Saturday 31 July 2021

Waste Not, Want Not

Date fished 31/07/2021

4.50am until 1.20pm

PC, an old school friend was visiting today to come and watch the Lions Rugby match with a few beers and a curry. He was due about 4pm, so I had plenty of time to fish if I went early. With sunrise at 5.15am, I thought getting to the bank by 5am would be perfect.

A drive down to Morton via a 30 min detour around the A167, that slowly got me awake and I was ready. I had planned to fish with pellets on the float as I still want some more Chub success on the float. However, I thought of a quick cast near to where I parked with the ledger rod to see if I could tempt an early blank saver. The 5.5ft, 1.5tc river ambush rod was set up in the car, so before I walked to my float swim, I had a quick try. I must have been too early for the fish as there was no interest here.

I walked through the drizzle to my chosen swim. I kept catapulting a few pellets every few minutes as I set up. I was all set up and carried on with the feed before my first cast. As I stood up, I saw a good sized Chub swimming down by my left, I was in the right place. The casting and feeding rhythm was soon in place and my float buried. A lively, jumpy fight on the float rod. This was not a Chub. 

The set up was simple. A pellet waggler with a few shot around the float. The 6 or 8mm pellet was banded to the hook. Simples.

I fished for an hour and nothing else was happening. I was not confident of my skills, so decided to have a wander has I had the short rod with me still and set up for ledgering a larger pellet. 

I walked to some some usual spots. The channel where the river used to run was completely still as the river has changed its course. I saw a few Chub in here and lowered in a pellet. A few small fish grabbed my pellet as the larger Chub slowly swam away. I kept moving. I came to a swim I might of tried but there was a keepnet in it! In the water. I thought someone had left it, but then I thought someone could be fishing downstream. I checked the net, it had fish in. Before I released them, I thought I best check for anglers. I left my gear and walked downstream. I found the owner in the next peg. He had caught a few and was keeping them away from where he was fishing. 

We chatted and I watched him feed and fish in alot better rhythm than I did. I must practice more. I bid him goodbye and walked on. I tried several more swims and soon I met another angler. I chatted with him and saw him catch a lovely Chub. It was good to meet fellow anglers, you know me?! I love a social. 

I tried a few more swims with no joy and was soon back to my first swim. I was going to try and float fish again. As I got ready, I noticed loads of casters on the floor from a previous angler. Thinking waste not, want not I picked two up, put them on my hook and chucked and handful of soil with a few casters into the swim. The float buried on my second cast. The next 40 minutes were frantic as six eight inch Chublets could not resist the casters! 

If I had three more pints of casters  I may of caught a bigger fish. I was happy though. It was great to see the float in action and I was more confident in my method. 

I decided it was time to go home and get ready for the rugby. I walked back and was planning to go back in the very first swim and see if a Chub had woken up yet. I was side tracked though by an area I had never fished before. I cast my pellet in on my short rod and waited. A few minutes passed and the usual knock and pull. I was into a much better fish. The rod handling it well in the flow and it was soon in the net. A pristine Chub of 4lb 13oz. This was definitely something to finish on. The lions await! 

As I drove home, I remembered the plastic baits I have. I have casters, maggots, the lot. I may just take them in future, I can't rely on bait from the floor every trip! 

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Constructive criticism!?

Date fished 21/7/2021

17.00 until 22.00

The last few days have been red hot. This weather always makes me think of hot sunny days spent with Davey catching Carp after Carp on floating bread at Greenfields. There was little skill or finesse required, but the enjoyment levels were as high as the sun in the sky. After seeing the Carp at Tilcon taking surface baits on my last visit, I thought I would go back and specifically target them off the top. With only dog biscuits as bait, I arranged to meet Tom for an evening of 'enjoyment'. 

I had brought my Korda Interceptor surface float, fresh from the packet and completely unused. Would I be able to christen this tool tonight? 

No, I am not sponsored by Korda!

A quick drive to the lake and we were ready to fish. We both set up for surface fishing and began firing some dog biscuits out. It was not long before the fish were taking them off the top. Bream and Carp were doing it. I love seeing a big pair of Carp lips taking a surface bait, but seeing the back of a Bream break the surface doing it is something else! 

We both had action around our respective floats but no proper takes. Tom cast closer to the lillies and soon had a take. He played it expertly away from the lillies and a nice carp with a very small mouth was the reward. 

We kept firing out a few biscuits and apart from a few eaten by a Moorhen, the fish were all over them. Tom soon had another fish, but sadly lost it. Three seconds after losing it I felt the time was right to provide some constructive feedback/ criticism as to what went wrong. He explained a punch in the mouth was on offer!! 

Unfortunately the fish snapped him up and as we saw Rupes controller float bobbing next to the lillies, it was nothing more than a reminder of the one that got away. 

Tom tackled up with a hybrid feeder and I stayed with the surface fishing. Eventually I moved towards the lillies and waited. An eruption of water and my float sailed away. I had the fish and it was heading for the lillies. It made it in but a pull got it out, but at this point the hook came out and it was another that got away. 

We fished until the float was just a silhouette and then decided to call it a night. A great trip and another first for Tom. 

I will defo need to work on my delivery  about his end of year review! 

Saturday 17 July 2021

Pb but no soaking!

Date fished 17/7/2021
6.30am until 3pm

As with many things in life, social media plays its part. Ellis and I both saw a post from an angler who enjoyed a bumper day, catching over 100lb of Bream on feeder tactics.  Seeing this was enough to make us go and fish the canal at Pollington today, as that's where the angler in the above example was fishing!! We were after Bream. 

An early start is needed here, not that its a problem (for me, wake Ellis up please Carole!), but its 2.5 hours away, so until they get cars that drive themselves, I kinda have to be awake first to get here. The alarm was set for 03.30. 

The trip started, as ever, days before with some prep. For this trip that meant "bait". I was on bread and pellets, Ellis on corn and worms. I blended 4 loaves of bread and combined with all things tasty to develop 3kg of groundbait - was this enough?!?

That was only 2.5 loaves 

Two white and two brown

Plus corn, pellets and dead maggots that I had in the freezer

I set off and headed south. I arrived at Mcdonalds at Newton Aycliffe at 4.45am, perfect time for breakfast. I ordered but was promptly told, "we are not serving breakfast yet"
"Ok, a quarter pound with cheese and a cheeseburger" my instant  reply. 
Breakfast of kings!!

We lugged the gear to our swim. We had alot more gear than we normally would, plus I had 5 litres of water. This proved to be just enough! 
The groundbait certainly was enough for a good start. We baited an area and got ready to fish. We both had feeders on, clipped up to fish a baited area from each side, worm on the hook. Every (nearly) cast was spot on. It is so good being clipped up, we both commented that we dont do it enough. 

Soon the rod was showing a bite, a small Perch in my net. Then another and then two for Ellis. We were happy to be off the blank but wanted to tempt a Bream. Suddenly Ellis's rod showed a proper bite, this was pulling back. A super Perch graced his net, which we later weighed and at 1lb 10oz was a new pb for Ellis. Well done mate! 

I went back to my swim and carried on. My rod swung round and I had a proper fish on. To my amazement, it was a Bream. Not massive, but later weighed and at 1lb 13oz it was a proper Bream on the feeder, on the Canal! 

We both agreed that if we caught nothing more all day then we would still leave happy. A few hours later we both agreed that was a lie! 
Plenty of bites followed for the rest of the day and a few Perch were caught. Ellis ending up with just under 4lb and me a little shy of two and a half. 

We tried all different baits, different areas and different hook links. We tried everything, stopping just short of jumping off the bridge with the lads doing it downstream. In the end, the heat finally made us give in. We had been beaten by the lack of Bream and presence of over zealous Perch. 

There was one interesting bite though. As Ellis had resisted setting up a lure rod, finally it was too much and he did. He cast it out and his feeder rod indicated a bite, he swapped rods and played the fish. It was no Perch, it was a different fish but sadly came off before he saw it. His line was left with the tell tale sign of Bream snot on it though! 

Even that did not dampen the spirits, another different tactic tried and accomplished, with a new pb too. I wished I had some water to pour over Ellis in homage to Carp monster pb style, but sadly we had drunk my five litres! 

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Use your loaf

Date fished 14/7/2021

3.30pm until 8pm

I guess like most people, my fishing started with a float on a stillwater. I very rarely fish like this anymore, so tonight I fancied giving it a go.  I decided an after work trip to Tilcon to target the Bream. I had the usual pellets as bait but with no ledger gear with me, it was all on nothing on the good old float. I also had two slices of bread. Not sure why only two but I wasn't going to use it and when I took a huge 800g loaf on the Swale, Ellis and I only used two slices, twice!! On two separate trips. All the two's, so I took two. 

I fed some micro pellets against the lillies as I set up the float rod. I was going to fish a 3g Korum loaded blob as close to the lillies as I dared with a banded pellet on the hook. I had a few knocks on the float but no positive bites so I switched to bread flake. The float buried. I was into a small skimmer. It came off at the net as I was chatting to another angler. This continued many, many times. It was a bite a chuck, not always a fish as I only caught half a dozen out of about a million bites.

Soon I had used all the bread and just had the crusts left. I had seen fish all around on the top, so I fired a few pieces out. Within 15 minutes the greedy carp were taking it off the top. I changed rigs and decided to have an hour on floating crust. My first cast was perfect and within seconds a carp had taken the bait. Sadly it was not hooked. Again, this happened about 10 times and soon I was out of crusts too. 

I was going to go back on the float and pellet but thought it was about time I used my loaf and headed home. Pondering all the way why I only took two bloody slices!? 

Saturday 3 July 2021

Plan A, B, C to Z

Date fished 3/7/2021

5.15am until 1.15pm

The alarm went off at 3.40am and I jumped out of bed. The car was all packed so by 4am I had left and was heading towards the Swale. I was due to meet Tom on the A1 somewhere and Ellis on the bank somewhere else! 

Tom pulled alongside just as we approached junction 51, and we were soon parking. Tom had some lures after seeing the Pike last trip, and the chub may oblige on lures or meat too. I had pellets, a ledger rod and a keep net. I was planning on staying in one swim and hopefully putting a net of chub together. Ellis was going to rove for a bit, do some fly fishing and then fill my net too but using prawns or meat! Well that was all our plan A's.

I left Tom lure fishing and headed to my chosen swim. When I arrived I noticed how much extra weed there was from two weeks ago. The bottom was covered. I could still see the bottom and what I didn't see were fish! 

I tackled up and cast towards a fallen tree. I was sure a Chub would be waiting here. In short Plan A did not work. The swim was alot different from previously and I was gonna struggle. I went for a walk and cast towards another fallen tree. I then saw a poacher approaching from the loop in the river. I later found out that the poacher thought I was a scarecrow! As the poacher got closer, I recognised the style and soon I was welcoming Ellis to the swim with no fish! I needed a plan B. I decided to move further downstream and have an explore. 

I came to a corner that Ellis and I always have a try in but we have never caught from. I cast in the pellet and waited. I had been fishing for over 3 hours up to this point so another couple of minutes didn't matter. That's all it took, two mins after casting the rod hooped round and I was playing the Chub to the net. A lovely fish of exactly 4lb.

Finally the poacher, I mean Ellis had crossed the river and I went over for a chat. We both agreed the river had changed since a few weeks ago. The weed was more prolific and there was little signs of fish. We decided we didn't know why but was fished on. Ellis casting his prawn into the swim I had started in and concluded was fishless.  
20 minutes later Ellis was down near me and we were again whinging about the lack of fish! Then boom, his rod bent over and he was in. He declared this was no Chub, and indeed he was right. A pristine 3lb Brown Trout his prize. 

He had just taken his sunglasses off for the picture, which caused the squint. He had not just woken up! 

Then it started. A few drops, then heavy rain. We sat in it for a while but with no further bites, we walked on. The rain never really left us from then. Maybe for a few minutes but then some much heavier downpours. We walked upstream and met Tom coming downstream. On his second trip, he had received an awakening! River fishing can be tough. He fished and cast well, but got snagged alot and lost gear. He ended up just lure fishing and a pestering follow from a small jack that refused to take his lure the only action he had. 

Ellis and I walked on to an area rarely fished and had the rain eased off, we would of fished on. But with the rain getting heavier and seemingly in for the day, we decided to call it a day. 

As my gear is drying Ellis just messaged me some blog titles "prawn cracker" being the best one I can repeat publically, but they will have to wait. Tom then messaged me with lessons learnt...

1. Have lots of back up gear for when I get snagged. 2. Always take a loafer float and preferably worms. 3. Don’t take quite as many lures during a trip!

All I can say mate is, make sure you have a plan A, B, C and all the way to Z. 

Friday 2 July 2021

Knock Knock, who's there? Bream pb

Date fished 2/7/2021

3pm until 6.30pm

After a successful opening week on the river, I decided to have a short evening session on the lake. I decided to fish Tilcon for the Bream - I would love a 5lb plus fish.

Since my last fishing trip, I have been down to Dorset to celebrate my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. Apart from a long time spent in the car, it was a great weekend and chance for the whole family to get together for food, drinks and chat. Family pics were taken and I got my 40th birthday present from my sister and brother in law. A fabulous picture of me and the kids in homage to Fishin' Impossible!

I needed to pop into the office, so after lunch with a work colleague I headed to the lake. One rod, small amount of tackle and bait, I was planning on stalking a few swims. I would just cast a single hybrid feeder next to lilies and wait a short time in each swim. I was hopeful of bagging a few as the afternoon and evening drew on. 

When I got to the lake my usual swim was taken so I went round to fish in Tom's corner. It just started to rain and with no coat and no brolly I hoped this was not set in for the night. 

It rained constantly for 30 mins, when it started to get heavier I was soon drenched. Desperate measures were called for, so I put my unhooking mat over my head and sat in my make shift tent. It worked a treat and for the next 40 mins of rain I was dry. Soon the knocks started. Constant taps on the rod tip. The fish had arrived. A small bite and I wound in a small skimmer no bigger than my hand. Gladly or sadly the blank saver came off just at the bank. 

When the rain stopped it was a lovely evening. Fish started to top and I started to bait more with new Raspberry Crush micro pellets. This had an impact, large swirls and fish going crazy. They must of really loved or really hated the raspberry. My rod was constantly knocking with line bites and moving fish. I carried on feeding and they carried on eating!! Eventually the rod indicated a proper bite and I was in. The fish popped to the surface and a carp jumped out the way. My fish was a bream and it looked like a five pounder. It was soon in the net and resting. I readied the scales and would you believe it??? 

4lb 13oz. Not quite my five pounder but a new pb so I was happy!! 

I never did move swims and I fished on and the knocks continued. A few showers came and went, but none heavy enough for the make shift rain tent! 

The sun finally came out and soon I was dry. This coincided with the bites stopping. A good 20 minutes passed with no knocks. I was happy with my pb and have a planned trip tomorrow on the Swale, so I headed home to get ready for the 3.40am alarm! 

Night all. Please no more knocking until tomorrow!