Tuesday 21 February 2017


Lincolnshire jacks
A trip down down to Northeast Lincolnshire, a good 2 hour plus drive, so a very early start was needed to make full use of the daylight. I was fishing a river which was transformed into a canal, became disused and typically of the area is now used as a land drain for the surrounding farmland.

Ben has had some success on this waterway but we both struggled, temps had plummeted in the preceding days and it didn't make it past 1°C all day. Despite the fishing being hard and conditions equally shitty we worked hard but could get anything other than jacks, I managed 4 and Ben had 2.
Typical of the fish we managed on a tough day, both predator and prey on the small side.

Not the session I was hoping for as the pike usually average around the low double mark, I might head down for another try before the season ends, if not I'll be back next season.

Local chub sessions
Out on my local river, the same tactics as the beginning of the month. Some instant interest in the first peg but I missed it. Nothing further in that peg, or the next two. 5 minutes in the last peg and I had a text, Lindsey asking if I could pick her up after a night out, just as I put my phone back in my pocket the tip went round. Fumbled the strike and missed the fish. Started to get some interest again but I had go....

Again another late evening chub session, simple tactics again, cheese paste and meat as bait. A minute after casting I started getting interest, then the sound of an otter slipping into the river put a stop to that. 'Here we get go again' I thought, the tip then flew round and before I knew it I was playing a good fish.

A cracking scrap, at times I thought I had a barbel on, then after getting a glimpse I thought carp, but after the tell tail attempts to get to the undercut bank I knew it was a chub. Once on the surface I thought it was a good five, however after netting and seeing the flank I knew it would go past the six pound mark.

Longer than the rod handle!

And it did, 6lb 6oz, a new p.b get in!!

I sacked the fish so I could try and tempt another from the peg, but the excitement got the better of me and the next cast went into the bush and I caused too much disturbance trying to get it out. Never mind, after a quick re-rig, re-weigh and some photos the fish was slipped back and I headed to my next peg.

No real features here just open water, after spending ten minutes trickling bait mid river I had my first cast. One hour in this peg, five casts, five bites, four quality chub landed.

4.15, 4.04, 4.03 and 3.00lb
Bites became less confident and less frequent so I moved on. The river seemed to be on the rise and my 2oz tip wasn't really upto it, two quick rattles of the tip on the first cast and I decided to call it a night.

A new cracking session, a few chub during a full days fishing is generally considered a result so I was chuffed with how things turned out. Two chub bests within a month, not bad for a non chub angler!

After that last session I left my chub gear just in case I got and chance after work, I was working Sunday and Lindsey had the kids at a birthday party, an early finish meant I could get a quick hour in before meeting the family for a late Sunday dinner.

3 pegs fished, I missed a sitter in the first, next peg produced a nice clean chub of 3.09lb, nothing in the third so I decided to revisit the first peg for 10 mins. The tip flew round after a few minutes, nothing massive and it seemed to have had a lucky escape from an otter in the past. Half an hour later I was in the pub for my Sunday dinner.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Getting closer....


A little pushed for time but I managed to get on the bank before lunch, I decided to fish on the lower river with with a pair of rods, rather than the usual roving tactics further upstream.

One rod on ledgered deads the other on float paternostered lives. Some instant interest on the live produced nothing other than a stolen bait. An hour past before the deadbait was taken, a good scrap on my lighter outfit (DLST P2, Shimano 4000 OC), as the pike surfaced I noticed the float rig getting some interest. Applying more pressure than I usually would and the first pike was netted just as the baitrunner on the second rod started to tick. Just a jack on this rod so it didn't take long to net.

A quick pic and weigh of the larger fish (8.14lb)

A quick sort of the now tangled rigs and I was fishing again. I only had to wait 10 minutes for a bait to be taken this time, just a jack but as soon as the fish surfaced, something was showing some interest in the livebait, another double take.

First fish netted and an almost instant strike on the float rod saw a healthy curve in the rod. It took a while to get the fish to the surface as it kept making strong lunges in the slow deep water. As soon as the fish surfaced I knew it would be a seasons best at least. I could see the red bait tag I use to secure live baits so I had to be careful as the pike was only lightly hooked. After a few attempts to get back down to the deeper water I netted her at the first attempt. Only when lifting the net did I think it
would be a pb.

Finally a smile !

19.02lb a new pb!

I also weighed the jack to give a comparison (5.10lb)

Chuffed to bits with this fish and edging a little closer to that twenty from my closest river.

I had to cut the session short as my phone died whilst having over 30% battery and my backup camera didn't want to play.


A week later I was back, roving the stretches further upstream. A difficult session, in pretty poor conditions as the river was very coloured, which increases the difficulty of tempting a pike from this already hard river.

I tried everything, ledgered deads/lives, trotted lives, suspended baits, lives fished close to the surface but I didn't get a sniff all day. One last throw of the dice was to scale down the trace and try to tempt a chub on a smelt. The smelt was cast towards a near bank snag and within a few minutes the bait was taken.

Sunday 12 February 2017

First sessions of the year

My first session of the year (3rd Jan) was on my local river targeting the pike, the same area where I lost 'that' fish a couple of months previous.

River conditions have been fairly kind this winter, flooding hasn't been too bad and without prolonged periods of wet weather levels have usually dropped within a couple of days. Due to the better than normal river conditions confidence has been high when arriving on the bank for a pike session.

Conditions were decent enough during this session, water temps just above 3° C, not overly coloured and at a level that I like for this stretch. However the going was hard. A solitary jack was landed around midday and without much further interest during daylight hours, I decided to fish an hour into dark.

Just as the last of the sun disappeared I had a take on a full lamprey. A delicate take, very little line taken, but I could feel the odd tug on the braid. Almost immediately after striking I had a nice 4lb plus chub on the surface, the chub wasn't hooked as I could see both trebles and the bait was spat fairly sharpish.

That was all for the first session. After that lost chub and the others I have had in recent sessions I decided to purposely target the chub on my next outing.

A quick chub session (6th Jan)

Three days later I was out for a short evening session, the chub gear was already setup in the car ready to go. After a 13hr shift at work it had to be a short session, 2 or 3 pegs, an hour or so fishing.

Simple tactics, 1.5lb avon, 2oz tip, 6lb sensor, light link ledger to a size 4 hook.

After a few missed bites I connected with a nice chub which put up a good scrap in the dark. The chub was almost lost to a snag, but some steady pressure had it out in open water and I managed to net it fairly quickly. I thought it would go over 5 and it did, the avons settled between 5 and 5.01lb.

A new best, my first for a while

Monday 6 February 2017

It's been a while

Six months have past since my last update, family and work commitments leaving little spare time for fishing, never mind blogging.
I'll use this first post back to review 2016 and then bring the blog upto date over the next few posts.
2016 wasn't my greatest years fishing, poor conditions on my local rivers at the start of the year, a struggle on both my eel and tench campaigns and then a period of losing almost every pike I hooked.

Eel and tench sessions
I started targetting both species in April, quite early in the year this far north. However I managed a 2lb 8oz eel on my first session but blanked on the first attempt for tench.
I had planned to commit every session until autumn trying to achieve my target of a 4lb plus eel and 50lb of tench. I stayed on track fishing days for tench and nights for eels until the 16th of June when the lure of running water tempted me from the still waters. A few hard going barbel sessions later and I was on the eel trail again.
I fished a couple of new waters for the eels with varying success, one of the waters is very close to home and produced eels on both occasions I fished there so I'll try again there next season.

Eel round up -

Number sessions - 8
Number of eels caught - 5
Largest eel caught - 2lb 8oz

Another very disappointing attempt for the eels, not enough sessions fished and not enough time spent on the water I think has the most potential for large eels. I'm determined to catch a large eel from a local water and will be trying again this spring/summer.

The first of the season - 2lb 8oz

A two pounder from my local river

Tench round up -
Number of sessions - 6
Largest tench - 2lb 14oz
Total weight - 16lb 7oz

Disaster. Tench fishing in my local area is always a struggle, but I thought 50lb would be achievable. I've found a water which holds plenty of tench, probably not capable of beating my p.b, but they do go over 4lb and are usually a reasonable average size. On both visits I caught tench but struggled to get past the smaller samples, a change of tactics needed if I ever revisit.

The largest of the season, caught during an eel session

Other sessions -

A double figure net of silvers on my only stick float session
Late season mackerel to 1lb 8oz
The only barbel of the season, 8lb 4oz, my best from this river

Start of 2016/17 pike season

A change of job means I am working closer to my local river which makes it a lot easier to fit a quick session after/before work. I started my pike season towards the end of September and started catching fairly regularly.
A brace of early season doubles, good going for this river !

By mid October I was pleased with how my season was going, fish on most sessions and a number of which were doubles. Then I started losing almost every pike I hooked. A fish of 8lb at the net, a good 15lb plus whilst live baiting, an unseen heavy fish and then the biggest pike I've ever hooked.

A fish of easily 25lb was lost for no apparent (at the time) reason, I fought this fish for a good few minutes, a solid and very long river fish, easily capable of stripping 30/40yards of braid at will. But I was winning, heart pounding, fish on the surface a few rod lengths out, easing it towards the net when everything went slack.

That fish was lost on the 1st of November and I can still remember that gut wrenching, kick in the balls feeling after realising the fish was gone. I've been chasing a '20' from this river for years, they are rare fish, this was a special fish.

Trying to get my head around the run of lost fish lead to a closer look at my tackle. The only weakness I could see was my reel, Shimano 6010 GT's. Solid reels but the drag isn't the greatest, fine if you back wind but I don't. The drag on my Shimano's needed a good 'jerk' to engage, then it was fine, I'm convinced that the jerky action of the drag costing me fish. I looked into servicing but was advised that parts are no longer made. Time for a change.
I ordered a pair of Shimano 6000 OC and haven't looked back. Solid reels, a bit bigger and more blingy than I'm used to, but they are a quality bit of kit. The drag is very smooth, no jerky action and I'm glad to say it stopped my loss of fish.

I continued my pursuit for a twenty from my local, often visiting the spot I'd lost the big one from, catching a few upto 13lb 6oz.
The largest and best looking pike of the year

River conditions suffered with some snow melt but I was still catching the odd pike and caught a p.b equalling perch.
2lb 4oz, equal p.b

I also started to get the odd chub on deadbait, always after the light had faded, these went to 4lb 4oz, my best from this river.
A solid chub on dead bait

My final session was a visit to a canal, hard going but good fun, we landed 5 pike between us, all taken on lives fished in the upper layers. Ben caught the lions share but I managed the largest.
Final fish of the year, an urban pike
2016 highlights -

Barbel - 8lb 5oz
Bleak - d.n.w
Bream - approx 12oz
Chub - 4lb 4oz
Dace - approx 6oz
Eel - 2lb 8oz
Grayling - approx 12oz
Perch - 2lb 4oz*
Pike - 13lb 6oz
Tench - 2lb 14oz.

* equals my personal best

Not my greatest year but we can't all be Terry Lampard!

Anyway 2017 has started well, hopefully I can get something up in the next day or two.