Day 1 - Grafham Water Reservoir, near Peterborough for the start of the
challenge, Sam and Gary managed to catch 33 fish, (16 Zander, 11 Perch, 3
Pike, 2 Rainbow Trout and 1 Brown Trout) 5 species in all. All were caught on a
The biggest of each of the 5 species were:
Zander 6lb 8oz
Pike 15lb 1oz
Perch 2lb 13oz
Rainbow Trout 3lb 4oz (Gary would really like to catch a bigger one of this
species sometime on the challenge if possible)
Brown Trout 4lb 13oz
Total after Day 1: 5 species
Day 2 - the River Mimram, Hertford where they caught another 3 species - all
on a fly again, biggest of each species were:
Grayling 1lb 9oz
Golden Rudd 8oz
Total after Day 2: 8 species
Day 3 - Manor Farm in Cheshunt Herts (trying for catfish, but no luck):
They caught 2 species bringing the total to 10 species: Common carp (largest
4lb 5oz - Gary would like to catch bigger of this species on another water) and
Ghost carp 13oz - I think he would like to catch a bigger one of this too if
Total after Day 3: 10 species
Day 4 - River Lea and the River Rib in Hertford
On the River Lea they caught a barbel 4lb 4oz on lobworm touch ledgering and
free lining, loads of minnows on 4 white maggots ledgering and on the River
Rib they caught a gudgeon on Bronze maggots ledgering.
Total after Day 4: 13 species
Day 5 - Taylors Lake in Bishops Stortford They were after crucian carp and an
eel but no luck on those fish but managed to catch a bream (4lb) and 5 tench to
Total after Day 5: 15 species
Day 6 was Caroline's Dad's 70th birthday party so after getting in at 2am
on Saturday morning from Taylors, they were up at 7am down on the River
Beane at Waterford and caught species 16 and 17 - A Stone loach and
Bullhead before getting back for 12 noon for the party.
Total after Day 6: 17 species
Sunday, Day 7 - was at Burwell Lode in Cambridgeshire it wasn't as good as
they were hoping but we met a guy up there, Matt Rand, who said he will show
Gary some hot spots for bitterling, ruffe and eels so he's going to go back up
there when he's feeling a bit better as he's got a cold.
They managed to catch a load of small Roach to 10oz, dace and perch though
and a fish that looked like a silver bream but we've got to check this one out - if
not, he's got another definite place - Mill Farm in Sussex, which he has planned
to go to maybe at the weekend - this holds the record for Silver Bream.
Update: Keith Arthur from Talk Sport's Fishermans Blues show at the weekends
has seen the photo and says in his opinion it is a silver bream.
Total after Day 7: 20 species
Day 8 - they caught a stickleback on a pole and maggot on the Beane, Hertford
Total after Day 8: 21 species
Day 9: - Abbey Cross lake in Nazeing, Essex
Wild Carp 9lb (we are asking Keith Arthur to clarify that this is a Wild Carp as
we're only about 90% sure)
Small Mirror of 10lb 4oz - not the best looking or biggest Gary would have liked
to have caught but it's a mirror.
They stopped fishing the lake at about 7.30pm and popped in at River Lea at
Broxbourne on the way back home - caught loads of bleak, new species, which
weren't weighed and other species that they've already got and decided to stay
and give it a go for a Ruffe on the Millstream at Broxbourne - Last cast of the day
produced a Ruffe - they couldn't believe it! (not weighed)
Update: From Keith Arthur: Wild carp are a bit of a figment of the imagination.
There are so many strains of carp around and all 'wild' carp are is stunted
commons; fish that have regressed genetically to the smaller type of carp
imported by monasteries in the dim and distant past.
Any water that has been stocked, and that would mean ALL gravel pits and
most estate lakes, won't have what could realistically be described as wild
carp, as they will have been stocked relatively recently.
I would exclude 'wild carp' from your list, because they are an opinion
rather than a species...in my opinion!
Total after Day 9: 24 species
River Lea at Hertford they a better dace than they had had before (7oz) and one
more species - A 3lb 6oz chub.
Total after Day 10: 25 species
Day 11 - Manor Farm Fishery in Cheshunt, Herts fishing for catfish. They
managed a kitten by 10 o'clock in the morning 1 - 1.5lb!
Sam's grandad, who had arrived in the morning to watch, brought Sam home
about 2pm as he thought he was going down with Gary's cold. Luckily, I don't
think it has materialised (to date!) and Gary fished on as he really wanted to
catch a bigger one. Plenty of carp and tench on luncheon meat, maggots and
worm, float fishing but no takes on the deadbait for the bigger catfish. Eventually
his cold got the better of him and although he wanted to stay the night, he came
home at 10pm reluctantly satisfied that at least he'd caught the species.
Total after Day 11: 26 species
Day 12: Henham Lodge, Essex
The boys had a good day today - amongst other fish they caught a bigger Ghost
Carp so the picture gallery will soon be updated with the new size of 4lb 4oz
7 Ghost carp to 4lb 4oz
1 Bream 2lb 12oz
1 perch 4oz
4 mirror carp
3 common carp
and then Sam caught a 4lb 1oz Sturgeon on luncheon meat float fishing which
was really great as they thought that one could really slip them up!
Carp were caught on a method feeder with brown rig foam popped up as bait.
Total after day 12: 27 Species
Day 13: Day Off - catching up on cleaning tackle and getting ready to go on
Day 14: Tanyard Fisheries, Danehill, East Sussex
We left at 6 in the morning and listened to Keith all the way down and arrived
just as Keith's show ended. Gary and Sam hoped that they would catch a
pumpkinseed fish here - the record for this species was caught there and there
is a photograph in the cafe along with the certificate of its British record in 2003
of 14oz 2dr (at least, I think that's what it was - I didn't make a note of it!)
They caught 4 pumkinseed in all. Small colourful fish but very difficult to hold.
Other new species were Koi carp to 14oz and 5 Crucian Carp to 1lb 15oz.
Dozens and dozens of other fish were caught including roach/bream hybrids to
1lb 6oz and ghost koi mirror hybrids (I'm not sure if we can count these as
species so we'll put them on the gallery up for vote along with the wild carp, for a
bit of fun, and decide at the end of the challenge) but for the moment we won't
count them, they'll be bonuses at the end if voted.
One fish nearly every cast for the whole day from 8am till 7pm gave Roach to
1lb, Tench to 2lb, perch, golden rudd to 8oz, bream to 1lb 13oz, rudd to 14oz
and another ghost carp of 5lb. Gary would like to go back after the challenge to
fish the other lakes to concentrate on bigger fish.
We haven't put the largest on the gallery of each category, just the best photo
that we have of that particular species.
On the way back we passed Beaver Farm fishery and stopped in there for a
couple of hours to try for an eel but no luck.
Total after Day 14: 30 species
Day 15: River Stort, Bishops Stortford, Herts
Unfortunately, Gary and Sam were after that elusive eel again but no luck again.
Duplicate species of chub and a number of perch. So no new species today.
Total after Day 15: still 30 species
Day 16: Burwell Lode, Norfolk
Last week, we met Matt Rand when we were after bitterling in Norfolk who said
that he could put us on to some if we came back. So today was a return to the
broads. Matt has been busy this week writing an article that is going to be in the
October edition of Coarse Fisherman.
The boys had a good day and caught about 7 bitterling in all. They weren't
weighed as they are so small. They are distinctive as they have a blue line
down their side.
Then it was on to another water for that eel that is proving so difficult where they
caught lots of large rudd with Matt. The eel still wasn't a success but they
improved weights on rudd - the biggest being 1lb 8oz and others going to 1 lb
4oz and 14oz.
Also another hybrid - a roach/rudd
Other species caught today were perch to 14oz and roach
We'd like to thank Matt for his help and the boys look forward to meeting him
Total after Day 16: 31 species
Days 17, 18 & 19: Elphicks Fishery, Kent
The first overnight stays started this Wednesday on Elphicks Fishery in Kent.
Talking to regulars as they got their ticket, they were told that if they surfaced
fished, one in six carp would probably be a grass carp which was what they
were after. Anyway, they really fished hard and 28 hours in had caught around
25 carp between 5-10lb 7oz and still not caught a grass carp.
At 5.30pm on Thursday, wanting to coming home that evening, they realised
they would have to pack up soon, but Gary made a decision to stay another
night. He went back to the lodge and bought another ticket. After returning to the
swim he hooked another fish which turned out to be a Grass Carp which they
landed in the net - they both jumped about with joy. Gary said "keep it covered
in the net while I sort the camera out" which they had done hundreds of times
over the last few years. Whilst he was getting the camera he heard Sam shout
out "Dad! Dad!" - he looked around and saw the shocked look on Sam's face.
Sam said "it's jumped out of the net!" (Sam had opened the net to look at the fish
and as the water was inches deep underneath it, the fish had jumped and got
over the top and was gone).
They were both absolutely gutted as they'd fished so hard. Sam was allowed to
say his first ever swear word in front of his Dad and Gary pulled out the
remaining hair on his head.
The grass carp was about 6-7lb and was Gary's first ever. What was so
annoying for them was that Gary thought that they would be able to go home
now but suddenly another night was definite for a photograph of one.
They both said that they were jumping around so happy one minute then
literally, the next, they were in the depths of despair!
The following day the weather changed for the worst and it rained all day - not
good for surface fishing for the grass carp. They did manage to catch over 15
more carp, some off the surface and some on boilies but still no grass carp. Sam
then decided to do a bit of float fishing in the rain and to Gary's surprise started
to catch lots of baby grass carp - SO IT'S NOT WHAT THEY WANTED FOR A
PHOTOGRAPH BUT IT IS THE SPECIES AND THEY'LL JUST HAVE TO HOPE
THAT PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE THEM ABOUT THE 6-7LB ONE (Species 32)
During their time on Elphicks they managed to achieve another 5 species on
this water which included: Golden Tench to 1lb 3oz, a blue tench of 2lb 4oz, a
blue orfe that wasn't weighed, already noted green tench, common bream, silver
bream and roach (all floatfishing maggots and maggot/sweetcorn cocktail) plus
a linear carp of 8lb 15oz on floating pellet and an F1 of 4lb 5oz (verified by Keith
Arthur and caught by fly fishing). All other carp were taken surface fishing with a
controller on a carp rod or fly fishing, about 5 or 6 were taken on boilies on the
bottom. This takes their total to 37 without the wild carp.
They also had ghost koi linear of 6lb 8oz and a bigger ghost koi mirror of 10lb
11oz which we're putting on the 'iffy' collection of the gallery.
Total after day 19: 37 species (not including wild carp or hybrids)
Day 20: Today, Saturday was spent cleaning and preparing tackle and packing
ready to go to Wales tomorrow.
Day 21: After talking to Keith Arthur on the radio we packed the car and headed
off for Pembrokeshire. We arrived about 6pm and went to look at Ian Heaps
fishery at Holgan Farm that the boys were to fish the next day.
Ian was fantastic! What a great guy! He said that they would definitely get a few
species there and he wasn't wrong...
Day 22: Ian Heaps/Holgan Farm Fishery, Pembrokeshire
Arrived at Holgan Farm. Ian let them fish for free which we thank him for and in
return would like to say what a great place Holgan Farm Fishery is and the boys
thoroughly recommend it for a great days fishing.
Ian recommended chopped worm fished close to the margins for their elusive
eel and within a couple of hours the boys had caught 4 small bootlace eels.
(Hooray, finally! = 38 species)
Shortly after, Sam caught a beautiful goldfish on chopped worm of 1lb 3oz and
minutes later Gary caught a bigger one of 1lb 6oz but not as pretty. (39 species)
Other species they caught were some really nice crucians to 1lb 5oz, dozens of
bream, roach and Common Carp to 10lb 3oz all float fishing with chopped
Then they fished Holgan Brook which runs alongside the fishery and Sam
caught a Brook Trout approximately 4-5oz, their 40th species.
They then tried to catch a Golden Orfe but were unsuccessful. Gary then
said that he would fish the Eastern Cleddau River for the last hour of the day
which the brook runs into along the bottom of the fishery whilst Caroline put the
barbie on. On with the chest waders, Gary wandered along the river with a
spinning rod and within 20 minutes he returned - he had caught a Sea Trout,
verified by Keith Arthur, as we were a bit uncertain whether it may be a salmon.
Total after Day 22: 41 species
Day 23: Holgan Farm Fishery again. Target the Golden Orfe.
Today, we were in for a good day with plenty of Champagne Goldfish to
1lb 12oz, Crucians to 1lb 14oz, Tench and a few Common Carp, Sam caught a
lovely common that weighed in at 9lb on float fished single caster.
Eventually, at 2.30pm things were looking tight - they still hadn't caught their
Golden Orfe. Then Ian came over to see how they were getting on and as he
walked away Gary caught the first of 9 Golden Orfe that afternoon taking their
total to 42 species. The biggest of which was 2lb 8oz.
After thanking Ian for a great couple of days, that evening we set off for Tintern in
Monmouthshire where we were to fish Bigsweir Fishery the next day for Salmon.
We only just managed to get into the Wye Valley Hotel at 10pm.
Total after Day 23: 42 species.
Day 24: Bigsweir Fishery, Llandogo, Monmouthshire.
We were met by Charles Hopkinson in the pouring rain at 8.30am along with a
couple of other Salmon fishermen - Bryan James, an Advanced Professional
Game Angling Instructor and Kelvin who were all extremely helpful. Even
though it was raining it was such a beautiful place and the old station, which
was the fishing hut, was so welcoming with its roaring fire with mounted fish, big
armchairs and kettle on the stove - it had real character. It was a real privilege to
fish this Estate and we thank Charles for letting us fish for free for the charity.
We fished two parts (beats) of the river - morning and afternoon. In the morning
the rain was horizontal but within 20 minutes Gary hooked into something a little
strange. Not the Salmon that they were after, but a Flounder caught on a flying
C! We looked it up in the Freshwater Species book which explained that these
fish live for 4 or 5 years in freshwater and we were about 8 miles from the sea -
so it became our 43rd species! - not even on our list!
In the afternoon the sun came out but no luck with the Salmon. We saw plenty of
them but they weren't interested. We knew this was a tall order.
One extraordinary thing that we encountered whilst fishing was, Gary saw, what
he thought was an otter swimming across the River Wye so he ran up the bank
to meet it when it climbed out the water but he was surprised to see it was a
squirrel. A couple of minutes later he saw another one do exactly the same
Total after Day 24: 43 species
Talking to Bryan James, he recommended a fishery a couple of villages on that
we might be succesful with Golden Trout and Blue Trout so it was back to the
Wye Valley Hotel to check in for another night. We must say that this hotel was
really good. Sue and Barry Cooke were really friendly and the food and
accommodation were excellent and they were very kind to donate to the charity.
Day 25: Bigwell Fly Fishing, Redbrook, Monmouthshire
We arrived in the morning and were met by Colin, the owner of the fishery. Gary
and Sam really enjoyed the fishing here as the water is spring fed and crystal
clear which made for a great stalking for the trout they were after.
Colin was great and kept us stocked up with coffees and teas and donated the
fishing for free for the charity - Thanks, Colin!
By 2pm they had caught both Golden Trout (3lb) and Blue Trout (6lb 11oz). Both
caught stalking. We also caught 2 Rainbows.
Total after Day 25: 45 species
In the afternoon we drove to the tackle shop in Ross on Wye to ask for more
information about local fishing where we met Steve Jackson who overheard us.
He told us that he did a lot of charity work too. If we remember rightly, he said he
had won Fishermania about 3 years ago and had come 2nd this year too.
He mentioned that he had had an illustration done of some famous fisherman
including signatures of Ian Heaps, Ivan Marks, Bob Nudd and our own Keith
Arthur! He very kindly gave us a limited edition print to put up for auction which
we will be doing when we get ourselves sorted. Thanks Steve!
Day 26: Driving for 6 hours(!) up the A5 behind caravans to Llanberis in
Unfortunately, Gary and Sam were hoping to fish this afternoon and evening but
we arrived so late we had to find accommodation and it proved very time
consuming being the start of the Bank Holiday Weekend. So no fishing today.
What we did do, was find the name of the local fishery officer for Llyn Padarn,
Huw Hughes, who Gary rang and he kindly offered to meet us the following day
and take us out for the afternoon on the lake for Char. Huw explained the Char
fishing had been very poor but was still optimistic.
Total after day 26: Still 45 species
Day 27: Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, Caernafonshire.
We set off in Huw's boat trolling spinners deep down all afternoon without a bite.
Around 4pm we started catching the odd Brown Trout. We ended up with 4
brownies but unfortunately, no char. Even though we didn't catch a Char it was a
lovely afternoon and really interesting chatting to Huw and we thank him for
everything he did for us. Unfortunately, he would have liked to have taken us the
following day but had a previous engagement.
After talking to Huw, Gary felt he had gathered enough information for the Char
and decided to take a rowing boat out the following day by themselves.
But first we had another challenge - to find Bank Holiday accommodation for
that night as we were going to fish Llyn Padarn another day.
After searching through many B&B's which were all fully occupied, we were
starting to give up hope, when we stumbled across a converted church on our
way to Betws y Coed - St Curigs Church. What a find this was! Alice, the owner,
showed us round and we couldn't believe our luck - she had one spare room.
We took it immediately. It was beautiful! - A fantastic renovation project which
was so luxurious and which we learned from Alice the next morning was her
subject in her column in the Homes section of the Sunday Times and
We would like to thank Alice for her donation to the charity and would love to
come back one day and try out the hot tub as we didn't have time.
Total after Day 27: 45 species
Day 28. Last Day: Llyn Padarn, Llanberis.
This morning, the wind had really got up and was completely different to the
calm day before. On the way there, Gary honestly thought they wouldn't be able
to fish. Even though it was blowing, Gary still felt it was safe enough to take a
rowing boat out. There are no proper fishing boats, as such, on the lake but
there are a few pleasure rowing boats which can be hired out on a half hourly
Gary asked if they could give him a deal as it would have been too expensive
for the day otherwise. Padarn boats very kindly agreed and gave a donation too.
We would like to thank Padarn boats.
We set off trolling spinners in the areas we had fished the day before and after
half an hour Sam hooked into a fish. Whilst Gary steadied the boat with the oars
in the wind Sam reeled the fish in. As it got to the boat Gary noticed it was
definitely a Char and felt truly relieved. As Sam dragged it within inches of the
net it shook free of the hook and got away. Disaster!
Gary was still confident after that that they could get another and carried on
fishing but the wind was getting worse. After rowing non stop all day like a mad
man, Sam had finally had enough of the wind and went to sit in the car with
Mum. Gary wouldn't give up and carried on for another couple of hours until the
boats had to come in.
He had one more bite which he missed as he couldn't let go of the oars and
grab the rod quick enough. But he did manage to get a handful of blisters.
To be so close to 46 species was a bit upsetting for Gary as he really wanted
badly to catch the Char - but happy they had done 45 species (not including
wild carp or extras) we set off for home at around 6pm and finally rolled into bed
Total after 28 days: 45 species
We would like to thank everybody for all their help and donations. Gary and
Sam will write some more comments when they are more sorted and not so tired
so please keep looking on the reports page.
We will let you know the final total raised for the charity and any stories that
come from the Challenge in the future (ie. what we are doing with the limited
edition illustration that was donated by Steve Jackson for the charity). We would
like to keep this website open and would love to add to it as time goes on as
Gary and Sam would like to do something similar at a later date. There is so
much they want to say but they are so tired at the moment. Please keep looking
as I know they want to sort through more photos and post them on here too.
Thanks to everyone again - it has been a fantastic experience and a real