Thursday 27 December 2018

Ellis's perfect session

Date fished 27/12/2018
8am (or when Ellis was ready) till 4pm

Arsenal did it, Liverpool might do it this season, but today Ellis did it. The perfect session, a fish caught in every swim tried. It definitely happened 'cos minnows count, Ellis confirmed my minnow did, which took me off the blank. I needed it. But by the end if the day it was not needed, even ending on a trout. So what happened between them? Grayling, lots of (12) Grayling!!

Ellis and I headed for the Tees at Broken scar. I had never fished this free stretch before, but Ellis had and he was keen to show me it's potential. I am so glad that he did.

Arriving before light careful not to flash the lights in the car park we put on our waders and got to grips with our tackle. We were not dogging, we were stick float fishing!!

I started to tie on a size 18 to 1.7lb bottom, but then snapped it as I am used to 15lb line and trebles! I opted for an 20 to 2.5lb instead. A 4bb stick float was set and off we went. We started in  a swim that Ellis fished recently. The plan was alternate trots and fish until we were ready to move on. Ellis let me go first. Nothing. So I let him go in the swim. Nothing. I moved a bit further down, Ellis caught the first fish. I came back, nothing.
Ellis moved to the swim I just left, second fish, third, fourth etc. He was soon emptying the river. Suddenly my float buried and the first fish was hooked, played but lost, then a second. This really was not going well. That's when it happened, the minnow. It was hooked and landed. I quickly asked Ellis if it counted and he said yes, I was off the mark. No more for me, whilst Ellis caught about a million, so we moved on.

The next spot looked like Crabtree set it up. Perfect swims, mist rising off the water, it was looking great. First trot down the float buried, I was soon into my first Grayling. All was well in the world.

A few more smaller Grayling followed and we were both soon into the rhythm of feeding, trotting and catching fish. We were both stood in the water and feeding steadily, Ellis from his apron and me not quite so elegant as I left my bait apron in the car. For my next trick, it was not needed however. I was required with the net. Ellis had hooked into his usual out of season trout, and as before, this one was over 2lb!! It put up a great fight in the strong flow, but was soon ready for the net.

As we walked on, there were more swims to try.  Ellis alternating between Grayling and trout. It was about now, I mentioned that Ellis was on track for the perfect session, not wanting to jinx it, we moved on.

As we walked further, the river changed from shallow faster water to slower deeper areas. We were looking for other swims, as always we were planning the next session. We walked the whole beat, then turned around to fish it back to the start. Finding a little spot, Ellis had a cast. He of course had to catch here..... and by sure he did, the mighty minnow!!!

Further impressed with the swims we passed by, we were soon back at the second spot. Again we got into the rhythm and again the fish came. Me on the Grayling, Ellis catching Grayling and Tout.

As the floats became harder to see, it was back to the first swim to finish off.  Soon we were both catching again, at one point both at the same time. A double hook up! But then I lost my fish, letting the side down!
A few mins later we were at it again, this time a better outcome, happy was an understatement!

As we fished on, I reverted back to the 18 and 1.7lb hook link, just to prove that I could. My reward was the little trout, I already told you about.

As we packed up it was starting to get dark. Thinking of what sessions lay ahead, we were soon planning the next one. Of course this perfect session had nothing to do with the fish, we were out and fishing. That's what made it perfect! The fish were just a bonus.

Saturday 22 December 2018


Date fished 22/12/18 8am till 4pm

I usually think of the blog title as I fish, as a plan comes together about the session. But today is a little different, I will do it with you as we read this together.

Today I was heading to the Swale at Morton, and as Ellis was not feeling well, I was going on my own. It's been a while since I fished solo, so the blog was going to be called "only the lonely".

Setting off early to avoid any traffic, I was soon at the river. Thermal boots, three thermal layers, three pairs of socks, hat, gloves and a coat was all put on. Fishing this time of year is always cold, so the blog was going to be called "Midwinter madness". Then I realised it was really mild, the sun was out and the title was in fact an episode of A passion for Angling that I had plagiarized from Bob and Chris, sorry chaps!

Arriving at the gate, there was a sign saying a match was on! It was not in the book so I quickly text Kevin to confirm. He text me back to say no match, and enjoy! Giving me a tip on a peg.

I was aiming for chub and pike, so first up on my usual swim for pike while I set up the other rod. This rod was going to be a first again. I was using cheese paste, I tried it last winter without much luck. Today I was hair rigging it around a 10mm cork ball. This was set up while the sardine dead bait was ledgered under my usual float tactics. Again another new addition, drilled pike bullets instead of weights. I really was certainly looking the part at least!! The blog was going to be called "All the gear, no idea!"

Soon Fred came by. Instantly giving me tips and having a good natter. You will know, this is a part of the fishing club I enjoy. People willing to chat and share knowledge. It's invaluable to everyone and I enjoy meeting new faces, or at least seeing actual faces of people I "know" from Facebook. The blog was going to be called "The social Network" again realising this was stolen from the tv!! I carried on.

Fred gave me tips, he knew what Kevin had told me and he added meat to the bones. The peg, the spot, the method and even the time. Telling me that "if you fish there, you will get a wrap in 10 mins"

I stayed an hour in the first swim with no luck, so headed to the spot as described by Kevin and Fred.  I cast the cheese paste right on the spot, put the rod down on the rest and stood waiting. Now, I didn't have my clock to hand, but I think it was after 9mins and 59 seconds when the rod tip bounced,  then wrapped over! I grabbed the rod and struck, fish on! At this moment I laughed out loud, in shock, surprise and amazement of the accuracy of the information. Speaking to other anglers really is a great way not just to meet new people but to gain knowledge!

Unfortunately my laughter was short lived, as the hook pulled and the fish was gone. I cast quickly back on the spot, and waited. Soon I had waited well over 10 mins, I had blown it. The blog was going to be called " No second chance".

Moving on, I tried another swim. The flow here was much too strong, I could not fish it properly. The river had at least 3ft of extra water in, and was moving through! As I sat there eating my sandwiches, I thought of calling my blog "eggscelent"

I moved on. Finding a swim that looked both chubby and pikey, I settled down with both rods. Now, the best way to describe what happened is to show you the real time comments....

Finally, after 4 good bites in 21 mins, I had my prize. A great looking chub. The 4 missed bites had me thinking of "taking the Mickey" as a title, but that was quickly changed to "cheese first".

After a quick photo the chub was slipped back in the water. I was off back to the second peg. Trying again, nothing this time.

As I walked back, I saw Fred had caught 2 nice chub, and as he left I jumped in his swim till dark. I was not lucky here either, but as I drove  home and sit here writing, I am thinking of the great days fishing I had, learning all the time and trying new techniques, " teach an old dog, new tricks" popping into a title winning spot.

But as I come to the end of another post, as usual I am happy and smiling lots. As for the blog name, well it's obvious really. Don't know why I didn't come up with at the start.

Chumbley's Christmas Cheese paste Chub!!

Happy Christmas all.

Sunday 2 December 2018

Wet wet wet

Date fished 1/12/2018
8am till fully saturated!

After the last blank on the Tees, I was determined to catch something this time round. Unfortunately the weather "east of the river" was not playing ball and reviewing the river levels "yesterday" confirmed a flooded river lay ahead. We decided to give into "temptation" and headed to Cundall to fish the Oxbow. Hopefully the banks were "holding back the river" and the Oxbow would be fishable.

Pike was the target on one rod, absolutely anything that swims the target on the other! The oxbow is always able to throw up a "sweet little mystery".

Meeting after a " brand new sunrise", Ellis was there first! This was a shock.
The track down to the river was questionable, so we left my car at the top and jumped in Ellis's 4 wheel drive to get us down there. A quick drive and a slip and we were at the Oxbow. The sheep are only companions on this wet morning.

Sardines were elasticated up and cast near the trees on the far bank. I tried my second rod with cheese paste, pellet, corn and bread to no avail. "Wishing I was lucky" had no effect and the fish stayed away. Ellis trying maggot and worm in the feeder, whilst catapulting a few free offerings everywhere but near his hook!
"With a little help from my friends" I was soon casting worm in the quest for all things fishy.

Realising I had forgot to bring my brolly and my chair, I settled down on my unhooking mat in the rain to watch Ellis sit on his under his brolly! Greated with laughter as he had actually not brought his chair, instead bringing his bed!! Always lying down on the job that man!

After a warming drink, it was soon time to recharge the batteries. Both of us sitting in Ellis's car, heating on and heated seats warming us from underneath! A quick move of the car, and perfectly set behind our rods, this was fishing!

After trying all I could, it was time for a change. I decided to try wobbled deadbaits and rove around the Oxbow to seek out a pike. The other side looked different, sheltered and with trees, I was "high on the happy side", or so I thought!
A few likely looking holes produced not a sniff, I was pike less and the scales remained "weightless".

Soon it was last chance saloon. Stood chatting, we watched the floats. Then it happened. "Somewhere somehow" a fish came out the water on Ellis's float, just to have a look at it, before turning back down into the water. It was amazing and bizarre all in one go! I am still not sure what it was, but am gonna stick with "fish".

As we were now wetter than Marti Pellow, it was time to head home and "sweet surrender". After a little bit of rallying and some "broke away" traction which had Ellis going backwards, slipping towards the river, probably playing "lip service" to some choice words and turning the air "blue for you".

Another blank will "stay with me heartache" but even after nearly getting to the point that I "shed a tear" I was glad we went...... just!
Cos just looking through the playlist, any fish we caught would have had to weigh "10" lbs!

Saturday 10 November 2018

"Leaf" it for today, it's a school day

Date fished 10/11/2018
8am till when we admitted defeat.

Today was tough, really tough. That's it!
It was a fishing test, and as Ellis has just said. Today we paid our dues!
I add that we tried and we enjoyed.

We were back on the Tees at Piercebridge in the hope of Grayling. Meeting at the usual place, I was tackled up and ready when Ellis arrived. Ellis had sourced access to a different beat up stream, so it was on board the motor and a quick drive to a new stretch. On seeing it, it looked a great venue, but the river was high and fast. The over night rain had certainly topped the Tees up. As we looked on, several large trees, branches and debris floated by! Wading was not gonna be an option here!!

We tried a few swims, but really struggled. I just did not have confidence in my ability to trot the float in the same area as my feed. Especially as my feed was probably going miles down stream!!

We soon got back in the car, moving to our usual spot where we had both caught Grayling before.
Seeing the river here, gave us a little more confidence. Just!

I was soon in the water to wade across the stream to our spot. I went very carefully as the stream (actually a side of the river) was alot faster and deeper than normal. I assume Ellis stayed back to check for my safety, but more of that later!

We were soon on the island, a quick jungle walk later and we were fishing. We carried on feeding and casting, soon getting into a rhythm. Standing almost back to back we were trotting in a similar area and kept the feed going in.

Soon it was time to move on, if for no other reason other than to warm the parts of our body below the waist that were now freezing!
We usually took a different wading route out of this area, but today thinking it may be too deep, we thought about a different route. Ellis suggesting he might try the deeper route.
I replied, "ok, but let me get ready with my camera in case you get washed away, it will be a great photo for the blog"
Ellis promptly replying " that's funny cos when you were going into the stream, I turned my go pro on to film you if you got washed away!"
At least we were on the same page with water safety!!!

Both taking the safer route, we were moving down stream. As we fished, we were catching a leaf every cast! Some nearly required the net. It really was a struggle. We battled on. Coming across another angler who had a few Grayling already certainly gave us renewed enthusiasm and soon we were catching a leaf a cast again!!

Finally I noticed the river was dropping, perfect for tomorrow we noted! By 12 o clock the routine was back and I was confident with the feeding and casting and it was coming together. My skill was soon rewarded and another leaf was landed.

As I continued with the foliage, Ellis was chatting to the other angler. At 71 years old and been fishing stick floats since he was 13, he was soon parting his wisdom to Ellis. He soon had Ellis feeding right, casing right, using the right weights, not using a swivel, hooking maggots right, using the right hooks, using the right line and after some tackle swaps, Ellis was all right!

The knowledge was infectious and soon we were both listening to "how to" guides and venue tips and tactics that had Ellis wishing he could remember it all!! I think the peg number 35, 37 and 38 came up alot matey!!

As the angler left, we obviously jumped into his swim. Ellis with basically the same tackle, as he had swapped it all! We fished on. Laughing to ourselves, and smiling fondly.

We worked our way back towards the cars. No Grayling today, but we left happy and alot more knowledgeable. Sometimes it's good to take stock of how you do things, it's not wrong it's just different!

I never did ask the guy how he would deal with a friend being swept away in the river, but am sure the right answer would be "well hopefully capture it on film!!"

Friday 2 November 2018

A to Z

Date fished 2/11/18
9am till 4pm

A is for Anthony, who was kindly taking me fishing today.
B is for blank saver, a 4oz perch was mine! I....
Caught it from the
Drop shotting was the most prolific method today, as usual! I tried it again.
Electro fishing had been used 8 weeks before, had this removed all the....
Fish? We wondered, Anthony had some tricks to use though....
Garlic pens, shhhhh! It's secret
Haunts on two canals we tried. Anthony knew all the stretches like the back of his hand.
I had dead baits, small roach to try too.
Jigs were used, but to no avail
Knowledge is key, so will be updating my Finygo App
Lesson learned, slow retrieve, almost to a stop.
More practice is needed on my drop shotting technique.
November Day? It was sunny and bright
Obviously as Anthony had said there were only a few in the stretch, his first fish was a lovely looking

Quietly we crept along the canal, trying likely looking spots, only a few feet from the bank
Repeating this at bridges, boats and under over hanging trees
Stonez from Pallatrax were used instead of leads. Have used them a little before, but gonna give them a whole season and see how I get on
Two quick bites, I missed, but we think these were by perch. Anthony ended on 5 perch, some nice sized ones, and lost a bigger one.

Urban fishing at it's best on these
Venues, Ashby de la Zouch Canal and Coventry Canal

Water was a good colour. Not like chocolate, that it sometimes resembles
Xpertly (ok, well we did not play any xylophones!) I worked the lure along the bottom,
You must be joking, I shouted as Anthony finally hooked a...
Zander. They were the main target today, and although I didn't catch one, I saw Anthony catch one and had a great day trying!

Thursday 1 November 2018

The 3 P's

Date fished 1/11/2018
8.10am till 4pm

After a plentiful breakfast,
day three of the epic fishing trip saw me and Ellis head to the canal at Pollington. Perch and Pike were the targets, but having not fished together since September, we were due a prattle too!

Deadbaits set up as the rain started, Ellis taking shelter from the precipitation by going under the bridge.
I cast the bait in and waited patiently. The second rod in my case was a spinner or small jig, Ellis had spinners, small jigs and of course his ever faithful drop shot rod!

First retrieve has nothing to report, the second however, pow! Fish on. My spinner, being preyed upon by our first P.
A Pike being my prize, for a well positioned spinner.
I don't think Ellis had got out from under the bridge yet!
A nice start to the day, let's hope it was the start of something more productive. Excuse my pinkies!

As we carried on fishing, Ellis went back under the bridge, but this time he was armed. A quick flick of the deadly drop shot and he was into our second P.
A perch being his reward. This fishing play was getting easy...

As we made our way up towards the lock, we carried on with the deadbaits and lures. Opting to fish up by the moving water by the lock. Ellis continued to catch perch on the drop shot, now expertly doing the drag shot technique!
Around a large boat, Ellis managed the pick of the day, this perch easily going over a pound.

We then went the other side of the lock, managing to avoid the poo as we fished along the path. Ellis having a follow from the deep, into the clear shallow water from a perch         " double the size of that big 'un".
This fish giving us some more motivation, proclaiming " I am not leaving till I catch a perch" quickly followed by Ellis " I'm not leaving till I catch a pike!"

We continued towards the bridge, chatting with other anglers that we met. We saw a few splashes, presumed pike. But none were in the mood to see us.
As we tried and tried, Ellis perfected his line clip use. Expertly casting to within an inch of the far bank over and over. Next, Ellis reviewed his dead bait collection, proclaiming it was all for the bin and a new lot purchased very soon.
Soon the last cast was upon us, Ellis continuing with his expert cast, however this time it was a foot into the field on the far back! A quick walk around to rescue his float soon followed, only made worse by my laughter of the expert cast!

I am sat in the pub writing this, hoping you are wondering what the third P is? Well, it's obvious.
It's not pals, perfect, painful or panic! It's plonkers!!

Let me tell you what happened, that I left out of my story.
My dead bait float was up near the lock, I was stood with the spinner, explaining to Ellis that spinning was not good at this height from the water. He listened and nodded as he drop shotted. Suddenly my float started to move towards us, a slow movement, but then going underwater and sailing away. I dropped my rod and actually ran to my rod. Ellis winding faster on the drop shot to get the net. Just as I picked up my rod, Ellis pronouncing "haha it's me!!!!" He had caught my line and was creating the bite!

I am proud to say, enjoying my fishing like a plonker, makes me happy, especially as gnome does not start with a P!!!