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.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Still no bass

With a big spring tide today, I chanced a go at the bass. I knew it was unlikely in March, but always worth a shot. Using my Maria Chase for the first time, which had a great action and half decent casting ability. It dives to maybe 30cm or so making it perfect for rocky shorelines.

Despite my repeated casting, for an hour or so trying various different places, i has no success, but it was a good afternoon to be out.

When i was considering calling it a day, a seal popped up with a fish of a pound or so. It looked silvery and very bass like, so perhaps they are there! I only managed a brief shot of it when it came out a bit further away. Better luck next time i guess

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A cold morning...

I managed to get out for a few hours this morning at my local hemlington lake. Before the sun came up, it was bitterly cold and when it did start to warm, the wind picked up and hit me straight in the face. This wasn't ideal, it's a shallow lake and i knew the fish wouldn't bite much. I found myself fishing lighter and lighter until i ended up with single maggot on a size 22 hook and a 1lb hooklength. Ony then could i tempt a fish, a very small roach.

Dissappointing really; and all i could think about was the rivers! Can't wait to get among the barbel, chub & pike.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Last river session of the season......

I decided to have one final river session this year, i'm certainly going to miss them for a few months. Woke up at 5.30am and drove straight to the River, only to find it in flood...

This wasn't the best news, but i had a feeling the rain water might not have affected the other local yet, so jumped in the car and half an hour later i was by the river. I walked to my favourite little swim, feeding in liquidised bread while i sorted my pike gear out. After half an hour or so, i made my first cast with bread flake expecting a quick bite, which came. I struck into something big, and played it carefully for 30 seconds or so - it may have been a barbel or a big chub. Unfortunately it got snagged and got away, which indicated it was time to move to the next swim.

Same technique again, pike rig went in whilst i fed bread into the swim. Just as i was about to cast some breadflake out, my ledgered smelt tore off from a deep hole on the near bank. I hit into it and shortly after landed an underfed pike of 6lb or so....

Eventually, my breadflake was cast out and, same as before i had an immediate take. This ended up being a small chub of 1lb or so., but still a welcome fish...

Time to move on! By this time, the river had started rising rapidly, the rainwater had caught up with me. I wandered downstream for a mile or so, until i found a nice bit where the river came back on itself and underneath a tree.

I fed liquidised bread, and felt this was my last chance of a fish as the river was visibly rising fast. A flicked cast landed perfectly under the tree, and minutes later i had a savage take. I had to hold on tight to stop this fish making for the tree, but it was soon landed. At just under 4lb, I was a happy man!

Walking back to the car, i noticed the river had risen a good 4 feet and the odd tree was starting to come downstream!
Until next time rivers........

Thursday, 10 March 2011

22lb 8oz pike revisited..

I caught this pike in January 2011, before i started my blog so haven't told the story of my PB. Having blanked on my previous 5 fishing trips (all in 2011), i wasn't expecting much but the conditions seemed spot on for a pike or two. If anything, it was a chance to get a bend in my Mike Ladle sure spin before the bass come in later in the year!

I got  down to a local stretch of the River with smelt as bait, and cast towards a dead tree on the far bank next to some slack water. I didnt have to wait long at all for my rod to start moving, i gave it 10 seconds or so before hitting into the fish. I thought that i must have snagged the tree, because it didn't move or do much and just felt like a solid lump. It wasn't until i managed to give it some stick that it came to life, and there wasn't much i could do about it when it did move! It surfaced after 4 mins or so and it was then i realised it was a double. I managed to get the fish near the bank before it went off again, and this time it was heart in mouth time until my clutch slipped at the right moment. Every time the fish surfaced, my estimate of it's size got bigger, and 6 mins into the fight i was guessing about 15 pounds. Suddenly it was over as the fish came into the net which my brother had skillfully placed. It wasn't until i lifted the net that i realised i could have a 20!!!

It weighed in at 23lb, with the net taking up 1/2lb so i settled at 22.5lb! Not bad for the first fish of the year.....

22lb 8oz pb

Nothing else happened for the rest of the morning, but i wasn't that bothered!!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Too early for the bass....

With the lighter nights and warm sun I started thinking of bass today. Early in the year, yes - especially for the North-East. In reality they aren't a worthwhile proposition until May. But you do get some that over-winter, and as the warm sun got me thinking of bass again, i checked the tide tables. It turned out to be perfect; a spring tide, with high tide just before sunset. It was worth it just to give my new spinning gear a go and try one or two lures.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be! However, a nice evening and I used a daiwa Saltiga lure for the first time. It costs a bomb, but casts like a bullet and, being a very shallow diver and looking minnow like, is perfect. A recommendation to anyone....

Back to the sea!

Daiwa Saltiga lure

Saturday, 5 March 2011

River Swale Pike!

An interesting day out! Got to the River Swale about 6.30am, and walked 1/2 a mile to my swim. I was keeping all options open, trying ledger tactics for chub (with liquidised bread for feed and breadflake on the hook). My other rod was cast to a deep section where the river came back on itself under a tree. For this rod, i had a small ledgered smelt deadbait in the hope for Pike.

I was starting to get indication that chub were there when my pike rod tore off! I quickly hit into the fish to avoid deep hooking, and not suprisingly it went straight for the tree. I managed to hold hard and stoppped it's run, just short of the snags. After that it went for a few interesting runs which were stopped short. This is when the fun started! As i was preparing my landing net, the bank caved in and i was standing in half a foot of water and the same depth of sticky mud. Completely stuck, i managed to land the fish but couldn't get back up the bank! Trying to get my foot free, i fell into the mud and, taking care not to harm the fish, ended up on my arms and knees. Eventually, i managed to haul the fish up and at 17 1/2 lb i was well pleased. In summer, it probably wouldnt be anywhere near that because it was a short stocky fish. Stangely, it seemed to have a healed bite mark on its flank. I want to catch the pike that did that!

Try as i might, i didn't get that chub - they must have all been eaten!

Fat Pike!

The Pike's lair!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Old vs. New

My recent pike fishing has been done with modern rods, baitrunners and bite alarms which are good to use and efficient. However, there is a certain sense of achievement when you use vintage, collectable items to catch fish. It also proves that all you need is rod, line and luck to catch. Which is why this weekend, i will be using my original john wilson signature avon quiver and mitchell reel to try and tempt chub & barbel.

Both these items are built to last and with a bit of maintenance can give a lifetime of success. Reels should be rinsed after each outing with warm water and with an annual clean, oil and grease (watch out for my step-by-step guide).

Line should be changed regurlarly, at least once and perhaps twice a season depending on usage. The last section should also be checked on each cast for any damage.

My rod comes with a selection of tips, one of which snapped at the end due to my clumsiness. Cutting this back has provided an excellent tip to use when fishing fast flows for barbel.

You can pick a good condition vintage Mitchell Reel for £30 or so, and i would recommend it to anyone.