Sunday, 30 January 2011

In it to win it

Sunday 30th January

After yesterdays grueller i woke up this morning with intentions of washing the car, taking the kids out and all the other stuff that normal people do on a sunday. However, when headquarters said she had no plans this morning and that i could have a couple of hours fishing the angler within took over and i began to ponder my options.  It was getting on for 9am and we were going out just after lunch so i didnt have much time, in fact i was in two minds whether to even bother. In the end I thought sod it, you gotta be in it to win it (hence the title) and headed for the river.

I was going to try a different area to yesterday, a slower and deeper stretch with form for producing one or two good fish. The weather was different to yesterday in that it felt much warmer, that icy wind had totally dropped which made all the difference. I intended to stay put in one swim seeing as i was so limited for time and keep some bait going in to draw the fish to me rather than my usual ploy of searching the fish out.

 I soon  found a spot and got setup, the river was looking pretty good i thought as i introduced a couple of golf balls of liquidised bread into the swim. I wasnt really expecting to catch much so i was caught somewhat off guard when the tip pulled around after about 20minutes of fishing. I didnt need to strike such was the ferocity of the bite, i simply lifted into the fish and after a quick scrap it was soon in the net. At 4lb2oz it was a good start and boosted my confidence no-end.

 After that fish i recast, rebaited and sat back with that nice warm feeling of not blanking inside me. After a while of no more action the wanderlust began to take over and i could see a tasty looking spot upstream which looked worth a go. I headed up there but not before i had introduced some more bait to my first spot with the intention of returning before i left.
The spot upstream didnt produce a sausage so after about half an hour i found myself back in the first spot. Within 10minutes the tip walloped over and i was into another fish. This one felt heavier and stayed out in the main flow for most of the battle but soon enough i had it on the surface gulping air and i slid the net under it. It looked a decent one and after carefully zeroing the scales in the sling she went. At 5lb4oz i was over the moon, a new PB!

After that i didnt feel the need to recast so i headed home for lunch with the family. I was a little disappointed with the pics of the fish, i know its a self-take but for some reason the pics came out very white and i had to play about with them on the computer to get them anywhere near viewable. The camera must be on its way out i reckon, looks like im gonna have to fork out for a new one especially if i want decent pics for this blog.
Anyway, thats the first PB of the year done, i do hope its not the last though!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Even the Chub wont bite (much)

Saturday 29th January

Ill start this one with a little bit about last weekends Chub trip. I headed out first thing in the morning and the weather was bitterly cold, overcast with a biting wind. A total contrast to the double figure temperatures we experienced the week before! To cut a long story short the session was pretty much uneventful with only one half-hearted bite in over 8 hours of fishing, very poor hence the lack of write up from last week. A load more canoeists came down the river too with one even getting stuck in the bush i was fishing too, that cant have helped my chances!

Onwards to this week then, again i headed out at first light and again the conditions were very similar to last week. If anything though the wind was actually colder and it hurt my face as i made my way across the field to my first swim of the morning. There was frost on the ground and the river looked pretty dead, several cormorants flying overhead just added to the feeling i was getting that this was gonna be another grueller.

My feelings were proved right as the first three spots i tried yielded absolutely nothing whatsoever, not even the slightest hint of a bite. As the early afternoon loomed i headed for a new spot in a last ditch attempt to catch something. I cast out and after about 45 minutes of watching the tip nod gently in the current i was thinking about calling it a day. Suddenly i noticed a slight movement on the tip which somehow looked 'different' to the regular flow movement i had been getting. I focused and my hand hovered over the rod in anticipation, when it happened again a few seconds later i struck and the rod took on a healthy bend. I took my time playing it to the net as i really didnt want to lose it and miss my only chance of the day. It didnt look overly big as it slid into the net but upon lifting it out it was bigger than i thought which was confirmed when the dial on the scales went around to 4lb10oz.

After returning it i didnt fancy putting myself through any more punishment in that wind so i headed for home pleased to have caught. Will i get a five pounder before the season ends? the annual last knockings Perch campaign is looming so time is fast running out.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Winter Warmers

Sunday 16th January

Will someone tell me whats going on with the weather? After all the snow and ice of the last few weeks everything seems to have been turned on its head this week and weve got mild winds, lots of rain and daytime temperatures comfortably over 10 degrees. Double figures in January? im certainly not complaining about that one! On the flipside however, the rains raised the river levels dramatically and put lots of colour into them which put paid to any Chub opportunities i was hoping for this week. I didnt fancy a grueller chasing winter Barbel so with the lakes de-icing themselves nicely over the last week i decided to target Roach and Perch on a little gem of a pool i know just down the M1.

Phil was to be my partner in crime for today and we both had high hopes for a good days fishing. The place is known locally for its specimen Carp but its also a pretty special silverfish water and with this in mind i went straight in on a bolt-feeder setup with maggots. I began by catapulting half a dozen tiny balls of groundbait in, i didnt want to introduce any via the feeder as i didnt want to overfeed the swim. the only thing going in the feeder itself would be maggots and even then it would only be every third cast, upping it to every second one if they were having it.
I didnt have to wait long for a bite, probably about 10 seconds to be precise! the tip went around and a skimmer of around a pound was soon languishing in my keepnet, hopefully a sign there was a few fish feeding. Sure enough, over the next hour or so i went on to land a succession of Roach, real quality fish too. As you can see from the pic below, you dont get many to the pound! 

The bolt feeder was working a treat with every bite rattling the rod in its rest as the fish hooked themselves, all had to do was land the fish, rebait and recast, easy! After a while though the sun made an appearance the bites stopped abruptly. After a bit of headscratching and seeing a couple of fish jump in front of me i had a feeling the fish had moved up in the water column in response to the increased light levels and the bait falling from my feeder on the cast so i tackled up a float rod set shallow.
Immediately i was back amongst some fish and even managed a couple of nice Perch which surprised me considering how shallow i was fishing. Soon enough the bites on this line dried up, probably due to the fact i was fishing at range and the wind made baiting up with the catty nigh on impossible. Back to the bolt feeder it was then.
As morning turned into afternoon the action slowed quite a bit compared to this morning but even so i was still getting bites. This time though i was getting a lot more tentative plucks instead of rod wrenchers. The sky began to cloud up just after lunchtime and it wasnt long before the first spots of rain began to fall. I put my brolly up only to have a strong gust of wind destroy it by turning it inside out and ripping a big gash in it, serves me right for buying cheap crap i guess.
I continued to catch a few throughout the afternoon by alternating between the float and the feeder including a nice brace of 2lb Perch the biggest of which went 2.5.

The rain got heavier and heavier and it was getting dark so we decided to call it a day. I lifted my net out and was pleasantly surprised to find id had around 20-25lb of mostly Roach, the biggest of which was pushing a pound. Phils net turned up the biggest fish of the day in the form of a 2.10 Perch which was PB for him. All in all a pretty good day for January! 

Monday, 3 January 2011

New year, new spots, still catching!

Monday 3rd January

Today represented the last day of my xmas hols and as such i planned a whole day on the bank in the company of my old mate Phil. The plan was to spend the day roving about for Chub, dropping in likely looking holes, giving it an hour and hopefully catching a few. The area we had in mind was one neither of us had targetted for Chub before so it was something of the unknown for us both.
The river was carrying about 3inches and was a nice greeny colour. The air temperature was surprisingly cool with the car reading minus1 as we drove down, my numb fingers when i arrived at my first swim confirmed the subzero reading!

The fishing began slower than expected and it was over an hour before i finally got a bite and put a 3.8 on the bank. The fish bore a nasty looking scar on its side (not shown in pic) which looked like it had been inflicted by a cormorant. Ive seen several of these birds on the river each time ive been down in recent weeks and today was no different. I suspect the frozen stillwaters have had something to do with the sudden upsurge in their numbers on our rivers.

As we fished on through the morning butes proved pretty tough to come by although Phil managed 3 Chub to 4.8 and lost another. As i reached the bottom of the stretch i came upon the inviting looking spot in the pic below, that tangle of roots had to hold a chevin or two!

And hold them it did! after casting just upstream and baiting with a steady stream of tiny balls of mashed bread, the tipped walloped around and a pristine fish of 3.12 was duly banked.

After banking that fish i was headed for another similar spot upstream when i came face to face with the spanish armada, a fleet of about 40 canoes and kayaks! The stretch is supposed to be non-navigable and despite trying a couple more spots it was pretty obvious the area was well and truly buggered, the Chub had vanished. A new plan was called for cos i certainly wasnt ready to go home yet and after a quick consultation with Phil we found ourselves headed for the mighty Trent.

Again the area we headed for was another new one for us from a Chub perspective but even so it didnt take us long to get a couple of bites. The first i had practically ripped the rod off its rest but i wasnt quick enough and the tip sprang straight before i even picked the rod up. I missed another bite shortly afterwards but made it third time lucky as i connected with a trent bruiser of 4.8.

Eventually the darkness began to close in and it was time to pack up. I didnt realise just how cold it had become until i picked up my landing net and it was frozen to the ground! the car said minus3 but at least it was still warmer than what is was a couple of weeks back!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Looking back as a new year begins .....

Ill start by wishing all followers of this blog a very happy and prosperous new year. Ive really enjoyed keeping this blog going and it seems to have been pretty well recieved by you guys too judging by conversations ive had with some of you. At the end of June i added a counter to monitor the traffic visiting my blog and in six months its registered 600 hits which i find staggering. A big thankyou to all of you who have stuck with me so far!

I said this entry was going to be a bit of a look back so here goes, what of 2010? It wasnt a great year for me in terms of big fish, in fact it was quite mediocre compared to the couple of years previous. Despite this, I was still pleased to beat 3 PBs which included Grayling, Eel and Perch . The Perch one in particular was probably the highlight of the year for me because it came from a very tough venue and was the culmination of a lot of hard work for both me and my old mucker Paul who also caught his PB within 10 minutes of mine!

I fished several new venues last year which is something i like to do as learning about new spots always increases my options and im never stuck for somewhere to go. I never discount a potential venue until ive fished it and can then gauge if its one worth sticking with in the future or one not bothering with at all. Its all part of the bigger jigsaw for me.
The weather and water conditions proved to be the most troublesome things to affect my fishing last year. It started with heavy snow and lots of ice and ended with the same which is never great for the angler but the thing which got me most was that god awful drifting blanket weed which plagued in the Trent over the summer. I purchased my tickets last year with the express intention of fishing the Trent heavily for both Zander and Barbel. This was all well and good but it quickly became apparent that the weed was gonna make it extremely difficult and it got worse as the summer continued. Keeping a bait in position for any length of time was nigh on impossible as the line would be festooned with weed in about 15-20 minutes on some evenings. 
I gave it up as a bad job in the end and headed for other rivers which, due to the lack of rain and very low water levels, proved to be pretty tough cookies in their own right. I didnt have the ticket for the one venue i knew id do well on in those conditions either which peeved me somewhat.
Im quite pleased that ive managed to keep a few bites coming my way over the recent cold snap though and it just shows that you can never write a trip off until youve been out there and done it.

So what will 2011 bring fishingwise? Well, for the time being i will be sticking with the Chub fishing until February when i will then switch to Perch until the rivers close. Im planning a Bream assault on a large local pit during the old closed season with the express intention of beating my PB and also a spot of Tenching too if i can squeeze it in. 
Ive already worked out which tickets i will be having next year and once the rivers open again in June itll be Barbel, Carp and Chub all the way through the summer months. Ive not done any serious Barbelling for a couple of years now so its about time i got amongst a few i reckon. Come the Autumn ill probably have a hankering for a Trent Zander and ive got a couple of ideas for some areas to target for a big Pike or two as the winter approaches. These plans will no doubt change due to my fickle nature but it gives me some sort of path to work to in the coming months. 

Good luck to all you lads in 2011 anyway, tight lines and bulging nets to you all