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Put a 'pin in it

For the last year or so I've fished almost entirely using centrepin reels. I've had a Leeds 'pin for years now and a Marco Cortese model which cost next to nothing but which works really well. Having watched someone who really knows what they're doing play a large fish on a 'pin - yes, I'm talking about you Sean - I fell in love with the whole idea...

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Testing times

The last time I went to the river Test, I caught a monster roach - 2.5lbs. Now that's a behemoth of a roach by anyone's standards, but for a river roach, it's even more exceptional. Thus, with hope in my heart, I set out again, this time for a different stretch...

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Blow winds...

I used to hate fishing in the wind. Really hate it with a passion. Hate it so much that more than once I stepped out of the back door, realised how windy it was, then turned round and went back inside, put all my tackle away and cancelled the trip...

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Fire bad, tree pretty...

To understand how I nearly came to be standing next to a padlocked gate, peering down at the nearly invisible numbers on the lock while holding a burning rag in my other hand, I'll need to explain how things had come to this pretty pass...

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Better to be lucky...

On recent trips to this stretch of the river it's fair to say that luck has deserted me. Well, not so much deserted, as changed its name, appearance and upped sticks to a completely different county without leaving so much as a forwarding address.


But never let it be said that I'm not a sucker for punishment...
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Fish sandwich

Down to the river for a final chuck before the close season. Now, unlike many modern anglers, I'm a big fan of the close season. Gives everyone and everything time to pause and reflect, sort themselves out a bit, and think about fishing instead of having to constantly do it...

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The Owl and the Chub

"If a big one bites, it will probably be at dusk."



Funnily enough, I nearly didn't go.

When the man behind the counter in the tackle shop explained that while they didn't have any maggots I could have the last of the dying pinkies for free...
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Pickpockets

Free lining has always been one of my favourite ways to fish - whether it's a large lump of luncheon meat rolled down the bottom of a fast river for barbel or a couple of dog biscuits floating on the surface for carp. There's also something special about free lining on a small river, and something pleasing about using a bait like breadflake, pinched onto the hook and then dunked to make it sink and give it weight for the cast.

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Stripes

Having kissed goodbye to the wind, it was time to try the river again, so I 'organised' a quick evening raid, figuring that I could get down there for 7.00pm and still have two hours plus to fish. The maggots were turning into casters and had a good strong smell to them...

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The Transformer

I once heard the English fascination with caravans described thus: it's because we love things that fold away. Simple as that. Not because we yearn for the freedom of the open road or because of some deep-seated need to take our houses with us, but simply because...

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