Tuesday 31 December 2019

2019 review, plus new targets

As the year ends, it's time to review 2019. So, how did I get on?

Looking at the above,
tickish (4lb 2oz),
not even close,
BIG tick,
only used it for about 5 casts so no!

I have also had a 10oz Roach, 3lb 8oz Bream, 5lb 4oz Tench and a 5lb 8oz Chub.

It's really been a great fishing year. I have fished the Thames, Wharfe, Swale and Tees with several stillwaters too.
Ellis and I have seen more of the Tees than before and really got to grips with the Swale, well on our preferred banker peg anyway! Seeing it in all conditions has helped us grasp it at different times or not!

Of course there have been blanks, my last 2 trips of 2019 were blanks.
A big perch from the Tees has eluded me, although I have witnessed Ellis bag a few, I sadly have not.

I have learnt alot this year, my trotting and feeding on the river has improved. I still need to pick a good swim on the right day (watercraft), so hopefully I can keep trying with that.

I have caught on float, feeder and lure. I will carry on with my baitcaster and would love to catch with that, plus a proper fish on the closed faced reel.

I have met new people, made friends, fished with the family and continued to blog. It can only get better from here.

That brings me on to 2020, what shall I target this year?

1lb 8oz plus Perch will remain, same with the baitcaster reel catch.
I am adding a Tees Bream of any size caught on the feeder by having a proper match style approach.
I may also have to travel a bit, as I would like a 6lb plus Bream. For this I may need to head a little further south.
I am still thinking of joining a Tyne club either this year or next, so if I do I will be hoping to catch some local river fish!

Tight lines for 2020 all.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Sonar but so far!

Date fished 28/12/2019
8.30am until 2.30pm

The last trip of the year was to be aboard Big Elbow for a day targeting Pike on dead baits and Perch on lures or drop shot.

Boat survived a slight bump.
Learnt how to use the sonar, saw loads of fish on it. Maybe a few hours too late!!
Adam tried with just deadbaits and small jigs, not a sniff.
New swims found and areas of river to target fish in winter.
Knew our waterfowl, spotting herons and Cormarants " more fish in that Cormorant's shit than we seen all day!"
Ellis tried dead baits and his trusted drop shot, not a sniff.
Decided on a new target for 2020, more of that later.

After flying fish here!!

Big shoal of fish at 12ft depth

The Wanderer returns ( to steal my fish)

Date fished 27/12/2019
8am until 4pm

Today's trip was with Ellis on the Swale at Morton. It had been a while since I had fished with Ellis ( October, by looking at past blogs) so I was looking forward to seeing what Cypriot skills he could bring to river fishing.

Arriving before Ellis (obviously) I started to set the rods up. One ledger with cheese paste around a cork ball for chub. One float ledger dead bait for pike. Soon he was driving down the muddy track and we were able to try our luck.
"Hiya mate", I said.
"Now then", the reply
"Not wanting to jinx it, but I have not blanked in ages, not since I last fished with You!!", was my welcoming jinx!!!
Ellis tackled up the same and we headed for the river.
Casting each of our particular set ups to a likely spot, we sat and waited. The wind picked up and was bitter. Chilling us right down, and with no bites, it was worth a move to a sheltered spot.

A quick walk, would have been quicker except for the slurry pit I walked through, and we were in our favoured swim. A "banker" swim, you may call it.
Casting out, we waited. Immediately my rod bounced and jumped about. A fish was on, but quickly was then off. I cast again. Same thing.
This did not feel like chub bites, it kept happening until eventually I connected and played a jumping trout across the river. Unfortunately it came off a short way before the net.
Ellis expertly cast his pike rod to the far bank, I don't mean the big slack pool near the far bank, I mean actually on the far bank! Fortunately he easily pulled off the snag and his gear was soon fishing the slack pool near the far bank! But to no avail,  so he concentrated on the cheesepaste.
The pike rods were now only spectators and out for a carry around the river.
Ellis got into the action, and soon his rod was bouncing at the continued nibbling of trout on the cheese paste!
We chatted with Jason and his son, a member of Big Elbow on FB and a new member to the Northallerton club. We gave him all our best knowledge, so hopefully he gets on a few fish too!
Ellis was soon playing a trout across the river, and unlike mine he got it into the net. Not the intended target but something to warm us up on a cold day. Quickly unhooked and a speedy picture, the trout was back into the river.

Soon it was time to move again. In these conditions, it was best to keep moving, stay warm and try and find the fish.  Moving to where I had caught a big chub recently, we settled in the swim. We switched between a ledger and just free lining large cheese paste balls.

It was Ellis who started getting bites, and as we watched his rod I saw his line tighten and he was into a fish. As he struck, a large trout jumped clear of the water trying to shake the hooks. Ellis played the fish for a few seconds but sadly it got off. Encouraged by this we were now Trout/chub fishing with cheese paste! No more fish here, so it was another quick walk.

Fishing a swim where Ellis caught a 5lb Chub in about 5 seconds in flood conditions, it looked just as good today but in a different way, minus the big pile of dog poo that is!!

Ellis cast his bait to midway and let the current carry it under a large over hanging tree. As we sat and chatted about life, Ellis's rod hooped around, this was no trout bite. He struck, but picking up mostly slack line, the fish was off. He rebaited and cast again, allowing the flow to carry his bait to waiting chub. It was 30 minutes for the chub to investigate again, this time Ellis struck into the fish and with me scrabbling up the bank to get the net, I was soon netting the fish. A lovely chub about 3lb was the reward.

With no further fish, it was time to walk back towards the car and fish the same spots, hoping our initial tries were enough to get some fish on the bait. As we walked we chatted about all things E bay, and had some good laughs!!

Back to a promising looking swim, we free lined just off the main crease.  It was Ellis's rod again that started to tap, again we both watched it as a bite that was obviously a trout bite turned into a complete chub wrap around!! Ellis was soon battling a much bigger chub that was trying to get into the snags. He expertly guided it into the net ( minus pole) that I had open in the water. A lovely, so close to a pb, chub of 5lb 5oz lay in the net.

As Ellis was now sleeping on the job and still catching the fish, I needed to pull my socks up!! We fished on until dark but sadly no more fish.

As I write this awaiting to go fishing again on Big Elbow for the day, I remember what fishing is to me. It's about catching fish, but also it's about sharing it with mates and jinxing yourself on the way!!

Sunday 22 December 2019

A lesson in Depth

Date fished 21/12/2019
8am until 3pm

On this winter's day, I decided I would still go fishing. The rivers looked at odds on Friday so I planned to go to a lake. Incidentally the Tees at Broken Scar was a little over a metre early on Saturday morning, so I could have tried there instead.

Planning the trip on Friday, I decided on a visit to Moulton lane pond. I had some dead maggots, Sweet corn and pellets as bait. I was pretty much hoping to catch anything on this cold day.
Organising my kit, I took a float rod as I wanted to try some new floats out. The korum loaded blobs, looked good so I was hoping to bag a few fish with them.

I added a few small ledger weights, just incase I needed to change tactics, my chair, a few bits of tackle and a few packets of hooks. Sizes 10, 12 and 14 ( I wished I took 18 and 16 too!!)

Arriving at first light, I went to a swim I had not fished before and set up. Plumbing up, I fished on the bottom. Thinking the fish would be down there in this cold weather.
I was soon accompanied by a little Robin wanting some breakfast. I threw some to the little fella, but he still felt it better to jump on my kit and get his own!

Eventually a little bob on the float signalled a bite, or at least fish swimming around the line.  Nothing developed and I was soon changing to a small ledger, to fish again on the bottom. Nothing on this either with maggot, corn or pellet. As my feet turned into blocks of ice, I decided a move was in order. If nothing else, it would warm my feet up!

Picking another swim I had not fished before, a similar pattern was emerging. This time with a Wren though!

I had plumbed this swim too and fished hard on the bottom. As the rain started and apart from some pb birds, this session was starting to look like a big fat blank! Then my float bobbed, a real bite. I struck and missed it. I wished I had smaller hooks as I was sure these were small fish.
I remembered someone saying to me " it started hard, but when I found the fish it was a bite a chuck!"
I had been on the bottom and not found them, so I set the float at half depth and carried on fishing. As I fed a few maggots each cast, I was soon getting a bite every chuck. I had found them!! It was not long before my luck changed and I had a small roach.

It was really bites galore now. My feeding was right, the depth correct and the fish were feeding. I missed lots of bites, but by the lack of resistance, I could tell they were small fish. Suddenly my float buried and I struck. This time, no little silver came across the surface, instead the rod doubled over as a big fish swam off towards the middle. Before I realised the drag was going and the hook hold gave way and it was off. That was no small silver!!
I carried on and bites dried up. Some more feeding and another culprit was on the bank.

I wonder if the lost fish was a big perch!?!?

As I fished on, it was much better. Plenty of bites, missed fish, a few caught. I was actually fishing and getting amongst them. I was really glad I made the depth change.

As the day drew to a close, I was soon catching a few more fish. All on maggot and all still at the mid depth level.

A day that was looking like a blank, turned into a busy session with lost big fish, fish caught and eventually warm feet! I was impressed with the Korum floats but less impressed with not bring some smaller hooks!
What was more important though was I learnt something. I didn't just keep plugging away on the bottom, I changed tactics and it worked and I was rewarded. Well done me!!

Saturday 7 December 2019

Target ticked off

Date fished 7/12/2019
8am until 1pm

I only had a short session today. I planned to fish all day, but a great and busy week behind me and several busy weeks ahead meant I was content for a short session. This was made all the sweeter by ticking off a 2019 Target!!

Today's trip was back to the Swale at Morton. Since catching the pb chub from there last time, I had fished the Tees and caught a chub of 4lb 2oz, I had a target of 4lb 8oz plus for a Tees chub, but who's counting!?!

Today's tactic was float fishing. I had a target of a "proper" chub on the float. Now, I will leave this up to you, but for me a proper chub is 3lb plus.  It's a proper sized fish, great fight and looks the part! I have caught much smaller chub on the float, but all my larger fish have been ledger caught or on floating bread!

I set off early, hoping to be in my swim and fishing by sunrise. I was fishing Ellis and mine usual Swim, I thought conditions may be right, if not a little testing. The river had a good amount of water and was dropping. The colour seemed to be about right too!

The tactic today was a float rod, closed face reel and a fairly heavy float. I had hook links in all sizes and was going to use a size 12 to 4lb line for bread flake and size 16 to 2.5lb for maggots.

I have wanted to catch on bread flake for a while, so started with that.
I was casting to the far bank, but the flow was strong so I was not able to control the float properly. I started to fish a line closer to me. After an hour of nothing, I switched hook links and changed to maggots as bait.
A few trotts down, I was now fishing about a third of the way across and I was able to control the float properly. I watched my yellow tipped float follow a crease line and head towards my bank.  The float suddenly sailed away, I struck and was in. Playing fish on the closed faced reel is not like other reels, the drag is not as efficient, so I switched to back winding and started to play the fish. It felt a good fish, I hoped it wasn't a large trout. Ellis and I had quite a few large trout on maggots in this swim, but today I wanted a chub.

I played the fish in the fast current, it kept low and kept trying to get under my bank. I carried on back winding and then walked down the bank. I continued to play it and then I saw it. It was a chub!!! My legs started to shake, I didn't  want this fish to come off now.
I got it to the surface and quickly into the net. I had achieved a target, or had I??
The weight was not relevant, as this was in my eyes a proper chub!
Perfectly hooked, my prize laid in the net.

A few quick pics for the festive period and I let the chub rest in the net. Curiosity got the better of me, so I weighed it. 3lb exactly, it was a proper chub!! Phew.

I carried on the line and fed a small amount of maggots every cast. I could see the river visibly dropping, so I was able to alter the line I fished. Soon, the float buried again on this new line and I was in. Was this another chub? Within a few seconds of being hooked, the fish jumped clear out the water. This was no chub, a large trout could not resist the maggots. It jumped four more times, completely clear of the water on every occasion. Again, I was back winding and felt I had got to grips with the close faced reel.
A lovely trout lay resting in the shallows. A quick pic and the trout was released.

As the river continued to drop, I fished on. Switching back to bread for another chub but sadly none were prepared for a sandwich! I was however, and it was time for lunch.

I fed continuously ( the fish, not me!!) but soon the wind got up and the fishing was more difficult. I decided to move, a quick walk warmed me up, but I was now sat right in the wind.

A few trotts down but the wind was now bitter cold and with a target achieved, I deserved an early bath!

I would recommend setting some targets, they don't have to be extreme, and you don't have to berate yourself for not achieving them. I will soon be reviewing 2019 and setting some more for 2020.
But, let me tell you, if you are lucky enough to achieve one or two the buzz of the leg shake is amazing!!