Sunday 20 January 2019

Back to blanking with a bang!

Date fished 19/1/19
9am till 5pm

Ellis and I wanted to fish just into dark as we noted that is when many of the Tees Chub are being caught. I was targeting perch, no chub, no perch, no, definitely chub,  I mean perch. I didn't know and maybe that was my issue.
Ellis was targeting Chub, minnow, dace, perch, bullhead, gudgeon and blue whale!

As with all our trips, we plan beforehand. We had planned a streamlined tackle approach including bait and about 8 layers of clothing each! I even had my thermal onesie on.
All the kit was packed, Ellis sporting a new bag with attaching unhooking mat that was very clean at 9am but not by 5pm.

We had planned on a new stretch on the Tees, at Fardeanside. It's very easy to get complacent and go back to the same venue. This has benefits of learning the venue, but it is also nice to find new areas, and this was one of those days.
The stretch looked fantastic and as usual we noted swims for other species on other days. We will be back.

In terms of fishing, I sat behind ledgered steak, worm or cheese paste either mid river or under bushes and I don't think I was ever within 6 ft of any fish! We fished into dark, and with my torch beanie (Christmas present from my sister) providing excellent light, it brought a different if not eerie experience to the trip.

Ellis alternated between ledger and float trotting in various swims. He had repeated knocks on cheese paste and steak but no fish, even when he changed to smaller baits.

We tried an approach that we had not done too much of before. We fed a few swims, left them for 30 mins or so then dropped into them to tempt a now confident feeding chub. Unfortunately this did not happen and we ended up leaving with a blank a piece.

The highlight for me came when Ellis rescued a pike float from the bushes, sadly it wasn't the one I lost on the Swale ( I know it wouldn't be!!) But he handed it to me in a float giving ceremony and I was happy.

The banks were very steep and wet and there were moments in the dark that I thought I would be slipping over with a bang. But that did not happen, so where did the bang from the title come from?
It came from the guns in the field on the opposite bank, it was either a large shoot or a war going on. We were serenaded with a constant boom, shouts and pheasants flying over head. It was almost hypnotising until the wayward shot started raining down on me and the river. Assume it's lead too?

The day was enjoyable, even with the bad navigating by me across the fields in the dark, that nearly got us lost! Shown by the loop below, oops!
As I said, the stretch will be fished again. It just wasn't happening today, my luck resembling that of the poor pheasant that got shot and then fell into the river. At least I had a better day than her!

Monday 7 January 2019

2019 Targets

Setting a target is useful to focus the trips and strive towards a goal.

This year my targets are as follows:

Swale Barbel.
Float caught chub.
4lb 8oz plus Tees Chub.
1lb 8oz Perch.
Have a maggot session with a keepnet.
To catch on my baitcaster reel.

There may be others along the way, but let's see how I get on.

Sunday 6 January 2019

Broken Scar Match

Date fished 6/1/19
8.30 till early finish! (2.30)

Today Ellis, Rob and I went to Broken scar to fish for Grayling. We must have caught 70  between the three of us, a few trout and many minnows! It really was a great days fishing.

The end.

That's the fishing in a nut shell, but what was great to see was the number of other anglers!

Not only were some of them from Ellis's FB group, that we all met on called Big Elbow, after his boat, but there were new people and blog readers  too!!
It was such a great sight to look down the river and see 6 or 8 anglers all fishing, it looked like a match of old. From what I can make out, everyone was catching fish, so something was working.

We started in our usual spots, and I had 6 Grayling before 9am, they really were on the feed. We gradually worked our way down stream to the deeper sections. Here all 3 of us continued to catch,  until the moon changed, well a dog called lunar who liked my swim for er.... swimming!!  I did not catch anything after this, so went to warm my feet.
This swim soon turned into a stone throwing area, and a polite comment from Ellis had the culprits on their way!

We were able to wade further than before as the river was a long way down from our previous trip. We waded across to an island of very white water, where Ellis promptly poached all the Grayling from my swim!

Moving further along, as is always the custom now, we were looking for new swims, new targets. This trip we definitely found some chub swims for other days.

As we walked back and chatted with the other anglers, it was apparent fish were being caught. Ellis and I going to a spot up close to the boulders and catching 6 fish and loosing many more each in a quick fire 20 mins.

It was soon time to leave, a double weekend of fishing leaving smiles on our now very wind swept faces!

I have fished many river sections and not seen anyone all day. Today there may have been a dozen of us fishing, was hard to tell as we leap frogged up and down the swims. Thanks Broken Scar, your un organised, improtu match certainly made for a great day!

Pike Parmo

Date fished 5/1/19

Fished from 9am till Ellis realised his float was still in, it may still be in!!?

Today Ellis and I fished the Swale at Northallerton. Ellis had recently become a member, so I was showing which swims I had blanked in!!

I was keen to show Ellis how to catch his first chub from this stretch, by taking him to the spot Fred had told me about last time. Unfortunately Fred had not told me what to do when the river was over a metre less full and crystal clear! I had succeeded in showing Ellis how to blank here, and we moved on.

Next we came to the swim where I caught the chub on cheese paste. I could show him something here. First cast, snagged  lost trace, weight and favourite pike float, this was going well.

So, you may have guessed, but to confirm. I was after pike and chub. Ellis was targeting pike, chub and Grayling, he just didn't know it yet!

Moving a little bit further around the bay, I cast a fresh rig out and waited. Soon my float bobbed and started to move away. I struck straight away and it was fish on.  The pike looked a good size in the clear water, and was soon  in the net. After unhooking it, we noticed another trace in its mouth. It was my trace that I had lost 5 mins  before. The bait was deep down, but we managed to remove all the wire and one of the trebles.  The remaining treble also semi barbed was too deep, we didnt want to cause any damage so hopefully this will be lost and not cause any trouble to the fish.

Weighing the pike, confirmed a double, exactly 10lb!

After no further action, it was time for a walk, finding a little beach area we targeted chub. One knock on my ledger was all we had here so we moved on. Both of us seeing a swim with trees on the far side, looking at another and agreeing "chub", the race was on.
I had cheese paste with bread in the feeder cast to the trees before you could say "cheesepaste".

Suddenly the rod hooped over and I was playing a nice chub in the clear water. As Ellis got the net, the chub had other ideas and the hook came out. I obviously blame my Gillie!

In the next 45 mins, I had 3 more savage bites, some I struck and hooked fish, some I struck and missed. No fish were landed though!! Some bites were minutes after casting, I really had the fish feeding in a small area. It was the most chub action I had ever had, and I was enjoying it.

Ellis was now expertly trotting maggots in front of the bushes and his float sailed away, a Grayling, bigger than the average Tees ones, was in the net. He followed this up with another, just to show me how it's done.

After no more chub bites, I decided to fish small maggot feeder for the Grayling, only to catch 3 minnows!! It seems I didn't learn anything Ellis!

We walked back towards the cars, realising we had been in this peg for a while, it was a good spot and one we will visit again.  Near the car, we decided to try for pike. Again, I was the lucky one and a good fish picked up my Lamprey. Unweighed, but about 8 or 9lb.

As we fished on, Ellis's float bobbed and started to move, he was poised for the strike. But the fish must have dropped the bait, cos he was not so lucky. As the darkness quickly descended, it was head torches on to pack up.
Ellis played mum and made sure I didn't leave my unhooking mat, noticing I was walking off with it still on the floor. Everything loaded up, we turned to walk away,  " Ellis, what's that float in the water??" I asked.
Ellis had stopped playing mum, and was now playing dumb!
"Hahahahaahahaahah" or words equivalent was the response. Ellis had managed to pack everything away but not reel in, and was about to walk across fields with his tackle still in the water!! I would say " we've all done it" but am not sure we all have!

This is where our trips usually end, but not today. This one was going to have a social side too. It was back to Ellis's house for beers, chats with his family and cuddles with the dogs. It was a great evening meeting his wife, Carole who looked after me as equally as she does Ellis -doing Everything, is words they both used!!
The night was rounded off with a parmo, something Ellis had dangled in front of me a while ago, but we never got round to having. It was my first ever, and if you have not had one, or don't know what it is, then Google! Please don't expect me to share mine with you though, as it was delicious and like those greedy chub I ate it all down without being caught!

Thursday 3 January 2019


As I sort my kit for my first trip of 2019 at the weekend, I started to think how good 2018 was as a fishing year, but was it really?? It's hard to tell as memory is a funny thing.....

We started on 1/1/2018 and fished right up to 31/12/2018. According to my blogs, the start of the year was, well let's just say "tough"!
I fished 6 sessions across the Swale, Tees and Ribble and blanked on all 6!! Not to mention loosing my landing net and pole.

It was not till April that I caught my first 2018 fish, some may think that was a bad start to the year. I would agree but for my first fish being a 13lb carp and new PB that had stood for maybe 20 years, I was more than happy!

I then mixed fishing with travel, staying at Ullswater for a weekend to try on the lakes. A little trout being my reward on a huge water.
Once the river season started again, I was back on the Tees mostly. Spending a few trips on Big elbow with Dave and Ellis cruising about and fishing well. A Tees pike was my reward, something I had been trying for for a while, so again another success.

A glamping trip with Lucy followed, a lovely carp being caught after a long battle stalking the fish. It was nice to fish near to where we stayed, and I would be looking forward to more "fishing with accommodation" trips!

August saw me back on the Swale, suited and booted when I forgot to pack my change of clothes so had to fish in my work clothes. The fish did not seem to mind, and the evening ended with another PB. A 5lb chub being caught on floating bread.

Next I became provider, taking a friend from work fishing. I had taken Mark fishing before but we blanked, this time it was different. We both managed to catch fish and it was his first ever fish. He left talking about buying some tackle, so not only had I lead him to the water, it seems I made him drink it too!

Next was an easier encouragement, I joined my son up to a local club, and taking him for a few hours with maggots and his whip was ace as he managed 16 fish! He is definitely hooked for life now!

It was back on the Tees after for perch with JJ, who introduced us to spinners. Some e bay purchases later and Ellis and I have both caught nice perch and pike on our spinner friends.

My river Barbel count can still be done on a single hand, but I am getting there. My target this year was a Swale Barbel, and although I have not managed it, I have added another river Barbel. 2018 saw me catch one from the Wharfe, expertly guided by Aidan. I have now caught 3 Barbel in total from the Trent, Wye and Wharfe.

Evening trips go the Tees followed, lures were re-found, trees collapsed, it was all exciting.

It was then that Ellis and I mixed camping with fishing, me not bringing a sleeping bag and nearly freezing to death. Sure it was colder the next trip when we slept in our cars!! The fishing was coupled with bar b q food, beers and whiskey, obviously all washed down with plenty of laughs!!

Ellis and I visited new places on the Tees, finally going to sockburn for a nice nature trail, a walk made longer by the bailiff!

Our next trip was memorable, it was "the" Tees pike, a 5lb fish. Not massive, but my biggest Tees fish. It rounded off a crazy 30 mins of action in the evening that saw Ellis catch a cracking Perch, and me catch some micro pike too!

A final overnight trip to Cundall had me repeatedly explaining to Ellis the difference between a pike and a Barbel, but in the end I caught pike too and abandoned the Swale Barbel!

The annual Chumbley trip followed, Davey not falling over at all on this trip making for a quiet affair. Oh, I nearly forgot Davey did poach a cracking 10lb carp out my swim!!

The quest for catching something new, had me travelling again. After a trip with Ellis on the canal, I headed south. Visiting Anthony in Nuneaton to try for a Zander. I was not to be lucky, but Ant caught the predator grand slam, so at least I saw my first zander!

December sparks the Grayling sessions, and although we blanked the first time, we more than made up for it the second. Plenty of magnificent Grayling coming to our expertly trotted maggots.

Another first in December, a first on cheese paste. What was going to be a hard day, made a dramatic turn around when the 4lb chub snaffled my cheese paste.

Which brings me to my last trip. Buoyed up by the cheese success, I continued with it to try to tempt a Tees Chub, only to be thwarted by a Tees pike picking up my cheese paste!! Strange but true.

When I look back, the numbers are not huge but there are some Pb's and firsts amongst them. There has been plenty of laughs, good chatter and memories made. When I look at the pics, there are smiles. It's been a great fishing year, am looking forward to 2019.

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Say Cheese, Mr Pike

Date fished 31/12/2018
4 rods in by 8.40 fished till 15.30

Ellis and I decided to head back to the Tees in some swims we saw last trip. We were hoping for chub and pike and not to end the year in the same way as we started - we both blanked on 1st January 2018!

A short walk, which would have been shorter had I not offered up a "short cut" to our chosen swim, and we were soon fishing. I had a new batch of cheese paste with bread crumb in the feeder for chub and sardine for pike. Ellis had mackerel for pike and steak for the chub, if nothing else we were teaching the fish all about fine dining!

The conditions were different to the previous trip, and apart from the bitter cold wind, we could not put our finger on what was different. As you know, I use the Finygo app for all my trips, and I will be checking the air pressure, wind speed, direction, temperature and river levels on both these trips to start to get more of an understanding as to what conditions were different. This will help us in future trips, well that's the plan!

As we waited in the cold wind, pies and Christmas chocolates were eaten to keep warm. First blood coming to the steak as three loud bleeps sounded on the alarm. The bite didn't materialise and we stayed on the blank.

A large fished swirled by my pike float, so I sat poised, but again no bite came. This has happened alot, we are not sure if it's fish attracted to the bait just checking it out, or actually fish attracted to the float!!

We waited, suddenly a large fish, suspected to be a Pike as Ellis saw its tail swoosh over, splashed 5ft in front of us. Ellis moved his pike rod so quickly in the spot, I thought he was gonna get whiplash!! Unfortunately nothing took the elasticated on mackerel and we remained on the blank.

By now, I had nearly drunk all my coffee and my choice of gilet over big coat was proving to be a bad decision. The wind was chilling me to the bone. It called for sandwiches!
As soon as I took a mouthful of sandwich my cheese paste rod twitched and hooped over. I grabbed it, and with a sandwich hanging out my mouth I struck into the fish. Fish on! Playing the fish, obviously a chub, I quickly stuffed the sandwich in,  the chub also doing the same with its cheese sandwich!
Bringing it to the surface, Ellis was waiting with the net. The water boiled and a long fish took another lunge downwards. I realised this long chub, was going to be a good fish, maybe a Tees pb. I brought it up again, and we soon saw the fish. A lovely long looking Pike!!
A huge eruption of laughter followed, as Ellis exclaimed "a pike on cheese paste!? I have seen it all now!"

Ellis slipped the net under Mr pike, and the release in tension meant the hook popped out in the net. I was lucky, but it was hooked squarely in the mouth!

Chuckles continued for the pics, and a 4lb pike was saying cheese for the camera, literally!!

Soon we were both sat behind our rods, again braving the cold. It all got too much for Ellis and his body deciding the best way was to hibernate! A "quiet" hour followed as he snored away! Keeping us safe, I watched a Hunter on the far bank in full camo, with rifle silencer and tripod, I assume he thought the noise was a bear, but it was just Ellis!

As I greeted Ellis with a morning for the second time of the day, he laughed at the hour he had dozed for. Realising he needed to catch up, he pulled out the big guns and decided to wobble deadbaits. A quick rig change and he was ready, first cast hitting a snag and losing all his tackle! Second cast doing the same, he really was mastering this wobbled dead bait method!! We laughed together and remarked on its effectiveness, if for nothing else but loosing tackle!

It was soon time for a change, walking back to the car, we noticed some likely looking spots.

Deadbaits were cast in and we waited. Ellis was hatching a plan, to avoid the blank, surely a tackle change to maggot would catch him a Grayling. Adapting his pike rod, to the well known rig of 15lb line to 2lb bottom, with a feeder and hook, he was ready!
Holding his rod, he immediately felt fish. Reeling in to re load his feeder, I noticed he was off the blank. A minnow hanging on for dear life! Again laughter followed and we were happy.

Second cast and Ellis was on 2. Third cast, 3. This was a gudgeon, Ellis saying " he had not caught one since he was 10, and maybe his first on the Tees" this really was turning into a great trip.

Another move and he was in again, a new species for me, as I had never seen a bullhead before.

It was soon time to pack up and trudge back to the car. It really was a funny trip, plenty of laughs, snores and fish (eventually) what more could we ask for to end our fishing year??