Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Effort equals reward ?

Unfortunately that wasn't the case today, I was up before 4am, in the car and set off by half past and had parked up by just after 5. I had a 15 minute walk to the bank, then I had to clear a peg for the day. The giant hogweed was everywhere and as it hadn't been disturbed for the last few months it was approaching 12ft in height, it took 45 minutes to clear a path and a section of bank.

I was targeting the chub but also hoping for a barbel, I had a 1.25lb avon set up with a blockend end feeder using maggot, caster and hemp as bait. This was fished mid river in a deep section for chub or whatever came along. I also had a 1.75lb avon set up for the barbel using boilies and various pellets as bait, this rod was fished in all the likely areas that I could cast to with either a pva bag or a stringer offering some attraction.

It didn't take long start getting knocks on the lighter rod and after a few missed bites I suspected I was being 'minnowed', eventually I hooked one of them and it turned out to be a small chub the size of a minnow! 

Target species just at the wrong end of the scale
I stopped feeding maggots and fed a mix of caster and hemp in the feeder and used an imitation caster on the hook. I was getting the odd indication but I was sitting on my hands until something more positive happened. Eventually the tip went round, but it turned out to be a dace of a couple of ounces. I was recasting every 5 minutes to get some feed in the swim but bites were very sporadic, I caught a few more dace to around 5/6oz mark but the small chub were ruthless, even taking treble imitation caster. A small jack grabbed the feeder and made a mess of the rig so I packed that rod away first.

First dace of the day
The heavy rod was quiet all morning, despite regularly changing bait and covering a lot of water I couldn't get any interest. I ended the session just before 1pm as I had things to do in the afternoon, the session didn't go as planned and I probably should of moved to a different area, but after spending so much time clearing the bank I wanted to catch something from it.

I am hopeful of another session this week, possibly an evening chub or eel session hopefully it will be more successful than today's effort.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

New rod day

After failing to catch any of the larger chub on my last couple of sessions I have decided to try further upstream for them. I will also be chancing my luck for a barbel as well. The barbel on this river are fairly scarce but to give myself a much better chance of landing one, (should I be fortunate enough to hook one) I have just bought a new Drennan Series 7 - 1.75lb avon rod.
New rod, to be christened soon (hopefully)

I am very pleased with 1.25lb versions (reviewed here) so when I decided on a rod for the barbel the heavier Drennan version was an obvious choice. The rod has two top sections the 1.75lb avon and a feeder top with 4oz glass and a 6oz carbon tips. The rod is in the usual series 7 style and apart from being a bit beefier it looks the same as the 1.25lb version.

If things go as planned I will be using the rod on Tuesday, hopefully I will get a decent bend in them, I can't wait !

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Morning on the stick

After an early start I was parked up by 5 and was making my way through the fields toward the stretch I fished on the 16th, usually a peaceful 10 minutes walk, however today the fields were full of cattle. Normally this isn't a problem but the young bulls have put on size and gained confidence and they weren't happy with me being in their field. After a couple of aborted charges I decided to jump a fence and walk the (very) long way round. I was set up and feeding the swim by 6 and had a minnow sized chub on the first cast.

I decided to feed more heavily than I did on the last stick float session, hoping to attract the larger chub. In total I had 6 pints of caster, hemp and maggots and I was confident that I could entice something bigger than last time. After 20 minutes or so I was getting a bite each trot down the swim mainly roach in the 2 - 6oz range with the odd small chub. After a change to caster as hook bait a better fish was hooked, a decent perch of about a pound and a half but the hook pulled as I was bringing it over the net. The next two fish were both perch, one just over and one just under a pound. I was hoping that I could get one over two pounds as I have set myself that target this year, no other perch came to the net though.

Caster caught perch - both around the 1lb mark
The swim kept going dead for 10 to 15 minute spells and then I would start catching again, I had a feeling that a pike was in the area. It was confirmed when I saw a pike striking at fish in the far side margin. A decent pike then followed a small dace to the net and stayed a couple of rod lengths out, probably waiting for my next catch. I quickly put a roach on my pike rod and within a second of the bait touching the water the roach was gone. The fish gave a good account of itself with a few runs down stream and a bit of tail walking  but I had a feeling that it wasn't the pike I had seen on opening day. After I netted the pike it was obvious that it wasn't the one from Monday, but it was still a good double. The fish went 12lb 10oz but looked bigger as it was very long for its weight, as is often the case with pike this far upstream.

Lean fit river pike
After the pike I had a few more roach, but the sun came out and I struggled in the bright conditions. Other than the perch and pike I had plenty of roach to 10oz, dace to 6oz and a few very small chublets.

Tip of the day!

If  you use one of those self-inflating mattresses as an unhooking mat it's not a good idea to stand on it whilst wearing studded waders!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Opening day

It has been a long time since I've had the opportunity to fish opening day so I took advantage and set the alarm for half past three with the aim of being on the bank by first light. I decided to fish the stick float for dace and roach but use heavy enough tackle to land a bonus chub or two if they came along. As I approached the river it was obvious that no one had been down during the closed season as the path I needed to take was 6ft overgrown, as was the riverbank. I spent around half an hour clearing a path and enough space on the bank.

The path to the the river bank 
I spent a while sorting out my rig, running the float through the stretch finding the weed beds and by a quarter to six I was fishing. After a couple of missed bites and a couple of adjustments to the rig I caught a small roach, the first fish of the new season.

1st of the season from the river
I was steadily building the swim and had another 3 or 4 similar sized roach in the net when I noticed a pike eyeing up the keepnet, however it quickly spooked and swam off. After I had a couple more fish in the net the pike was back and it looked a very good size, again it spooked and I went back to rebuilding my swim. Each time the pike came it took around 20 to 30 minutes to get a bite again and over the next few hours I had 4 roach snatched as I was bringing them in.

Towards the end of the session the large pike returned and was lurking around the net again, the pike was almost 3 sections of the net long, around 40 " and was most probably a twenty. I had a lure rod with me and I tried every lure I had but the pike didn't show any interest in them, at times I was lifting a shad 2" from its mouth but it never reacted.

I made a single treble trace by removing a treble from a lure and attaching it to the quick clip on the lure trace, took a 4oz roach from the net and free lined the roach in the margin, suddenly the bait started panicking and the pike appeared from the mid river depths and nailed it first time! I would love to be able to continue the story and post a picture of a new pb and a first twenty pounder however after 10 seconds of fight the pike found a patch of streamer weed and managed to free itself!

The result of a pleasing day fishing the stick
Even with the disappointment of losing that big pike I thoroughly enjoyed the day, I ended up with around 30 fish mainly roach plus a few chublets, a couple of perch and a solitary dace. I will be heading back to this stretch at some point this season with a bucket of 'fresh' roach with one target in mind........

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


This morning I had a few hours spare so I had a short lure session on a new venue. I had a quick recce of this water a few weeks ago and found that it had an otter problem, however I was still hopeful of a fish.

The weed had grown a lot since my first visit and I was pleased I had put a couple of frogs in the lure bucket. On my second cast I had a fish take the lure but I missed it, a quick recast and I had the fish on. The pike was quickly landed and went to around 5lb 8oz, a pleasing start.

3rd cast of the day
Over the next hour or so I had a couple of takes which were missed and another jack which quickly freed itself. I had a quick walk around the the opposite bank and quickly caught another jack of 3lb.

2nd frog caught pike of the day
Another fish was lost, then the sun came out and the bright conditions seemed to put the pike off. The water is full of bird life and a heron, a pair kingfishers, plenty of swifts and an arctic tern swiping the fry were spotted. There were also hundreds of damselflies scooting around the margins, mornings like this make me think about investing in a better camera.

One of many damselflies
In total I had 9 takes, hit 4 and landed 2, which is a better take/fish landed ratio than I usually get
when using frogs. I was home before 11 and was pleased with my first visit to this water, I'm looking forward to bait fishing this water in the winter when the weed has died off as the water has the potential for a surprise.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Overnight eel session

A water I have access to still follows the traditional Yorkshire close season, giving me access to it from the beginning of June onwards. Last night was the first opportunity I've had to get out for the full night. I arrived at the water at around half seven and was pleased that there was only one other car parked up, however the car belonged to a carp angler who was only at the water to do some pre baiting, that meant I had the water to myself.

I decided to setup in a corner where I had access to a couple of marginal snags and a lot of open water. I spent the first half an hour finding features and gaps in the weed, I set up a different rig on each of the rods (3) I was using, a JS rig, a JS rig with a bouyant stem and a dyson rig. The JS rigs were baited with worms and cast towards the snags in the margins, one was fished over a bed of dead maggots the other had no loose feed. The bait for the dyson rig was a roach and the rig was set to be fished around 2ft off the bottom. Before I could cast the dyson rig I had a take on the left margin rod, line was peeling from the reel, I closed the bail arm and struck into thin air. The dyson rig was cast into a weed free spot around 20 yards out and I baited and recast the left margin rod. I was unsure if the take had been an eel or small fishing picking the bait up.

A view from the swim
The next 3 hours went by without any indications, just before midnight I had a very positive take on the dyson rig. Line was peeling off the reel, I closed the bail arm, leant into what felt like a decent fish, then a second later there was nothing. Confused I reeled in and checked the rig and it was obvious that I had been 'biten' off, almost certainly from a pike. I had been using a trace of around 5 inches of wire and 6 inches of strong stiff mono (Amnesia) which is a pretty standard eel trace. The trace had been bitten off just above the mono to wire swivel, I was annoyed as this is the first bite off I have ever had. I made a new long trace for the rig and recast into a similar area. Around two hours later I had another take on the dyson rig, instantly I knew it was a pike.

A small jack taken at 2 in the morning
I decided to use worms on the dyson rig in an attempt to avoid the pike, the next take was on this rod. However the run was missed but I'm pretty certain that it was an eel.

This water has produced eels to 7lb to carp anglers in the past and I'm hoping to night fish it regularly over the warmer months. I think that the water has a fairly low stock of eels and I'm not expecting to catch many, but I've got a feeling that if I do catch one, it will be one to remember. Next session I am going to use the dyson rig on two rods and use a full length trace when using deadbaits. Hopefully I will be able to fit in my next night session next week.

Tench session

Last week I had a short tench session on a local water, again I struggled to find any tench feeding, as did the other anglers. I ended up with around 40 roach and a few perch.

Net of small roach caught during the last tench session

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Drennan Series 7 1.25lb Specialist Avon Quiver - Review

I bought a pair of Drennan Series 7 1.25lb Specialist Avon Quivers at the beginning of the year to use as multipurpose rods, so far I have used them whilst targeting bream,chub, perch and tench. I have been very impressed with the rods so decided to review them.

Drennan series 7 avon/quiver - well matched with a Shimano 5010
What the manufacturer has to say -

Info from Drennan website
My thoughts -

I already owned a Drennan series 7 rod (13ft competition float) before I purchased these so I knew what to expect in terms of build quality, finish etc... I wasn't disappointed with these rods either as they are both built to Drennans usual high standard. The aspect I found most pleasing is the rods action. Admittedly I haven't managed many large fish on the rods yet, however whilst targeting tench I landed a near 17lb common carp on one. Although the carp took a while to land and despite the rod being bent through to the butt on a number of times I felt in control, equally at the opposite end of the scale I have caught a number of more delicate fish (crucians, roach etc...) and I never felt over gunned.

16lb 10oz common carp caught on 1.25lb Series7 avon and 6lb line
Verdict -

Anglers have a large selection of sub £100 avon/combo rods to choose from as most manufacturers have a number of these rods in there range. The Drennan avon combos have an rrp of £99.95 (although they can be found a lot cheaper if you shop around) I believe they are well worth the price.

The action and build quality of these rods are excellent, I would definitely reccomend these to other anglers, infact I am going to buy myself a 1.75lb version as a barbel rod !