Saturday, 17 November 2018

Early sessions

I was still chasing barbel at the start of October so didn’t have my first pike session until the middle of the month.

With the mild conditions we’ve had it didn’t really feel like pike weather but I was becoming a little jaded with the barbel so the pike gear had to come out. My first sessions were all on stretches I recced this close season, none of which seem to have had that many visitors as the banks seemed relatively undisturbed.

The 1st pike of the season, just a jack but a such beautifully marked fish, hopefully we cross paths again.
The first session produced 3 jacks, all to ledgered sea deads. The second outing was much further upstream than the first and despite having longer on the bank it was more difficult and I only managed the one jack, which snatched the bait on the retrieve.

A different river for my third session, a lovely stretch of water which seems to have a bit of everything, lots of near bank features with deep holes in the margins, faster sections mid river and the odd far bank slack. A steady session with 3 fish landed to just shy of 11lb.

My first double of the 18/19 season (10.10lb)

Nothing spectacular but a reasonable start, 7 fish from the 3 sessions all on different stretches. 

Having access to so many different waters I am planning on regularly changing venues, keeping things fresh and learning new stretches. Perhaps if I come across some good fishing I’ll have a few sessions in that area but for now I’ll definitely be visiting a new stretch each session.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

June becomes July.....

I had hoped to keep the blog regularly updated this season, but as usual things get in the way...

My close season was spent walking the river banks, gathering information, locating fish and planning my early season sessions.

Almost 3 months passed without wetting a line, I was unable to get out on opening day but was on the bank a couple of days later. I shouldn’t have bothered, a nightmare session from beginning to end, with only a small chub to save a blank.

The first of the river season
Thankfully things improved and I was regularly catching barbel from the targeted river. The overall aim being a double from this river, not an easy target but as I was dedicating all my fishing time to the cause I was hopeful.

By the end of June I was catching most sessions nothing huge but the fishing was very enjoyable.

During a purple patch at the end of July/beginning of August I caught barbel in 10 consecutive sessions from various different stretches including areas where I had never seen them caught before. The fishing was great, expecting to catch barbel rather than hoping to, was a new experience for me on this river. In one session I had 12 casts and ended up with 8 barbel, 2 chub and 2 lost barbel, reluctantly I left as we had a family outting planned the following day, otherwise I think I could of caught all night.

The fishing gradually returned to being moderately difficult, a fish every 2 or 3 sessions, catching more chub than barbel. I was unable to get on the bank during the only major flood of the summer which was disappointing as a number of large fish came out. 

Generally a very productive campaign but ultimately I have fallen short of that double, my largest fish not making 9lb. In total I managed 30 barbel from this river, (plus a few from the Trent) which I think is good going on this river especially as my time on the bank is very limited thanks to 60hr + working weeks and a hectic family life. 

One from a difficult trip to the tidal Trent

A good '5' from the Trent

8lb 11oz a seasons best, so far....

The rivers up here cool fast, although barbel are still being caught, my time is now being split between chub and pike. I might have the odd attempt for barbel over winter but only if conditions are favourable.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Time well spent....

I still haven't cast a baited line since March, any spare time I've had to go fishing has been spent walking the banks with a pair of polaroids and my heavy lure setup with a deeper fish finder attached.

I've walked the banks on about twenty different stretches, some familiar while others have been a first visit.

 Plenty of water to go at, spoilt for choice really!

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.