Saturday 19 June 2021

Gary Tees

Date fished 19/6/2021

7am until 14.30

When you use the word "guarantee" you really need to be sure! That's the word I had used. 

Tom has recently joined Northallerton and been waiting patiently through lockdown and then the closed season to catch his very first Chub. I had spoken to him about tactics, kit etc and bullishly exclaimed "I guarantee I can get you to catch a 4lb Chub". 

I met Tom at 7am just before the car park and he followed me to the spot. He had brought new waders too just to pile the pressure on me. We walked to the river and he was truly excited, that got me excited. I remember the first trips of mine to the Swale, Pike fishing and mostly blanks, I might add! 

We saw fish straight away, I was pointing them out to Tom, his Chub eye not quite in yet. I headed to the swim that I had seen all the fish in on Wednesday, a little out of curiosity and a little out of greed of bagging a few. There was another angler in the swim but also no fish. He had not caught any, and I saw no fish. We had a quick chat and then moved downstream. We fished the far bank from waded positions mid river. The casts were getting closer to the snags, it was looking perfect but no fish came. We had a cup of coffee and decided our next move. 

I wanted to show him some of the stretch aswell as guarantee him his 4lb Chub so we moved swims. 

The other angler had moved pegs too so we jumped into the empty peg just to try our luck. No bites here so we moved off. 

We were soon back to where we first saw the river, this was also where I knew they may be Chub. We saw several, Tom spotting them now and one swam close to our bank too. I put Tom in the tree swim where I caught a Chub on Wednesday and settled in to watch.

Ten minutes in his rod knocked and fish on. It was played quickly to the net, only once diving in the roots underneath. Tom was smiling, I was smiling and even the Chub I think was smiling. At 4lb 13oz, a more than decent first Chub.

We waded to a small Island and cast the other side of the tree. This was my chance and a 3lb blank saver graced my net.

It was now time to walk. I took him from the thirties to the teens (peg numbers) to show him some of the river. We stopped for a sarnie, I shared Tom's as someone from my digs last night had "borrowed" mine from the fridge! We fished in spots I had caught in before and I pointed out all the swims I had blanked in, even though they looked so fishy! 

We were struggling for bites now and an over zealous dog walker/swimmer in Tom's swim gave us the perfect excuse to move on. Next we fished a sandy swim, it looked and felt right. A large Pike a few feet from the bank was enjoyable to watch as the rods remained motionless. A few more swims and we were back to the tree. Tom was going to leave soon, so I told him to get back in the tree swim as a "one for the road!" He duly obliged and his second Chub similar in size to my three pounder.

I had been poached just like I did to Ellis.  I sent Tom off home and decided to go look at the fish swim. The fish had returned, it was full. I saw Chub and Barbel all milling about mid river. Unfortunately the other angler had the same idea and he was fishing here again. We had another chat and I wished him well. I hope he caught a few. I moved off downstream. I fished a few more swims but with no luck, I decided to head for home too. But before I did, I dropped into the tree swim as I walked past and missed a proper wrap around bite, just not lucky today. 

Why Gary Tees, I hear you ask? I used to work in a team called "guarentees" and we answered the phone with that as our greeting. When I organised the staff Christmas party, the pub called me and I answered with my usual "hello, guarantees".

She mis heard and thought I said " hello, Gary Tees speaking" and being an idiot, I played along. I had to organise the whole thing and keep answering to Gary. When we were at the venue and I had a few drinks, she kept calling Gary and it took me a few minutes to register and respond!! 

As I drove home today, I chuckled to myself about Gary Tees and pondered my guarantee to Tom. I had made it in good faith and I hope I delivered!? 

Friday 18 June 2021

Relax with an ice cream

Date fished 18/6/2021

7am until 3pm

Today saw us leave the bank and waders and climb on board Big Elbow, we were off for a days boat fishing. We were gonna be using spinners and small jigs in the hope of a Perch or two. 

We met (as usual) at 7am and prepared the boat. I threw the rope to Ellis, nearly breaking his nose. " No limp wristed throwing here", I declared.

We cast off and headed upstream. Ellis drove the boat while I tackled up and then we swapped. It meant we were ready to go when we got go the mouth of the Leven. We would fish here for a bit and then work our way back. 

Today was a relaxing day, I did alot more sitting than actual fishing. After two days of serious fishing it was just a great day to be on the river. Being on a boat gives a different feel and the gentle rocking certainly is relaxing. Ellis was first off the mark with a blank saving Roach, I kept trying for Perch but soon we were both on the float road with maggots trying to catch "bits". 

Eventually I caught one too and I was off the blank. No monsters but with the finger tip approach we could make all fish look splendid. Ellis doing a much better job than me!

Some of the silver's went on as live baits but the predators were not playing ball. The river had an algal bloom all over the slower moving edges and the green pea soup sticky residue covered our line, floats and well, pretty much everything! 

We tried swims we had caught Perch and Pike in before but still no joy. We tied up alongside trees and bushes, most of them were in the boat more than alongside! 

Eventually we came to where Ellis lost a big Pike a while ago. He cast out his live bait and it swam perfectly straight along the edge of the lillies. Ellis remarked " It's like an ice cream van for Pike, it just needs a little tune" on hearing this, I cracked up. Another classic line for the blog. 
Sadly no Pike here so we moved on. We were in another tight swim by some trees when suddenly the Pike float bobbed and sailed away. Ellis wound down to the circle hook and felt the surge of Esox. As quick as it arrived, it was gone. The live bait now dead with tell tale pike teeth marks across it's flank. We tried here for an hour but to no avail. 
The wind was getting stronger and I had drunk two litres of water in as many minutes and weed over the side about a million times. It was time for an early bath as I believe "something's coming home" tonight! 

It was a relaxed end to three great days fishing. Shame we didn't land the Pike, but I think Ellis is glad I didn't poach it out of his swim like yesterday. 
The relaxing is over as I will be going fishing again soon, "Great" I hear you say! Great indeed, I am going again tomorrow!! 

Thursday 17 June 2021

Pike problem in a mixed bag?

Date fished 17/6/2021

7am until 4pm

It's just after 5am and I am laying in bed. My digs are spot on for what I need. Had a hot shower, walked to Sainsburys to buy some food and have a big tv in my room! Perfect. I had a good night's sleep and now am thinking about today's trip. The rain is coming down quite heavy and the forcast has changed to rain most of the day. I am off to the Tees to trot the float through in the hope of bagging a good mixed bag of fish. 

I will get up now and get going. Speak to you later. 

I met Ellis at 7am at the car park of a club water. We walked down to the river and I picked my usual swim.

Ellis went in a swim he "found" downstream. We were both feeding maggots and using maggot or worm on the hook. When Ellis was finally settled in the Bush, I mean swim!, we started to fish. 

Perch were the first fish to arrive, and I soon had a few in the net. A few small silver's and the net was definitely getting mixed. Then as I brought a small (unseen) fish to my net, Boom!! A Pike grabbed it. I played the Pike on my float rod, size 18 hook to 2lb bottom. It swam all around the river but the hook and line held. Ellis came to assist and remarked how " Pike never bite through the line, it's a myth!" Eventually I landed the Pike and a 4lb Pike was defo a mixed bag! 

Ellis went back to his swim and we fished on. I had no more  Pike issues but some of the Perch I caught went off like Pike. Twice they nearly snagged me on the far bank, it was over 20 metres away!! Ellis was catching a few too and soon I heard a big splash from him. A Pike had grabbed his most recent fish. 

I won't tell you what he said next, but rest assured the myth is not a myth!! 

We carried on and we were both catching fish, mostly Perch. Then Ellis caught a good sized one ( I had two or three and lost one that were "good") suddenly a Pike grabbed the big Perch. Ellis jumping back as it happened inches from the bank. Sadly/gladly (you decide) the Pike let go but Ellis landed the Perch with not a scratch on it. A magnificent perch of well over a pound.

We stopped for lunch and decided to go look at my Perch and take some pics and release them. I had several large Perch with the biggest weighing 1lb 6oz, equalling my pb. 

We sat and chatted and ate, we had not chatted much as the swims were so far apart, all the communication was shouted! 

We decided we could both get in Ellis's swim so we went and fished in there. I caught a couple of Perch but it was very quiet. We decided a longer move was needed and headed upstream. I found a swim and Ellis went for a wander. Nothing was going on with worm, we had caught lots of the larger Perch on worm so I switched back to maggot. Straight away I was into small Roach and Chublets. 

Ellis came back from his wander and had seen a 4lb Chub try to eat a Perch he was playing to the net. He went off to catch it. I stayed with my tiddlers. Soon it was too much and I picked up all the gear and followed. I hadn't seen where Ellis waded, I just assumed he stayed near the bank, so I set off that way. When the water was an inch below my nipples I called for Ellis. All my bag, gear and kitchen sink were soaked. It seemed I needed to walk in the middle of the river, that was shallow, not the edge! Silly me! 

I managed to find the swim as Ellis was changing onto ledgered meat. I kept with maggot and worm. First cast, his rod bent over. Chub was on. Second cast, same thing. Both about 1lb 8oz. 

I wanted some of this!! If Ellis could ledger with a centre pin reel, I am sure I can with a closed faced reel! 

I changed my tackle over and cast in. Boom! Chub on. Three identical chub in about 15 minutes. 

We fished on hoping for the bigger one. Suddenly I felt the tell tale tapping of a Chub moving the bait. I struck and the fish dived for the far bank. It was in a snag. I moved up and downstream and as Ellis was about to wade over, the fish came free. It swam around Ellis, nearly through his legs and we finally netted it. We weighed this one. Exactly 4lb, Ellis was right when he saw it earlier!! I had poached his Chub. 

Ellis fished on but there was no Tees Barbel, which really would of topped the day off. As we strolled back uphill to the car, I declared what a great day it had been and how much fun (and fish filled) our trips are. Two 4lb Chub from two rivers in two days, Pike to 4lb on trotting gear and Perch to nearly a pound and a half for us both! It might not seem like a mixed bag but that is amazing. I am still grinning now! 

It was such a good trip, it even has its own highlights reel below!! 

Wednesday 16 June 2021

New river season

Date Fished 16/6/2021
7am until 2.30pm

It's a few days before the start of the new river season on the 16th of June. I have just started to get my kit ready for four days of fishing, I have three days off work so I am planning on fishing 16th to 19th - all on the Tees and Swale. So of course this is what mother nature adds to the mix.....

Not disheartened, I continued to get my kit together and will fish when and where I can. 

Update on 16th - The weather might miss us, but I will keep you updated. As for today, I met Ellis at 7am at Morton to kick the river season off with some Chub. 

As I arrived another car pulled into the car park, some other anglers wanted to enjoy June 16th too! Ellis arrived and we walked to the river. We were keen to see how the river had changed, as there had been alot of change over the winter months. A whole new area seems to have been made in a swim that used to have a bank on both sides. The river now has burst through and created a loop back to the main river. 
We walked to the place where Ellis caught the chap last year, this had changed too. Shallower and wider. We had a look but decided to fish just before that bit by some trees. I cast in and waited. I was using short rods today. I had bought two river advanta ambush rods in 7ft and 5ft 8inches to see if a shorter rod was easier in tight swims. It worked a treat and after a few minutes the rod wrapped round. I missed the fish and was cursing my luck. 

We then moved to the Barbel swim, there were some good Chub and Trout in there but no Barbel. We fished around there for a while and Ellis had several takes on Prawn but no fish landed. I decided to go back to the tree swim for one last go before we moved downstream. This time I connected and my first Chub of the new season lay in the net. At between 3 and 4 lbs, it was no monster but it made me smile. 

I moved downstream and fished some more. When Ellis caught up with me, he had had some luck too. A Trout his prize on Prawn. Pulled the rod right round in the Barbel swim, he must of thought it was another Barbel! 

I continued in a few swims but the river was really low, and with alot if weed on the bottom. The line was constantly being covered in weed. We came across the anglers I had met in the car park. They were in the new swim created as I mentioned above. This will now be called the aquarium!! We saw 20 plus Chub, Barbel, Pike and Trout all milling about in here. Will be one to fish another day. We moved on and fished a way downstream from the aquarium. 

Ellis saw a fish move in front of him and cast his prawn towards it. The fish turned and he saw it engulf the prawn. A lovely fight on the pin followed and a cracking Chub of exactly 5lb lay in the net. 

I had lost a fish in my swim and was getting knocks. I finally connected and was soon landing a Chub of my own. Unweighed but between 4 and 5lb.

I was still getting bites but didn't connect with any and Ellis spotted some Grayling rise. He quickly changed from the Prawn to trotting gear and first trot through caught the lady of the stream. 

We fished several other swims and saw plenty of fish but sadly caught nothing. As it was getting warm we walked back to the second swim, Ellis looking at his phone when his rod screamed off and his second Chub lay in the net. 

We fished another few swims but with no luck. We were back to the first tree swim, so I tackled up the shorter rod and tried my luck. Nothing this time, so that rod is still to be christened. 
We headed back to Stockton, I have a room in a shared house for three nights and we needed to sort the boat for another trip on Friday. Some expert driving with the trailer and Big Elbow was soon afloat. Ready for our next adventure!! 

Tuesday 8 June 2021

The Walk - Day 5

Day 5 - Carlisle to Bowness on Solway = 14.5 miles

We decided on an early start today, the alarm set for 5.30am. Getting ready, my feet were feeling better but I knew today would be tough. We left the hotel just after 6am and deciding today's walk would be sponsored by Greggs we stocked up on sausage rolls and baked goods. 
By 6.30 we had walked the short distance back to where we finished yesterday and set off on the final leg to Bowness. 

We followed the Eden on its south bank through a meandering path. Eventually we turned away from the river and crossed fields over the Cumbria countryside. 

The way was mostly flat and we were making good time. There is only three buses a day from Bowness back to Carlisle so we wanted to make sure we got an earlyish one. 
Soon we were at Burgh by sands, just under half way, so we stopped for a sausage roll and a drink. 
It was bull, There was no bull. 

The trail took us through more fields, across roads and along little lanes until it finally brought us to the Solway Estuary. We were not expecting a freak tidal surge but we checked anyway. 

The long straight roads lay out in front and with Scotland to our right, we marched on. 
Spirits were high and as the miles ticked down, even the sore feet vanished away. We were soon walking into Bowness and the end/start hut approached. 

Am not gonna lie, I was a bit emotional as I sat on the bench and ate another sausage roll!! 

I am sat here still, eating Kendal Mint cake and typing this. It's been a great walk. I would recommend it. Thanks to Dwix who's pace was always motivating me to keep going. There was some tough moments, but we persevered and we completed it! 

What an experience, what a result, what an achievement! 


87.26 miles (not including to accommodation/shop) in 25 hours 33 minutes.