Sunday 30 June 2019

Hexham Tench

Date fished 30/6/19
7am until 11am

I decided to get up early (late) and try the local lake in Hexham for Tench. After seeing the beauty that Rupe caught last week, daddy thought he would try and catch one!

I had sweetcorn and a few worms. Feeding the corn with worm on the hook, I baited a few areas by the reeds. Soon I was catching Rudd every cast, mostly them taking the sinking worm long before it got to the bottom. I was almost fly fishing for them. Casting repeatedly in a likely area and catching a Rudd a chuck as the worm sank. I got into a good routine.

Realising I was not going to catch a Tench like this, I  put some weight close to the hook to fish on the bottom. The float bobbed a few times and slid away. This felt bigger. I had achieved my target, not as big as Rupes but it was my first Hexham Tench.

Plenty of Roach and Rudd followed, I soon had at least 30 fish in the net. Running out of worms, I was soon catching on sweetcorn.

Back home after a few hours, happy to have caught my intended species. It really was a learning day too. I can now sort Rudd and Roach apart like cats and dogs! Never knew why I couldn't tell them apart before!!
2 Roach

Roach above Rudd ( I think!)

Saturday 29 June 2019

10lb 11oz

Date fished 29/6/2019
6.30 am until 12pm

When your alarm goes off at 4am you know the day is going to be special!
Leaving the house before half past, I was heading to the Tees. I was going to a spot Ellis and I have fished once before and the blog  for it has a "blank" in the title! Am sure I said this was going to be special.

Ellis was working today, so I was on my own. Parking up, it was a walk to the river. As I got there, the vegetation was in its summer mode and I could hardly see the water. Walking to the end I wanted to fish, I carefully set off down to the water. Eventually I managed to create a swim and flatten the nettles around me. It looked perfect.

This is where I would normally have a landscape picture, but not today. I was too busy with fishing to take scenery pics, this was special.

I had 2 pints of maggots with me and a few worms. I was adamant that I would feed properly. Too often I would walk back with maggots. This is bad and not just because it's up hill. I don't think I feed enough. I had been given good advice about this. I was going "matchman" style.

I fired out a few maggots and set up. Setting a bolo float, for no reason other than I like the name and Ellis used one on the Swale the other week! Adding weights, I was ready to go.
I just needed to flatten some more nettles. As I pushed down a patch, it knocked my bag over on which was resting the open shot pot and the maggots! Fortunately only the shot fell off, so if any one has any spare number 6's, I have none now!!

First trot looked good, second was better. A little chub. The phone deciding to make out I was taking the picture in 1432 or 1932!

It was still very early and everything just looked right. I fed, cast and trotted. Just like normal, with more feed. But unlike normal, I caught fish. Proper fish. I caught no minnows, and nothing smaller in length than my........ middle finger!
The smallest one did not go in the keep net, but the rest did. One of my targets for 2019 was to have a session on the river with maggots, float only and a keep net to see what I can catch. It didn't say it had to be special.

The trotting was perfect, the bites were coming, I played fish, netted them,  fed more. I was loving it. I changed to worm on the hook and caught perch and chub. I looked at the time and it was still only early (pre 9am) and I had caught Dace, Chub, Perch and Roach - some lovely fish too.

I had caught a Tees chub on the float. Not a massive one, but good enough. I will be continuing with this target but it's a half tick.

The catching was steady. I was also getting snagged on something a little way out. It now owned 6 of my hook lengths!
Soon I was getting low on maggots. I was doing it right. I finished off the last few and I was still catching fish. I packed away happy and excited to look in the net.

Pulling in the net, it was stuck. It was not so heavy I could not lift it? No, it was snagged on a branch. Moved into it with the flow. I tried to free it with the net and pole but it was jammed. It called for a special rescue. Off came the shoes and I was in. Wading around the branch, I eventually freed the net. Now I struggled to lift it!! Not really. Trousers and socks wet, I clambered out.

I quickly weighed the fish, and put the smaller ones back. Counting over 40 as they all swam off. 10lb 11oz of river Tees fish.
I put a large dace back without realising, which is a shame. I would liked to have taken a pic. I kept a few of the larger fish to have a proper look at.
In truth, I have never caught such a quantity of fish (over 50) on the river with as many nice fish. The roach were superb as were the perch and chub, although I have caught bigger, never on trotting gear. It really was special.

As I walked back (the shorter way) I realised I had not even eaten any lunch. Wow! that really must have been something special.

Saturday 22 June 2019

Mini me PB

Date fished 22/6/2019
1pm till 5pm

A few hours with Rupe at the local pond in Hexham was needed. Martha was off for an audition, so we went to audition some fish. We have fished Wydon Water a few times, caught Roach and Rudd. There is some nice Tench in there too, but we have yet to catch them. Rupe has always wanted to catch one, so I keep trying for him.

His younger brother came for an hour and we were soon throwing in "magnets" and attracting plenty of ducks! Eventually Rupes float went down and he landed the first 4 inch silver. He wanted to use my keep net, so being a great dad, am now cursing at the drying of 10ft of net, I obliged. We now had a 4 inch fish swimming in a 10ft net!!!

Soon it was followed by more, and when we saw the Rudd topping and we cast to them, the net was getting "filled". All three of us had caught fish, it was going well. I was now able to tell Roach and Rudd apart too!! We had caught plenty of both.
Rupe asked if he could put some food in the keep net for the fish!! How, I remember asking my dad the same 30 years ago!

Soon, it was just Rupe and I. I had explained to him about just feeding an area and keep casting in it, instead of chasing fish.

He was now using his 4m whip. In the same place, feeding dead maggots and corn, with worm on the hook (Rupe says thanks, Ellis) and his float disappeared. Rupe struck like normal, his whip bent double and he held on to a monster! I helped him with the whip, playing the fish. Then I gave it back to him and gave advice. A few minutes of battle with the reeds so close, we got a reward. 3lb 12oz of Rupes first ever Tench!

What had started as a afternoon killing time, had turned into a memory for a lifetime. That's what makes it all worth while. He didn't fish for the last hour. He just watched his dad trying to join the Tench gang. Of course I didn't though, I am a considerate dad too!!

Friday 21 June 2019

No Chub in this swim, just Dace!

Date fished 20/6/2019
1.30 pm till 10.20 pm

Todays after work trip was our first trip to the Swale of the season. After the Tees Pike and Perch, Ellis had been back on the Tees and had a bumper few hours of Perch on drop shot worm. We now fancied some chub on the Swale, and if a Barbel came along, we would take that too!

I will start at the end and work back. Tonight’s trip was a session in 2 halves and the less said about the middle part the better!                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

As the light faded, the swim came alive. Fish were topping, and some large fish splashed about. They were not interested in our bait this time though. Next time, we will be ready.

It being so close to the longest day, it was so light at 10pm, we hardly noticed the time as we were still fishing, no night lights and we could still see the float trotting down towards a bush.  Ellis was having a go with the float rod, just to warm up. Although light, it certainly got cool quickly.

Ellis struck into the millionth minnow of the day, but this did not skip across the top towards him, this fought back.  It quickly dived for the bush, as I had stitched Ellis up and not adjusted the drag on my reel. It promptly got stuck in the bush with the line snagged too. I Bear Grylls style shimmied down the bank, around a tree, and with Ellis passing me the rod on his tip toes leaning towards the river, we managed to free the line, the fish and finally get it in the net! It was a great result, apart from the brush of nettle on my eye ball! 


The biggest chub of the session. Us both confirming it was a chub, although Ellis had been catching plenty smaller earlier, with Dace. He just called them all dace! A bit like me with my Roach/Rudd thing.

It was not till a few casts before when I was float fishing that I “confirmed” the first chub ( although Ellis had some before for sure). I had also then caught a million minnows in a row as Ellis said “ I can’t believe you have not caught a Dace” as next fish was the Dace, I mean Chub! This is getting confusing now!!! – I caught this, it’s a chub.


The swim we ended in, was the swim we started in. Our usual. What we had done in the middle part was take a walk through the cows and try another spot. It has been good to me in the past for floating bread, but tonight, we sat there, rods in the water,  with no real clue as to how and what we were trying to do. River fishing is tough and its fun trying to conquer it.

So, our little walk was uneventful, the highlight being Ellis getting a zap from an electric fence, I am still not convinced it was, but I didn’t put my tongue on it to find out!

If you are still following, we are getting towards the start. Our usual start. Our usual swim. Our favourite. Our against all odds, always know, always faithful swim.

Leaving the cars, we picked up our heavily laden buckets of bait, waders, jackets and walked to the river. The grass was high and it looked different from winter. We walked in the direction of our swim and after many hand swaps of the bucket we arrived!

Surprised at the change to our swim, a new island had formed, large trees had grown, it was an incredible change! Ellis suddenly proclaiming “ this is not the swim, we are in the wrong spot!!” – a great start.


Finally moving along the river we found our spot, it looked just how we had left it in March. The vegetation had grown, and a slip from Ellis found the right spot. He didn’t quite fall on his bum. Me neither at 22.30 as we walked back to the cars, and I nearly came a cropper into the stream – will leave that there!

I set up a feeder and Ellis started on the float. I sat motionless as Ellis fed a line in front of the bushes. Wading out he was able to fish directly a line in front. It was not long before he had his first fish, a trout.


As the feed went in, Ellis steadily caught more. Dace (we now know as chub), maybe actually Dace, minnows and a Grayling! It was feeding well, but the big chub did not show. I changed to hair rigged worms, and immediately my rod hooped over, playing the fish I saw it was a good sized trout. At the net, the hook came out, It was not going to be my night!

The lack of big chub was still on our minds, a change was “needed” that was why we moved swims. Maybe we should have stayed and continued to feed. We have agreed to do that next time, and not bring any ledgering gear! We will still bring the kitchen sink though.

As I wrap this story back round to near the end, it’s now I caught my first fish. After sitting in the first swim for the second time. After the walk, after sitting for a couple of bite less hours, I decided to put on a float. Second trot down, my float buried and a trout was my reward! I should maybe have done this earlier.

Before I decided to put on the float, I was sat behind two ledger rods, quietly waiting for a bite.  Out of the corner of my eye ( it had not been nettled yet, remember?), I saw a flash and the real king of fishers darted up from the river and sat  on my rod.  I had always thought those photos of kingfishers sat on fishing rods were fake, but it was true and happening to me right now. I edged forward to get my phone to take that award winning picture, unfortunately my movement scared the bird and it flew off.

You may not believe me, but it happened. I just don’t have the photo proof, you will just have to believe me and believe that the fishing trips I go on are always fun too! – photo proof!

Sunday 16 June 2019

Simultaneous snags!

Date fished 16/6/19
8am till 15.30

The rivers opened! After the rain we had last week, I thought they were going to not be fishable. Having checked fb when I woke up at 5 am ish, Barbel had already been caught on the Swale. Is this to be my season for a Swale Barbel? Only time will tell.

Today's plan was to meet at the boat, get it in the water and have a few hours with little lures for perch. Fortunately, Ellis was able to launch the boat last night. Today's new plan was to have more hours with little lures for perch!!

Loading the boat, it took us a while to remember what rods went where, what bits of kit fitted in which cubby hole and generally get back to boat fishing. It was not long till we were off on the river, ready to try and catch our first river fish if the season.

The river was high and very coloured, but certainly fishable. We headed off to our usual spots. First spot and a few casts in, we had both had bites. It seemed we had not forgotten everything we knew! 
The bites suddenly turned into a catch, and we had our first fish. The old faithful perch. I was off the mark.

Ellis then joined in with a perch or two, and the boat was full of smiles.

We went to spots that we had fished before, they all looked different, due to more water and the vegetation. Not sure we had fished this early in season last year. The water coming in from the Leven was very very coloured and caused a very dirty looking washing machine effect on the main river.
Soon the drop shot king was in again, but this was a different sized perch....

I lost at least 5 fish, mostly perch that we saw. I must be rusty. If rust was going to be a problem, the downpour that started would be the culprit. Within seconds it went from nothing to buckets being poured over us. We had to drop the rods and shelter in the cabin. At 11.50, this proved to be a perfect stop time for lunch, so no fishing time was lost!!

Fishing a new spot, Ellis lost a fish that then surfaced right at the boat. He cast again, this time it followed right to the boat, but turned away. He did not see it clearly, but it was a much bigger fish than we had been catching and was either a chub or a perch. There is always next time, but for today, it was the one that got away!!

Watching the match men as we went past, it seemed they were catching a few early season fish too. Just looking at the results, 45lb won the match. A very decent weight,  I would be happy for that when we do the " keep net, match style" session on the Tees. Watch this space!

Time was ticking away and we were approaching a spot we both really like. Lots of snags, but great fishing potential. Ellis had previously commented how we had not lost much tackle today, this was a curse and was about to change!!

Drifting past the area, we cast near the snags. Several tackle changes later, I had a bite as the lure reached the boat. The fish came Off!
Next cast, straight near the tree, and wham. The lure was nailed. This was another of those different shaped perch.....

Big smiles all round. We had set out to wet the boat, dust off the gear and catch some fish. Several perch, a couple of pike and a civilised sit down lunch. I could get quite used to this fishing life.

You may be asking where the title comes from? On our final drift over the snag swim, we were both poised for double figure pike as a double hook up. What we ended up with was me on one side of the boat snagged, and Ellis on the other side snagged!
Me chuckling to myself as Ellis proclaimed "simultaneous snags!" he has a way with words that man!!

Sunday 9 June 2019

Family Fishing

Date fished 9/6/2019
1030 till 1430

Today was a different trip, there was 3 of us and one was a girl!! This morning I went fishing with Rupert and Martha to Wydon Water in Hexham. I had taken them together before, but it didn't make it past the editor.

We were after the elusive Tench, but caught the common Roach/Rudd - I still can't tell the difference.

We had a 4m whip, Rupes Christmas present rod and reel combo, dead maggots, sweet corn and a picnic!! What more could we need??

After a bit of feeding, it wasn't long till we were getting bites. Martha and I shared the whip, while Rupe did a great job of christening his new rod!! Martha catching the second biggest of the day.

After a few coaching tips to Rupe, which caused a few tears on his part, he was soon casting like a dream. At one point we had a double hook up and with 2 fish in the net, the scene was set for a perfect picture.....

Yeah, that's what happens.

A great few hours,  there was time for hugs, tears, sausages and cookies. If anything, the 16 fish (8 each, Rupe verses us 2) got in the way. Unless it had been a Tench, we still want one of those, we will be back.