Friday 22 February 2019

London Blanker

Date fished  22/2/2019
0630 to 1500

Today's venue was 3.1 miles away but the sat nav said 20 plus minutes! This must have meant I was in the South, South East, London, West London, Teddington to be exact.
I was staying with Pc and Nikki for the weekend to watch the rugby with the boys, so I brought a couple of rods and planned a trip on old father Thames for the day.

Alot of planning found me a free fishing stretch day or night containing just about all species, but notorious for Barbel. A Thames Barbel would do nicely!
The venue was Albany Reach in Thames Ditton.

As we went to bed the alarm was set. The phone plugged in and the sheep counting started. As the alarm went off, I jumped up like a coiled spring. Picking up my phone, I noted the 50% battery, it seems in the South you also have to turn plug switches on to work!! Doh.

Making my flask of coffee, I noted the screw cap was not from this flask. It did not do up. I had a flask of hot coffee, but no cap!! Double doh!

I hoped this was the last of the calamities as I set off for the river. Arriving in double quick time, I was parked (free, in London this is rare!) and headed for the bank. A short walk and I was there. It looked great. A mist rising off the river. I didn't know where the features were along the bank so I opted for a swim that looked comfortable.

I was soon fishing. Pellets, bread crumb in the feeder. Waiting for a Barbel. There was little to report for a few hours other than I had drunk all my coffee as I had no lid and the fog did not burn away!!

There were a few other anglers on the banks, some leaving having been fishing all night, some like me arriving. It was one of the leavers that came to say hello. It was nice to get some local info and after I said I lived in Northumberland, this fellow angler was happy to help me out. He told me, him and his brother had 110lb of bream over night to 6lb plus and several Barbel to over 10lb. I was in the right place, but the wrong swim!!
He helped me with my gear, and took me to the swim they were vacating. He looked at my baits and tackle (non eupho)  and was happy to give advice. A quick change of hook and a new pellet, of the robin red variety and I was ready, again!

As we chatted all things fishing and his brother carried their gear back go the car, my rod twitched. It was the first bite of the day and I was happy. A few more knocks and then it bounced. I hit the bite and was in. Playing the fish towards the bank, my smile was only surpassed by my new teacher! Sadly the fish came off half way to the bank. "Bream" was the response from teacher, expletives from me!
I quickly re cast and was trying again. We chatted about feeders and after giving 1 of the 60 away, it was the least I could do to my teacher,  it was time for them to leave. They left happy that I was nearly catching.

A few hours passed and there were a few more knocks but no fish. There were birds though, heron, kingfisher, cormorant and of course parakeets!! Bright green and yellow, residents of West london flew over head.

It was soon afternoon and nearly time to pack up. Another knock and I was in again. I played the fish to the bank. It was a nice sized bream, a proper river Bream. I had the net ready, and slipped it under the fish. I put the rod down and the weight of the feeder slipped over and out the net. I scooped up the net and it was empty! I picked up the rod and there was no resistance. The bream had slipped away. I was gutted!

I put the bait back on the spot, but sadly nothing happened.

It was time to pack up. There was one last thing to do. Like passing the baton, it was my turn to offer the swim to a couple of new anglers planning on doing an over nighter. They were happy for the swim and the info and I left with a teacher smile on my face too.

Saturday 16 February 2019

Super Shoal

Date fished 16/2/2019
0830 till 1830

We caught fish! Literally! Some I juggled but caught again. The target was Chub and Grayling and we caught both! We lost lots of fish, we laughed, lost tackle, we smiled but we caught fish!

This trip was "sponsored" by ridge monkey as I recently acquired some of their buckets, in both sizes and one with a seat. We were gonna see if they helped us catch fish, as that's what we were out to do.

We decided to fish the Swale at Northallerton, and the spot? Well, obviously our usual spot!!

Meeting at 0730, a quick double sausage and egg with a hash brown was devoured to give us sustenance. After a quick chat with a local dog walker, we headed to our swim. The river was up 6 inches and clearish. It looked great.

Settling into our swims, I cast in my ledgered cheese paste, straight into the bush on the far bank. Snagged, line break, lost the lot! Ellis provided some encouragement with, " it can only get better!"

I re tackled and cast into the water this time, and sat back on my comfy bucket with seat and back rest and waited. Two, maybe three minutes passed and my rod twitched, then hooped over. I struck and was in! The fish was un chub like, darting about quickly in a head shaking way. Suddenly, it was off. We would never know what it was....
More encouragement from Ellis came in the form of " let's just hope at 1830 tonight, we are not sat here talking about the only bite after 3 mins!"

Ellis now cast, straight into the Bush! We were good at this, honest! Maybe he is better at giving encouragement!?

After no more action, we switched to float fishing with maggots. We were targeting Grayling, but I think both secretly hoping for chub! Ellis started the day off with a Grayling, quickly as ghillie, I landed it. This was the routine all day, we were a team and it's easier having someone net your fish, especially when it is a little dark!

I soon had a Grayling too! This was my first ever Swale Grayling, so after a quick pic and juggle it was back in the cold water.

We were feeding maggots easily with the wind assisting us to get to the far bank. If anything it was too strong and every catapulted maggot ended up miles too far! The wind did help with the trotting though, blowing upstream it enabled us to control the float down the swim.

Ellis had full control until his float buried and this was no Grayling! On 2lb line and a size 18 hook, he took his time to play the fish and after a short battle, I slipped the net under his first float caught chub. It was a cracking fish, about 4lb, and we hoped would kick start a match like ambience!! It certainly did after a few hours, but I was not going to be winning the match!

We switched between the float and ledger. We missed quite a few bites. Me missing 2 in about 2 mins whilst ledgering was probably the highlight. Finally my float buried and as I struck, a trout lept out the water.

Ellis was trying his new and improved cheese paste with garlic,  not sure if it was this or the few pieces attached to the hook with pva tape but he was suddenly attached to a chub that was owning him! It nearly owned his rod too, but that's a story that remains on the bank! On the heavier ledger tackle, this chub had eaten plenty of cheese but also spinach! A great fight and soon (ish) I was landing another chub for Ellis, this one going 4lb 8oz!

Ellis encouragement exclaiming " I never catch 3 chub!"

A little time passed now. Float, ledger, missed bites. We were still trying and enjoying it. We sat behind the ledger rods, cheese paste in the spot. Ellis having left his phone in the car, needed to know what else was being caught on the Swale, so it was up to me to have a quick look on the book of faces.
Yes, you guessed right, at that moment my rod hooped over and bounced away, I was in. This fight seemed familiar, but it was on cheese paste! Jumpy, jagged, a big brown trout the culprit. This time we did know it!

As the day turned to evening, we had decided to both target chub on the ledger. Again missing bites, the fish were on the feed. Ellis moving to casting further down stream, he caught 2 quick chub. His never catching 3 chub had turned into 4! He must have found the super shoal!

He let me nip into his swim and have a cast too! After a few mins, my rod twitched but I missed the bite. Soon as darkness fell, the river awoke. Fish were moving about and we were in the right place. Finally I hooked and landed my chub. I say chub, but it was more chu. The fish must have had a run in with a predator as it's tail was deformed and it was about 6 inches shorter than it should be. It's fins were down the end of its tail like a pike.

As darkness took over, I missed more bites. We really had the fish feeding. It was however time to go. As good as the buckets were, they still needed to be carried back to the cars.

Commenting as we left, we had over 20lb of fish between us, including the trout. We will have to read the match rules though, cos am not quite sure you can fish as a team, but today we were the perfect team!

Sunday 10 February 2019

Blog memories

No fishing

With the rivers carrying a lot of extra water, and the weather being " not so good" add you own word here if over 18! I have not been fishing of late.

It's been a time of planning. A trip to the Thames, when I stay with my friends (Pc, Yume, Dwix and Mum. That's actually their names!!) for the rugby.  The Chumbley annual trip, this year is on the Trent in September and sorting through the tackle. It all came out the cupboard, was sorted a bit and piled back in.

This morning, I was sat chilling and my phone reminded me of this day in 2018. It just gave me two pics, so I was intrigued.

I scanned through my blogs and saw the title
"blanks continue"
Oh I thought. I read it anyway. Link
It seems I did have a fish, in a similar spot to my last trip and I didn't see it exactly so was not sure if it was a pike or a chub.
It got me thinking of the times you hook a fish but don't see it, you are always left wondering. Ellis and I commented that if the pike I caught on cheese paste had bitten through my line, we would have assumed a chub and the line broke on a snag, how wrong we would have been. I wonder how many times we have hooked a pb but never having seen it, we never knew?
On the flip side, how many times have we seen a minnow but when if came off, did we think it was a specimen chub?

I am rambling, I must be due a trip soon, but it was nice to read an old blog and escape back to the river again, if only in my head.