Saturday 23 October 2021

Horsing around

Date fished 23/10/2021

7am until 1pm

Some last minute changes of plan and I was due to take mini me for a horse riding lesson at 4pm. With Ellis unavailable, I decided on a trip to the Tees. Leaving the float rod at home, I decided on two ledger rods. I had meat, worms, cheesepaste, breadcrumbs and some good sized feeders! I was looking at using some longer hooklinks but time was not on my side (plus laziness) so I grabbed the ready tied ones and got my kit ready. 

It was a rare event, but I took a chair with me today. I usually just sit on the unhooking mat, but thought today's few hours would be in comfort. 

I hoped the bait and wait approach would work and with two rods I was doubling my chances. I mean surely this would work? Surely the fish wouldn't have their own plans?, would they? 

I set off by 6am, the car telling me it was eight degrees. I was walking towards the river by 7.20am and it looked great.

Settling in the swim, a few feeders of breadcrumb to tell the fish breakfast was ready and I was happy. 

After about 20 minutes I heard a commotion and saw two otters crossing the river. They dived and played around before heading downstream for their own breakfast. I had cast the meat rod close to the bushes on the far bank and the worm rod just where the current hit mid river. It was the latter that got attention first. A few rattles and a fish was on. I thought it was a Dace, then a Chub, now I am convinced its a Dace. Anyway it was the blank saver 

I carried on casting quite regularly, I wanted to stir up some interest and also use up some of the breadcrumb mountain I have in the bottom of my freezer!! Repeated casting and soon the worm rod lept into action again. A brace of Dace now! 

The second was quite a bit smaller but still very welcome. I fished on and soon a Cormorant was swimming through my swim. It surfaced with no fish in its mouth. It jumped out onto a rock to warm itself, and after a short while it flew off upstream. It must have known the otters went downstream! 

It was a lovely morning to be on the river and soon my tummy was rumbling too. I ate my lunch whilst I watched more and more leaves blown off the trees. The wind was picking up, large swirls clear on the surface. I was quite sheltered here today, a far cry from a few weeks ago when I tried to fish this swim and it was like  a wind  tunnel! 

I had used up all the cheespaste I had and went back to meat. I decided to cast not close to the bushes as I had been all morning but just to where the worm had been. I cast the worm rod a bit further downstream. I sat back and watched nature.

Suddenly the meat rod jerked forward and headed towards the river. I grabbed hold and played the culprit across to my bank. It got snagged in a branch about a rod length out. I gave some slack line and held my breath, 30 seconds or so and the fish was out. I played it to the net. A nice looking Chub, the kind I had wanted on the float these past few weeks. Unweighed but easily over two pounds. Just what I had come for. 

I am writing this now as I sit at the stables watching Martha.

A good day had by all it seems! she must get that smile from me!! 

Sunday 17 October 2021

Ladies day

Date fished 17/10/2021

7.15am until 12.15pm

After some much needed sleep, I was ready for day 2.


As I had all the bait I needed, I was able to head straight to the river.  I planned to get there for sunrise, still unsure which section to fish, I pointed the car south and headed to the Swale. 

The car was telling me that it was 12 degrees, quite a difference from yesterday, it must be because I have my big coat today! I parked the car and got ready. The river was still very low so I walked to a deep, fast corner. This wasn't where I had thought about fishing but I would give it an hour. 

I had bought some new floats a while ago when I was in the tackle shop buy not really paying attention. I wanted some bolo floats but I think I bought pole floats. They looked the same, so I set up a pole float as a bolo and fished on. A few casts and feeding and the pole float was going through perfect. No fish though, so I decided to make a move. 

I walked to the swim I fancied, but it didn't look right. I decided on a spot 50 yards up stream. It looked perfect. Another angler came across the field. I have seen him lots this summer fishing the aquarium swim. He was also after the swim I had plonked my gear in. I offered him the swim downstream, he checked it out but went off somewhere else.

I sat down, set up and started fishing. This felt much better. Third trot down the pole float buried. A lady doing a dance on a pole, now there's a thought! A Grayling for those that don't get me....

A few more trots and a few more Grayling. They were really going for it. I missed a few bites but the fish kept on coming. Soon a larger one graced my net.

The feeding was going well. I had some faster water against far bank bushes and some deeper water too. I was hoping for a Chub on the float but the ladies were keeping me company. Next bite I hit, the float stayed low. The fish along the bottom. I was sure this was a Chub. Then I saw it. A huge Grayling. I carefully played it to the net. At 1lb 10oz it was a new pb and a lovely fish. I was over the moon! 

It was so quick, I hadn't even put my cap on! 

I tried worm and meat on the hook but no Chub. I carried on feeding in the hope they would turn up. What did turn up was swans and Minnows! I caught maybe 20 Grayling and 20 Minnows today (no swans) but after the pb and unlike yesterday, I was OK with that! 

As I got near to the end of the maggots I thought I would go and ledger some meat in a swim near the car. Rain had been forecast all day and it hadn't come yet, so I was expecting it. As I walked to the car, I saw four or five Chub in shallow water by a Bush. I offered them some meat and crept closer to watch. Of course they disappeared into the depths. If you can see them..... you know the rest! 

I got to the swim and set up a quick ledger rig. I cast next to a Bush and had my lunch. I hoped the Chub were hungrytoo.  The scenery was great and even a static rod didn't annoy me.

With no bait left and whilst I was still dry, I decided to head home. I had eaten my lunch, caught a pb and it was still not quite noon! 

I like to take my pics, but there is something nice about moving pictures. Of course, especially when looking at the ladies.... 

Saturday 16 October 2021

The Crystal Maze

Date fished 16/10/2021

8.30am until 2.30pm

In what can only be described as an awful week, I decided that some fishing was needed; and by some I mean lots. I decided to fish both days at the weekend. So here's how I got on during day one.

I needed maggots, potentially for both days so I headed to Cleveland Angling centre for opening time. A couple of pints bought and I was heading to the river. I had "ummed and arred" about where to go, but decided on a club stretch (Lower Tees) that I fished on the Tees last time, but I decided to fish a little further down stream today. 

Earlier in the week, I had asked a question about sections of rivers and got some great answers. Why I asked this, was because in Summer Ellis and I were catching Perch the majority of the time, but recently no Perch. I would love someone to do a nature documentary on freshwater fish movement/migration in rivers. Any ideas BBC??!?

The car said two degrees when I left Hexham and was six degrees in Darlington, the weather certainly has changed and it's getting chilly. I was glad I had my thermals on. I set up in my chosen swim and started to feed a few maggots.

The rod was quickly set up and I was soon fishing. This swim was quite high up from the water so I was not going to use a keepnet. The bank was also not slippery so that was win win!! 

A few trots down and the float buried. A blank saver made me smile.


Next trot down and when the float disappeared again, the culprit did not make me smile! 

The Minnows kept coming. Two weeks ago, I had no Minnows. Today it was six or seven or more Minnows from every other fish. They were relentless. It's tough when the float goes under and a fish only three times bigger than the maggot is hanging on! Fortunately there were some other fish to be caught and a much bigger Grayling soon disrupted the Minnow show. 

I had maggots, worms, bread and meat.  I fancied trying meat on the float. The float being able to keep the meat trundling on a line either against bushes or along the feed line. When I have freelined meat in the past, I have always found it drifts into the near bank due to the slack line. 

Not a sniff on the meat, so it was back to maggots. Suddenly a shape broke the surface in front of me. A Cormorant popped up. Saw me, and bolted! It scared me off my seat!! The swim was ruined so I fed some maggots and went to chat with a fellow angler a few pegs downstream. He was ledgering meat against the far bank vegetation, he had caught nothing yet. We had a good natter about all things fishy.

When I returned it was more of the same, small Chublets and many Minnows. I carried on in the hope of better, it came in the shape of this lovely Dace. 

After a few more fish, I decided to call it a day. I am planning to fish the Swale tomorrow so a short session today was OK! 

I started to keep a count of fish just for a comparison, but soon gave up. Let's just say for every proper fish, let's call them gold tickets, there was many more Minnows, let's call them silver tickets. 
So 30 golds, minus 50 silvers, leaves me on minus 20 fish!! No crystal for me! 

Saturday 2 October 2021

Tees shark

Date fished 2/10/2021

8.15am until 2pm

A new purchase on Wednesday after work needed trying out, so I jumped inside the new motor and told the sat nav to take me to Cleveland Angling Centre. I didn't quite have to shut my eyes and be driven there automatically, but it was close. More gadgetry than the inspector with the same name!

Arriving before it opened, I needed maggots. I left with maggots, worms and tackle bits (baiting needles, Tom! hahaha). I wonder if anyone has ever managed to enter and leave a tackle shop with just a pint of the wrigglies?? I think it's next to impossible.

I headed towards the Tees - a club stretch I fish quite infrequently, but had seen some good fish caught recently. The weather looked decidedly naff, so I brought the one float rod, trotting gear, keep net and the umbrella. 
I went to the first swim. It was fairly open and the cold wind was howling through. I set up and had a few casts. Nothing doing and it didn't feel right, so I picked up all the gear and headed down stream. About 100 metres further down there was a gap in the vegetation. It was a steep slope down but I could get to the water. A little slip at the bottom and it was a good job I had the waders on!! Say no more. 

This swim looked better, it was more sheltered too, I could take my neck scarf off and I was still warm. I set about putting the bait table up and started to feed a few maggots.

I was feeding a little upstream and I had a good run down to an over hanging tree. The current never went bank side of the tree but several times my float went under the tree and it looked perfect. 

After a few casts, I checked the maggots. They had not been sucked. I was expecting bites straight away- I am pretty impatient! A few more trots down and the float buried. I lost that fish. Then again. I had lost two good bites. Was this going to be my luck? 
A few more trots and the float went down. This time I landed the fish. Another Gudgeon. Since someone asked about Tees Gudgeon, we have caught them every (twice) trip!! 

Several more trots down and soon it was a bite a chuck. I was happy. A section of river that looked like any other and I had fed a line and got the fish feeding. I love this style of fishing at times. The Gudgeon was followed by some good Dace and Chublets. They went in the keepnet, I fancied seeing what I could catch as I was planning on staying in the same spot. A different type of fish and a Grayling next. This didn't go in the net, they are delicate and often need some nursing before release. I caught two today and they both went straight back into the river, none the worse for wear with their strong wriggling bodies. 

I was soon catching Dace and Chublets of a better size and was able to tell them apart. I wanted to do a photo comparison but it was raining so hard when I released them, that I didn't. I will do it another session. The Dace really were lovely fish. I caught another Gudgeon and two Roach before the rain came. Brolly up, I was sheltered and still fishing! 

I fished through the rain and the fish kept coming. I tried a worm several times but nothing. There were no Perch in the final net either. Strange not to get some stripeys, maybe they on holiday now?!
As the weather was supposed to get worse in the afternoon, I only got a pint of maggots. I was soon at the bottom of the bait box and as the wind blowing upstream was so strong that the float was struggling in the flow, I decided to pack up. 

A great net of fish in a few hours, I didnt weigh it but about 4lb ish (maybe a bit more) I think. 

I slipped up the bank and back to the car. Wet gear thrown in the boot (it may be new, but it's to be used) and I was off home. 

The fish today were mostly a good size. Of course there were a few finger sized ones but most were proper fish. Just as well really as a net full of fingerlings probably would have been empty by the end! 

Where did I encounter the shark? Not a Great white, not a Basking but my car! Martha, when she saw it, said it looked like it could swim under water with its little shark fin!