Monday, 19 February 2018

A patch of bad luck

Not a lot going on fishing wise this week, 3 days off midweek but as it’s half term I was busy with the kids.

The only times I’ve had the opportunity to get out on the bank the rivers have either been in a state of flood or heavily coloured from local rain. 

Today I had a few hours before work, levels seemed spot on and the colour had been dropping. As soon as I arrived at the river I knew my chances of catching were very low, as the heavy local rain put a lot of colour in the river.

Pike fishing this river is hard going in normal conditions, add some colour and most don’t bother trying. I’ve caught a few when the rivers been in flood before but it’s hard work and most sessions end in a blank. Today was no different, as expected no interest from the few pegs I tried before heading to work.

Unfortunately it’s not just the rivers I’m having bad luck with, a lost bank card, broken boiler, probable speeding ticket and a knackered exhaust all since Friday!

Hopefully my luck changes by Thursday as I’m out again, a local(ish) river if conditions allow, if not a long trip to Lincolnshire to fish a productive drain.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Hard going on a rising river

An off the cuff session with Mick, I was supposed to be heading down to Lincolnshire but due to a lack of sleep and the unfavourable conditions I didn’t fancy the 2.5hr drive. Mick had planned for a chub session but in the end we decided to meet up and chose a new stretch of river to try for the pike.

Only my second visit to this river and a bit of a late start, arriving after 9 to find the river pushing through fast and seemingly up a couple of feet. For the first couple of hours we fished a straight section of river with the downstream wind adding to the fast flow and rising water restricted us to the margins. Snow, loads of rain and howling NW winds drained our confidence so we wound in and went for a look down stream. 

The inside of a large bend seemed more sheltered and the river was slightly slower, definitely looked more promising.

Around midday I had a take on a float paternoster bait, a screaming run but only very lightly hooked, Mick came over to help net the fish, then his rod went.

Mine went 9.02, Mick’s dropped the bait as he picked the rod up.

Occasionally our drop arms would be pulled off by debris coming down and the fast current made it look like a screaming run. We had a dropped run each then I had a take from a small jack, maybe 5lb, again very lightly hooked which saved me the trouble of netting it as it threw the hooks at the net.

I forgot to mention the catch of the day, a frog taken in 15ft of water on a smelt. Not the best photo but it appeared to have tried to take the smelt?!?

Anyway a hard session, but always good fishing a stretch for the first time.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Almost a hat-trick

Another session before work, further downstream than my recent sessions. A stretch that I rarely bother with and only chose due to the easy access.

One rod only on this part of the river, a relatively deep stretch so a simple running lead and deadbait setup.

First cast at 1130hrs and a take less than half an hour later.

10lb 3oz, very pleasing after a few blanks.

A change to a larger bait, 30 minutes with no interest and I decided to slowly wind the bait in to see if anything follows. Something did, I was running out of water so I give the bait a fast pull as it approached the bank and the following fish nailed it. 

For a seceond I thought it was the first fish again, until it powered off and put a good bend in the rod. A really good scrap with the fish staying deep for a lot of it.

18lb 2oz, the best of the season so far.

The fish was carrying some obvious otter damage, fresh wounds down both flanks and half of the adipose fin was missing. I haven’t seen otters this far downstream, but there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be here.

This fish was hooked just in the scissors on the bottom treble, with all three points embedded, a bit of a pain so I cut the barbs and points of to make things easier and the treble fell out.

A quick sort out of the gear before re-casting and I couldn’t find my cutters, I usually carry two pairs, but on a short session like this I try to minimise kit. I couldn’t find them anywhere and I was convinced that I’d left them in the landing net when returning the fish.

The margins are deep here so I couldn’t see anything, pissed off not wanting to recast without having the right kit I spent another 15 mins searching then decided to pack up and go to work early. 

As I was packing away I found them under some vegetation, It must of took me 10 seconds to get the rod out again!

The wind had picked up with some powerful gusts so I had to tighten the drop arm on the back biter, as I like to have them set very lightly to minimise resistance.

10 mins before I had to leave and 2 beeps on the delkim, then nothing, a couple of seconds later, a few more beeps, a nod on the rod tip, then the back biter went. I must of tightened the arm a bit much as I rarely get any indication on the tip, the arm usually drops without any movement on the tip.

As soon as I struck I thought to myself ‘that was a bit early’ and so it was. A low double on the surface, bait and both trebles easily seen, carefully edging it towards the net. As soon as the pike saw the net it rolled and easily threw the hook hold.

I tried another last cast but it was to no avail and I ended up late for work..... never mind.

Hopefully I can get out again ASAP, before any snowmelt makes it into the river and kills the fishing.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A quick one

A quick hour before work, the river levels seemed fine but I couldn’t be sure about the colour so I grabbed the chub gear instead of the pike gear.

1.25lb Avon, 3oz tip, 5lb hypersensor straight through to a size 8 bread and cheese paste for bait.

The river looked great for this time of year but it was pushing through fast, which didn’t really matter that much as I was fishing the near bank margins. 3 pegs fished, 20 mins in each without a touch. Never mind, I don’t expect to catch on short off the cuff sessions like this, on the odd occasion I bank something I class it as a bonus.

Chub rods

I purchased an original Drennan medium feeder (a bargain at £25) for my chub fishing this winter, the main reason being you can store spare tips in the butt section of the rod. I’ve found fishing as light a tip as conditions allow a massive help when winter chub fishing. 

During a chub session on the final day of last season, on a different river but similar tactics, using a 2oz tip I was getting very delicate bites, very difficult to see and not something I would of usually struck at when chub fishing. However I did strike at one of them and it was a good chub. I went on to land 3 on that final session including a river best, would I of even seen the bites with a heavier tip? Probably not, I’m almost certain that if I was fishing with the 1.25lb Avon top (like I always used to whilst chub fishing) the bites wouldn’t of registered on the tip.

That’s where the medium feeder comes into play, one tip on the rod and another 2 in the butt, giving the option of changing tips to suit conditions. I’ve had a few chub on the medium feeder and it’s a lovely rod, lightweight with enough backbone to keep chub away from the snags. The medium feeders only downfall is that it doesn’t break down into equal lengths and is a pain in the arse to store in the back of the car built up, ready to go with a rig on.

I prefer carrying minimal kit whilst chub fishing trying to stay as mobile as possible, carrying a tube with a couple of spare tips doesn’t really fit in with this, maybe I can customise the newer rod to hold spare tips in the butt....

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

First sessions of 2018


My first session of the year, first session for almost a month and a first visit to this river.

The morning didn’t start too well as we couldn’t get access to our chosen stretch and had to head to another one blind.

We needn’t of worried as the fish seemed to be on the feed from the off, Mick lost one and had a dropped run before I’d even cast a bait.

The first fish landed came to my rod though, a nice 12lb 8oz fish to a ledgered smelt.

Mick was up next, a jack taken on a ledgered sardine.

Both fish were covered in leeches, obviously laid up on the bottom during the extended cold spell.

After a couple of hours in the first pegs we moved downstream to a double peg for an hour. I had one rod on the bottom with sea deads and a margin fished live in a float paternoster. Surprisingly the live didn’t get any interest, all interest on baits hard on the bottom, so I reduced the height of the paternoster so the bait could  just get to the river bed.

Shortly after the live was taken.

Smaller this time, unweighted, but definitely welcome.

Mick had another dropped run in the double peg before we moved again. Plenty of appealing pegs on this stretch, deep margins and willow lined banks, spoilt for choice really.

No interest for a good hour in my last peg, a change to a full lamprey cast mid-river and an immediate response from a jack. 20 minutes later the margin live was taken by a similar sized jack.

And that was that, back to the car just as the last light was fading and home 50 minutes later. A good first session back and a good first session on this river. 


A week later conditions were completely different. A few days of below zero temperatures and heavy snow followed by a slight rise in temps. I was struggling to decide on which species to target, chub or pike, the pike usually win and they did this time.

I was hoping to get on the river before any significant snow melt made its way in. Tactics for this short session were trotting baits.

Arriving at the river I could see that I had things wrong, a nice level but pushing through fast and coloured not ideal for trotting baits and as I had minimal gear with me I didn’t have the option of changing tactics. A blank.


A big winter flood carrying warmer water saw reports of a couple of winter barbel showing. The rivers swelled and were well up,16ft higher than usual on some stretches. I went down with Mick the day after the flood had peaked, the river was still up a good 6ft and pushing through fast. 

We didn’t have a great choice of pegs as the flood left the banks covered in slippery silt and we didn’t fancy taking a dip. 

I didn’t get a touch all day, Mick had a bit of interest in the second peg and the tip flew round as we were having a brew.

A small but welcome chub.

That’s things finally upto date, I’m still having problems with photobucket as I’m not willing to them pay $400/year to host my images. There are plenty of free options (google images seems decent) however most of my older posts (2014 and older) still the have photobucket ransom link instead of the intended image.

Catching up with the blog I’ve also realised how incompatible blogger and apple devices (iPhone/iPad) are. Trying to compose a post of a reasonable length is difficult as you can’t scroll up or down on the blogger editor. A limited work around is the app ‘BlogTouch Pro’ it works reasonably well but some functions are limited.

A better work around will be shorter more frequent posts.... 

Monday, 29 January 2018

A brief round up of 2017

Trying to get the blog up to date, so a very brief round up of 2017.


A great start to the year, landing chub and pike regularly, beating both p.b’s

My first ‘5’
A new p.b of 5lb
19lb 2oz, getting closer to that elusive 20!
A 6lb 6oz chub which smashed my previous best
Four nice chub from five casts in less than an hour, caught on the same night as the 6.


No significant captures during February, a struggle compared to the previous month, average chub and jacks was as good as it got.


5 Pike to low doubles, chub to 6lb 3oz from my local, also a new venue best of 5lb from a smaller river.

6lb 3oz chub caught during a pike session on a flooded river

2 of 3 chub caught on the last evening of the season, the largest going just over 5lb, my best from this river.


No fishing ! Plenty of work and a stag do in Lisbon.


Best man duties at Ben’s wedding, a family holiday to Lanzarote and one eel blank.

Half a day trolling, without any interest, which I've found is pretty standard when fishing tourist spots. 

Plenty of small bream species caught whilst bottom fishing

I also had a few different species whilst shore fishing, nothing of size but good fun.


A days holiday for opening day, a single 4lb+ chub for my efforts during a red hot day on a very low river. More chub and a few small barbel towards the end of the month.


A few blanks on short sessions locally and a hectic first trip to the tidal Trent.

A 9lb 4oz fish caught within 10mins of arriving

Two doubles caught in consecutive casts


Back on my local waters with a river p.b barbel of 9lb, then a first visit to the Wye with a short stop over on the Warwickshire Avon.

My best from this river, exactly 9lb.  
One of 8 barbel I landed on the Wye trip


Chasing barbel locally, fish to 7lb, chub to 4lb + and a jack on my first pike outing of the the season.


Another trip to the Trent, a flying visit this time, a 2.5hr drive for only a 12hr session. Targeting barbel locally was becoming more difficult, only one local fish landed during a flood. A nice 12lb pike caught on a short pre-work session, my first double of the season.

Trent doubles

Ben with a solid Trent fish, we both thought it would easily be 13lb but it 'only' went 12.02lb, a couple of ounces short of Ben's p.b

My first double of the season, 12lb from my local river.


A bit of a struggle both for time on the bank and results, a jack, a 3lb (ish) chub and a blank during my 3 sessions this month.


Two sessions in December. A first session on a Lincolnshire river which took 3hrs to get there due to the winter weather. Only two jacks landed, but two locals I had bumped into had both blanked so I classed it as a decent result. I’ll be revisiting again, hopefully before the season ends.

A session on my local river which was full of snow melt (water temp of 0.5°) and a lost fish, maybe a double. I was gutted at the time as I’ve never caught in water that cold.

No fishing over the Xmas period as I was laid up with Aussie flu, then had a wisdom tooth removed, not a great end to the year.

2017 highlights

Barbel - 11lb 1oz
Bream - d.n.w
Chub - 6lb 6oz*
Dace - d.n.w
Eel - 1lb 8oz
Perch - d.n.w
Pike - 19lb 2oz*

* personal best 

A mixed year with some good results at times. Often a struggle to spend as much time on the bank as I would like, I had around 40 sessions but the vast majority of these were short 2/3 hours sessions usually during the least productive times of day (in between school runs!). However I did achieve one of my targets of catching a double figure barbel from a new river, although the Trent is probably the easiest river to catch a double from, it’s still one ticked off the list.

Six pound chub are very rare on my local river, many a dedicated chub angler haven’t seen one, so catching two in a season was great. Large chub are such an impressive fish, they have definitely moved up a few places in my favourite species list. 

Trips to the Trent and Wye were brilliant, plenty of fish, plenty of laughs and plenty of memories, I’ll try and put a post up about these at some point.

Highlight of the year was my p.b pike, 2 double takes in 20 minutes, with last fish being the largest. The best 20 minutes of my angling year.

After recovering from that flu I’ve been out a couple of times this year, hopefully I’ll get the time to put something up before 2019!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Another catch up....

Well another extended period without adding to the blog, lots of reason why, but mainly the usual family and work commitments leaving little time to fish let alone write something on here. Being held to ransom by photobucket also hasn’t helped.

Since my last update I have fished fairly regularly except from the close season when I only had one session. Losing access to a water I had been planning on spending the warmer months eel fishing was  a bit of a blow and I lost enthusiasm for a couple of months. My only session during this time was an eel blank.....

As the river season approached my enthusiasm returned and I was out on the banks as much as time would allow. I spent the summer and early autumn targetting barbel mainly on a local river but with a couple of trips to the Trent and a visit to the Warwickshire Avon and the Wye.

One of my targets for the season was to catch a double figure barbel from a new river, ideally a local river. I caught a decent number of fish locally increasing my river p.b to 9lb, however heading south provided better results. Plenty of fish from the Trent with 17 fish to 11.01lb landed in two trips. A barbel blank on the Warwickshire Avon but a nice session the following day on the Wye made up for that, 8 barbel to 9.01lb and 4 nice chub to around 4lb.

11.01lb tidal Trent 
My largest Wye fish of the trip 9.01lb
A midsummer fish of 9lb from a local river
Pleasingly I managed 4 doubles from my visits to the Trent so one of my targets for the season has been ticked off. My chub and pike targets are still very much a work in progress....

A nice low double from my one of my local rivers
Not a lot to report on either species really, chub to just over 4lb and pike to 12.08lb. Working long hours in the lead upto Christmas, then catching the Aussie flu meant that I didnt wet a line for almost a month. Hopefully things will pick up for the rest of the season....