Sunday, 4 December 2022

Green-eyed monsters

Date fished 4/12/2022 

8.40am until 1pm

Just like buses, one trip quickly turned into two, this time Tom and I hit the Tees. As per, Tom was after pike and I had chub gear. 

I also had worms and maggots just in case.

A rainy day greeted us but with waders (to keep bums dry) and coats we were ready. We parked up and one other car was already there. Murphy's law dictated that the angler was in our chosen swim. Of course they were! We said good morning and moved to another area. Tom started on float fished dead baits and I had maggots in the feeder with a worm on the hook.

The showers came and went. Not even a change to breadcrumb in the feeder and cheesepaste on the hook tempted a bite, so we left that swim and moved our way back upstream. 

A fair bit of walking, sitting and jealousy made up the rest of the trip. 
No, I was not jealous of Tom in his long John's as I had mine on too. No, I was not jealous of his double quarter pounder with cheese as I had a cheese and cucumber sandwich. No, I was not jealous of the lack of gossip in the car. But, I think we were both jealous as we watched the other angler catch a fish!! 

Saturday, 3 December 2022

20 - 20.1

Date fished 3/12/2022

8.30am until 3pm

November came and went.  River conditions meant I only had one fishing trip but had visits from my sister and my old school mates so the "wasted" weekends were not wasted!

Suddenly, December was here and after wishing my mum a happy birthday and watching the kids eat chocolate after finding them behind closed doors it was time for some fishing. Regular readers over the last 5 years, will know what December usually brings. Ellis must have remembered too, or maybe Carole told him, but he was correct in his suggestion of : 

Annual Piercebridge pilgrimage for grayling on Saturday?

We met a little after 8am and tackled up, I went for a standard 13 ft rod and Ellis opted for 17ft!

There was lots of water on the road after heavy rain over night so we were expecting a big river. It was actually lower than normal and looked very different. 

We started in our usual swim by the island and started getting bites. Ladies (of the stream)  are hard to hold on to and Ellis's first jumped back before the pic. We joked that it may be our only fish and hoped we would get another chance. With Ellis 3-0 infront, I finally caught and juggled a lady of my own. 

Ellis and I are not really competitive with our catches. I am just as happy to see him catch than if I do, although I do tend to poach fish from his swim! But today we started counting our fish. It must be the world Cup spirit and soon I had fought back to lead 6-3! Hopefully not a sign for Senegal, my work sweepstake team!! 

We soon needed to warm the feet so went for a stroll. We need not have worried, the sun soon came out and we bemoaned our decision to not bring caps and sunglasses on a December fishing trip!!

It was here that Ellis caught a 3lb (out of season) Trout. It was a great fish, but we left it in the water for unhooking and with no picture, it was safe to go meet our game friends later in the year! 

I commented also that we had not caught a minnow yet, literally two seconds later Ellis reeled one in. More on that later. 

We turned around here and headed back upstream. We fished some of our usual spots and caught in most. We didn't in the usual spot where we don't catch! Ever! Don't know why we always try there, we never catch but it just looks fishy! 

Some bigger Grayling in the next spot and the scores were almost level, I think! Anyway we were both catching so smiles and laughs were heard above the owl that was hooting at 1pm. 

We walked all the way up to the bridge and found a spot we usually fish. You will know, grayling like fast flowing water, so when we found a slack and Ellis spotted fish rising we didn't know what to expect. Ellis dropped his bait into the still water and his float buried. He caught the Tees only still water grayling!! Amazing. 

Ellis moved downstream but just far enough that he could hear me as I shouted "15" and he promptly bellowed back "16". The fish kept coming. 

We like to check the river levels before we fish and generally determine its fishable if the level is 1m or lower at broken scar. Here, however there is a live webcam, so you can check what the river actually looks like from the comfort of your lounge. You can also use it for taking selfies!! 

We walked back as drops of rain started to fall and decided a few more minutes in our favourite first swim. Four Trout in as many casts for me and with Ellis catching Trout and grayling it was soon 19 all. Ellis lost one at the net, ever the golfer he asked if it counted as it was technically in the "circle of love".

You Google it, maybe not on your work computer!! 

We declared a truce if we both got 20 fish and it was fitting that my 20th was a grayling and two casts after Ellis had landed his 20th. 

Back at the car, I assessed the sock situation. Left sock dry, right sock "soaking, like your whole right leg" said Ellis.

"Not too bad, not enough to buy new waders" I replied. 

Some waders are just for little puddles I thought. 

As I drove home, I decided 20 - 20 wasn't quite right. So I gave Ellis an extra 0.1 for his minnow! 

Friday, 4 November 2022

Eagle, Albatross, Kingfisher

Date fished 4/11/2022
8.45am until 2.30pm

My sister is coming up later today and staying for the weekend, so the chance of fishing is zero. I booked today off work and planned a river session. Ellis booked it off too, so we could make a day of it. Looking at the rain  during the week though, we called it off on Thursday. I decided to keep the day off and go to Tilcon, Ellis decided to keep the day off and play golf. 
It was a cold start.

Getting the kids ready for school, we all left the house just after 8am. Three degrees the car said, as I headed to the lake. 

I decided to just bring ledger gear, of course whilst fishing I concluded a float would have been better. I had worms and dead maggots for hook bait and some groundbait for the feeder. 
I fished a swim I have never fished before, usually because someone is always in it. I took this as a good sign and tackled up. 
I cast in and by 8.40am I was fishing. I waited. 

I was now able to watch a pair of Kingfisher. They were enjoying the sunny but cold weather and fished and flitted about through the trees. They perched fairly close a few times and as my rod was motionless I paid more attention to them. I saw one dive into the lake and come up with quite a large fish, in comparison to the small but brightly coloured angler. I wished I had a camera. 

Soon it was time for my lunch. The time said 11 something, so definitely time! I ate in the sun and enjoyed the wildlife. Realising I was also here to catch fish, I upped my game. Well, not really, I just carried on. After lunch the knocks started. My first bite arriving at 12.23. 
Now, I  was getting more bites, and eventually 

No bigger than the kingfisher's catch. 

The bites continued but no more fish were caught. Bream, tench, perch and roach were caught from the swim yesterday, but today I was not so lucky. Apparently worms are not doing the business at the moment. These fish are bloody fussy! 

I hope Ellis had more luck with the bird related prizes over 18 holes. I will go back to complete my finger painting.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Trees bite??

Date fished 22/10/2022

8am until 4.30pm

Today was a trip to catch up, catch a break, catch fish, get the catch of the day and hopefully avoid the catch 22.

Ellis and I planned to fish the Swale. I was the guest. We fished a section of the Leeds club that Ellis is in, but I am not. Checking the levels last night, it was "flooded", so some chilli and/or garlic meat, pellets, worms and cheese paste were all loaded into the tackle bag. 

Not my dinner  but the fishes. I fried up two batches of meat for the trip. All in, I had 10 items (bags) of bait, which was enough for the both of us. Ellis brought me my bait courtesy of Carole  Thank you!! 

After I went on a slight detour, getting lost, I spotted EL Hut behind me so pulled over to let him lead. Moments later we were parked up. A barmy 13 degrees, it didn't feel like near November. We hoped this warm weather along with the large flood would have the barbel on the feed. Through the keyhole and a short walk to the river and we decided on a swim we could both fit in. This was a catch up, as I said above! Tbh by 4pm, our laughs could of been heard up at Morton, but more of that later. 

Keyhole entrance

Sitting pretty

Two, for now

With the river so high, two rods became "annoying" so we settled on one each. Both with single weights and meat as bait, flavour to be agreed upon when the fish took a liking to one....

The gentle tapping of the rods as leaves and debris collected on the line was hypnotic. We caught up on all things fishing and non fishing related when suddenly a beep and a tap turned into a pull! Ellis was in and quickly brought a Chub through the faster water to the waiting net. Easily over 2lb and a good start to the day. This got the concentration back on focus! 

We fished on, alternating between meat flavours, although the above was caught on chilli so this option was used most often! 

Ellis went for a walk to stretch the legs and take a good look at the beat. I think he found a new brolly shelter for when we next go night fishing!? 

The river was dropping, easily over 50cm during our session, maybe more. This caused it to go faster in places and actually change a lot. Slacks we fished mid river behind an island got smaller and then bigger as the levels changed. We ended up using two weights each, which had a canny resemblance to a part of a male dogs anatomy.

 It was fascinating to notice the change in river and next time we will do a time lapse to demonstrate this! (Well, maybe when we are retired) 

Is actually just the same pic, twice!! Haha oops.

The river really did change and an area that was unfishable when we arrived suddenly looked very fishable now! And in fact, on walking back to the car, a whole area that was a torrent this morning, looked like a perfect bolo glide this afternoon. 

Anyway, I digress. The inviting spot. Ellis got off his comfy chair and came to my left. It was a narrow, tree lined and covered channel that screamed fish. We decided to get the big guns out and and see if we could tempt something. 
Cheese paste was moulded around the dumbbell and cast near to the over hanging tree. Within minutes, Ellis was into a fish. Sadly it came off just as quick. As I hurried over to "help" aka fish next to him, we tackled up and cast in again. Well, I cast in. Ellis just cast. 

Moments later Ellis felt another tap, he got ready for the pull but nothing came. He waited. After some minutes, he decided to re cast. It was then that he noticed, he had been in a tree this whole time!! The second tapping must have been a tree bite!!! We laughed so loud, am still chuckling now. 

By now it was time to go home. Conditions looked good for staying into dark, but we had done everything we wanted and staying longer was just pushing our luck. Was great to catch up with Ellis and learn that trees can bite. I never knew that!! 

Saturday, 8 October 2022

Tug o' worm

Date fished 8/10/2022
9.30am until 2.30pm

Checking the river levels all week, it was clear that the much needed rain would hamper fishing at the weekend. With well over a metre at broken scar (our usual marker)  it was decided to abandon a river Tees trip. Tom headed up to a Trout lake in search of pike and I decided on a session at Tilcon for bream. 

I left it "late" this morning as it was bitter cold first thing and wanted to give it chance to warm up. The weather certainly did warm up and some suncream would not of been out of place today. The wind however kept that in check. 

I only took the feeder rod, with pellets for the feeder and worm on the hook. I was sure that would be enough. 
Setting up in the swim I fished last time, I was sure this deeper area would be where the bream were lurking. 

A carp swam past, under the rod tip. Not in the picture above, that was me just showing you the set up. I was no way quick enough to take a pic of the carp, I did toss it some pellets for breakfast though. 

The worm was constantly being tugged. We all know what causes that. For effect, I can show you, but let you know that this was actually the second fish that I caught. 

Typical tugger

The tugger is known to not be much longer than said worm, but to pull the rod with might. It is mostly welcome but on some levels gets in the way of other tuggers that would give more of a pull round. That was what occurred first.....

A much better perch, one that would probably eat the tugger!! 
The wind got stronger and battered the rod, but I still got plenty of bites. All were missed and tuggers assumed, although there were some free spool spinning moments too, but nothing landed to be confirmed. 

The lake is looking a bit more full and the lillies starting to die back. I don't fish Tilcon much in winter, opting for running water in  the colder months. 
As I unpack the kit and look at the calendar, there does not seem to be too many weekends left until the end of the year (alternate ones being those I can fish). It seems crazy but this year really is whizzing past. There must be a perch in 2023 that is tugging 2022 along at an alarming rate! 

I enjoy catching the perch and being out on sunny autumnal days like today is magic. I just wish they wouldn't tug my worm so much! 🤣

Sunday, 25 September 2022


Date fished 25/9/2022

8am until 2.30pm

I had not fished the Swale since June 29th, and had actually only fished it five times this calendar year. Checking the levels and seeking some local input, I decided a return to the Swale was needed. 

I fished a feeder with crumb and pellets that I needed to use up, with meat or worm on the hook. 

The river was quite low but what surprised me was the clarity. I could count the stones on the bottom in fairly deep water. I assumed I was going to struggle. 

Struggle, I did. I fished lots of swims and covered some river. However, apart from seeing a large barbel (I think) swimming about it was a fishless trip. 

When I switched to worm, it was getting battered by small fish, that didnt tempt anything bigger to come and investigate. 

It started fairly mild, but the wind soon picked up and it was autumnal by mid morning. I was glad I had put my long sleeve thermal top on. The wind created a ripple on the surface and lots of leaves fell from the over hanging trees. It got me thinking of cheesepaste and fishing in winter. I always enjoy that, strangely. 

Please remind me of that when I blank in freezing conditions! 

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Five in five

Date fished 24/9/2022

7.30am until 12.30pm 

I enjoyed the trip to Tilcon with my dad last week, so fancied some more of the same. I usually fish the further venues on the Saturday of my weekend and the closer one on the Sunday, it being a school night! However, with a match on Tilcon this Sunday, I swapped it around. I also figured with wfh currently the blended way, a downstairs commute on Monday was easier than one involving the car and needing to be awake!

I took a feeder rod and a float rod and planned to fish exactly the same as last time, albeit without my trusty sidekick. 

Arriving at the lake, another car was pulling in behind me. I didn't have to get out and close the gate, today already looked promising. 

I decided to fish a different area of the lake today, an area I have not fished much. A deeper area in the hope of a big bream. 

Corn on the float and pellet on the feeder and I was fishing. The rain then started and was soon heavy enough for the rain coat. Eventually it stopped and gave me the motivation to make some changes. Worm on the float, and it was a fish straight away.

 The bites continued to come and they were all the same species, just different sizes. One perch was barely longer than the worm. I alternated between corn and worm and only had interest in worm. 

The ledger rod remained motionless, I cast near the bushes, away from the bushes and everywhere in between. There was certainly fish in this deeper water, lots were topping and some bigger fish crashed about. It was only perch that visited me though. 

The sun came out and the rain coat was removed. Sun glasses were actually needed. Soon, the rain came back and I contemplated what changes to make. It had been five perch in five hours. I decided a big change was needed and buggered off home!!