Friday 31 December 2021

New year, New targets

2021 targets were: 

I didn't manage any of the targets but in some way its not surprising  as I didn't try for all of them. 

For 2022, I will have the following targets:

Swale Barbel

New river Barbel

6lb Bream

5lb Tees Chub


2021 Review

2021 has been a year of highs and lows in both fishing and life. Covid remains ever looming over us, but life is slowly getting back to "normal".

It started with snow. Ellis and I going to the Tees in early January but leaving after a few hours as we were not sure we would be able if we stayed much longer! 

Covid restrictions and walking training occupied the next few months. I was planning on walking Hadrians wall in June, so I started doing some long walks. From what I remember this didn't hugely interrupt fishing as we were largely restricted to the local area, so I could not fish the rivers anyway. I then took the old closed season mostly off and it wasn't until May that I wet a line again. Ellis and I heading to the Oaks for some Carp action, I think the Carp were still on restrictions as we didn't "bag up" like we thought we would! We did discover portrait mode on the I phone though, great for catch shots. 

Later in May, I managed a pb Bream (by a single ounce), something I would break again in July.

June meant the start of the river season. The same stretches of Swale and Tees, but mother nature had played her part in the winter and the Swale at Morton was very different. 
It started with a great Tees session, Perch galore, catching my first Pike whilst trotting for silver's and poaching a 4lb Chub from Ellis's swim! 

Caught on size 18, 2lb hooklink

Tees warrior at 4lb

Poacher turned teacher, and by the end of the month I had helped Tom catch his first ever Chub. 

Tom's first Chub

June also saw me complete walking Hadrians wall. In five days we walked 87 miles, was quite an accomplishment and certainly felt emotional and proud on completion. 
In July, another 10 ounces added to the Bream pb, would love a 6lb'er in 2022, here's hoping. I also enjoyed some surface fishing, although I never did land a Carp. Tom did though, so was great showing him a new method. Ellis and I also ventured down to the Canal, we usually just fish it in winter. 100lb net of Bream the target, I had one and Ellis caught loads of Perch, including a new pb! 

Only 98lb short of our target! 

1lb 10oz pb Perch for Ellis

4lb 13oz pb Bream

August saw me fish the Trent, a new section of the Tees and Ellis caught a Bleak on the Severn. It was also when one of the most formidable and amazing women in my family sadly passed away. My nan aka Munchkin had battled hard, and that just does not mean when she used to take me fishing and bring me chips to my swim as I was too "busy" to go get them!! 

Plenty of Swale Chub were caught in the warmer summer months. It has to be said, I enjoy fishing for Chub, they really can be so obliging, but at times so frustrating too. Must be why I like them!!
As summer turned to Autumn, Ellis and I or just me fished the Tees. Trotting and catching all sorts was mostly the technique. The stand out being Gudgeon, as someone had commented how few had been seen recently in the Tees, after reading this, I think we caught 3 in one session! 
I also did a Tom Daley impression in September and dived into the water whilst trying to help land a Tees Barbel. Water down the waders, wet all the rest of the day and the Barbel was a Pike (unlanded). Still, it was a good dive! 
Tees Gonk

Another pb in October, and what a fish. I had not caught a Grayling until a few years ago. I asked on Ellis's Facebook group for help to catch one. He replied, took me out on the Tees and we have been fishing together ever since. Anyway, the pb Grayling was a Swale fish, fishing on my own I was convinced it was a Chub, then when I saw it my knees were knocking till it was safely in the net. Great fish. 

1lb 10 - pb Grayling

Movember saw me and the Mo fish another new venue, the Grand Union Canal at Harefield. Sadly a blank but was great to try somewhere new. Closer to home saw me catch the usual suspects on my cheesepaste - Chub and Pike of course!! 

Cheesepaste capture, again! 

More ladies (of the stream) featured in December. Ellis and I catching some stonkers on the Tees. Fishing then faded into insignificance as good friend and master angler Giles Alcock passed away. Giles was predominantly a Predator angler and he taught me lots in this discipline. It usually involved laughter and calamity as I caught a Tees Chub on Pike gear the first time he took me fishing. I wanted to reminicise about that, and glad I could catch a Tees Chub for him on a day I went to reflect.

A Tees Chub by design this time Giles

As Christmas came and went, it was soon the last few days of 2021. Ellis and I decided to fish just for Pike, something we rarely do now. We usually bring some other gear "just in case". My last fish of 2021 and turned out to be my biggest, a modest 8lb 8oz Pike to end the year, I can't grumble at that! 

A perfect example

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Pike Fishing by A.R. Chumbley


8am until 3.30pm

I always wondered what it would be like to write a book. Let's see how it might go. 

A snappy cover pic would probably be something like this: 

Then I would detail how my fishing trip went, maybe like this:

A red sky in the morning.... well you know the rest. However, Ellis and I are not shepherd's, so we didn't let a red sky stop us going fishing. We met just after 8am at a section of the Tees we usually fish in summer. We usually trot the stick float with maggots and catch some decent fish. We also get plagued with Pike when we have 2lb hook links and size 18 hooks. So, today we came with 15lb line, trebles, newly made traces and Pike gear only! 

A gentle down hill walk got us to the river. Quite a bit up on normal level and with some pace, but the gauge said it was dropping. Some mild weather expected later in the week, so hopefully the Pike would be on the munch and we would find them in the slacks. 

We walked to the first swim and cast in. We had decided to fish in every swim together, with only one rod each there was enough space. I had (very old) Lamprey as bait and Ellis had Mackerel. As the floats bobbed around in the water we chatted about past and future trips, work, life and generally just caught up. 

It was Ellis that saw my float start to bob, twitch and slowly slide away. I was straight on the rod, fish on. I soon realised this was the first fish on my new (now 12 months old) Pike rod and I didn't want to lose it. I played it carefully and soon it was guided to the net. Ellis rested it while I got ready. Soon the fish was unhooked (easy with barbless trebles), photographed, weighed and returned. A pristine Pike of 8lb 8oz definitely worth a good few pics! 

We tried a while in this swim, but no more fish so headed downstream. We fished our way down to where the trees blocked our path even though we think our club water continues further along this bank. We will have to consult the maps. By now the skies had darkened and the rain heavy. The wind soon picked up too and the day was turning miserable. We turned around and headed back up stream to fish some swims we had walked past. Every swim was fished for 20 to 30 mins, two rods. Checking all the slack water, even that only inches from the bank. We were sure another Pike would be waiting. 

Eventually we were back to the first swim and we swapped positions ( I had caught my fish on the left, so Ellis now fished here. I am a goodun!?!) and fished on. Nothing doing the second time so we headed further upstream to areas we had not fished today and never seen before in summer! They were always covered by thick vegetation. We found a perfect looking swim. After getting snagged, but getting all my tackle back, I sat back and we both watched Ellis's float, desperate for it to slide away. 

Sadly the float stayed still and as the sun came out and dried us off, we tried our last swim. Ellis even got the lure rod out and tried with a large lure to knock the Pike over the head, when that didn't work it was time to call it a day. A slow trudge up the hill to the cars. Once the cars were loaded, Ellis gave me a Christmas present. Not a typewriter or dictionary to aid my writing skills, but a soup thermos. It seems my envious stares of him tucking into hot soup on cold winter days had not gone unnoticed!!

So back to writing my book. Two things I think I would struggle with:
1. Editing and selecting one picture. Clearly, as seen above, I just put all the pictures in as I couldn't choose.
2. My books title. I don't think Mr Hartley would appreciate me just nicking his! 

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Chubless Chumbley (senior)

Date fished 22/12/2021
8am until 1.40pm

My parents (Joyce and Dave) had been up North since 20th December. Apparently we are having some meal thing and presents at the weekend with my sister (Kay) and her family ( Dave, Sam and Eddie) too. Covid had not impacted us and 9 of us will be having a fun time together! 

Today was a day for my mum to make sausage rolls and mince pies so Davey and I decided to go fishing. He has never caught a Chub and I had vowed to help him achieve this. 

We arrived at Scruton at 8am, it was just getting light as we walked to the river. We had one rod between us and was going to take it in turns for any fish. We had ledger gear with meat and cheese paste as bait, we only used the cheese paste though! 
As I tackled up the rod, I gave it a quick flick to get the line out and only got it stuck in a tree!! This was a great start. 
Davey helped and we were soon untangled. I put him in a swim by a fallen tree and soon we were fishing.

It looked good for a fish, but sadly not today.  We tried about 6 swims, ones I had caught in before and ones I hadn't but today the fish were not feeding. We worked our way down stream to the spot I last caught a Chub, the rod remained motionless so we did an about turn and headed back upstream. 
Lunch was eaten at 11am, it definitely gave us some extra warmth for fishing longer. In certain swims the wind was bitter and in those we only stopped a few minutes. 
We had a small indication on the tip  that I declared was 100% a bite, but now as I sit here warm and with a beer, I think it was not!

We met the Club Treasurer and he gave me my ticket for next year. I have vowed (again) to take Davey and catch him a Chub. Although it's not entirely down to me, the fish have to "play ball" too. 
It's not always easy if the fish are not feeding, river conditions are not "right" ( for the fish I mean) or they are staying out the way under a big bush. I wish it was as easy to catch a fish as it would be to catch me, I have had a sausage roll already but don't tell my sister!! 

Saturday 18 December 2021

Yo Chumbo!

Date fished 18/12/2021

8am until 3pm

As I logged off yesterday and put the out of office on, stating 2022 would be my return date, it felt good. Usually I would visit the canal with Giles et al this time of year. It was at this time in 2015 (19th December), that I hooked a 7lb Pike in the lock on Giles's rod. He had to go down the metal ladder to net the fish as there was no way of landing it up a 10ft vertical wall. We laughed as he nearly fell in, but he held on, netted the Pike and it made for a funny story. I will remember all the funny stories that Giles told me, maybe some will feature in here over the years, but some will remain firmly with me. I will miss my dear friend Giles. A top angler, proud owner of Alcocks Tackle, Father, Husband and genuinely a bloody good bloke. 

Giles with a 20 plus Swale Pike

Giles giving me an order on his boat, can't remember if I obeyed or not! 

Canal at Pollington from my photo album, pre blog

I decided to fish the Tees today for Chub, again quite fitting as I caught my first ever Chub when Giles took me on the Tees Pike fishing in 2014 (15th November). I had a large Lamprey deadbait on for the toothy critters but a 4lb 8 oz Chevin made light work of it. 

Same coat, same outcome (ish)

I arrived and got the tackle ready. Ledger gear was the order of the day, or breadcrumb in a feeder. Cheese paste, meat and worms would be the bait. It had been minus two on the drive down and very foggy. In fact the fog did not clear all day and was still there when I drove home. Without any wind to blow the fog away, it was not too cold. As long as I kept moving, I would be fine. I walked to the river and fished the first swim, I had caught a Chub here a few weeks ago.

Nothing doing here, so I moved downstream. There was obvious signs of newly fallen trees and another swim I fished a few weeks ago was no more. A tree completely lying across the bank where I sat. There was however a lot more water to fish, the bank side vegetation had all died back so large areas of the bank were now accessible. I tried every fallen tree, bush or collection of over hanging branches but could not find any Chub. I have to admit, it looked very Pikey today ( that is to say, the swims looked perfect for Pike). I had no Pike gear so they would have to wait. 

In every swim there was a Robin, actually I think it was the same one in several swims. He was making the hops with me as we went from swim to swim. I like to think it was bringing me luck, as I acted surprised everytime he arrived at the next swim and I fed him some bread crumb. He soon was enjoying the fishing, getting to grips with the rod and net! 

As I got further downstream, I feared for a blank. But just then as I wound in my bait, I saw it. My baited hook had caught a fish and I landed it. Therefore I had not blanked!? Haha (yeah, I am not accepting that either)

Finally I came to a spot I was aiming for. It was where I had caught a 4lb Chub a few years ago. I sat down, cast in and waited. After a few minutes the rod hooped over and a fish was swimming off downstream. It was a spirited fight from a very welcome Chub. It was only a couple of pounds but it was the target species and certainly I had succeeded. 

I fished a few more swims but then decided to walk all the way back and try the first swim for another hour. A few taps on the rod here, but am not sure if it was leaves or not. Nevermind though as no further fish were caught. 

As family and friends say farewell to Giles next week in their own way. I know I will reflect and remember him most when I am on the bank. I set out today to catch a Tees Chub, and spend some time remembering. I did both of these things. 

Fishing is a great hobby for alone time and thinking, but it's better spent with friends. There is only so much conversation you can have with a bird! (Robin not female!!) 

Giles would always call me "Chumbo" starting every "work" email with "Yo Chumbo"