Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Another Quick-un

Wednesday 29th December
Ok, i know i said id wait for the snowmelt to flush through before heading back to the rivers but with all this holiday time on my hands i couldnt help myself but get back out there and I awoke this morning with a mind to go and pester some Chub. The daytime temperatures are now well up on what they have been so even with the melted snow in the water i figured i would be in with a chance.
The EA river levels site told me that the river hadnt risen any further than what it was yesterday nor had it dropped. With the prospect of visiting relatives this afternoon i only had a couple of hours of fishing time but as weve already seen from my past blog entries, thats more than enough time. I love short trips as i find i fish much better through being forced to make the most of what limited bank time i have.
I arrived at the river and carried out my usual routine of baiting a couple of spots before settling down to fish. The water was slightly more coloured than yesterday and although there wasnt as much debris coming down it still felt bloody cold! After around 30-40 minutes i had my first bite which i connected with but the fish found a snag and all was lost unfortunately.
A quick move to my other baited swim and i missed a bite virtually straight away. This repeated itself on my next cast exept that i bumped the culprit and thought my chance had gone. The weather had closed in a little by now and it was starting to drizzle so i decided to stay put for half an hour rather than heading back to my first spot which i felt hadnt rested enough anyway.
About 30 minutes later I was just thinking about that move when the tip jabbed around a couple of times and i connected with a fish. After a short tussle i slid the net under a very pale looking Chub of about 3lb, at least id finally caught something! After returning it the drizzle got heavier so i headed for home happy to have a few more winter bites under my belt.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Toughing it out in the Tundra

Sunday 19th December
Theres been a serious lack of updates on here over the last couple of weeks what with Christmas and all that so heres a brief update on what ive been up to of late.
As you will be well aware, the seriously cold weather returned with a vengeance just prior to Christmas and during all this, in my wisdom i thought a days Piking would be worthwhile if only to get me out of the house. Ill tell you now, it wasnt!
The day didnt start very well with the temperature in the car reading minus 10. Undeterred, Phil, my fishing partner for the day and i headed to our favourite livebait catching spot. After wrestling with the line freezing in the rod rings and much swearing we actually managed some bites, unfortunately though they were from Chub in the 1-2lb class. After catching 2 of them and losing a nice bait sized Roach as i swung it in we couldnt get another bite so deadbaits it was!
It really was bitterly cold and the margins in our chosen Piking area were well frozen, despite this though, the river looked pretty good as long as you ignored the mini icebergs floating downstream!
After a few chilly hours the sun made an appearance which made things a little more bearable and Phil had a half-hearted pickup on a Smelt. The rod hooped over on the strike then sprung straight, the fish was bumped. Sadly that was to be the only action we saw on a day that had me questioning my sanity by the end of it, still, i got a nice shot of a wintery sunset as we packed up though.
Tuesday 28th December
After a chaotic Christmas full of screaming kids, visiting relatives and serious over-indulgence (not to mention the wife crashing my car and buggering the front wheel) i was desperate to get out on the bank again. The weather had decided to warm up a bit and the snow which appeared last week was now in major thaw mode. With pretty much every lake in the area still frozen it had to be a river we would be heading for so me and Phil decided to revisit the scene of last weeks Piking tragedy. With ground underneath the thawing snow still frozen there would be a lot of snowmelt going into the river which wouldnt improve our chances but at least the air temperature was (only just) above freezing which was a bonus.
The river was indeed carrying a little when we arrived but it wasnt coloured up. It soon became apparent that fishing to the far bank was a non-starter because the river was rising quicker than we first thought and aswell as the increasing flow there also a lot of debris coming down too. We placed our baits along the margins and sat back to wait.
After about an hour my right hander signalled a positive take and i struck into a Jack of around 4-5lb which surprised me a bit as it had picked up a rather large Sardine which would have been more suited to a much larger Pike. Not that im complaining of course!
The fish had some impressive bite marks on it which shows there might be one or two decent fish in the area for future visits.

That was the only action we had between us for the rest of the day but the river conditions were getting worse and worse as the session went on. Might have to wait till the snowmelt has flushed through before my next trip out.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christening my new 'Pin'

Sunday 12th December

After yesterdays delivery of my new centrepin and a trip to the tackle shop to get some line to load it with i was gagging to get out and try it out . I had been thinking about getting one for ages especially after watching Martin Bowler use one to deadly effect in 'catching the impossible. Last week i thought sod it and went and ordered a cheap one to try out. It would be another string to my angling bow i reasoned.
Up until now i had never even used one let alone owned one so all week ive been watching videos on youtube and reading articles in a bid to try and demystify the dark art of centrepin usage. This afternoon, armed with all my newly learned knowledge, i got the chance to put it to the test.

Once i got to the river I tackled up and decided to have a few practice casts in an unfancied area well away from my hotspots. After about 20 minutes of birdsnests, swearing and general aggro i found i was actually getting somewhere near mid-river fairly consistently albeit quite untidily. I couldnt wait any longer, i had to go and use it in anger!
The river was carrying quite a bit more water than yesterday so i headed for a quiet area i know which was just off the main flow and an easy short range put-in . After walking along the bank and making a surprisingly graceful cast i clicked the ratchet on and sat back to await some action. The tip nodded gently in the current for a few minutes before pulling around sharply enabling me to connect with a fish. The ratchet screamed as the fish took off downstream, i gained some line back and the fish changed direction and headed back upstream past me forcing me to wind like mad to keep in contact with it. After some more screaming clutch and frantic winding i soon had it in the net, a fish in the 3-4lb bracket same as yesterday.

My first fish on a 'pin', i was over the moon and whats more i now realised why the centrepin has such a huge following these days. Playing that fish was an absolute joy, that direct connection is something ive never had with a fixed spool. Hopefully as i get better aquainted with the reel and the techniques it requires, that fish will be the first of many!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Classic Chubbing

Saturday 11th December
A break in the icy weather was forecast for this weekend and sure enough by the time friday came around, daytime temperatures had reached a heady 6degrees! With this in mind saturday morning, i headed to a local stretch of the Soar with Chub in mind.
The river looked good and i quickly set about baiting a couple of likely spots with some liquidised bread and leaving them to settle before tackling up a light link leger setup. I cast out and sat back in anticipation. After about 20minutes the tip pulled over very slightly in a fashion that couldve easily been mistaken for weed brushing the line but intuition told me to strike and i found myself connected to a lively fish of about 4lb.
Now i was tuned into what kind of bites to expect i was more than ready for the next one when it happened after i moved swim. Unfortunately the fish found a hidden snag and made good its escape. Normally id move swims after losing one lke that but something told me to make another cast. It turned out to be a good call cos a 3lb fish was soon banked after some hefty bullying to keep it away from the snag.

I moved to my last baited spot in a bid to wrap up the mornings sport with a hat-trick. After missing a couple of bites i hit into another Chub which put up a great account of itself on the light gear i was using. At around 4lb it brought my short session to a nice close and i headed for home and the dreaded x-mas shopping happy with my fishing 'fix' for the day.
Once i got home i found the postie had delivered My brand new centre-pin reel and a totally unexpected £150 refund cheque from my power supplier. What a great morning!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Childhood revisited in the white stuff

Sunday 5th December
Well, what can i say? the weather over the last week has been horrendous to say the least! Heavy snow and temperatures down to minus 20 in some parts of the country, around here the lowest i personally recorded was minus 9 so its been positively balmy! As anyone that fishes will tell you, these conditions arnt exactly great for a good days sport, however, there are always a few bites to be had if you know where to look.

I havent been out for a couple of weeks for various reasons beyond my control (the weather!) so i was determined to get out at the first oportunity. All i wanted to do was to go out and get a few bites and get my string pulled and with this in mind i decided to spend a morning revisiting my childhood on a brook which runs through a housing estate where i used to live.
As a kid i used to spend hours down there attempting to catch sticklebacks and stoneloach. Every so often, as i walked up the brook with my trousers rolled up and net in hand, some much bigger fish would frantically shoot past me often bumping my legs as they made their escape. At the time i had no idea what they were but i knew i had to catch one and i guess it was here that the early seed of becoming an angler was well and truly sown.

As i got a little bit older and my uncle introduced me to the art of catching fish on a rod and line, i began fishing down there proper and was amazed to catch Chub, Dace, Roach, Gudgeon and even the odd Trout! All this from a brook that wasnt much deeper than a couple of feet and resembled nothing more than a drainage ditch.
Fast forward 25years and the brook is still very much there albiet somewhat narrower and shallower but the fish are still there to be caught. With this in mind i tackled up an avon rod with a light stickfloat setup and headed forth onto the tundra . The brook was running very low and clear despite the snow beginning to thaw and with the banks being high with no cover, long trotting was to be the order of the day to save spooking every fish in there. I had worms, maggots and luncheon meat with me and after trying a couple of spots without success i eventually managed to catch a small Chub on a worm.
As i made my way along the brook i saw several decent Chub in the 3-4lb class swim past but they werent remotely interested in anything i put in . After trying some more spots and catching just one more Chub it was apparent that they werent overly keen on the bigger baits so i scaled my gear down and went with the maggot only approach in a bid to get some more bites.
The change brought an instant response and i started getting amongst some lovely Dace, really pretty little things and fat as butter, a Perch even made an appearance but the Roach were conspicuous by theie absence. I worked my way back downstream catching one or two from each spot i tried and before long i was back at the car. It was only then that i realised just how much id enjoyed myself.

Id only been out 3 hours and had a load of bites in subzero temperatures. The fish were all perfect and i highly doubt theyve even seen a hook before, what more could any true angler ask for? Size is irrelavent on days like this.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Back at em

20th/21st November

After my enforced layoff over the last couple of weeks due to an operation on my foot i was truly itching to get back on the bank. All week id been planning a day out Perching and up until the Thursday it was looking like it would come right with falling river levels and mild temperatures. We had a bit of rain on Thursday which didnt seem to be enough to affect the rivers or so i thought! A check on the EA river levels site told me the water had come back up a bit which in itself wasnt a problem but it meant that the colour which had been running off all week would have returned which isnt great news for Perching.

Not to be deterred, i packed the lobworms and headed out anyway on the Saturday morning. My first port of call was the Dove and one look at it had me pointing the car towards the Derwent instead. Here the river was carrying about 6inches or so with a tinge of colour and looked pretty good if im honest. Half a lobworm was soon in position under a nearside bush, a spot where ive caught 3lbers in the past. 2 biteless hours later and i was scratching my head and the wanderlust was starting to set in.

Soon i was back on the road and heading for the Trent. Upon arrival ,one glance told me it was a non-starter so in a last ditch attempt to find some Perch i headed for the Soar. This river flows up from the South and is therefore not affected by rain over the peak district like the Dove and Derwent, its also the nearest river to my house which is always a bonus! Sure enough it looked bang-on, normal level and ever-so-slightly coloured, awesome!

I headed for an area id not Perch fished before but had earmarked for a fish or two ages ago. After walking for around 15minutes or so i came to a nice looking spot and was soon drowning a juicy great worm. After a short wait i had a couple of small Perch and missed a good few bites. I then decided to move cos in my experience, if your catching small ones then the bigguns arnt around as a rule. This story repeated itself in my next two spots so i packed up to save wasting any more valuble lobs!

It was great to be out again though and i quickly seized upon another chance to get out on Sunday afternoon whilst the missus was cooking the Roast. This time i headed to an area with a bit of past form and with it getting dark so early these days i would be there at the crucial time, the Perch witching hour!

I was encouraged when it took over half an hour to get a bite as this meant the small fish werent about. I connected with something that felt fairly decent but it came adrift after a few seconds. This isnt usually a good thing when Perch are involved as a lost fish can often spook the rest of the shoal. This was proved out as it took another hour to get any kind of indication whatsoever whereupon i took two 8oz fish in quick succession which meant the bigger fish had either moved on or gone into hiding deep inside the snag i was fishing to. It was soon too dark to see and i headed home for that roast dinner.

Apologies for the lack of photos to accompany this weeks post, when i actually get something worth photographing you can be sure it will be on here first!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A Spot of Piking

Saturday 30th October

Ill start this post with a little bit about last weekends trip. It turned out to be something of a non-starter really, i only had a few hours spare so i opted for a quick livebaiting session on a stretch of my local river Soar. To cut a long story short, i caught plenty of baitfish but there didnt seem to be anything around to eat them other than the tiny Jack pictured below which was little more than livebait sized itself!

Not to be deterred, i headed out this weekend to another bit of river with my mate Steve in the hope of something a bit larger. A couple of hours into the session later and my small joey mackerel was picked up by a nice fish of 13lb8oz.
Other than Steve getting a dropped pickup that was all the action we had for the day which was a little surprising cos the conditions were pretty good i thought.
Well, thats it for this week, short and sweet i know but time seems to be at a real premium for me these days. Ive got an operation on my foot next week so i doubt ill be able to get out on the bank for a couple of weeks, i think im gonna go stir crazy!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Frosty Reception

Sunday 17th October

Stepping outside to pack the car at 6am this morning i was quite surprised to find that wed had a fairly decent frost overnight. Its the first time ive had to scrape the car in months and although i welcome the first frosts as the start of my winter campaign i was a little concerned about what effect the sudden temperature drop would have on the fishing as its been quite mild of late.

I arrived at the river for first light and the thermometer in the car never registered above zero for the entire journey there. The grass in the fields was white over, the thick mist was rising off the river and the sheep were all huddled together, i love this time of year!

I headed for a proven spot and set up a float rig to lay-on with worms tight to a snag. After a good while with no bites the usual 'grass is greener' mentality began to set in as i started to wonder if id be better off in another spot. I neednt have worried though because the float bobbed a couple of times and then slid away decisively. A firm strike met with solid resistance and after a short but dogged scrap i had what looked to be a nice Chub in the net. It had the length and frame of a 5lb+ fish so i was little disappointed when the scales showed it to be hollow at 4lb4oz. Still, it was nice fish on a cold morning and i know it will be a definate 5 towards the backend of the season.

After that, other than some unwelcome Crayfish attention i had no more interest from that spot so i moved on. Again, in my next spot the Crays gave me more problems and i reasoned that if they were active there then the Chub and Perch certainly werent so off i moved again. Despite fishing hard for the rest of the morning i only managed one more good bite which i missed.

The sun was extremely bright due to the clear skies which didnt help matters but the sudden temperature drop was the main reason it was so slow i think. A few more frosts over the next few weeks will get the fish better acclimatised and moving to their winter quarters hopefully.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Cray twins!

Sunday 10th October

Firstly, apologies to followers of this blog for the lack of updates over the last couple of weeks. Headquarters demanded that i do some decorating which basically wiped out any chances of me wetting a line at all last weekend. In other words i havent been fishing at all for two weeks, nightmare!
With the DIY all but complete this weekend i decided to get out on the bank sharpish before i went stir crazy. I had to get back on the rivers urgently so a trip to the Dove with my mate Phil was hastily arranged. Id been looking to get back on this river again for a while but with all the rain of late, conditions havent been to my liking down there. The dryer weather over the last week gave me hope that the river would be somewhere near cock-on and upon arrival we werent disappointed. It looked to be carrying around 2-3 inches and was running fairly clear with a slight tinge of colour.

My intention was to use quivertip tactics and worms in the hope of a Perch or two whilst Phil went for stickfloat and maggot gear to fish for Grayling and Trout. Starting off near a weir, Phils tactics proved to be a winner from the off as he took a procession of Grayling and Trout to around 10oz. Me on the other hand found myself struggling a bit, the slightly increased flow on the river meaning my usual spots were pulling through a bit too quickly for Perch to be holed up. The minnows were like pirahnas attack my worms as soon as they hit the deck but i persevered and eventually landed a Perch after a good couple of hours hard fishing. Not a big one by any stretch of the imagination but it was my target species and a handsome reward for some hard fishing.
The sun was coming out by now and Phil sarted to catch some larger Grayling including 3 gooduns at 1.8, 1.12 and 1.14. A large signal Crayfish also put in an appearance to Phils rod proving to us beyond any doubt that this highly invasive species is now well established in the river.

After a while of no more bites i decided upon a move and Phil fancied one too so we headed for the lower end of the stretch. We both doubled up in a peg on a relatively slow stretch so we could have a chinwag . It proved to be good decision for us both because i went on to land a new pb Grayling of 1.12 and Phil had a 4lb Chub which was one of the fattest ive ever seen (probably due to the Crays) and a 1.10 Grayling. I also landed another Crayfish.
Well thats it for another week, definately gonna be out next weekend, not sure where yet though. The Trent could well be on form after the recent high water, maybe the dreaded drifting weed has been washed away, we can but hope!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Weather begins to turn

Thursday 23rd September

Short and Sweet
I decided upon a quick evening session after work tonight. With the nights drawing in much more these days i was really up against it timewise and so i opted for a spot of livebaiting on a local stretch of the river Soar.

My gear was already made up so i was able to get fishing really quickly upon arrival and it didnt take me long to catch a dozen Bleak and Chublets for bait. Out went the paternoster and within five minutes a small Perch hanged itself on the hair rigged Bleak.

I had hoped i wouldnt be plagued by these small Perch but my hopes were in vain unfortunately as i proceeded to take a succession of them to about a pound. After an hour of this, the contents of the livebait bucket were running dangerously low and i was literally down to my last two. I put the larger one on the paternoster to my left and the smaller went out to my right under a tree as a free rover beneath a chubber float.
It wasnt long before the chubber sailed away and my strike met with something a bit more solid than the smaller perch previously and sure enough a better fish was soon wallowing in the net. At this point the paternoster rod decided to lurch violently towards the river and i was forced to grab it and try and secure the netted Perch at the same time. The rod stealing culprit turned out to be a turbo-charged Jack of about 5lb which tailwalked several times before i got it near the net. The drama wasnt over yet though because, just as i was about to net it, a much larger Pike shot in out of nowhere and T-boned it straight across its middle! The big croc swam out to mid river with it before letting go and i then netted the poor jack as quickly as a could before the big one moved in for a second attack.
All this time the Perch, which looked to be over a pound and a half, had remained in the net and the hook had actually fallen out so i was quite lucky it seemed.

After this i packed up as it was getting too dark to see and i had no more baits anyway. Thatll be the last of my after work evening sessions for a while i think as it will be dark to early to make them viable. I may have the odd Barbel trip though.

Sunday 26th September


I really wanted to fish the Trent today but with its current weed problems it would have been a nightmare so i went out to a local day ticket lake instead. The lake is extremely deep and has some great Perch and Roach fishing holding numerous specimens of both species. Ive only ever fished it for these species in the depths of winter before and had done well so i was hoping for a good days sport in the current Autumnal conditions. Phil joined me as he hadnt done much on the lake before and was keen to get amongst them.
I went straight in with feeder tactics and after steadily building up my swim with bait via the feeder for half an hour or so i soon started to catch a few. Phil was also catching too but we were getting well pestered by a young swan which simply wouldnt take no for an answer in its attempts to deprive us of some bait. Even a couple of gentle prods with the net handle didnt send it packing so we just had to put up with it unfortunately.

Several nice Roach, some Skimmers, Crucians and even a small Tench put in and appearance before bites suddenly slowed right down. Neither of us could work out why and put it down to the usual midmorning to midafternoon lull which seems to affect us wherever we go.
I did notice that i was getting a few plucks though as the feeder was dropping through water after casting and this gave me an idea. I wanted a much slower descent of the bait than the feeder would allow. Due to the range being fished and the 25ft of depth i was fishing in, float fishing wasnt an option, or was it?
I rummaged through my box for the biggest waggler i had and set it up in place of the feeder on a link about 2ft up from the hook. I then bulked all the shot directly below the float and added enough to only just sink it. This big float with all the shot could be cast to my feeder area quite easily and with it being on a paternoster off the mainline i would be in direct contact with the hookbait and not pulling through the float when bites occurred. The idea was to cast out and let it sink slowly on a tight line waiting for the tip to wrap around.
It worked a treat, i found i had to turn the reel handle very slowly to stay in contact with float due to the wind but the bites were mostly unmissable wraps on the tip and i went on to bagup with a succession of decent Roach, perch and Skimmers. Phil set the rig up too and also did well with it.
By the end of the day both of us had taken around 30lb of silvers apiece and even though the real specimens had eluded us it was a great feeling to have used a new technique to such deadly effect. Phils best fish of the day was a Perch of 2lb on the nose and mine was the Crucian/Goldfish looking thing pictured below which also went 2lb.

The weather has really started to turn quite cold over the last few days and a change is definately in the air. It wont be long at all before the trees start losing their leaves, the first frosts arrive and all my favourite methods and baits begin to come into their own.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Roach city

Saturday 18th September

Todays session was to be a bit of a fact finding trip to a top secret bit of river with form for some monster Roach. The idea was to go down and get the lie of the land for possible future trips over the winter, swim depths, layout and features would all be noted. The venue is very close to a town centre (hence the cryptic title of this entry) and fishing isnt strictly allowed as far as i know so a covert early morning strike was to be the order of the Day.
I was joined by my mate Paul and both of us knew the rewards were there but with everything against us it wasnt going to be easy. After negotiating some railings and parking our gear on a narrow ledge on top of the steep bank we quickly commenced fishing.The water was painfully clear and even in the dawn halflight the bottom was quite visible over much of the area.
We both caught several Perch to around a pound fairly quickly but no Roach even though they were topping fairly regularly out there. The sun was coming up rapidly and one or two people were starting to appear ,dog walkers and joggers, time was running out. Paul decided on a quick move downstream and i stayed put hoping my mashed bread would attract a monster redfin. Pauls move paid off somewhat with two chunky Roach falling to his breadflake almost straight away, in my swim however the minnows had moved in with a vengeance.
With the raised light levels it was plain to see that the big Roach werent in residence today apart from one that looked about 2lb which soon melted away to wherever its brothers and sisters were hiding. The public were out in force by now so we decided to head for home with quite a bit to ponder on. Wed only been fishing for about 3 hours but it was plenty of time to find out what we needed.

This was to be my only chance of a trip this weekend due to various commitments but it was most enjoyable fishing in the complete unkown and tempting a bite or two with the added danger of being chucked off at any minute!
Below is a pic i took earlier in the summer of a couple of Roach in the stretch, i know its a bit crappy but the pic does give some idea of how clear and shallow the water is. Both fish were 2lb+.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Nothing to report

Sunday 12th September

I had a pretty poor weekends fishing this week although it wasnt for lack of trying. On Friday i found myself on the banks of the Trent with the Barbel rods cast into its murky depths. I tried a couple of spots including the ones i recce'd last weekend and caught nothing more than a tiny Chub of about a pound. I stopped into dark and then the rain started proper so i headed for home.

Sunday arrived and after hearing from a mate about the condition of the Dove and it not being great for Perch fishing i decided to head for the Trent in pursuit of Zander. Ill be honest, the river looked cock-on for a Zed, carrying a few inches with a nice tinge of colour. Small fish were topping and i settled down ready for some rod bending action.

Three hours later i was still waiting for a bite, by now it was getting dark and i was getting worried about the possibility of a blank. Suddenly the downstream started banging violently and i ran down the bank to hit it only to result in a big fat nothing. Oh well at least something was feeding i thought, unfortunately the bait it robbed must've filled it up cos no more runs were forthcoming and i packed up fishless.

Im experiencing a real lull at the moment with my fishing and i cant fathom out why. Others seem to be getting a few, do i need to try harder? a change of venue? i dont know. I do know however that my favourite time of the year is fast approaching and hopefully some decent kippers will come with it, fingers crossed it cant get much slower!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Into Autumn

Friday 3rd September

Barbel Blues

Todays session was planned as quick overnighter on the Trent in pursuit of some Barbs. I was somewhat pushed for time and didnt want to go through the rigmarole of setting up a full-on camp so i headed for an area where i could set up and fish from the back of the car. The car itself was to be my bivvy for the night which meant all i had to do was throw a sleeping bag, a pair of rods, a net and my kit bag in the back and i was ready to go.

I was on the bank and set up in no time and i began by droppering in 2 pints of hemp and a pint of casters. Both rods were cast along the same line and i sat back to begin the wait. Despite getting several bangs and taps on the rod tips i didnt get any proper bites until darkness descended whereupon a small chub of about 2lb was banked. This was followed by another slightly bigger sample around an hour later.

Sadly that was all the action i was to get for the rest of the night and i packed up in the morning feeling quite dispondent and wondering what id done wrong. There was some decent fish in the peg because i heard several good crashes out in front of me during the night and the peg has got past form for producing Barbel in numbers. I did have a recce of a couple of other possible areas after id packed up and saw a couple which look well worth a future visit. Im gonna head there for an evening session one night this week i reckon.

Sunday 5th September

Perch Power

After my last trip i was in need of a bit of a pickmeup so rather than heading back out after Barbel i thought id give the Dove a go with the lures. Id never lure fished this river before and apart from that Perch i caught last week id never caught a predator of any discription from there (unless you count Trout and Chub?) so i was totally unsure of what to expect.

When i arrived about mid morning i was most surprised to find that i had the entire stretch to myself, thatll do me i thought, pukka! I made my way to the first likely looking spot and made my first cast. After a couple of cranks on the reel handle the tiny Mepps was hit by a fiesty Perch of a pound or so. It was as broad across its back as it was deep and had obviously been gorging itself on the vast shoals of minnows which inhabit the Dove. A lovely fish, now all i needed to do was to catch its dad!

A couple of casts later and i was in again and a slightly larger Perch was soon angrily flaring its gills and shaking its head at my feet. I could get used to this i thought. After returning it in the peg upstream, i made another cast into the same peg and unbelievably found myself connected to another Perch! This one was a fair bit bigger than the other two and required me to get the scales out. At 2lb4oz it was a nice fish and another step closer to a real biggie.
A few more casts into the same spot told me the fish had moved on which also meant it was time for me to move on too. Id love to be able to tell you stories of a real red letter session after such a promising start but the reality is that i never had so much as a touch over the next three hours! I packed up without any more pulls whatsoever. I must have just landed lucky with the first spot thats all i can say. The river is really starting to intrigue me with its Perch potential now, next time i may have to go in with the liveys ......

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Expanding Horizons

Sunday 29th August
Todays session was to be on an area of the Trent which i hadnt fished before. I was to have a companion for the day in the shape of my mate Phil whos idea it was to fish the new area. Hed fished it before with some success and it sounded well worth a go.

We arrived to find the river fairly coloured but running at its normal level, there didnt seem to be much weed and rubbish coming down it either which was a bonus. My intention was to fish for Perch during the morning and early afternoon before switching to Barbel later on into dark. Phil was going all out for Barbel.
I started off with the baitcatching rod and was getting a fish a chuck from the very first cast although all were too big to be of any use as livebaits. The wind had picked up considerably too and was causing real problems with regards to casting and baiting let alone presentation. Then to add insult to injury the heavens opened and at that point i gave up on the Perching idea and moved to the comfort of the brolly and set up the Barbel gear.
The afternoon passed uneventfully with nothing more than a couple of half hearted bangs on the rod tips and soon it began to get dark. At about 9oclock a shout from Phils peg told that hed hooked a fish and i quickly made my way over to lend a hand with the netting and weighing. At 11lb8oz it was a stunning Barbel and a new pb for Phil aswell.
Soon afterwards we packed up with nothing more to show for our efforts but Phil was well pleased and for me the fish more than highlighted the potential of the area. I will be back soon! I would have put a pic of the fish up but i havent managed to get one off Phil yet.
Wednesday 1st September
I found myself with a day off work today and once again decided to join Phil for another river session. Todays adventure was to be on the river Dove near Uttoxeter, an area we had fished before but never during the warmer months and never when the rivers been at its normal level.
It was running clear with a very slight tinge of colour but there was lots of fish topping and rising when we arrived and we were looking forward to a productive day. Having not seen this stretch in these conditions before i was struck by what a stunning piece of water it actually is, Shallow fast riffles next to deep slow moving pools and lots of lovely overhanging trees, heaven!
Our plan was to rove about with float gear and maggots just to see what came along. After tackling up and donning my bait apron i arrived at my first spot, a lovely deep boily run on the outside of a bend coming off a shallow area. Within minutes of starting i found myself connected to what felt like a decent fish in the flow and sure enough a pristine fat Perch was soon netted. It was around the pound and a half mark and was a bit of an eye opener for me. Id never associated the Dove with decent Perch before and this got me thinking about what else might be lurking in there Perchwise.
After that me and Phil really started to get amongst the fish and we spent the rest of the morning moving from spot to spot taking a succession of mostly Trout and Grayling with the odd Roach and Dace thrown in for good measure. All the fish were truly pristine specimens the highlight of which be a Grayling of 1lb10oz which fell to Phils rod, another pb for him, the mans on fire!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The rain brings a result

Tuesday 24th August

We had a fair bit of rain yesterday and knowing what the river was carrying on sunday, i anticipated that the level and colour would be about right for a Barbel or two. I wanted to get out last night but never got chance so i made damn sure that i was able to get down tonight.

When i arrived i was a little surprised to see the river only carrying about 6 inches, i thought it would be a fair bit more than that but at least it had a nice colour to it. My tactics was to fish my big home-made feeders filled with a mixture of vitalin, swimstim and pellets with boilies and pellets for hookbaits.
No sooner had i got both rods out the downstream one was away and i struck into a heavy fish. It didnt do much till i got it under the rod tip whereupon it went berserk and after an arse-clenching few minutes where i got caught up in tree and the fish buried in some tree roots i finally slipped the net under it. At 10lb8oz it was the joint biggest id ever had from the river so i was well pleased.
After id done the pics, returned the fish and reset everything, it was about 20 minutes before i had another take which i promptly bumped off on the strike. After that the Chublets moved in with a vengeance and was getting bangs and pulls on the rod tips every 5 minutes. 3 managed to hang themselves despite lengthening the hair to try and keep them off a bit.
No more Barbel were forthcoming and all too soon the darkness began to close in and it was time to go. Once i got home i compared the photos of the 10lber with one i caught at the same weight from the same spot last season thinking it was the same fish. Both looked very similar but there were one or two very subtle differences which indicated both were different fish.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Will the Weather ever make its mind up?

Friday 20th August

As the title of this entry suggests, weve been experiencing some very changeable weather patterns of late and today was no exeption. Heavy rain one minute and bright sunshine the next, surely the fish must be as confused as the rest of us! Never mind, at least weve had a bit of water going into the rivers which should perk the fishing up a bit hopefully.

This evening i headed back to the same area of Trent that i fished last Sunday exept i had the stickfloat in mind cos the spot i fished last week had a lovely crease which screamed Roach. When i got there however the river level had dropped about 6 inches from last week and most of the colour had dropped out of it too. The meant that the crease was now further out and much less pronounced but it still looked worth a go especially as the right hand margin had now become a nice slack area which looked good for a Perch or two.

I soon had the stickfloat trundling along the crease and by feeding a combination of maggots and hemp i was soon getting a bite a chuck. Small Perch were the main culprits but they were interspersed with a few Bleak and the odd nice Roach to about 6oz. After catching the Bleak i setup a livebait paternoster on a second rod and placed it in the slack downstream.

Within minutes it pulled over and a small perch was brought in and this was subsequently followed by another soon after. After that the paternoster proved to be quite slow with just two small Pike to about 7lb caught over the next couple of hours. The Stickfloat provided some good fishing though and i caught steadily throughout the session.

Archie Braddock was fishing the next peg upstream and i stopped fishing for a while to have a good chat with him. The guys been fishing the Trent for many years longer than i am old and i wanted to pick his brain for a few ideas. In true Archie fashion he didnt disappoint and i packed up my kit with some good food for thought.

Sunday 22nd August

The weather was very sunny and warm today so rather than heading out with the full kit i decided upon a bit of lure fishing on my local river Soar. I was getting follows from microperch every other cast on a mepps comet but didnt get anything positive for ages until i finally caught one of about 6oz. Thinking the fish might be in the faster more oxygenated water due to the bright conditions, i headed for a new area near a weir.
First cast brought a small Chub of about half a pound which was encouraging but knowing the area is usually a good bet for a Pike or two i switched to a larger lure. After a good search around with it i eventually hooked a fish which turned out to be a very good Perch, unfortunately it spat my lure back at me after much head shaking leaving me somewhat gutted. The lure i hooked it on is pictured below and as you can see its a good mouthful for a Perch!

After that as i headed back to the car, i saw a couple of Jacks in the margins but they werent the slightest bit interested in anything i put in front of them. Ah well, at least i didnt blank!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A bit of action at last!

Tuesday 10th August

After a grueller at work today and coming home to a housefull of screaming kids and nagging women i had to get out fishing for a few hours. Id bought some maggots with the intention of using them last weekend but i hadnt so i decided to head to a tiny weirpool on a local bit of river near my house. My intention was to catch a few livebaits in order to tempt a Perch or two.

When i arrived i was surprised to see the river was carrying about 10inches of water. Wed had some rain in the night but i didnt think it was that heavy, obviously i was wrong. Despite the extra water it was still running clear and i was soon catching a steady stream of Chublets and Roach.

Out went the first livey on a paternoster and within a couple of minutes the rod was bouncing as a small Perch of about 8oz made off with the bait. A promising start i thought, at least there was one or two in a feeding mood. Soon after recasting the rod top lurched over violently and a better fish of over a pound was soon bristling in the net.

After this it got a bit manic over the next hour or so, the Perch seemed to be really walloping the liveys and i caught around a dozen. Nothing massive with biggest going 2lb4oz (see below) but it was great fun and a lovely change to be catching a few after a dour few weeks. Soon enough the darkness arrived and i was forced to pack up with the fish still biting.

Monday, 9 August 2010

A Quiet Spell

Ill start by apologising for the lack of activity on here recently! ive not really had much to post lately mainly because i havent been fishing much. Its not through lack of oportunities to go either, more due to the fact that not many places are fishing great at the moment and i havent been able to find the inspiration to get out there and do it. Most of my favourite summer haunts are suffering from very low water levels and the fish really arnt playing ball.
Despite this i have managed to have a bit of a dabble over the last couple of weeks, for example, theres a tiny brook near my house where ive been introducing my kids to the world of fishing. Theres lots of little Trout, Dace and Chub in there which are always more than willing to grab a floatfished maggot. Its a good place for the kids to learn a bit about watercraft and stealth because these are truly wild fish and the brook is very shallow and overgrown. They both enjoyed themselves anyway which is the important bit!

Last week i also decided to try for a Barbel on my local stretch of the Soar with no success whatsoever. I stopped into dark fishing pellets and boilies and only managed several Chub raps for my efforts. It didnt look like anyone had fished the stretch for ages because the pegs were very overgrown.
Since that trip ive discovered something which has certainly aroused my interest again big time so watch this space!

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Fearfullest of Fishes

Monday 26th July

Having booked today off work in order to fish i decided to head back to the River Dove in search of some Chub . The title of this entry is how Isaak Walton described the Chub in his book the Compleat Angler and i was soon to find out just how right he was!

The river was extremely low and clear today not great chub fishing conditions but i was hopeful of getting a few especially as the weather was overcast with a slight drizzle in the air. As i walked the stretch as was struck by the lack of fish normally visible in the gravel runs between the streamer weed, there wasnt even any Trout rising which is unusual.
My tactics were to be quivertipped luncheon meat on a tiny straight lead to minimise casting disturbance. I tried several spots along a stretch of around a mile or so over the course of the morning to no avail. The whole stretch looked pretty dead with only a couple of small fish topping here and there. A change of stretch was called for so i went back to the car and headed a couple of miles upstream to an area which i knew a bit better.

It was a similar story here to the previous area with not much visible although there was a few Trout rising so at least there was something moving which gave me a confidence boost. I decided to start right at the top of the stretch and work my way down. The first pool is an absolutely stunning spot which screams Chub so i wanted to spend a bit of time there and get some bait down. After about an hour of careful feeding and recasting i finally had a tentative pluck followed by a firm pull on the tip which i promptly missed! I was a bit gutted but the feeling was to be pretty shortlived because about 10 minutes later i had another bite and connected with a nice Chub of 4lb, finally!

After that i moved and tried a couple more spots downstream and even though they looked cock-on i could only manage one bite which was missed. By now it was about 3pm and i was starting to get low on bait. I headed back upstream and noticed a couple of fish ghost across a gravel run and into a deeper hole where i couldnt see the bottom. With the distinct lack of any better offers i decided to chance a cast into the hole on the offchance of a bite.
Im glad i did cos within 5 minutes i was connected to a lively Chub of about 3lb which was duly landed.

This was the signal for me to call it a day, the fishing had been extremely tough with only 4 bites in about 7 hours of fishing and around 2 miles of riverbank covered. I can only put the lack of action down to the water conditions but at least i caught a couple.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Holiday Fishing

Friday 23rd July

As mentioned in my last blog entry, ive been on my hols in Devon over the last week and after a week of touring the local attractions in the rain i was raring to get out and do a spot of fishing. On friday i finally got my chance. Over the course of the week whilst on my travels id been sizing up a few likely areas but the main problem was getting access to a decent spot. All the rock marks seemed to be at the bottom of sheer drop cliffs and were extremely difficult to get to even at low tide. Any area of beach had hoards of surfers and bodyboarders which made it a non-starter so i was a bit stumped.

First thing friday morning i was at the tackleshop in Ilfracombe to buy some bait and ask for some advice on where to go. They were obviously used to being asked because no sooner had i done so when he produced a photocopied map of all the hotspots around Ifracombe which included details of what could be caught where and also tactics to use as well, great stuff!

I opted to fish on the seaward side of the outermost harbour wall, a spot according to the map known as the berricks. Parking was good, if a little expensive, but my spot was only 50 yards from the car which was nice, it certainly saved me clambering about on dodgy cliffs or shouting at pesky surfers! The tide was dropping fast so i would be fishing it at its lowest, i dont know if thats when its at its least prodauctive or not, i was to find out soon enough.

As i walked down there was couple of other anglers in residence along the harbour wall who had very little to report other than one chap who said hed had some sort of spiky fish which hed never seen before in 20 years of fishing there. I set up a two hook rig baited with ragworm and cockles and cast it about 30 yards out from the rocks. I was taken by surprise when almost straight away the tip started tapping and i reeled in this little chap below.

Pleased to have caught i recast and over the next hour was plagued by loads of taps and knocks which resulted in lots of missed strikes. I decided to scale my hook size down as i suspected that small fish were the culprits and sure enough i managed to hit the next bite and caught this oddity. Ive never seen or caught one before but the chap next to me said it was some kind of gurnard or something, when i remember ill look it up anyway.

After this a procession of small Wrasse followed until i ran out of bait at around lunchtime. The biggest was about 2lb or so but i enjoyed getting out there and getting away from it all for a bit. I did try floatfishing sandeels in the hope of a bass and missed a couple of fast bites but it was hard going. Ive booked up again for next year anyway so at least ill know what to expect and ive still got that map so few other areas will be getting some attention i reckon.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Hit and Run Barbelling

Tuesday 14th July

The rain began in earnest today and once i got home from work and had some dinner i found myself itching to get out and have a go at catching a Barbel. Its the first time ive had the urge to fish for them this season so after clearing it with headquarters i grabbed a rod, a net and a bag of bait and bits and headed for a stretch of local river.

When i got there it was raining hard but the river, although flowing a bit more strongly , wasnt coloured in the slightest which surprised me a little considering the amount of rain wed had during the day. In hindsight i imagine most of it was soaked up into the ground after all the hot weather recently.

I set up a straight leger rig baited with double halibut pellet, cast it into a likely hole and sat back to await events from under my poncho. After about 20 minutes with no action i decided to change my bait to a cube of luncheon meat. By now the rain was really driving down and i was quite soaked even under the poncho.

Five minutes or so after recasting with the new hookbait the rod tip lurched over and the baitrunner started to scream, Fish on! As soon as i hit the run i had to lock everything up to stop the fish getting under the trees. The rod took on a savage curve and was literally bent to the cork as i prayed everything would hold, its times like that when i realise why i fish for Barbel. The power of the fish is awesome, the way they can hold station in the flow despite vain attemps to move them is incredible.

This fish was soon out in the open water and after some more hard bullying i had it in the net. It was around 6-7lb id estimate, the rain was so bad i never bothered weighing or photographing it. I was just nice to get the seasons first Barbel under my belt and after slipping it back i packed up the gear and headed back to the car having had my Barbel 'fix' for the day. All in all i had been out of the house no more than an hour, great stuff i should do these short sessions more often!

Thats probably gonna be it for a week or so now as im off to Devon next week on my hols. the sea fishing gear has been dusted off and im hoping to catch my first Bass!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Dog Days on the Dove

Saturday 10th July

I havent much chance to fish this week due to various work and family commitments but i had already decided on a bit of a change for my fishing this week. Saturday was to be fishing day for me and with the weather being so hot and dry (as the title of this piece suggests) i opted for a spot of early morning Chubbing on the river Dove.

It was around 4.30am when i arrived at the river and i decided to walk down to the bottom of the stretch with a view to working my way upstream back to the car. The river was painfully low but at least the sun wasnt up yet and it was still nice and cool.

My main line of attack was to be quivertipped breadflake with a small feeder full of liquidised bread. I made my first cast and straight away the tip pulled around only to be missed as i wasnt expecting it so soon. The next bite wasnt missed though and soon a lively little chub of around a pound or so was in the net. This wrecked the spot so i moved on upstream.

The new spot took a bit longer to warm up and after firing in a pouch of maggots and a couple of balls of bread, a couple of taps on the tip had my hand hovering. Seconds later it pulled around and i connected with a fish that went berserk. It repeatedly leapt out of the water but soon enough i had it netted. A nice Rainbow Trout of about 2lb.

Its the first of its kind ive caught for about 10 years so it made a nice change. I moved onto another spot and despite getting loads of knocks i only got a couple of hittable bites which were missed. Eventually the Sun got up and its heat could be felt getting stronger by the minute. This coincided with bites suddenly drying up so i soon found myself headed for the car and home.
That evening i headed for the Trent and hopefully some Barbel action but it quickly became apparent that the drifting blanket weed was horrendous, so bad that it was probably the worst ive ever known it. Needless to say i didnt last long and decided to cut my losses and leave.
Im at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my fishing now. So much of my early season plans revolved around the Trent but that weed is making it a nightmare to fish. Im not really fired up by anything anywhere else at the minute so ill just have to go with flow and pray for some rain.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Mixed fortunes

Tuesday 29th June

Swimmers Stop Play

Went down to a local bit of river this evening with a mind to catch a decent Perch or two. The weather was hot and sticky with little wind so i headed for an area with a fair bit of flow and a nice slack area to the side of it. I figured the baitfish would be in the well oxygenated flow and the Perch would be waiting in the slack area to pick them off as they came past.

The session got underway really well with a succession of small roach and bleak falling to my rod straight away. Soon enough a livebait was cast into the slack water and got hit within minutes. A small perch of about a pound or so was soon in the net. 10 minutes after recasting the rod was virtually ripped off its rest as another Perch struck, this one wasnt to be however as the fish dropped the bait before i struck.

At this point a chap and his 3 kids turned up just upstream of where i was fishing. I thought they were just coming down for a look until they suddenly donned wetsuits and proceeded to jump in! The guy positioned himself waistdeep in the middle of the river about 10 yards away from me in order to catch any of the kids if they caught the flow and drifted down. I couldnt believe it, i asked him what he thought he was doing and was met with the stock response of it not being privately owned so he could do what he likes. A few choice words were soon fired in his direction and then, disgusted by this cretins sheer pig ignorance, i saw no reason to stay so i packed up and left. Is there any bigger moron than the great british public? i dont think so.

Friday 2nd July

Back on the Trent

After the fiasco the other night i headed for more peaceful fishing in pursuit of some Zander on the Trent. The weather was still warm but it was much cloudier and the wind had picked up somewhat too. As usual there was nobody on the stretch and i was soon fishing.

A dropped run within minutes of casting out told me there was a few about but the prolonged hot spell meant there was loads of drifting blanket weed coming down the river which meant i was having to recast every 15-20minutes, nightmare. I tried a backlead on my upstream rod and this seemed to do the trick at avoiding the green stuff, it wasnt gonna do my sensitive bite indication any good though,

After about half an hour the rod tip on the backleaded rod began to nod and i struck into something heavy. It was a really odd fight, coming in smoothly and then suddenly shaking the rod violently and taking line. At first i thought id foulhooked a Pike through the tail or something but was pleasantly surprised to find a large Eel on the end.

Thats where the pleasntries ended though because as soon as i got it on the bank it proceeded to destroy my kit by tying the net in knots, wrapping itself up in the line and generally sliming everything within reaching distance. After a brief wrestle i soon had it zipped up in the weigh sling out of harms way and the scales registered 3lb 7oz, a new pb for me, great stuff!

After releasing it and recasting, i was just making an attempt to clean off some of my kit when the downstream rod signalled some interest. A swift strike had me connected to what felt like another eel and sure enough i soon had it in the margins only for it to drop off. It was smaller than the first so i wasnt disappointed. The same thing happened again shortly afterwards strangely enough, the conditions must have been right for eels cos ive never had one from the Trent before and tonight i hooked 3 on the bounce!
It was about 8pm by now and id still not had a Zander, to be fair the weed was doing my head in though and even on the backleaded rod i was having to rechuck every 15 minutes or so. I decided to cast both rods right upstream so that the weed drifted up the line towards the rod rather than down it towards the rig and bait.
This seemed to do the trick because at about 8.30 my left hander pulled around and i found myself connected to a fish. The fight instantly told me it was gonna be a zed and soon enough a lively 4lber was on the mat.
This seemed to signal the start of feeding time for the zeds because over the next hour or so i had a bit of a mad one landing 3 more Zander and missing 3 other takes. Apart from a small one of about 2lb or so (see below) the others were all in the 4-5lb class. This seems to be the average size of the schoolies in the river at the minute and so far the bigger stamp of fish which i know are there seem to be eluding me. Ill keep at them though!
If your wondering why i wear a glove to handle Zander its cos theyre bloody sharp and it gives me a much better grip on them, id advise the same to any newcomer to zandering. As with Pike fishing, I find a glove makes for much more confident handling of the fish too. Another thing worth noting with Zander is that they often struggle a bit in a similar way to Barbel when you return them, be sure to support them upright in the water until they are ready to swim off under their own steam.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Preds before brekky

Sunday 27th June

The entire household was up early this morning for some reason and, although we were going out later, my better half suggested that i could have a couple of hours fishing. Whats up with her? i thought but i didnt need asking twice! I grabbed the lure gear and headed for a weirpool on a local bit of river. Below are some pics from the trip

It proved to be a fairly decent session as it turned out. Didnt catch anything huge but got a few nice bends in the rod and really enjoyed myself which is what its all about at the end of the day. I was there for no more than an hour and got home with plenty of time to spare for my breakfast!