Saturday, 18 September 2021


Date fished 18/9/2021 - this time last year

6.45am until 3pm

Its not deliberate that my fishing is Swale, Tees, Swale, Tees etc but I guess I like to keep going with both my clubs to ensure I visit as much as possible each year. There will be times I am sure that one river slightly dominates. Ellis and I were discussing on our last trip that we prefer the Swale in winter and the Tees in summer. But, having said that there are times when we fish the Tees in winter for Grayling week after week! it's just nice to have options I think. 

Anyway, Ellis was busy so it was a solo Swale visit today. Two thoughts were on my mind as I prepared for this trip.

1. Barbel

2. Having missed our annual trip due to covid, I am taking Davey next week onto the Swale as a day ticket so wanted to check out some Chub ( he has never caught one) swims on the day ticket stretch in the hope that I can get him his first chevin.

Having fished the day ticket section a lot last year, with varying success as shown in this blog, I was pretty confident of dealing with number two, so it was onto number one - Barbel, again! 

I got my tackle ready on Friday evening and brought pellets and hot dog sausages - I had blanked using these sausages before but thought I would give them another go. 

Those that know me, know I am sometimes a fanny. Well in between getting kit ready on Friday evening and leaving 5.30am Saturday morning, I had changed my mind. I was going all out for Chub

I arrived bright and early and walked to the river. The rod was already set up so I had a quick cast in the first swim I got to. 

Nothing in here so I went for a walk. Walked a fair bit today, not eighty miles or even forty but a fair bit.
I walked upstream and spooked a good sized Pike that was just chilling in the shallows. It moved mid river and sat on the bottom. I watched it a while before heading off myself.
I tried many swims, ledger or free lined meat but no interest. The river is really low and the bottom still covered in thick weed. 

I had plenty of taps but I think that was Ronnie and Reggie. Twice I reeled in and a Crayfish was holding onto the bait. I had walked to 9lb bay, so called as Davey fluked a 9lb Pike from there in 2015, (6th pike down in the link pics.) It was here I turned around and headed back. I fished a few more swims and went downstream of where I started too. Nothing in swims both Ellis and I had caught in before. The river was really out of sorts. 

I saw a Trout zipping around the weed, it wasn't stopping so I kept going. A few more swims with not much happening and it was time for home. 

Oh, and I made zero connections with any fish!!

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Backwards twist with Pike

Date fished 11/9/2021

7am until 3.30pm

For reasons we all understand, I know where I was 20 years ago today. I was in Botswana, no fishing that trip but having watched River Monsters and similar, I would of loved to have fished for some African monsters, maybe one day. Now, I think of it I have not fished much abroad. Once in France when I was away with a mate in our early teens, unfortunately 70 pence bottles of wine and girls took over that fishing experience. Secondly off Marbella with Davey and my nan, we were Marlin fishing, sadly a big fat blank, and that's my lot. Note to self - need more fishing experience abroad!

Nothing as exotic today, although Ellis and I went to fish a part of the Tees we have not fished much, if ever together. I think I have only fished it a few times and Ellis the same. We came to look at it once but were not fishing so just looked from the bridge. It was an ATDAC water at Over Dinsdale. Armed with just trotting gear, we set off to the river. As is often on these rivers, the vegetation was huge and although we could see the river, having a swim (to fish from) was something entirely different. 

I was already set up and fishing whilst Ellis was getting ready. I had a Dace, Roach, Chub and Gudgeon in about six casts.  

Those eagle eyed of you will notice that these are different fish. I did indeed catch two different Gudgeon. Ellis got one too. It made us laugh as a recent post on Big Elbow Facebook page was asking about Tees Gudgeon only this week! 

We fished on as we needed a Perch to "complete the set". We wondered how many species we could catch in the Tees? 
Ellis soon adding the Perch. 

We had waded to the middle of the river, this was the shallower part and we fished along the edges. Usually, like most anglers we headed to the far bank. Today though, most of the fish were on our nearside bank, and barely a rod length out. Ellis quickly changed to some ledgered meat to see if a Chub (or Barbel) was hiding on the far bank. I switched to worm and caught four good sized Perch in as many casts. 

Ellis soon came back and we were both stood mid river enjoying a fish a chuck session. I added another species, a Grayling being caught. Honest it's there!! 

Being stood in the water, it dived safely back into the river. We decided to move, yes we were catching but we wanted to see some more or this stretch too. 

We fished where we could, plenty of the river was fishable if you got through the vegetation. We walked a good 100 metres and the swim numbers only went down by one! This really was a spread out section.

We caught in most of the swims, but moved on regularly to cover more ground. We targeted the faster sections as we assumed the fish would be in the oxygen rich water. Ellis found a fast run and caught a few Chub. The rain came down but it didn't dampen our mood. I wondered off upstream to try against a fallen tree. 

"I have a Barbel!!" Came the cry from Ellis. 

I could see him, his rod nearly bent double and line coming off his spool. I was only 30 metres upstream but I set off to see. Not looking properly, I slipped on a rock and fell in the river. I put my arm out and it went in up to my shoulder. Water coming in over my waders as I jumped up!! Quick as a flash I carried on to see what Ellis had caught. A few laughs as he saw how wet I was, was quickly changed to seriousness as he played this fish. I got the net ready and we finally saw his float. The rod still bent double, he played it towards us. Suddenly the rod sprang back, the weight was released and his prize was in the net! 

Clearly a good sized Pike had grabbed this Chub. We didn't make it eight species and we were both left stunned, and me very wet!!

After all this commotion, we moved again. I squelched as we went. 

We fished another fast glide, I managed a Perch and then a Chub on worm before being snagged. A few hooklinks later and we were catching in the fastest of white water. 

20 minutes walking and we had gone from swim 71 to 67. We found a swim and started to feed. At first glance there was no fish, but as the feed went in, suddenly it came alive. I was soon into some good Perch, this being the pick of them. 

It was soon going to be time for me to leave so we agreed 20 more minutes and we would pack up. After 30 minutes it was time to go. We had caught lots of fish and managed six species. 

A steady trudge back to the car and I could take off the waders. I rung out my socks and emptied the river water out of my boots. Still soaking there was nothing left to do, so it was trousers off and driving home in my pants. Sorry, no picture of that, ripped like Tom Daley I am not!! 

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Define 'blank'

Date fished 8/9/21

15:30 until dark - 8pm ish

With the nights now drawing in, I thought it was nearly the last opportunity for an evening after work session. I decided to head to Tilcon to target those Bream, well the 8lb plus Bream I had heard about, specifically! I had bait designed only for 8lb Bream and was keen to try it out (of course this is a lie).

Armed with some 12mm Robin Red pellets, some left over pva bags already tied, ledger weights and one rod, I headed to the lake. 

I have to say, that out of all of the "inventions" for fishing, the pva mesh bag has got to be right up there! I wish I used them more, I never really remember to bring or make them, last used here. But to have a small pile of bait right next to the hook, this is a great method. I was ready to fish in a few minutes, time was not on my side tonight, I was surprised when I checked sunset times now we are in September.

I walked round to the usual swim, cast out and waited. There was one other angler, I chatted with him. He had been fishing since 6am and had a good mixed bag. 
I wound in and noticed something on my hook. No rod indication but a (fairly) hooked in the mouth fish. My rod, line hook and bait had caught me a fish. So had I blanked?? 

I saw Carp and Bream topping, plenty of activity but no more fish. As I watched some members clearing some weed from pegs on the far bank I had a few knocks on the rod. Nothing materialised and as it got cooler and towards dark, I decided to head home. 

In truth it was a lovely evening to be sat by the lake. The rod in my hand (and fish) was just a bonus. Of course I didn't blank!! 


Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Just passing

Date fished 20/8/2021
5.50am until 2pm

I was passing by so thought it was rude not to pop in and say hello. I would give the Swale an early morning try and see if the Barbel were about. Armed with one rod and some pellets as bait, I cast in the swim I fished last week and waited.  No fish came and conditions were tough. 
The highlight was a Chub  swimming about just in front of me. I dropped my bait in the water and watched it smell the pellet and swim in a zigzag towards it. Finding it in the weed. Unfortunately when it saw the bait, it just turned and slowly swam away. So I will slowly leave now too....

Take a friend fishing

Date fished 21/08/2021

8am until 3pm 

Todays trip was quite different. I made use of the Angling Trust's offer and took an old friend fishing. We fished the Trent at Stoke Bardolph, a day ticket stretch. 

We arrived and parked right behind our swim (25), perfect as it was supposed to get wet later. As we set up, fish were already rolling. 

The swim was wide enough for us both to sit together and not too steep that the bank was slippery. I started with 15mm pellets on a ledger and Susan had 6mm pellets on the feeder filled with bread crumb. 

After a short while of no bites and a chat with the bailiff, I decided to change to worms. The likelihood of a Barbel in the day was slim to zero and with worms we could catch any variety of silvers, Perch or Bream. This proved a good choice, as soon as I had changed baits, the rods were bouncing with the usual knocks. 

I was casting the upstream rod to the same spot. Without the line clipped but out of all the casts in the day I can honestly say 99% were exactly on the spot! 

This accuracy surely helped and most of the constant taps were on this rod. But it was my rod that actually went first though, a small Roach pulling the bait runner as it fled the scene! 

Then the heavens opened. First a few spots, and then a bit more. The brolly was quickly set up and the swim was even more perfect.

The bites were still constant on Susan's rod and eventually she had her first fish. A greedy Perch her prize. 

As we fished on, we missed more bites. It was however no problem. We were out to have a catch up and chat, the fishing was just a bonus. The rain stopped and the sun came out, the brolly was now a parasol! The sun dried all the kit, so we decided to pack away before the next rain came. 

As I looked out on another river, I vowed I would be back. 

Three men and a moor

This is the story of The Lyke Wake Walk - 40 miles across the highest and widest part of the North York Moors.

Dwix, PC and I planned to do this walk over the bank holiday weekend. Unlike Hadrian's walk, Dwix did all the planning, all I had to do was turn up and walk! He planned it so we would camp two nights at the same place and do a car shuffle each day to allow us to walk across the moor. Our plan was day 1, Ravenscar to Wheeldale (12 miles), Wheeldale to Clay bank (18 miles) and Clay bank to Ostmotherley (12 miles) - sounds easy enough!

It is a challenge walk, supposedly undertaken in 24 hours (assume continuous), however we were doing it in three days and at a good pace. We met people who had started at 1am and were doing it in one go. Even chatted with a guy that said his fastest time was 11 hours, I replied simply with a "f@$k that!!"

We met at about 0830 on Saturday at the side of a Roman road. I left my car, and Dwix drove us to Ravensacar so we could start. The official start is the pub in the Ravenscar Hotel, as it was 10am we started at the gates outside. A lovely view of Robin Hoods bay left us as we headed West.

A minor navigation error in the first few hundred metres meant we back tracked a little, this was met with a few laughs and confidence in Dwix's map reading skills. We were soon heading up onto the moors, the phrase "up onto the" is going to be implied alot, but I will try not to type it too much. Dwix saying "its up here", was usually followed by me and PC replying "of course its up here!!"

A steady walk across moorland, some trails and tracks soon had us stopping for lunch. A nice bench providing a seat and a great view of the North Yorks steam train made for a perfect stop. 

We continued along the yellow brick path (really it was) and the chatter and laughter kept our spirits up. The day ended with a ravine crossing! up a very steep bank through thick ferns with very little path, this was serious walking, that I likened to Jurassic park! PC pointing out, "I hope there are no dinosaurs", we didn't see any, but there could be some still out there. 

The car shuffle then started, we drove in my car back to Dwix's car, but instead of going straight to the campsite and doing the shuffle in the morning, we went and parked my car at the end point of day two, we were then ready to start in the morning. After all of that, we went to the camp site. It was fairly busy with lots of families enjoying the sun. It was boiling, and the tent went up as easy as the cold beers went down. Showers followed and we headed to the pub. Not to be out done with alliteration, the evening followed Pate, Pie and Pints - perfect!

Some Bourbon under the skies and it was soon bedtime, still only nine something, but a long day awaited us tomorrow. 

Day two started with a 5. Dwix getting up and making hot drinks and breakfast as PC and I got ready. With lunch made, breakfast eaten it was back to Wheeldale to start the day. When we got out the car it was freezing. The wind was blowing hard across the barren moor and it was Baltic!! A big change from the sunny hot day yesterday. With jumpers and coats on we set off.

It was not only the weather that was different on day two, there was also a distinct lack of path at the start. We had about an hour of wading through knee high Heather just to make our way across the moor, eventually we found a path. As we walked past a dense forest, our voices echoed off the trees. The terrain changed several times from moorland to bog!! A couple of times we were boot deep (plus a bit over) in water or squelching mud!! this was proper walking! 

After a classic slip in mud by Dwix - no pic sadly, the boggy terrain finally gave way to road, and we could finally see civilisation - An old Castlemaine XXXX advert going over in my head, "Snowy, I can see the pub from here!!"
We arrived at the Lion Inn at 11:30, but it didn't open until midday. We took off our boots and sat outside to eat our lunch. By midday we were ready to walk again, so without a pint (I know!!, CRAZY) we decided to leave the sheltered spot and we carried on our way.

The track now was an old railway, flat and stony. Here we were able to pick up the pace and we soon motored towards the highest point of the North Yorkshire Moors at Urra Moor at 454 metres. 

It was always 'just over the next ridge' to the end, and eventually after several ridges, the car park was in sight. An extremely steep downhill (whoop) path got us to the end point for the day.
We didn't prep the car shuffle tonight, we would do that in the morning. We dropped PC back at camp to boil eggs for tomorrow whilst Dwix and I collected his car. Within an hour we were all back at camp, showering and drinking beer. I had booked a table at a local curry house in Beadlam - we called it "Bedlam" what could be more apt?!?

After an amazing curry, my groin had seized up. I could barely walk. The only way I could move was by walking backwards! We laughed all the way to the pub and had a night cap there. This cured me and I was then able to walk back to the tent, I went straight to bed as Dwix and PC and another night cap or two. We all went to bed, but slept a little as our tent neighbours decided they would not sleep at all!

Our day three is most people's start, as usually the walk is done West to East. However, Dwix and always (twice now) go to East to West and never in rainy weather. The reason for starting in the East is that the hardest part of the walk is at the start when walkers are at their freshest. Oops, we were not at our freshest, although the methane curry energy helped us! This section of the walk is described as "the rollercoaster" 700 metres up and 800 metres down steep cliffs for many miles. Just the treat PC deserved on his birthday!

A few snoozes on the alarm and we finally got up. Breakfast and lunch made we packed away the tent and all our stuff. Leaving the campsite behind, we set off. We parked my car is Osmotherley and drove back to Clay bank to start. The roads were slow and winding and not helped by the rain. By the time we parked up it was raining proper and even getting booted up in the car didn't help. It was rain coats on, hoods up and onwards uphill. 
This was the most difficult part of the walk, the continuous climbing up rocky steps taking its toll on my pace, I was doing 2 miles an hour max! The first hour we did not even manage two miles distance. The flat parts allowed us to regain some energy and we were soon getting into it.

A clearing in both the weather and terrain found us at a car park, a sign declaring "hot pies" - this was not to be missed and we sat undercover and had an amazing steak and ale pie each!
The climbs were relentless but after what seemed like an age, especially the last "two miles", we arrived in Osmotherley. A pint awaited us and was most welcome. One last car shuffle back to collect Dwix's car and we were ready to bid farewell.

A great walk and great to enjoy it with old friends. There is five of us in our old school group of friends, maybe next blog I will be introducing you to two more stupid nicknames??!.......