Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mud and kebabs

This weeks session was supposed to be a barbel chasing trip to the Trent and it very nearly was at one point until fate played its fickle hand. I had an area in mind and although I knew with the floods only recently receding that the track to the river might be dodgy I pressed on regardless.

To start with, the track wasn't too bad, nice and firm but it didn't take long to get into trouble once I neared the river. Like a prat I pulled over at the side of the track with the idea being that I get out and check the lie of the land. Unfortunately the verge was extremely soft and I cursed my foolishness as I felt the car sink into it. I was stuck in the middle of nowhere on my own with a car buried up to its axles, nightmare.

To cut a long story short, I hunted high and low for suitable items to stick under the wheels and it took me around an hour and half a tank of petrol to get myself out, the car was in a right old state. Not surprisingly I didn't much feel like barbelling after that and the bright conditions were the nail in the coffin so I headed home.

As I drove I began to think what else could I fish for? It seemed a shame to waste the day and I had a mind to perhaps get the tip rod and bread out for some chub. I passed my local river on my way back and stopped for a quick look. It was coloured but there was around 6inches of visibility and it was pulling through at its normal pace, it looked pretty good. Something inside me said Pike!

An hour later, after a rapid tackle and bait swap, I was back on the bank and cast in. It didn't take long to get an indication either because I landed a small jack before I'd even cast my second rod in!

That fish seemed to set a precident because within a few minutes I found myself striking into another fish although that one came adrift due to the hook pulling. I always strike early when pike fishing as I'd rather lose the fish than deep hook it and besides, often a lost fish will hang around for another go sooner or later.
I lost another fish around 20mins later so I decided to change my rig and bait a little. I'd been using whole smelt and sardine and figured that maybe the size of the bait was interfering with the hooking capeability of my rig. I opted for a hair-rigged kebab style bait on one rod to see if it made a difference in my hookup rate.
The pike seemed to be really having it today and soon enough the sardine rod was away. This felt a much heavier fish than those before it and the huge swirl mid river confirmed it, certainly a nice double without a doubt. The joy was short lived though because suddenly I found myself reeling a very tattered deadbait, damn it ( or words to that effect!).
As I rebaited that rod, my other delkim warbled into life and once again I was connected to a fish. Again this felt somewhat heavier than a jack and this time I actually landed the fish. It was a short but fat fish well worthy of a weigh and I was pleased to record 13lb12oz.

Over the next hour I landed two more smaller fish, both on the kebab rig, and lost two before the action dried up. I'd only been there 4 hours and managed nine runs, a good mornings Piking by any standard, just a shame I pulled out of so many. There was a marked difference between the two different rigs I used. Five runs for one fish on the standard two hook deadbait rig and four runs for three fish on the hair-rigged fish chunks. One session isn't conclusive but ill certainly be looking into this in more depth in the future.

Not much season left now but I've booked a few days off in the last week to hopefully get amongst some decent Chub. Perch are always a temptation but I've had them to over 4lb already this winter and I'd never initially planned on fishing for them this year to be honest. If the rivers come up again it'll be a big end of season barbel in my sights but if not I'd like a big chub for sure.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Odds and sods

Without dwelling on the weather subject too much all I can say is its wrecked my fishing good and proper this year. In my locality the rivers haven't really been fishable for a month or more, the brooks and streams are up and down like a whores drawers and the canals are also very coloured up. Most of the lakes I fish are now also part of the Trent and all in all I've been left with pretty limited options. I certainly can't fish for what I want to be fishing for in the places I want to catch them from.

The other week, after a weekend off due to a monster chest infection, I had a mind to try for some canal chub and although the place was chocolate colored it still looked pretty good for bite. The weather was sunny with a brisk breeze but sheltered areas were easy enough to find. I was hoping the coloured water might offset the effect of the bright conditions but by the end of the day I'd only had three missed bites and was left feeling very despondent indeed.


The following week I decided to hit one of our club waters in the hope of a carp or two. The fact the place was well flooded with the Trent flowing in at one end should've acted as a warning sign but I was determined to wet a line. In hindsight a session elsewhere would've perhaps been more productive but I was in a stubborn mood and a fish caught in tough conditions is worth so much more to me than an easy fish from a well stocked water.


Because I had to set my rods up in the water I was forced to wear my chesties all day and the combination of unlined waders and bitterly cold strong wind made for some shockingly cold legs and feet! Of course I finished on a very cold and miserable blank but I resolved that my next trip would be somewhere I could guarantee some action, a commercial it was, the conditions had broken me.

That brings me up to my most recent session, a perch trip to a local commercial and believe it or not I actually caught some fish! Small they may have been but it was an absolute joy to get my string pulled again after the dour time I've had of late. I was surprised to find the lake iced up upon my arrival which limited where I could fish but the sun was out and gathering strength all the time so I knew it wouldn't take long to melt.


After breaking a channel in the ice I commenced fishing with quivertipped prawns and it didn't take long to get some interest either. After a couple of missed bites I caught a small perch of around a pound to kick things off and although it wasn't prolific fishing it was great to see the tip going around again.


During the course of the morning I had a couple more perch, some nice roach and even a small carp of around 3lb but the bigger perch were conspicuous by their absence. By early afternoon things had slowed right down but the weather was absolutely glorious, the sun was actually burning my face and the gentle breeze even felt mild. I still caught the odd roach and even a chunky little Rudd throughout the afternoon but It was the perch I was there for and they weren't playing ball!


By now it was four o'clock and I was getting twitchy, I should have had at least a couple of 2lbers by now but nothing even approaching that had graced my net so far. 4.30 ticked by, packup time was fast approaching then suddenly the tip pulled round properly and it was perch on! My session was saved as a 2lb6oz fish slid into the net, job done!


I lost two on my next two casts, my swim had come alive! Another small carp interrupted play and had me thinking I'd hooked a beast of a perch but it gave me a good scrap and beggars can't be choosers!


The light was fading as I hooked and landed my last fish of the day, a perch of around a pound and a half and I packed up with a smile on my face so pleased at having caught a few.

I don't know what my next trip out has in store for me because I don't even know when or where I'll be going, obviously I'd like to get back on the rivers but unless something drastic happens like two weeks of dry weather then I'm doubtful they'll even be right enough to fish again this season, we shall see.