Sunday, 26 February 2012

Quality over quantity!

An early morning trip to the Derwent was planned for Saturday as i wanted to have a look at some of the swims i found last week. The weather from Thursday onwards had been exraordinarily mild with daytime temperatures hitting 17 degrees so i was hoping for a good session. It was looking like it was going to be really bright again today as the sky was clear and the sun was already peering over the horizon despite the early hour.

I made my way to my first spot and got setup, a couple of balls of mashed bread were deposited in the swim and i sat back to await events. After a few minutes the rod was nearly ripped from the rest as a fish hooked itself and bolted downstream. It felt heavy in the flow and kept deep but i managed to net it quickly enough and it looked a decent fish. It was certainly a five plusser and i was chuffed to see the scales pull around to a new best of 5lb5oz!

I moved on to another couple of swims after that and tempted a couple more bites both of which i managed to bump off. Once the sun came up proper i couldnt tempt any more action so i headed for home.
As i drove back i decided to stop off and check the form on the Trent. It looked pretty good but as is to be expected on a nice sunny day there was a few cars already in the carpark and i could see a couple of people with rods and nets wandering about in the fields along the river. Most of the obvious swims wouldve already been covered but i still got the rod out of the car anyway and made my way to the waterside. Within half an hour i managed to winkle out a small Chub of about 3lb but it was the only bite i had. A couple more people turned up to fish so, with my dislike of crowds, i decided to head home and do some car shopping instead.

New car sorted, I was back down on the Derwent first thing Sunday morning and once again it promised to be a bright and very sunny day. I had the Pike gear with me today as id spotted a couple of swims which looked very promising indeed. It was exactly 7am when i sat back after making my first cast and watching the mist rising off the river towards the pink sky was all very atmospheric! Id had a good feeling about this trip as i drove down and the feeling still hadnt gone, i almost knew something was going to happen.
After a while the float bobbed a couple of times and i hovered over the rod in readiness. It bobbed again and then slid away, i struck into what i imediately thought was a small Jack. I bullied it in under the rod tip until i caught a glimpse of the fish at which point i went all aquiver! A very large Chub had picked up my Sardine and it was only lightly hooked on one point of the barbless treble! I netted it quickly and as i lifted it out of the water i knew it was a Personal best by a country mile!
It wasnt a long fish but its girth was enormous, as wide as it was deep! i knew it was six-plus but i was still somewhat shocked when the needle on the scales flew past the 6lb mark and settled on 6lb10oz. The pic below really doesnt do the fish justice, the video shows it off a bit better, it was a proper lump!

After returning it i was a bit shell-shocked so i rebaited and chucked it down the edge whilst i sat back, sorted my kit out and took stock. An hour later the float began to bob about once again, it moved along the surface before going under and staying there. My strike met very solid resistance this time and the rod properly hooped over. I had to lock up to keep it from going under some trees to my right and as it came back across in front of me i got a good look at it, a proper Croc of a Pike!
It used its power well but there was only going to be one winner in this battle and soon enough it was angrily flaring its gills in my landing net. It felt heavy as i lifted it out of the water and i allowed thoughts of a 20lber into my head but it wasnt to be as the scales read 19lb8oz, still, a very nice Pike indeed!

The bright sun didnt do me any favours with the pics but it made for a lovely spring-like morning. I fished on for another hour or so and had a couple of half-hearted knocks but i was already chuffed to bits with what id already caught so i packed up around 10ish.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Lots of miles for little reward

This week i seem to have walked miles in pursuit of the fish with not a lot to show for it other than sore feet and aching legs. Ive found several new swims though and discounted some others which i had earmarked from previous forays into the wilderness.
The weekend itself started badly as my car decided to develop a terminal engine fault a couple of miles down the road from leaving work on friday. I got a chap coming to look at it this week but the knocking sound inside the engine block doesnt sound at all healthy and im fully prepared for the worst!
Because of this setback, Fridays errands had to be done on Saturday which meant my planned days Chubbing on the Derwent became a couple of hours chucking lures about on the Soar. I took my heavy Jerkbait gear in the hope of picking up a decent Pike but in the event i never even had a follow. It was a good opportunity to have a play with some new lures ive recently aquired though.

On Sunday i managed to get on the Derwent with the Chub gear, wed had an overnight frost but the sun was out in force making for some incredibly bright conditions. The river had a real pull on it but was quite clear and i struggled a bit for bites. I had headed for some new swims which id seen from the opposite side last week but when i saw them up close i was a bit disappointed .  They turned out to be shallower and much more boily than they had looked from the other side, the grass isnt always greener as they say!
I did get a couple of pulls in one swim but i missed them and couldnt get any more interest so i decided to head to another stretch. This new area was another one id spotted from the far bank ages ago and id been meaning to try it for months. Unlike the previous new area, this one didnt disappoint and there were some cracking looking swims along there. I didnt have much time as i was needed back home so i picked the swim below, a sunken snag in about 6ft of steady water, there simply HAD to be a Chub in there somewhere!

Of course there was! within a few minutes of casting out a firm wrap around of the tip signalled an urgent need to strike and a fish was on. Much as it tried, it never made it to the snag and instead it found itself posing for a quick pic in the ulta-bright midday sunshine. It went 4.8 on the scales and had one hell of a paddle for a tail.

I had a quick recce of some more swims before i packed up and was pleased to find several more possibilities worth exploring in the near future. I also came across the mangled Swan in the pic below which left me wondering how it had met its maker, Fox perhaps?

I had Monday booked off work with the intention of going fishing but the car business nearly put paid to that seeing as the wife needed hers for work. Fortunately my old mucker Phil had the day off too and kindly offered me a lift. I took him to the Derwent with promises of big Perch and Chub ringing in his ears. As it turned out i wasnt far wrong cos within a hour or so of setting up Phil was holding a new PB Perch of 3lb4oz up for the camera! a right result from a tough stretch.

Things didnt go according to plan for myself however and by the time early afternoon arrived and we had covered a fair amount of water i was still biteless. The weather had closed in a bit and the wind had really got up so we decided to head somewhere a bit more sheltered, some bright spark then suggested the Trent and Mersey canal!
I really wasnt confident when we arrived as canals are quite alien to me, i didnt have a clue where to begin and i dont think Phil was any the wiser either! We setup downstream of some lock gates as a couple of small fish topped nearby providing the only visible sign of anything living in there. We were both surprised when i had a bite within seconds of casting in, it was a good pull aswell but i still managed to miss it! we both had a few more tentative knocks over the next half hour but couldnt connect with anything.
The first boat then came through the locks and bites slowed dramatically, it was a british waterways vessel pushing a large empty barge in front of it and much hilarity ensued as the driver first managed to crash into the bank some way down from us, then he veered across the cut into the other bank before jacknifing across the canal and getting stuck. The lock keeper had to go down with a big boathook and untangle him. The next couple of boats were obviously blind to the fact we were fishing and decided to use my peg, literally where i was sitting, to pull in and disembark so they could go and open the lock gates. One silly old bat actually trampled through my rod rest and across my landing net as if they werent there! i was gobsmacked! and people wonder why anglers and boaters dont get along .........
I did eventually managed to catch a fish though, a strange looking creature that looked to me like a Roach/Bream hybrid but Phil suggested that it might be, dare i say it, a Silver Bream? now wheres Jeff Hatt when i need him........

Sunday, 12 February 2012

New rod success!

The weather, as we all know, has been pretty rubbish for fishing of late but ive been itching to try out my new  lure rod and today i decided to do just that .  I was more interested in just having a cast around to see how the rod behaved with different lures than catching but if a fish came along of course i wasnt going to complain!
I tried a good few swims and i was thoroughly impressed ,  the rods 3-18gram casting weight is ideal for fishing small shads and worms and very sensitive, i could feel every bump and tap as the lure bounced along the bottom. After a couple of hours fishing a deep and slow stretch with no action  i decided to head to another area where the water was predominantly fast and shallow. My thinking was that the fish might be more concentrated into smaller areas and the increased flow would be forcing them to move about a bit more.
Third swim into the new stretch and i had a hit on my first cast. A solid thump on the rod tip and a big swirl just below the surface saw my first hookup of the day. It didnt stay on for long though and within seconds my lure was spat back at me. A couple of casts to the same area later and i hooked up again for a repeat performance, it was most probably the same fish. No more action followed that so i moved on .
On my second cast in the next swim a small jack went for the shad as i got it under the rod tip. The fish missed first time and i left the lure hanging for split second which was all it took for the Pike to spin around and engulf it. I set the hook solidly this time and after a bit of fumbling with my collapsable net i soon had it on the bank. The light rod had tamed it admirably and i was well chuffed to have christened it in tough conditions. I fished on for another hour or so but the weather closed in and it began to rain so i headed for the pub instead.

Small but very welcome!

 The winning lure, a 2.5in Kopyto shad on a 7g jig head

Friday, 10 February 2012

Scratching for bites on the Trent

I managed to get out of work on time for once today and as i pulled out of the carpark the sun decided to make a rare appearance . I say rare because this past week has seen temperatures plummet following last weekends snowfall . Thankfully though the snow didnt hang around for long where i live and even though we had a dusting as recently as last night the roads remained clear. Anyway, driving home i was invigorated by the sunlight and had  a sudden urge to go fishing . The thought was still with me when i got home so i chucked some kit together, liquidised half a loaf and made my way to the Trent for the afternoon.
The river has been carrying a load of snowmelt from last weekend in recent days and now, although it was still up slightly, it was a lovely green colour and it looked very nice indeed . I decided to head to the swim i caught from last week which was at the top of the stretch and work my way down from there.
Despite passing several frozen lakes on my way to the river, It wasnt until i got settled that i realised just how bitterly cold it actually was . There was still patches of snow dotted around the fields and the quieter margins of the river had cat-ice forming . I gave the first swim a good hour and never had a sniff so i headed to the next one which also proved to be a grueller.
By the time i got to my 4th swim i was starting to seriously contemplate a blank session . The conditions were tough but surely something was feeding out there, experience has taught me that no matter how bad the weather is there will always be a fish of some description willing to pick up a bait somewhere . And so it proved as, after about 20 minutes, i recieved a slight knock on the tip which was followed by a judder and my subsequent strike met with solid resistance. The fish didnt pull much and wasnt very big but i was most relieved to get it in the net, a just reward for some hard fishing!

The swim had plenty of water to go at and i had another few casts to search it out but had no more joy. By now time was getting on a bit so i hurriedly upped sticks and headed to a final spot downstream which has been good to me in the past. I had a bite within minutes and once again the rod hooped over . The excitement was shortlived though because within seconds the hook pulled and the fish came adrift . I was hoping i wouldnt have spooked whatever fish were down there but it turned out i obviously had because nothing else showed any interest . I packed up very cold but pleased to have caught!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Struggling to get out

As the title of this update suggests, ive really been struggling to get out on the bank over the last 2-3weeks. Things have gone a bit mental at work and ive been stuck there six days a week, i hope things calm down a bit soon because its killing my fishing! What fishing time i have managed to grab has been made up of a couple of very brief trips to the Soar and the Trent in pursuit of the ever reliable Chub.

A couple of weeks ago i found myself sat next to the Soar staring at a quivertip in some horrendous weather conditions. The wind was a howling upstreamer and was coupled with some squally showers and i really regretted not packing that brolly!
Despite the conditions the fish were really biting and i caught a string of small Chub between 1-3lb . Spotting bites was tricky in the wind and when it picked up even more i finally admitted defeat and headed for home.

 Theres certainly plenty of these in the Soar at the minute!

A couple of days later i headed down to a different stretch of Soar in a bid to find something a bit bigger but that trip coincided with an extremely heavy hailstorm which had me heading for home without even wetting a line . Im no fair weather angler, not by any means but i do have my limits!

My next trip was an afterwork trip to the Trent, it looked ok according to the EA river levels site but upon my arrival i found it very coloured and pulling through like a train, not great for Chub and after a biteless couple of hours id had enough.

I was getting really frustrated by now and felt that everything was conspiring to ruin my fishing prospects altogether . A bit of retail therapy was called for and i decided to treat myself to a shiny new lure rod for fishing ultralites aswell as some tasty looking Jerkbaits to go with my heavy setup . I plan to fish lures a lot more this year as i find it a very absorbing way of fishing and its also a style that requires very little preparation beforehand . To go lure fishing is just a case of chucking a rod and kit-bag in the car and going, no bait to source and prepare or anything.

New toy - Sweeeeeeet!

Back to to the fishing anyway, some really wintery weather has been forcast for February and as i write this heavy snow has been forcast for the next couple of days . With this in mind i managed to finish work early so that i could get a few hours in prior to things getting messy .
The Trent was finally looking right for a bite or two and, although it was very sunny and absolutely freezing i fancied my chances. I dropped  in on a couple of swims and couldnt raise so much as a twitch let alone a fish. It was getting late in the day and i was starting to get a little dispondent .
Just as i was thinking about a move i noticed a fish swirl in the next swim downstream so my mind was made up . Within minutes my bread-loaded feeder was cast into the new spot and awaiting some fishy attention. Within a couple of minutes the tip plucked before smoothly pulling around and i struck into a fish . It hung deep in the flow making me think it was bigger than it actually was but at 4.2 it was a nice way to save a blank.
I recast, hopeful that there might be a few fish tightly shoaled up down there due to the icy conditions and i wasnt disappointed . Another bite a few minutes later resulted in a another Trent standard Chub of 4.4 . That fish proved to be the last of the trip and all to soon the wintery darkness began to fall .
If we do get the snow theyve predicted then it could really mess the rivers up for the end of the season, i hope it doesnt as theres quite a lot i want to try and fit in before then - if i can get out in the first place!

A brace of Trent bruisers