Sunday, 11 December 2011

A bag of prime winter roach

A quick check to see how the river was faring on the EA website revealed a bit of an issue - it was 7m up and rising, near record height. I briefly considered hunting down some backwater, but thought better of it! Ah well, a trip to a local stillwater was in order, with quality roach the target. Despite all the rain, the day dawned very cold, and this meant match tactics. I scaled right down to a 1lb 8oz bottom, size 22 spade hook and used caster as bait. The float was shotted down to a pin prick, and loose feed kept to a minimum. Some of the loose feed was being eaten by a friend....

By shotting the float down, it was possible to hit the tiny indications i was getting, and most resulted in roach that averaged 6oz or so, with the best probably hitting 12oz. It was enjoyable fishing, but i couldn't cope for more than a few hours with the biting wind. On a seperate note, i was trialling out my new drennan floatmaster, 13ft to 15ft combo - what a cracking piece of kit. Easily deals with fine line, and the 'jag-jag' of a roach run is no longer a problem. I also hit into something bigger on it, probably a carp, which was ultimately lost, but the rod does have some back-bone as well. Anyway, my bag of roach...

A little trick when you have a pint of maggots - riddle them twice a day to seperate the casters. Put these casters in a small amount of water to stop them taking on air (alternatively, seal them in a bag tightly). The day before fishing, dry them off and bag them up. You will find all are sinkers, and perfect for loosefeed.

On the next day i decided to try the river out, which was starting to fine down, but stil a couple of foot up with plenty of colour. Chub and Barbel were the intended species, but despite flogging away in various choice swims, i failed to catch any. The temperatures dropped to -4C the night before, which probably didn't help.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The lady of the Stream

For a change, i decided to leave my pike rods at home today, and head for some fast clear water. Upon getting there, i noticed the river was up a bit and pushing through hard. I attempted to float fish for a short while, but found it difficult. Out came the quiver, a swimfeeder and a pint of maggots. Initially i dropped it in near some weed nearside to see if any chub were interested, unfortunately i got minnowed out...
In the meantime i'd been dropping a constant stream of maggots going in along a crease that had formed in the water, where fast met slow water to see if anything was feeding (see pic)..
Conditions were cold, and my setup was a size 20 on a 1ob 10oz hooklength, to try and breed some confidence into the bites. However my patient feeding provided it's reward, as dropping the swimfeeder into the crease resulted in two instant grayling, a fish which are to my mind the most beautiful around (note the teardrop eye).
It was a nice, cold morning fishing, and in such conditions few fish feed as well as the grayling - the lady of the stream.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A couple more Pike Trips

I've been piking again, on Sunday just gone on the Lower river, and then today on the middle stretches. The first trip resulted in a blank, but there was a lot of water pushing through, with weed (and the barrage was probably open as well), coupled with the wind making it difficult fishing. Still, you learn with all fishing trips and it was good just to be out...

The second trip, to the middle stretches, was a different story. I tried two lines of attack, the first was a float-fished bluey deadbait under a nearside bush, the second was float-fishing maggot for dace. After building up the swim for an hour or so with maggot, i eventually got a couple of small dace, using my new rod - a Drennan Floatmaster, which i would add is an incredible bit of kit. I then hit into something a bit better, near a raft of weed, which was clearly a chub as it knew exactly where to snag me up! Never mind.

Out of the corner of my eye, i noticed my deadbait float started bobbing, and then moving. I hit into it quickly, and felt an initialy resistence followed by nothing. A quick lob back out resulted in a bit instantly, and this time i left it longer. I hit into it once more, and this time it hooked up. But, it then sprung out, and try as i might, the pike never came back.

Back to the float, and a couple more dace later got me thinking. I rigged up a livebait rig (i've never tried this, and felt a twinge of guilt, but it's another option with my piking which i have been consdering trying lately). A dace was swung out to the same position, and within minute the bobbing of the float took a more determined course. I hit into it, and landed this pike, presumably the same that had dropped my deadbaits.

No more fish followe this, but all in all a very interesting day, and i've finally tried and succeeded with livebaiting. Another string to my fishing bow...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

It's been a while - River Pike

It's been a while since i updated my blog, mainly because i haven't been that successful! I dedcided on a trip to the river today, with thick fog and after a cold night. Tactics involved fishing towards the middle of the river, in approximately 25 - 30ft of water, and regurlarly twitching the deadbait (smelt) back up the marginal shelf towards me. A simple running ledger completed the rig.

After 15mins or so of fishing, i decided to reel the deadbait towards me with 3 or 4 turns of the reel, and within 5 mins the drop arm indicator sprung free and line was pouring out the reel. I lifted the rod, tightened up and felt a gradual knocking which indicates a pike is on. I hit into the fish, and felt the weight of a nice pike, lip-hooked. It turned out to be just under 8lb...a nice start to the day (especially after a recent run of 5 blanks).

Nothing much more happened, but i was happy with that.

Other recent trips have seen me beach fishing with limited success, mainly a small dab, whiting and a flounder. All good fun's some pics

Rob the Fish' Birds nest (Sorry Rob!!)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

River Piking - 25 September 2011

As the darker morning start to set in, with a hint of freshness in the air, pike fishing takes on a different character - this is what it's all about. I got to the river at first light this morning, with the hope of catching a few pike.

After trying a few different swims, i got to a slow paced glide going under an overhanging tree which quickly provided my first run. The float bobbed a few times, and with the hope of avoiding deep hooking a struck quickly into something solid. Unfortunately the hook pulled after 10 seconds or so....they always seem bigger when you lose them!

Moving to the next swim, this offered a much deeper hole close in next to a raft of weed and overhanging tree - a perfect pike swim (also a perfect chub and perch swim!!). It wasnt long until my float bobbed and then quickly dissapeared, mackerel head the bait. I picked up my rod, and was about to strike when i noticed my overfilled spool of line was tangled. Before hitting into the pike, i had to sort this, all the time knowing a potential leviathon was munching at my bait. After 30 seconds or so it was sorted; the pike was ponderously moving upstream with the mackerel, and i hit into it - the result being an 8lb pike in fighting fit condition.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A short piking session on the River

With the river being high on my local river, i decided on the lower reaches. The water was still pushing through here, but easily manageable.

With most of my river piking, location is simple. There is a fair depth by my feet, so i simply look for features such as overhanging trees. However, here the water is inches deep by my feet, but gradually slopes away to a fair depth. Also, there isn't sufficient flow to be able to read the water. I'm pretty new to stretches like this, so decided to start pretty far out, and gradually bring it closer in further up the slope until i connected. Bait was half Mackerel (i have a freezer full to use up!) using float ledger tactics. Third cast out, and about 2 rods out, i had a take after 30 seconds or so, which ended up with this low double ar 11lb 4oz. 
Despite a short move downstream, the only other action was trying to catch a pike by my feet, which bolted. All in all, a nice few hours on the bank. 

Monday, 29 August 2011

Birdflight Goit, Saltburn - 29/08/11

I decided with the nice sea on to have a wander round huntcliff to an exposed gulley called birdflight goit. I got there with the sea too far in to get round the cliff, so a wander on the beach got me a couple of nice pics, including this seal which was intent on getting away from me as quickly as possible...

The gulley was round the other side of this cliff, a fair walk in rugged terrain and to try and maximise my time there, i had to get past the cut off point at the earliest opportunity which meant dodging waves and being careful of rocks falling from the cliff!

Once there, i set up a pennel pulley rig with size 3/0 Sakuma hooks, 60lb shockleader and 30lb main line. Long casts weren't necessary into the relative depths of the gulley, and crab / mussel was used as bait. Unfortunately, the fish werent having it but it was a big tide, with the sea pushing further out than normal. Might have to try it late one evening on a smaller tide, with some nice sea running. I've heard that big cod are present with persistance, so i will be back!
A word of warning with this venue, i've been recommended to leave approximately 1.5hrs after low tide. The nearest cut-off point is a good 20 minutes walk away and i wouldnt want to be stranded! Also, falling rocks are a serious risk.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Back to the sea

I've been trying for some bass lately. The first occasion was on Friday, going to a mark i chucked some lures out for an hour or so without success, however i knew from experience that it fished well at HT+1. Low and behold, at just the time i was expecting it, i started seeing terns diving after sandeels. Suddenly, a big shoal of sandeels appeared at my feet, clearly 'herded' by some bass and then i witnesses a couple of them splintering the pack and attacking the prey fish. Amazing! A quick change of lure, and i was into a small bass first cast which unfortunately got off as i was bringing it in (lightly hooked!). As quickly as they came, the sandeels had gone and with them the bass, i was a little annoyed!

I got back out again this morning for some bass at the same mark, but conditions were bright and water very clear. The bass were uncooperative but i managed a mackerel which made a lovely lunch! I'm definitely back into sea fishing mode...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mashed Bread for Roach - 09/07/11

I decided on an evening trip to the River Tees, and with a bit if extra water in, mashed bread was to be the target. I dont know why, but with a foot or two extra in, it seems to do the business for me. To make it, i get a cheap loaf of white, and blend half of the slices (crusts and all so you have some floating bits in your feed). Throw in a few balls of bread lightly compressed in your hand over a 20 minute period to get the fish in a confident mood, and you can get a few fish in quick succession - at least thats the plan.

Using a feeder full of mashed bread and a piece of flake the same as a 10p coins on the hook is the tactic...

As usual, with this tactic, i got lots of slight pulls, knocks etc. I always find the best thing to do is to simply ignore this, literally sit on your hands until the rod pulls round. I was hoping for some quality roach, with a chub or two to add to the mix (oh, and i had my barbel rod out to the far bank - you never know!). It wasnt long until the first fish was hooked, a nice plump roach

After this, i missed a succession of bites and finicky knocks. They were losing confidence and i knew why - my feeder kept getting attacked by a pike on the retrieve. I hooked i at one point (and it felt big as well!) but it came off. The only time i dont take my pike gear as well!! A few more small roach followed...

I fished on into dark, hoping for that elusive barbel but again it wasn't to be. It's proving a decent challenge this (a Tees barbel), i know it will come good for me soon though...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

More river Pike, but still not Barbel! 03/07/11

Got up at 4.30am for a dawn start today on the middle river. A beautiful morning, and i hoped to pull a fish or two out before the sun got too much.

I had a barbel rod out, with cage feeder tactics and sweetcorn as bait cast to the far bank near some tree cover and a raft of weed. On the near bank, i used a smelt deadbait cast downstream to some dead water under a tree in the hope for a pike.

I quickly started getting indications that fish were about on the barbel rod, but decided to ignore the twitches in the hope for a good pull. Suddenly out of nowhere the rod slammed down and i struck expectantly, but with no response. It was either a chub or barbel, and i was annoyed at missing it! I was just getting ready to cast, when the nearside rod started flying away to a pike run. I lifted into it quickly, so as not to deep hook the pike, and was met with a solid response. After some fun and games for 5 minutes or so, i netted my second double of the year at 10lb 2oz.
I'd guessed that this might have ruined the swim, so a change was required and a quater of a mile later reached my next swim. By now the sun was high, and despite efforts, i struggled to get anymore bites. I brought my deadbait in, unclipped the lead and cast the deadbait out again to try a bit of sink and draw. Third cast, and the bait was hit by this small pike.

By now, it was sweltering and i called it a day. A nice morning out, and now i'm off for a pint. Going to be trying for some bass again soon, so here's hoping.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

River Piking, 26 June 2011

Armed with a selection of deadbaits, i decided to go to the river this morning. However, despite trying mackerel, sardine & lamprey and various tempting swims, all i got was the odd dropped run. It was so slow going, i decided i would try my hand at wildlife photography!
Back to the fishing, i brought in my deadbait, moved swim again, and hooked the smelt for wobbling, a tactic i have seldom tried and to date without success. Second cast in, and a small jack of 4 1/2lb struck under my rod tip, very exciting in the clear water! After a short tussle, with a few leaps, this was the result...
Following this, i decided to call it a day. I nice morning, by a glorious river!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Two stretches of river, two pike - 19/06/11

With the rivers now in full swing, i eagerly got out fishing today with pike in mind. The first session was on the morning, i took my nephew out to see if he could catch a couple, which he did, but i thought it would be rude not to put a smelt deadbait out as well. This quickly resulted in this pike of 6 or 7 lb...

Later on, i got out to another stretch of the river, again with pike in mind. The swim was overgrown and out of the way (perfect)...

Within minutes i had a run, again on smelt, which I quickly hit. This fish fought like a demon, as you expect from summer pike. Once landed, and at 10lb 1oz i was chuffed to get my first double of the season. Hopefully one of many....

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Bishopton Mill - 19 May 2011

This has been my first opportunity to get out for a while, due to the newborn! A short day session to Bishopton Mill was the opportunity, and i was armed with light gear and maggots / caster for bait.

I started off fishing 3 rod lengths out in 4 foot depth, and was getting smattering of bits (including a huge gudgeon!) before putting some groundbait out - this seemed to kill the swim so i laid off on the latter and concentrated on the former!

Other species continued to be caught including bream, roach, rudd but i was really hoping for one of the large tench that were present. A switch to caster started bringing swirls on top, and i noticed the few that fell short were being taken by fish on the surface. I shallowed up and fished one rod length out to find out the culprit, rudd. Constant spraying of feed got them feeding more confidently, and i was getting into a rythm until i struck into something more substantial which tore off, me having to flick the anti-reverse on my old mitchell (i'm never fond of using the clutch on 2lb line). I instantly thought 'tench' and after a good 5 minute battle it neared the net. However, it curiously turned out to be a Roach / Bream hybrid of about 3lb, a fish i have never caught but they fight like demons!!

I had to call it a day shortly after - can't wait for the rivers to open in 4 weeks time!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Hemlington Lake - 17-04-11

This will no doubt be my last session for a while, with the imminent arrival of a baby! Woke up at dawn and travelled to hemlington lake. Using maggot and caster for bait & feed, 2lb bottom and size 20 spade end for anything that came really. Bites came instantly with the odd roach, then i struck into something solid which refused to move much. It eventually straightened my hook, and i have a feeling it was a tench. Back to the roach again, and i got 5 or 6 on the bounce with the odd decent one in there of 6 or 7oz. This was followed by a perch of 1/2lb or so.

As the sun came up, bites slowed but i soon got them on the feed again. Noticing a couple of bubbles, i had a feeling what was coming next and stepped up to a size 16. A carp was clearly interested in the feed i'd been trickling in, and it was long until i struck into something solid. I played this carefully on my light tackle, but it touched a snag close to me and the hook flew out! Never mind, a nice mornings fishing.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A morning session...

Got out this morning on what used to be part of a river, but time and a change in the course of the river has left it a stranded (it's occassionally topped up with fish and water when the river is in flood though!).

I cast out to a large swirl (which i presumed was a pike) with a trout deadbait, and 5 mins later had a slow take which i eventually hit into. This provided a small pike of 5 1/2lb.

Following this, i float fished worm to see if there was anything about. Despite plenty of activity with fish, i only managed one quick bite which was missed.

Back to the pike, i tried a large ondex spinner which was chased and attacked by 3 fish, each of which i somehow managed to fish. There was every indication that some large pike were present as they were attacking the bait fish. Unfortunately, no more fish came to my rod. But it was a fun morning, and a place i'll have to try again.