Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Not much happening

Since my last post I've had one still water pike session. I had intended to have a 3 rod full day session, however as I'm currently working nights adjusting to a normal routine at the weekend is a bit of a struggle and getting up early on a Sunday morning doesn't always appeal (Although I'm sure if the rivers were in a decent condition I wouldn't have much of an issue getting my arse out of bed).

The session was a bit of a disaster and I was glad I only took the one rod. The water is still heavily choked with weed, with only the one fishable peg. Needless to say I didn't stay for too long. This time last year the majority of the water was fishable. Hopefully the weather will turn soon and kill the weed as this is the only still water that I can pike fish within 30 mins of my house.

Landing net review

Last xmas Lindsey bought me the Lone Angler landing net handle , a cracking piece of kit.

Before owning this my two previous 'branded' handles had snapped, I stood on one and crushed it and the other snapped somehow. There's no chance of that happening with this handle, I've used it to support my weight whilst climbing up and down the river banks, used it as a wading staff, slipped and landed on it etc... zero damage.

The handle is a beast, far more substantial than a normal handle and more than capable of handling the abuse of river angling. The locking mechanism is solid and will not slip. I've used this for all my barbel and pike fishing over the last 12 months with no problems whatsoever, highly recommended.

A few months back one of my mates showed me a new pike net he had bought, a Fox 36" round net with rubberised mesh. I've had some issues with Fox kit (and their shitty customer service) in the past so generally avoid giving them any of my money, but this net looked great so I ordered one.

I usually prefer triangular nets for pike, as I've always thought round nets are too small, but this is massive. It seems well built and I'm pleased with it so far. The only downside is that the frame is rigid, a bit of a pain in the arse whilst moving pegs and for storage. The main selling point for me is the rubberised mesh, it makes things so much easier than standard mesh when fishing with trebles.

I haven't used the net much but so far so good. I'll put something on here after I've managed to give it a more thorough testing.

I'm not sure when I'll be out next, I've got a couple of weeks off over Christmas so I'll be aiming for a few sessions then, fingers crossed that the rivers are in a reasonable state.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

'A bit grim up north'

Flicking through my diary it is glaringly obvious that my results have taken a nosedive. A combination of working 60 hour weeks and less than favourable conditions means my last noteworthy catch was at the back end of October.

Again my only opportunity to fish this week is Sunday morning and typically my local rivers are well rivers are up, almost approaching record levels in some areas. Targeting river pike in these conditions would just be a waste of time, a stillwater it has to be.

Lack of options

My local area isn't really a mecca for angling, the rivers are good, but the lack of decent stillwaters is very frustrating. Like most parts of the country we have plenty of match style puddles but generally I avoid these manicured waters, preferring less crowded more natural waters. These puddles do serve a purpose, however they just don't meet my (current) needs except for maybe for the occasional perch session. Even if these commercials did hold pike I doubt I would target them, pale pike with messed up mouths and god knows how many traces left in them don't really appeal.

Being a member of 5 local clubs (plus a few associations) I have access to plenty of waters to target, over 50 miles of rivers, 15 miles of canals and 10 stillwaters. The rivers are great, hard work but can be very rewarding. The canals hold pike, as most do, but these aren't local, an hours drive minimum, which isn't always viable for a short session. 

Out of the 10 stillwaters I can fish only 4 hold pike and only 1 of these is local (within a 30min drive). Unfortunately it seems like this water only holds jacks, plenty of them but I don't know of anything over 7 pounds being caught in the last few years.

I have a few other options locally but these are either uncontrolled ponds that generally contain more beer cans than fish or overpriced 'carp' syndicates. I have a few waters that I need to recce, hopefully I get lucky and one of these holds a few pike.

Well I'll be out tomorrow, chasing jacks for a few hours, you never know I might catch two at the same time, the only double that I'm likely to get from this water.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

River blues

Almost 5 weeks had passed since my last session on running water, it felt longer, almost like waiting for the rivers to open after the long closed season.

I only had the time for a short 3 hour session on Monday morning, a trotting session for pike. Although the levels had been falling for days, the river was slightly up but more coloured than I had hoped for. I headed to a shortish stretch that has around a dozen or so fishable pegs, carrying minimal gear I was aiming to fish as many pegs as time would allow.

I was surprised at how much the riverbank had changed in the last month, the strong winds stripping the trees bare and the heavy floods taking the remains of the bank side vegetation out to sea, winter isn't far away.

The session flew by, I fished at least 10 pegs with zero interest in the baits I presented. I wasn't surprised. I usually struggle when the water is coloured, add to that the water temp dropping down to 3°C, it was always going to be hard.

I'm unsure of when my next session will be, but hopefully the weather settles and I can get on the riverbank whilst conditions are more favourable for pike fishing.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Catch up

As usual I have been struggling for time to get on the bank and on the odd occasion I have a few spare hours the rivers have been in flood.

The planned chub session I wrote about on my last post didn't happen, a visit to Roker Lights lasted longer than I thought and by the time we were back home I couldn't really be arsed.

My latest sessions have both been on still waters, two very different waters and on both occasions it was my first visit to each water.

Gravel pit pike

A first visit to a water that I recced a couple of months back, an old gravel pit, actually an old coal pit which was later used for gravel extraction. Gravel pits are alien to me having only fished one on one previous session (a blank!).

I decided on a static approach, three rods, bait boat and sounder with various deads and a few lives. Fishing into the wind I spent a while with the boat and sounder locating a few underwater features. On two rods I fished with sea deads, either on the bottom or popped up and on the third I used lives with a drifter. The drifter was ferried out with the bait boat with the strong wind directing the float back towards the bank and passing over a number of features on the way back.

The first take of the day came just before 09:00, a mackerel was taken, a very positive take. Somehow I missed it and the bait was taken. A quick recast to the same area with a decent sized smelt and within two minutes the rod was away again.

Another very positive take but I waited slightly longer before winding down this time and felt some resistance on the strike.

A first pike from this water
Nothing massive, but blank avoided and it's always nice to catch a first pike from a new water. The jack was only just hooked on the bottom treble, seems like they are grabbing the bait then running. No more interest for the next hour, so I got the drifter back out, however whilst retrieving the bait boat from the margin I stupidly picked it up by the aerial and it snapped off!

Another expensive session
Not having the bait boat made fishing into an increasing wind difficult, so I decided to move to the opposite bank and fish with the wind on my back. Whilst packing away a Labrador came running over a swallowed a full mackerel complete with balsa popup and retaining wire, luckily I had just removed the trace! The owner was in a bit of a panic when I showed him what was in the mackerel, but admitted that it wasn't the first time that the dog has done this (you would think that the owner would learn to keep his dog under control!)

I suggested a packet of laxatives.

Despite trying various baits and presentations I had no further interest and surprisingly the live baits went untouched all morning.

Gravel pits are a bit thin on the ground in my local area, as are still waters that hold a decent head of pike, no doubt I'll have a second visit in the coming months.

Commercial perch

Last Sunday I headed to a commercial to target the outsized perch that the water is rumoured to hold. The comfort of manicured paths and wooden platforms appealed more than the usual waters I head to whilst the rivers are up.

Tactics were simple, 1.25lb avons, 1 running lead (with a rollover for indication) and 1 over depth waggler. Hook baits were small deadbaits, lobworms and prawns, with some chopped dendra and maggots for attraction.

The fishing was very slow with only two bites on the perch gear, one small chub was landed (air injected lobworm) and the other was missed (prawn).

Despite the healthy bend in the rod, the fish wasn't particularly large or the intended species

Even scaling down and switching to maggot I struggled to get any interest from anything other than the odd small roach. A disappointing session but it was something different, the water has produced perch that would add a couple of pound to my current best so I will be returning at some point.

The forecast for the coming weekend is more of the same, the rivers will be well up and coloured, another still water session beckons......

Sunday, 1 November 2015

7 Ps

Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance, an adage from the military which I try to apply to my fishing (were possible).

I try plan my sessions in advance and sort my gear according to what I am targetting, usually the night before to allow for maximum time on the bank. Normally I only need to grab some bait from the freezer and I'm good to go.

However this weekend I was pushed for time and didn't manage to sort any of my gear out. With the rivers swollen from a weeks worth of rain, I was planning to head to a still water that I recced a few weeks ago. Knowing that I wasn't as prepared as I could of been I opted for an overdue sleep-in instead.

Not wanting to go another weekend without wetting a line, I've decided on an evening chub session. My local rivers are falling but will still be carrying plenty of colour so I'm opting for static smelly bait approach.

Rods made up, rucksack packed, bait defrosting and petrol in the car. I'll be heading to a familiar stretch that holds a good number of chub with potential for a new best.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Out with the old, in with the new

My struggle for time on the bank continues and the three short sessions I've managed this month haven't been very fruitful with just the one pike landed. All enjoyable sessions even a run in with a group match anglers didn't spoil a Sunday morning on the river.

My second river double of the season - 10lb 6oz
Out with the old, in with the new

For the last 7 years I've owned a 1986 Suzuki SJ, small, uncomfortable but ideal for accessing the riverbanks during the winter months. However maintaining a near 30 year old jeep was becoming an issue and an upgrade was well overdue.

The old

After some research I decided on a Honda HRV, a bit of a comprise between a 4 wheel drive and a car to fit the kids in. Should be ideal for what I need and a lot more comfortable than the old jeep.

The new

I'm hoping to get out for a pike session this weekend, hopefully on a stretch were I can give the Honda a thorough testing.

PAC Talk

At the beginning of the month Chris Leibbrandt paid our local PAC a visit, a very enjoyable presentation/talk from someone who has definitely been there and done it, well worth attending if he is in your area.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Limited time

With limited time last weekend it was either a very short morning pike session or an evening after the barbel. The pike won.

I was on the bank early, too early to watch a float, so I chucked a ledgered sardine mid-river. No interest in the dead bait, so as soon as it was light enough I began drip feeding maggots a rod length out. Small chub and dace and some reasonable perch were easily caught on the stick float, a better perch of about 2lb was hooked and lost as the hook pulled. 

After half an hour the float rod was packed away and a few small silvers were retained for bait. During my last session the pike on this stretch were very active but it seemed very quiet this time. Three pegs without any interest from the pike, then a take on the first trot downstream in the 4th peg, nothing massive but more than welcome during this short session.

A couple of casts in some upstream pegs but nothing further happened. Size didn't matter on this session, I was just pleased to catch, an enjoyable morning.

Cheese paste

A bit of bait prep this week. I made some cheese paste a couple of winters ago, a simple mix of shortcrust pastry, blue cheese and some mature cheddar. It has worked well on the odd occasion I have used it but to try and make it more effective I've added some Boursin garlic and herb soft cheese and some Sonubaits hemp and cheesy garlic liquid enhancer, needless to say it stinks!

I'll be on the bank at some point this weekend, I've heard reports of large shoals of small grayling and I will be targeting these areas for the pike.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

P.b pike

Looking back through my blog and diary, this time last year I was having some success with livebaits. So Sunday mornings plan was to fish maggot on the stick float and hope the predators would follow the chub and dace.

The morning didn't start too well, falling down a rabbit hole then later snapping my Drennan Acoloyte wasn't an ideal start to the session, but it got better. Interest from pike in the first two pegs I fished, then a perch of about a pound in the third.

The fourth peg had a nice near bank glide and on the first run down the small dace bait was snatched. After an epic battle I managed to net a definite new best at the first attempt.

A long, lean and mean river pike - 17lb 9oz
The next peg and another perch, 2.01lb this time, again taken on a small dace.

I was running out of time but called in on one final peg for a last cast, a cast to the far bank, then a long trot downstream. Just as I started to retrieve there was a big swirl a foot behind the bait, but it didn't take the dace, never mind, a very enjoyable but no doubt expensive session.

Usually I like to call into to a pub for a celebratory drink (a p.b pint) but I had rush back as we were taking the kids swimming in the afternoon. I did enough a couple of beers later though.

Plenty of pike activity on this stretch, which I will be hoping to revisit a few times over the coming months.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

A couple of recce's and a DIY bait bucket

Whilst working this week I managed to fit in a couple of recce's during my breaks. Both are back up waters for when the rivers are in flood over the winter.

The first is a lake which used to hold a good head of double figure pike, the water has been in decline for the last few years, but stillwaters that hold decent pike are few and far between in my area so it's definitely worth a session or two.

The second is a commercial style water that holds good perch, well massive perch, a 'four' came out this week, three pounder's come out fairly often and two pounder's are pretty common. No silly rules, reasonably priced day ticket, livebaits and two rods allowed, sounds like a good place for a bit of a perch campaign. The venue also has an on-site tackle shop so I had a quick look around and found a livebait pump in the bargain bin.

Bait bucket

After struggling to find a suitable livebait bucket I made my own a few years back, very basic, a green bucket with a lid, a length of cord with a peg and a reed clamp. Holes were drilled into the bucket and the lid, which when submerged provide enough water exchange to keep any baits in top condition. The bucket is usually dropped in the margin and secured to some backside vegetation with the reed clamp. If needed (and the margin depth allows) I can use the peg to secure the bucket into the side of the bank, which helps keep the bucket out of view of prying eyes...

The pump will mainly be used whilst roving and moving pegs etc...

Quite pleased with how it turned out, hopefully it should be getting a testing in the morning.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Compensation water

Last weekend, the start of my pike season, a semi static session on my local river. Two rods with simple running lead rigs, backbiters for indication and a selection of frozen bait. The plan was to fish a peg for about an hour then move to the next. 

A cold, foggy start to the morning
Over the course of the morning I covered 6 pegs, with no interest in any of them. Although the river had looked spot on, it remained fairly lifeless, just the odd silver fish surfacing with no sign of any predators.

I bumped into a couple of anglers dropshotting and they hadn't caught anything either. After a bit of a chat it was mutually agreed that 'compensation water' was to blame for the lack of feeding fish.

The river can suffer from high abstraction by farming and heavy industry and compensation water is released from a reservoir to counter this. This reservoir is located high in the Pennines and the water is often very cold so this can effect the fishing for a few days after it has been released.

During the session I checked the water temp, 10.5°C, a couple of degrees lower than normal for this time of year. Well that's the excuse for last weeks blank, just need to think of one for tomorrow now!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Pike prep

Well the planned eel session hasn't happened. Finishing work after dark on consecutive nights and wanting to watch the England match tonight has shelved any attempts for the eels this weekend, instead I will be out for the pike in the morning.

Most of my pike gear is ready to go, just a few final jobs to finish, a few more traces to make and I should be ready for the season ahead. I've managed to get hold of some bargain bait, a box of sardines for £3! These added to the lamprey I bought earlier in the week and the remnants from last season and the bait freezer is looking quite full.

Bargain bait - 30 sardines for £3, now individually wrapped and ready to go
I will be heading to my local river tomorrow, with limited time (taking the kids swimming before dinner) I'll be out well before first light, stretch still to be decided, but I'm hoping for a fish or two to start the season with.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Target achieved

A 36 hour session on the Trent, a birthday treat. This was actually my second visit to this river, the last being a couple of months ago but ultimately wasn't that successful, I was hoping for a better outcome on this trip.

The trip was broken down into 3 x 12 hour sessions. The first of these sessions I was targeting the zander. Initially we had planned to fish a ticket water, but Ben had managed to get us access to a private stretch that we could fish for free, so we opted to fish there.

Home for the first night
The stretch isn't particularly large and without wanting to waste time opening up a new peg, we shared the one peg, which was a bit of a squeeze but manageable.

Ben has fished this stretch before catching quality barbel, bream and chub. We hadn't know of any zander to come out of the stretch, but the section is on the navigable part of the river so has some depth and is relatively slow moving compared to other sections of this powerful river.

I spent some time catching bait and within 30 minutes there was enough bleak and roach in the keepnet to see us through the night. I decided on one rod for the barbel and one for the zander, both setup with simple running rigs, the latter with a small treble wire trace. 

It was a good hour after sunset before the first bait was taken, a live roach was snatched, as soon as I struck I knew it was an eel. A decent size, unweighted, definitely over a pound, but less than two. This is the first eel I have taken on a live bait, we were both surprised with the capture as the bait was a decent size, not what I would usually class as eel size.

About an hour later a bleak was taken, initially I thought it was another eel, it felt a good size too so I was pleased. Ben caught a glimpse of it and said it didn't look like an eel, I wasn't convinced until it surfaced and those trademark eyes reflecting our head torches back towards us were revealed.

Thankfully the fight wasn't very spectacular and although it took a couple of attempts to net, I soon had my first zander resting in the landing net, a decent one as well!

A first zander 8lb 14oz

The rest of the trip could of been a blank, I didn't care, target achieved, a couple of beers were cracked open to celebrate.

The rest of the night passed without any zander being landed. Plenty of runs but they were difficult to hit, the few we did connect with were jacks, two for Ben and just the one on my rod. I also managed a couple of bream on the barbel rod, which probably only just went past the 2lb mark.

The next 24 hours was on a stretch further downstream, much more pace to this section of river so we were going for the barbel. Being a popular ticket water you have to pre-book pegs, unfortunately that meant having to fish a different peg for the day and night session.

The day session was hard, given the low water and clear skies we weren't overly confident in catching barbel during the day. Ben had the only take, on a rod he had scaled down to 6lb fluro and a small 6mm pellet. A pristine 7lb + barbel was his reward. I didn't get so much as a knock all day and I was glad when the evening came.

A new peg, a fresh start, two rods, one downstream to a near bank willow, the second would be cast into open water with a big bait and a heavy lead.

The first hour was spent putting some bait next to the willow, I recast the feeder every 5 minutes, to get a bit of the simple groundbait mix in the area. 

The first take came at 19:45 and I was kept busy thoughtout the night, 10 runs and 7 barbel landed.

My first barbell from this river - 5lb 9oz
The final and largest barbel of the session - 9lb 5oz

The 5 barbel landed between these went - 8lb 14oz, 5lb 15oz, approx 4lb 8oz, 6lb 7oz and 6lb 1oz. A very productive session for me, as the most barbel I had previously caught in the one session was four.

Unfortunately Ben didn't land anything during the night, he lost a good fish first cast, but that was the only take he had.

That's probably my final barbel session of the year, time to concentrate on the predators.

The capture of that zander means that I have achieved one of the targets I set myself at the beginning of the year. The others being a p.b eel, perch and pike. Not asking for much! Probably unachievable but I'm going to give it a good go.

A few sessions for the eels, leaving me the rest of the year to target the perch and pike.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Birthday trip prep

As a birthday treat Lindsey was planning on booking me an overnight stay and a couple of days fishing over the Lake District, but it's still a little early for me to start dead baiting and besides he lakes will still be ridiculously busy given its the last week of the holidays.

Instead I'm heading down to the Trent for a nights zander fishing then a 24 hour barbel session. I'm heading to the same stretch (possibly the same peg) as my first attempt for the zander, a deep slow stretch that (apparently) is usually good for a couple of fish.

My first attempt for the zander was unsuccessful, a bit of interest in the baits, but no confident takes. The interest could of been zander but equally it could of easily of been eels. Besides that session was after finishing 6 weeks of constant nights and I spent most of the time asleep and didn't fish it as well as I could have.

Slow and deep, an ideal peg for my first zander ?
I have more confidence in catching barbel from the stretch I'm booked onto, plenty of info online and some recent catch reports from lads I know. A few fish coming out, mainly during the night which is no surprise given the low water levels. I'll be taking plenty of bait but sticking to a boilie, pellet and ground bait approach.

My gear is 90% ready just a few more hook lengths and some wire traces to make. Hopefully I will be on the bank by 18:00 tomorrow, which should enable me to snatch a few baits and get everything setup well before dusk.

Solar hair gauge

I've been using one of these little tools for a couple of years now. The hair gauge helps take the guess work out of hair lengths and provides a platform to hold the hook while tying the knot less knot, which is handy when it's cold and wet or dark.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

A social blank

Out for a barbel session last night, fishing a river with a much larger head of barbel than on my last session, so I was hopeful of a fish or three. I was fishing with Mick for the first time in a few months and we decided to fish a double peg and have a bit of a catch up.

It was a very mild night, still t-shirt weather at 03:00, a very nice evening to be on the bank, unfortunately the fishing wasn't up too much and we didn't have a take between us. Probably should of went eel fishing!

A new book arrived last week, Dilip Sarkar's River Pike, the first book for nearly thirty years dedicated solely to fishing for esox in our rivers. The last effort was the late John Sidleys 'River Piking' which is a bit dated and mainly focuses on a section of the River Severn. The Sidley book has a bit of a following and usually commands a high price on eBay, sometimes up to £100, luckily my copy didn't cost anything like that.

I haven't found the time to start reading the newer book (yet), but I have only heard good things about it so far and I'm looking forward to reading.

I'll be starting to get my pike gear sorted over the next couple of weeks, with the aim of having my first session towards the back end of September. I have a few stretches of river in mind for my first pike session of the season and plenty of areas that I haven't covered before for later sessions. I will also be continuing my search for a local still water that holds pike to a decent size, I want to try and avoid the jacks this winter and finally land that first elusive twenty.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Perfect timing......

With the heavy rain on Friday I was keeping an eye on the river levels, hoping that I would get an opportunity for a few hours barbel fishing over the weekend. I would be targeting them on my local river which isn't know as a barbel river, they are there but they are very few and far between, many blanks are expected and some anglers have spent many a season without landing one. My only barbel from this river came about 15 years ago and probably only weighed a couple of ounces.

Well my opportunity came sooner than I hoped it would, plans for Saturday night and a day trip to the lakes on Sunday meant it was Saturday morning or nothing. I was a bit worried that the river still would still be rising and checking the levels online overnight did nothing to convince me otherwise.

My gear was sorted from my previous outing, but I decided to drop down to the one rod and swap the tip from a 1.75lb to a 2.2lb section, a few heavier leads were also added to the bag.

I arrived just after first light and I had convinced myself that the river would be an unfishable raging torrent, however it looked spot on, high (about 6ft up), coloured, pushing through fast but fishable. I put a marker stick in the margin whilst setting up and within a few minutes it was obvious the level was falling.

Tactics were a cast to the marginal slacks, then 30 to 40 minutes later a cast slightly further out, if no  interest move to the next peg. No interest from the first two pegs, the third had a crease a couple of rod lengths out so I cast the double boilie bait there.

Within 5 minutes the rod went, a brutal fight in the strong current, even with the heavy tip on the rod was bent double and I knew it was a good fish. The fish went on many runs downstream and made it to the now submerged backside himalayan balsam, but some firm pressure soon had it open water again. It was a good 10 minutes before I managed to get the lead to the surface, the fish soon followed, instantly I knew it was a good one.

Netted at the first attempt, a definite new p.b -

11lb 3oz - beats my previous best (which was less than a week old) by over 3lb and my previous best from this river by over 11lb!

Chuffed to bits with this fish, needless to say I had a few beers over the weekend to celebrate.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Back on the bank

It's been a struggle to spend any time on the bank recently, working longer hours than usual and being midway through the school holidays has meant fishing has taken an unwelcome back seat.

I had a couple of unsuccessful barbel sessions just after my last blog entry, both blanks with two fish lost on the first session and despite the more favourable conditions absolutely no interest on the second session.

Three weeks past without being able to wet a line. During periods of 'angling hibernation' I tend to avoid logging on to forums, reading angling blogs and books etc... as it just adds to the frustration of not being able to fish.

Anyway my first chance to spend some time on the bank was on Sunday morning. I had planned on a stickfloat session for perch but I didn't get the time on Saturday to call in the tackle shop and get any bait. Having plenty of boilies and pellets on the shelf, a barbel session it was.

Two takes, two fish, one new p.b.

8lb 2oz - added just over a pound to my previous best

Exactly 6lb, taken as I was packing away

Saturday, 11 July 2015

No 2

I'm working nights this weekend so I thought the best way to get back into a night time routine would be to fish Thurday night.

The session was fairly difficult and the temperatures dropped so it wasn't the most enjoyable either. I had two takes and managed to land one barbel, slightly larger than the last one.

I had planned to stay until after first light but a family of otters came through my swim at 02:30 so I decided to pack up and head home.

I'm busy with work next week so I probably won't be on the bank for a while.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

First barbel of the season

Another short barbel session on a local river. I was running a bit late so didn't arrive at the river until 20:30, bait in, sort my rods out, cast out, sit back and relax. That was the plan but stupidly I had left all my leads at home, luckily a mate was fishing half a mile upstream, so I went on the scrounge and loaned a few leads.

The chub were on the baits fairly quickly but I was using longer hairs this session and it took nearly an hour for the tip to fly round. A definite barbel, a good fight, not overly long, but it did make it to the weedbeds a couple of times.

A decent start, hopefully the next one I manage to land will be bigger
With the first barbel of the season banked I was hopeful of another, it took another 40 minutes for the tip to go round. This time the fish was a lot more substantial, I struggled to keep control of the fish in this tight peg and unfortunately it made it to a snag. The fish was lost, a shame as it would of easily beaten my p.b.

A quick re-tackle, a bit more bait in and another cast towards the willows, this time it took nearly 2 hours for the to go round, another good fish on. I was determined to keep control and not allow the fish to make to any snags, unfortunately the pressure I was needed to apply was too much and the hook pulled! Gutted, two potential p.b barbel lost on the same session.

I packed up shortly after. I'm hoping to give it another go this week (if time allows), next time I will use a more powerful rod to try and keep control in this tight peg.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Barbel on, barbel off

A short four hour session, one fish lost, one landed. The lost fish was a definite barbel, a screaming run upstream, due to the tight swim I had to fight it hard to keep it from the willows, the  hook pulled after 10 seconds.

Plenty of interest from the  chub, sit on hands time, although I probably should of struck at one of the bites. All the chub interest was on some spicy sausage pellets I was using for the first time.

The fish landed came to the same rod as the lost fish, another screamer. Although the run was short lived,  as soon as I turned the fish I knew something was amiss. I was still hoping for a small barbel but it was a chub of about 3lb.

No more interest after the chub, no fish topping, temp  dropped so I left at 01:00. I'll be back for another go next week.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Back on home turf

It's been over one hundred days since I've fished my local river, well one hundred and eleven days (F*"#ing close season!!)

For my first session of the new season I decided on an early morning stickfloat session on the middle reaches. 14ft Acolyte plus, Abu 506, 3.3lb float fish straight through to a size 18 B520. Four pints of maggots, some caster and a tub of worm for bait. I also took a live baiting outfit.

On the bank for 05:00 but didn't have my first cast until closer to 06:00. Dace a chuck from the off, a decent stamp as well, averaging 3 to 4oz with the occasional one pushing 8oz. I started increasing the feed hoping to draw in the chub and the larger perch but it was still a dace a chuck. I started catching small chub about 4oz average, as many chub as dace now, still a fish a chuck.

Things went quiet so I continued to feed fairly heavily, hoping to draw the fish back. A switch to double red and a decent perch was on, good fight easily over a pound. Struggled for a while so I put a small live bait (2" dace) on, a few trots down and another decent perch, this one over 1.5lbs.

After the perch things went quiet again. nothing on maggot, caster or worm. I was thinking there was a pike in the swim so I put a decent (4") dace on, within a second of the bait touching the water the float buried and line was being taken from a reasonably tight drag. A good pike I thought, I struck still thinking pike, as I was bringing it in I thought I'd lost it, then I thought small jack, get the fish in netting range, a chub! Nothing massive, I guessimated 3.08lb but it only went 3.04lb when I later weighed it.

A live bait caught chub, a first for me.

The chub and dace returned, another 20 or so in the net before they went again. This time it was perch in the swim, hard work catching them though. Chopped worm seemed to be the answer about six chopped worms drip fed into the swim over a few minutes, first run down with a decent section on usually resulted in a fish. Good average size as well most over a pound.

If I lost a perch it took a good 15/20 mins to get another bite, the chub and dace had moved 40yards downstream, so if I needed a bait I just had to let the float drift as far as I could and usually I could get another dace. I lost a few perch and a decent grayling being lazy and trying to hand land them.

I ended up with the one decent chub, 15 perch (10 over 1lb, biggest 1.10lb) and a lot of smaller chub and dace, the odd nicer dace of 6 to 8oz as well. Probably over 25lb in total, not a bad first session back on the river.

Unsure when my next session will be, hopefully early next week, an evening barbel session sounds good.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


It takes a lot for me to give up a chance to wet a line, but I'm currently struggling with a severe bout of hay fever. Usually if I get hay fever an antihistamine sorts me out. Not on this time. Zero sleep, swollen face, loss of hearing and balance, its knocked me for six.

Looking at the pollen count, it's going to be the same all week, but I've been out bought some stronger tablets and am fishing tomorrow regardless.

I'm just back from a recce of the stretch I'm heading to, although the river is fairly low, it looks good. Actually comparing the levels to last year they are fairly similar, I had some decent results from this stretch last season, hoping for a result tomorrow.

Previous sessions (last week)

Before heading home I managed a last session on the clay pit, a difficult session, 4 anglers on the bank and I was the only one who needed to wet a landing net. Two decent hybrids and a bream pushing 7lb, I can't complain too much as I've managed a few p.b's from this water over the last couple of weeks.

5lb hybrid and 6lb 14oz bream

I also managed a session on the Trent, aiming for the zander, but I also had a rod out for the barbel. Not a lot to report really no barbel, no zander but I did manage to catch a few bleak whilst bait snatching, a first for me, as we don't have bleak in my local rivers.

Not a complete blank as I did manage a couple of decent bream. Not the session I was hoping for but I'll be back for another crack at the zander at a later date.

A first bleak and couple of decent river bream

Out for first light tomorrow,  mid river stick float session, 4 pints of maggots, a few caster and a tub of worms, aiming for a nice mixed bag. Although a few good chub and perch would be more than welcome.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

3 in a row

Most probably my last session here in North East Lincolnshire before heading home ended with a p.b carp. I'm too tired for a full update (just finishing nights and I still have reports to write up), so I'll keep it short.

I landed a few carp mainly small carp with only one double, a 17lb 9oz common which beats my previous best by almost a pound.

The carp was taken on a 15mm coconut bottom bait, over a decent bed of freebies. That's a new best on each of my last three sessions, very pleased, a new p.b for each of the species I have targeted whilst 'working' away.

Hopefully my next session will be on a river but as of yet I'm not sure on my finish date, all I know that it is soon. I'm aiming to get a session on the Trent, before heading north, then I will be concentrating on my local rivers. I can't wait it seems along time since my last river session (110 days and counting !).

 Hopefully I can continue this form on the rivers (not likely!).

Monday, 22 June 2015

Latest pit session

My most recent session the clay pit was on Saturday, again targeting the bream and tench with a third rod out for the eels.

Bream/tench setup - 1.25lb series 7 avon, Shimano 5010, 8lb Hypersensor, 25g method feeder, 6lb sink braid to a size 12 super specialist.

           Bait - pellet based method mix, with different 10mm boilies for each species.

Eel setup - DLST P2, 8010, 50lb powerpro, running rig with homemade ledger stem to 20lb wire trace and a size 10 ESP Raptor T6.

           Bait - worms and squid. Small silvers are impossible to catch on this water.

I decided to move back to the first peg that I had fished on this water. It has a large gravel bar running parallel to the marginal reeds which I was hoping would hold some good tench, one rod would be cast here, the other in open water for the bream.

I bought some squid to try as a change bait for the eels, usually I prefer roach heads, but there seems to be very few small fish in this water, probably due to the large number of cormorants nearby. It took a couple of hours to get some interest in any of the baits offered and it was the squid on the eel rod which was taken first.

Squid caught eel.
The eel wasn't particularly large but up to that point it was a blank saver. An hour passed, nothing was happening so I decided to try and grab an hours sleep. Less than a minute after I laid on the bedchair the alarm from the open water rod sounded. I knew it was a bream straight away and it felt a decent weight but even on this light(ish) gear it didn't put up much of a fight and it was soon netted. Whilst the bream was resting in the landing net the margin rod ripped off, a definite tench take. After a good scrap, in which the tackle was well tested a good tench shared the net with the bream. A possible p.b bream and a good tench in the net, well pleased.

The bream did beat my best by 9oz, with the scales settling at 9lb exactly, the tench went 5lb 7oz.

Rain was forecast for about 10:00 so I had a quick sort out, recast the rods (the eel rod was left on the bank) and decided to try and get some sleep. I was briefly woken at midday when Ben caught a bream of about 4 and 1/2lb, but then I went undisturbed until 16:00 when I had top pack away and get ready for a night shift.

Only 3 fish to my rods this session a p.b bream, a good tench, a nice eel and 5 hours sleep a good session in my eyes!

Exactly 9lb
5lb 7oz

I've been having a lot of trouble with eel runs on this water, probably because the water contains lots of bootlaces. Many unhittable runs, loads of baits whittled down to nothing etc.... I thought squid might work and it did to some extent, but I'm hoping for a bigger eel from this water, which will be difficult as I can't fish beyond 17:00.

Next time I'm at the water I'll try fishing squid or worms on the dyson rig, hopefully the suspended bait will put off the smaller eels and allow the bigger one more time to find the bait.

I'm heading to a day ticket carp water in the morning, I've never fished it before and can't find much info on the place. Hoping for a good day as I'll be heading home soon and won't be fishing anywhere near as much as I am now, but on the plus side I'll be able to fish my local rivers again.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Still on the stillwaters

With the nearest 'proper' river an hours drive away, I'm continuing to fish the stillwaters local to my accommodation.

On Tuesday I was back on the clay pit for my second session, conditions were less than ideal, bright, hot and a flat calm. I knew the session was going to be difficult and I feel I did well to avoid a blank.
After many missed runs I connected with one and landed an eel, nothing massive but a decent start.

Scaling down to a size 10 was need to hook this eel
I also managed a decent hybrid before calling it a day.

Wednesday I headed to the farm pond again, two rods for the carp and one for the eels. I've never seen an eel from this water but I've been told that the odd one comes out.

I was fishing 15mm boilies on a rod tight to some reeds and 10mm's on my second rod, which was placed near the pads. The smaller bait was the first taken and shortly after a  small tench was landed. A couple more tench and a bream of about 4 pound were also caught on this rod.

One of three farm pond tench during the session, the largest getting on for two and a half pounds.

The only take from a carp was on the rod with a 15mm bait on, unfortunately I lost the carp in the reeds.

On Thursday I fished the clay pit again, a different peg this time, similar tactics, again hopeful that the bream and tench would show.

I didn't have to wait long for the first fish, an eel took a worm bait within a few minutes of it being in the water, again nothing of size but a welcome start.

The first fish on the bream/tench gear was a 7lb 4oz bream, caught on a 10mm boilie/method feeder approach.

The second fish was a bit of a surprise and probably had outgrown someones garden pond. An 8lb 8oz grass carp picked up the bait and gave a good account of itself before it was reluctantly netted. Being only the second grass carp I have landed, the first being a pound or so, this was a definite p.b.

Next up was a hybrid of 5lb 4oz, definitely the biggest I have caught, so another p.b. The next two fish were both tench, my new p.b of 6lb 12oz and a male tench of 4lb 14oz. Both fish came to a method mix that I had specifically made for tench.

4lb 14oz male and a new p.b of 6lb 12oz

 The final fish of the session was a bream of over 5 pounds.

(top to bottom) 7lb 14oz, 5lb 4oz, 5lb 4oz, 4lb 14oz and 6lb 12oz)

Although I'm missing the rivers I'm really enjoying fishing for these bream and tench. I'm hoping to fit another session or two on the clay pit before my short term contract is over and then I'll be hitting the rivers again.