan Avon float was the method.
Perch – 3lbs 1oz, river Wye, 2015
Perch are probably my favourite fish, though they used to be a bit of a bogey species for me. I had a fish of around 2lbs nearly 20 years ago and despite fishing for them regularly over the years, I had to wait until early 2010 before I had a second ‘2’ at 2lbs 3ozs from Lake John in Essex. However since then I’ve had plenty of decent perch and I fish for them a lot. I had this personal best of 3lbs 1oz from the river Wye in February 2015. You can read more about the capture here
Pike – 22lbs 14ozs, Suffolk lake, 2003
Roach – 2lbs 4ozs, Suffolk Stour, 1994
I can’t deny it was a bit of a fluke, but what a fluke! The Stour used to produce big bags of big roach and was famous for them in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember a photo in George’s tackle shop of a match angler with a brace of huge roach from the croft caught in the early 90’s, both in the mid two pound range. I really think someone with the time and dedication to search out the roach could do very well on the river around Sudbury. I saw plenty of big roach over the summer and I’m convinced it could again produce some real monsters and good bags of fish. This one fell on June 17th 1994, to a single caster fished under a waggler. I was hoping for a roach or bream from the croft pool and had already landed a pb roach of 9ozs when on the next cast this old warrior turned up!
Rudd – About a pound, Clare park lakes, mid 90’s
Tench – 8lbs 1oz, south Wales lake 2014
This fish really took me by surprise – I didn’t have a clue such big tench were in the lake. A stunning fish and one of my best ever catches, I think. Even better I had it on float fished corn next to some lily pads, early one spring morning. Classic tench fishing.
Zander – 8lbs 3ozs, Suffolk Stour 2005
I think this fish took me about four years to catch! I first had a Stour zander many years ago; a tiny chap of perhaps 12ozs that took a worm from the same pool as the fish above. Rumours of bigger zander from the pool and other deeper sections of the river started to become more common as the years passed, but it wasn’t until a good friend had one of six pounds one summer evening to a roach while we were after pike that we finally witnessed a genuinely ‘big’ zander. What a fish – we became a bit obsessed by Stour zander after that. That summer the same mate took a giant of eight pounds and the next season he had another ‘eight’ and a couple of smaller fish around the four pounds mark in amongst the pike. But I never got one zander, until the autumn of the following season when, finally, this fish took my roach deadbait. I’d love to get back and have a serious go for them again sometime – there could be ‘doubles’ in those deeper stretches of the Stour now…