Sunday 28 June 2020

Day 7/7 - Calamitous end

Date fished 28/6/2020
5am until 7am

The final day of my holiday saw me go back to Ryton to fish Tilcon. Arriving a little before 5am, the light rain and cold wind didn't deter me. I cast pellet on my left hand rod into the open water and three hair rigged worms on my right rod into the gap in front of the lillies. As the rain got heavier and the cold wind stronger, it was hard to remember how warm it was only a few days ago.

Suddenly my left rod was away, a fish taking line and swimming off down the lake. I put the brakes on and turned the fish round. It was slowly coming towards me then disaster. The hook pulled. Am having a few issues with these particular hooks straightening with fish. It's normally if they are in the weed too. The hooks seem to bend out. In any way at least it's not still in the fish. Gutted at loosing that fish I carried on.
Next my right hand rod was away, the fish splashing on the surface at the lillies. Unfortunately the same result. Two slightly bent out of shape hooks and two predicted carp lost!

Soon a fellow member arrived and informed me that I should not be fishing. There was a match on today and no fishing was allowed. In my planning haste, I had failed to check the match dates. I was mortified and extremely apologetic and packed up straight away. I saw a committee member at the gate and again apologised for my error.
A fitting if not damp squib ending to my 7 day fishathon.

It's been a great week. Busy but great. 750 miles driven, 34.5 hours spent fishing and too many words blogging to count!
I have caught some fish, lost some fish and gained knowledge on how to fish better in future. Most of all though, I have had fun. In these difficult situations, I have got out and about and tried to succeed. I hope you have enjoyed reading the blogs, and I will type to you all soon!

Saturday 27 June 2020

Day 6/7 - Chasing Chaps

Date fished 27/6/2020
7am until 3pm

Spoiler alert! 

Today was back to Morton, but this time I brought back up! Ellis was with me, to see if two brains could outwit these chub.
As we set off from the car park we remarked that I deliberately left my polarised sunglasses and Ellis by accident in our cars as we walked to the river.

We waded to our swim, a small stream forming where the main river makes a loop.

We had knowledge of fish caught in this area, so it was a good place to start. We walked along the bank to see crystal clear and quite shallow water. I spotted a fish, chub and it shot away upstream. We tackled up, both with link ledgers with a few swan shot and meat as bait.

There was a bush we were going to cast towards and hope the chub were under it. As I approached the water, I saw more fish shapes. These were no chub, these were barbel or 'chaps' known locally. I hushly called Ellis and he crept over to look. There were 4 of them, quite closely packed in a small depression. I tried to trundle my luncheon meat in their direction but I fluffed it and spooked them off downstream.
"We'll try for them this afternoon" I said to Ellis.
Both of us wishing we had our glasses so we could see and stalk fish easier.

We ledgered for a while and soon the rain came. We sat in the rain and assured each other it was just a shower.
Ellis could bare it no longer and set off to the cars to retrieve both pairs of sunglasses and his umbrella!!

The ledgering was tough, I found that the flow was not right, so I headed downstream armed with maggots to another run we had seen, where I could trot a float. Ellis looking for a different area to stick with the rolling meat approach.
It wasn't long before Ellis called out, he had caught a chub. We didn't weigh it but guessed 3lb, it was a great start!

I went back to my trotting and soon was also into fish. A few small chublets being very welcome.

Ellis called again. Another chub, this one weighing 4lb 4oz, it was another great fish.

As Ellis put his second fish back, he spooked something downstream to where the Barbel were. He saw the puff of silt as the fish swam away. He turned back to his chub fishing. Curiosity soon getting the better of him, he crept up to where he had seen the fish. Sure enough the barbel had returned and he was armed with rolling meat.
He cast up stream and watched the light coloured meat against the darker river bed. He saw a fish turn and he lost sight of the luncheon meat. Seeing his line tighten, he realised a barbel had taken the bait and he was in! He called to me, and by the time I had got there (less than 2 mins) he had landed a fin perfect, amazing Barbel!!
It looked so broad, with a short body.  At 6lb 11oz it was a great fish.
" I thought, why wait until the afternoon to target them" being his comment as we both grinned like kids!!

I went back to my trotting and soon was catching a minnow every trot. I thought I would leave them to it and go see if I could catch a chap too!
It was not always possible to see the fish as the wind created a chop, or the sunlight disappeared or the rain was so heavy that it disturbed the surface. I could not see them, plus we didn't know if they had swam away for good.
We both headed downstream for a change of scenery and to give the barbel time to come back. First cast with rolling meat, in the swim I had been trotting with maggots and I caught my first proper fish. At 2lb 14oz, I was happy!

Ellis went back to the other swim to try for further chub. It's probably making you dizzy reading this, but we did keep going back and forward between the swims. We did alot of walking albeit in a small section of river!

Ellis got snagged and when he waded to free it, he spooked a large shoal of chub. That was all the persuasion I needed. I was soon stood near Ellis and we were fishing the same swim. It's a bit of a blur as to who and when, but we both then caught chub here. I think Ellis caught first, then the heavens opened and we got drenched, then he got snagged again and went to free it again. Whilst in the water close to the chub swim I caught one! Almost so close it nearly went under his legs. He netted it for me where he was and we went back to the bank to gather our minds!
3lb 3oz

3lb 4oz

Moving again, Ellis cast to a new fallen tree and within two seconds had his fourth chub.

4lb 7oz
All the weights were recorded on my scales and I was using them to guage the stamp of these Swale fish. We usually catch 4lb plus, so it was good to get some other fish, lets call them "growers". However, Ellis estimated the weights as I weighed them and was within an ounce on every single one! That's engineers for you!

We lost a bit of tackle today casting or trotting close to snags. We also got caught on other line that had been snagged previously. Ellis waded in and gathered all the old line up so he could dispose of it correctly. We, like all anglers hate getting snagged and leaving line in the water and we always try and remove old line or rubbish if we can.  It really is a picturesque venue and we are lucky to use it.

As the afternoon crept upon us, we tried to stalk the barbel again but found seeing them difficult, or they moved. We crept around the banks as the thunder and lightning started. Heavy rain turned to brilliant sunshine and back again as quickly as Barbel could flee. During a patch of sunshine we decided to call it a day, we had finally dried off and we were nearly out of meat!

As I often say, but today for sure "a great day".
But for today's session I have to agree with the words of Snow Patrol

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

Friday 26 June 2020

Day 5/7 - Wally with the brolly

Date fished 26/6/2020
5.40am until 12.40pm

Another day, another venue and tactic. Today I was back on the Tees but opting to fish a large, deep slow section hoping for a river bream. I last fished this venue on new years day and had a small skimmer.
The alarm went off at 4am, armed with maggots, worms and groundbait I headed to the river.
On arrival I picked a swim, number 133, on New year's day I fished '36' , on reflection I think my 1 was missing and it should have been 136.

I mixed the ground bait and tackled up. I was going to be clipped up on the reel to ensure I was casting to the same place. I had never done the before, so was excited.

The mist rose off the river and as fish topped everywhere, I cast in. Hitting the clip perfectly, I was soon fishing!

Little fish playing about in front of me knocked my line a few times, other than that it was all peaceful. I had my keep net with me and was hoping to show you a net of fish.

An hour in and a change to worm brought the first fish. A perch making the rod twitch before I slipped him in the keep net.

Another bait change, to caster this time and another fish. The intended target, a lovely Tees skimmer. It gave a positive bite and I struck it. Am over the moon!

I hoped to fish early and leave before any storms, bringing the umbrella with me just in case. It wasn't long before my brolly became my parasol!

With fish topping and splashing about all around me and on my spot it was only a matter of time before my worm, maggot or caster was taken. This was not the case, my next bite was at 9.30am when I was eating my lunch. How do the fish always know you are distracted?? I missed the fish.

The casting was spot on today, I hit the clip on all but one cast. Meaning I was always on the same spot. I still don't know how the water depth affects it, but I will continue to clip up in future when feeder fishing.

Fortunately the Sun was getting obstructed by the ever growing cloud, and I was able to dispense with the brolly.
Dog walkers, Kayakers and paddle boarders came and went and still I waited for a bite, casting every 10 to 15 mins to keep bait going in.

It wasn't long before I needed a wee. Going into the bushes next to me, I started to widdle. Suddenly I heard voices, two adolescent girls walking along the path. I gave my apologies, and kept front and centre. They scurried past and in true British fashion also gave apologies!!

With just the two fish in the net I wasn't going to trouble any match anglers anytime soon. I do learn a thing or two from them though, and took out my net well before leaving so it could dry. I used to do it as I left, and have carried a bag full of water back to the car on a few occasions!!

Nothing happened for the next few hours, then I decided to take 10 reel turns off the length of my cast and clip up there. First cast and the rod tapped, a little perch liked my change of plan!

With a long day maybe tomorrow on the Swale, I decided to pack up. It had been a succesful morning and a nice skimmer caught. Of course its great to catch,  but it's much better to see them go back safely too.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Day 4/7 - Sting in the tail

Date fished 25/6/2020
8.30am until 4.30pm

Today I left dry land behind and was on board 'Big Elbow' with Ellis for our first lure session for predators.
Meeting at 8am, it was nice to have a lie in, on what was going to be a hot day!
We had lure rods, drop shot rods, light float for catching live bait rods and heavier float for fishing live bait rods!! We had enough rods!

Now to reels. I have been chatting alot recently about these closed faced reels and their drag system. Really not suited to bigger fish, I am sure they are in the right hands. In my hands, not!
My second reel thought and is also a 2020 Target of mine, is to catch on my multiplier reel. I was using this today with the live bait, so fingers crossed.

We set aboard and got ready. With plenty of liquid refreshment in the cool box, we set off. Stopping first to " get a quick perch", we stopped in a shady bend. All we did was annoy rowers here, I lost tackle and no perch were caught!

We headed to our usual spot, and soon enough Ellis was into a perch.

I on the other hand, was trying to not loose a new soft lure that I had. I won it along with three others a few years ago, and have only just got round to rigging it up with hooks. I wanted to catch on it as I had put effort into it, plus using the multiplier reel. It was going to be good.

With tail

A few casts whilst drifting and nothing was happening, so we tied up to catch live baits or perch on lures.  Ellis started catching small fish straight away, but we were right in the Sun and it was too hot, we moved to a shady spot and tried again.

I cast my new lure set up along the bank and started a retrieve. Suddenly a swirl on my lure, a fish took it. I struck but the fish was not attached, and neither was my new lures tail!!

I quickly cast again, this time the pike grabbed the half lure near the boat and I played it for about 10 seconds. Sadly it came off. My lure showing clear damage from teeth!

No tail! 

We carried on fishing,  Ellis catching more bait, a gudgeon  and the occasional perch. Me not catching a thing. Eventually, I caught a little silver fish and the blank was avoided.

Soon, it was time for lunch. We were both starving. We decided to set up the live bait rods and cast them out while we ate. We were chatting about last time when Ellis's live bait was taken and how it could be pike or perch. Ellis saying " something is worrying your live bait"
As I said "perch can take live bait too" my float shot away and I struck. Ellis could see the fish and declared it a perch. I quickly brought it to the net and my first ever perch on live bait was my first multiplier reel caught fish! Target achieved!!
We both thought it was about a pound, but on the scales it went 12oz. A great 30cm perch though, and we were both happy.

I put on another bait and waited. After a good 20 minutes, I was thinking nothing was happening so started to wind in my bait. I did this slowly, just in case. I saw a pike come out from near the bank and follow my bait. I was bringing the bait closer to the boat and the pike followed. I was trying to get it to take the bait and as Ellis filmed, the pike opened its mouth and engulfed my bait! A great fight followed, the drag on the multiplier was working fine and I soon brought the fish to the net. Ellis quickly un hooked it and we rested it back in the net.
A few pics and it was back in the water. At 70cm and 5lb, it was a long lean fish. Maybe it only eats fish tails!

We decided to move on.  Deciding to fish spots that were shady as the Sun was stronger now.  We  caught a few more fish, I also caught a gudgeon. Not that common in the Tees, but we have caught 3 between us in recent memory. I caught some sticks too, alot more common!

As the Sun got warmer, and the profanities from kids playing  in the water turned from s to f to c we started heading back towards the marina. There was just time for me to loose some more tackle as we tried our usual spots but no fish were caught.

Not strictly speaking the last place we fished, but I will end the blog here. Thanks Ellis, if Carlsberg did fishing trips.......

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Day 3/7 - Day of rest

Date fished 24/6/2020
5am until 12pm

From running water back to stillwater. Today, I went back to Ryton to fish Tilcon. After 2 days trudging through fields of cows and down uneven banks, today was 10 steps from the car to my swim. Perfect!
Armed with Robin red in 6mm and 12mm and worms, I was hoping for Bream and Tench.

I was going to pick up Rupert and Martha at 12.30 so an early start was in order. Setting off by 4.20am, I was starting to get accustomed to these early mornings. Arriving a little before 5am, both rods were tackled and cast in by 5 minutes past. I had a few worms ledgered on a maggot clip on my left hand rod and pellet on righty.

It is now 8.45am and I am typing this on the bank. That's how much rest I am getting. Plenty of fish showing on the surface and a few knocks on the worm, but other than that it's very quiet.  I'd better get back to resting with these rods!

Sadly, lefty and righty yielded no fish today. I am now at home and going for a walk along the Tyne with the kids. Fishing does allow you alot of time to think. You will be pleased to know that today I thought about doing some videos for the blog. I will still be writing, as I really enjoy that, but don't be scared if you see some pictures in it that move!

Speaking of movement, the rods didn't do alot of that this morning. But to be honest, nor did I. The day of rest was very welcome, but maybe too much rest!

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Day 2/7 - Fun size

Date fished 23/6/2020
6am until 12pm

Today's change of scenery was a little bit further down the A1(M). Still a 4am alarm was needed and by 6am I was on the banks of the  river Swale at Morton.

I had maggots and trotting gear, but I also brought an open faced reel and 2 crusts of bread, just in case! I had been thinking of yesterday's lost fish. On an open faced reel, I think I would have landed them. Which makes me think I need to practice more with a closed face.

Looking at a swim I was given advice to fish, it was a bit windy and I didn't think I could get it right. I decided to tackle up the rod here with a closed faced reel and go for a wander. I put on the trusted bolo float, size 18 hook and was all ready. I just needed to pack the bag and have a walk. I cast the naked hook into the water just to keep it out the way, and packed my things up. Reeling in, I felt the tell tale 'pull' of a minnow. A little bit of weight, but just not enough. Avoided the blank without even any bait on the hook!!

It was useful to have a walk. It was a chance to see the river after the winter floods, and see any new areas.

As I had a good look, I realised where I could get out of the wind. In the spot where I caught the small Barbel on the float last year. I headed there. The swim looked good and I started feeding and trotting through.

It was a fish a chuck and soon 'fun size' chublets were coming a plenty. I call them this because of fun size confectionery. You know? Smaller than  normal, not sure why that's Fun!?! Fun to me would be a 6ft long snickers! ..... just saying!!

An over zealous cast and the float was in the tree.  A birds nest followed, but I was still having Fun!

Trotting along, I struck and this time there was resistance. A spirited fight on the closed face reel with a beautifully marked trout followed. After a quick picture it was back to live another day.

All was going ok on the closed face reel, I must have had about 20 fish by now, but I wanted more fun.

I decided to have another walk. I walked around the loop, seeing all the swims, I don't usually fish. Am sure they hold fish, I just haven't got round to visiting them yet. I stopped in a swim I have caught chub in before. My first 5lb Chub and caught on floating bread when I was in my work clothes in 2018!
It was time for lunch, it was 9.19am after all!

As I ate my sandwiches, I threw some pieces of the floating crusts I had brought with me into the river. I watched them intently. There is a large eddy here and they didn't float off down stream, but came round and round via the 30 metre plus sized eddy pool. I watched a piece come round at least a couple of times, very slowly and very natural. There were small minnows and chublets attacking the bread, but this was not what I was looking for.

Suddenly, a good foot down, I saw the bronze colour of a large chub. It circled under the bread for at least 10 mins. I waited patiently and had more lunch. I saw the fish several more times, never coming any shallower. Then a piece of bread was swallowed whole under a large splash. It was time.
I took off the closed face reel, put on my spare reel and a size 10 hook. I hooked a piece of bread and dropped it a metre from the bank. Slowly the current took it, but the wind was blowing it back. There was only 2 pieces of bread on the water now. Then I saw the chub, slowly coming towards my bread. With a splash, it nailed it and I was in!
With 5lb line straight through, I played it carefully in the pool and soon slipped the net under the fish.

I tried a few more spots with the float as I walked back towards the car. I met another angler that was in the queue at Darlington Angling Centre in front of me yesterday! We had a good chat and soon said our goodbyes as he went off in search of fish.

Finally, I ended back in the first swim. I had a few trots down and caught more chublets and minnows, at least there was bait on this time.

By 12pm, I was boiled, and happy to call it a day. As you have seen at the beginning, at 4lb 12oz  my chub was no monster but definitely 'fun sized' to me!