Monday 30 September 2019

A mixed bag

Date fished 26/9/2019
9am until 6pm

The day started early, really early. 1.30am the alarm went off. I was heading south. Proper South, home counties, South. Pulling away at 2am, I was heading to the Thames at Hampton Court. This was not just a silly long fishing trip, I was heading South to celebrate a 40th Birthday. Shhh, it's a surprise!

270 miles done in 4 hours, I was nearly there. Unfortunately the M25 and other such beasts lay before me. The final 48 miles then took me 3 hours! Nightmare.

Arriving later than planned, I walked to the river. The swim I fished last time was occupied, so I walked to the end and found a nice looking swim where another river flows into the main river.
I set up one rod and then I realised I had left the specially prepared ground bait in the car!! In my haste to get to the river, I left it. I didnt want to leave my gear as it was quite a walk to the car, and I didn't want to have to walk back with all the gear. Decisions, decisions. This trip was going to be sans specially prepared ground bait!!

I set up the other rod and contemplated the feeder situation. Trying to travel light, I had no micro pellets or anything. I had 6mm and 12mm Robin Red Pellets. I wet some of the 6mm and decided  to use them in a feeder with a 6mm on the hook. The 12mm I would ledger with a lead and I had a few pellets in pva mesh bags tied up to give a few free offerings around the hook. It would be ok.

I used the korum bait bands for the first time. The bait is banded and the hook goes through the little bulb of plastic on the side. They are easy to use and worked well.

Soon, I was getting bites on the 6mm pellet. Striking, I was not able to hit the bites. Roach I thought, not Bream. I shortened the hooklink and carried on. Finally I connected and I brought the fish to the net. It got off!! Again. Things were not looking good.
A few mins later, the same. But this time I netted the little blighter and the Chublet (Ellis says Dace?!) Was in the net.
I had not blanked and all was good.

Next the 12mm pellet rod started to tap, thinking it must be a bigger fish, I was straight on it. A lovely Roach made it to the net, but came off. I need to practice ledgering for silver's as I tend to let the weight sink near the net, and if it's shallow and bangs on the bottom then the fish gets off. I need to sort this!!
Disappointed with missing the nice Roach, I fished on, re casting regularly to get some bait in the swim.

The heavens opened, and the brolly went up. This was proper fishing in the rain Davey!!

All the action started coming to the 6mm pellet rod, so I switched both to this with shorter hook lengths. Soon I was catching some nice Roach ( 3 in total) the chublet and then a dace. I wished I had some different baits and more gear, but then remembered this was an improtu session!

Seeing half of a worm crawling ( can you crawl with no limbs? ) sliding across the ground, I picked it up and put it on the hook. Soon that rod was knocking away. And as I thought, a perch was my reward.

The river here is very different to the others I fish. There was lots of boat traffic and 2 row boats from a nearby school.  One group of eight (the boys) came to say hello as they crashed into the bank under my rods. Their teacher looked a little sheepish as the boys explained it was only their second time rowing!

As I packed up to leave, I chatted with another angler who was settling down for the evening. He commented on the water level as I relayed the groundbsit story. As I walked back to the car, nearly every swim was occupied, very different from what greated me 9 hours before.

It was a good day on the river, 6 fish caught, a few lost and plenty of bites to keep me awake. The elusive Thames Barbel evaded me, but I will be back. Maybe next time the groundbait won't stay in the car all day and I may even smile!

Sunday 22 September 2019

Maybe 20

Date fished 21/09/2019
8.45am until 6pm

After this morning's 6am wake up call, Davey and I headed south again. Today we were meeting Ellis for a day on Big Elbow. The target Perch and Pike. We were going to use lures but also try using live bait for both species, that we were gonna to catch using maggots in the same swims. Simples.

We set off and headed for our usual spots. The first one, Disco corner, did not produce a thing. Uh oh.
We headed on.

Plenty of rowers (maybe 20) came and went,  Davey found alot of snags (maybe 20) but no fish. We were soon at the mouth of the Leven, we would give it a go here. Davey got into the routine of casting and slowly retrieving the lure. He was lure fishing!

Trying for bait fish first, it wasn't simples. It was slow. We had nothing so far.
Throwing in a few (maybe 20) maggots at a time, and finally Ellis caught some small silvers and the plan was put into action.
My float bobbed and I struck, I thought I felt something but we were all not convinced.

It was time for lunch. Doing the civilised thing, we all stopped, sat down and ate lunch. I had left my rod, cast under a tree. Now, my float did bob, and sailed away. I struck and was in!! Quick as a flash, it was off. The single hook not taking hold. Quicker than the first flash Ellis cast his rod close to where I had been. Now when I say close, I mean in the tree, not under it!! And that's where his rig sat until we finished our lunch!

After a few more biteless  minutes (maybe 20) we left the area and headed downstream. We would try some old haunts, but find some new ones too. *spoiler alert* some of these new haunts will be regular haunts me thinks!!
My float started to move and it was soon gone! I struck. I was in again. This time I was in properly and was soon playing a fish. A few seconds later (maybe 20) the fish was off!! Zero from two, this was getting personal!

Ellis then caught a fish for live bait, he quickly hooked it to cast next to my float. As he cast, the float did land next to mine perfectly. Unfortunately the fish came off mid flight and landed in the river a few centimeters in front of the boat (maybe 20). We laughed!
A few more failed attempts to catch bait and we were laughing more.

Eventually Ellis gave up with the live bait and turned to the drop shot. He caught a small perch straight away, thinking this may be the only target species of the day, I had to take a picture for the blog!

I needn't have worried as no sooner had he put this perch back his rod was bent double, he was in! A great battle was about to happen. On light drop shot gear, a large Pike was soon taking line. The hook holding in the scissors far away from the sharp teeth. After a few long runs (maybe 20) Ellis pulled the fish over the net. I scooped it first time and we were all happy.
I was sure it was a double and gave Ellis 10lb all day long. The scales had other ideas and it finally settled on 9lb 10oz of pristine Tees Pike. A lovely long fish powering away strongly, made me wonder. Was that the one I hooked a few minutes (maybe 20) before??

High fives all round, we headed for another swim. Ellis catching some quality Roach and a Roach/Bream Hybrid.
We had to wait for some smaller fish as live bait, as the quality Roach were slipped back into the depths. Soon the livebaits were back out and ready for fish. This time it was Ellis's float that bobbed, and disappeared. He struck and was in again. Calling for the net, it was battle stations. This time Ellis was not on the light drop shot rod, he was on strong tackle, wire trace and powerful Carp rod. This fish was strong, Ellis's rod was soon bending as the fish made it to some lillies. Holding it out of the snags, the pressure was too much and the line was caught on roots and going at a different angle. Where the line entered the lillies Ellis was gaining line, but suddenly the worst happened. The line broke, it must have been frayed on the snags as a large fish swirled some distance away from the lillies. The line was obviously going in a different direction, caught around something.  Gutted, we sat and stared at the water.
Eventually we moved swims.

A few (maybe 20) more casts in a few (maybe 20) more spots on the way back and soon we were in the last swim. Here I finally managed a couple of Perch and Davey hooked one but lost it. He was happy that he had finally hooked a fish on the lure and was not snagged! It was a great day on the boat, and Davey enjoyed himself. That's fishing, and that's the main reason for going.

None of us saw the fish Ellis lost, but it fought like a big one, not sure how big and we will never know. We wondered how big as we headed for shore!! No one number sticks in my head though.......(Maybe...... just maybe!!)

Friday 20 September 2019

We're Fishin in the Rain!

Date fished 20/9/2019
8am until 4pm

This weekend Davey was up North!
Our annual fishing trip was going to be on the Trent,  but after a change of plan Davey headed to Hotel Hexham for some northern fun. The Trent trip will have to be done another time!

Arriving in good time on Thursday evening it was food, crime and punishment and bed. A 6am wake up call awaited Davey.
Setting off, we headed south, Moulton Lane Pond was our destination. Carp, Barbel, Bream and Tench was our quarry.

Arriving before 8am, I headed to the swims I knew. "They will be perfect", I told Davey.
We started to set up.
"It wasn't raining when we left the car?" queried Davey.
"Its not raining"  I replied.
The tree we were sat under was dripping the early morning dew on us. A 5m section of bank was soaked, the rest dry as a bone. But this is where I proclaimed was "perfect!"
Bless him, he accepted it and we fished in the rain for an hour, while the rest of Britain was dry and sunny!!

Soon a group of match men arrived, they had all the gear, and as we watched them fish throughout the day, if was clear they also had all the idea!! On our way home, we discussed how well they fished, how relaxed they were playing fish, feeding, position and baiting. One day we may be like that, but until then, we will just be us. This obviously meant that Davey would trip over before wetting a line, standard for him!

We were soon listening to the match anglers banter, and it was great to be on a lake with some social craic. It was peaceful but also friendly. The fishing was surprisingly slow.
The chatter was interrupted eventually by my reel spinning around. I was in. A chunky Carp was quickly in the net.

Davey's float, as big as an iceberg, remained floating though!! He moved around the margins hoping for a bite, but nothing came.
Soon he was busy though, netting my first Barbel.

Shortly, I was three quarters of the way through our target as a small skimmer (bream) was netted.
As the sun came out to warm us up, the match was hotting up and even the iceberg went under. Davey was in. It was my turn to net the fish. As luck would have it, he managed that remaing quarter!! A Tench was ours.

I managed to double up on the Carp and Barbel and continued to catch Bream fairly often.  Davey did not catch anything else, but he managed to not fall asleep, so a good result all round.

As we headed home 3 questions remained.
1. What will we catch tomorrow?
2. Who won the match?
3. After this beer, what's for dinner?

Saturday 7 September 2019

Let minnow if that cow is looking at Me!

Date fished 7/9/2019
8am until 4pm

Today's trip was at Morton, to fish the Swale. We were hoping for chub on the float but as always we were happy just to be out!
I arrived first as Ellis had been at the rugby last night. I decided to fish the same area as last time, so I set up and headed towards the swim.

Since my run in with the cows a few years ago, I am always nervous around them. They are large, skitty and not very bright! No comment!!

There was a large herd of them in the trees in the swim I wanted to fish, so I went to find another. I had some good advice as usual about potential swims, so I had a few options. I settled in a swim and fished. The flow was going left and right, I really didn't know how to fish it, so I moved.

I found another swim. I settled in this swim and fished. The flow was going in circles here, I really didn't know how to fish it, so I moved.

I crossed the field and was wary of the cows again. Am sure they were looking at me! I edged towards where I wanted to go. I am not to proud to admit, I was scared. I pretended I was not looking at them, and moved to a swim close to where I wanted to be.
Happy in this new swim, I settled in and fished. I soon started catching silver's, small dace and chub. It was not a blank. Then the minnows came along. Every cast I was catching a small minnow, as fun as it is (once) it soon is annoying as they are stopping the bait getting to the big chub that I know are there (in my dreams).
Suddenly I struck and it was not a little minnow, it was something a little bigger. A nice Grayling was the first fish to grace the new landing net!!

The new net comes with a "jumping fish safety feature". This Grayling was caught perfectly in the net after its little jump!

A few small dace, chub and two more grayling interrupted the millions of minnows, but I was catching at least.

Ellis then arrived and settled in the swim next to me. He soon started catching chub and managed some larger ones,  these two being the pick of the bunch, before I cursed him with the minnows!

I suddenly saw the bush on the far bank moving, like a tornado was grabbing it. Line, floats and lures all spinning in the vortex. I must be dreaming, I thought, and fished on. After a couple more trots, it was time for a move. With safety in numbers, it was now the two of us warily walking around these huge beasts.
As we walked, Ellis told me a story how he cast his float into the bush, then a spinner to retrieve the float, then another spinner to retrieve the float and the first spinner!  It reminded him of the woman that swallowed a fly!! I have to agree with you there mate, at least the laughter took our minds off the cows!!

We fished a few swims on the way to the bridge, but we both didn't feel "fishy" in any of them. We were really just having a walk about with kit! It's useful to do this and see other swims. There is a whole section of water that Ellis has never seen and I haven't been to it in a few years. We needed to check it out!!

In short we fished about 4 or 5 swims, walked a couple of miles and caught nothing!!
The wind had picked up and the swims we wanted to fish were just not possible. The wind was so strong across us, creating a large bow in the line. As we walked, I realised that I didn't actually fish the swim I was going to, that will have to wait for another trip.

The walk was good though, we were able to see potential swims and more importantly there were no cows in those fields!!