Sunday, 18 October 2020

Real time Fishing

Date fished 18/10/2020

7am until 1.36pm

With "good" weather and favourable conditions, I thought it made sense to get fishing again. The rivers may be unfishable come the winter so I should make use of the mild October. This time I headed to the Tees. I was armed with meat, worms, pellets and some spinners and hoping for some Perch and if I was really lucky a Chub.

It's 7.38 and am sat on the bank. I have 2 issues. 

1. The river is high and I can't fish with spinners in my Perch and Chub banker swim.

2. I left the worms in the car.

I tried to fish below the weir but could not even wade out to my usual spot. I had a few casts but really they were just token gestures. Am now sat in the swim I caught a 4lb Chub in November 2019. Here's hoping. 

8.03 Come on! Lets walk back and get the worms! 

8.16 With worms now on the hook, I am feeling optimistic. 

8.28 The birds are up and about now and I am watching a woodpecker just above me, looking for breakfast. I hope the fish are doing the same! 

8.48 You know the feeling when you find a swim and you wished you had brought maggots and float fishing gear??

9.10 With lots of noise and anglers on  the far bank, I think I better check there is no match today! Not here, but a few other places. Phew! 

9.14 What fish could resist this? 

9.29 I have double and triple checked, am not in the match venue! I did check last night, but scared me when all these match anglers rocked up.

9.39 First knock of a bite. Something was liking the worm. 

10.00 The match men have started to bait up. 

10.30 I watched a guy catch about six fish in six casts on the float. I had a few knocks but no real bites. I have walked further upstream and hopefully will catch something myself. 

10.39 A proper bite missed because I was watching a match angler!! 

10.49 Constant knocks as fish attack my worm. Just couldn't connect. I am still in 4lb Chub "swallow the lot" mode. I suspect these are micro perch or minnows tugging at the worm. My size 12 hook is too big, hopefully them buzzing around the bait attracts something more sizeable.

11.17 As I eat my sandwich, the constant knocks stopped. In my head it's because a 2lb Perch has swum about and scared the little ones away. 

11.34 I left this swim biteless but no longer hungry. I continued my adventure upstream. I thought I had walked this far in the past, but I think this is new territory for me! 

12.00 And I am crouched under a tree, very Mr Crabtree. Ledgered meat by a fallen tree. No Chub yet but they must be hungry. It's lunchtime!!

12.23 I think a match angler just told me I couldn't fish opposite him or anywhere on this side. I did not think that was a rule?? Also I couldn't be sure he was talking to me. I moved on and have found a swim further upstream. 

12.40 Not quite sure if I got to the end of the beat, but I thought for today that is far enough. I will turn around and head back downstream. I will fish a few more spots, but as it's a school night I may call it a day and have an early bath! 

12.54 No trolls, so it was safe to cross the bridge. I slipped on here a few years ago and bashed my arm. I always walk over it now whilst doing a crab impression! 

13.01 Last roll of the dice now. One last swim for 20 minutes and then I will call it a day. 

13.36 That's me back in the car, ready for home. I have enjoyed blogging in real time today, but it's probably a reflection on the fishing that I was able to sit and type all of this. Oh well, there is always next time! 

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Not a sausage

Date fished 17/10/2020

7am until 3.30pm

Sometimes you just have to try a new bait. Keep going with it, even if you are not catching and test it to destruction. Today I thought I would do just that.

The days are getting shorter now, so a trip can easily consist of dawn and dusk. These are the best times for catching some fish or are they? I have caught plenty of fish in the middle of the day, and as far as I know, no matches except carp (24 plus hour) are fished at the time to catch those crepuscular critters! Anyhow, I do like fishing in autumn and winter when the session can in effect be the whole hours of daylight. Today's trip daylight stats are thus:

With Ellis working elsewhere in the country, it was down to me to tackle the Swale. I had failed in my last attempt so didn't want a repeat. Did I dare tackle up with the float rod again?!

In short, No! My love affair with catching a proper Chub on the float has not gone away, but its easier to target them with a static bait (in my opinion). Don't worry though, I will catch on the float again, maybe December is the month like last year!

Arriving early, it was still very dark. I tackled up by the car, using the light from the open boot to see the eyes on the rod. It was just getting light as I made my way to the river. I went in the swim where Ellis caught a Chub the other week, was I to be lucky?

No fish fancied an early breakfast, so as it was now light, I set off down stream. The river was carrying alot of extra water, but it was dropping fast. I stopped in every likely spot, my sausage was dangled in every slack, every crease and within inches of every bush! (Don't start!!) The fish were not interested in sausage.

You can not tell me that there was not a hungry Chub hiding in here????

They were not having any of it. I was soon nearly at the bottom of the stretch and (thankfully) out of sausage. 
I got to a large bend, the flow goes from right to left as you look at the River but here was a huge eddy and the flow in front was left to right and it snaked it's way across the river. I took off the weight, threaded a large bit of meat on the hair and cast in. I let the line peel off the spool until the bait found a natural hold. I held the rod and watched the line. Suddenly the line began to tighten, I flipped over the bail arm and struck. I was in. I quickly played the fish to the net and as it slipped over the front, I looked at the time. 1201 my phone said. See, dawn and dusk, just like I said!! 

A lovely Chub at 4lb 9oz. Defo not a minnow blank saver! I carried on to the lower limit but caught nothing more so did a 180 and headed back upstream. I was going to walk all the way back, but of course I stopped at the big eddy swim. No Chub this time so I was soon marching on. I walked all the way back to the first swim and stopped here for a rest, in the guise of fishing it again! 

The river had dropped over a foot I think. There were sections of the far bank that were covered a few hours ago, clearly visible now. No Chub this time either so I moved on.

I now met a fellow member, so stopped for a socially distanced natter. It turned out that this guy used to live in Ascot where I was born, he also knew one of my old secondary school teachers! What was going to be a quick natter turned into a much longer chat! It was nice to reminisce about all things Berkshire, but soon it was time to move on. I fished one more swim near to the car, but no more fish came to the net.

It was somewhat tough conditions today even though they looked so good. The water was very cold and I can only assume a cold sausage didn't quite cut the mustard. Now there's a thought for next time!.......... 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Non hooked Pike capture!

Date fished 3/10/2020
7.30am until 3pm

Another day, another River. It was back to the Swale for today's trip. I had "persuaded" (don't  think he was as keen, knowing the conditions) and arranged to meet Ellis, obviously within current restrictions. No swims were within spitting distance, even during persistent rain!!
With a pretty miserable forcast and potential for the river to rise, a trip today was going to be spectacular in either a good or very bad way! Just you wait!

We met, eventually, both of us waiting in different car parks and made our way to the river. We had plenty of bait for today's trip with maggots, worms and meat.

The river looked a little up from the other day and still quite clear. I think we were going to be ok. We found some swims and started fishing. My swim smelt fishy, an otter having eaten Ronnie and pooped out Reggie!

Ellis was in first, catching a Trout to get off the mark. I soon followed, although I am calling my session a blank!

We walked a bit downstream and eventually came to an area with 2 swims a few metres apart. It was where I caught a Chub the other week. Ellis picked the upstream swim and I dropped in below him. First cast and Ellis was into another fish. A Grayling this time.

I noticed Ellis was tangled so here was my chance to catch a fish. I fished on and got bites but sadly didn't land any. We were both feeding and trotting through and there seemed to be a few fish about. Ellis caught a second Grayling. I turned to see him net it and a large splash erupted centimetres from the bank. That was no Grayling! A large Pike had grabbed the Grayling when it was going to the net. Ellis played the fish on 3lb line as it slowly swam about still holding the Grayling. I was soon ready to see if we could net it. Ellis played the Pike for a few minutes and sadly it let go. The Grayling was completely munched  so I told Ellis to tempt the Pike again. Ellis dropped the Grayling by the bush and the Pike simply took it in its mouth like a dog holding a bone. Ellis again skilfully lead the Pike around on his size 16 hook. I made way with the net, which was clearly too small and after a lunge in which the Pike was in the net and then out, I managed to net it. At 10lb 14oz it was a great non hooked Pike!! 

After a quick weigh it swam away, none the worse for wear, back to the bush. We were amazed at how laid back the fish was, Ellis just lead it into the net. Who needs trebles!?

We continued down stream and after no more fish decided to walk back to where we started. The rain had not been as bad as forcast but after some long dry patches it was now drizzly and was not stopping. 

We had both been float fishing maggots, but spurred on by his Pike, Ellis changed kit to try ledgering meat for the Chub. He dropped in a nice looking Chub swim whilst I moved on to trot maggots some more. I had just had a few casts when I heard the tell tale call of Ellis. Of course, he was in!! An unweighed but easily 4lb plus Chub his latest catch!! 

We fished on. Me still flogging the dead horse with the maggots on the float. I am going to keep trying as I really want another proper Chub on the float. I don't find it easy though. I don't know why you need to feed 3 pints of maggots to get them feeding while 1 large bit of meat does it easily!?!?

Eventually I gave in, and rigged up for meat. With just a hook and no hair, I would give it a go. We found some cover on our bank and I cast in expectantly. After a few minutes, my rod slowly bent round and I struck into thin air. Sums up my day! 

I tried one last throw of the dice, casting to a fallen tree where I have caught before, but no Chub today. The drizzle had been with us a few hours now and we were wet to the core. Both of us having pruned hands so it must have been bad! 
We had remarked only a few weeks ago how neither of us had recently, (Ellis had as a boy) had our catch grabbed by a Pike. And as is usually the way, it happens the very next trip. 

It's great to be making memories on the bank, and is always something great to blog about. Am not sure I approve of this not even hooking the fish!?! Ellis is so skilful he won't even use hooks next time! 

It was a good day to be on the bank, the drizzle not dampening our spirits, just our "everything else". 

Friday, 2 October 2020

Two Roach, No Perch. Keep moving

Date fished 2/10/2020
9am until 3pm

After a restful Thursday it was back to the fishing. My legs were sore from Wednesday as it was spent hunched down on wet slippery banks, today I took the chair and thought I would find a nice little spot to trot maggots for whatever came along.

It might not seem like a big deal, but the last time I took my chair to fish on the river was............... I have no idea! As I usually rove about, it's just extra weight I could do without carrying. But not today, I was going to a club water, it's a short walk from the car and I wanted the comfort.

After the last Tees trip, I asked some people about shotting Chubber floats. The large SSG weights always tangling around the light hooklink. I was told to get some olivettes,  I found one in my tackle box but would buy some more from the tackle shop. Armed with this one now I was ready to go.

I had to drop the kids off ( actually, not a euphemism) in the morning, pop to the tackle shop for maggots and then I was heading to the river. Later than my usual start, but I was still hopeful for some early fish. I had the float rod, closed faced reel loaded with 4lb line, 2 pints of maggots, a few worms and a little bit of terminal tackle.

Bought from the tackle shop

I settled into a swim and put a few maggots in as usual whilst I was tackling up.

I was hoping to fish a line a little way out from under the rod tip. The river was flat calm, like a pond. I set up a 2.5g bolo float and with the olivette I already had plus one shot to hold it and the swivel between reel line and hooklink, the float was sitting perfect.

First trot through and a little chublet took the bait.

I put it in the keep net and carried on fishing. Feeding on the same line, I was soon catching regularly. All chublets of various sizes. The olivette was doing it's job, after a million casts I had only one tangle! And I think that was down to user error.
As I fished on, the wind picked up. Soon the float was going upstream in the Wind, then the line was being blown back on the spool and finally the loose feed maggots were being blown back to my fall at my feet!!
The wind was relentless, I came in under the rod and continued to catch. Eventually getting a slightly bigger chublet that got me reaching for the landing net.

I have mentioned it before and I am fairly confident that I was catching all chublets, and not dace. It's amazing how many small chub are in the Tees, they kept me busy. Soon, I caught something different though, a Roach interrupting the Chub party.

As I continued to battle with the wind, another club member set up in the swim next door. He was after larger Chub and was going to be sitting it out until dusk. I on the other hand, settled on calling it a day at 3pm. The bites had dried up and there was no sign of a perch anywhere!

I carefully took the fish from the keep net and had a look. I had caught 29 fish, if I had been counting as I went along, I would have tried for 30! I landed every fish that I hooked, which was good. No bumped fish, although the missed bites counter would be large. I really did have alot of fish going for the bait until the wind came and blew everything everywhere!

I said farewell to the other angler and trudged up the hill to the car. I was thinking about my catch and the thought of " Two Roach, No Perch, keep moving" got into my head.
You know the song? The kids song of "one finger, one thumb, keep moving"??
The tune got stuck in my head and all the way up the A1 I have been humming it. They say to get rid of a song from your head you have to pass it on. Sorry peeps!!

One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head 
Stand up, turn round, sit down keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head 
Stand up, turn round, sit down keep moving
One finger, one thumb, one arm, one leg, one nod of the head 
Stand up, turn round, sit down keep moving
We'll be happy and bright!! 
Thanks you lot x 

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

What's in a snag?

Date fished 30/9/2020
7am until 1.30pm

"Its bloody cold up North!" That's what I was telling myself as I planned for today's trip. I know what I will do, I thought, I will check the weather.
I am off work Wed, Thurs and Fri so my plan is to fish Wed, have a home day Thurs, fish Friday and  fish one of the days at weekend. So the forecast says........


Rain Wed, Fri, Sat and Sunday
Perfect Thurs! - Typical.

I was however committed so I went to the Swale to brave the elements. I really wanted a Swale Barbel (as impossible as that sounds) before it got even colder, so I had to go back to where Ellis caught the Chap as that is my only confirmed spot, so it seemed like the logical place to start!
I set off early and was walking to the swim by 7am. I really just wanted to have a look, see if I could spot anything. Then I would be off towards another spot to sit it out for a bit, before trying a roving approach later in the day to avoid the blank. Do I sound optimistic??

I thought I would have a quick cast in a swim before I waded to the Barbel. Nothing happened in this swim, except I got snagged. First cast into open water and I was snagged. First snag. I pulled free and the hooklink broke. Not the best start.
I waded carefully over to the Island. The water was lower than before, my lunch remained dry! The river had taken a slightly different path and was lower but covering an area where Ellis and I previously stood. I looked around but saw no Barbel. I didn't fancy fishing here so moved on. It was going to be a Barbel free day me thinks!!

I ended up in an area I hadn't fished before, but I had info about it. I cast out and waited. Nothing in here either. The swim was quite snaggy and I had been warned about it. I wasn't going to fish in the snaggy bit, but I wanted to see the flow. I took off the weight and free lined my luncheon meat. I cast right in front of the bushes. A large Chub came out of the snag and swam straight at the slowly sinking bait. It got level with it, turned and retreated. No idea what it didn't like, vegetarian maybe? Spooked by the line? Anyway, it went straight back under the tree. I now knew what was in the snag. Fish! I just knew I wasn't able to catch them.

I baited a different area and cast into a deep hole. Nothing happened here either and as the wind was blowing a gale and the rain was sideways, I figured a walk would warm me up.
I set off down stream to look for other swims. I wanted snags and bushes on my side as casting to the far bank was proving difficult. I got to a likely spot and cast in. A small knock , which I missed but I knew fish were here. Next cast and it all came good. My first fish of the day. A 3lb 8oz Chub.

By now, the cows were eating breakfast, I decided I would head back to the previous swims to see if anything had moved onto the bait. On route, I waded across a sand bank to cast into a deep corner. Standing in the water, I looked down and noticed fishing line. It stood out so obviously against the gravel. No wonder the Chub turned it's nose up at the bait! I picked it all up and put in my pocket to chuck away at home. Another snag dealt with.

It is there, I promise.

Clue. Look for the bit of branch
Soon I had tried a few more swims with no more luck. The wind was even stronger now and I was really looking for swims out the wind. I walked further upstream and saw a fallen willow on my bank. This snag must hold fish.

I cast in front of the tree and let the flow take the bait to a natural stop. It was in the water a few minutes and my rod pulled round. I was into the fish, but it snagged me. I gave it some side but the hooklink snapped. I tried again, the same happened but this time the hook hold gave way.  The fish were so close to the snag, they were taking the bait whilst in the shelter of the roots. I got caught several more times on the sunken branches, even when I cast away from the area, my line naturally drifted to the snag. Eventually I felt the fish would always win this battle and I moved on.

I was now back in the first swim and the rain was getting heavier. I would try in here and then head home. I sat for 20 mins and the rod didn't even twitch. I was twitchy though, I felt beaten. It was no good, I would have to go back to the snag for one more chance.
I double backed and was soon crouched by the willow. I cast well away from the tree and waited. A few minutes passed and the rod twitched, immediately I put the rod under the water and steered the fish into open water. It was out, in a matter of seconds the fish was in the net. My second Chub at 4lb 6oz.

I checked around the mouth for any other tackle, there was none. I put the fish back and it slowly swam straight back down towards the snag. As the rain persisted, I thought I would head back to my snag too.

As I started the blog commenting on the weather, I think it's fair I end on that note too. The cap has gone and it's beanie weather now, the gloves and thermal were used for the first time too.

All together now....
"There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing".