Saturday 25 September 2021

Tired out

Date fished 25/9/2021
7.30am until 12.30pm

The three (male, says Martha) Chumbleys headed South to the Swale for a day targeting Chub. I had warned the younger and older Chumbley that it may be tough, but we went anyway. 

The alarm lept into life at 5am and I woke up Davey and then Rupe. I went downstairs and made sandwiches and breakfast. Just when all the jobs were done, Davey appeared! Perfect timing. 
He started to eat and I asked him if Rupe was up. Davey went back upstairs to check and Rupe had fallen back asleep. Davey woke him again and started to leave the room, Rupe went back to sleep, again!! Third time to be woken and Rupe finally got out of bed. 
With the car packed (and filled with petrol, harder than it should be currently!) We set off. 
We stopped at the farm shop and bought a day ticket for Davey. Still not sure if he can fish the members bit on a day ticket and with me. Will have to find out. Kit all loaded, we walked to the river. 

Now, lets start with the result.
Adam non blank
Rupe Cray fish -I told him this doesn't count!!
Davey blank.

Let's tell you what happened. 

We walked a short way downstream to a comfortable swim and cast in. Clearly these two were too comfortable as soon they were horizontal again while I watched the rods. Just sitting up enough to eat or drink something! 

We started with meat on the hook and I threw in some floating bread to see if the shallow water would mean the fish would take surface baits. We moved upstream for a few swims in the hope we could find the Chub. About six swims fished to varying degrees but nothing. The twitches and knocks only being from Ronnie and Reggie and only one hanging on long enough for Rupe to bring him ashore. 

The weather was 'mild' aka boiling!! With our lunch all eaten, another baiting needle lost and a rod rest snapped it was soon time to about turn and head back downstream.  We trudged back to the car and headed home for fish and chips, although Rupe commented we should really only have chips!! 

"Why did you not blank?"
I hear you ask.
Well, technically I did not blank because I never cast in my rod, so technically I didn't fish! 😂😂

The drive home was uneventful but clearly all too much for some.......

Saturday 18 September 2021


Date fished 18/9/2021 - this time last year

6.45am until 3pm

Its not deliberate that my fishing is Swale, Tees, Swale, Tees etc but I guess I like to keep going with both my clubs to ensure I visit as much as possible each year. There will be times I am sure that one river slightly dominates. Ellis and I were discussing on our last trip that we prefer the Swale in winter and the Tees in summer. But, having said that there are times when we fish the Tees in winter for Grayling week after week! it's just nice to have options I think. 

Anyway, Ellis was busy so it was a solo Swale visit today. Two thoughts were on my mind as I prepared for this trip.

1. Barbel

2. Having missed our annual trip due to covid, I am taking Davey next week onto the Swale as a day ticket so wanted to check out some Chub ( he has never caught one) swims on the day ticket stretch in the hope that I can get him his first chevin.

Having fished the day ticket section a lot last year, with varying success as shown in this blog, I was pretty confident of dealing with number two, so it was onto number one - Barbel, again! 

I got my tackle ready on Friday evening and brought pellets and hot dog sausages - I had blanked using these sausages before but thought I would give them another go. 

Those that know me, know I am sometimes a fanny. Well in between getting kit ready on Friday evening and leaving 5.30am Saturday morning, I had changed my mind. I was going all out for Chub

I arrived bright and early and walked to the river. The rod was already set up so I had a quick cast in the first swim I got to. 

Nothing in here so I went for a walk. Walked a fair bit today, not eighty miles or even forty but a fair bit.
I walked upstream and spooked a good sized Pike that was just chilling in the shallows. It moved mid river and sat on the bottom. I watched it a while before heading off myself.
I tried many swims, ledger or free lined meat but no interest. The river is really low and the bottom still covered in thick weed. 

I had plenty of taps but I think that was Ronnie and Reggie. Twice I reeled in and a Crayfish was holding onto the bait. I had walked to 9lb bay, so called as Davey fluked a 9lb Pike from there in 2015, (6th pike down in the link pics.) It was here I turned around and headed back. I fished a few more swims and went downstream of where I started too. Nothing in swims both Ellis and I had caught in before. The river was really out of sorts. 

I saw a Trout zipping around the weed, it wasn't stopping so I kept going. A few more swims with not much happening and it was time for home. 

Oh, and I made zero connections with any fish!!

Saturday 11 September 2021

Backwards twist with Pike

Date fished 11/9/2021

7am until 3.30pm

For reasons we all understand, I know where I was 20 years ago today. I was in Botswana, no fishing that trip but having watched River Monsters and similar, I would of loved to have fished for some African monsters, maybe one day. Now, I think of it I have not fished much abroad. Once in France when I was away with a mate in our early teens, unfortunately 70 pence bottles of wine and girls took over that fishing experience. Secondly off Marbella with Davey and my nan, we were Marlin fishing, sadly a big fat blank, and that's my lot. Note to self - need more fishing experience abroad!

Nothing as exotic today, although Ellis and I went to fish a part of the Tees we have not fished much, if ever together. I think I have only fished it a few times and Ellis the same. We came to look at it once but were not fishing so just looked from the bridge. It was an ATDAC water at Over Dinsdale. Armed with just trotting gear, we set off to the river. As is often on these rivers, the vegetation was huge and although we could see the river, having a swim (to fish from) was something entirely different. 

I was already set up and fishing whilst Ellis was getting ready. I had a Dace, Roach, Chub and Gudgeon in about six casts.  

Those eagle eyed of you will notice that these are different fish. I did indeed catch two different Gudgeon. Ellis got one too. It made us laugh as a recent post on Big Elbow Facebook page was asking about Tees Gudgeon only this week! 

We fished on as we needed a Perch to "complete the set". We wondered how many species we could catch in the Tees? 
Ellis soon adding the Perch. 

We had waded to the middle of the river, this was the shallower part and we fished along the edges. Usually, like most anglers we headed to the far bank. Today though, most of the fish were on our nearside bank, and barely a rod length out. Ellis quickly changed to some ledgered meat to see if a Chub (or Barbel) was hiding on the far bank. I switched to worm and caught four good sized Perch in as many casts. 

Ellis soon came back and we were both stood mid river enjoying a fish a chuck session. I added another species, a Grayling being caught. Honest it's there!! 

Being stood in the water, it dived safely back into the river. We decided to move, yes we were catching but we wanted to see some more or this stretch too. 

We fished where we could, plenty of the river was fishable if you got through the vegetation. We walked a good 100 metres and the swim numbers only went down by one! This really was a spread out section.

We caught in most of the swims, but moved on regularly to cover more ground. We targeted the faster sections as we assumed the fish would be in the oxygen rich water. Ellis found a fast run and caught a few Chub. The rain came down but it didn't dampen our mood. I wondered off upstream to try against a fallen tree. 

"I have a Barbel!!" Came the cry from Ellis. 

I could see him, his rod nearly bent double and line coming off his spool. I was only 30 metres upstream but I set off to see. Not looking properly, I slipped on a rock and fell in the river. I put my arm out and it went in up to my shoulder. Water coming in over my waders as I jumped up!! Quick as a flash I carried on to see what Ellis had caught. A few laughs as he saw how wet I was, was quickly changed to seriousness as he played this fish. I got the net ready and we finally saw his float. The rod still bent double, he played it towards us. Suddenly the rod sprang back, the weight was released and his prize was in the net! 

Clearly a good sized Pike had grabbed this Chub. We didn't make it eight species and we were both left stunned, and me very wet!!

After all this commotion, we moved again. I squelched as we went. 

We fished another fast glide, I managed a Perch and then a Chub on worm before being snagged. A few hooklinks later and we were catching in the fastest of white water. 

20 minutes walking and we had gone from swim 71 to 67. We found a swim and started to feed. At first glance there was no fish, but as the feed went in, suddenly it came alive. I was soon into some good Perch, this being the pick of them. 

It was soon going to be time for me to leave so we agreed 20 more minutes and we would pack up. After 30 minutes it was time to go. We had caught lots of fish and managed six species. 

A steady trudge back to the car and I could take off the waders. I rung out my socks and emptied the river water out of my boots. Still soaking there was nothing left to do, so it was trousers off and driving home in my pants. Sorry, no picture of that, ripped like Tom Daley I am not!! 

Wednesday 8 September 2021

Define 'blank'

Date fished 8/9/21

15:30 until dark - 8pm ish

With the nights now drawing in, I thought it was nearly the last opportunity for an evening after work session. I decided to head to Tilcon to target those Bream, well the 8lb plus Bream I had heard about, specifically! I had bait designed only for 8lb Bream and was keen to try it out (of course this is a lie).

Armed with some 12mm Robin Red pellets, some left over pva bags already tied, ledger weights and one rod, I headed to the lake. 

I have to say, that out of all of the "inventions" for fishing, the pva mesh bag has got to be right up there! I wish I used them more, I never really remember to bring or make them, last used here. But to have a small pile of bait right next to the hook, this is a great method. I was ready to fish in a few minutes, time was not on my side tonight, I was surprised when I checked sunset times now we are in September.

I walked round to the usual swim, cast out and waited. There was one other angler, I chatted with him. He had been fishing since 6am and had a good mixed bag. 
I wound in and noticed something on my hook. No rod indication but a (fairly) hooked in the mouth fish. My rod, line hook and bait had caught me a fish. So had I blanked?? 

I saw Carp and Bream topping, plenty of activity but no more fish. As I watched some members clearing some weed from pegs on the far bank I had a few knocks on the rod. Nothing materialised and as it got cooler and towards dark, I decided to head home. 

In truth it was a lovely evening to be sat by the lake. The rod in my hand (and fish) was just a bonus. Of course I didn't blank!!