Wednesday 29 June 2022


Date fished 29/6/2022

16.30 until 21.30

Fishing the Swale after work today. There has to be perks with starting early and finishing early aka "flexi" at this time of year. The weather is "good", well it remained light. Time to get on the river after work. 

Long day. Up at 6am, office at 7am. River by 4pm, home at 11pm.

Easy when you know a swim has produced Chub and Barbel recently in a match. Less easy in reality to duplicate that. 

Xcueses excuses! I always have a few up my sleeve. 

I saw another couple of anglers. One float fishing with bread and the other was too far away to chat too. The kingfishers kept me company, I saw two of them too! Didn't chat with them, they were too fast. 

Bait was mostly meat, but I also had pellets in 8mm, 12mm and 15mm. I fed these and did try on the hook.

Laughed at myself after a couple of hours when I decided to cast towards a different bush. Promptly cast right into the bush. New hooklink required! 

Everything dried off, the rain showers were heavy at times and at one stage, I was soaked. The warm weather soon dried me and the gear though. 

Water was low, river is clear and quite full of weed on the bottom. 

Other swims were looked at on the way back to the car.

Result was simple, blank! 

Knowing what I wanted to catch, I persisted for the barbel. Ledger tactics targeting an area near a bush, close to an area of faster well oxygenated water, where the fish may be sat this time of year. 

I used to always write a poem like this in school. The old "first letter of a word down the side" trick. Wish I knew what it was called!!??

No interest. I thought I had some knocks, but in hindsight I think it was weed on the line. It was a constant battle to clear it off the line, weight and hook. 

Going to bed now! 


Wednesday 22 June 2022

A bug's life

Date fished 22/6/2022
6am until 12pm

I have always wanted to catch some proper river slabs. Spurred on by recent Facebook posts, I decided on a groundbait feeder and maggot approach on the Tees (Again).


It was clearly easy. I just had to get the groundbait into the river. The packet said it would do the rest. It would pull, assume by the tail and hold fishes in the swim, again assume by some sort of double arm around the shoulders approach for a long period of time. Simples. 

I was also using a technique I had never tried before. I had researched, practiced and tied a twizzled boom. I don't consider myself an expert, if anything I tend to use my old faithful tried and tested methods. But sometimes its nice to keep up with the times!


I decided to fish at the most downstream part ( minus boat fishing) that I tend to fish. It is 14.5 miles as the crow flies or 18.4 miles in the car from the most upstream section I fish. I tried to find an app that would measure the river distance. I could only get Google to do it on American rivers, so I will get some string and a ruler and let you know. 

I set off early as it was going to be warm (it was 25 degrees when I packed up at midday). That was warm enough, fishing with no shade I was ready to cool off. 
I parked up and walked to the river. I decided to fish a swim I had fished before. Peg 127 the chosen spot, 30 turns of the reel the chosen distance. 

I clipped up and cast in four feeders of groundbait. It smelt amazing, if the fish didn't like it, I was certainly considering having some with my lunch! 

"Dead" maggots, worms and groundbait 

I was casting every 10 minutes to get some bait down. There was a bush on the far bank I was aiming at and honestly only two casts in six hours were wayward of that line. Eventually an indication, I struck and the blank saver came in. I put it straight back. I wanted a keep net "full" today but aware of how hot it was, I thought if I caught a few bream I would put in the keep net for no more than half an hour, do a catch shot and then let them go. Any further bream I would just remember. That was the theory. 

A perch twice the size of the above roach came next. This one was returned with no picture. I was getting lots of bites now too.  Then the rod pulled and kept pulling, this was a stronger fish. It felt bigger. I played it to towards me, I then saw a tiny head. How did this fish pull so hard?! Then I saw the rest of it's snake like body.

My first Tees eel

I had only ever had bad experiences with deep hooked eels caught in the past. Having to cut the line and release. This one however was hooked just on the lip, I easily unhooked it and set it back on it's way. 

The next 30 mins was a blur. I caught four fish in as many casts, it was like a bream typhoon going through my swim. It definitely felt like a shoal arrived. Good solid bites, all exactly as the text book would describe. It was like I was a proper angler! 

7lb of Tees bream

After the quick photo, they were all released. Probably no more than 40 mins from first catch to final release. It was a crazy spell. 
With the sun now blazing overhead, I moved my chair into the shade, I could not fish from this angle but I could sit and eat my lunch. It seems bugs were on the menu for all today! 

Father's day gift from Rupe and Martha

After my food, I got back to the fishing. Another two perch followed, then the rod got ripped off the rest and the drag spun. I honestly thought I had hooked something massive. The rod was bent over, line being pulled. I managed to get it back my way, and up popped another small head. Eel number two. What must a 6lb'er fight like!? 

This one was also lip hooked. I unhooked it and away it went. Amazing to have caught two like this, all my previous eels on numerous baits had always completely swallowed the lot. 

The dead maggots I was using had been frozen on Friday evening. I got home from the Swale about 6pm, put them in a plastic bag straight in the freezer and forgot about them. I got them out the freezer at 4.30am this morning. It wasn't until I was sat watching the rod and I saw movement out the corner of my eye, that something troubled me. I had either invented a new super bug, or something strange had happened!?! 

I put two of the reincarnated maggots on the hook and promptly caught a little dace. Maybe I should of given them a second chance, oh well. The rest are back in the freezer!! 

Friday 17 June 2022

Bolo boys

Date fished 17/6/2022
9am ish until 4pm ish

Ish sums up the day today, lacking the F.

After a good evening of food, beers, chat and annoying Finn the dog it was bed just before midnight. Alarms set for 7am as we were going to the Swale today. We packed everything we needed and headed off.


We parked up and got our kit ready. A float rod and ledger rod each. Maggots, meat, bread and prawns for bait, the fish not ours!! Carole had sorted us our with ham sandwiches!! 
I was quicker to get ready today, but it seems both Ellis and I do it the same way! 

When we were ready we walked to the river. It was very low and clear, with a covering of weed on the bottom. The phrase most anglers use when we see this is always "it needs a good flush through". Ellis and I were no different, and uttered this to each other as we walked to our chosen (starter) swim. 

We both chose bolo floats and were soon rigged up and fishing. I was catching minnows and Ellis was having reel problems. His maggot in the water as he dealt with a birds nest, quickly pounced on by a minnow too. We fed and trotted but even after a big splash from an unseen critter, we decided to move. 

We saw some fish below this swim, so decided we could sit comfortably together, have a chat, do some on line shopping and wait for the fish to pull the rods. We had both ditched the floats now, in favour of ledger.
Some perfect casting and our baits were in the right spot. As we waited, I saw a large Pike swimming in front of us. We watched it cruise lazily around and wondered if it would eat the crayfish we had seen moments before. 

My rod gave an indication, but with nothing to show for it, I am guessing Cray, minnows or aliens. Definitely one of the three!! 

We decided to move yet again, now fuelled by our own bait. We explored the area where Ellis had caught the Barbel. The river/bank were very different now. Nature and man had worked hard to reshape it. We cast to likely spots and waited. 

Suddenly it happened. Ellis's rod gave a knock, clearly a fish wanted prawn for lunch. We both watched his rod for the bite to develop. What actually happened though was very different. My rod wiggled and I was soon playing a 4lb Chub to the net. Seems spam fritters are more palatable than prawn cocktail!! 

We waited a while longer but nothing else happened. I put on my waders and we went to explore another area. 

I opted to fish a deep corner, whilst Ellis got comfy on his chair in a swim he had success in before. 

As I stood holding the ledger rod, it gave a few knocks as a fish took my bait. I was too eager for another fish and struck too early.
I float fished some meat along the edge of the trees but nothing. 

I was beaten, I went and sat with Ellis. As we planned future, and reminisced about past trips we willed his rod to go. Sadly the Chub had other ideas and we left them too it. 

It was one of those tough days today. We blamed the weather, river level, predation risk, fish biological clocks, weed level, farmer, EA and God. Of course everyone else too. 

We walked back to the cars and sorted our kit in reverse. I didn't take any pictures of that, I was too bloody knackered! 

You assume I refer to the floats we both used today? 
Of course, or is it one of these?? I will let you decide.......

To Ellis when I take pictures of him!?! 

Clearly the very definition of us!?! 🤣

Thursday 16 June 2022

Ellis's new "perch"

Date fished 16/6/2022

9am until 6.30pm

Traditions continued today, I have fished opening day (or close to it) for the last several years. Ellis and I booked a couple of days off work and we headed to the river (s).

Hopefully not

As last year we started on the Swale and then Tees the day after, this year we thought we would flip the alphabetical approach and start with T. We met at the tackle shop (both getting the right place today) and bought some bits, mostly bait aka £30! 

We drove to a stretch of river that we had fished once before, we caught then, so no reason why today would be different. 

We walked (downhill) to the river, already knowing it would be uphill later in the day. I decided it was too hot for waders, but carried them just incase I needed them later. I know what we did need..

Fortunately, what greeted us were some pegs! There had been some serious cutting going on, swims were cut out, steps dug, it was  convenient not to have to do this prior to fishing. We started in a double swim and chatted as we trotted maggots over and over. 

Chublets were the first to be caught, they stayed with us most of the day. With so many chublets around I was wondering where all the Chub are!?

Ellis was first to need the net, a spirited Perch pulling very strongly back. Soon the float was under more than floating and the fish were welcome. At 11am, I declared I was starving! So by ten past we stopped fishing and ate our lunch. 

We headed upstream to find new swims. We found two separate swims. I carried on trotting and Ellis sat back and fished the maggot feeder. It was a smart move, as the fish of the day came quickly to this method. 

In my swim, I was yet to catch a Perch. It was still chublets, but I did manage some other silver species.




One small chublet was returned straight into a waiting pike. It wasn't until the splash, I saw the pike grab the chublet and swim off with it in it's mouth. 

Some other anglers had finished for the day, so we decided to fish between the two areas we had fished up to now. We waded in the river, which was nice and cool and Ellis was soon opposite our first swim. He was stood where we had been casting earlier, but this time looking back from the water. 

I was walking slowly and fascinated by the rising fish all around. I manged a Perch of my own whilst Ellis continued with chublets and a grayling.

Afternoon turned into evening and the river was alive with fish. It was however, time to head back to Ellis's for some dinner. We just had to contend with the tour de Darlington on the way home! 

Of course Ellis has caught cracking Perch before, his pb is 1lb 10 oz. So what's his "new perch" about? 

Just like the Emperor! 

Saturday 4 June 2022

Supersize me

Date fished 4/6/2022

6.30am until 12pm

I can hear the running water calling for June 16th, but today's water was still. 

An early morning walk with Tom yesterday followed by a celebratory McDonald's (or two) without having to leave Hexham was enough to plan a return trip to Tilcon. This time Tomald was also coming. I better get the camera ready, I thought as I got the same kit from Thursday ready again.  

Tom picked me up at 6am and we headed to the lake. A barmy 10 degrees on the thermometer. There was no one on the lake so we had plenty of options. Tom fancied fishing in his corner, he has not been there in a while, so we walked around that side. I opted to fish in the next swim which was shouting distance. 

I had the usual float rod, flask of hot coffee and sweetcorn, Tom had two rods, groundbait, toilet paper, pellets and pop up boilies with feeders. (All the essentials).

The thermometer had not taken the wind into account, it was alot cooler than 10 degrees. I swapped my cap back to my wolly hat, Tom had to go get his big mac coat from the car and still complained of being a bit cold! 

A few nuggets of loose feed next to the lillies and I was soon fishing. It was my rod that took first dibs, a perfectly formed tench scrapping all the way to the bank and beyond. Flipping between my hands a few times. Quickly followed by its twin, although I wished they had gone large.

The first

Second tench

Despite the cold, we fished on past breakfast. Tom catching a little skimmer before finally getting a proper bend. An old friend, a Carp Tom has caught off the surface previously, easily recognised by its small, non food stuffing mouth. 

There was a flurry of activity for me next, several roach and silvers coming in quick succession. With a quarter of the lake to go at, Tom soon started to cast further from the lillies. This paid off and a good sized F1 found the net. I netted my smaller hybrid/skimmer and prepared them for a double hook up shot. 

A steady run of fish and missed bites on the float kept me warm, between sporadic glimpses of the sun which really heated us up. The brilliant golden colour of a rudd had me thinking about blog themes. Mmmm, I wonder.

One such dip of the float was met with solid resistance, the fish actually going off in the lillies. I played it carefully not really knowing what it was. Eventually it popped to the surface, a nice male bream, still with spawing tubercules.

4lb 4oz

Tom and I chatted and joked to warm up, the best moment being when we wondered if Tom's net was regular, medium or large!? It certainly made us happy (without the toy!).

Whilst we were loving it during today's trip not all of the golden arches products got a mention. Of course I deliberately left out chocolate milkshakes because as so often happens, "we've run out of milkshakes!!" 

Thursday 2 June 2022

Crap (anag)

Date fished 2/6/2022

6am until 1pm

As the above showed nothing relating to Hexham to Ryton (not including County show traffic on Friday) I was free to get in the car and travel the 17.6 miles to the lake. 

Fishing a bank Holiday that wasn't a Monday was still confusing, but Liz said it was fine so Thursday and Friday it was to be. I was enjoying the float fishing so much, I decided not to change anything today. The float rod, sweetcorn and some micro pellets my companions for this trip. 

The weather was supposed to change, it had been on and off rain since the weekend, but with warmer, sunny weather forecast I went early morning to be finished by early afternoon. A match was scheduled for the evening too, so I wanted to be out of their way.

I arrived at 6am and another angler was in the swim I was going to fish, not to be deterred I went round the other side of the lake and fished Tom's corner. It was only five degrees when I had left the house, but now the car said eight, I hoped it would get warmer, although not by too much as I had no sun cream with me. 

I fed some corn and pellets and started to fish. Plenty of bites and fish showing but nothing was being caught by me as yet.  An angler opposite caught a bream but still I was blanking. 

After two hours the float buried and I struck, this time the fish was hooked. It went straight into the lillies, the drag giving line as a powerful fish kept swimming. The five pound mainline to three pound hooklink meant I played it carefully. Soon, the fish was out in the open and again I played it carefully, I was hoping to see a big green tench. I got it in the net, and eager crossword participants amongst you will already know what it is!? 

My first Carp from Tilcon, and a 5lb 10oz blank saver.

Thanks to Nick, who took the pictures whilst he was setting up in the next swim! 

The remainder of the session brought the usual suspects:

A Perch caught on sweetcorn



Cracking Silver's 

Yes, you read it right. After some fierce sun which was clearly cooking my arms, it started to rain. A good 10 minutes of coolness but the blue sky soon returned. 

By the time the cricket started, I was in a steady routine of catching and soon had a good (metaphoric) net full. 

This day was getting even more unusual, England had taken six wickets by the time I left. There was nothing crap about this session, I just love a (not) difficult anagram.