Author Archives: stephenmdavis571

About stephenmdavis571

.For those of you who don’t know me, here goes: When I was 14-years-old, I fished my first senior match on the river Lea in 1971. It was run by Dave Hemmings and included in the field were great anglers such as Dickie Carr, Ade Scutt, and Dennis Lipscombe. I was fortunate enough to finish 2nd, as much a shock to me and my pal as to the rest of the field. I went on to have a long and successful time, fishing for some of the best match-teams in the south east of England. My most enjoyable times were while fishing for Browns-Barclays, with the likes of Kevin Stack, Mork (hoyeboy) Hoye, Ian Copeland, Tom Legge, Rob Bishop, Stu Redman, the list goes on. As a group of young unknowns, we took the match scene by storm. Rate This 0 0 Having achieved all I had hoped for, in 1994, I turned to my true love, fishing for specimen fish. My main quarry was Big Bream. I have had some remarkable fish, including two over 19lb, a 19lb4oz fish coming on a cold January morning, when the record still stood at 19lb10oz. Interestingly, most of my biggest Bream have been captured during the coldest months. Around 2000, I turned my attention to big Tench, with the Bream never far from my thoughts. Again, I have had some remarkable fish, including several double figure fish. A close friend once said that I would evolve into a Carp angler, and he wasn’t wrong. Increasingly, since 2000, my attention turned more towards Carp. At certain times of the year, my thoughts again return to Bream and Tench, however, I find a good balance between the three. As for my writing, I started seriously around 10 years ago. Aside from my angling blurbs, I also have a novel published... Here is a link There are also extracts from my novel on this blog... Hope you enjoy all SteveD

There’s another side to my writing and here’s a link…


Some of you may know that I am a published author.  I realise that you are here to read about my angling exploits, and my novels may not be of interest to you.  However, when you’re stuck for a gift for someone close, perhaps this will tick the box.

The genre for my novels is perhaps best described as YA for Adults/Time Travel Fantasy.  If you have ever wondered if we may inherit memory along with eye colour, then these books will be right up your street.  Rather than me telling you how well received my books are – obviously I am biased – below I have added a couple of the latest reviews.

I might add that an angling diary/novel is on its final edit.

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Unexpected Alton

I have learnt – very quickly – with a venue the size of Alton, to expect the unexpected, and so it proved.  I was back on Sunday for a 36-hour – two-night session, in the swim I mentioned last week.  As I was setting up, I was convinced I was in a perfect Tench swim, and boy was I wrong haha.


Having marked up, I had two chosen areas.  The first one and main line of attack, was down the middle on a nice soft sandy bottom, with a depth of 6 ½ foot, sloping away to 7 ½ foot a rod length further out.  The second area was to my left, right into the bay near some small lilies and the roots of a fallen tree.  I increased my initial feed from last week and put ten spods in the middle and 6 by the lilies.  I had my rods out by 4pm, sat back, kettle on.  Soon after Steve and Graham turned up for a coffee and chat – Graham said it’s nice having a cafe on the bank haha.


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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Unexpected Alton


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Alton Tench – new species – new area


I have had more than my fair share of bream over the last few weeks, and decided on a change in tactics.  I had heard rumours – some solid and some not so – of some decent Tench being caught from Alton.  At best, the information was sketchy, although I had heard enough to focus some attention.  Having previously fished so often in deep open water for the Bream, my chance of seeing much in the way of Tench had been limited.  I was starting from scratch, something I prefer, not being a fan of preconceived ideas.

There was another reason for wanting to have a go at the tench, and that was to try out my new Kodex Specialist rods haha.  I had already switched over to their amazingly sharp hooks, and hook-length material a few weeks back.  I have been more than happy with both products, to the point where I am now actually recommending their gear in the shop.  Those of you, who know me, know I only ever recommend something I have used successfully.


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Alton Bream Madness

Having spent the last three months at Lemons Hill, I decided it was time for a move.  There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, my sessions at Lemons had become a little predictable.  Secondly, I’d had my radar on Birchwood for a while having walked it a few times.


I guess, I best explain predictable so as not to sound arrogant.  I believe, because Lemons is shallow by comparison with the rest of the reservoir – 10-14 feet – the bream, carp and tench are largely nocturnal.  With the nights so short, I’d found myself sitting during 48-hour sessions for long bite-less periods.  Yeah, for sure, I had some great fish, and in particular, large Bream, the size I had targeted.  However, all my decent fish had fallen during darkness.  There is only so much time you can spend playing games on your phone.

Birchwood Bay, for those of you, who don’t know it, is a large bay – around 10 acres – that opens out directly in the middle of this 340-acre venue.  Last week, during that heat wave, I had a walk around with a marker float checking depths.  On the left-hand side as the bay opens out into the main part of the reservoir, I’d found a consistent 21 to 25 feet of water.  From my previous sessions elsewhere, I was confident the fish here would be day-feeders.  It also helped that I spotted a couple of decent Bream role with the sun at it highest.


The wind did eventually drop

I arrived, as usual Sunday afternoon, and had a walk around checking depths in various swims with a little more detail than last week.  It wasn’t long before I found what I believed to be the perfect area.  It was a nice comfortable swim, with big trees either side, which would shelter me from the 15-20mph winds.  The depth at 14-rod-lengths (56-yards) was 21-foot-6-inches, gradually sloping away on a smooth sandy bottom to around 23-foot at 16-rods (64-yards).  The abyss, as I call it – where the depths drop to in excess of 40 feet – was around 120 yards out.  To my mind, it was perfect bream territory, and boy was I right.

On a venue of this size, the wind is exaggerated and can be a real problem if it is blowing straight at you.  As a side note, it is also worth considering the impact the wind will have on your baiting and casting.

While marking up, I’d seen a fair few fish role at around 100 yards, and was feeling optimistic.  I knew, however, that I would need a decent amount of feed, firstly, to draw the fish in and secondly, hold them there.

The reason, I chose to fish 40-yards away from what appeared to be a big shoal, was because I had recently discovered that the bigger specimens would leave the main shoal, and give you an increased chance of a proper sized example.

Before mixing up all my ground-bait balls, and considering the crosswind, which was blowing from left to right, I tried a couple of testers to see which size would hit my marker float comfortably.  Having sorted that, I mixed up 80 two-inch (50mm) balls of ground bait, which was around 3 kilos in total.


This is around 20 of the 80 that went out…

It was 6pm by the time I’d cast out.  I had barely started setting up my bed, bivvy, etc and had my first indication on a boilie rod.  I was again using the Nash Key Cray, which was a bait that had proven very successful at Lemons Hill, having spent months trying to establish a boilie that the fish would take naturally.  So I was delighted this appeared to be working here, all-be—it early doors.  The second rod was on Maize and the third on corn, both proven reasonably successful.


I continued setting up, and the boilie rod indicator slammed to the top.  A couple of minutes later and the fish had come free over some weed that went out about 20 meters.  I recast, and made a cup of coffee, which always works, and so it proved.  The same rod slammed to the top again – and this time mindful of the weed – I was soon slipping the net under a good conditioned, reasonably sized 8lb bream.

KCray2 (1)

Now, if I was to go through the details of every fish, I’d had, this article would end up like a novel, suffice to say, within two hours, I was only using two rods.  By 7am Tuesday morning, I had slipped the net under 54 bream between 7lb and 9lb with a couple just over the magical 10lb mark.  I estimate, that in 36 hours, I’d had, 20 minutes sleep and over 400lb of fish.  By anyone’s standard, that’s a red-letter session.

Here are just a few, after all, how many photo’s can you take on a phone haha…  You will see, all shapes, sizes, and age.

4 bream


I used in total, 2 kilos of white crumb, plus the same amount of brown.  In addition, I added 2 kilos of sweet corn, 1 of maize, 1 of 4mm trout pellet, 1 of 2mm light-oil pellet.  I also added a kilo of crumbed Key Cray plus a kilo of Key Cray powder and a kilo of scopex pellet.  Twelve kilos in total, which is a lot of bait, but accounted for a lot of fish.

As a side note, I used the new Kodex GenomicMGP wide gape size 10 hooks tied to their supper soft hook-length braid and have to say, they proved brilliant. In fact, the hooks are so sharp, it is hard not to spike yourself while tying your rigs.


So, if you fancy filling your boots with some quality Bream, then get yourself over there.

Here’s link for ticket details.

As always, my intention is to encourage you to get out and enjoy all that Alton and fishing in general has to offer.  Go-Catch SteveD


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Carp – A change of mind

Many DVDs, books, articles, and individuals will have you believe there is only one way to fish for carp.  That concept runs from the rods you use, through to the way you bait up for them.  This often includes ludicrously expensive rods, and shed-loads of boilies.  Now, I am not saying they are wrong, far from it, if it works for you, then happy days.  However, I would suggest there is no go-to rig, method, rod, or baiting campaign that works best for any species.  I want to offer up an alternative way of thinking.


One thing I do know is that on any venue, the fish really don’t care how much you paid for your gear.  Before we had the all singing carbon rods, we were using fibre-glass, cane, split cane and so on.  We still caught big fish.  Izaak Walton wrote 350-years-ago of catching 50lb Italian Commons.  He was using bread-paste mixed with latex and honey and spending days and nights in their pursuit.  We are just reshaping the wheel.

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A return to Hemingford

Having had more than my fair share of fish at Alton, I decided upon a trip back to my beloved Hemingford Grey.


I arrived in the carp park swim at around 4pm on Sunday, ready for a 48-hour session.  I had heard there had been more than the average amount of people fishing it, so checked with Chris the bailiff to see if my fancied swim was free – and it was, which was a surprise considering it was a bank holiday.

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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in A return to Hemingford


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Alton Bream Approach

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked a occasionally about my approach to Alton.  Most questions relate to tackling a venue this size and setting up for the bream.


When you visit a venue the size of Alton for the first time, it can be daunting.  At 340 acres, it can feel and look more like an inland sea. Realistically, this is purely because we are used to fishing lakes smaller than most of the bays, some of which are over 10 acres themselves.  The trick is finding an area you are comfortable with and then fishing just what’s in front of you. Before I go any further, I have found the bream – as you would expect – shoal up in open water. So avoid the bays as tempting as they look.  The entrances to the bigger bays are the only exception to this.

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