Sunday, 22 December 2013

On Canal and Commercial

With Christmas fast approaching I finished work early on Friday so I could head into town to do some shopping. Whilst in town I stopped by the tackle shop to get some maggots and as I waited I allowed myself to look at the various lure rods on display. A couple caught my eye and ten minutes later I was walking out of the shop with them! An impulse buy if ever there was one!

Obviously I couldn't wait to try them out and the following morning I took the lighter of the two, a Korum number, down to my local canal to see if I could catch something to put it though its paces. The area I chose was a fairly urbanised section between two sets of locks, I'd not fished there for years so I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turned out It didn't take long to find out because within a few casts a small pike put in an appearance.


As I worked my way down the cut I had a couple of Perch drop off before eventually catching a small one to round the trip off. The little rod had performed exactly as I had hoped and I'm looking forward to catching plenty more on it in the future.

We had a lot of rain on Friday which made a bit of a mess of the rivers so Sundays day out was to be a visit to a local commercial with Perch in mind. I awoke Sunday morning and could hear the rain and wind outside lashing the windows and was sorely tempted to stay in my nice warm bed. Phil was picking me up at 6.30 however so bed was no longer an option!

It was still pitch black when we arrived lakeside and after all the rain the place was a total quagmire. Not surprisingly we were the only god forsaken souls there and we quickly endeavoured to get setup in some comfy swims with our backs to the wind.

Prawns were the bait of choice and due to the wind I decided to fish under the rod tip where I had about 5ft of water. I began to get knocks and bumps on the float straight away and despite my best efforts I simply couldn't connect with anything. It was obvious that small fish were to blame and this was confirmed when I eventually hooked a small gudgeon with eyes bigger than its belly!


The knocks continued and after catching an 8oz Roach I decided to switch to maggot to see what was down there. Straight away the float shot away and I netted the first Perch of the session at around a pound, a most welcome capture. After persevering with maggots for a short while longer I decided to switch back to Prawn. Over the next half hour I had another gudgeon and lots more knocks on the float as the small fish pecked away at the bait. Suddenly the swim went dead and I hoped it was because something big and stripey had moved in. I missed a sailaway bite before hitting another on the drop on my next cast, this time my strike met a dogged resistance and a decent looking Perch breached on the surface before bolting into the dead reeds at my feet. A brief tussle ensued and finally a proper Perch was bristling in the bottom of the net. At 2.4 it wasn't as heavy as its gut suggested but it was nice to get a 2lber at last after the mornings struggles.

Morning soon became afternoon and I was really getting fed up with the small fishes relentless assault on my Prawns. I decided to set up a quiver tip and fish further along the margin to my left where I'd been trickling bait in all morning. It took a while to get a bite but I struck at the tiniest movement on the tip and the rod hooped over. The fish thumped away in the open water before making a mad rush into a dead reed bed and breaking my hooklink. Much cursing ensued because judging by the disturbance in the reeds it looked a good fish.

After this, bites on the tip rod proved to be pretty hard to come by but I stuck with it and managed to hook another Perch which transferred my hook into a snag, I was having no luck! I recast and as I tensioned the tip it carried on going round so I struck and hooked another Perch. All went well with this one and it proved to be identical in weight to my last fish, giving me a nice brace of twos.


That fish had strange growths on the lips which were almost bonelike, a feature shared with many other Perch in the lake. I don't know what causes the lips to go like that on these fish but I've not really come across it elsewhere before, maybe this is what causes so many hook pulls here. Anyway back to the fishing and after frustratingly losing two more fish to hook pulls over the next hour I decided to play about with my rig to try and put more fish on the bank.

A shorter hooklink and a larger wide gaped hook seemed to do the trick as I successfully landed my next fish. At 2.10 it was the biggest of the day and exhibited the same boney growths in its mouth as the previous fish. The growths are visible in both the pics below and make for quite a strange looking Perch!

That was about it other than another lost fish as it got dark. A hat-trick of 2lb Perch on a cold December day was a decent result but I still left feeling pretty damn frustrated at losing so many, still there's always next time I guess. Tight lines all!


Monday, 16 December 2013

Mild weather brings some fish!

As the weekend approached the weather, whilst turning a little damp, slowly became warmer with daytime temps hitting double figures. I gave my usual Friday afternoon overtime stint two fingers and opted for a lure session on my local river. I only had about two hours of daylight but I had recently purchased one of Savage gears 'real eel' lures and was desperate to give it a bash.


I headed straight to a known area which has been winning a lot of the matches lately so I knew the pike wouldn't be too far away. I clipped on the new lure, gave it a quick test in the edge to admire its action and then launched it towards the far bank. Three cranks of the reel handle was all I managed before I had a solid thump and found myself connected to a feisty jack of around 3lb, lures don't get much more instant than that!


After that fish I never looked back, I hooked a further five fish although I only managed to get two on the bank. I lost two which shook themselves off the hook as I had hold of the trace ready to glove them out and another to a hook pull mid river. I had quite a few follows which came to nothing despite my best efforts and several lure changes to try and tempt them. I had one jack t-boned by another Pike as I was playing it and although it looked a fairly nasty wound the fish seemed ok as it shot off upon its return.

All in all a really enjoyable little trip out with plenty of action and although I got soaked when the rain arrived at the end my head was full of plans to get back down again soon as one of the follows I had was from a very good fish indeed.


Sundays trip was to be a day out Grayling fishing on the Dove with my old mate Phil. We had booked onto one of our clubs fly fishing sections as they allow bait fishing to Trout ticket holders at certain times of the year and the stretch has produced the odd two pounder in recent seasons. I dearly wanted a 2plusser as my Grayling PB has always been somewhat poor and to me 2lb is the benchmark for a specimen, certainly around the midlands anyway.

Having never seen the stretch before we decided to have a bit of a recce and with it being a relatively short bit of river we were quickly able to determine the likely areas. Much of it was unfishable due to bank side foliage or too shallow to consider but there was four maybe five swims of interest to us so we quickly got setup. Straight away and almost simultaneously we both landed out of season Brownies, Phils being a netter and mine somewhat smaller. In fact mine was perhaps the smallest I've ever caught, perfectly formed and a great sign for the future of the beat.

Another much bigger Trout on my next cast had me a little worried that this might be the pattern for the day. Pretty as they are, We weren't there to catch Trout and if we continued to catch them we would have no choice but to move on. It's unfortunate that there's barely a bait that a Trout won't take and when fishing game rivers they are nigh on impossible to avoid.

My next cast brought a much gentler bite and my strike met with a more dogged resistance. It stayed deep on the light gear and I was well pleased to finally see a nice Grayling roll into the net. At 1lb10oz it was an encouraging capture from a new area to us.

A lost fish shortly afterwards pretty much killed my swim so I moved a few yards downstream and caught another Trout straight away. Bites were hard to come by again so I moved to the very bottom swim on the stretch. Within minutes I hit a decent fish which turned out to be a sizeable Rainbow Trout which did a great impression of a Dolphin as it repeatedly leapt out of the water as it shot upstream of me. My 2.10 hooklink never stood a chance. Phil had caught a couple of pound size Grayling but it was apparent that the Trout were extremely active in this area so we decided to head a few miles downriver to an area we knew pretty well in a bid to track down some Grayling.

The new stretch is a much longer bit of river and gave us many many more swim choices. I knew where I wanted to be so Phil and I both went our separate ways. There was one particular hole I fancied having a bash in on my way though as I knew it was often a good spot for a Chub or two. I was glad I did because within a couple of minutes my lobworm hookbait was snaffled by a solid chub of around 3-4lb.

I moved on to my target swim, it was a big area of water which meant I could pull fish in from all directions and my plan was to stay there and build it up with regular baiting of maggots. It took around 15 minutes to get my first bite and my strike met a solid resistance. After a somewhat hairy scrap I netted a decent looking Chub which looked well worth a weigh. 5lb2oz was its number, a good result on a size 18 hook and double red maggot.

The action continued a bit more sporadically than I had hoped for but a few grayling to over a pound plus a couple more Trout fell to my rod over the next three hours. Eventually though the swim dried up completely and I was starting to get a bit bored . Phil came by and although he'd caught a few he too was struggling to find fish in any numbers. We parted company again and I headed back upstream to a deep, steady and relatively featureless spot. Half an hour there gave me two bites, a Trout and a tiny Grayling which, like the little Trout I had first thing was a perfect miniature of its mum and dad.

Phil had gone some way upstream so I headed up to join him but on my way I spotted a swim which I'd never really noticed before but it really caught my eye. A tree had come down the previous winter on the far side and a tasty looking slack had formed behind it. There was a small bush overhanging some fairly steady water on my downstream margin too. I knew the area wasn't deep as I'd waded through there whilst fly fishing a couple of years back but it looked good for a cast or two.

I chucked into the slack and missed a bite immediately, next cast produced a Trout and then I couldn't buy a bite. At that point I had a phone call so I just lobbed the bait to the bush downstream of me. Within seconds I was into a nice Grayling of over a pound. The phone call was Phil telling me he'd found some fish and had just caught 1lb12oz Grayling which was good news. The rain clouds had really rolled in by now and although the wet stuff seemed to be holding off the light levels were almost dusklike.

Whether this had an impact on the fish feeding or not I don't know but suddenly I seemed to be catching a fish a chuck! At one point a large Goosander popped up next to my net as I netted a fish, I don't know if it had my fish in mind for its lunch but it soon cleared off when it spotted me. I thought that would be the death knell for any further action in the spot but the bites continued unabated.

I was bending into yet another fish when Phil came up behind me, "you found a few too then" he said, "yeah baggin up mate" I replied. The fish I was playing seemed very Chublike until Phil caught a glimpse of it and declared it to be a serious sized Grayling. To be honest it didn't look that big to me until I got it to the net and it filled it! The needle on the scales pulled around to 2lb9oz confirming that my old PB was blown out of the water! Chuffed was an understatement.

I fished on and caught a couple more smaller fish before the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain started, that was the sign to pack up but I was more than happy because I'd achieved my target at the first attempt this season. Question is, what do I go for next?


Friday, 13 December 2013


A couple of weekends back, somewhat unusually, I found myself with plenty of time to go fishing and was determined to make the most of it. I really wanted to get my string pulled and had already decided that Chub would be my intended quarry as they are usually pretty obliging.

On Friday Afternoon I headed straight to a favourite area of the Trent from work and although there was a chilly wind and an ever present threat of rain the river looked pretty good for a few bites. And so it proved! I made my first cast at exactly 1pm and was netting my first chub of the day at 1.05! A promising start indeed.

Nothing else occurred in that swim other than a couple of tentative knocks so I headed to the next pool. The new swim is probably one of my top five reliable swims for getting a Chub from and this occasion was no different. Two quick fire bites yielded a fish on the bank and another lost to a snag.

I never bothered recasting in that swim due to the disturbance and headed to a nearby feeder stream which I've always fancied for a fish or two. It can't be more than 8-10feet wide and certainly no deeper than 18inches so it took a bit of stealth to get into position but soon enough I was fishing. It took around 10 minutes to get any indications but after a couple of gentle plucks the tip smacked around and a chub of around 4lb was soon in the net.

Suitably chuffed it was time to move back to the main river and a swim I've always fancied but never caught from. I decided to sit it out and keep the feed trickling in to see if anything could be tempted. 20 minutes later and a solid bite gave me a small fish of around 2-3lb.

By now the weather was starting to close in a bit so I decided to try one more swim before hometime. I sat it out in the horizontal rain for around 20 minutes and missed three bites in succession before landing the biggest chub of the day at 4lb-odd. I was getting soaked so home beckoned.

The rain dried up overnight and I awoke next morning to fairly decent frost. I only had a few hours in the morning so I opted to head to the Soar for a quick session.

I parked up and was pleased to find I had the whole stretch to myself so I headed to the most popular swim on there to get it out of the way before the expected crowds turned up. It's a well known spot which can often chuck up some good bags of chub and my plan was to catch what I could from there as quickly as possible before moving on to a couple of favourite spots at the top end of the field.

The plan worked a treat because I managed to catch two Chub from the hot swim and another from just upstream. As I setup in my third spot I looked down to see two other anglers setting up in the swims I'd just vacated and they were making a right old racket shouting to each other and marching about along the top of the bank. Fortunately I was well out of the way and another Chub was soon being netted.

I sat it out for another half hour before deciding the field was getting a tad too busy. There was the two aforementioned anglers setup downstream and now there was two other chaps walking around with rod and net in hand looking for some chub like me. I headed to the next field down which is completely barren of sexy looking chub features and nothing like as popular as the area I'd just been in. Experience told me the bigger fish often frequented this area and I wasn't wrong, once again the biggest fish of the day was the last and I was soon headed into town to run some errands.

Sunday arrived and blow me if I wasn't out fishing again! Phil joined me for a trip to the river Dove and conditions weren't exactly great. Hard frost and very bright sunshine didn't fill me with confidence and it proved to be a real struggle. By midday we'd had nothing more than a couple of tentative knocks and we were deliberating as to what to do. Should we stay or should we be looking for fish elsewhere?

An hour later and we found ourselves back on home turf on the Trent. The remaining couple of hours of daylight yielded three small Chub for me and I lost a fourth, Phil blanked so it wasn't a great result considering the effort we'd put in, there always next week I guess.

In case you hadn't noticed the pics above are even worse than my normal efforts, this is because I killed yet another camera and am having to make do with a compact thing for now which is pretty poor. Ill wait till the new year now before I go and get another I reckon, just hope I don't catch the fish of a lifetime in the meantime and end up with crappy pics of it!