Thursday 1 December 2016

Equipment list aka Tackle!

As my mum would tell you, as a boy, I would very often get all my fishing stuff out of the shed, garage or wherever it was being stored at the time and carry it all into the house, lay it out on the floor and "sort it". The anglers amongst you will understand but for the rest, sorting basically entailed going through all my tackle; throwing out old casters you find in the corners of boxes or aprons, chucking out that small plastic bag or box that you have kept for several years " just incase a small item fits in it" and generally being proud of all the tackle you own! I often hear people say the tackle in tackle shops are just about catching anglers as they are about catching fish!

Unfortunately I still do this now!!

It was during a sort out that I realised I did not actually know all the rods and reels I have gathered over the years and an inventory would be useful. If for no other reason than a) it would be fun and I was not on the bank and b) there is always that rod, that would be perfect for the situation that you find yourself in when you did not know you had it, so it was left at home. I usually am sure what my fishing trips will be for, so I only take what I think I will use. I would hate to have stick float set up with maggots on the river while a big pike was swimming around my silvers, leaving me no chance of trying for her.  Most of my fishing is for pike now but strangely enough I still have tools for the stick float, maybe one day I will find the will to try it, watch this space.......

Korum 12ft 2lb tc Barbel rod
CK Armaplate 12ft 2.75lb tc Carp rod
Mitchell 12ft 2.5lb tc Carp rod
Leeda Blue Diamond 13ft 1.25 lb tc Specimen float rod
Daiwa 12ft 1.25lb tc Specialist Avon
Chevron 10ft float rod
Keenly 12ft ledger rod
13ft super lights float rod
Drennan Graduate pole
NGT 9ft travel rod cw 20-50g
March series 7ft Lure rod cw 5-21g

Mitchell excellence 60 special
Shimano 6010 Baitrunner
Abu Garcia 1044 closed face
DAM Camaro LSB 235
Shimano Exage 2500FD
HTO Ventura Baitcaster
Comoran BX LN 30

The carp rods are what I use for my deadbait pike fishing, the other rods more suited to chub, barbel on rivers and occasional closed season forays to carp waters. My first fishing trips were on heavily stocked, easy carp waters where I used the Keenly rod. My old faithful rod, more about those trips later.
The newest edition, the korum is still a virgin as it was used on the Wye. I will maybe venture on the river soon and see if it can tame a Swale chub.
The Baitcaster is pure too, have only cast a few times with it, but thinking of using it this weekend with the travel rod on a lake I have been targeting for pike.

I don't claim to have fancy or up to date tackle but I care for it and love using it as often as I can.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Wye did we blank??

Last week saw me and Davey, you should know who that is by now, visit the River Wye in Herefordshire.

We had prepared with pike gear and barbel gear to spend a day fishing for each. We had been informed by a local guide that conditions were not great. The river was low and clear and fishing poorly.

Unfortunately like most of us, the days we pick to go fishing are the only days we can go. There is no waking up on any particular day and just deciding to fish and no chance to have a quick look at the river and decide to go the next day instead. We were committed so off we went.

I had obtained a guide for the first day so we could get to see the area and have some tips. I don't think guides are cheap, however we had never been there before and thought the expert help would be invaluable. The second day we were to fish on our own. The guide however felt that the conditions were so poor that he could not guide us properly, we were to go it alone!

We met him however, and he took us to the river so we at least knew where to park, where the beat started and ended, all important things that I don't think are always clear from maps, websites etc.

The beat we fished was Goodrich court and actually the info we did have from the Wye and Usk foundation website was good.
Armed with our pike gear we walked upstream to fish every slack we came across. The river really was low, we could see our bait in most swims which just added to the anticipation of seeing a pike swim in to investigate.  There were many slacks and we were able to sit in most of them together with sardine on one rod and joey mackerel on the other. Before we left our guide passed on some info that I will use in future, cast once, leave for 20 mins, cast again, that second cast may just get the pikes attention, leave for 10 mins, if no takes move on. Never have three casts.

Sadly there was no action in any slacks and by late afternoon it was time to pack up and find our accommodation. After a long drive around as I had put the wrong post code in the sat nav we finally arrived at out Inn, which was a couple of miles from where we had been fishing!!!!

A few pints and food later and it was ready for bed as the morning would bring barbel fishing.

The river had risen about three foot over night and was heavily coloured, every swim on the new beat Lower hill court, looked perfect for barbel, although Davey was still thinking about fishing the slacks for pike!!!

Again we walked the length of the beat and looked for a double swim where we could set the chairs up and get the feeders out. We found a nice looking swim, although a little slippy underfoot, just for Daveys boots though, and we were ready to set up.

Feeders, hair rigs, pellets and stinky paste all made an appearance and we were soon sat behind our rods waiting. I had bought new feeders for this trip and left the larger 3 and 4 oz ones at home as the river was so low and clear. However, this increase in water meant our 2oz feeders were often washed towards the edges.

My half of the swim looked perfect, over hanging trees which contained a previous anglers feeder, so I knew I was in the right place.

The day passed with little action unless you count Davey casting, letting go off his rod, it nearly going in the river and then him nearly falling in to retrieve it!!!!

We both enjoyed our two days on the Wye. A double of double blanks but we vowed to try and make it an annual trip and who knows, next time we won't be asking Wye we blanked!

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Pike 1, Angler 1 – A draw

My first “winter pike” session was sat 1st October. I arrived at the water at 6.20am in the pitch black, as the sun just started to rise. The water was steaming as the mist cleared and plenty of fish were topping, I assumed being chased by pike. I had been informed that this particular water was best fished early morning, so here I was, ready.

The water was very weedy, so I had beefy tackle. Heavy 40 lb plus braid, wire trace, two trebles and a large section of lamprey. I cast it in the perfect spot and waited. 20 mins past with no interest, so I decided to re position the float. As I wound in, I realised I was snagged on the weeds, this had happened on previous trips and I always pulled the gear free. As I pulled gently, I felt a grating and then the line broke, I must have been rubbing on an underwater obstacle because I had not pulled that hard. Immediately I felt awful, a baited trace is a dead pike, rattled around my head. Just then my Float popped up to the surface, now I had a target. I quickly tied on a paddle toad lure and began to cast at the float. I caught it several times and pulled it closer and then it would fall back in the water and go further out. 30 mins had past and I continued to cast at the float. Eventually I caught it with the hook and I had a firm hold.I started to pull the tackle in. Just then it went rigid and started to move. A fish had grabbed the lamprey and was swimming off. I was now playing a pike on a line that I had hooked by the float on a lure attached to a different line!! The pike swam away and I managed to hold on, loosening the drag so I could play it lightly as the light hook hold on the float began to slip. I played it for about 10 mins then the hook slipped off the float and I watched it sail away. Again I was devastated, not for the loss to me, but to the pike. Then my float bobbed back to the surface about twice the distance out. I had to recover the trace!

I was now stood right on the water’s edge, slowly slipping into the water as I cast repeatedly at the float. Again I managed to hook it and slowly pull it towards me. Minutes ticked away. I was able to walk up the bank and grab the float by hand to hand line the pike. Sadly and gladly the pike had let go of the trace and was no longer hooked. I managed to pull in the braid, the float, the trace still with the lamprey attached. By now a couple of hours had passed and I had missed the optimum feeding time. I bundled the line into my bag and sat down for a coffee. I thought about missing the chance to catch a pike and the fact that I had potentially saved a pike form dying at the hands of my lost trace. I was happy. I felt I had made the right decision and we both had won.

I continued to fish for an hour, with no further interest. I packed up and drove home. Glad that the pike lived to face another day, I will be back next week.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

First to Best

I have told you the story of my first ever fish so will jump forward 10 years to my best. August 2000 River Yare, Norfolk Broads.

Although I could now drive myself, pay for myself and certainly make my own lunch, my dad was again with me for this trip, he did pay and drive too actually!!

We were on a two day Pike Safari with The Predator People.

We had Pike fished once before on Bewl water from a boat in the winter. The weather was awful, we were not very experienced  but we thoroughly enjoyed it. By the end of the day my dad had managed to fluke a small Pike and lose his new water proof gloves.

We decided to go with a guide as we knew Pike fishing was specialist, Pike need to be treated with respect and with great care as we did not want to hurt ourselves and more importantly the fish, if we caught any.

Our guide was Allan, he had more knowledge in his little finger than we had in both our bodies, more importantly he had Pike fished for many years and still had both his little fingers.

After meeting our guide and getting all the kit we set off on the boat to a secret location. In truth its not secret, back then I never kept notes so I have no idea where it was. We moored mid river and fished off each side of the boat to what I can remember was a featureless area on the broads. I say this because all my other broad trips were full of me declaring every reed clad bend on the water to be " definitely Pikey" and yet I had never caught a Pike.

Rods set up, we cast into the spots and waited. The advice was, on seeing your float move, to reel down to disengage the bait runner, reel till line was taught and then strike. Failure to do the first could lead you to flying off the back of the boat as you strike and with no resistance with the bait runner, not even a 30lb pike would stop an early bath.

It was not long before my float moved, twitched, bobbed and sailed away. I was in! Omg. Was so excited, followed the above advice perfect, you thought I was going to fall in! I was latched on to leviathan.
I played it easily on the strong tackle in open water and suddenly it surfaced. My dad and I looked at each other and simultaneously said "Croc." The Pike was an awesome sight, so long, strong with a huge head. We had no idea of weight but having never caught before, it was my Pb.
We landed, unhooked and weighed the stunning fish. It was exactly 15lb. I was so chuffed. Allan said it would be a 20 in the winter as it had a large hollow belly. Did I wish it was a 20? Of course I did, I still do over 15 years later as it is still my Pb, but it does not stop me trying to better it. I was no less happy though and if a twenty graces my net now, my grin will resemble my 20 year old one below, plus the ever greying beard!

15Lb Pb Pike

The trip continued, my dad caught a 14lb 11oz and I caught 3 12lb fish and several smaller Pike, including some in the middle of the night, woken by the bleep of a run on the bite alarm. " Its your rod dad, go" only to be told " you get it son, I am sleeping"

Yeah he sleeps a lot, but he was happier seeing me catch than himself. A quality he tries to remember when he landed the pike in my previous post.

This pic was to show the size of Pike you can catch on a largeish lure!

I would recommend going on an organised Pike trip first of all, or with someone who can handle the Pike safely.
Now, I was armed with this knowledge and hunger to better my Pb, I set off to become a Pike fisherman.

Friday 2 September 2016


Before I tell you about my more recent fishing tales I thought I should start at the beginning.

December 25th 1990, assume early o' clock.

I was 10. Presents included my very first fishing equipment.

A 10ft Daiwa Match rod, I still have this although it has now been repaired because I stood on it and broke the cork handle.

Reel, I think it was a Fisherman 5 hundred something. I do not still have this!

Line, assume thin.

Hooks, 16 and 18 spade ends.

Weights, plummet, floats, disgorger and ½ pint of maggots sat in the fridge next to a huge Turkey and more veg than River Cottage HQ.

A book, The Know How Book of Fishing, of course I still have this book, my 6 year old son, Rupert likes to read it and now I have bought him the updated version.

Original on left, "modern" on the right.

All this kit was placed in a Liverpool FC Boot bag and kept for Boxing Day as there was also a “ticket” to fish South hill Park pond the very next day.

Boxing Day came and the weather was inclement to say the least. Bearing in mind like many other anglers they fished because their dad did, mine did not. So there was no fishing trip that he was always going on that I was then dragged to. Mine was completely the opposite. My dad would take me fishing every Saturday that I wanted to go and he would sit with me, read the paper, eat the sticky buns and frangipanes, sleep and just be happy watching me fish. It’s not much different now, although he does fish, usually flukes a bigger fish than me but still likes to sleep whilst doing it!

So we waited till the afternoon but it was still windy, rainy and awful looking. My dad still took me on that day to fish the pond. We had very little idea what we were doing. We had spooled the reel before in the warm, string on the spool first, just like the book showed us.

Opening our tackle bag, remember it’s just a Liverpool FC boot bag, we saw the floats were broken. Wooden floats put in just a bag meant they just snapped. We had one that was not broken so that was what we used. Now we had to tie on a hook. We used the book to try and tie the spade ended hook on, I still don’t think this is easy but we persevered and formulated some kind of knot that held the hook on the line and did little for what I would now call rig presentation.

We finally had a rig we were happy with. The weights pretty much pulled the float under in the wind and tow of the water. The line was so light and springy it just came of the reel on its own. The maggots were thrown in liberally to stop them getting to wet in the driving rain. We were for all purposes “Fishing”

I was casting like a pro, well, I was following the book again. Finger on line, lift up bail arm etc etc. My rig was always being positioned perfectly. Perfectly in the trees, perfectly in my dad’s coat and perfectly in a pile on the concrete bank we stood on.

We stood in the wind and rain for what seemed like hours with very little action. Mostly because I wanted to re cast every few seconds to where fish must be. I was casting for the 1000th time and then it happened. Birdsnest!

The mother of all birdsnests. We had over filled the spool with this bouncy line. The wind had blown at the right time on freezing hands and the majority of the spool had emptied between the reel and the first eye. Great big clumps of line now covered the reel, my hands, the rod, the floor everything. But the cast had worked, the baited hook had gone in the water, I would estimate a 16th of an inch from the concrete bank and maybe a foot down in the water, but it was definitely in.

My dad set about to untangle this birdsnest. We assumed that was what you did, the book did not have a chapter on this. It was impossible, even with 20 fingers picking loops and holding them still, this was not going to work.

“Stop pulling the line Ad” was all I heard.

I shrugged. For once, I was doing as I was told. “Stop pulling the line Ad” came from my dad again.

OMG, FISH ON! The line was being tugged, the rod tip was shaking, the line was going, and we had hooked something. There was no way we could reel in, so we just lifted the rod. This was all that was needed as a 4oz Perch on 10ft of carbon is not likely to go anywhere, but to us it was magic. The seed was sown.

A quick flick to page 7 showed us how to handle the perch, and unhook it. This was a spikey little critter I thought, am I sure I wanna be catching things like this? Of course the answer was yes, I wanted more and more.

The Hanky came out my dad’s pocket, we wet it and handled the Perch confidently. The hook was removed and we put it back to swim down and away. I think I have simplified this a little but we definitely had felt like winners.

We packed up and headed home for cold meat and bubble and squeak, what a boxing day. What a memory. What a result. Can still see the smile and little chuckle that my dad did in the car on the way home, it was a lot more dignified than the ones he does now when I take him on the Swale and he catches a 9LB pristine looking Pike on a sardine bigger than our first ever Perch. A tenuous link, but I don't have a pic of that first ever Perch!

Tuesday 30 August 2016

What Type of Fisherman am I?

What type of fisherman am I?

I read Anglers Mail every week and it always then makes me think, what type of fisherman am I?

Most of my fishing and therefore my kit is Pike fishing, although I still have a pole, a keep net and 2 Abu 1044’s!

I have storm wraps and pegs for my 50 inch brolly but I do not think they have ever been wet.

The bottom of my box which remains in my seat box is full of star lights that have passed their use by dates.

My Bite alarm takes an AA battery and would be better placed at the front of my house to let me know when someone is at the door.

I have never fished a match, but I will say to my dad “first to catch gets the beers in” and to my son “first to catch gets to choose the cakes”

The number of packets of hooks I own reassembles our biggest on line fishing shops stock.

I have never dropped a lead on purpose and always take my litter home.

My knots are always planned but then end up from my head, and my rigs are perfect for me.

I love to plan my trip to the n’th degree, but no one ever tells the fish that!

I have a whole box of stick floats but have never seen them bury as the lady of the stream devours the red maggots dangling below.

I am a member of 2 clubs, but will also collect day tickets like stamps!

I have dipped a boilie once and flung it with a 3oz lead 50 yards towards an island where a Coot promptly ate it.

I have sat in a boat on a reservoir in 40ft plus of choppy water, and sat round a pond chopping luncheon meat for trout, stocked to be fished for in the close season!

My PB is a 15lb Pike, but my scrap book is full of pics. My biggest Bream and Tench combined would barely scrape a pound

I am the best type of fisherman as I love my fishing!