Thursday 29 March 2018

Final jack

Out for my last pike session of the season, a first visit to a low stock gravel pit. Not knowing much about the venue and not being able to find a lot of info online, some time was spent walking the banks, chatting to other anglers and having a few casts with the deeper. All time well spent.

Each angler made it well known that the water was difficult regardless of what species you are targetting, but with carp to low 30’s, bream to 14lb + and tench to over 9lb it’s well worth investing some time here. 

The pike fishing is difficult but fish to 26lb have been reported recently as well as the occasional large eel.

Yesterday’s session was hard going, a small jack after two hours gave a bit of confidence but that soon faded. Static deads went ignored, as were drifted, popped up and wobbled baits. Burts, mantas and replicants went unscathed on the heavy lure gear. 

Final and smallest of the season 

Friday 23 March 2018

Stillwater jacks

After the washout on the rivers I was looking forward to a couple of stillwater sessions before hanging up the pike gear for the season.

Not blessed with many options when targetting stillwater pike I headed to a water which also has a history of producing the odd large eel, a pike session and a recce in one.

An hour or so in and the first interest was on a drifted roach, just a jack but a blank saver and caught on homemade gear.

The lake was fairly lifeless to be expected as water temps are still fairly low, but that first jack and a strong warm westerly boosted confidence. 

Mick had some interest on a bottom fished sardine but the bait was dropped. An hour or so after the first fish I had a take on a paternoster roach, a better fish, a bit lethargic in the fight, and full of leeches.


We continued until mid afternoon without any further interest. A few notes taken for future sessions, most probably after eels but maybe an option for the pike when the rivers are out of sorts.

Hopefully I’ll be out again next week, heading to a gravel pit for a first visit. The waters adjacent to this pit have produced eels in the past so no reason why this one won’t, so another pike session/eel recce.

Thursday 22 March 2018

The end of the line

A long awaited delivery arrived yesterday, the final book by Tony Miles.

A complete rework and rewrite of his 1980’s book ‘ The Complete Specimen Hunter’ I’ve only had chance for a quick flick through and a read of the introduction but it looks like a ‘good un’.

Surprisingly there’s still a few copies left -

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Final day action

Out on the river for a second day, similar conditions as yesterday but the river was falling.

15 minutes after the first cast Mick was in, the fish weeded itself on the now submerged bank side vegetation but after some steady pressure it swam out. 

3 hours later and a move further downstream it was my turn. A vicious take that almost took the rod into the river, and good scrap but hard work netting the fish on the steep, slippery banks.

A good end to the season for us both, given the conditions and the lack of fish showing recently we weren’t expecting much. 

Neither of us usually target barbel at the back end of the season, preferring to fish for chub or pike but given recent river conditions we didn’t have much of a choice.

After a quick check of my diaries, today’s barbel took my total for the season to 30, a nice way to sign off from the rivers for a while.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Change of plans

Having worked it so my days off tied in with the last two days of the season, I was aiming to spend the time on the bank roving for pike during the day and switching to chub when it got dark.

Those plans were thrown out of the window with the last of the snow melt working its way down and a day of heavy rain.

Instead I’m currently sitting it out for an unlikely end of season barbel. Plenty of extra water, 10ft up on normal levels, but with water temps of just over 4°C it’s going to be hard going.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Smash and grab chub

With the final day of the season looming, I am trying to get on the bank as often as possible. Today I thought I might get a couple of hours before heading to work, I ended up just getting an hour.

Two pegs, half a dozen casts, two bites, one chub.


I tried for another from the second peg and fancied my chances but time was against me.

Always a bonus to catch on these very short sessions, hopefully out again soon.

Monday 5 March 2018

One before the thaw

The river levels have been stable but with working solid for the last 6 days, (not much fun with the weather we’ve had up here, but like most I’ve got plenty of bills to pay!) I haven’t had a chance to get out. I was tempted to go for a chub session last night, even had the gear ready, but ended up having a beer and watching TV instead.

After checking the levels this morning, it looked promising, no sign of any extra water, locally or further upstream. All optimism faded as soon as I saw the river, even from a good distance I could tell it was heavily coloured, not a good sign when pike fishing on this river.

Unexpectedly I had some interest in the second peg of the day, a margin fished lamprey was taken, a good positive take, a quick strike lead to a solid fight. With the rod bent well, the fish staying deep, I thought I was into a good one. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed when the fish surfaced, I was expecting at least a mid double after the fight it gave.

Just shy of 11lb, felt bigger in the water
Unfortunately the fish has had a rough life, a damaged jaw and a few fresh wounds on its flanks, I’d also managed to catch the top of its gut with the lower treble.

The trebles on this trace are purposely spaced slightly further apart than my usual traces, around 4.5 inches, usually these are used on large mackerel, sardines or a whole lamprey. It took sometime but I managed to remove the trace, resting the fish for a few minutes a couple of times during the unhooking procedure. I find it easier to remove all points and barbs from both trebles whilst dealing with a deeply hooked fish. Thankfully the fish went back fine.

The rest of the session was uneventful, the river was slowly on the rise, the water more heavily coloured than when I arrived and most of the snow on the riverbank had disappeared. It’s safe to say that the river will be out of sorts for a while, which makes it pleasing to get one on this session, fingers crossed the rivers are fishable before the 14th.