Tuesday, 11 August 2020

The Future's bright

Date fished 11/8/2020

5.40am until 11am

After the shambles of a trip earlier in the week I needed a day to recover. Fully fit now and ready to go, I thought I would get out whilst I had the opportunity. It won't be long until the days are short and colder and the rivers full of water, so I will be limited to fishing as conditions allow. 

Regular readers will know, I have targets and elements in my fishing I want to achieve. But, I am not so hung up on them as to exclude everything else. I still want a good sized Perch, so hopefully that will come from the Tees this autumn or winter and I really would like a 5lb Tees Chub. The fish I caught last winter on the Tees, which would have been bread and butter from the Swale really got me excited about a big Tees Chub. I have also seen plenty of 5lb and 6lb Tees Chub caught by other anglers, so I will be hoping for that this winter too. I also want to fish the other end of the Swale at Morton, where I used to fish it first, again that will wait until autumn and winter I think.

So, that brings me on to today's trip. I fancied a change, so I went to the Swale at Morton, but fished different areas and also thought I would use pellets instead of meat. Here it goes...

As is customary at the moment, a 4am alarm and I was packed up and set off. Arriving at the River, I was fishing close to the car at first, so was quickly at a swim. Robin Red Pellets in 15mm was the bait, to be link ledgered under likely looking trees and bushes the method. 

It was a little after 5.30 am and I cast in the first swim, after a few minutes the line tightened and the rod knocked. I missed the bite. Casting back, I waited. A few more minutes and the same again. This time I connected and was soon playing a lively Chub to the net. It gave a great fight in the flow, the light just changing from dawn, all played out below a magnificent stone bridge. If my filmographer had been there, it would have made a lovely opening sequence!! 

Un weighed but at about 3lb plus it was a great Chub, I let it rest in the net. A quick video and it was back into the flow. 

When It put the Chub back, some sheep came down for a morning drink.

Trying all the likely swims downstream, I continued to the Stockton Club water. As I am a member there too, I climbed the stile and carried on. I tried a few other swims with little interest. Suddenly the rod gave a few taps, I picked up the rod to strike, expecting a lump of a Chub. It was however a 5oz silver, either Chublet or Dace and it flew out the water with the 15mm pellet. Both falling harmlessly back into the water, not stopping for a picture. 

I tried many swims that looked so promising, but nothing else happened. I turned around at the corner and walked straight back to the first swim to try my luck in there again. Second time was not as lucky and I left biteless. I unloaded some bits in the car and moved above the bridge. I tried a few more swims but again no luck. Soon, I was sat watching five or six inch fish swimming in the shallows. They were in the warm shallow water and clearly had not a care in the world. Some were Chub and I was sure some were small Barbel. 

As I sat and watched the fish, it was getting warmer and warmer and soon I realised I was watching them more than my rod. I didn't realise then that a closure of the A1 would mean I would be driving around Gateshead in the sweltering heat and the homeward journey would take me over two and a half hours. On that journey though, I thought of the small fish I had watched. Their journey is going to be longer than that, and I hope the River will continue to prosper, so I can take their picture properly in many years to come. 

Can't see them, but we will see them in years to come. 

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Fake Bait

Date fished 9/8/2020

6am until 8.45am 

Back up North, I had Saturday to chill after the long drive on Friday so by Sunday I was ready to go fishing again. The forecast said hot and with thunderstorms expected later in the week, I thought I best go while I had the chance. 

With no maggots, I decided to use fake plastic maggots with some leftover ground bait and breadcrumb as feed. Maybe I should have gone for a meat or pellet approach for Chub, but I just fancied a day catching on the float, and having not really caught much on plastic bait, I thought I would give it a go. I have a selection of fake baits as back up, but not using them regularly it would be nice to catch some fish on them.

Fake bait

I also took the lure rod and small rubber lures and some spinners as I knew they were some decent Perch about. 

A 4am alarm and I was up and ready to go. I was heading to the Tees on a club water. A stretch I have fished a few times and really enjoyed, to the tune of 10lb 11oz previously!! 
Starting in my usual Swim, I thought I would fish here a while and then move between there and further up where Ellis had fished before but I would use the lure rod. As I arrived on the bank, I felt unwell. Both kids had been ill last week and I feared a tummy bug. Not sure what to do, I thought I would tackle up the lure rod and at least have a try. I heard that being sick over the side of the boat at sea just acted like extra chum and attracted sharks, so I had that as back up to the plastic back up! 
Second cast and the first fish. 

It was the biggest of the seven perch I would go on to catch. I had caught five by 6.45am, I bet you were still sleeping?!?
After the fifth, I rigged up the float rod. My tummy was still sore but I thought I would feel better stood up and trotting ( not what it sounds!!)

A few runs (ffs) down the swim and no bites. I fed the groundbait mix on a line and kept trying. Fish were in the swim but not biting. I tried with the lure rod and caught two more perch. Always an obliging species I find.

As I increased the feed, fish started to top on the line I was feeding. It was working. I had a few biteless trots down, but my tummy felt worse. It was time to pack up. Over an hours drive lay ahead and I felt rotten.

Am home and in bed, actually feel much better and wasn't sick. I think if I had carried on, I would have caught on the plastic maggots. Not sure if it would have been         "plastic fantastic" as a title, but you will have to watch out for that.
So, do fish eat fake baits?
Of course they do, even not 100% well today and I caught seven on this......


Thursday, 6 August 2020

You won't win anything with kids (4 pb's)

Date fished 5/8/2020
9am until 14.30pm

The annual family holiday in Dorset could mean only one thing, the family fishing trip! 3 adults and 3 kids carp fishing at Potwell lake in Broadwindsor. 
Me, Rupe, Martha, Uncle (Dave)Dawson, Nephew Sam and Davey completed the line up. 
Not even the persistent drizzle could dampen our spirits as we set off to the venue. At only a mile from my parents house, it didn't matter if we forgot anything!

Arriving just a few mins after 9, we unloaded the car and walked to the lake. As the rain was heavyish, we opted for a close swim, knowing we could retreat to the car if needed. As I tackled up Mr Whippy for Martha to use, Rupe set up his own rod. I helped with the hook and float and soon they were both fishing. Sweetcorn and small cubes of meat being on the menu, we just had to wait for our fish diners.  

Setting up in close swims all 6 of us were soon tackled up and fishing away. I was ledgering small cubes of meat whilst all the others float fished their bait. As is always the way, Mr Whippy was first to bring luck to its user and Martha was soon holding on whilst a large carp tried to drag her in! She played it well and soon had a 4lb 8oz carp in the net! It was the biggest fish Martha has ever caught, dwarfing the small silver's she has caught in Hexham. Her first carp and obvioulsy a pb. 

All spurred on by Martha's fish, we got back to our rods to see if the boys could catch up. 
It was my rod that wrapped around, a small skimmer trying to pretend it was a bigger fish! 

Martha telling Daddy "that' small"

A second skimmer for me and it was soon time to stop for lunch.  The Cornish pasty was still warm, it definitely hit the spot on this drizzly day.  It was Uncle Dawson's turn next, he caught a small skimmer too that Sam held up for the camera.

The afternoon remained dry and soon we were all feeding and clearly having interest. The area around us was dotted with silt clouds where fish were feeding on the bottom.  The sound of Uncle Dawson's drag soon interrupted us. A strong fish powering away from his swim. He played it skilfully and Sam soon netted another carp. At 5lb, and another pb, the boys were now in the lead! 

We continued to feed and after a few missed bites, Rupe finally connected.  This was clearly bigger again. The fish fought long and hard and again after playing it well, a great carp lay in the net. This weighed 8lb 8oz, Rupes first Carp. What a fish! Another pb. The third today. 

Rupe and Martha had given up on fishing now. They had caught "proper" fish and sat back to watch us try. I caught another small skimmer, would the carp evade me all day I thought? 
A cry from Dawson as Sam's rod shot forward into the lake as a proper fish used it for a water ski. We watched as the fish took the rod for a tour around the lake. It was a few minutes and the rod was close to the far bank, a quick jog around there and I managed to net the rod. With a broken handle and no ability to take up the line, I helped Sam and we soon netted the culprit. Sam's first carp, 6lb it went on the scales and a fourth pb! 

It was all getting a bit National Lampoon goes fishing, so when Dawson snapped the end of Davey's rod as he carried it back around the lake we all figured it was time to pack up.
We all had a great day, caught some cracking fish and had fun doing it. Not quite sure we are ready for "A passion for Angling" episode about us, but no one can deny who was top of the league today! 

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Ichthyology or Ornithology!?

Date fished 1/8/2020
5.30am until 10.30am

The plan today was to drive to Dorset with the kids to stay the week with my parents. I was not planning on setting off until 3pm, so I thought I would spend the morning at Tilcon. It's been a while since I have fished and indeed caught at Tilcon, so today would be telling. I had checked once,twice and thrice,there was not a match planned today!!

An early alarm meant I was parked and fishing by 5.30am. The lake was a touch down on its normal level. Instead of my usual swim, I opted to fish one to its left. Number 9 or "metal pole" as Tom calls it. I had only one rod and Robin Red pellets as bait, it all seemed very sedate.

I set up a simple ledger rig with a guru safety clip, I armed this with a hair rigged pellet and a stringer of pellets on water soluble pva string. I was ready .

I sat and drank my coffee as fish splashed about around me. The kingfisher must of had a lie in, he didn't fly past until quarter to seven!

At ten past eight I started to eat my cereal bar, at eleven minutes past the rod tapped. First interest of the day, it must be breakfast time, or so I thought. By thirteen past the rod was stationary again.
As I watched the birds around the lake, a juvenile robin sat next to me looking for food. If I had maggots I would have given him some, I didn't think a 12mm pellet was appropriate!!
A few knocks at about 9am as some other anglers arrived and baited their swims got me sat up. But I was soon sat down again as nothing materialised.

As I had not brought much tackle with me, I was limited as to what I could change. Therefore I kept casting, sitting back and watching the birds around the lake. I think next time I will bring binoculars to do some bird watching or at the very least a good book to read!

One for you Tom! 

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Living doll

Date fished 25/7/2020
5.45am until 12.45pm

The unhooking mat had barely dried from my last trip, but I was back on the Swale to try for Barbel. A 4am alarm got me started and with rain forecast I was eager to get fishing. It's amazing how doing something you really enjoy makes an early alarm and the prospect of soaking wet kit seem like paradise.

Arriving early doors, it was straight to the area I did well in on Wednesday. But today, I really wanted a Barbel to beat any Chub to the bait! If that's possible!?
A few casts with no interest so I moved to a different swim. A bit longer in here and still no interest. I switched between meat and large pellets. I did not have lots of meat so was hoping to switch between that and pellets throughout the session.

I was soon back in the first swim, casting to familiar spots. 4 quick bites resulted in 4 chub. The same chub that I caught on Wednesday!

I was feeling a bit of a cheat. I couldn't explain the feeling but I didn't feel good. Am not sure why as just because the fish are there does not mean you catch them. I have fished a swim where a friend has caught a huge fish and it has never graced my net. So, I am not really sure why I was feeling so bad as I caught the same fish.

I moved a little further down and put the rod on the rest. Again, the rod was away and this fish had a scar on its nose, again I recognised it from Wednesday.

I moved even further down in front of large bushes and when the rod tapped and a "new" fish lay in the net I was happy.

I was still just using meat. My alternate plan had not worked out well and soon I was down to only a few pieces.

A few bites here that I missed and no Barbel so I decided to move further away. A good walk downstream and I was at a swim where a couple were fishing on Wednesday. I cast to the far bush, missing it by milimetres. I put the rod on my bag and sat down in the Sun. There had only been a few spots of rain and I only put my coat on earlier to carry it easier. The heavy downpours had not appeared.
The rod suddenly hooped round and I was playing another fish. Hoping for the Barbel, alas it was another Chub. Seven Chub now, 5 repeats and 2 new fish. I had definitely hit my chub quota for the week!

With a single piece of meat left, I went to one last swim and thought how perfect an ending to the blog would be if I caught a Barbel.
I listened to the radio on my headphones and as Broad made light work of the West Indies, my Barbel count remained on a duck.

As I walked back to the car, I concluded it was a good day. Yes, I caught some of the same fish, but I am learning every time and hopefully I will catch that Barbel soon. In my 4 videos I have also proved to you that I am the one and only walking, talking, living doll.

You can have one still pic!! 

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Seventh Heaven

Date fished 22/7/2020
6.30am until 12.30pm

The Magnificent Seven

With plenty of flexi time credit in the bank, I decided to take a day off work and fish the Swale. I was going to target the Chub and fingers crossed a Barbel would slip up too. Using the same tactics as Ellis and I used the other week, link ledgered / rolling meat, it was also great to fish light and adopt a roving approach. Taking just a rod, net, unhooking mat and small bag, I thought I would try likely swims upstream of the area we fished last time in the hope of more fish.

Not sure how the weather impacts fish. I think pressure has a big impact and obviously if it has rained heavily before hand, regards the river level, but normally its to see if I need to take a rain coat or not!

The river looked perfect, well it was a Wednesday and I was fishing, what could be more perfect?!?
Reviewing and comparing the river levels from our last trip on 11th July, you will note the river still contains water and its likely my sandwiches will not get wet when wading this time! ( very scientific!) 
In fact the river was quite a bit lower than that trip and very clear. 

I arrived at 6.15am and quickly walked to the river. I say quickly because the field was full of cows. They are perfectly ok, but after that evening a few years ago, they do make me a touch nervous.

(Pic of cows - but I didn't want to stop long enough to take it!)

I started in the Barbel swim and after a very short wade across the stream to get there,  I could not see them. I didn't bother to fish for them and moved to the Chub swim. A quick cast here and no takers. Very odd, I thought and moved to where I caught a small Chub before. First cast and fish on. It was the same fish! Same swim, same weight and had the damaged tail ( that's how I knew). It made me smile, like meeting up with an old friend. 

2lb 14oz
I decided conditions were not right for this area, so moved up stream to try some new parts. I didn't travel far and thought I would stop for a quick coffee and cast into the big pool above the Barbel swim. As I looked for my flask, the rod was away. Sadly I missed the bite, would this be my last chance? 
Second cast and after a few minutes the rod was away. I was ready this time and the second chub was in the net. It was still not 8am! 

3lb 14oz
Adding a pound to the first chub, they were getting bigger! 
Again, I decided to move. I wanted to explore the top end of the beat and fish some swims I had not fished for years.
I set off upstream. I stopped in Ellis and my banker (winter) swim and tried my luck. Realising I was fishing on the exit ramp from the water, I made a hasty get away as a large cow started walking purposely at me! 

I found a neat looking swim, cut away from the bank and settled in. It looked good for a bite close in, so I crept quietly down. Breaking all my stealth work when suddenly the heavens opened and I noisily and clumsily put my rain coat on. Nothing here, so I moved on.

Reaching the top of the bank, I was greeted by a committee member. I have chatted with him before, so it was good to have a natter. I showed him my membership card for good measure and shared some tales. We both agreed it was a great stretch for chub but sadly I wasn't able to compete with his Barbel stories. One day! Although I did share Ellis's capture.

We wished eachother luck, and I carried on my way. I noted it was just after 9am. I settled in a swim that I waded around a fallen tree too. It looked good for a fish or five! 

What then followed, I have never experienced before. I caught five Chub, probably lost as many bites too. I say lost, but I lost fish and then carried on and caught fish, so who's to say it was not the same fish? I fished here for 2 hours, moving between two areas. At one point I thought I would run out of meat! 

4lb 3oz

3lb 12oz 

4lb 5oz

4lb 7oz
I was playing with the head gear so I could tell the fish apart in their pics! 
The fish were feeding confidently. It was a bite a chuck. Sometimes as soon as the meat hit the water, the fish were on to it.
The rain came back, and this time it was heavy and persistent. I caught my 7th fish in the middle of a downpour.  
I was still getting bites, but I wanted to see some more if the river, so I moved on.

4lb 3oz

I only fished a few more swims, but walked all of the stretch. It's amazing to see the different parts of the river, fast, slow, deep and shallow. It takes some understanding, but a club like this is great because you can always chat to other members and "compare notes".
As I walked to the top limit, the rain stopped. I was close to the car, so thought I would call it a day. 

I may have left a few fish in that prolific swim un caught but at seven fish in total, I was in heaven! 

Too heavy- but caught 27lb 10oz of Chub! 

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Red or dead

Date fished 12/7/2020
5.45am until 1pm

I was given some advice on Facebook last time I fished Bowesfield on the Tees, about a peg and location. Never looking a gift horse in the mouth, I headed off to use this imparted knowledge.

Alarm set for 4am, it was an early start. I decided to go early and and see if I could catch the fish napping.

I was parked up, on the bank and cast in just before ten to six. I was informed that I should fish peg 127 and at 20 turns out. So, that's what I was doing. I had about a pint of dead maggots and casters that I had frozen from last trip and a bait box full of groundbait.

Second cast and I had a bite. It was practically a bite every cast from then until I finished. I didn't catch a net full of fish though!
I started with two white maggots, a white and a red, a white and a caster and then a caster. It was a couple of hours until I realised I had not tried my (and your ? fave) combo. My dad does it, Ellis does it and I do it. It's always two red maggots! I don't know why we bother with the other colours! Please don't break down my statue!
Anyway, two red maggots, cast out. Bite. A lovely skimmer.

Next cast, again two reds, I hadn't even put the rod down and it was away. A small perch. I had stumbled onto the winning formula that I had been using the last 30 years!!

I caught a few more perch and some very small roach and thoroughly enjoyed being on the bank. There were fish topping in the early morning mist. I heard a splash to my left and looked at the bush as a kingfisher came out the water holding its breakfast. I wish I had seen it dive in, but it was magical seeing it emerge out the water.

The sun came out and it was starting to get warm. The jumper came off and even the wellies did too!

I missed bites as I typed to Tom, he had caught a pb bream (5lb 2oz) in Hexham and I was so pleased for him. I missed fish later as I checked the cricket score on my phone, but you know what? It didn't matter. I was still having Fun.

I hooked a bigger fish at about 11am, I assume it had been waiting for the match start time, sadly it came off and I didn't see it. I will claim it was a good sized bream, but we will never know.

It was soon time to pack up and head home. My modest net would not win any awards, but I head home happy. (Am writing this sat in the car)
I am learning  every time I fish the river and hopefully soon, I will be able to give you some knowledge in my ramblings like the knowledge given to me.