Saturday 21 March 2020

Social distancing to the Island

Date fished 21/03/2020
7.30am until 5pm

Wow! Today I went outside. Ellis and I went to Moulton lane pond to target Carp, Barbel, Tench and Bream, and if we caught Roach or Perch we would be happy too!!

We had ledger gear, method hybrid feeders, pellets, maggots, guru maggot feeders and small floats should we need to target the silver's.

Starting with hybrid feeder and pellet, I fished my usual peg (23) and cast towards the aerator. Ellis arrived shortly after the frost had thawed and set up next to me. We paid our money, which was promptly swabbed down with 90% alcohol to kill germs. After a quick catch up from 6ft apart, we were soon both watching the rod not move! It was very quiet.

After a few line bites, I was not confident of catching on this method yet, so quickly changed to the float to see what I could tempt. Someone on the other bank caught a Barbel on the ledger, so Ellis stayed on this method.
I was soon getting bites and after missing a million, finally caught a Roach.

A few more (4) followed and this got Ellis noticing. He didn't change tactics, but moved swims. He noticed a deep corner that showed fish activity and was soon having line bites too.

After frustration of not being able to hit the bites, Ellis gave in and switched to the float. Ellis's swim was still alive with fish and he quickly over took me on the Roach count!!

The bailiff came round for a check, so we had a word. He told us that it was fishing well and the Island was key. I had always fished there before and Ellis fished it this morning but nothing. I bit the bullet and changed tactics.
I put back on the hybrid feeder and cast to the Island. Ellis opted to feeder fish in his new swim.
It was first chance to Ellis and he was playing a proper fish. A lovely Tench his swim move reward.

Next it was my turn, for the next 45 mins or so. My rod did not stop. It was exactly how I thought the whole day would be. I assume it took a while to warm up and the fish were now on the feed. I caught a 3lb Barbel and 2 smaller ones.

We also caught some skimmer bream as the action was hotting up.

It was not long before Ellis was casting to the Island too and we were getting bites regularly.
Ellis wanted a Barbel too but it was only bream to him so far. We fished on, giving ourselves until 5pm, it was getting cold again and self isolation at home was calling. At 16.58 Ellis's alarm beeped and his rod was away, he played the fish to the net and as fairytale would have it, it was his Barbel!!

A perfect end to what turned into a great day. It was good that we had the fall back to the silver's as the cold morning would have dragged watching motionless rods. A whole blog in this troublesome time without mentioning the C word!!

"Not seen the news, What C word?" You Ask.

Yes, you guessed it, neither of us caught the dreaded............. Carp!!

Ellis with his pants down! 

Sunday 8 March 2020

A day for golf, or a nice drive

Date "fished" 08/03/2020
7.30am until 11.30am

The length of session is telling, and let me tell you. I didn't catch a monster and then pack up early!!

As the season is drawing to a close, I thought there was time for one last session.  Ellis thought different and opted for golf ( but I think the rain stopped that too).
I decided to head to the Swale and try for a chub. Getting in the car, it was a nice drive down the A1. I arrived fairly early and walked to a usual Swim.

The river was high but not bad looking. I started with cheese paste but it was not going well! The Borsin batch I made a while ago has not frozen and defrosted well. It's turned crumbly and does not stay on the cork ball. I think it's a fresh use only! I will go back to blue (cheese) for next winter!

After a while I opted to move to Ellis's flood banker swim. Here I got snagged twice, fortunately only lost the hook links and moved back to my first swim choice.

In what was about 20 minutes, the river had risen alot. Where I was sat was now a bit wet. I set up behind the water and carried on. The water continued to rise and I moved back 3 times.

By now, I was using luncheon meat on the hair and thinking a day in bed may have been better. It was time for an early sandwich. As I finished that, I noticed the river to my right was high up the bank and snaking round behind me. It was time to move from this swim, and my next chosen swim was to be the sofa!

Another drive, this time up the A1 followed.

It was a bit of a learning curve today. I was not expecting the rise to be so quick and severe. I was not able to adapt to the situation or know what would be best. It's something to read up on and learn from.

Peaked before midday and then started to drop. Should I have stayed? 

Friday 6 March 2020

30Lb of Tees fish

Date fished 06/03/2020
07.30 until 17.00

With the weather ruining a few weekend trips and the closed season fast approaching, it was time to get to the river and give it a last go.
With the day booked off work, a Friday seemed appropriate to target Pike and Chub on the stretch Ellis and I have been visiting recently.

Setting off earlier than sleepy, I arrived at the River a little after 7am. I walked to "find" a new swim.

I knew roughly where it was, I just had to find it. After a little walk and look about, I found a great looking swim. This will do, I thought.

I would alternate between Pike and Chub so set up accordingly. The pike rod with braid, float, bullet weight and a sardine.
The chub rod with 8lb line, 2.5oz cage feeder, and size 12 hook with hair rigged cork ball for cheese paste. I had bread flake for the feeder.

I decided to start with the pike, so cast to a slack area a little way down stream. About 20 mins ticked by and my float bobbed, rose up and sailed away. I struck straight away, setting the hooks. I was in. A quick scrap followed and a lovely looking pike lay in the net. I quickly transferred it to the mat and removed the hook. It was hooked lightly with one treble in the front of the mouth. I rested the fish in the net and called sleepy. He was still a while off, so I took some mat pics and unfortunately I did not have my selfie set up, so the below pic is the best I could manage. The fish had a few signs of spawning wounds along it's flanks.  I put the fish back to carry on with spawning. At 10lb 2oz, it was my biggest Tees Pike and a great start.

After only another 20 mins, my float did the same. I was in again!!
Soon another pike was laying in the net. This one had more obvious signs of spawning wounds along it's flanks.

Again I called sleepy and he was nearly here, so I rested the fish in the net so I could get a selfie picture.

This superb fish weighed 11lb 2oz. Once again a new Tees Pike pb.
With Sleepy now turning into Ellis, I vacated the Pike swim so he could fish there and I switched to the Chub rod.

We fed some dead maggots along the crease line to maybe encourage chub and toothy fish that eat chub into the area we were fishing.

A few hours past with little action, then Ellis decided to re cast his pike rod. He cast to exactly the same spot he had moved it from, and his float did not surface. It just sailed away. Instantly he was in. He played the pike to the net, and now it was my turn to net his fish. At 6lb, we had nearly 30lb of fish already and it was not even lunchtime!!

With both of us ticking off Pike, we concentrated on Chub now. Well, I did, Ellis turned back into sleepy and laid back on the mat in the sun to rest his eyes.

I wasn't sat quite this close when the fish took the bait!!

Sleepy aka Ellis

As I sat on the bank admiring the scenery, my rod hooped round and started to head towards the river. I got to it and connected with a strong pulling fish. We both thought it was a Barbel when it came close to the net, but it was not that flukey a trip. A lovely chub slipped over the net.

At a very small amount of cheese paste under 3lb, we allowed it to bring us to 30lb of fish for the day!!

We both now switched between the 2 methods. I missed another wrap around on the cheese paste and Ellis had a "thing" on the pike float. We are not sure if it was a take or movement from the flow, I think it was a fish, and he struck but it had dropped the bait. We will never know.

Thinking about it, there may be time to get another trip in before the rivers close, especially if it's like today.

It was soon time to pack up and walk back to the cars. As with all our trips, we chatted about life, work and had a laugh. Unlike most of our trips, on this one we stayed in the same swim, both didn't blank and neither of us lost any tackle!!