Sunday 29 November 2020

A dry net

Date fished 29/11/2020

7.35 am until 2pm 

The bones had barely thawed and it was straight back out. I decided that whilst conditions were good, I would keep on fishing! I decided to head to the Swale today and target those Chub. 

It was not frosty when I loaded the car,  and alot milder than yesterday. The car told me it was six degrees. I had planned on just float fishing maggots for the Chub but at the last minute I chucked the ledger rod and a few pieces of meat into the boot. That was my back up, but I had blanked with that on my last few trips! Undeterred I saddled up and headed South in search of Chub. 

A quick eggy sausage re-fueling stop and I was all set. I parked up and walked the short distance to the river. I could get all poetic and sentimental here, but let's just say " the river looked Great!"

It was very misty, so I settled in a swim I know. It was the first swim through the gate. I fished here for 30 minutes so the sun had chance to brighten my route for me. I cast the meat to a likely spot and waited. No fish wanted an early feed, so I headed to another swim.

I settled in a spot where I could float fish the far bank against willows. I had decided to fish a waggler instead of the usual stick float. I had seen match anglers using mag and wag tactics to good effect. I set up a 3AAA waggler and put enough shot to just show the tip. It worked well, I had plenty of weight to cast to the far bank, and the float went down the swim nicely. I started firing maggots at the top of the swim and followed them down with the float. In short  I did this for three hours and by 11am I had no maggots left. Not one bite, but I enjoyed the new approach. I will have to try this again soon, my last nice Chub on the float was last December. 

I met the club treasurer, I had arranged to meet and get my members ticket for next year. Looking through my book, I have been a member since 2014! We chatted about likely swims and spots and it was good to share knowledge. 

I now switched to the ledger rod. I headed off upstream in search of a likely Chub hidey hole. I saw plenty, fished them all, unfortunately the Chub didn't play ball. 

I met another angler, he had caught a Pike this morning. It made me wonder if I should hang up the Chub gear and concentrate on Pike?? I used to Pike fish all the time, some blanks but some great Swale fish caught. I will ponder this for my next trip. 

I walked back downstream and fished some more swims. Nothing was happening for me today, so I headed back to the car. 

As I packed the kit back into the car, I thought about the trip. It wasn't all bad I thought, at least the net doesn't need to dry tonight!

Saturday 28 November 2020

Ladies take centre stage!

Date fished 28/11/2020

8am until 2.30pm

Friday evening was spent sorting through the tackle. Getting the stick floats, bait apron and catapult. Ellis was back to fishing ways after building a summer house at home, so I let him decide on the approach. He opted for a day wading with stick floats for Grayling on the Tees. It was 3 years nearly to the day that I first tried for the "ladies of the stream", so I couldn't think of anything more perfect! 

I started getting a few bits together

And soon, I had a little bit more

It was a frosty start and I don't mean making Ellis get out of bed early! As I packed the car, the windscreen was sparkling. I told myself, I love fishing on these cold and frosty mornings! The car said it was minus three. 

Parked up, I braved the cold to set the float rod up. My fingers getting the first taste of the cold carbon. I was glad for the thermals today, top and bottoms were employed!

We walked to the river. The sun was just rising and the ground all white with frost. It was certainly the coldest day I had been fishing in a while, it was bitter. We saw the area we normally fish, both of us remarked at how different the island was. It had been narrowed by flood water alot! It has been a while since we had fished here, so was amazing to see the change. 

We decided to walk all the way to the furthest point and fish our way back towards the car. We would also warm up a bit on the way! We were soon in a swim and trotting. There was little wind and although cold, it seemed perfect. Ellis was into a fish straight away, a small Grayling. We fished on. As our legs got colder it was time for another walk to warm them up. We walked all the way to the lower limit and fished some likely spots. Ellis caught another few smaller Grayling. I managed to catch a snag and loose the hooklink. I tied on a new hooklink and as Ellis had caught snag with the same outcome,  I jumped into his swim to try my luck as he did some tackle repairs! I felt spots of rain, but looking up I noticed it was not raining. It was Ellis chucking maggots at me!! By accident, allegedly! 

We found some great looking swims on our bank and fished them hard. All we (Ellis) could manage was a fish not much bigger than the bait! 

Ellis decided to go explore another Island, he waded off to check it out. I stayed in another spot and managed to get snagged again. This time I lost the lot. I pulled for a break but it broke the main line. I watched as my chubber float headed towards the sea! 

I retackled and when Ellis finally plodded back through the water, I asked him how he got on? 

"Knackered" he replied.

"Effort equals reward" my reply! 

"Plenty of the first for none off the second" Ellis concluded. 

We decided to walk back to our banker swim. The main event. Saving the best till last, and all of that.

We waded across, and it was a little deeper than we thought. Both our bags got soaked, I was on tip toes and still the water was over waist deep. Eventually we got to the swim and started to fish. Finally I managed a fish, the biggest of the Grayling so far.

Not to be out done, Ellis soon started catching and the fish were getting bigger. 

We both lost fish too. It was full of action, thick and fast. Ellis managed to catch a trout too, we unhooked it in the net and it was off.

Soon Ellis decided to change his reel. He had brought a centre pin with him and was dying to catch on it. He tackled up and soon had the drum spinning in time with the current. As the float buried, a quick finger stopping the spool and he was in. He had christened the reel with a few lovely Grayling. 

Soon the cold got too much and we needed to warm the feet. We climbed out, a shallower way, and headed up stream. We battled through thick bush and ended up at a spot by the bridge. It looked Good, but I was not convinced.

"I am not feeling it" I declared.

Just as Ellis' float buried. He was in again, and it was from five yards in front of me! I lowered my float in the spot and sure enough, it went under.

The fish had suddenly come alive and for a 15 minute period, it was all stations go. I ended with three nice fish and Ellis a dozen I guess.

It was a great trip and great to see a "master" at work. I have always wanted to see a "professional" working hard at the top of it's game. "Catching" fish. Trying" hard. Today I saw all of that.

Oh! Not from either of the humans. I give the Centre pin all that credit!  

Sunday 15 November 2020

Pros and Cons

Date fished 15/11/2020

7am until 1pm

There is a little bit of deja vu with this blog, but after yesterday's blank I wanted to get back on the horse straight away! 

I fancied a day on the Swale at Morton chasing the Chevins aka Chub! I had cheese paste and meat and I was hoping the Chub were hungrier than yesterday's Pike were. 

I won't bore you with the details but sadly another blank. Two days in a row. I will give you the highlights.... lowlights? You can decide which are which. 

1. I arrived early and set up by the bridge just as the sun was breaking through. Is a really nice time to be fishing.

2. I walked alot, so got some exercise. I fished loads of swims but had zero patience. If a bite didn't happen in 5 to 10 minutes, I was away! Usually Chub are on cheese paste quickly so it may have worked but I lacked focus today. I stayed in a few swims for longer periods but couldn't tempt the fish.

3. I climbed over a barbed wire fence and ripped my coat. 

4. I met two Kevins. (Not Chevins) both club members who were extremely knowledgeable and we chatted about lots of different pegs. 

5. The banks were fairly slippery and twice I did some skating. 

6. I fished a new area where the river forms a loop. I thought I had a bite, but on reflection it was not. As I fished a small section of bank slipped in. Some Areas I fished so close to snags I think I was more likely to catch a Beaver than a Chub! 

7. The torrential rain came just as the gusty wind was at its strongest. I had no pertractor to measure the angle but let's just say horizontal!

8. I fished areas I had caught in before and made a note of levels in relation to snags and flow. Am seeing alot of the river in all conditions. 

9. Kevin and his son had caught, I was glad the fish were feeding, maybe I need to tweak my bait flavour a little!? 

So that was my day. Of course the pros outweighed the cons (6-3) but also I was fishing. A day fishing is better than any day not fishing! (I think) 

Cons - 3, 5, 7. 

Saturday 14 November 2020

Like watching paint dry

Date fished 14/11/2020

7am until 3pm

When Boris announced lockdown 2.0, thoughts immediately turned to "what we are allowed to do?"

I saw many FB posts about,' I will do this', 'You wont stop me doing that' and I am not going to preach to anyone. Just do what you feel safe and comfortable with, ensuring its within the law/guidelines.

I am still going fishing. I will be alone this trip as Ellis is working away. I will be travelling to my usual spots on:

the Tees,

the Swale, 

and when they are not fishable, I will be trying at Ryton.

The weather has been fairly mild of late, but with some heavy rain mid week, when I looked at the levels the rivers were rising. I crossed fingers, toes and other dangly bits that conditions would be right for the weekend, and as I sit here now on Thursday evening, I am still not sure which of the 3 options above it will be!

I decided to head to the Tees today and try for Pike. The river was in flood and dropping. I had seen another angler have success Pike fishing post flood, so I decided to copy. I planned on fishing a couple of areas, they are a 20 minute drive apart so I would use that time to reflect! 

Arriving 10 minutes before dawn (the time of day, not a new female angling partner!) I was set up and walking to the river just as it was getting light. I walked to the furthest swim I was planning to fish and would work my way back towards the car. I cast my float fished Joey Mackerel into the slacks and waited. 

After a few casts around the swim and a biteless hour, I upped sticks and headed upstream. I found a few swims I had never fished before, so I gave these a try too. 

I was soon at a familiar spot. Ellis and I Pike fished here last year. I plonked my kit down and ping! The strap on my Aldi special tackle bag broke. A few running repairs and I was back in action. 

No bites in this swim, so I headed to the car to drive to another section. Being in a club can mean sections of water close together. The club stretches are also spread out a little in some cases so it's best of both worlds. Today I fished a club stretch and an Association stretch, the latter is a collection of waters that all individual Tees clubs share for all their members. It's great to have more water and I still have not fished it all! 

A short drive and it was Pike 2.0 time. I now had Lamprey on the hook, my favourite Pike bait so I was hoping for a fish or two! 

Nothing in the first few swims so I walked on. There was an angler on my bank, so I stopped for a distanced chat. He was a dedicated Pike angler and had some good information. He was also a dedicated angler as he had come on a push bike!! It was electric though, but that's dedication! He only had to come from Darlington, I think from Hexham would be a tad far!! 

He told me that an angler, I had just walked past on the opposite bank had caught a 19lb 6oz Pike a few minutes before! He also told me that he had a take but his bait had no teeth marks, I told him that could be Chub. Now with my Lamprey I was hoping for Pike or a big Chub! You will know, I have had Chub on Dead baits before so is quite likely. 

I was fishing slacks only about a rod length from the bank. I found fallen trees or bushes to also target, in the hope a Pike was laying close to the structure. Nothing was happening so hunger got the better of me.

I fished on and tried swims I had found earlier in the year, that looked like they would hold Pike. They were just not "having it" today, or they were not home! As I crept forwards in a tight swim under a tree, I pushed the bank stick into the ground. Crack!, I broke the angle holder. Today was starting to rack up the breakages!

I enjoy watching the float. Of course I enjoy it more when it bobs, rises and slowly sails away. To non anglers it may seem as dull as watching paint dry, and I accept their opinion. But for us anglers, there's nothing better. So please enjoy.....