Saturday, 9 March 2019

The Flood King

Date fished 9/3/2019
8.30 till 17.00

Today's trip to the Swale at Northallerton started long before I left the house at 6am. It was started in the week, on the prep. Speaking to local club members, looking at the weather reports and looking at the river levels all said "it's gonna be tough, if you bother"
Ellis and I went back and forth about if we should go or not. Finally deciding that because the season was closing next week, we should go anyway. So we did!

Leaving Hexham at 7 degrees, the roads dry, I was happy. Slowly the weather changed, I drove through light rain, torrential rain and then snow. The A1 being covered in slush as I approached the junction. I knew Ellis would be keen with his heated seats on full blast!! The king travels first class.

A quick stop to get fuel for Ellis and I of the sausage variety, and I was soon sat on the warm seat in Ellis's car. Eating our way through the muffiny goodness, we looked at the worsening weather. Ellis announcing " when the snow came, I nearly pulled over and called you to say I was going home!!"
That's the keen spirit mate!

Eventually the rain lightened and we set up. It was actually not too cold and if the rain stopped, it would be nice. A quick walk and we saw the river. Well, we saw it long before you normally would as there was much more of it!

Deciding to ledger in the slacks, we both started with large ish weights and cheese paste. Stood watching the rod tips, we heard a splash, looking up to see a large chunk of the bank on the opposite bank and over 100 metres away, break off and slip into the river. I gulped. Ellis proclaimed " the fish will all be over there eating the worms from that chunk!" Haha, but the king did have a point.

Nothing occurring in the first swim, we headed off. The sun had now come out and I was annoyed my sunglasses and cap was still in the car!

The next swim also produced nothing, so I moved to fish against a bush. Ellis saw this manoeuvre and countered it by taking his lead off and free lining his cheese paste by a large floating raft and tree line.
This proved a smart move for the king, as his line tightened and he struck into a fish.
A nice looking chub of about 3lb his prize.

I was quick to jump next to the King and fish against the tree line. A small pluck on the line was all I could muster. We moved on.

The next swim proved snaggy and a few hooklinks lost had us wondering if free lining was the right way in all the swims? Some of them seemed better with a lead on.

We carried on our way. The next swim, I did not like the look of. I suggested I did not "feel it" in here.
I fished with a lead this time. As hunger crept up on me, I reeled in so I could eat and Ellis could fish in the swim.
He was free lining cheese paste. Ellis started to explain that the cheese paste would roll around the crease in the current and sit against the overhanging bush in a natural way moved by the current.......... wow! Went the shout as his rod was nearly ripped out his hand. Another quick fight and I netted the kings second chub. This fish looked much bigger, we weighed it. An honest King gave himself just under 5lb, but it was close enough for me to be a five. A cracking fish no less!
I was free lining in the spot before the king even turned around!

After no more bites, and with a laugh at the perfectly demonstrated chub capture, we carried on. We walked and fished slacks all the way to the top end of the stretch. More just to see the swims, than trying to catch.
Nearly at the top, we about turned and walked downstream. Fishing in a new swim, we both sat and waited. Soon enough and with a royal shout, Ellis's rod hooped over and he was in. As he played it to the net, disaster. The fish got off. I think that makes the King only a Prince now!?

It got us thinking, as I have lost a lot of fish recently when ledgering or using a swim feeder. I am sure the weight between rod tip and hook has an impact and fish can use the bouncing weight to shed the hook. Answers on a postcard please.....

As the Prince and I fished our way back to the car, we were in our final swim. My rod bouncing with the flow. Suddenly it gave a fish type bounce, I was sure of it. Reeling in, no bait on. So was it a fish? Maybe, just maybe but we will have to wait till June 16th to see who lives in that swim.

Reviewing the season, a pb Chub for me in the summer and 6 Morton Chub for the Prince since 2019 makes us both feel like kings!

Friday, 22 February 2019

London Blanker

Date fished  22/2/2019
0630 to 1500

Today's venue was 3.1 miles away but the sat nav said 20 plus minutes! This must have meant I was in the South, South East, London, West London, Teddington to be exact.
I was staying with Pc and Nikki for the weekend to watch the rugby with the boys, so I brought a couple of rods and planned a trip on old father Thames for the day.

Alot of planning found me a free fishing stretch day or night containing just about all species, but notorious for Barbel. A Thames Barbel would do nicely!
The venue was Albany Reach in Thames Ditton.

As we went to bed the alarm was set. The phone plugged in and the sheep counting started. As the alarm went off, I jumped up like a coiled spring. Picking up my phone, I noted the 50% battery, it seems in the South you also have to turn plug switches on to work!! Doh.

Making my flask of coffee, I noted the screw cap was not from this flask. It did not do up. I had a flask of hot coffee, but no cap!! Double doh!

I hoped this was the last of the calamities as I set off for the river. Arriving in double quick time, I was parked (free, in London this is rare!) and headed for the bank. A short walk and I was there. It looked great. A mist rising off the river. I didn't know where the features were along the bank so I opted for a swim that looked comfortable.

I was soon fishing. Pellets, bread crumb in the feeder. Waiting for a Barbel. There was little to report for a few hours other than I had drunk all my coffee as I had no lid and the fog did not burn away!!

There were a few other anglers on the banks, some leaving having been fishing all night, some like me arriving. It was one of the leavers that came to say hello. It was nice to get some local info and after I said I lived in Northumberland, this fellow angler was happy to help me out. He told me, him and his brother had 110lb of bream over night to 6lb plus and several Barbel to over 10lb. I was in the right place, but the wrong swim!!
He helped me with my gear, and took me to the swim they were vacating. He looked at my baits and tackle (non eupho)  and was happy to give advice. A quick change of hook and a new pellet, of the robin red variety and I was ready, again!

As we chatted all things fishing and his brother carried their gear back go the car, my rod twitched. It was the first bite of the day and I was happy. A few more knocks and then it bounced. I hit the bite and was in. Playing the fish towards the bank, my smile was only surpassed by my new teacher! Sadly the fish came off half way to the bank. "Bream" was the response from teacher, expletives from me!
I quickly re cast and was trying again. We chatted about feeders and after giving 1 of the 60 away, it was the least I could do to my teacher,  it was time for them to leave. They left happy that I was nearly catching.

A few hours passed and there were a few more knocks but no fish. There were birds though, heron, kingfisher, cormorant and of course parakeets!! Bright green and yellow, residents of West london flew over head.

It was soon afternoon and nearly time to pack up. Another knock and I was in again. I played the fish to the bank. It was a nice sized bream, a proper river Bream. I had the net ready, and slipped it under the fish. I put the rod down and the weight of the feeder slipped over and out the net. I scooped up the net and it was empty! I picked up the rod and there was no resistance. The bream had slipped away. I was gutted!

I put the bait back on the spot, but sadly nothing happened.

It was time to pack up. There was one last thing to do. Like passing the baton, it was my turn to offer the swim to a couple of new anglers planning on doing an over nighter. They were happy for the swim and the info and I left with a teacher smile on my face too.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Super Shoal

Date fished 16/2/2019
0830 till 1830

We caught fish! Literally! Some I juggled but caught again. The target was Chub and Grayling and we caught both! We lost lots of fish, we laughed, lost tackle, we smiled but we caught fish!

This trip was "sponsored" by ridge monkey as I recently acquired some of their buckets, in both sizes and one with a seat. We were gonna see if they helped us catch fish, as that's what we were out to do.

We decided to fish the Swale at Northallerton, and the spot? Well, obviously our usual spot!!

Meeting at 0730, a quick double sausage and egg with a hash brown was devoured to give us sustenance. After a quick chat with a local dog walker, we headed to our swim. The river was up 6 inches and clearish. It looked great.

Settling into our swims, I cast in my ledgered cheese paste, straight into the bush on the far bank. Snagged, line break, lost the lot! Ellis provided some encouragement with, " it can only get better!"

I re tackled and cast into the water this time, and sat back on my comfy bucket with seat and back rest and waited. Two, maybe three minutes passed and my rod twitched, then hooped over. I struck and was in! The fish was un chub like, darting about quickly in a head shaking way. Suddenly, it was off. We would never know what it was....
More encouragement from Ellis came in the form of " let's just hope at 1830 tonight, we are not sat here talking about the only bite after 3 mins!"

Ellis now cast, straight into the Bush! We were good at this, honest! Maybe he is better at giving encouragement!?

After no more action, we switched to float fishing with maggots. We were targeting Grayling, but I think both secretly hoping for chub! Ellis started the day off with a Grayling, quickly as ghillie, I landed it. This was the routine all day, we were a team and it's easier having someone net your fish, especially when it is a little dark!

I soon had a Grayling too! This was my first ever Swale Grayling, so after a quick pic and juggle it was back in the cold water.

We were feeding maggots easily with the wind assisting us to get to the far bank. If anything it was too strong and every catapulted maggot ended up miles too far! The wind did help with the trotting though, blowing upstream it enabled us to control the float down the swim.

Ellis had full control until his float buried and this was no Grayling! On 2lb line and a size 18 hook, he took his time to play the fish and after a short battle, I slipped the net under his first float caught chub. It was a cracking fish, about 4lb, and we hoped would kick start a match like ambience!! It certainly did after a few hours, but I was not going to be winning the match!

We switched between the float and ledger. We missed quite a few bites. Me missing 2 in about 2 mins whilst ledgering was probably the highlight. Finally my float buried and as I struck, a trout lept out the water.

Ellis was trying his new and improved cheese paste with garlic,  not sure if it was this or the few pieces attached to the hook with pva tape but he was suddenly attached to a chub that was owning him! It nearly owned his rod too, but that's a story that remains on the bank! On the heavier ledger tackle, this chub had eaten plenty of cheese but also spinach! A great fight and soon (ish) I was landing another chub for Ellis, this one going 4lb 8oz!

Ellis encouragement exclaiming " I never catch 3 chub!"

A little time passed now. Float, ledger, missed bites. We were still trying and enjoying it. We sat behind the ledger rods, cheese paste in the spot. Ellis having left his phone in the car, needed to know what else was being caught on the Swale, so it was up to me to have a quick look on the book of faces.
Yes, you guessed right, at that moment my rod hooped over and bounced away, I was in. This fight seemed familiar, but it was on cheese paste! Jumpy, jagged, a big brown trout the culprit. This time we did know it!

As the day turned to evening, we had decided to both target chub on the ledger. Again missing bites, the fish were on the feed. Ellis moving to casting further down stream, he caught 2 quick chub. His never catching 3 chub had turned into 4! He must have found the super shoal!

He let me nip into his swim and have a cast too! After a few mins, my rod twitched but I missed the bite. Soon as darkness fell, the river awoke. Fish were moving about and we were in the right place. Finally I hooked and landed my chub. I say chub, but it was more chu. The fish must have had a run in with a predator as it's tail was deformed and it was about 6 inches shorter than it should be. It's fins were down the end of its tail like a pike.

As darkness took over, I missed more bites. We really had the fish feeding. It was however time to go. As good as the buckets were, they still needed to be carried back to the cars.

Commenting as we left, we had over 20lb of fish between us, including the trout. We will have to read the match rules though, cos am not quite sure you can fish as a team, but today we were the perfect team!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Blog memories

No fishing

With the rivers carrying a lot of extra water, and the weather being " not so good" add you own word here if over 18! I have not been fishing of late.

It's been a time of planning. A trip to the Thames, when I stay with my friends (Pc, Yume, Dwix and Mum. That's actually their names!!) for the rugby.  The Chumbley annual trip, this year is on the Trent in September and sorting through the tackle. It all came out the cupboard, was sorted a bit and piled back in.

This morning, I was sat chilling and my phone reminded me of this day in 2018. It just gave me two pics, so I was intrigued.

I scanned through my blogs and saw the title
"blanks continue"
Oh I thought. I read it anyway. Link
It seems I did have a fish, in a similar spot to my last trip and I didn't see it exactly so was not sure if it was a pike or a chub.
It got me thinking of the times you hook a fish but don't see it, you are always left wondering. Ellis and I commented that if the pike I caught on cheese paste had bitten through my line, we would have assumed a chub and the line broke on a snag, how wrong we would have been. I wonder how many times we have hooked a pb but never having seen it, we never knew?
On the flip side, how many times have we seen a minnow but when if came off, did we think it was a specimen chub?

I am rambling, I must be due a trip soon, but it was nice to read an old blog and escape back to the river again, if only in my head.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Back to blanking with a bang!

Date fished 19/1/19
9am till 5pm

Ellis and I wanted to fish just into dark as we noted that is when many of the Tees Chub are being caught. I was targeting perch, no chub, no perch, no, definitely chub,  I mean perch. I didn't know and maybe that was my issue.
Ellis was targeting Chub, minnow, dace, perch, bullhead, gudgeon and blue whale!

As with all our trips, we plan beforehand. We had planned a streamlined tackle approach including bait and about 8 layers of clothing each! I even had my thermal onesie on.
All the kit was packed, Ellis sporting a new bag with attaching unhooking mat that was very clean at 9am but not by 5pm.

We had planned on a new stretch on the Tees, at Fardeanside. It's very easy to get complacent and go back to the same venue. This has benefits of learning the venue, but it is also nice to find new areas, and this was one of those days.
The stretch looked fantastic and as usual we noted swims for other species on other days. We will be back.

In terms of fishing, I sat behind ledgered steak, worm or cheese paste either mid river or under bushes and I don't think I was ever within 6 ft of any fish! We fished into dark, and with my torch beanie (Christmas present from my sister) providing excellent light, it brought a different if not eerie experience to the trip.

Ellis alternated between ledger and float trotting in various swims. He had repeated knocks on cheese paste and steak but no fish, even when he changed to smaller baits.

We tried an approach that we had not done too much of before. We fed a few swims, left them for 30 mins or so then dropped into them to tempt a now confident feeding chub. Unfortunately this did not happen and we ended up leaving with a blank a piece.

The highlight for me came when Ellis rescued a pike float from the bushes, sadly it wasn't the one I lost on the Swale ( I know it wouldn't be!!) But he handed it to me in a float giving ceremony and I was happy.

The banks were very steep and wet and there were moments in the dark that I thought I would be slipping over with a bang. But that did not happen, so where did the bang from the title come from?
It came from the guns in the field on the opposite bank, it was either a large shoot or a war going on. We were serenaded with a constant boom, shouts and pheasants flying over head. It was almost hypnotising until the wayward shot started raining down on me and the river. Assume it's lead too?

The day was enjoyable, even with the bad navigating by me across the fields in the dark, that nearly got us lost! Shown by the loop below, oops!
As I said, the stretch will be fished again. It just wasn't happening today, my luck resembling that of the poor pheasant that got shot and then fell into the river. At least I had a better day than her!

Monday, 7 January 2019

2019 Targets

Setting a target is useful to focus the trips and strive towards a goal.

This year my targets are as follows:

Swale Barbel.
Float caught chub.
4lb 8oz plus Tees Chub.
1lb 8oz Perch.
Have a maggot session with a keepnet.
To catch on my baitcaster reel.

There may be others along the way, but let's see how I get on.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Broken Scar Match

Date fished 6/1/19
8.30 till early finish! (2.30)

Today Ellis, Rob and I went to Broken scar to fish for Grayling. We must have caught 70  between the three of us, a few trout and many minnows! It really was a great days fishing.

The end.

That's the fishing in a nut shell, but what was great to see was the number of other anglers!

Not only were some of them from Ellis's FB group, that we all met on called Big Elbow, after his boat, but there were new people and blog readers  too!!
It was such a great sight to look down the river and see 6 or 8 anglers all fishing, it looked like a match of old. From what I can make out, everyone was catching fish, so something was working.

We started in our usual spots, and I had 6 Grayling before 9am, they really were on the feed. We gradually worked our way down stream to the deeper sections. Here all 3 of us continued to catch,  until the moon changed, well a dog called lunar who liked my swim for er.... swimming!!  I did not catch anything after this, so went to warm my feet.
This swim soon turned into a stone throwing area, and a polite comment from Ellis had the culprits on their way!

We were able to wade further than before as the river was a long way down from our previous trip. We waded across to an island of very white water, where Ellis promptly poached all the Grayling from my swim!

Moving further along, as is always the custom now, we were looking for new swims, new targets. This trip we definitely found some chub swims for other days.

As we walked back and chatted with the other anglers, it was apparent fish were being caught. Ellis and I going to a spot up close to the boulders and catching 6 fish and loosing many more each in a quick fire 20 mins.

It was soon time to leave, a double weekend of fishing leaving smiles on our now very wind swept faces!

I have fished many river sections and not seen anyone all day. Today there may have been a dozen of us fishing, was hard to tell as we leap frogged up and down the swims. Thanks Broken Scar, your un organised, improtu match certainly made for a great day!