Monday, 30 April 2018

First of the season

April passed by without wetting a line, still busy though, cleaning gear from last season, sorting tackle, servicing reels and recceing waters for the coming season.

An old battle with the mice has recommenced, after my neighbour moved and took their cats with them! Hopefully I can keep on top of them without having to get a cat as I don't think the dog will be too pleased.

14mm halibut pellet did the trick


Having joined a new club with a vast number of waters under their control, I've been putting the time in this closed season walking the banks, gaining some good info on these new stretches with a Deeper fish finder.

I've carried out detailed recces on 5 new stretches and also a familiar stretch I've never had any success on. I'm hoping these recces will help with my chub, barbel and pike targets this coming season.

I'm also thinking about joining a club that has access to a few Lincolnshire drains and some water on the tidal Trent. I haven't made my mind up yet, the club is reasonably priced so even if I do join and only fish a few times it will save some day ticket money when I have the odd trip away from my local waters.

Saturday, 7 April 2018


This time of year is usually very quiet in terms of actually getting on the bank and this year is no different.

Water temps are still very low up here so there’s no point in trying for eels, tench or any other species I tend to fish for in the spring. Working plenty and busy with the kids over Easter so I don’t have much spare time anyway.

I haven’t got any real plans for the close season, maybe the odd night for the eels or trying to up my perch p.b I’m still undecided.....

I will be spending some time walking the river banks, carrying out recces for future sessions. I changed one of my clubs this year so have access to a lot of water I have never visited yet, over 30 stretches on a number of different rivers. I’ll only probably fish a handful of these stretches each season depending on what species I’m targeting at the time, so I can see it taking a long time to work my way these waters.


Last season I had focused on catching a double figure barbel from a new river, a 6lb plus chub from a certain local river and as always chasing that 20lb plus pike.

I managed the barbel target catching four doubles on my two visits to the Trent. No doubt one of the easiest rivers in the country to catch a double from and a complete contrast in difficultly in comparison to my local waters. 

11.01 and 10.07lb

10.14 and 10.05lb 
On the chub front, I never really got going as I only managed 2 sessions specifically after chub on the targeted river. I caught on both occasions with fish to 5lb 3oz. If I had pulled my finger out and had a few more sessions I reckon I might of broken the 6lb barrier on this river as I have access to some cracking stretches for chub.

5.03lb a seasons best

Chasing a 20lb pike has been a real ball breaker over the last few years, concentrating on my local river probably hasn’t helped the cause. 

My local river is definitely hard going for pike, usually I am happy to avoid a blank with a jack, catching a double is a very good day and a brace of doubles or an upper double is usually the highlight of the season. I generally catch one mid to upper double each season and usually my numbers of fish compare well to others that target pike on this river. 

This season was hard going but I stuck with it and caught 6 local doubles to 18.02lb.

Spending the vast majority of my pike sessions on this river is definitely prolonging that search for a twenty as I have access to easier waters. However I like the thought of catching my first twenty from my local river, which I have fished from being a young boy.

2018/19 targets

The same again, a double figure barbel from a new river, a six pound chub from a specific river and that twenty, roll on the 16th!

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Final jack

Out for my last pike session of the season, a first visit to a low stock gravel pit. Not knowing much about the venue and not being able to find a lot of info online, some time was spent walking the banks, chatting to other anglers and having a few casts with the deeper. All time well spent.

Each angler made it well known that the water was difficult regardless of what species you are targetting, but with carp to low 30’s, bream to 14lb + and tench to over 9lb it’s well worth investing some time here. 

The pike fishing is difficult but fish to 26lb have been reported recently as well as the occasional large eel.

Yesterday’s session was hard going, a small jack after two hours gave a bit of confidence but that soon faded. Static deads went ignored, as were drifted, popped up and wobbled baits. Burts, mantas and replicants went unscathed on the heavy lure gear. 

Final and smallest of the season 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Stillwater jacks

After the washout on the rivers I was looking forward to a couple of stillwater sessions before hanging up the pike gear for the season.

Not blessed with many options when targetting stillwater pike I headed to a water which also has a history of producing the odd large eel, a pike session and a recce in one.

An hour or so in and the first interest was on a drifted roach, just a jack but a blank saver and caught on homemade gear.

The lake was fairly lifeless to be expected as water temps are still fairly low, but that first jack and a strong warm westerly boosted confidence. 

Mick had some interest on a bottom fished sardine but the bait was dropped. An hour or so after the first fish I had a take on a paternoster roach, a better fish, a bit lethargic in the fight, and full of leeches.


We continued until mid afternoon without any further interest. A few notes taken for future sessions, most probably after eels but maybe an option for the pike when the rivers are out of sorts.

Hopefully I’ll be out again next week, heading to a gravel pit for a first visit. The waters adjacent to this pit have produced eels in the past so no reason why this one won’t, so another pike session/eel recce.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The end of the line

A long awaited delivery arrived yesterday, the final book by Tony Miles.

A complete rework and rewrite of his 1980’s book ‘ The Complete Specimen Hunter’ I’ve only had chance for a quick flick through and a read of the introduction but it looks like a ‘good un’.

Surprisingly there’s still a few copies left -

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Final day action

Out on the river for a second day, similar conditions as yesterday but the river was falling.

15 minutes after the first cast Mick was in, the fish weeded itself on the now submerged bank side vegetation but after some steady pressure it swam out. 

3 hours later and a move further downstream it was my turn. A vicious take that almost took the rod into the river, and good scrap but hard work netting the fish on the steep, slippery banks.

A good end to the season for us both, given the conditions and the lack of fish showing recently we weren’t expecting much. 

Neither of us usually target barbel at the back end of the season, preferring to fish for chub or pike but given recent river conditions we didn’t have much of a choice.

After a quick check of my diaries, today’s barbel took my total for the season to 30, a nice way to sign off from the rivers for a while.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Change of plans

Having worked it so my days off tied in with the last two days of the season, I was aiming to spend the time on the bank roving for pike during the day and switching to chub when it got dark.

Those plans were thrown out of the window with the last of the snow melt working its way down and a day of heavy rain.

Instead I’m currently sitting it out for an unlikely end of season barbel. Plenty of extra water, 10ft up on normal levels, but with water temps of just over 4°C it’s going to be hard going.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Smash and grab chub

With the final day of the season looming, I am trying to get on the bank as often as possible. Today I thought I might get a couple of hours before heading to work, I ended up just getting an hour.

Two pegs, half a dozen casts, two bites, one chub.


I tried for another from the second peg and fancied my chances but time was against me.

Always a bonus to catch on these very short sessions, hopefully out again soon.

Monday, 5 March 2018

One before the thaw

The river levels have been stable but with working solid for the last 6 days, (not much fun with the weather we’ve had up here, but like most I’ve got plenty of bills to pay!) I haven’t had a chance to get out. I was tempted to go for a chub session last night, even had the gear ready, but ended up having a beer and watching TV instead.

After checking the levels this morning, it looked promising, no sign of any extra water, locally or further upstream. All optimism faded as soon as I saw the river, even from a good distance I could tell it was heavily coloured, not a good sign when pike fishing on this river.

Unexpectedly I had some interest in the second peg of the day, a margin fished lamprey was taken, a good positive take, a quick strike lead to a solid fight. With the rod bent well, the fish staying deep, I thought I was into a good one. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed when the fish surfaced, I was expecting at least a mid double after the fight it gave.

Just shy of 11lb, felt bigger in the water
Unfortunately the fish has had a rough life, a damaged jaw and a few fresh wounds on its flanks, I’d also managed to catch the top of its gut with the lower treble.

The trebles on this trace are purposely spaced slightly further apart than my usual traces, around 4.5 inches, usually these are used on large mackerel, sardines or a whole lamprey. It took sometime but I managed to remove the trace, resting the fish for a few minutes a couple of times during the unhooking procedure. I find it easier to remove all points and barbs from both trebles whilst dealing with a deeply hooked fish. Thankfully the fish went back fine.

The rest of the session was uneventful, the river was slowly on the rise, the water more heavily coloured than when I arrived and most of the snow on the riverbank had disappeared. It’s safe to say that the river will be out of sorts for a while, which makes it pleasing to get one on this session, fingers crossed the rivers are fishable before the 14th.

Monday, 26 February 2018

3 bars of gold

Out for an evenings chub fishing, setting off later than I would of liked so I just headed to the one stretch instead of the planned two. Arriving at the river 30 minutes before dusk, I was in no rush to cast so I spent a good half hour flicking bait into the swim, hoping that the chub would gain confidence and compete for the bait.

I was expecting to get some interest fairly soon after casting and I did, a slow bite which immediately snagged me up! A quick re-tackle and the tip went round within a few minutes of casting, this fish was on longer than the first but not long enough to net, as the line parted just above the hook! I obviously didn’t strip enough line off after that first snag, lesson learnt and a good rod length of line was removed before setting up again.

I kept the bait trickling in as I was setting up and thankfully the fish hadn’t spooked and the tip went round within 2 mins of casting. I played the fish hard to avoid the snag which wasn’t there last time I fished this spot. A good 4lb plus chub was netted and sacked. Next cast even better, a probable 5lb fish from a very delicate bite.

After the second fish the cloud cover went, the temperature plummeted and unsurprisingly the chub switched off. Nothing happened whilst the sky was clear, the river was floodlit from the near full moon and it now seemed lifeless.

The air temperature must of dropped below zero as the net was solid and casting was becoming difficult with iced up quiver rings. Finally some cover returned and 20 minutes later I was into the third chub of the night.

5.03, 4.11 and 4.09lb and good evenings session including a new river best

I tried for another couple of hours but the freezing conditions had gotten the better of the river and my phone. The river seemed dead as was the camera flash on my phone, thinking the phone was broken I had a quick look online and apparently it’s a known problem with new iPhones. In cold weather the camera flash can fail to function, working again once the phone is warmer, not bad for a £750 phone !