Saturday 15 January 2022


Out for another go for some river perch, after my last session I was hopeful of finding a few fish, however I failed to check the weather forecast. Overcast skies at home slowly cleared on the 40 mile drive and I was greeted with bright sunshine when I arrived at the stretch. The river has also lost all of its colour, confidence plummeted immediately and I briefly considered heading home to grab some pike gear and head to my closest river for a few hours.

Two bite-less hours later I reached for the dropshot rod to see if I could tempt something. I’ve had this setup for about 3 years without using it but I thought it might give me chance in these less than favourable conditions. It didn’t. 

It did help me find a dying weed bed a 1/3rd across the river, so I decided to bait this area fairly heavily and sit it out, hoping a perch would visit before dusk. A few dozen worms were chopped into a few big handfuls of mole hill and deposited into the area around the weed bed.

I was surprised when only 15 mins later the rod tip flew round and shortly after I had 2.09lb perch in the net. A new best for this river so I was very pleased.

2.09lb a new best from this river

The next 4 casts all produced bites…. 

2.12lb followed by a 1.11lb which was added to the net without a photo


The last was lost as I was bring it towards the net, gutted as it was the largest of the day! I had a bad feeling that I would struggle to get another bite and that was the case, despite trying a few different things and casting to other areas of the peg I had zero interest for an hour.

I made another couple of large chopped worm/mole hill balls, put them in the same area and then rested the peg for 20 mins.

First cast and a bite but excitement got the better of me and I struck far too early, next cast another bite but again I failed to connect. Luckily neither fish felt anything so I was still confident the fish hadn’t spooked.

A better fish was hooked next cast, a similar stamp to the one I lost, a little more care was taken this time and I managed to land the fish. A quick weigh and the fish went 3.04lb, no photo as I wanted to get my rod out asap.

Next cast and another 2 pounder was added to the keepnet. Time was running low as I had to get back home but I stayed until the very last possible minute which thankfully was enough for one last fish.

3.15lb - a very honest 3.15lb!!!

3.15 & 3.04 - my first brace of 3lb perch

3.15, 3.04, 2.13, 2.12, 2.09, 2.03 & 1.11lb

I managed to beat my best perch for this river five times, with the largest being a new p.b. Definitely my most memorable perch session.

Thursday 13 January 2022

River perch

I’ve had a few perch sessions this autumns/winter across 3 different rivers without much to report, the odd small perch, a couple of ruffe and some decent bream was as good as it got.

Things picked up a bit on my most recent outing. Only a short 2.5hr session but I managed to land a couple, lose a very good fish and learn a bit more about the stretch.

I had a 2lb’er second cast, very small knocks on the quiver tip turned into positive bites after twitching the bait back slightly.

Bang on 2lb, my first perch from this river

Very pleased as that was my first perch from this river. Bites on the quiver tipped worm were infrequent and shy so I decided to trot a small live bait over the area I has been fishing the worm. First trot down, float straight under and I was into a nice perch. Unfortunately the hook hold failed before it was ready for netting, gutted. Possibly a 3 pounder as it was much larger than the one I landed.

Bites dried up after the lost fish, eventually a float paternoster live was snatched, however the excitement was short lived as it was a very small jack.

One more good bite on the worm before it was too dark to see produced a 6/8oz perch.

Im planning to head back down to this particular river next week for another go, given what I’ve seen so far I’m hopeful of a few decent perch from there before the season ends. 

PAC talk 

After that perch session I headed down to North Derbyshire to attend a Trent zander/pike talk by Ian Wilson and Steve Lyon. I usually head to the Trent for the day then stop off on the way back up north for the talk but this time I had my dates mixed up and couldn’t get out for the full day. 

The talk/slide show was great, some amazing fish caught by both Ian and Steve, plenty of info and advice shared meant a lot to think about on the long drive home. 

My one and only zander - I’ll be aiming to add a few more from both the non tidal and tidal Trent in the future, maybe not for a season or two as I’m on a long waiting list for the club ticket I want ( plenty of time to day dream).

Sunday 9 January 2022

Chub blanks

Having caught my target 5lb chub from this particular river a number of times during summer barbel sessions, I was really looking forward to some winter chub fishing on this river. However the chub seem to be a little more elusive than expected and my last two sessions have drawn a blank, not even a bite. 

Winter chub 2021/22

There’s two main stretches I am currently fishing, a shallower, faster stretch and slower, deeper, wider stretch a couple of miles downstream. Both have recently produced chub in excess of 6lb and both stretches represent a different challenge.

The shallower stretch is proving quite difficult to fish in my usual way for chub (large single baits, lightest lead and quiver tip conditions allow). The river is wide, shallow, fast and feature packed, fishing as light as possible doesn’t seem like the best option. I might have to step the gear up to get the presentation needed. I’ve got some 1.25lb Avons which haven’t been used in a while so they should do the job.

On the deeper stretch my usual methods should work fine, maybe slightly heavier leads given the depth. The issue here is the size of the river and the low stock of fish. 

Usually during my short chub sessions I rove around with single large baits, (maybe the odd freebie if there seems to be a few in the area) casting to features etc… This stretch is fairly featureless, around 10ft deep and very wide. I don’t think my usual methods will work here so a rethink on baiting is needed.

Anyway food for thought until my next outing, which should be Tuesday. Initial thoughts of pike fishing might have to change given the rivers overnight rise.

Sunday 2 January 2022

Festive sessions

Back down to earth after my last couple of sessions on the Trent, a quick Xmas eve chub session with my nephew Will and then a few hours barbel fishing on a falling river a few days after Xmas.

I’ve taken Will out about a dozen or so times and we are yet to blank, but I wasn’t so confident this time around as we only had a couple of hours and couldn’t get to my preferred stretch due to the amount of Xmas traffic.

We started getting interest in the second peg and soon had a nice 1.5lb chub in the net.

Will’s largest chub so far

The chub were a little cagey due to an otter also working the stretch and we struggled to connect with another fish.

Waterproof jacket left in car, the world noisiest carrier bag to the rescue

My barbel session was on a river I’ve had a few from this season. I had planned on a chub session but given the mild conditions I couldn’t pass the chance up. The river seemed in perfect condition 2 to 3ft up, falling and still holding a little colour.

3 pegs an hour or so in each, one pull from a chub and that was that.

Probably the last time I’ll have a go for barbel until the end of the season. I’ve got my eye on some local perch fishing, possibly p.b territory, hopefully the river conditions stay reasonable so I can have a few sessions after them.

2021 highlights

Barbel - 14lb 12oz
Bream - 6lb 8oz
Chub - 6lb 7os
Eel - Approx 2lb
Pike - 13lb 6oz

No need for a full yearly review as I hadn’t blogged until the Christmas break. The start of the year was successful for chub increasing my p.b by an ounce but more importantly catching a six pounder from a river I had been trying for one for a couple of years. 

The rest of the year I seemed to be (unintentionally) fishing for barbel, a local river best, first wye double and then 2 hectic Trent sessions resulting in 3 p.b’s to 14.12lb.

Hopefully 2022 will see no covid restrictions and plenty of time on the bank!