Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A guided trip on the Rivers Avon and Severn

Last year I booked a guided trip on the River Avon/Severn with Gary Palmer, however due to the weather we had during the winter and other circumstances I never got around to doing the trip. At the beginning of December I gave Gary a call to rebook and we organised the trip for the middle of the month as the forecast looked like the best chance of some stable weather.

I had to set off at around 0430hrs to be at the meeting point on time which was around 215 miles away. The weather forecast for the day was fine but there had been a cold snap overnight. I met Gary there at around 0730hrs (ish) and he already had the boat set up and in the water ready to go.

Initially Gary showed me some techniques on a light lure rod, on his first cast he hooked into a fish which quickly came off. Unfortunately this was little bit of a false dawn as we didn't have a take or even a follow for the next couple of hours. Then Gary hooked a pike close to the boat but this also came off. A few moves around the weir pool we were fishing and I had a take on a small Savage Gear lip lure but missed it, next cast I hooked into a small jack of a few pounds.
First fish of the day
After catching the jack I did some trolling as we made our way to the Severn, we stopped along the way for a few casts in some likely spots and I quickly caught another jack on a shad. We continued trolling to the Severn and up to the top of the weir pool with no joy. We spent some time casting the lures around the lock gates without success. As we made our way back to the first weir pool we stopped at several pikey looking spots for a few casts but unfortunately we didn't catch any more.

1st weir pool fished

I mainly booked the trip to get the chance to fish a couple of rivers I have always wanted to and to try and catch a zander.

Although I didn't catch or see any zander I was more than pleased with this trip as I didn't blank (a rarity for me lately), learnt a few new techniques with the lures and gained some experience afloat. Gary also pointed a few spots that are free fishing, which I will hopefully visit at some point in the future.

I would definitely recommend a trip with Gary as he is easy to get on with, very knowledgeable and works hard to help you get the most out of the day.

I am hoping to book again in 2014 maybe for another try for the zander or a bit of pike fishing on a 'large lake'.

Link to Gary's site -

Friday, 6 December 2013

Blank, recce and vehicle issues...

Last Friday I was able to get out on to a new stillwater and after an early start I was at the venue for just after first light. Unfortunately the weather was against me as it was blowing quite hard, this restricted me to certain areas that I could fish as the main part of the water was very choppy and facing directly into the wind. I decided to fish a sheltered bay as I had been informed that it produces some decent fish, however my poor run continued and I blanked again. Two other pike anglers also failed to catch so I wasn't too disheartend. I will be returning to this venue over the winter ( hopefully a few times) as I believe I have a good chance of increasing my pb there !

Over the past week I have been out researching new waters/ sections of the river that I have never seen before, even though I haven't been able to fish them yet I have really enjoyed this.

For the last few years my fishing vehicle has been an old 1986 Suzuki SJ 410, which is perfect for me really as it is cheap to run, 4 wheel drive (when needed) and doesn't matter if it gets full of mud etc... During my trips out I somehow managed to hit a log and split the exhaust, I then noticed an oil leak. I put a temporary repair on the exhaust ( which lasted about 2 hours before it was blowing again) but had struggled to locate the oil leak. I topped the oil back up, jet washed the engine and went on another afternoon recce. After 35 miles of back road driving, I checked the oil and it seemed fine, I couldnt spot any leaks either. I am hoping that the leak was the dipstick not being inserted fully/sealed properly. The exhaust is on order and should of been delivered today but with the weather we've had in the last 24 hours unsurprisingly it didn't arrive. The exhaust should be here Monday and shouldn't take too long to fit. I'm planning on a few short midweek sessions to make up for lost time over his weekend.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A short session and a fish !

I had an hour or so spare today so i decided on a quick lure session on a local still water. I arrived at the water at around midday, I decided to spend no more than 10 minutes in each swim. In the first swim I noticed a decent sized pike in the margin ( probably a double, which is good for this venue) which spooked when the dog decided to go for a paddle !

10 minutes passed in this swim with out incident, the next swim was about 20 meters further along the bank which allowed me to cast to the edge of a large lilly patch. First cast I was into a jack, no more than a few pounds. The fight didn't really last more than 20 seconds, however this is my first pike in many months so it was more than welcome.

1st pike in a while
I decided to end the session there and get back home to sort my gear out for Thursday as I am hoping to get a full day session on a new venue.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A new approach

Recently I have been struggling to catch any pike (at all) from my local stretches, so I have decided to put some more effort in and try fishing further afield. I have acquired a ticket for a stillwater which holds a good head of pike, upto low twentys with a decent head of doubles. Although this water is around a 130 mile round trip I'm hoping it will be worth it.

Also I have put a fair amount of time and effort researching different sections of my local river, I have spent a lot of time with ordnance survey maps and google earth seeking new sections to fish. Today I went on a recce and walked a fair few miles of riverbank I have never seen before, although the river was still in flood these newly found areas look promising. It is looking likely that I will need to join at least one new club to gain access to these new sections of river and I'm hoping that it will be  worth the outlay.


On the new sections of river I am hoping to fish the plan is to drop down to 1 bait rod as the river is a lot narrower there and also take a medium lure rod so I can have a few throws inbetween moving the bait rod around. I have a fairly quiet week planned so am hoping to get out and fish at least 2 sessions with a couple more recces of new stretches on the river, hopefully this approach will produce a fish or two.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Short river session

I had a chance to get out for a short session on my local river this week, with the weather conditions we've had here over the last week conditions seemed to be perfect. I decided to bait fish a swim which has produced a few fish on the lure in previous outings. I decided on a 2 rod approach, the first rod was a float ledger close in, around 20 yards or so baited with a medium sized smelt. The second rod was fished mid river with a large lamprey section.

The baits were moved around the swim every 20 minutes or so, things were quiet for the first hour and a half. I then had a take on the lamprey rod which failed to develop, I think it was possibly an eel as I have had issues with them on this part of the river before. The rest of the session passed quickly without any other takes, however the dog did manage to knock both drop arms off within a few seconds of each other (last bait session he comes on for a while...).

I decided that I would move the baits one last time, whilst retrieving the mid river rod the trace found a snag and was stuck fast, normally the hooks bend and I get the rig back. Unfortunately this time the line parted and I left a baited trace in the river, something I dislike. So still no pike to report..... In future I think I will stick to the lures on these shorter sessions as I have more confidence that something will happen.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Good deal on Pike and Predator subscription.

In the past I have always received magazine subscriptions as gifts however when my recent P&P subscription expired I had a quick look at the deals they had on, a years subscription and Devon bait package for £51. It seemed like a pretty good deal then minus 10% for being a PAC member it comes to roughly £46.

Pike & Predators Subscription offer - Devon Baits Package
The bait arrived yesterday as promised, was still frozen and all look like quality baits. 18 packs of bait in total, not all as described on advert but I am still very happy with this package.

On the pike fishing front I am still struggling for time to get out, however I am planning on a couple of short sessions in the coming week, hopefully with the cold weather over the weekend I could be onto a winner, hopefully I will have something to report in here shortly.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

DLST Fooler and Abu Revo S - Long term review

I've owned the Fooler for about 2 years and the Revo S for around 3 years, this combination has become the setup I now use for the majority of my lure fishing.



Brand: Dave Lumb Specialist Tackle (DLST)
Model: Fooler
Length: 6' 6" (one piece)
Casting range: 1-2.5oz / 28-70g
Price at time of purchase: £120


Brand: Abu Garcia
Model: Revo S
Weight: 380g
No of Bearings: 9
Ratio: 6.4:1
Capacity: approx 150 yards of 65lb braid.
Price at time of purchase: $99 (approx £60)

Initial impressions


I received the Fooler as a birthday present from my girlfriend, previous to this I was using a DLST Sledgehammer 2 for the majority of my lure fishing. Although I was more than happy with the Sledgehammer rod it is designed for quiet large lures (up to 5oz/140g) and the majority of my lure fishing is with more medium lures, shads etc... After a bit of online research I decided that the Fooler was the rod I needed. As I already owned a DLST rod I knew what to expect, a rod made of very high quality components and hand built to very high standards, I wasn't disappointed. A nice touch is having the rod customised/personalised with my name on the blank.


I ordered this reel from the States as it was around £35 cheaper than the UK retail price. This was the first modern style multiplier I had used/bought. My initial impressions of the reel were very good, the reel appears to be made from good quality parts and seems to be good value for money.

Thoughts during use

I initially bought the Revo S to be used with my DLST Sledgehammer 2 lure rod. The reel was used on this rod with large lures ( 10" Replicants, Bulldogs etc...) with no problems at all, since getting the Fooler the reel has been permanently attached. I have been impressed with both rod and reel during use, I have had no issues with either so far... I have used this outfit for most types of lure fishing upto around the 100g mark, the rod handles this with ease and I would feel confident in going beyond this if needed.


Overall I am very happy with this setup, I have been using it with 65lb braid and it feels well balanced. Although I haven't caught anything to push the setup to its limit I have had mid doubles on it and it has handled these with ease. Currently this is my go to lure outfit and I would recommend either item.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Short river session

I had a short 4 hour session on my local river today, targeting roach and skimmers. I was on the riverbank and setup by around 0730hrs, I initially started with a 5m whip fishing maggot on the deck and I started getting bites after a couple of minutes.

After around 30 minutes it was a bite a chuck and I was catching small perch and roach every put in. I decided to setup a feeder rod and fish further out to see if I could tempt anything larger into feeding. I clipped up the feeder rod around 40 yards out and balled in 4 large caster laced brown-crumb balls. After around 15 minutes I had a small eel on the feeder. I continued on the feeder line for another 15 minutes but I didn't have another knock. I went back to the 5m whip swim and it was still a bite a chuck, mainly small perch.

Better stamp of fish on feeder
After another half an hour I went back to the feeder and started to get bites straight away, a better stamp of roach and some similar sized skimmers.

Typical river bream
I had a couple of larger bream on the feeder, whilst the 5m whip swim was still producing numbers of small perch and roach. Bites were still coming on the feeder line, then I had a cast off and decided to call it a day as I had things to do in the afternoon.

60 (ish) fish for around 6lb
I ended up with around 60 fish in just over 4 hours made up of mainly perch, roach, a few skimmers, a couple of dace and a solitary eel. The largest skimmer being just under 2lb. Next time I'll try and concentrate on the feeder line and try get some larger bream as they run to around 6lb on this stretch of the river.

Last week I also had a day at a local commercial that I hadn't fished for over 10 years, I ended up with 15 small carp to around 1 1/2lb and around 15 roach and rudd up to a pound.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Long overdue update

I've had a hectic 6 months or so (car crash, job loss, family bereavement etc....) and haven't really had the time to get out and do much fishing. Things are finally starting to settle down now so hopefully I will be able to get out more now.

On the odd occasion I have been able to get out over the last few months I haven't really had much success !

1st time Pike fishing in the Lake District
Home for the 2nd day
A two day stint on one of the smaller waters in the Lake District frustratingly ended in a blank. Conditions on the 1st day seemed perfect but after 10 hours and one missed take I decided to move to the other side of the lake for the second day. The weather turned on the second day making casting any distance virtually impossible, I had to rely on the bait boat but as the weather became worse it became obvious I was going to lose the boat so I had to call it a day. A very disappointing blank but it was a good break and I'm looking forward to my next trip in the coming season.  

Next up was a water in the Yorkshire Dales that I had been wanting to fish for a while, I didn't really know a lot about the water (and still don't !), but after some research online I decided to give it a try. After about an hours drive I approached the water which is set in a very picturesque valley in the Yorkshire Dales, within 20 minutes of getting there the wind picked up and before long it was blowing a gale. Other than a follow on the lure rod I haven't got a lot to report. I will definitely be going back when the weather cools

Starting to blow.....
At least the dog had a decent time !
Other than the 2 mentioned sessions I only managed 1 or 2 quick lure sessions on the local river before the season ended.

Lure caught pike - Only fish of 2012/13 season !
 These quick sessions resulted in a solitary jack pike, the only pike of my season - a very disappointing season !

Since the end of the season I have had a couple of short sessions fly fishing the small streams of the North Yorkshire moors without a lot of success. More recently I have started going back to my fishing roots, match style fishing. I have had a few decent sessions on a local commercial complex with hauls pushing the 100lb barrier on a couple of occasions.

Pellet caught - 11lb 8 oz
14lb 4 oz Common caught in the margin
Pellet waggler caught common - 9lb 4oz
Hopefully over the next few months I'll be able to continue getting out every week or so and I'm also hoping to fit in a few night sessions for the eels before the summer ends.