Sunday 25 February 2024


Date fished 24/02/2024
8am until 12.30pm

A short session with Tom on the Tees started with Jack Frost. It meant Tom was late picking me up. Well, that was the excuse. Car loaded, we headed south. No cars parked in the lane was surprising, but not to dwell on this. A brisk walk downhill and we were at Tom's favourite swim. It is a great swim on the Association water. As we are both Jack of all trades, there were choices in the tackle brought. Tom was after pike, me the chubbys.

The river looked perfect, the guage at Broken scar said 97cm and dropping slowly. I was fishing after a few minutes, whilst Tom readied himself. 

Jack the lad, Jack and Jill in the background 

The river lay in front of me, so not quite sure why Tom was 10 yards behind me. It's no longer panto season. 
A feeder filled with bread crumb and cheesepaste moulded around a cork ball and I was set. Casting in the slack, I was sure a chub might want breakfast. 

The sun soon came out and it was a lovely morning. We chatted about everything and soon was discussing breeding, fish not us! A Jack pike being 10lb or less,  Sexual dimorphisim in fish and something different in humans!! I won't bore you with that. 

I cast to the edge of the faster flow, mid river. A bite on the cheesepaste kept me interested, popping up like a Jack in the box. Tom tried the whole area, and stealing my chair and superior rod rest soon found a deep hole where a pioe was sure to be laying up. 
We fished on, the only action was a large fish surfacing mid river. I only just glimpsed it, I think it was a Trout taking something off the surface. 

It was soon time to pack up, trebles of course removed from deadbaits going back in the freezer. Not sure what the deadbait was, but it wasn't Jack Spratt. 

A slow walk uphill followed by a perfectly packed car. A trip to the tackle shop on the way back to renew our club memberships.
Unfortunately the final Jack was our catches. Jack sh&t! 

Saturday 10 February 2024

Gone in 60 minutes

Date fished 10/02/2024

8am until 9am

Flooding, family and friends have been the reasons no fishing for a while. A uni mate came up for the weekend, days out with the kids and more water/snow/ice than the country knows what to do with.  

The weather was mild but after a week of rain, the rivers were high. As the Derwent is tidal, I wondered if it would be fishable. I set off for an early start. The river was similar in height and speed (flow) to last time I fished it. The big difference was the colour. It was gin clear last time and tea coloured today! 

I trotted the float and fed quite heavy. Thinking the more maggots, the more chance of the fish seeing them. 

I kept to one line near my bank and going towards a bush. 

One hour later, no bites, cold feet but I left happy! Weird, I must be some sort of fishing geek. 

Sunday 14 January 2024


Date fished 14/1/2024
8.30am until 11.30am

Ryton and District Angling Club has recently acquired a short section of the river Derwent at Blaydon. I still have not fished the Tyne, that flows through the town I live in, so I couldn't ignore this chance to fish closer to home. 

I was hoping for a Derwent grayling.

A leisurely cup of tea and homemade flat sausage muffin and I was soon on the road. A short 25 mins and I was there.  

I faffed around at the entrance, then I noticed someone in the distance in waders. I drove over and it was another club member, Philip. I knew he had fished here before, so it was perfect timing to be shown the ropes. He showed me the way to the river and it looked spot on.

Philip headed off upstream and I fished the first spot. It was fairly shallow, clear with a good pace. Perfect trotting water. I waded and started to fish. No bites, but I was sure this was the spot, maybe later. 

I headed upstream and met Phillip. We leap frogged likely looking swims, plus ones we could get to without slipping over. I think we managed one slip each. It was actually easier to walk in the water from swim to swim, but with potential for deep holes, the bank was the safer bet. 

Eventually the float disappeared and my first Derwent fish found the net. 

A good sized grayling. I fished on, and made it to the top limit. This was a bit of a recce and fish session, so was important to see it all. It's only a short stretch but looks great. I fished back down to the spot I first fished and finally, after feeding heavy got a bite. More a fingerling than a grayling, but it was perfect in miniature and most welcome. 

Phillip had fished hard and was unlucky not to have had any bites. He decided to watch me for a bit before heading home. He enquired if I was off to see Ronald on my way home?!,  My reputation must preceed me!! 

We both saw my float disappear in a spot with both thought was very fishy! This fight was not a grayling, unless it was a whopper! 
The flow was strong and the culprit knew just what to do. Another out of season Trout, but at about a pound and a half, a good fish. 

It sulked in the edge, before swimming back towards the fishy area, I will be racing Phillip to that swim next time!! 

A productive three hours fishing, with only three bites but all resulting in fish. I can see the potential of this stretch and will be back to NE16 very soon!! 

Saturday 13 January 2024


Date Fished 13/01/2024

8am until 1pm

The rivers were not my friend over Christmas, and with still waters limited the rods remained in their sleeves. My first free weekend, so I needed to get back on the bank, or in the river. I decided to fish for grayling on the Tees in a familiar spot. 

Trotting gear, waders and frozen maggots were assembled and packed. I headed south.  Parking up and tackling in the semi darkness was perfect. I waded to the spot as the light took over.

I would not advise to wade alone, but I do know this stretch well and I didn't really venture far away from the bank. If you are going alone, always tell someone where you are going and what time you might be home. I told Ellis, which was a great idea as he is in Cyprus!! 

The river was surprisingly low, considering how high it has been these last few weeks. It was also "warm" and very clear. Ideal trotting conditions. Second trot down and the float disappeared. My first fish of 2024......

Out of season but hard to avoid. Took a pic as my first of the year, but the other three I caught, including a 2lb plus fish, all returned from the net, having never left the water. 

A few more trots and the first grayling, a good sized fish to start with. 

In truth, the stamp of fish today were really good. I caught seven grayling from two areas fished. All were 12oz to a pound. I weighed one (biggest, I think) and it was 1lb exactly. 

I chatted with a couple of other anglers, one lure fishing for perch and one ledgering for chub. Ellis and I have fished this stretch most winters and hardly seen a soul, so it was nice to know other anglers were here too. 

It was nice to be back on the bank and amongst some fish. A short session today as I am going to fish a new river tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that. No spoilers, but I don't need to leave the NE postcode.....

Sunday 31 December 2023

2023 review


Flooded rivers (like 2022) started the year. I didn't fancy trying for a barbel, it might have been possible as it was a barmy 10 degrees. Instead I went for a few hours to Tilcon. It was hard going as I am not much of a winter stillwater angler. I stuck it out and enjoyed the few hours. A micro perch and one about half a pound reward for my efforts. The perch certainly got rewards too! 

Some time down in Dorset followed but when I was back I hit the Swale. Nine degrees when I left the house but there was ice on the field as I crossed to the river. 
Bread, cheese paste and maggots as bait. Caught big trout on all three! Plenty of good sized grayling found the net too, but actually hampered by the trout to be honest. They eat everything!! 

The end of the month and what a great trip. Only a few fish caught but the first time I took both kids to the river. It was a cold day, but both caught grayling on the float. Some great trotting, feeding and striking by both. Rupe christened his new rod with a strong fighting trout on cheese paste. We so hoped it was a chub. 


A quick session on the Tees with the feeder rod and one small skimmer was all I could catch. Lots of bites but I couldn't connect. If I was missing bites on the float, I get excited. On the feeder, I just get frustrated! How can they pull the rod and not be hooked!? Answers on a postcard......


The final session on the river season had me back on the Tees. Some brown crumb added to the groundbait was a great trick. Alternating between that in the feeder and then maggot feeder eventually got the fish feeding. Roach, perch, a skimmer and then a bleak/dace hybrid!?! Let's say a blace. 


One from one on the first day of April. Imagine fishing every day of a month!? I remember when I fished 8 days in a row in. That was fun, anyway I digress. I fished Tilcon on April fools day. I had the lake to myself, maybe something to do with the rain. I caught a good few fish including ide and gudgeon. A great day.

The kitchen scales joined me on my next trip as I wanted to weigh the little fellas. We tend to weigh just the biggest, but thought it would be interesting to weigh the smaller fish, just to know. Ended up with some three, four, five and seven and a half ounce silvers. A great days fishing. 


A blank holiday Monday started the month off. Tom and I went to Tilcon. We shared a swim, chatted about everything and generally chilled. Tom had a nice bream on the feeder, I blanked whilst float fishing sweetcorn. The sun came out and it was roasting. When Tom left, the heavens opened and I was soon drenched. I left chuckling about "fair weather anglers". Some weeks later it was back to Tilcon for more of the same. I was going to help with the work party at 10am so arrived at 5am to get a few hours relaxing fishing in. Catching some nice tench on the float it was relaxing, two carp picking up the single piece of corn on a size 14 to 3lb line however was not so relaxing! Both smashed me up, resulting in expletives and retackling often. It was a nice morning fishing though and after a good few hours of manual labour in the hot sun, it was off for home for a cool shower and a relax. These hands are not used to manual labour!

A few afternoon hours after work on Tilcon was a good distraction from stuff. Lots of fish swimming around and plenty of bites. Nothing hooked though, but I left relaxed. 


A line was not wet in June. There was a lot going on with Davey, chemo and hospice stay. He endured the cancer since diagnosis mid December but with no help from the chemo it was an uphill battle. He went into Weldmar hospice at the beginning of June and sadly died at the end of June. It proved there is more to life than fishing, but I definitely look back on the times we fished together with great fondness. Love you always dad. 


My first trip for over two months. Was a bit rusty but made the most of it. A lot of sitting, some fishing. Mashed bread and flake on the float worked well, I wanted to persist with this in the future.  Highlights were chilli sausage bait and a non blank!! 


The family fishing trip in Dorset this year was a little different. The water was salty! 
An hour spent for Mackerel was the plan, it turned into poor cod catching over a wreck. We caught eight fish between the four of us and thoroughly enjoyed the change of tactics! I still managed to get snagged and lost some tackle though. That does not change. 

Back up North and it was back to the Tees. I sat behind the feeder whilst the maggot or worm did its business. A cold wind and drizzle made the day uncomfortable. Casting the usual distance brought no bites, I then shortened the cast and a small skimmer and a perch soon started to warm me. A pike grabbing the feeder on the retrieve made for an interesting few minutes. It ended when the 2.5lb hook link snapped or got bitten through. 
The following day I was back on the Tees, this time with the float rod. 100 fish was enough to keep my mind off no morning cup of tea. It was topped off by a 1lb 4oz perch, same swim, similar size. I think the same fish..


A trip south had the potential for a couple of trips.  Zander the target on the canals around Coventry on the way down and barbel the target on a small London river. 
A wet day whilst walking on the canal, a lot of casting and lots of plastic removed from the canal. I am still not sure I am great at lure fishing but I dragged jigs and the like slowly across the bottom.  It wasn't a total blank, I caught a cap and a football amongst the plastic debris! 

A few beers and food with friends once I finally made it to London and the following day it was barbel fishing. Jar (Alan) and I jumped in a zip car and drove to the usual spot. We walked a fair few miles, looked, even with binoculars and saw no barbel!!
Eventually we spotted something decent, Brian!
He knows the river well and agreed the area we had been showed little fish action. He took us somewhere else and soon we were watching 14 fish in one swim! I cast in and watched a barbel focus on the bread, swim 15ft, push a chub out the way and take the bread! A 6lb 11oz fish soon in the net. 

There was another swim he showed us too. It was amazing, proper stalking. The casting was difficult, and I would of loved to fish it more. However, I put my hand on some nettles and couldn't really focus on anything else! 
First trip of 2023 with Ellis. Was great to catch up and catch fish. About 100 caught between us. Nothing huge, but fun all the same. All float caught in fairly pacey water on maggot or worm. Bread didn't do us any good! I fished the fast bits while Ellis the slack - there is a witty comment here about "life in the fast lane, or slow lane", but I wont go into that, especially as Ellis is a lot more active than me!!
Dace and chub still confuse us, but the perch and gudgeon were easy!

A chilled session at Tilcon followed the following weekend. I could not tempt anything except perch. Ten in  total found the net, well, were swung in! Some were the size of my little finger! 


A trip with the kids to the Swale in search of chub and grayling. We waited until the river was  fishable and in it's bank, last week it wasn't! Unfortunately with waiting, it had turned really cold. Single figures and a biting wind, meant for much fun but no fish. Well, some minnows for the kids and Heart Christmas on the radio being the highlights. 
The actual highlight which didn't make the blog entry was on the drive home. When we passed over the Swale and I pointed it to Rupe,  he thought we had been fishing on the Tees all day! Let's hope he doesn't take geography GCSE!! 

The month ended with a trip to a new section of the Wharfe. Ellis and I fished at Tadcaster, home of John  Smiths. Yummy! The day might have been better if we sat drinking in the brewery. No barbel caught but definitely noted for another time. A great stretch of river. 


A cold, Tees trip for Ellis and I. Tom venturing alone in search for pike. A blank for me, one pike for Ellis and an 18lb pb pike for Tom! 
Pike pals all around. Definitely need to review my cold water tactics, can't rely on chub on cheese paste all my life!! Nice to put some steps in and catch up with Ellis. Did he win that lottery yet!?? 

A lot fewer trips this year, due to family commitments. Some things in life are just more important. Hoping for more success in 2024 - See you there! 

Saturday 11 November 2023

Title intentionally left blank

Date fished 11/11/2023
8:30am until 3.30pm 

Two blanks from my last two trips, I was starting to get worried. With cold weather now approaching, the fishing was going to get tough. Looking at the conditions, and discussing with Ellis and Tom, a Tees trip was planned. 
What actually happened was Ellis and I went to a club water for pike and chub and Tom headed to an association water in search of pike. More on him later. 

I dropped in to get maggots and met Ellis at the venue at 8.30. A short walk to the river and we saw the frost waiting for us. In truth, the sun came out quite strongly and we both regretted not having sunglasses (for only about five minutes).

Ellis had pike gear and a ledger rod for chub, I had a chub ledger rod and a float rod for ..............

We walked a fair way upstream, avoiding a suicidal pheasant and decided on a spot, in hindsight the wrong spot. A few casts and some leaves caught.
I watched some bubbles move towards me, I knew what it was. An otter surfaced five feet in front of me, did a 360 flip and splashed away. A moment later popping its head out to look at me again. Was great to see. A few more leaves caught, so we moved on. 

Another spot fished, even more leaves caught here, so we headed back to the start of the beat. 
The fact this whole time was a few hours, shows the type of fishing trip we had, the highlight being a new jetty.

However, as always, it's not just about catching. Ellis and I had a good old chat and a giggle as every swim we fished in together. 

Picking a swim we both fancied, and should of started in. We fished again. After a few minutes Ellis's deadbait was away and a spirited pike swimming around in the deep slack. 

As we fished on, I remarked that we had not seen a Kingfisher. Not ten minutes later, one then two flew past, settled on branches opposite and fished there most of the afternoon. They caught more than me too!! 

With that premonition coming true so quick, I then tried my luck with declaring I had not caught a big chub, Ellis quickly announced he had not won the lottery yet! If he's not around tomorrow, he's won and not told us!! 

The phone was soon beeping with news from Tom's "lottery" win. He had caught a tiddler (his words). At 18lb 5oz, ( A new pb) it was a great pike. Well done to him!!

Soon it was getting colder and a quick move to another slack had me clutching for another blank saver. I had already tried and failed to catch a minnow. Ellis and I had both some snags to our tally though. 

It was not to be and the drive home was spent feeling proud of my mates and their pike! And I just got worms, not those kind!! Oh, and three blanks in a row! 

Saturday 28 October 2023

No Nonsense

Date fished 28/10/2023

8am until 4.30pm

100 miles to today's venue. Time to just sit in the car and think about life. Ellis and I decided to fish the Wharfe at Tadcaster today. 

The weather had the rivers up and down but looking online, asking the right questions on Facebook and watching Shane's video all helped us pick this venue!

We arranged to meet at 8.30 but as is my way, I am always early. I arrived just before 8am. Two minutes later Ellis pulled in to the car park. Perfect!!

Feeders in three, four and five ounces were packed, but I actually could of got away with using two ounces. The river was quite slow and looked perfect for a barbel or 12-15! I informed Ellis we would get a net full of five to seven pound fish. He calmed me down and said, let's just see..... 

We walked to the river, three ledger rods between us, plenty of bait of various flavours! The river was full of anglers, I think I counted about 20 at the end of the day, great to see a club full like that. I think it's down to geography, this venue is in the middle of town, so easily accessible, add to that only £5 on the bank and the chance of a good few barbel, I would certainly fish it a lot if I lived closer! 

It was foggy at first and the steep banks very slippery. I manged to clamber down and fish my single rod from a ledge. Ellis opted to cast from the top of the bank with his two and clamber down to land any fish. The baits were soon in the water and we waited patiently. 

A change from luncheon meat to my home made sausage and I got a definite knock. 

We are not sure if the Wharfe is tidal at this point, but soon where I was stood was getting wet. I retreated up the bank. I went to see Ellis, this was not a place we could chat together, we were sat 50 metres apart! 

Can you spot him? 

Whilst we chatted, he had two knocks. One I saw, one he did. Neither his bite alarm noticed! Hoping for more action, I went back to my swim. 

A change of baits and hooklink length made no difference. The barbel were not on the feed. We chatted to some local anglers and even asked Shane for his secrets. It was no good, nothing worked. We just had to keep casting and try harder. 

Some barbel were caught across the stretch by other anglers but sadly it ended in a blank for both of us. Next time, for sure. 

Before I go, I just wanted to share the best part of the day. It wasn't catching up with Ellis. It wasn't watching a large bird of prey circle really close above us. It wasn't the constant noise of the A64. It wasn't the "history" associated with Ellis's bait. 

Last time we fished, Ellis noticed my jealous gaze of his lunch. He got Carole, his wife, to make me, my own "all day breakfast butties" today. DELISH!! 

As John Smith would say - " Have it!!"