Trout to Tench to Thornbacks: 45 days of fishing

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Adam S

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Hello All

Quite a long report this, as it covers from the end of may up untill the start of July. So with its lenght and all the pics I wont put it on the "where you fished today" thread since it would slow it down too much, Here goes.

Continuing on from where i left off at the end of my last report:

Eoin and I had been doing quite a bit of trout fishing on our local River liffey, (thats the upper reaches of the stinking river that flows through the city for anyone who has been in Dublin in the summer) and had been doing well by all accounts, averaging 14 fish per session with most fish like this one, about 10ozs or so :

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but with quite a few bigger fish like this 1.5lber thrown in to keep things interesting

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I know its not coarse fishing , but we were fishing in the coarse style using a rolling ledger and fishing maggotts or worms, and loose feeding maggotts. Coming towards the end of may we had a really great session, and in fact caught our highest number of trout in a session ever.

We started fishing at about 5pm, on a lovely warm and humid evening. We began by fishing a pool that we had not previously fished and straiight away were into fish, in fact we had six fish in that pool. This continued all the way downstream and in every spot we fished we had at least 4 trout. By the time we had stopped in the village for a pizza by the river and had a sit down for a while it was beginning to get late, but we decided to head down to the final pool we wanted to fish called the "salmon leap pool", eoin fished while i acted as guide and sprayed in maggotts and netted fish. On his first cast he got a gentle tap on the rod, and then wham!! it was nearly torn from his hand. After a spirited scrap a 1lbs 4oz fish was in the net, and then another on the next cast, then another and another. In all he had seven fish in that pool with the best being this cracking 2lbs 6oz Brownie.

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Our total for the evening was 23, every one was released safely. Since then we have fished it a few more times, but never really hit those heights again, despite catching some good fish.

With plenty of trout under our belts and some nice warm weather about, it was time to put in a concerted effort on the canal for tench. It had been a long time since i had a 6lbs tench from the canal (6lbs being the irish specimen weight) and i had my eyes on a nice swim near maynooth, so i embakarked on my usual prebaiting and raking campaign in order to switch on the tincas.

The results, well they were good without being explosive and we caught at least one tench every session, most fish of a nice stamp, like this 3 pounder.

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Roach,rudd,bream and perch were plentiful, and enough to keep ypu entertained until the tench arrived.
The prebait mix consisted of brown crumb,Sensas black, senasa cloud 3000,hemp,mags,casters and lots of hemp, with ocassionally some pellets.Over this we fished twin 12 foot waggler roda with 4.8lbvs triana diamond flurocarbon hooklenght, size 18 drennan specimen hooks,4bb crystal wagglers and maggots,chopped worm or casters on the hook.(no boilies for us!)


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We fished a couple of night and dawn sessions but generally the fishing was as good in the daytime, and at times during darkness eels were a problem, in one session eoin had this 3lbs snake, and it was one of the fattest eels i have ever seen, lovely!!

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Most sessions were eel free though, and the tench began to respond well, with a couple of 5lbs fish showing up, and finally on the 16th of june i had my first 6 pounder since 2000, this plump female of 6lbs 2oz.

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Some good roach also showed up to float fished casters in the dawn session, none quite hitting the 2lbs mark though, this was the best at 1lbs 13oz.

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Eoin and i had a very odd experience while fishing a night session on the ..th. Waterways Ireland, the semi state body that controls the canal, had in their infinite wisdom(cough!! idiots) drianed a lot of water from the canal in order to work on a lock gate, they sure picked the worst possible time, with fry vunerable in the margins, fish still spawning and reed beds still holding eggs left high and dry by the falling water. Both i and the fisheries board tried to contact them a number of times (15 on my part) but they were unreachable and left the canal as low as 2 feet in the centre in some places where it should have been 5! so frustrating.they left it that way for 9 days.

Anyway eoin and i fished a session just before the draining got to crisis levels, and the water had just begun to go down, it had dropped by about 6 inches, which is not too unusual so we fished on.

The session had been going quite well, and by noghtfall we had had 3 tench and also perch,roach and skimmers. After dark we swithed over to starlights on the top of our floats but nothing much was doing so i reeled in and went over to eoin for a chat and some food. While we were talking i was looking over eoins shoulder at his floats when his left hander shot under, i shouted strike to him and he grabbed his left rod and struck , but nothing!! The float was still under, "its the other rod" he shouted and struck his right hander , but his stationary float popped out of the water toward him, "it was your left hand rod"i said "but the bail arm is off" eoin checked it, but the bail arm was on!! what had happened ??

Well inexplicably his line had snapped between the top of his rod and his rig, it must have been damaged and he never noticed it. Meanwhile with the starlight still on the float and with the water so low we could follow the fish as he plowed along four pegs to out left. I knew there was only one thing we could do, snag him!

so we attached a pike deadbait trace to eoins other rod and began trying to hook the float which had popped back up while the tench had stopped moving, eventually i managed to hook onto the float and as soon as the tench felt the pull he errupted back into life. So this was the scene, 3.30am in the morning , Eoin and I wading along the margins of the canal with a float rig attached to a pike trace snagged onto another float rig with a big tench on the end. It was a good, if unusual fight, but we won it in the end and were pleasantly surprised to find that the tench weighed in at 5lbs 4oz, we sacked her up till dawn and then took this pic.

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That was about the last tench we have caught this year, as the water levels dropped the next day and the tench began to spawn, so we left them to it.

Never mind, it was time for a bit of sea fishing anyway. On the 27th 0f June myself , my father and Eoin headed to Dingle in southwest Ireland for our annual few days of sea fishing. Its always a nice break and a real change from coarse fishing.

With the forecast not too bad we set off on friday morning at 8am for the 6 hour drive to dingle.

Friday,day one:(reenbeg)
Things didnt start too well for us. As we were driving through the centre of dingle we saw some bow waving fish moving up to the mouth of a small river on the incoming tide,mullet, and so we decided to stop for a quick go at them with the maggotts we had brought....only to find that about a pint of the maggotts had escaped in the back of the car (eoins fault hehe), right onto our luggage!!!

We salvaged what we could of the mags and had a quick cast, but the mullet were not keen, as they so often are.Then it was on to our mobile home to unpack and find as many maggotts as we could, in the end we got nearly all of them.We headed out straight away to scout out a mark called reenbeg, but it was a tough hike and full of midges. We spun and fished feathers but all we could manage was some very sore legs, sweaty boots, a lot of midge bites and one small pollock that at least saved the blank. No deterred we decided to return to reenbeg the following day to try for some thornback ray.

Saturday,day two:(reenbeg)
Well basically saturday was only slightly better that friday, again we only managed to get one fish , a small wrasse, but it was too windy for the midges and on the treck back to the car we came across the body of a dead ray, so we at least knew there were some about. From where this one washed up it seemed he might have died somewhere around the entrance to Dingle bay, on the opposite side to reenbeg, thats where we decided to fish on sunday.

Sunday,day 3:(harbour rocks)

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Sunday was more like it and we found ourselves a nice mark at the mouth of the harbour, casting onto patches of sand at about 100 yards, we tackled up with four 12 foot beachcasters and fixed spool reels holding 20lbs line and fished two hook clip down and pulley rigs with size3/0 hooks. Bait was mackerel fillet and sandeel.

First cast and eoin got a positive nod nod bite on his right hand rod, the rod bounced a couple of times and then just hooped over as the clutch began to sing. On the strike it was obvious it was a good fish, and it sure was a good scrap. At times eoin was nearly doing a bridge he leaned back so far and he had to put maximum pressure on to ease, no haul would be more apt, the fish out of a snag, but he got it up eventually and as the fish rolled on the surface we all yelled together "its a ray", and a good ray too a 9lbs 4oz thornback female.

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Next it was my dads turn to hook a fish, but it snagged him up solid and i took the rod . with all my effort i got the fish free and we landed this nine pound conger eel, minus the 6oz lead we had been using.

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My father later got a 7lbs ray and we got two big dogfish too. Monday was the day we had booked a charter session and my brother in law paul had come down for two days with his dad and joined us on the rocks. Paul managed to get a nice rockling his first ever sea fish, and just a taster of what was to come on monday.

we tried a spot of wrasse fishing but had no luck.

Monday,day four:(out of scraggane pier)
We rose early on monday for the one hour drive across the dingle penninsula to scraggane pier, where we met up with out skipper for the day Danny McCarthy and his son Ciaran. Paul and Peter were not too optimistic about our chances, as peter has been on a number of unproductive charters before but i knew of Dannys reputation and the weather looked just right. We left port at 9.30am , just at the start of the slack at low tide and a short while later we were 4 miles off brandon bay in dannys 40 foot custom chater, complete with echo sounder,radar,gps and pretty much eveything you could need for a days angling. Even boat rods and multipliers were included in the cost, although eoin and i had brought along spinning class outfits to fish light for mackerel and pollock with feathers.

First order of business was to catch enough bait for the day, so feather and hokkai rigs were attached to all rods. Danny said that the fishing might not be great during the slack but first drop in and bang, I had two mackerel and a 5lbs pollock.Eoins first cast and three mackerel, then four, then my dad had a five up and so it continued for two hours with every single cast producing mackerel and pollock.

Some of the pollock were big too,Peter especially had a knack for the pollock and had many up to 11lbs.
This is one of them.

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and heres one of my fish, probably about 10lbs.

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Everyone was enjoying great fishing, except poor eoin who got sea sick and puked 4 times,hehe.

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But he still mamaged the only pout of the day, a nice 2 pounder.As we fished on Danny and Ciaran began getting the rubby dubby ready, which is basically mackerel mush. All the mackerel (and the guts of the pollock) are mushed up and jammed into a rubby tube, which is a giant blockend feeder, the tube is then lowered on a rope and the tide sends out a slick that Bull huss,spurdgos,tope and blue sharks home in on.It ceratinly worked because just minutes after the tube was lowered peter had a spur dogshark on baited feathers of all things. This was the sign for all of us to switch to bottom rods and mackerel fillets to try for spurs,huss and dogs.

I lobbed out an 8oz running ledger rig with a whole mackerel side on it and after 15 minutes i got a slow but steady run.I struck annd gained a little line but then the fish made a crash dive for the bottom, ripping line off the multiplier. It was a great scrap and i was sure i was connnected to a tope, after 3 more diving runs i began to gain some line and pump the fish up, slowly we could see the shape of a shark rise up through the crystal clear water.."its a small tope" i said "not that small" Danny replied " thats not a tope" i said as it came nearer the top "bloody hell its a big spur" and it was too, 15lbs 4oz a specimen and my first ever spur dog.

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and so it continued with everyone getting spurs of between 3 to ten pounds while Peter got a 20lbs+ ling that just dropped of at the boat as his swivel bent out.

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, even eoin got this nine pounder between bouts of vomitting.

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after about 15 fish things started to slow and Danny suggested a move to a mark where we had a chance of a Bull huss. First cast and after a great scarp Paul landed this 11.5lbs huss, his first ever double figure fish. The fish led him a merry dnace and ripped off line, got him under the boat and snagged but he eventually got him, and deserved it too.

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All in all a brilliant day, during which we had somewhere around 200 mackerel and enough to do us for bait and food for the week.35 pollock between 3 and 11.5lbs, one ling,one pout,15 spurs to over 15lbs and one huss.

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If anyone is around the kerry area i can wholeheartedly recommend Danny for a charter, a full days fishing costs just over 35 sterling per person based on an 8 person charter including rod hire and considering that the boat is fully equipped with echo sounder,radar,gps,toliets,tea and coffee making facilities ,a stove and all the fish its just brilliant value.And you wont meet a nicer Crew than Danny and Ciaran.

If anyone wants his e-mail or phone number contact me and i would be hapy to pass it on.

Tuesday.day 5 (harbour rocks)
On tuesday it was back to the harbour rocks to try a slightly different mark for ray and hopefully wrasse.
The ray fishing was slightly slower, but i did get my first one, this 6lbs male

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We also had one mackerel that grabbed a big lump of mackerel side on a size 3/0 pennel rig.With the ray fishing being a bit slow my father and i went spinning and float fishing with hardback crabs for wrasse.My dad had a couple of small pollack on the spinner and then went back to the ray fishing while i went exploring for wrasse.

i wandered off along the rocks and finally found a lovely deep gulley and flicked a live hardback crab on a float rig into the mouth of the gulley. First cast and i was just talking to eoin on the walkie talkies telling him what a nice spot i had found when i looked over and the float (a 40gram drennan zeppler) dived under , i struck and a powerful wrasse dived for the bottom . With my pike rod doublrd over i hung on and called into the walkie "big wrasse on" the fight lasted about 3 minutes and by the time i was winning it eoin had come running along the rocks to help me land it. After a last couple of kicks the fish came to the surface and....my lovely wrasse had turned into a huge pollack, on a crab of all things.

I got it in and left it to rest in a rock pool while i ran to get the scales and camera, i thought the pollock might go 10lbs and be my first double figure shore fish, but no just short at 9lbs 6oz, but still a great pollock for the shore.

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In the evening we went for a short night fishing session to trabeg strand where we had four doggies on sandeel ,we were hoping for a turbot but it wasnt to be.

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it was a nice day and i was thrilled with the pollock,still no wrasse though.

Wednesday,day 6 (minard and beenbane)
Wednesday was the day of the doggies. Firstly we went to minard and fished off the rocks onto a sandy bottom and had doggies from the off on sandeel and mackerel, including these 3 caught virtually at the same time on 3 different rods.

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In a bid to catch a bass or a flounder my father went plugging while i bottom fished with lugworm. The result..no fish on the plug and this double shot of dogs on the lug!

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In the evening we went to the beenbane rocks to float fish for wrasse and bottom fish for conger, what we got was more doggies and had 14 for the day in total, which was good, i like doggies.

Still no wrasse!

Thursday,day 7 (smerwick,dingle)

In an all out bid to finally get a good wrasse we went to float fish the rocks at smerwick harbour with crab baits, i banged out a bottom bait for conger but it was to snaggy and even the pulley rigs were not working.

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But my dad had a couple more pollock on the spinner and then we started getting bites on the float rods. Wrasse can be tricky at times and for a while we couldnt hit the bites. We were reeling in half crabs,crab legs and empty hooks, but no fish. Eoin rebaited and went to cast out again, just as he did i shouted to him "eoin i can smell the wrasse" , thirty seconds he was in and after a great tussle (wrasse are great fighters and dive straight for the bottom, even a 3lbs fish will give you a great scrap on pike of carp class gear) he landed our first proper wrasse of the trip and we were all thrilled, as you can see

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after that we began to hit a few and we had this double catch

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as well as this lovely 4.5lbs fish for eoin, just short of the specimen weight of 4.75lbs,

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as you can see there is a great difference in colouration among wrasse and they are lovely fish, "rock tench" as eoin and i call them.

That night we had a night session in dingle marina right in the centre of the town for congers. Despite plenty of bites we just couldnt connect with a fish, until my last cast when i reeled in a pug ugly little strap conger to again save the blank.



Friday,day 8 (harbour rocks):

On friday it was again back to the harbour rocks for some more ray. Eoin was too tired to fish so my father and i fished, first cast and my father hit into this ray on his light surf rod. It battled al the way to the bank and gave him a great scrap on the light gear, it weighed in at 9lbs 6oz.

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The ray fed really well and on my second cast i had a screaming take and landed thie 6lbs male thornback

Here he is being played

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and having been landed

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I had a further two ray in the next two hours, plus a four pound pollock. After catching the pollock and rebaitng i went to bang out a long cast but lost my balance and landed hard on the barnacle covered rocks and sliced my hands up a bit, but i held onto the cast and got it away, good job too as 10 minutes later i hit into what felt like a good fish . It was, a 10lbs 1oz thornie , and my first double figure sea fish from the shore.

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My cuts stung like hell though as every time i went to bait up the mackerel juices kept running into them, ouch!

Me and eoin spent the low tide period collecting a bucketful of crabs, and hoped to use them the following day.

Saturday,day 9 (smerwick):

For our last quick session Eoin and I headed back to the rocks at smerwick for a last go at the wrasse, but i think my dad had his fill of sea fishing so while Eoin and i headed off on the cliff walk to our mark, he decided to spin the river mouth at feohanagh for sea trout.

Due to time constraints, as we had to leave by 4 for the long drive home, when we got to our mark it was almost low tide, and where we had caught the wrasse the other day had shallowed right up, and was continuing to drop as we fished.

The wrasse were still there though, although it was so shallow we lost a lot as they dived for the bottom when hooked. Wrasse are good fighters and even a 3lbs fish gives a good scrap on pike or carp class gear.I managed to eventually land a couple, including this dark 3 pounder( the blue glove is to stop crab juices from running into my cuts).

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for the most part though it was too shallow, and we must have lost 7 fish between us so we moved on to a mark we had spotted on thursday.

We called this spot "the precipice", as you had to walk along a ledge that dropped 50 feet down onto rocks to reach it. But it was not too difficult and once you were down it was a lovely spot , with a 15 feet deep gulley running between two reefs of rock, perfect for wrasse, or "rock tench" .

The wrasse around here feed heavily on small mussels, evident from their droppings, so to attract fish and hold them i was spraying casters covered in fish oil in between the reefs. It seemed to work as we were into wrasse after just a few minutes and the sun came out and turned the water a brilliant blue, lovely!

We had both caught a couple of fish and then eoin hit into a nice fish that scrapped well

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, it was a plump wrasse and shone beautifully in the warm sun.

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We lost a few fish too but were catching well. My orange tooped pike float sat bobbing in the waves between the reefs and then, whoosh! in a split second it vanished and i struck into solid resistance, then the clutch sang as a big wrasse dived for the deck. I managed to stop him however and after a short but explosive fight a beautiful orange and gold bellied wrasse surfaced and i was able to scoop him up.He was a broad and deep fish and weighed 5lbs and one half ounce, i was over the moon and felt that at last this was the fish i had come here for.

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All in all that day we had eight fish, and lost as many again, at least, As eoin and i hiked bacl along the cliffs to the car to begin the drive back to kildare my father landed a sparkling sea trout at the river mouth. It was the perfect end to a great week and we got back to the car tired,cut,aching but very happy.

Hope you enjoyed the report
ADAM



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Lid

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Great report Adam and some lovely fish. Thanks.

Lid [:)]
 
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MALC

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Adam a cracking read and shows what fishing is all about

ENJOYMENT

You may leave a bit of time between your reports but they are worth the wait

Well done.

[:)][:)]


MALC
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G

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Adam, fantastic mate, superb report.

Got my old sea legs all a quiver mate.

Cracking fish one and all.

The wrasse mark, sounds like the one i used to fish on the east coast, the harder to get to the mark the better stamp of fish IMHO.




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Andy,
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Apache

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Well done mate, theres some fish to be proud of there.

....................................
Tight Lines,

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Peter

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A cracking report as always Adam.
They may be few and far between,but are always worth waiting for.[:D][;)]


Peter.
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goin_fishin

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bloody ace report adam.....nice pixs... to..... got me into thinking of sea fishin

Regards Gf
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Adam S

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cheers all

peter , i know im slow! [:D] gotta get me a digicam, all this scanning is killing me

andy you would love dingle, marks everywhere, few anglers and lots of fish.
Has everything from charters to storm beaches,strands,rocks its cool. Tope,skate blue shark you should give it a go (never mind those horrible bream )

Forget to mention one thing in my report, while we were on the boat with danny I was asking him hw the tuna charters were getting on "we sometimes get small albacore tuna here' he said, now that would have been nice.

An hour later my dad screams 'im in' and bends his rod double a few minute later he sreams 'effing hell its s tuna' so we all legged it over and he hauls in a can of tuna tied to his rig!! b****ard i cant believe i fell for that one[:D]

and lastly dannys e mail is;

dubinkerry@eircom.net

see yall
adam

http://groups.msn.com/ADAMSALBUM79

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Dave

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Absolutely an excellent read Adam, nice one [:D]

and if you don't mind I'll copy it into the 'Been Fishing' section of the site and a page of it's own

Dave
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