Sunday 23 January 2022

A dog's dinner

Date fished 23/01/2022

8am until 12.30pm

Tom had not been fishing in a while and wanted to go Pike fishing. After much fanny, a plan was formed. I had put some feelers out last night and (again) Jason had some responses, Preston Park. It was an area I knew well from seeing it with Ellis from on board Big elbow, but I had never been there on the bank. It was free fishing and there was a good chance of Pike, dogs and Perch. Yes, you read that right. Jason warned about alot of dogs! 

We set off at 6.30am and headed South. In next to know time we were parked up and headed to the river. I had ledger gear with worms as bait, Tom had deadbaits and a lure rod. We found a swim where we could set up and soon my rod was getting knocks. 

The Michelin man was not getting cold! 

Boots a la Essex

Plenty of bites here but no fish

No fish here so we headed off. We worked our way along many swims to find some fish. We looked for signs on the water. There was lots of fish topping. We hoped the fish under the water were feeding. Our friendly Swan had a look for us! 

No fish here lads

We were mostly fishing close in, only about a rod length out. We were positioning baits near to bushes, snags and likely looking spots. As we positioned them, I felt it appropriate to take up a gnome position, says Tom.

A gnome?! 

We spoke to many dog walkers and families as they too enjoyed a morning by the river. It was nice to be in the hustle and bustle, in comparison to river trips where I see no one for hours. In some of the swims we saw used deadbaits that had been thrown in, clearly showing this area is well fished. 

We sat together in a swim watching our bite indicators, Tom admitting he was more often watching my tip instead of his float! Suddenly it happened, a dog darting from no where straight into my bag of bread crumb!! I grabbed the bag and a white nosed black Labrador emerged!! The dog ran off to it's owners as I glared at them. They walked on totally oblivious to the day light robbery. I wonder what they would say if I was in their fridge at 3am!?!  

We fished on and soon it was time to pack up. A short trip that unfortunately ended in a blank. It was great to recce a new area, and feed the local wildlife.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Alive after five

Its Tuesday evening, and I am already thinking about the weekend. Its going to be a fishing weekend, if conditions allow, so lets look at the evidence:

on the other hand:

I think I will rely on the old faithful "coin toss". I will flip a coin, if it lands on either a head or a tail, I will in fact go fishing!

With that in mind, I planned to fish, and here is how I got on:

Date fished 22/01/22

8am until 5.30pm!!

I know I always say that this time of year I can fish dawn to dusk easily, I tend to go early though and leave early. As its a fair drive, it's easier to do that in the early hours when traffic is quiet. Today though I decided to stay into dark, I thought about it before I set off and was going to pack the head torch, sadly I forgot. If I hadn't, I would probably still be fishing now!! 

A barmy seven degrees when I set off. Zero when I arrived on the Swale. A frozen field welcomed me. 

I fished in an old favourite swim but nothing was doing so I headed upstream. I fished a few new areas that looked good for a fish, but again nothing doing.

I headed further upstream and came across another angler. He had caught one Grayling and was just moving too. We chatted for a while and he offered me his swim. He had been feeding maggots and trotting, I took up his offer and jumped in. No luck for me here so I moved on. I stood by a swim that looked good, suddenly I started moving. The banks were slippy even just stood still, crash! Down I went, right on my wrist and bum, and it bloody hurt. I still fished this swim for a while, but seemed its only good for a slide! 

I tried a few more swims and soon was happy to sit on my box and have some lunch. Lifting sandwiches and drinking soup was not too much for my sore wrist! 

The rod finally gave a jerking wiggle, I knew straight away why. It seems out of season fish don't know what their season is and do not know what they eat either. Another Trout to cheesepaste! Safely unhooked and released without leaving the water. 

I walked a bit further up and spoke with the other angler again. He had caught Trout too! I looked at some other pegs before trudging back to fish a different favourite. My pb Chub came out of this swim, so I liked it in here. I was going to stay here till just into dark. My phone pinged, Jason was on the Swale too. He was quite a distance downstream. He gave me some info about a peg close to me, the slide, aka "fall over" swim!! I headed there again. This time I manged to walk down to the water. I cast where I was told and waited. The light started to fade but not enough that I didn't see the rod tap. I struck and was soon scooping a 4lb Chub into my net! What a result! Thanks Jason!! 

It was amazing how much I could see even with the fading light. My eyes adapted, I could see my rod tip but holding the line was so much better. I could feel every little pluck. There was loads. I had more bites in the final 30 minutes than all day. I missed them all, mostly because I was chuckling to myself. It really came alive after five! 

Saturday 15 January 2022

Shift change

Date fished 15/01/2022
8am until 1.30pm

The kids were covid isolating last weekend so I had planned to go fishing. Mother nature had other ideas and on reviewing the night before, the Swale and Tees were in flood and fishing would be tough if not impossible. This on top of some miserable weather helped me to conclude it was not worth going. 

A much better ( river wise)  prospect this weekend, and with the kids out on a mummy day trip to Masham, I felt a quick fishing trip was in order. A rescheduled match on the Swale meant the Tees was chosen. 
I knew it was going to be cold, but not quite this cold. I set off in the fog and headed for a club stretch. The river looked perfect, that what I could see.

The wind was bitter and it had already frozen my fingers. I struggled with opening the clips on my box as chill blaines started in earnest. Out of the wind it was cold but OK, but in the wind was like a blast chiller.

I had a 12ft Korum quiver tip rod, D.A.M reel loaded with 6lb line, 4lb hook link to a size 10 Guru hook. I baited up and cast in, breadcrumb in the feeder and cheesepaste on the hook. After a few minutes, I decided to move on, keeping moving was going to be the key today, not just for fish but for survival! 

The ground eventually thawed about 12.30pm

The second swim had a short point going out into the river. I positioned the rod here and cast just off a downstream bush. I now decided to check the cricket score. Of course missing the wrap around bite that happened at that exact moment! 
At least the swim was picturesque.

I cast back in and sat on the rod. A few taps, there were fish there. A slight pull, I struck and it was fish on. A spirited fight before slipping easily into the net. A modest Chub of a couple of pounds. It certainly warmed me up! 

The anticipation

I hoped for another fish from this swim but nothing came. I carried on upstream. There were plenty of spots to try if I had the 7ft rod!! Always the way, carry everything or be without something you need! 

Then what you do carry freezes!! 

I needn't of worried as there were a good few swims at this time of year. I missed another bite and was soon hearing splashing on the far bank. I looked to see what was happening, it was an otter. Its was inches from the bank and steadily swimming upstream, I watched it for a good few minutes and soon it was out of sight. I walked up to where the river shallows, it is fast here and flows over gravel. It was not for me today, so I turned and headed all the way back to the swim I caught in.

The rod behaved as I sat back and ate my lunch. I finished my apple and looked up to see the rod hoop over, I grabbed it but missed that too. I was one fish from four bites, but still smiling! 

I fished one more swim on the way back to the car, the highlight being a couple of low flying swans coming home.

As I contemplated when to head home an angler came over the hill. We had a quick chat and he headed off. It made me think, I was the early shift and he was the late shift. I chuckled to myself as a second angler appeared over the hill. Definitely a shift change, so I had better be off! 

Monday 3 January 2022


Date fished 3/1/2022
8am until 3.40pm

It's surprising but there are still club sections of the Tees I have not fished. There is always the old " stick to what you know" approach when sometimes it would be good to "try somewhere new". Today was one of those days, Ellis and I went to fish a "new" section of the Tees, albeit close to where we have fished before. 

The river levels were predicted to be back to normal after it's New Year Eve exploits, and it seemed Ellis and I were too. We had decided to hedge our bets and each brought two rods. One for Pike and one for Chub. I brought the newly christened Korum Snapper Cult deadbait rod and the 7ft River ambush rod, perfect for Chub in tight, snaggy swims. 

It was still mild, but colder weather was predicted. 
What we were not expecting was the height of the river. With no further rain, the river had risen again. The banks were dry but the river full and rising. Not ideal conditions for short rods and not knowing the beat. We headed upstream to see if there were fishable swims. 

We had started at peg 62 and walked up a fair way. We fished around the 48 to 50 area. I walked a bit further and found the bridge at 45. 
We found some swims and started to fish. I alternated between Pike and Chub gear whilst Ellis mainly targeted Chub. 
A dog walker shouting to his dog, made Ellis come over to see what all the noise "I" was making! I told him it was not me as I had nothing to shout about! 
Ellis divulging that he had missed a bite, re cast and hooked a Chub. He was just about to net it and it got snagged just in front of him and came off. This spurred me on, at least they were feeding! So I stopped taking photos and concentrated! 

After a while of no bites and snagged in the bush, I walked and joined Ellis. I set up my rod again and thought I would poach one from his swim as he was still getting bites. I got into position and promptly cast into the tree!! 
I tackled up again, and then sat and ate my lunch and chatted. I knew I was beaten. 
I declared to Ellis there would be no snow today, far too warm. 

After a while, we headed back downstream to see if we over looked some swims on our march upstream. We found a couple of promising swims right where we started. It's amazing how the river does not look as fast after a few hours of looking at it. I guess your eyes get accustomed to the movement. Anyway, we fished here, and a strange eruption when Ellis threw in some old bait, the only notable comment. 

Ellis then left as its Carole's Birthday - Happy birthday!! 

I fished on. I walked downstream to the low 70's and was soon at where Ellis hooked the (Barbel) Pike in the Autumn. It was not fishable today, so I turned around and headed back. I stopped in a good little swim and took stock of the tackle. I could not fish with the short rod, and it was unlikely there would be any Pike swims. So, I changed things around and was soon ledgering meat on a 3.25 tc Pike rod. Perfect!! 

No self respecting Chub would fall for this crude method, and none did. I ended up in peg 62 for 20 mins just because I thought it would make a great story when I caught in there even after we walked away from it first thing. 
Sadly, that didn't happen either! Seems I can't predict that! 

I have just got home, came via the A68, was OK until the heavy snow at the end. Seems my predictions were wrong on that too!

Saturday 1 January 2022

Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread

Date fished 1/1/2022

9am until 3.30pm

New years day is usually a fishing day, so in the run up we checked the river levels.

Over 3 metres was an awful lot of extra water, however it seemed to be dropping as fast as it rose, so I decided to still give it a go. Ellis had decided to leave me to it, so I settled on fishing for Chub on the Tees. I would ledger cheese paste in the abundant slack water, that hopefully the floods would create.

I arrived at 9am, later than normal, I had decided to give the river every chance to drop. On arrival, it was still high but certainly fishable. It actually looked perfect. I was sure of a greedy Chub. I thought about the  blog, as I generally do and thought when I land a fish a fitting title would be "fortune favours the brave".

There is a weir in there, almost level up and downstream.

The sun was warm, this looked very Chubby

I fished each swim for about 30 to 40 mins before moving on. I was fishing areas that a few weeks ago was bank, there was alot of bushes, snags and slacks to fish. I was still very confident of a fish.  The leaves were constantly knocking my line, not as bad as first thing in autumn, but enough to distract and cause annoyance. 

With little rod action, I turned photographer and snapped away at a majestic river Tees.

In one swim, the shooters on the far bank got very loud. They must have been close as soon shot showered down on me and the river. This has happened a few times over the years. Not sure I can claim having been shot!? 

In one swim, my rod knocked and pulled round. I was not paying attention and knocked the rod off the rest. Needless to say, the fish was long gone. I had missed my chance!! 

Ellis messaged me to see if I braved the conditions, his message reading "fortune favours the brave". This was twice in an hour my brain had uttered this phrase. It must be a good omen!? 

I fished on until 3.30pm, giving some baited swims a try on my way back to the car. The conditions looked perfect still, the river having dropped further. As home time loomed, I wondered what the opposite of todays phrase was.... 

I nearly called it " not worth powder and shot" but the shooters would disagree!