Wednesday 29 November 2017

Distress call answered

Date fished 26/11/2017

I am in several Fishing groups on Facebook that cover my fishing; Tees group, Swale group, Pike group and Barbel group to name a few. You will know from reading my blog, I am happy to share info with people and I like to ask questions too.

It was in one such group that I put a distress call out saying I had never caught a Grayling, (you will note from my what type of fisherman am I post?) and would love to try and catch one this winter.

Two guys answered me, Dave and Ellis, who I had chatted with before but never met, saying they knew a spot and would take me out that weekend!! It was a great response. I was excited to try and catch a Grayling and pleased to be meeting some new like minded anglers.

We arranged to fish the Tees at Piercebridge the following Sunday. I would be trotting maggots, something I have not done too much and they would be using fly gear. I got my bait on Friday after work and needed to keep them for Sunday, a few box changes and cleaning was required which definitely got me into the mood for Sunday.

We met at 8am and the wind would have had to warm up a bit to be described as "bitter", it was freezing!! We tackled up and were ready to hit the river. We were going to be wading and fishing spots going downstream then work our way back. Immediately I loved the wading, its not a method I have done a huge amount, I waded once in the Kennet a good few years ago and had to duck ( no pun intended) so a swan could take off, it appears I was stood slap bang in the middle of the runway!

Stood a third of the way out, throwing a few maggots in and trotting a heavy chubber style float down the current was perfect. I enjoyed the "trying" to catch which is different with a trotted float than siting behind a ledgered bait.

As we moved down river, I was at the front and Ellis was at the back, a bit further down Dave had told me Ellis had caught the first Grayling. I had missed it. Was this to be the only fish of the day and I missed even seeing the lady of the stream?

We moved on. Deeper pools, shallow glides and then rapids! the river had it all. We stayed at a deeper pool for a while as we all decided it looked good. I walked a way down as we could not all fish it at once, when I returned Dave had just caught a fish! 0 from 2, was I ever going to see a Grayling?

It was my turn, the guys let me in the swim as clearly the fish were there. A few trots down and the float buried, I stuck into the fish, fish on. In this current playing a fish is an awesome feeling, you are taking on the fish and the river it seems. Ellis came out with his custom net and netted the most spectacularly looking....... Brown Trout I have seen! 0 from 3 - was I ever etc etc?

I continued in this swim for a while, no fish, so then we walked back up stream.  A few more swims and no Grayling. We were near to where we started now, so again went in search for the fish. Dave and I waded out and begun to cast out. Dave struck into a fish, it was a good size fish, his rod bending over then disaster the hook pulled. Suddenly my float went under, I was in. ping, same out come as Dave.

We carried on fishing in the same spot with Ellis joining in and in 30 mins must have had 8 Grayling between us. I had done it!! caught my first, second and third Grayling. Tried and targeted. It was great. My third being a good sized fish of about a pound.

The float had buried, I struck it was all text book.

I  must admit I really enjoyed the trotting and dare I say it catching 4 smaller fish over the course of the day gave me a good appreciation of targeting these fish with maggots and not sitting behind my feeders or dead baits all day.

Thanks for the images, all expertly caught on Ellis's GoPro including this one of his fish, worth the wet cap!!

As we walked back to the car and Dave warmed up, we decided we would go out again. This fishing is great, ladies of the stream and new friends all in one day.

Wye did we go back???

Date fished 10-11/11/2017

That's wye!!

After last years Wye blank we were back. We have fished for long enough to not let a little weekend blank stop us.

We booked with Angling Dreams again and decided to fish 2 new beats, Thomas wood and Home farm. Adam had suggested these and we thought wye not?! (enough with the why spelling now?)

I was travelling down on the Friday to meet Davey at 9am and to fish that day and the next. I set the alarm for 0320 and would be leaving by 4!
After a good journey we met about 0830 at the Priory. We knew where we had to walk to for Thomas Wood, so set off. I had Pike and Barbel gear, Davey had...... fallen over!!

First sign of mud and he was on his arse. Off we went again, me with my gear and Davey with his Pike gear.

The river was very different to last year, there was more water and some great looking swims, although hard to access from steep banks. We carried on walking hoping to walk the whole beat first and see how many likely swims there were to drop in on the way back. I had found a few and Davey had... fallen over again!! Twice, it was not even 10am.

Making sure nimble foot was ok, we carried on. We found  a great open swim and proceeded to Pike fish, deep slacks, fallen trees, it looked great. I tried sink and draw and managed only to cast into the tree behind us and get tangled. ( 2-1 I hear Davey cry)

We kept moving, trying likely spots and generally just catching up. It was a social as well as a fishing trip. We eventually got to the end of the marked beat, so I was happy we had seen it all. With half the day gone, we walked back and continued to fish the likely slacks, no one though had told the Pike that these were likely slacks! they were indeed unlikely.

We got back to the first swim. Davey again Pike fished while I got out a long hair rig I had tied. I was able to rig 3 premonition pellets (from the Trent trip) on it. I cast it into the middle of the river and sat down. The early start was catching up with me as I laid back on the unhooking mat.
Davey asking me what the rig was as suddenly my rod slammed over, the bait runner screaming. I grabbed the rod and held on. A great fight ensued followed by some excellent netting by Davey of the Barbel you see above.

When Davey finally got my sling, it weighed 5lb 10oz. I was officially a Barbel angler? 2 fish from 2 different rivers plus my Stillwater fish? I must be.

As I held it in the current for it to recover and it pulled strongly away, I had a big grin on my face, able to share a great fish with my dad. As I turned to give him a firm handshake I was greeted by a foot, again he was on the floor! third time!!

We fished till dusk, with no more fish and walked back to the car. A short drive this time got us back to the pub. Happy Hour greeted us and we enjoyed its company.

After a huge breakfast we hit the river again, Home Farm this time.

This looked very different, we found many more slack swims, so both of us Pike fished all day.
Davey coming up trumps with a great looking Pike that sadly did not want to see us.

Davey hooked it very close in, under a tree. I ran over and netted it. The pike went mental in the net, I have never seen one thrash so much. I lowered the bottom of the deep net in the water, hoping that being it the water it would calm down. It did not. It rolled like a crocodile so fast that with a treble in the bottom of the net, the rolling easily took up the 30 inches of net (I just measured it) in a few seconds. It was therefore at the top! as I tried to pull the net over the bank, it slipped over the net. Fine we thought, still hooked we thought. No, both trebles were neatly in the net!!

We had failed to put it on the bank, although it was defo a catch!? I estimated it at 8 to 9lb and it was a lovely looking fish.

We fished some classic Pike swims, slack, over hanging bushes, we had fish jumping, we had fish splashing in the margins under our feet but sadly we had no more fish that day.

We fished just into dusk and even the rain did not stop our enjoyment.

We are looking forward to Wye 3 next year, so I can get the puns going again and Davey can work on his idiopathic drop attacks!!

What a difference a day makes

Date fished 28/10/17

Three weeks later - same swims on the Swale, same baits, same plan. Very different result. In a word


Is strange how it can be like that, but that's fishing. I made use of the time on the bank again though, trying to see swims, work out areas and build a plan for next time, there is always a next time.....

The chub swim ( 3 weeks earlier it was!!)

Am fishing

Perfect set up, well I thought so...

Defo getting cooler up North, Thinuslate out now!

Blanking with "Brian" on a stillwater

Date fished 21/10/17

Due to Storm Brian and huge weather conditions I decided to fish a Stillwater for Pike. It is a very weedy and deep 5-6 acre water. I have never caught from there but know there is Pike in it. It was more to get out and have a go.

I did not manage to catch anything that day, however I did go to the River after so I could put a visual mark to what the river level websites were saying. I live some distance from where I fish so need to know the trip is not to be wasted. However, I find looking at the river level website is still hard to actually know what it means.

Of course I can understand if it is above the normal level, in flood etc. but I needed to see what 0.897 m and falling actually meant.

Well, I can tell you, the Tees was huge and bombing through!
Think I will leave the river level stuff to the EA.

"7 swans a distracting the pike angler"

Love it when a plan comes together!

Date fished 07/10/17

Todays plan was simple. Target a new stretch of the River Swale for Chub and Pike.

Bag packed, Chub bits, Pike bits

Arrived at river as sun was rising. WOW! what a difference the other bank makes. This was a new stretch to me, this was the Stockton side of the Swale at Morton, where I normally fish the Northallerton side. I am in both clubs and Darlington too, plus the association waters that come with the membership.

The swims looked great, it looked like the side to fish, but as I probably said the opposite a few years ago on the other bank! we would see what side was greener.

First swim looked chubby, so I thought I would try something new. Touch ledgering with curried meat. Had never caught on curry flavoured meat before so would give it another go. Holding the rod was ace, you could feel everything, suddenly a tap and a pull. strike, I was in. ping, the hook pulled, I was......??? out??! ( do we say out, if before I was in?? hahahaha

I quickly put another piece of meat on the hair

First Homemade hair

and cast it in. pluck, pull, strike. I was in, again. this time I managed to play it in the flow and slipped the net under a lovely Chub. Had been here 5 mins and was catching chub!!

I moved along the bank alternating between Chub or Pike tactics depending on what the swims looked like. I spoke with a few other anglers and defo found some spots to try in the winter.

As I moved further along the bank, I was targeting Pike. One swim looked very "Pikey" so on went the dead bait.
After 10 mins the float lifted, I struck into the fish. Again, I was in. A good sized pike jumped out the water, swam around and eventually came to the net. Then my treble caught the net, the fish rolled and the hook came out of the pike. It gently slipped backwards and as I tried to net it again, I got the twang of resistance as the net was still hooked!! I did not manage to net the pike and it slipped back, completely unhooked but without it's picture taken.

I was annoyed, blew my chance of two targeted species caught. I rebaited and cast out.
10 mins later, the float went. Same result. Was in again. A different fish, as I had seen the first pike had a lump on its head. This time it went in the net perfectly. It was an awesome looking fish.

Saved a blank

Date fished 23/09/17

After my Barbel fishing I thought I would persist with my Tees Pike target. I went off with lures to see if I could tempt one. I am less familiar with the Tees still, really just getting to grips with it. I took some pellets etc to see if I could maybe tempt a Chub too. I am changing my approach often at the moment, using different bags and taking different kit. It is somewhat annoying to either carry everything or not have the right bits to target a species on the day. I move my kit before each trip to the bag or bags I am taking and see how it works. I will keep you updated on this as it is still a work in progress!


The fishing was hard, I lost a few lures in trees and traces too. In truth I had a nightmare. I had not packed enough traces or bits to make new ones. So by midday I was out of Pike fishing kit so was left to walk around and target Chub. I know big chub are caught on the Tees, I don't know where but do know it’s mostly in the dark. I stayed most of the day and targeted likely areas, but really it was a good opportunity to walk some of the river and try to improve my watercraft.



After a long day of being along the bank, up a tree and wading through the weir,

I set off for home. Grateful of this little fella that I caught on about my first cast, a good many hours before home time. Oh!, and by not having enough Pike bits it seems I need to work harder on my preparation before a trip!!

Trent Barbel

Date fished 14-16/09/2017

After my Stillwater Barbel success for Anglers Mail, I was really hoping to catch a river Barbel. I had tried before, kind of half heartedly on the Swale but thought I would go all out. This meant booking a pod on the Trent and fishing for 2 days solid. A few hours drive and the Trent lay in wait.

I had decided to fish at Maltkiln Lane , a great fishery on the Trent. The pods were very basic and sleeping bags, mats and general camping equipment was required.

I had bought a new reel, shimano Baitrunner 6000RB so this an opportunity to couple it with the Korum 2lb Barbel rod and see.

A visit to the local tackle shop Future Fishing  equipped me with heavy 5oz feeders and pellets galore, halibut and premonition!!! I was assured these were the business.

I had prepared hemp and curried meat at home so was ready to target the Barbel. The rods set up and I was fishing. There was something quite hypnotic about the traffic going over the bridge, the trains going along the track behind and the occasional swan or boat meandering along the river whilst I sat and watched the rod tips pointing high to the air.

The day passed twitch free. I had the wonder bait on at least one rod at all times, meat on the other, when I was not fishing double prem!

I decided to switch the right hand rod which had always had prem on it, too normal pellets, the time was 16.50. At about  5pm though, I joined the three foot twitch club!! My right hand rod, hooped over, the Bait runner screaming. I was in. I was attached to a most gracious and powerful creature.

The Barbel looked beautiful in the water. I played it for a while as its strength was something else I had never experienced. Safely landed by my gillie Lucy who had joined me on the trip, I stood to look at my prize. It looked immense. Perfectly bronze. I had no idea on weights as I had never seen a river Barbel, so this one was carefully put in the sling. 6lb 12oz. I was so happy.

I fished into dark with no more bites. The next day I was up before light to set up ready. Again fishing all day till well into dark, nothing. I really enjoyed chatting with the other anglers on the bank and being "out" not "out out" but having been on the bank with the wild surroundings, this was definitely proper fishing, and I loved it!!