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.