Saturday 1 February 2020

After work chub

I usually try and fit in a short session after work at least once during my 5 days on, usually arriving at the chosen river after 22:00hrs and setting off home a couple of hours later.

At this time of year chub are the only viable target on these northern rivers and a fish or two is usually on the cards even on short sessions.

Two ‘midweek’ sessions since my last post, both flying visits of 3 hours or less. 3 chub on the first with a decent 4lb fish being the best.

Out again last night, first cast 23:15hrs back in the car by 01:30hrs. 3 bites, 2 fish landed, a nice 4lb 8oz and one of about 3lb.

I really enjoy these short sessions, a couple of hours on the bank keeps me ticking over until my 3 days off when I usually get at least one longer session. 

I’m heading down to target those farm pond perch on Monday it’s been 6 weeks since my last visit, water levels should have dropped, the forecast is showing an overcast day with strong southwesterly winds blowing, hopefully it’s worth the 2 hour drive.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Autumn and winter perch part 2 (river sessions)

I haven’t been able to perch fish my local rivers as much as I would of liked this winter as they always seem to be in a constant state of flood.

Living in an area surrounded by spate rivers you become accustomed to them but this year has definitely been the most challenging for a number of years.

The image above shows the recent levels during a typical winter week on one of my favourite rivers. Targeting predators at anything over 0.8 meters is a real struggle, (pissing in the wind springs to mind). As you can imagine opportunities to target these fish are very limited especially when you factor in family life and 60hr working weeks.

Anyway I’ve managed two river perch sessions so far, one on my closest river which as usual was a bit of a struggle, small live baits fished close to deep marginal snags when unscathed.

A week or so later I headed down to one of my favourite rivers, I’ve never really fished for predators on this river, usually targeting the barbel and chub but I know it holds good perch and pike. 

After catching a few small silvers I chose a peg for the short session with features both up and downstream. A small gudgeon on a float paternoster upstream and a small maggot feeder with worm flicked under the downstream willow. 

It took half an hour or so to get some interest on the feeder a 12oz perch was the first in the net, shortly followed by one of around a pound.

I was being pestered by small jacks on the live bait rod, I was using a light wire trace so all were landed without to much fuss but the distractions did lead to a few missed bites on the feeder.

Eventually a better fish on the feeder, initially I thought it was a chub but eventually a nice perch surfaced, easily my largest from this river.

2lb 9oz, a new river best
Bites were hard to come by after the two pounder, a good wrap around was missed whilst landing a jack. I switched to a larger lobworms as dusk approached, hoping for a final chance of a bigger fish. The bite came but it was the smallest of the day.

One of 3 jacks landed, a nice looking fish 

Hopefully I can get on this river for a longer session in good conditions soon as I think I’d be able to put a few more fish on the bank, maybe get closer to a three pounder.

Wednesday 8 January 2020

New Years blank

I couldn’t make it out on New Year’s Day, dog walks and a family meal took priority however I was on the bank on my first opportunity, the 2nd! For a change my closest river was looking good, a nice winter level carrying a slight colour and stable weather in the preceding days. I took a chance and headed to a difficult stretch, feast or famine!

A ball breaker of a stretch, long walks, steep banks, massive snags, no fish.....
When its fishing well this stretch is very rewarding, however when it’s bad I question if the stretch has been polluted as it seems lifeless. I knew what type of day it was going to be after dropping in on a banker peg! Anyway I worked hard, enjoyed the time on the bank but didn’t start the year with a bang!

Backend chub and pike

Amongst the perch sessions I’ve had the odd short pike session and a few flying visits to the river for a quick after work chub session. I landed pike on every session, mostly on rivers but I also had a first pike session on a large gravel pit, which produced two of the skinniest jacks I’ve seen. 

One of the gravel pit pike
Almost a double from my local river
The chub fishing was steady, with a good average size fish of 4lb + on most sessions, but it was often only a single fish landed, not too concerning as these sessions are very short, 2-3hrs maximum. My last session of the year was a bit better, two fish landed with one being 5.08lb and a new river best. I’ll be continuing to target the chub in this river throughout the winter, with the long term target of increasing this river best to over 6lb.

5lb 8oz with plenty of room to fill out, potentially a very big chub at the right time of year
The 5.08lb next to a low '4'
First cast on a flying visit after work 4.14, only bite of the session though.
2019 highlights 

I don’t have the time or motivation for a full year review, so I’ll just stick a few highlights up.

Barbel - 11lb 7oz
Chub - 5lb 8oz
Perch - 3lb 6oz
Tench - 5lb 2oz

Any other species were either not weighted or are not worth mentioning.

The overall highlight of my fishing year was the capture of a double figure barbel from a river I’ve been working hard on for a couple of seasons. At 11lb 3oz it equalled my then p.b and really did make my fishing year, doubles from this river are definitely few and far between and they seem to be getting rarer each season. 

The highlight of my angling year, despite catching larger barbel from the trent this capture definitely brought me the most pleasure. I'll be surprised if I ever catch a larger barbel from this river. 

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Autumn and winter perch part 1

A little burnt out from barbel fishing hard all summer and early autumn, I had a couple of weeks off with the thoughts of targeting pike on my local rivers on my return. However the rivers have been constantly up and coloured, far from ideal conditions for pike. 

Luckily a water that had been closed to fishing for a few years had changed hands and was now open to anglers again. The water, a small farm pond, holds some carp, the odd tench, a ridiculous amount of roach/rudd and some quality perch. Ben fished it a dozen or so times a few years back and caught good perch every session, with the largest going 3.02lb.

My first session was a good one, fishing live baits on light float paternoster rigs I landed 6 perch over 1lb with the largest going 3.06lb (a new p.b) and a brace of high 2lb’ers to back the ‘3’ up. 

My first fish from this water, a new p.b of  3.06lb

also lost a lot of good fish, which I eventually put down to using too stiff a rod. Ben also landed a p.b on his first session back with a fish of 3.05lb but he was also losing more than he landed. We were both using avon rods, I was using Drennan series 7 1.25’s and Ben had an older pair or  rapier 1.5lb’s both over gunned but I thought the 1.25lb’s would be just about ok, however they were just slightly too stiff in the tip.


Good perch have been landed on each visit with Ben landing the largest so far, 3.10lb. My aim was to catch a ‘3’ from this venue but after that first session visit we have both decided to try and get a four pounder from there before they spawn in the spring. The farm pond is a good 2 hours drive from home so visits there are going to be infrequent but I have also started looking at other waters closer to home. I’m hoping to visit the farm pond a couple of times a month before the end of spring, hopefully we can find those bigger fish.

New rods 

We have both invested in new rods specifically for the perch I initially bought a pair of 11ft series 7 pellet waggler rods, soft in the tip, bend forever but with enough power in the butt to stop commercial sized carp these rods are ideal for perch and have all but stopped hook pulls. However when underarm casting a fair size livebait and rig set between 6 and 8ft they struggled to achieved the distance needed so I also bought a pair of the new Drennan Specialist 1lb twin tips. These rods will be used when live baiting in deeper water or when distance is required, for most of my perch fishing I’ll be sticking to the pellet waggler rods.

Ben went for a pair of Greys 1lb TXL specimen rods, a bargain in the sale at around £60 a rod. Although I haven’t used them they seem a nice rod and have significantly reduced hook pulls.