Wednesday 28 January 2015

A nice river double and a quick catch up

I've had a few outings since my last update but these have been a struggle due to the river conditions, I'll mention these later in this post as they weren't very eventful.

Yesterday I finally managed to get on the bank while conditions were favourable, although there was a little extra water it was fining down nicely. I took a rod for the chub and the pike to give me the best chance of getting something on the bank. Things started slowly for me, no interest from either species , after a couple of missed bites Mick landed a nice chub of 3.07lb.

I tried bread, cheese paste, garlic spam and steak but couldn't get any interest from the chub. After a couple of uneventful moves I tried an area downstream of Mick and dropped half a sardine in the margin while I baited an area with liquidised bread for the chub. Ten minutes later and the pike rod started nodding, I unclipped the backbiter took up the slack and struck a decent fish was on. The pike fought very hard for a mid-winter pike, more like a late summer pike, minus the tail walking. I thought the pike was going to be a good mid-double but the avons settled at 11lb 3oz's.

Fought like a bigger fish, but it's hard to be disappointed when they look like this
We fished on for a further hour, no other fish were landed. I had a decent bite on a hair rigged piece of steak but I was waiting for the wraparound that never came and didn't strike.

Previous sessions

13th Jan - I fished a different river than my usual, on a stretch that I haven't had a lot of success. Conditions were awful, very low temps and high winds the river was also up, I had a rod for both the chub and pike. The only interest coming to the chub rod, but I didn't see the bite properly due the high wind, a chub of around 4lb shed the hook as I got it to the surface, the lamprey was well chewed.

The ejected lamprey

15th Jan - I headed to a stretch of my local river, a lot of water had gone in upstream but I was hoping to get a few hours after the chub before the water reached the stretch I was fishing, however I got the timing wrong and the river was rising fast. The river rose about 2ft in the hour I was on the bank and showed no signs of slowing the highlight of the morning was an otter that was running in the shallow margins. The otter was completely unaware of  my presence until it got to about 4ft away from me, a quick about turn and it was gone as quickly as it appeared.

20th Jan - Fishing with Mick we headed to the same river in fished on the 13th but to a stretch much further downstream. Again I took chub and pike gear to keep my options open, the river had some snow melt in but Mick had a nice 4.01lb chub on the bank on his first cast so I was hoping we would have a decent day. It was a struggle no positive bites on the chub rod, nothing on the pike rod. I decided to reposition the pike bait (a large sardine) and as I was slowly retrieving the bait a small jack  shot out from under my feet and hit the bait. I landed the jack which was probably only twice the size of the bait, no other bites/takes for either of us so we recce'd a few areas for future sessions.

A small jack and Mick's 4lber

22nd Jan - A short lure session, my first in a while, nothing to report a definite blank.

Planned sessions

If the weather forecasts are anything to go by it's going to be hard to stick to any plans over the next week or so, but I might try and get out for a couple of hours tomorrow species undecided and will depend on river conditions. Currently Tuesdays are the easiest day for me to be on the bank and next Tuesday will see me targeting chub, grayling, pike or perch on my local river. If the river is in flood I'll probably head to one of my stillwaters to target the pike, but I'm hoping that the rivers are fishable....

Sunday 11 January 2015

Blank, River levels, Recce and planned sessions

On Thursday I fished a stretch of river that usually produces a few pike, 4 of us fished the stretch and I was initially confident that a few pike would be landed. My optimism was short lived as the river was rising, although the water was reasonably clear the rising water usually puts the pike off feeding.

The river rose around 2ft in the few hours we were on the bank and we all blanked, not even a take. The highlight of the session was seeing a buzzard in the nearby farmland and a heron on the water.

River levels

As a river angler I rely on the Environment Agency to update their website so I can keep an eye on the levels. Although the EA's website is ok, I find the River Levels site a lot better as it easier to read and provides some historical data which is a good reference. This is obliviously a massive help to anyone who chooses to fish the rivers but I think the EA could do better. Generally the levels for each station are updated twice in every 24 hours, they are updated more frequently during times of flood etc... but I feel they should be updated every hour.

All river level monitoring stations are automated, so I don't understand why the website isn't updated more frequently. If the levels were updated every hour or so it would make it so much easier for the angler to decide when to fish, where to fish and what species to target.

Generally I can predict what condition the river is going to be in and my time is rarely wasted, but occasionally I do get it wrong and turn up on the river take one look and know I'm going to blank, should of brought my chub gear or should of went to a still water.


Yesterday I called in on a stretch of my local river that I've never fished before, further upstream than I've ever fished. Its not a known pike area and although I would bet on the occasional pike turning up it is more of a barbel/chub stretch. It looks like a cracking stretch of river well worthy of a summer evening session or two.

The coming week

I hoping to get out at least twice next week, a short session locally and a full day session on a different river and on a stretch that I haven't visited before. I'll be going for the pike if conditions are ok, if not I'll try for some chub.

Friday 2 January 2015

First canal session

With all my local rivers in flood (most of them in the fields) I took the opportunity to fish a stretch of canal for the first time. It was a good 90 minute drive in my old jeep and I arrived at the canal by 08:30. Shortly after I had baits (lamprey and sardine) in the water, both on simple float ledger rigs.

I had a take 45 minutes later on the sardine rod, as I was netting the pike I realised that I still had baits defrosting in the landing net. I had the pike in the net and while I was trying to re-net the baits, the pike thrashed, the trebles caught in the mesh and the pike got away!

I give the swim another 30 minutes but nothing happened, so I leapfrogged the rods along the stretch. Lunchtime came and I hadn't had any further interest in either bait. I was approached by a member of the club that controlled the stretch he informed me that day tickets were no longer available, yearbooks only! After a bit of a chat he rang the membership secretary (Richard) who said he would come down and sort it out. An hour or so later he turned up just as a sprat was taken.

My first pike from a canal
After a short fight a pike of 12lb 4oz was netted. Richard was on hand to take a couple of photos and he also sorted me a yearbook (for yet another new club). The last couple of hours past quickly, without further interest in any of the baits I tried. Not a bad start to the year, a first session on a canal, a nice pike and a new club with a few more waters to explore.

Looking forward to my next session, hopefully the rivers will be at a normal level as I might get the lures out.