Sunday 26 October 2014

New stretch, short session

Last Thursday (16th) I had another try on the same stretch as my previous post, however it wasn't very successful and my baits didn't receive any interest.

I was on a course last week so hadn't had the chance to get on the bank for the last 10 days. I only had enough time for a short session today so I was on the bank for 05:30, it was dark for the first hour and as it was my first visit to this stretch I decided to stay in the one spot until it was light. The river was pushing through fairly strongly so I decided to just fish the margins. The first hour passed and as I was sorting my gear out to move upstream my backbiter sounded as a half mackerel was taken. The fish surfaced straight away and was probably in the 8 to 10lbs range but after another few seconds the hooks pulled. I put off moving and quickly recast to the same area, I gave it another 20 minutes but nothing happened so I moved further upstream.

The rejected bait
On this section the bank was a lot clearer so I was able to 'leap frog' the rods and cover a bit of water. 20 minutes later a large sardine was taken and after a short tussle (tail walking/leaping out of the net) I had a jack of 6lb 8oz on the bank. The jack had a bit of damage to its mouth, probably from poor handling, other than than it was pristine.

Ten minutes after casting a mackerel tail the backbiter sounded, line was peeling from the reel, I took up the slack and lent into a better fish. The pike fought very aggressively and I could see it was a 'lower double'. I had a couple of opportunities to net the pike but I struggled with the steep banks and the shortish landing net handle (need a longer one). I pulled the pike into netting range however the pike was thrashing its head from side to side and managed to throw the hooks. Again I quickly cast back to the same area, hoping to tempt the pike again. Unfortunately there was no further interest in my baits and I had to leave shortly afterwards, begrudgingly I was home by 11:00. I'm hoping to get a mid-week session in, but as it's school half term I might be pushing my luck.

New camera

I managed to bag an eBay bargain, a canon bridge camera for £13. It's an older model but it should be  more than adequate for fishing. I had a bit of a play with it today but struggled to get the self takes to focus, hopefully I can figure it out for the next session.

Friday 10 October 2014

Midweek pike sessions

On Tuesday I fished a stretch of river that I had wanted to fish for a few years but for one reason or another hadn't got round to it. The stretch has produced a few twenty's and numerous high doubles over the years but access to the bank is quite difficult so it is largely unfished.

I was fishing with Mick and after meeting up and a short drive to the stretch we were parked up by around 0630hrs. The walk to the stretch was interesting, as it was still dark and I hadn't been there for a number of years, the 10 to 15 minute walk I had expected turned into a bit of a hike. Under and over some barbed wire fencing, up a few hills, through some woods and across a giant hogweed forest we arrived at the bank some 40 minutes later.

The river had swollen overnight and it was pushing through quite hard, there was lots of leaves, branches and fallen trees coming downstream. The fishing was hard going with the river conditions making presentation difficult at times. Despite regularly changing baits and tactics we both blanked.

On the way back to the cars we found a more direct route, but after 5 minutes I realised the tyre on my barrow was punctured and I had to push the barrow (off road) with the flat for the best part of a mile. As we were approaching the cars Mick noticed that we had 'parking tickets' on both out windscreens, luckily these were only 'parking warning notices' for parking on a grass verge (F*#*ing jobsworths!!!!)

Not the best of sessions but now we know the easier route I'm sure we'll be back and hopefully the river will be in better condition. 

On Thursday we fished a stretch further upstream, Mick couldn't get there until mid morning but I managed to drag myself out of bed and was on the bank before 7. I had my first take of the day 20 minutes later, initially the pike didn't really put up much of a fight and I thought I'd netted it at the first attempt but when I lifted the net the pike wasn't there. The fight started again but despite the fish trying to get into the marginal snags it didn't really last too long and I made sure it was definitely in the bottom of the net on the second attempt.

First of the day, caught on a 'fresh' supermarket sardine 
The pike went 10lb 6oz and was caught on a fresh supermarket bought sardine. Usually I buy my sea deads from a bait supplier or they are caught on summer mackerel trips, but I'm impressed with the quality and the price of the supermarket fish (£3.70 for 9 large sardines), I will definitely be stocking up the bait freezer with these for future sessions.

Sat back (on my bargain chair) waiting for the next take

Mick arrived just before nine and shortly after I had another run on a sardine bait, the pike was taking line, but unfortunately I had forgotten to tighten the drag (after the earlier fish) and I basically struck into thin air, the pike was gone and the bait had came off the trebles.

I decided to use an old large mackerel that had been in my bait freezer since catching it 3 summers ago, the bait was cast into a similar area as before. A short time later the mackerel was picked up and a pike was taking line, I struck but nothing was there. I got the bait back and could see that a pike had the bait but it was either a jack or I had struck to early. The same (mangled) bait was cast into the same spot and I was hoping that the pike would have another go. Half an hour had past when the backbiter sounded again, line was peeling from the reel, I waited a second or two longer than the last take and struck in a fish. The pike didn't put up that much of a fight and Mick quickly netted at the first attempt.
The second of the day (7lb 14oz) caught on a 3 year old mackerel

Mick had the next take, again this was on a fresh sardine. Line was peeling from the spool, but when he struck he didn't connect with anything. The bait was marked and it was definitely a pike, so he had either struck too early or it was a only a jack, either way we both agreed that it is better to miss a few take rather than deeply hook a pike.

Neither of us managed another take and as we were packing away I had a phone call, I was hoping it was to give me a start date for my new contract but it was in fact a call to say that the contract had been cancelled ! I had put a lot of effort in to get the contract offer so needless to say I was pretty pi$$ed off when I received the news, I suppose it will give me the chance to get on the bank a few more times whilst I wait for the next contract to come along......

Thursday 2 October 2014

Lower river - jack

I was waiting on a phone call (and still am) so needed to stay local, I decided to fish a stretch on the lower reaches of the river so I could get a phone signal. The plan was to feeder fish for the bream and put a rod or two out for the pike.

Early morning on the lower river
The peg I picked was quite tight and after a while I got a bit sick of struggling for space and watching the tip so I decided to switch to fishing a 5m whip to hand. I fished this method many times along this same stretch when I was younger and often did quiet well. The fishing was very easy and every put in I was catching nice perch, roach and skimmers to around the 10/12oz mark. After about 2 hours on the whip I decided to concentrate on the pike, shortly after I take a take on a herring which didn't really develop. Just before midday I landed a small jack which had taken a perch live bait.

Only a jack but I'm happy to catch pike of any size
I needed to be away by 1400hrs so I left a rod out until the last minute, I was about to pack up the last rod when the live bait was taken. Line was quickly being taken via the baitrunner, usually I would hold the spool and strike simultaneously and then disengage the baitrunner, but for some reason Idisengaged the baitrunner and the pike dropped the bait instantly!

This mornings session was unexpected as I thought that I would be working and although the pike was only small it's the first I've caught this far downstream for a couple of years. The whip fishing was enjoyable but possibly a bit too easy as it could only hold my attention for a couple of hours.


My crimping pliers snapped today, this is the second time that I've had pair from the same company snap, both in exactly the same place. I've emailed the manufacturer to see what they have to say......

I managed to get a bargain in the shape of a Korum accessory chair, I swapped it for an old reel that I wouldn't probably ever use. I've been after one of these chairs for a while, it's bigger than I thought it would be and I'll probably use it for more static sessions as it's a bit heavier than the chair I've been using.