Saturday, 15 January 2022

Shift change

Date fished 15/01/2022
8am until 1.30pm

The kids were covid isolating last weekend so I had planned to go fishing. Mother nature had other ideas and on reviewing the night before, the Swale and Tees were in flood and fishing would be tough if not impossible. This on top of some miserable weather helped me to conclude it was not worth going. 

A much better ( river wise)  prospect this weekend, and with the kids out on a mummy day trip to Masham, I felt a quick fishing trip was in order. A rescheduled match on the Swale meant the Tees was chosen. 
I knew it was going to be cold, but not quite this cold. I set off in the fog and headed for a club stretch. The river looked perfect, that what I could see.

The wind was bitter and it had already frozen my fingers. I struggled with opening the clips on my box as chill blaines started in earnest. Out of the wind it was cold but OK, but in the wind was like a blast chiller.

I had a 12ft Korum quiver tip rod, D.A.M reel loaded with 6lb line, 4lb hook link to a size 10 Guru hook. I baited up and cast in, breadcrumb in the feeder and cheesepaste on the hook. After a few minutes, I decided to move on, keeping moving was going to be the key today, not just for fish but for survival! 

The ground eventually thawed about 12.30pm

The second swim had a short point going out into the river. I positioned the rod here and cast just off a downstream bush. I now decided to check the cricket score. Of course missing the wrap around bite that happened at that exact moment! 
At least the swim was picturesque.

I cast back in and sat on the rod. A few taps, there were fish there. A slight pull, I struck and it was fish on. A spirited fight before slipping easily into the net. A modest Chub of a couple of pounds. It certainly warmed me up! 

The anticipation

I hoped for another fish from this swim but nothing came. I carried on upstream. There were plenty of spots to try if I had the 7ft rod!! Always the way, carry everything or be without something you need! 

Then what you do carry freezes!! 

I needn't of worried as there were a good few swims at this time of year. I missed another bite and was soon hearing splashing on the far bank. I looked to see what was happening, it was an otter. Its was inches from the bank and steadily swimming upstream, I watched it for a good few minutes and soon it was out of sight. I walked up to where the river shallows, it is fast here and flows over gravel. It was not for me today, so I turned and headed all the way back to the swim I caught in.

The rod behaved as I sat back and ate my lunch. I finished my apple and looked up to see the rod hoop over, I grabbed it but missed that too. I was one fish from four bites, but still smiling! 

I fished one more swim on the way back to the car, the highlight being a couple of low flying swans coming home.

As I contemplated when to head home an angler came over the hill. We had a quick chat and he headed off. It made me think, I was the early shift and he was the late shift. I chuckled to myself as a second angler appeared over the hill. Definitely a shift change, so I had better be off! 

Monday, 3 January 2022


Date fished 3/1/2022
8am until 3.40pm

It's surprising but there are still club sections of the Tees I have not fished. There is always the old " stick to what you know" approach when sometimes it would be good to "try somewhere new". Today was one of those days, Ellis and I went to fish a "new" section of the Tees, albeit close to where we have fished before. 

The river levels were predicted to be back to normal after it's New Year Eve exploits, and it seemed Ellis and I were too. We had decided to hedge our bets and each brought two rods. One for Pike and one for Chub. I brought the newly christened Korum Snapper Cult deadbait rod and the 7ft River ambush rod, perfect for Chub in tight, snaggy swims. 

It was still mild, but colder weather was predicted. 
What we were not expecting was the height of the river. With no further rain, the river had risen again. The banks were dry but the river full and rising. Not ideal conditions for short rods and not knowing the beat. We headed upstream to see if there were fishable swims. 

We had started at peg 62 and walked up a fair way. We fished around the 48 to 50 area. I walked a bit further and found the bridge at 45. 
We found some swims and started to fish. I alternated between Pike and Chub gear whilst Ellis mainly targeted Chub. 
A dog walker shouting to his dog, made Ellis come over to see what all the noise "I" was making! I told him it was not me as I had nothing to shout about! 
Ellis divulging that he had missed a bite, re cast and hooked a Chub. He was just about to net it and it got snagged just in front of him and came off. This spurred me on, at least they were feeding! So I stopped taking photos and concentrated! 

After a while of no bites and snagged in the bush, I walked and joined Ellis. I set up my rod again and thought I would poach one from his swim as he was still getting bites. I got into position and promptly cast into the tree!! 
I tackled up again, and then sat and ate my lunch and chatted. I knew I was beaten. 
I declared to Ellis there would be no snow today, far too warm. 

After a while, we headed back downstream to see if we over looked some swims on our march upstream. We found a couple of promising swims right where we started. It's amazing how the river does not look as fast after a few hours of looking at it. I guess your eyes get accustomed to the movement. Anyway, we fished here, and a strange eruption when Ellis threw in some old bait, the only notable comment. 

Ellis then left as its Carole's Birthday - Happy birthday!! 

I fished on. I walked downstream to the low 70's and was soon at where Ellis hooked the (Barbel) Pike in the Autumn. It was not fishable today, so I turned around and headed back. I stopped in a good little swim and took stock of the tackle. I could not fish with the short rod, and it was unlikely there would be any Pike swims. So, I changed things around and was soon ledgering meat on a 3.25 tc Pike rod. Perfect!! 

No self respecting Chub would fall for this crude method, and none did. I ended up in peg 62 for 20 mins just because I thought it would make a great story when I caught in there even after we walked away from it first thing. 
Sadly, that didn't happen either! Seems I can't predict that! 

I have just got home, came via the A68, was OK until the heavy snow at the end. Seems my predictions were wrong on that too!

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread

Date fished 1/1/2022

9am until 3.30pm

New years day is usually a fishing day, so in the run up we checked the river levels.

Over 3 metres was an awful lot of extra water, however it seemed to be dropping as fast as it rose, so I decided to still give it a go. Ellis had decided to leave me to it, so I settled on fishing for Chub on the Tees. I would ledger cheese paste in the abundant slack water, that hopefully the floods would create.

I arrived at 9am, later than normal, I had decided to give the river every chance to drop. On arrival, it was still high but certainly fishable. It actually looked perfect. I was sure of a greedy Chub. I thought about the  blog, as I generally do and thought when I land a fish a fitting title would be "fortune favours the brave".

There is a weir in there, almost level up and downstream.

The sun was warm, this looked very Chubby

I fished each swim for about 30 to 40 mins before moving on. I was fishing areas that a few weeks ago was bank, there was alot of bushes, snags and slacks to fish. I was still very confident of a fish.  The leaves were constantly knocking my line, not as bad as first thing in autumn, but enough to distract and cause annoyance. 

With little rod action, I turned photographer and snapped away at a majestic river Tees.

In one swim, the shooters on the far bank got very loud. They must have been close as soon shot showered down on me and the river. This has happened a few times over the years. Not sure I can claim having been shot!? 

In one swim, my rod knocked and pulled round. I was not paying attention and knocked the rod off the rest. Needless to say, the fish was long gone. I had missed my chance!! 

Ellis messaged me to see if I braved the conditions, his message reading "fortune favours the brave". This was twice in an hour my brain had uttered this phrase. It must be a good omen!? 

I fished on until 3.30pm, giving some baited swims a try on my way back to the car. The conditions looked perfect still, the river having dropped further. As home time loomed, I wondered what the opposite of todays phrase was.... 

I nearly called it " not worth powder and shot" but the shooters would disagree! 

Friday, 31 December 2021

New year, New targets

2021 targets were: 

I didn't manage any of the targets but in some way its not surprising  as I didn't try for all of them. 

For 2022, I will have the following targets:

Swale Barbel

New river Barbel

6lb Bream

5lb Tees Chub


2021 Review

2021 has been a year of highs and lows in both fishing and life. Covid remains ever looming over us, but life is slowly getting back to "normal".

It started with snow. Ellis and I going to the Tees in early January but leaving after a few hours as we were not sure we would be able if we stayed much longer! 

Covid restrictions and walking training occupied the next few months. I was planning on walking Hadrians wall in June, so I started doing some long walks. From what I remember this didn't hugely interrupt fishing as we were largely restricted to the local area, so I could not fish the rivers anyway. I then took the old closed season mostly off and it wasn't until May that I wet a line again. Ellis and I heading to the Oaks for some Carp action, I think the Carp were still on restrictions as we didn't "bag up" like we thought we would! We did discover portrait mode on the I phone though, great for catch shots. 

Later in May, I managed a pb Bream (by a single ounce), something I would break again in July.

June meant the start of the river season. The same stretches of Swale and Tees, but mother nature had played her part in the winter and the Swale at Morton was very different. 
It started with a great Tees session, Perch galore, catching my first Pike whilst trotting for silver's and poaching a 4lb Chub from Ellis's swim! 

Caught on size 18, 2lb hooklink

Tees warrior at 4lb

Poacher turned teacher, and by the end of the month I had helped Tom catch his first ever Chub. 

Tom's first Chub

June also saw me complete walking Hadrians wall. In five days we walked 87 miles, was quite an accomplishment and certainly felt emotional and proud on completion. 
In July, another 10 ounces added to the Bream pb, would love a 6lb'er in 2022, here's hoping. I also enjoyed some surface fishing, although I never did land a Carp. Tom did though, so was great showing him a new method. Ellis and I also ventured down to the Canal, we usually just fish it in winter. 100lb net of Bream the target, I had one and Ellis caught loads of Perch, including a new pb! 

Only 98lb short of our target! 

1lb 10oz pb Perch for Ellis

4lb 13oz pb Bream

August saw me fish the Trent, a new section of the Tees and Ellis caught a Bleak on the Severn. It was also when one of the most formidable and amazing women in my family sadly passed away. My nan aka Munchkin had battled hard, and that just does not mean when she used to take me fishing and bring me chips to my swim as I was too "busy" to go get them!! 

Plenty of Swale Chub were caught in the warmer summer months. It has to be said, I enjoy fishing for Chub, they really can be so obliging, but at times so frustrating too. Must be why I like them!!
As summer turned to Autumn, Ellis and I or just me fished the Tees. Trotting and catching all sorts was mostly the technique. The stand out being Gudgeon, as someone had commented how few had been seen recently in the Tees, after reading this, I think we caught 3 in one session! 
I also did a Tom Daley impression in September and dived into the water whilst trying to help land a Tees Barbel. Water down the waders, wet all the rest of the day and the Barbel was a Pike (unlanded). Still, it was a good dive! 
Tees Gonk

Another pb in October, and what a fish. I had not caught a Grayling until a few years ago. I asked on Ellis's Facebook group for help to catch one. He replied, took me out on the Tees and we have been fishing together ever since. Anyway, the pb Grayling was a Swale fish, fishing on my own I was convinced it was a Chub, then when I saw it my knees were knocking till it was safely in the net. Great fish. 

1lb 10 - pb Grayling

Movember saw me and the Mo fish another new venue, the Grand Union Canal at Harefield. Sadly a blank but was great to try somewhere new. Closer to home saw me catch the usual suspects on my cheesepaste - Chub and Pike of course!! 

Cheesepaste capture, again! 

More ladies (of the stream) featured in December. Ellis and I catching some stonkers on the Tees. Fishing then faded into insignificance as good friend and master angler Giles Alcock passed away. Giles was predominantly a Predator angler and he taught me lots in this discipline. It usually involved laughter and calamity as I caught a Tees Chub on Pike gear the first time he took me fishing. I wanted to reminicise about that, and glad I could catch a Tees Chub for him on a day I went to reflect.

A Tees Chub by design this time Giles

As Christmas came and went, it was soon the last few days of 2021. Ellis and I decided to fish just for Pike, something we rarely do now. We usually bring some other gear "just in case". My last fish of 2021 and turned out to be my biggest, a modest 8lb 8oz Pike to end the year, I can't grumble at that! 

A perfect example