Saturday, 4 March 2023

Last chance saloon

Date fished 4/3/2023

8am until 3pm

The river season is slowly drifting away, and with little fishing time available this year I think today was going to be my last of this river season. I needed to visit the tackle shop to renew club membership, so one stone, two birds.....

I had enjoyed the last trip on the Tees, so decided more of the same for today. Maggot feeders added to last sessions kit for good measure!

Today I fished in peg 127. I had the car park and much of the river to myself. It was cold but wrapped up in the thermals and I was feeling confident. I set up and got fishing. 

I started with maggots on the hook and groundbait in the feeder. The rod was motionless and I thought about the phrase " a bite a chuck". I wondered how I could change my current biteless chucks into the well known phrase. Bites =chucks. The only way I could square this equation was to have have fewer chucks!! Then Bites (zero) would equal chucks!! Hahah. I fished on. 

After trying worm and every maggot colour and breathing status (I had alive and dead) on the hook, I eventually changed the feeder to a maggot feeder. It felt very old school fishing like this, but it did the trick. Two chucks equalled two bites and one roach. I still fished on and when Bites dried up, I had another theory. I put dry groundbait in the feeder with the maggots. This did another good trick and bites came thick and fast. It really was a bite a chuck for an hour. 

The wind got colder and the rain came with it. The hood went up and the trick stopped working.  Again, I didn't rest on my laurels, I made some changes and the groundbait feeder seemed to work again. It seemed today's trick was to just keep changing. Groundbait today had added brown crumb, another new trick!

A good few fish came to the net and then this. I am not sure if it is a bleak or a dace. If its a bleak, it is my first so that equals a pb!! Am really not sure. Maybe with all the tricks going on, I invented a new species!? 

With still only swans and ducks for company, it was soon cold enough to head home. The drip on the end of my nose was falling off and I wanted to be home before it froze. I will leave you with that thought.... 

See you in the "closed season", and rivers, I will see you mid June. 

Sunday, 19 February 2023


Date fished 19/2/2023
8.30 am until 2.30 pm

Today I fished peg 125 at Bowesfield on the Tees. Parking up, the carpark was full of cars. There was a match on, but plenty of spare pegs, so I found one and fished. Let's  see if I can write this blog with the numbers:

Rod, a ledger, with my usual set up and a feeder.
Fish caught, a small skimmer. 
Keepnet, glad I didn't bother to use it! 
Happy angler to be back on the bank.

Pound perch caught in the swim to my left. I saw the angler catch it as I was walking past, this was what made me fish in the swim nextdoor. 
Feeders lost in snags. 
Items of bait, dead maggots and groundbait. 
Wayward casts but all the others, clipped up and on the spot. 
Specialist items of clothing (snood not counted) needed although the coat was off most of the session. 

Red maggots on the hook. So often they were sucked dry and the rod didn't even move! I didn't drop down to using one as it would of buggered up the blog! 

Pound bream caught in the swim to my right. 
Degrees on the car thermometer  between arriving and leaving (4-9) although out of the sun it felt quite chilly. 
Hours fished (was 6 but poetic licence!). 
Million bites but I just could not connect. There were periods of no bites but long periods of constant taps. 
New friends made, there were anglers all around, so I chatted to a few on and off. 
Canoes going up and down, up and down. But they didn't spoil the view.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Junior anglers

Date fished 28/01/2023

8am until 1pm

Rupert, Martha and I went fishing, together! What's not to like?  

Rupe wants to catch a few species on the "mission targets" of a magazine. I told him, I could certainly help. Chub was his first pick, I told him we could try but I could get him a grayling. Grayling are not on the list, but he was happy. We took Martha as she is "bait" and headed to the Swale. 

Fortunately they are currently free in this club, it does depend on age. I think more clubs should be free for youngsters ( up to 16 with members), lets just say "they are the future!"

I took them to the swim I fished earlier in the week, I was sure we could catch some grayling from there, if the trout stayed out the way. 

We shared a float rod and a ledger rod. Float for the grayling and ledger for chub, but not in this swim. Rupe was up first. He cast as I fired in maggots. He has not trotted before and was soon into the rhythm and getting bites. It wasn't long before he connected and his first grayling is pictured above! 

Martha was soon wanting a go, they swapped over and she had the helm. The float buried and she was in. This was no grayling though and the fish was off, definitely a trout. The next swap and Rupe hooked and landed a trout. Martha told me " you just unhook it in water and not take pictures" she must read this blog or be the trout police!!?? 

Her next go was met with resistance, a bigger fish but I didn't think trout. Her grayling making Rupe's look like a baby! (Her words!) 

Not to be outdone, Rupe kept fishing. I was now just watching as he did everything on his own. His next fish being a much better grayling. Martha's photography skills need more work! 

Thanks Martha, we have heads! 

I took this one

After some hot juice and a snack, we (they) decided that float fishing was completed. Now to try christen Rupe's new ledger rod with a chub. We walked upstream to where I hoped we would find some. 

Rupe setting up

Martha wanting a go

Swap the rod for a doughnut!? 

Happy angler 

No chub here so we moved on to another swim. It was slightly drizzling and although the hand warmers were working well, some cold feet were being described. 

I taught Rupe the lesson here that, a fish will always take the bait when you are distracted! I cast in the ledgered cheesepaste and he sat watching whilst I told him this lesson. He then hooked a fish but lost it, we didn't see it but hoped chub. Next, whilst Rupe was eating a sandwich, another bite ( proof of said lesson). Taking line, this fish came off too. I took the rod and waited. Within minutes, the rod went again. Rupe took over and played the much larger fish to the net. It christened his ledger rod, but was not the chub he wanted. A huge trout, 3lb plus. 

After another quick go downstream, we decided it was time to head home. I have fished this club water for 10 years and rarely seen many younger anglers. As we packed up another angler walked past with two young kids accompanying him too. I was amazed, but glad I had seen some more future anglers! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Out of season

Date fished 25/1/2023

8am until 1pm

With January quickly disappearing, I wanted to get out and have a go. I have been down in Dorset for the last week, getting thrashed by the parents at Crib and Rummy. I was expecting some pirate quenching liquid during the second one, but was alcohol free beer with Davey instead!

I have been watching YouTube and found a new ledger rig from another angler. Its very simple but I think a game changer. Two float stops above the hooklink bead/stop attachment. It means you can adjust the distance of the feeder!! I know! Simple, but I have never thought before and always thought my hooklink was too short etc but could not adjust as the running ring would run down to the stop. 

I also found out about mashed bread on the internet. I use breadcrumb in the feeder alot but never mashed. So I spent the evening drying and then wetting bread. Who knew?!

Armed with my new ledger set up and mashed bread as groundbait, I decided to go to the Swale. A chub would be good, I took maggots and the float rod so I could try for grayling also. Oh, and because its January, I took cheesepaste too. 

I planned to start with the float rod, feed maggots and a few balls of mashed bread. I would catch some grayling whilst the chub moved in, then would try for them. It was a perfect plan. 


First cast and the float vanished, I struck and soon a grayling was in the net. This was easy I thought! 

I catapulted maggots at intervals and trotted like a pro. I ended on 10 grayling for the session. Most were really good sized fish and made a good account of themselves in the current. 

All returned safely

And quickly


Less productive on this front. None came to trotted maggots. None fancied the bread flake trundling under the float after balls of mashed bread was introduced. None came to ledgered bread flake or cheesepaste on the crease I had been feeding. I even moved swims after lunch (11am) and tried by the banker tree swim and against over hanging bushes. No chub at all today. 

Just the one person being Chubby! 

Gate crashers

"What else did you catch"? I hear you shout.

Well, I also caught three 2lb plus brown trout. There is quite a few in this section and they go much bigger. They are out of season so all were looked at and unhooked in the water. It got me thinking about "out of season" though. Yes, I was fishing with maggot in a steady glide, just where the grayling like. Here I hooked two trout, landed one and lost one. The second was bigger.

After a few spots of rain the wind picked up. Float fishingvwas difficult so I moved  over to ledgering bread. The rod pulled round, I struck hoping for chub, a brownie came to the net.

I changed to cheeepaste and the  same thing happened. If anything, it was only trout that were consistent, being caught on all three baits! 

Someone must do what my sister did for me at Christmas. Buy the trout a calendar!! 

Saturday, 7 January 2023


Date fished 7/1/2023
10.30am until 2pm 

The year started with spending! There is a financial crisis going on, so of course it did! Last year ended with getting Christmas money, so there is a balance.
Earlier this week, I gave some of my blood away ( I do have a pic, but won't post for the squeamish) and then hot footed it to Washington, to a relatively new tackle shop that has opened there.  One of the big online ones, that I have used frequently for years. Whats it's name? 

I only needed one thing but came out the shop having bought thousands!! Admittedly the thousands were individual maggots! The one big item was needed though. 

It was a great shop and I will definitely be back soon. 

The rain continued to fall and the river rose, I wondered if I would get out before going back to work on the 9th. 

My tackle has been on the table since my last trip and I think my daughter has been "sorting" it for me! 

Anyway, I needed to get out today, so with the rivers looking flooded I headed to Tilcon for a few hours. I had the float rod, some maggots and a few worms. I just wanted to have a chill and if some fish came long, that would be a bonus. 

I set up in the deep corner, it was fairly mild at 10 degrees and with no wind the lake was like a mill pond. I fed some maggots and cast my float amongst them. Nothing happened for a good while, but I was happy. 

Soon the rain came, not heavy enough for the umbrella. I just put my hood up and sat it out. It felt great to be out and apart from the non disappearing float, it was all going well. 

I continued to feed with the catapult, I was glad I remembered it this time! I had another feeding tool with me today though. Something I have had for years, brought from AD and never used. I have always wanted too but never seem to remember it. Well, it was used today and am not gonna lie, I had a massive grin on my face when I reeled it in and it was open and still on the end!! 

I cast around a fair but as I was not feeding too accurately. Am not the best winter stillwater angler, but I try. I cast to a new spot and as I watched, the float bobbed under. I struck and although minimal resistance, a fish was on. A fish, just! 

My first fish of 2023 and it was a tiddler. I cast to the same spot and continued to feed. Then disaster, my new catapult broke. I brought a new one because the last one also broke. I must be an over zealous catapulter!? 
I could no longer get bait to the spot I wanted so I cast closer and fed by hand. A superb cast and the worm bait was exactly where I wanted it. 
A matter of seconds and the float shot under. This was a better fish, it pulled back and I was soon getting it into the net. This was better. 

The feeding was definitely working as this perch who was caught on worm, had been having a maggot starter. 

The wind picked up and casting was difficult. A few snags later and I decided it was time to pack up and head home. I had not blanked and 2023 was underway with a couple of perch.

Just between you and me, I  was going to call this blog 'spare' as I never bring any spare parts if something breaks and my catapult is pretty much just spare parts now! But I didn't want to be sued, stabbed in the back (actually with a dog bowl or metaphorically), have my necklace broken or killed. But that's enough topical shenanigans!!