Saturday, 9 November 2019

A pint of maggots and 2 packets of hooks!

Date fished 9/11/2019
7.30am until 2pm

With the weather not knowing what it wanted to do, I decided to head to the Tees at Broken Scar to fish for Grayling. My usual fannying on Friday, checking river levels and weather reports got me thinking about recording the river level visually along with the measurement. I might do this in future on here, we will see.
Anyway, with Ellis busy it was a solo trip again. I always try to see the river situation first as I enjoy that and it uses my club waters. I have some still waters as back up, but I decided to go with the Tees.

I left work and headed to Fraser's Angling in Gateshead for bait. I always go here when needed as it's close to work and there is nothing closer to home. I did the usual thing of looking around, a quick chat with the guys in the shop and I was done. I bought a pint of maggots,  would be plenty on a cold day and a packet of hooks to nylon. Just to top up supplies!! Or that's what I tell myself. Size 18 to 2lb line, pack of 10 would be plenty on a cold day.

Getting the kit ready was easy, one rod, closed face reel, some floats, weights, hooks, bits and a net. The alarm was set, I was ready.

Arriving early, it was cold. There was a frost and the river was higher than I thought based on the river level reading. It was going through at quite a pace. Today was going to be interesting, and definitely not a wading day.
I baited a line away from the turbulent water and trotted down.
Snag. A quick pull and the hook length broke. I tied another and away I went. Not to dwell on this throughout the blog, this happened 16 times!!! I left at 2pm because I had used all my pre tied ones, ( a packet and a half) had tied more and lost them and finally got snagged and lost the lot.

Before all that, it was a good day. I caught 4 Grayling and 3 minnows. You are always likely to catch a few minnows with maggot and small hooks, but as Grayling was my target, I am glad I caught more of them.
They gave a good fight in the faster water and all were positive bites.
3 of the 4 were actually behind the snag, which was why I kept going back!

The loose feeding today was hard. My swim had faster water and slower on the inside. To get on the inside, I had to cast further into the flow and it drifted around. It's where all the action was. I honestly couldn't say if any of my loose feed was ending up there though!

The first Grayling was netted, not expertly, but netted. I had extended the handle too far, so when I went to net the fish the net and pole shot off the end and ended up in the water! Fortunately I managed to get the net ( my new one!) and pole back. I still miss the one I lost at Morton hahaha.

Half way through the day, I went for a walk. Slipping about. All the swims that looked fishable river wise had dangerous banks and all the safe looking swims had raging torrents in front. I walked back and stayed in the snaggy swim.

Mick, another angler from our Fb group,  dropped by to pick up a reel and it was nice to meet in person someone I had only ever typed with. We had a good chat but unfortunately I couldn't catch a fish for him. Got plenty of snags though!!

Once again, as this time of year will dictate, I could have not bothered today. But with 4 Grayling caught, it was a successful day.
It also gives me an excuse to go back to the tackle shop too!!

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Always worth a trip, New Pb!

Date fished 29/10/2019

7.30 am until 5pm

Today I had the day off work and was planning a trip.  As is my usual way, I put some local feelers out and was given some advice. The river level was due to be fishable, after weeks of being flooded so I bit the bullet and was committed to heading to the Swale at Morton. I had cheese paste and luncheon meat and Chub was my target.

Setting off early, I was on the river soon after sunrise.  If nothing else, the views were spectacular!

Walking to the swim, I saw a big lob worm crawling across the path, I saw this as a sign and picked him up and pit him in my net. He was going to be my first bait. Walking across the grass, slightly covered in frost, mist rising I headed up stream. Passing through a gate with a hop skip and a jump, I noticed the worm had fallen out of my net. I saw this as another sign and it didn't bode well!!

Starting in the swim I was advised of I cast in and waited. It started off cold, but as that sun got higher it became warm. The thermals I had on probably were not needed but am sure they will be in the coming months!

I had cheese paste moulded around a hair rigged cork ball, and a short hook length to a feeder filled with bread crumb and bits that were left over - pellets, corn and dead maggots.

After a few knocks with no fish, I decided to go for a walk. I headed upstream to swims where Ellis had caught in the past. Nothing here at all. I went down stream to where Ellis had caught before. Nothing here either. Realising I was not Ellis I went to a spot where I had caught before. Nothing here!! Failing all of that I went to a spot we had both caught, more just to see it. This is the swim we are trying to fish at various points in the year as a comparison – I can confirm Ellis, NOTHING HERE EITHER!!

It was now 2pm and I thought I would go back to the first swim to sit it out until dark. I had now used all my ground bait, so I was straight ledgering. I had a bush to the right and I was casting close to that, but then I saw a fish surface to the left in the faster water, presumably a trout. I had also been casting just to the edge of the flow, but my next cast, I went straight in the middle.  I took off the weight and free lined a larger ball of cheese paste, watching it go down with the flow and gradually stopping. I waited. The line suddenly tightened and the rod jumped forward, it was 15:18 and the first fish was hooked. I picked up the rod and the line went slack. My hook was slightly straightened, was this my chance gone?

Changing the hook link, I was back out in the flow. The light was soon dropping and the conditions looked perfect. I saw the line start to tighten, this time, I was on it faster and struck into the fish. I was playing the fish with some side strain and it felt big in the faster water. Soon I had it in the net and it looked a PB.  The scales confirmed this and at 5lb 8oz a new PB was mine!!! Big smiles all round.

I had shortened the net handle to hold the fish in the water, and looked at the net as I cast back out. “I will do that in a minute” I told myself. Soon the rod was over again and I was in. 3 fish in next to no time!

As I played it towards me, I started to extend the net handle with one hand while holding the rod in the other. Stupidly, I let the line go  slack and with barbless hooks, the fish got off. “Why did I not sort that net before?” I asked myself, or words to that effect!!
As the sun started to go down, I was rewarded with more great views, but unfortunately no more fish.

On a day that I could quite easily have stayed at home and not bothered, I have a new PB. All thanks to the advice I was given.
I have a rule when I ask for advice – If someone is kind enough to give you some; take it, use it, give feedback and importantly give Thanks.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Short but not so sweet

Date fished 12/10/2019
8am until 17.30

Ellis and I were aboard Big Elbow hoping to catch Perch and Pike. We caught none.
The End.

Bit of a shame really, as if we caught some then the blog would have told you:

1. How the river was so flat calm, we saw loads of fish topping.
2. That we had lures, drop shot and bait ( live and dead) rigs.
3. How Ellis had Lamprey that had not been in a freezer for "a while" and smelt so rancid, it made him retch!!
4. That we had mastered mooring up to areas to fish, Ellis drives the boat straight in and I grab on for dear life.
5. The character of the area we fished, moving currents, flow, wind it all added to the fun.
6. The water was maybe too coloured for predators.
7.How Ellis battled with a tree that we had tied on to.
8. I may have mentioned when in a great swim we both cast into the lillies and got snagged, one after another!!
9. The Nosiest live bait bucket, that I can still hear now. Humming in the background scaring the fish maybe!?
10. How Ellis got snagged and lost tackle, but seeing the positive he declared " that's that rod broken down!" This happened twice!!
11. That we did find a great spot and caught lots of silver's aka "livebait" by float fishing maggots. Even deciding this was fun fishing!!
12. How our net, mat and sling stayed dry all day, except for netting an escaping pike float at the end of the day.

Yes, now I think if it, you all missed out as I would have told you about an interesting but tough session. I would probably have shared a few photos too. Like this:

Nevermind, there is always next time.

Monday, 30 September 2019

A mixed bag

Date fished 26/9/2019
9am until 6pm

The day started early, really early. 1.30am the alarm went off. I was heading south. Proper South, home counties, South. Pulling away at 2am, I was heading to the Thames at Hampton Court. This was not just a silly long fishing trip, I was heading South to celebrate a 40th Birthday. Shhh, it's a surprise!

270 miles done in 4 hours, I was nearly there. Unfortunately the M25 and other such beasts lay before me. The final 48 miles then took me 3 hours! Nightmare.

Arriving later than planned, I walked to the river. The swim I fished last time was occupied, so I walked to the end and found a nice looking swim where another river flows into the main river.
I set up one rod and then I realised I had left the specially prepared ground bait in the car!! In my haste to get to the river, I left it. I didnt want to leave my gear as it was quite a walk to the car, and I didn't want to have to walk back with all the gear. Decisions, decisions. This trip was going to be sans specially prepared ground bait!!

I set up the other rod and contemplated the feeder situation. Trying to travel light, I had no micro pellets or anything. I had 6mm and 12mm Robin Red Pellets. I wet some of the 6mm and decided  to use them in a feeder with a 6mm on the hook. The 12mm I would ledger with a lead and I had a few pellets in pva mesh bags tied up to give a few free offerings around the hook. It would be ok.

I used the korum bait bands for the first time. The bait is banded and the hook goes through the little bulb of plastic on the side. They are easy to use and worked well.

Soon, I was getting bites on the 6mm pellet. Striking, I was not able to hit the bites. Roach I thought, not Bream. I shortened the hooklink and carried on. Finally I connected and I brought the fish to the net. It got off!! Again. Things were not looking good.
A few mins later, the same. But this time I netted the little blighter and the Chublet (Ellis says Dace?!) Was in the net.
I had not blanked and all was good.

Next the 12mm pellet rod started to tap, thinking it must be a bigger fish, I was straight on it. A lovely Roach made it to the net, but came off. I need to practice ledgering for silver's as I tend to let the weight sink near the net, and if it's shallow and bangs on the bottom then the fish gets off. I need to sort this!!
Disappointed with missing the nice Roach, I fished on, re casting regularly to get some bait in the swim.

The heavens opened, and the brolly went up. This was proper fishing in the rain Davey!!

All the action started coming to the 6mm pellet rod, so I switched both to this with shorter hook lengths. Soon I was catching some nice Roach ( 3 in total) the chublet and then a dace. I wished I had some different baits and more gear, but then remembered this was an improtu session!

Seeing half of a worm crawling ( can you crawl with no limbs? ) sliding across the ground, I picked it up and put it on the hook. Soon that rod was knocking away. And as I thought, a perch was my reward.

The river here is very different to the others I fish. There was lots of boat traffic and 2 row boats from a nearby school.  One group of eight (the boys) came to say hello as they crashed into the bank under my rods. Their teacher looked a little sheepish as the boys explained it was only their second time rowing!

As I packed up to leave, I chatted with another angler who was settling down for the evening. He commented on the water level as I relayed the groundbsit story. As I walked back to the car, nearly every swim was occupied, very different from what greated me 9 hours before.

It was a good day on the river, 6 fish caught, a few lost and plenty of bites to keep me awake. The elusive Thames Barbel evaded me, but I will be back. Maybe next time the groundbait won't stay in the car all day and I may even smile!

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Maybe 20

Date fished 21/09/2019
8.45am until 6pm

After this morning's 6am wake up call, Davey and I headed south again. Today we were meeting Ellis for a day on Big Elbow. The target Perch and Pike. We were going to use lures but also try using live bait for both species, that we were gonna to catch using maggots in the same swims. Simples.

We set off and headed for our usual spots. The first one, Disco corner, did not produce a thing. Uh oh.
We headed on.

Plenty of rowers (maybe 20) came and went,  Davey found alot of snags (maybe 20) but no fish. We were soon at the mouth of the Leven, we would give it a go here. Davey got into the routine of casting and slowly retrieving the lure. He was lure fishing!

Trying for bait fish first, it wasn't simples. It was slow. We had nothing so far.
Throwing in a few (maybe 20) maggots at a time, and finally Ellis caught some small silvers and the plan was put into action.
My float bobbed and I struck, I thought I felt something but we were all not convinced.

It was time for lunch. Doing the civilised thing, we all stopped, sat down and ate lunch. I had left my rod, cast under a tree. Now, my float did bob, and sailed away. I struck and was in!! Quick as a flash, it was off. The single hook not taking hold. Quicker than the first flash Ellis cast his rod close to where I had been. Now when I say close, I mean in the tree, not under it!! And that's where his rig sat until we finished our lunch!

After a few more biteless  minutes (maybe 20) we left the area and headed downstream. We would try some old haunts, but find some new ones too. *spoiler alert* some of these new haunts will be regular haunts me thinks!!
My float started to move and it was soon gone! I struck. I was in again. This time I was in properly and was soon playing a fish. A few seconds later (maybe 20) the fish was off!! Zero from two, this was getting personal!

Ellis then caught a fish for live bait, he quickly hooked it to cast next to my float. As he cast, the float did land next to mine perfectly. Unfortunately the fish came off mid flight and landed in the river a few centimeters in front of the boat (maybe 20). We laughed!
A few more failed attempts to catch bait and we were laughing more.

Eventually Ellis gave up with the live bait and turned to the drop shot. He caught a small perch straight away, thinking this may be the only target species of the day, I had to take a picture for the blog!

I needn't have worried as no sooner had he put this perch back his rod was bent double, he was in! A great battle was about to happen. On light drop shot gear, a large Pike was soon taking line. The hook holding in the scissors far away from the sharp teeth. After a few long runs (maybe 20) Ellis pulled the fish over the net. I scooped it first time and we were all happy.
I was sure it was a double and gave Ellis 10lb all day long. The scales had other ideas and it finally settled on 9lb 10oz of pristine Tees Pike. A lovely long fish powering away strongly, made me wonder. Was that the one I hooked a few minutes (maybe 20) before??

High fives all round, we headed for another swim. Ellis catching some quality Roach and a Roach/Bream Hybrid.
We had to wait for some smaller fish as live bait, as the quality Roach were slipped back into the depths. Soon the livebaits were back out and ready for fish. This time it was Ellis's float that bobbed, and disappeared. He struck and was in again. Calling for the net, it was battle stations. This time Ellis was not on the light drop shot rod, he was on strong tackle, wire trace and powerful Carp rod. This fish was strong, Ellis's rod was soon bending as the fish made it to some lillies. Holding it out of the snags, the pressure was too much and the line was caught on roots and going at a different angle. Where the line entered the lillies Ellis was gaining line, but suddenly the worst happened. The line broke, it must have been frayed on the snags as a large fish swirled some distance away from the lillies. The line was obviously going in a different direction, caught around something.  Gutted, we sat and stared at the water.
Eventually we moved swims.

A few (maybe 20) more casts in a few (maybe 20) more spots on the way back and soon we were in the last swim. Here I finally managed a couple of Perch and Davey hooked one but lost it. He was happy that he had finally hooked a fish on the lure and was not snagged! It was a great day on the boat, and Davey enjoyed himself. That's fishing, and that's the main reason for going.

None of us saw the fish Ellis lost, but it fought like a big one, not sure how big and we will never know. We wondered how big as we headed for shore!! No one number sticks in my head though.......(Maybe...... just maybe!!)