Thursday, 2 March 2017

A chilling night chub

I'm really struggling to get the time to fish at the moment, so it's all about getting out whenever I can, even if that means having one cast. Last night, the river was finally down to a decent level and after putting the kids to bed, I dropped on a peg that often produces a chub or two. The usual bait was fished on a link ledger, 5lb line and a soft 1.5oz quiver tip. After 20 mins the rod flew round and I struck into a fish. I'm using an okuma epix pro reel, and as I struck, the anti reverse stopped working, which isn't necessarily a problem, but allowed the fish a fraction of a second to get near a snag. I managed to coax it to the net, resulting in this chub of around 4lb - Tees chub this year fight well, but aren't as solid as previous winters; strange.

As for the reel, well it's goosed. Time to invest in a new reel (in fact, a pair of them, to match the 1.25lb drennan specialist avon/quivers - do nicely for tenching as well!). The clock is definitely ticking down on the rivers now, but i'm hearing of very interesting things on a local Stillwater with regards pike, and unfortunately the close season coincides with the last few weeks of pike fishing before they spawn, so I really want to make use of this short period when they are at their heaviest. That probable means that my last couple of trips on the river will be after dark for chub, although there's a possibility of a final day trip during the day just to see things off!

Anyway the other issue, and reason I didn't fish more than an hour is because of what happened. I only started fishing at night in the last year or two, before that I was always a bit cautious (ok, nervous). But I got used to everything, the noises became part and parcel of the countryside, every noise had a reason (such as fox, bird, rabbit etc). I've actually come to quite enjoy it. But last night....well I got a sudden chill. I started to look over my shoulder; felt like something was looking over me. Then heard a noise in the distance...the wind picked up slightly. I just decided...nah! reeled in and went home. Strange how the night can affect you..........

Sunday, 26 February 2017

A piking blank - time to give the next couple of weeks some serious thought!

It was tough going today. I just didn't fancy the river, so thought my best chance of catching would be some Stillwater piking. Problem is I just couldnt buy a bite - I did see a 19lber landed though so they are there!

I blame these new drop arm indicators - they don't drop!!

Joking apart, I always seem to struggle around this time of year. Need to try change that and bank some decent fish in the final couple of weeks. A quick count on my fingers has indicated five potential trips out between now and season end - varying between quick two hour chub trips and a full day out. A couple of these trips will be after dark on the river tees, in search of that elusive Tees six pounder (though in reality, i'll be bloody happy with a five - a Tees five is a special fish, unlike other rivers where fives and sixes are a lot more common).

I quite fancy a trip with the stick float as well as potentially a big fat march barbel. Really, it'll all depend on conditions. However, as said above, I always seem to struggle once we get into March, so i'm not expecting too much.

After Mid March, i'll be spending a couple of weeks in search of a gravel pit 20lb Pike, and then my attentions will be turning towards Carp and Tench (and possible eels if I can motivate myself - think I may need to read a book or two to get my mind going....)

Here's hoping

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A couple of short trips to the Tees

Just a quick update from the last few days.

When I was out previously, bites became shy as the sun got high, and whilst I knew there was a chub in the last peg I was fishing, it wouldn't take properly. So I threw a few samples in, and vowed to come back after dark. The day after, after getting the kids to bed I had a spare hour or so, so quickly shot the gear in the car and went there. Bait was put on, flicked out, left to settle for a few mins and the light rod tip flew round, resulting in a pleasing 4lb 3oz chub that I had to hold hard to keep out of a snag. Quick photo, and I was en route back home as quickly as I had arrived.

Today I had a few hours spare in the afternoon - a quick check on the charts showed a surprising and sudden rise in levels. I figured the water would be warm, so decided I would go to the Tees and 'try' for a barbel. A fresh batch of paste was made up, and this was wrapped round krill boilies to provide an appetising stench for them....

I got to the river to find trees floating downstream, but after wandering I found a few inviting creases that I baited before going back to the start and trying for them. Each of the four swims got an hour. To cut a long story short, I blanked, but I did manage a few chub knocks that I ignored. The usual buzzard was witnessed as well. Still, a nice day to be out, and I don't get disappointed anymore when targeting Tees barbel and blanking.....

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Trying out the 1.25lb Drennan Specialist Avon/Quiver - A morning chub fishing

I recently acquired a couple of 12ft 1.25lb Specialist Avon / Quivers, with perch and tench in mind but also as a chub rod. I though i'd get out on the river tees for the morning to give it a go. The positive with them is that they are the original ones - i.e. come with 3 tips rather than 2 (prior to Drennan's cost cutting exercise!) and the night site tip section is much longer than the modern one.

Using the 1.5oz tip, I targeted the slacks and creases with steak, looking for some chub. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be (the sun was bright in the sky), but eventually I did bag a few fish to around 4lb. The good thing is that the tip really flew round on each one (nice sensitive glass tip), and i'm very pleased with the rod.

Next trip out will probably be for gravel pit pike during the week, in search of my first Stillwater 20. Looking forward to it......

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Targetting the predators.....and testing out Shimano OC 6000's with Pete Foster Drop Arms

I decided that a change from the usual chub fishing was required, so have been targeting perch and pike over the last week or so. The first trip was an afternoon session on the lower Tees, feeder fishing lobworm in 20 - 25ft of water in the hope for a nice bag of perch. Conditions were cold and clear, and as the afternoon wore on, I soon got a nice bite which was hit, resulting in this smashing perch of 1lb 11oz

After that, I was expecting a few more as the light faded. I did get two more half pulls of the rod tip, one of which I struck but with no resistance. I was fishing a 2oz quiver, and I think this may be my downfall - i'm sure the matchmen who do well on these pegs would be using 1oz or less (a note for next time....). Nothing else came my way, but I was pleased with this.

Today saw me on a local Stillwater in search of pike. I've recently acquired a new set of reels (Shimano 6000 OC's) and drop arm indicators (Pete Fosters), and was looking forward to putting them to the test (along with the Century AK 47 twin tips that I picked up a set of for cheap, and am extremely impressed with!). I've also started using braid (i'm usually a mono man). The first pick up was had about an hour into the trip, and I felt for resistance in the braid before hitting it. Whether I struck a bit hard or something, I don't know, but I had a short bit of resistance then it came off.

30 Minutes later, same again, but this time a more controlled sweep back of the rod resulted in solid resistance, and I played a pike to the net. Nothing big, but nicely marked...

Back she goes
As for the reels and drop arms, i'm very impressed. The ball bearings that hold the line are tension sprung, and adjustable, so can be set to the conditions you are fishing in. All pick ups resulted in the line pinging out quickly. The reels are solid, smooth and look like they could last a lifetime.....time will tell!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

An update, including a brace of chub for 12lb

Well its been a week or so since my last update, and I've been out a few times....

02/01/17 - A quick couple of hours on the tees

I had intended to go Stillwater piking in the morning, but for various reasons couldn't get out in the end. I still wanted to have my first trip of 2017, and had a small window of time to get out.

The swim I wanted to fish was a good half hour walk, so It was a case of getting there, walking half an hour, fishing for half an hour, then walking back to the car fishing a couple of pegs on way back.

River was up, leaves coming down (although I was managing to avoid most by fishing the really slack water), and temps were dropping to close to 0C.

After 15 mins I had a knock, then nothing else. I twitched the bait back, which resulted in a quick bite, fish was played in the tight swim and landed. To be honest, I wasn't bothered about size, just wanted a fish as it was difficult conditions.

Nothing else but happy to catch

05/01/17 - A lovely night to be out on a frosty Tees

I managed an hour on a cold and frosty River Tees tonight. The sort of night where the net freezes and goes rock solid, and the stars are out, with temps hovering around 0 - Awesome.

Caught the one chub on steak, a low 4. I gave up after two otters swam past.....

06/01/17 - A couple of clonking chub, including my 2nd 6lber!

Had a few hours spare in the afternoon, and despite the weather was just too good an opportunity to miss (in trying to make sure I take every opportunity to fish in 2017, regardless of conditions).

I spent a couple of hours under a brolly, trying to catch a perch on lobworm, but without getting a touch. Eventually, I got bored and decided to target chub. First chuck out, and the rod tip barely had time to settle and I was into a fish (I'd been flicking pieces of steak out for a couple of hours, which had obviously done good for their confidence). After a short but spirited fight, I landed a nice chub, didn't bother weighing. Next cast, and after a short while I had a couple of touches which didn't result in anything. I twitched the feeder back, and quickly got a good bite which I hit and everything felt solid. I had to give this fish some welly to keep it away from a couple of snags, and netted a cracking fish. Weighed in at 5lb 15oz, I was over the moon (second ever biggest chub).

The light was failing now, but I had time for one last cast. The tip quickly plunged round, and I hit into what felt like something special. This one stripped line on a tight clutch, and managed to get under a tree. I had to plunge the rod, hold the spool and heave it out before it had time to think. Fortunately it came, and I netted this great fish of 6lb 1oz

08/01/17 - Not an easy morning!

Decided to get on the river this morning. Alarm went off at 6am, and I felt like I'd drunk ten pints and hit a brick wall. Coming down with a cold. The snooze button was being used, but eventually I dragged myself off the pillow, smashed a lemsip back, walked the dogs and went fishing.

Target was a Swale perch. Tactics were feeder fished lobworm, with red maggots, and moving from one swim to another. I also had some steak thawing out just in case the perch weren't having it. It was frosty when I got there, ice dropping off the branches.

Well - the perch weren't having it. Absolutely nothing - I'm a complete failure at perch fishing, never have had a good one! Anyhow, chub fished a few swims and only had the odd rattle. After a few hours, I decided to go back to the first swim where I'd thrown in a few samples, and see if there were any takers. Within minutes the rod hoofed round and I played a fish which felt much bigger than it was. Mind, it was well fed and fighting fit, weighing at 4lb 8oz. And that was that! Went home, straight to bed again after smashing back another lemsip

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Frosty morning chasing River Swale Chub

Well thats the sort of fishing I like. A cracking morning to be out, following a hard overnight frost, and a misty morning. I decided to fish the River Swale, and given the conditions I picked roving for chub.

Tactics were a paternostered feeder with mince, and raw steak on the hook, using 6lb line and a feeder rod. Arriving at dark, a bite was had within minutes of casting which resulted in a chub of two pound or so. I sat it out in this peg until I could just about see where I was going, then moved downstream to another likely looking spot with a nice crease in the flow. Similar as before, I was getting knocks pretty quickly but with the daylight they weren't taking the bait down. A quick pull on the line to move the feeder slightly resulted in an instant wrap round which I hit, catching a slightly bigger fish of 3lb or so.

The next peg performed similarly to the previous, but this time a nice swale chub of 4lb 1oz was landed.

I then caught up with a mate who was fishing the downstream section, and had landed a nice fish, and we leap frogged a couple of swims but without action. I had to leave at this point, and there was a long walk back to the car, but I decided to drop in to a peg where I had missed a bite earlier. Result - another 4lb chub.

Just as I was packing up, a load of hounds came to inspect me, followed by the horses, which was great to see in the fog / frosty conditions.

On another note, I tried a new rod today, Greys x-flite, which I recently got at a bargain price, and it's definitely a smashing bit of kit.

Happy days

Monday, 26 December 2016

A catch up!

It's been a while since I've updated my blog, for various reasons, but mainly just been too busy (and there is no decent app for updating blogs these days!).

I'll do it as a bit of a diary entry....

18/10/16 - River Ure Piking

I decided to try piking on the River Ure, a river i'd not fished before. I have a target to try and get a river 20 from another river other than the tees, something that is proving to be a little tricky! Tactics were to fished two ledgered baits (one a smelt, the other lamprey), and rove around fishing various pikey looking spots. After a mile or so walk, I found a good looking spot and after ten minutes had a bang on the rod. Despite waiting for a short while, it didn't come back (I learned shortly after that an angler had been there a few days before, bagging a few doubles, so they may have been nervous). I tried four or five other swims for the rest of the morning, without a touch, before the weather came in and a p'd it down (I beat a hasty retreat!). Result - a blank. I'll be back....

27/11/16 - Bass Fishing at the tees mouth!

After a few weeks of either blanking or not fishing, I got wind of a load of school bass falling to bait locally (bear in mind here that I normally manage one bass a year to lures!). Tactics were explained to me, the mark was described and I was soon casting out a free running 2oz lead using a 2.5lb test carp rod and ragworm to a 1/0 hook, 20 yards out into the surf. I soon started getting knocks, and decided to try hit them - which amazingly worked (it was like hitting chub bites on my local tees). The bass weren't large, biggest about 1.5lb, but numerous fish were to follow and it was great fun sea fishing with light gear and bringing them in the surf. A new experience for me, and i'll be trying again at some point.

03/12/16 - A River Tees Grayling trip

With conditions being cold and the river pretty low, it was either chub or grayling so I decided to have an afternoon after the latter on what I class as the upper tees (though in reality its middle, but on the upper limit of water I fish on). Tactics were to trot maggots through some likely runs, hoping to contact some of the better fish than can go to over 2lb.

The first swim was one that I've had success with before, but it took a while to get the first fish interested. This fought well on the light float gear, as they often do, and was soon landed at a little over a pound. A couple more followed of a little smaller size before bites tailed off. A move didn't produce any other fish. The grayling fishing this winter is so far a little disappointing on the tees, though I've heard that the cormorants are causing havoc....

10/12/16 - After a Swale Barbel

With a couple of foot extra water in the swale, and temps on the up, I felt that barbel would be worth a shot. I decided to rove around with boilies and paste, giving each swim half an hour or so. Despite trying a fair few swims, the only interest I had was from chub, which I didn't strike at. The most interesting thing to happen was a friendly robin....

11/12/16 - Roving for River Tees Chub

After the previous blank, I needed a bend in the rod so decided on roving the river tees, fishing miles of relatively unfished water (I didn't bump into anyone on the day!). Tactics were very simple; raw steak, link ledgered with 2 or 3 SSG shot, and just let it swing round in the flow until it settled.

Bites came from the off, with most pegs producing a confident wrap round that I connected with. Unfortunately I lost two fish (including a very good one), but landed others with the biggest couple being over 4lb. Great fun, and great fighters.

15/12/16 - Gravel pit Piking

With the river out of sorts, I decided to chuck a couple of deadbaits out at a local gravel pit. Tactics were ledgered smelt / sardine, cast to a drop off to deeper water, and sat on alarms. With the first rod out, I turned to set up the second when the alarm sounded as the indicator dropped a little. I assumed that this was the line settling so tightened up again, turned away and the alarm sounded once more. This time I struck, and soon had this jack in the net.

I thought this would be the start of a good mornings piking, but unfortunately that was the only action I had. Can't complain though...

19/12/16 - River Tees Night time chubbing

I've been doing a fair amount of night time chub fishing lately, usually mid week trips in the dark for a couple of hours in search of a tees 6lber. I've had them to 5lb 10oz now, so getting closer. This was another of those trips, but after roving in the dark, the first four swims produced nothing (surprisingly). A final swim final resulted in a bite to link ledgered steak, ending in this tees chub of average size.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Recent chub success with Lamprey

After landing a decent chub a few weeks back on Lamprey intended for pike, I've decided to purposely target chub with small sized chunks of lamprey at night. Tactics are simply a link ledgered swan shot, through to a size 4 hook and chunk of lamprey. There has been no need to put any additional bait in; the lamprey seems to draw the chub in within ten mins of casting (if they are there).

Each trip (lasting no more than 2 hours) has resulted in decent chub, with bites being very confident pulls or drop backs. They seem to take the bait right back and are easy to hook. I've also managed a couple of eels, which seem taken by the lamprey as well.

I'll definitely be persevering this winter with lamprey to go alongside my usual steak, and hopefully it might get me a Tees or Wear 6lber.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Start of the River Piking Season

I got out on the middle tees for dawn today, on what is traditionally the start of the pike season (though obviously a date for such things is pointless as temps vary greatly year on year). Two rods out in search of pike, one with lamprey, other with smelt. After half an hour or so, the lamprey was taken but I realised what was hooked quickly after setting the hooks, and soon landed this nice chub of 4lb 6oz. They have a thing for lamprey, so it was no surprise - one of my favourite chub baits (along with steak), but not really what I was after.

Didn't get anything else despite trying three other spots. I noticed the dace topping which is good; they will soon be shoaling up and migrating downstream.

Air pressure was 1014 and rising quickly through the day. Temp 9C overnight

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Tees chub target smashed

Picked my brother up at 8pm and headed for the tees. We picked a swim with decent leg space for both, and one that I knew produced chub often. Good old steak was to get the first outing of the season. 

After half an hour of casting, and a few plucks, the bro landed a small eel, not our target but interesting all the same. Next put out, and he was soon bending into an unmissable bite, and soon landed a 3lb 15oz chub. A good start.

We had to wait an hour or so for the next bit of interest. We both started getting indications - little tap, slight drop back. Slight joking to each other as both our hands hovered over the rod, when mine hoofed round and I bent into a good fish. This one fought better than most, hugging the far bank tree line. My line started grating against a snag, and it put a right old bend in the rod to get it closer. 

Once landed, we soon realised this was a smashing fish, with a very thick belly. One the scales it went 5lb 10oz, I've had bigger but not off the tees, and a tees 5 was my target for this year so I'm very happy with that. We packed up and went home soon after. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Fun with the lures - perch and pike

Loving the lures at the moment, so with the river up I went to a local Stillwater for some perch and pike. Started off with tiny cranks, fishing with a light outfit and I was catching perch from the off. All of them were small, but it was great fun, and I was watching them chase the lure. 

After that, I put the light gear away and got the jerkbait outfit out. After half an hour of casting the lure got smashed and I landed this tail walking pike. Didn't weight it, 6lb or so. Great fun!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pike, stick float, tench, carp and bass update

A bit of a varied update! 

Can't beat a bit of stick float fishing, the perfect way to cure a number of blanks and tough sessions. I had a short morning trip with the stick float and caster approach, in search of the swale chub shoals. Constant trickling of caster and hemp soon got them feeding, and I managed a few small ones before hooking into one of the biggies; unfortunately it got away. I kept getting the odd chublet and trout, but nothing big, then an otter decided to cause havoc in my swim. Then I hooked a 2lb brownie which went berserk. 

It all went quiet after that, but caught a few small ones anyway - it seems that they must have had a successful spawning last couple of years on the Swale as there's a lot of small ones about.. 

Next trip was a couple of hours before work, the tide seemed right for some dawn bass on the lures. Although I managed to prize my head off the pillow rather than get the desired sleep before work, it was a lovely dawn to fish in, but it didn't result in the wanted bass. 

A trip out tench fishing at a loca Stillwater ultimately was a failure, though I did hook a fish. Fishing the bolt rig feeder, over a bed of caster and maggot, tench were soon feeding confidently and I got a brilliant run which I hit. Unfortunately this got off, and I struggled to get anything else. Nice to be out though...

Next trip, this time an overnighter at a local gravel pit in search of a decent carp. Two rods out, one with boilies, the other with meat, and I tucked myself away for the night, hoping to be rudely awoken in the middle of the night. You can imagine my dissapoint net when some geese woke me up at 6am. I nodded back off until 7.30, re-cast for couple of hours more, and left feeling despondent. 

I then had a fair few hours with the lures on Wednesday, targeting the river tees. In hindsight, I'd have done something else - I was expecting the river to drop overnight, which it didn't (actually went up a little more). 

It was hard going, fishing heavy jerk baits and walking the banks for a mile or two. I was getting tired a little, when suddenly a big pike followed it in, bow waved and turned at the last second. That was enough to get me interested again, but it didn't result in a fish. Still I know where it is for next time.

That trip got me interested in catching pike on big lures, So today, noting that there was a little water in the river, not much, but similar to last week I thought that the colour might make me struggle with the lures. So I decided to fish a local Stillwater that I have access to. 

I fished most of the morning with deadbaits on one rod and the other rod for carp, both fished on the marginal shelf. The rods remained untouched until 10am, so I decided to reel in and get the heavy lure gear out. 

The water is very clear, like tap water, so I could see the burt lure as I jerked it back. After half a dozen casts in different spots, I noticed something move and then follow the lure. She quickly took it, shook his head from side to side as I struck. After a short but spirited fight, I had this low double, a lure and Stillwater pb for me, so happy with that. 

She had a very big head, and capable of much more weight in mid winter I reckon. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

Chub, Chub and more chub.

That's half a dozen trips to the River Tees since June 16th in search of the elusive barbel (which other people I know have managed successfully so far), and all i'm getting is chub. It's getting frustrating, though it's always good to get a bend in the rod. 

I've changed my approach recently, not starting fishing until the kids are in bed, and fishing until midnight or so. Tactics wise, i've changed to a double boilie hookbait (10mm Nutrabaits Trigga) to try and avoid the chub. Even then, they are still hanging themselves on my rigs, however i have noticed that less are hooking themselves, allowing me to ignore the chub pulls and hopefully soon allow a barbel to get to the bait. The problem is that tees barbel are not common, and seem to be very nomadic. It's a case of finding them, which is easier said than done (and when they do get found, angling pressure seems to move them on). Add to the fact that chub out number them massively, and sometimes bream, and you can see why it is such an interesting challenge. Why am I keeping at it? Simple - The average size of a Tees fish hovers around the double figure mark. 

Hopefully it will happen soon, dont get me wrong, in the middle of winter I would be specifically targetting chunky chub, but right now they are a nuisance!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Fishing update - Rivers back open

Since my last post, my quietness has been solely down to a lack of action. I've been fishing a tough Stillwater which has really tested me, but the rewards are potentially brilliant. Half a dozen trips including an overnighter have so far resulted in a boilie munching pike, but I am hoping for one of the resident bream or carp in the near future.

The rivers have been open 11 days now and I've had a few trips so far. The first one, on opening day was a disaster as I forgot some gear, got bothered by locals etc etc cans ended up giving up very quickly. An evening on the tees followed this a few days later, which although gave me plenty of knocks, didn't produce the wanted barbel. Another late evening followed, and again the chub were interested, or should I say, chublets, which kept attacking my 10mm elips pellet

I stayed into dark and was rewarded with the sort of run that gets the heart racing, as line quickly peeled off the baitrunner, but I soon realised the culprit was a chub, which when landed had the length to be a good winter 5, but at this post spawned time of the year, only hit 4lb 5oz.

My last trip was yesterday; I had a few hours spare during the day so took a couple of pints of casters to the river Swale to try and get a barbel on the stick. I quickly landed a decent grayling, followed by small face and chublets. 

Shortly after, the constant feeding had me hook into what I though was a boulder, as it didn't budge so I pulled hard to free it, and it went does treat as quick as a rocket. Chasing after, I got it into some slower water and played it for around 5 mins before, unfortunately, the hook pulled. A barbel was the culprit, and I went home despondent. 

Next trip will be another late one in search of the elusive tees barbel. Here's hoping....